Equip your boat with a marine radio

Equip your boat with a marine radio

By Scott Erickson

Any vessel equipped with a marine VHF radio and operated solely in U.S. waters must comply with U.S. Coast Guard usage rules for operating communications equipment. If you are new to boating or thinking of upgrading your equipment, you need to know the basics of a marine radio.

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How to assemble a first-aid kit

How to assemble a first-aid kit

By Dave Osmolski

One of the most neglected pieces of safety equipment on a small boat is the first-aid kit. As a vessel examiner, I have asked many boat owners if they carry a first-aid kit. Many say “yes,” but when I ask to see it, the kit usually consists of a few adhesive bandages, a couple of dried-up alcohol wipes and a roll of adhesive tape in a plastic box.

A daunting environment, a small boat can move erratically from wave action and passengers shifting positions. Combine this with wet gel-coated decks and bare feet, and slips or falls are inevitable. They often result in only a little bruising and embarrassment, but some accidents can be much more serious. Are you prepared for a bad fall, the sting of a sea creature or a severe allergic reaction?

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How to prevent motion sickness

How to prevent motion sickness

By Keith Dahlin

Ninety percent of people suffer from motion sickness at some point, but prescription, over-the-counter and natural remedies can help prevent it.

Different preventives work for different people with varying degrees of effectiveness; however, the trick is finding your personal panacea before you’re in a pickle. To embrace the briny deep confidently, do your research and perform a self-test days or weeks before heading out.

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Preserve your fiberglass hull

Preserve your fiberglass hull

By Bill Isenberg

For below-the-waterline maintenance, epoxy barrier coating is one of the best measures you can take to preserve a fiberglass hull. It prevents water from migrating into the fiberglass, thus adding weight to the boat and causing possible delamination or osmosis of the fiberglass.

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Ready your boat trailer for winter

Ready your boat trailer for winter

By David Osmolski

In fall we begin to think about putting our boats away for the winter. We fog the engines and put anti-freeze in the water lines, but how many of us prepare our trailers to spend several months sitting in the cold? Let’s look at the many things you can do to extend the life of your trailer before putting it up for the winter.

If you do a lot of saltwater cruising, I’m sure you hose down the boat and trailer afterward. Some boaters even go to the carwash to use the high-pressure freshwater spray. I prefer to find a boat ramp on a lake and dunk the whole rig. That will thoroughly rinse even the trailer’s most remote corners. While you’re at it, run the engine for three minutes or more.

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Avoid common sailing injuries

By Anthony Pozun

A sailboat’s many working parts combined with its movement can result in sailing injuries and accidents, but you can avoid them with a little planning and forethought.

Don’t go overboard

Everyone on deck should wear a personal flotation device. Those alone on deck, at the helm or sailing single-handedly must also wear a safety harness tethered to the boat.

When moving about, remember the adage “one hand for me, one hand for the boat.” Move slowly, low to the deck and with purpose. To retrieve someone from the water, boats should have safety equipment such as a man overboard pole, life ring, throw ring, floating cushion, hoist and lifejackets with GPS locators.

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Give your boat a mid-season checkup

By Frank Barron

It’s mid-summer. Everything’s going well. You’ve had some good cruises and weathered a storm or two. What could go wrong now? To keep Murphy at bay, it’s prudent to spend a half-day giving your boat a mid-season checkup without the pressure of a journey. Begin by noting any obvious problems and their importance.

Stand back and observe: Do you see anything amiss? Start with this simple mid-season checklist and modify it to fit your needs.

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DIY inexpensive propane storage

Store propane cylinders safely on deck

By Dave Osmolski

Summer’s here! Now’s the time to get in the boat, visit your favorite cove and drop the hook. Before long, you’ll get out the propane grill and throw a couple of steaks on while you enjoy a glass of wine with the sunset.

Propane grills that attach to a boat rail or a fixture inserted into a fishing rod holder are popular and provide additional enjoyment on day trips and cruises; however, their use raises the question of how to store the steel propane cylinders that fuel the grill.

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Use proper anchoring etiquette

Use proper anchoring etiquette

By Jim Dunn

Most good anchorages tend to be crowded, so you need to use proper technique and etiquette to keep the neighbors happy.

Generally, the first boat to anchor has seniority. This means that if you anchor near another boat and that boater thinks you are too close for the conditions, you should be polite and move farther away. In general, if you can stand on deck and have a conversation with your neighbor without shouting, you are probably too close. Move on! In addition, if your neighbor has two anchors set, you should do likewise.

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Waterproofing canvas with wood conditioner

Waterproof canvas with wood conditioner

By Dave Osmolski

Nearly every boat has some canvas to provide shade, act as a windbreak, and protect us from spray and rain. New canvas has a waterproof coating. Although the coating doesn’t actually seal the pores in the fabric, it does make the fabric hydrophobic, so water beads up and runs off.

Like nearly everything having to do with boats, the waterproof coating deteriorates with exposure to salt, sun and wind. Pretty soon, the canvas top is leaking onto your latest smartphone or all over your charts.

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