Lake Michigan

Hybrid power refit

Taking a solar-electric hybrid approach to marine propulsion

By Phil Shelley

As an engineer interested in renewable energy, I’ve long considered the viability of electric propulsion for marine vessels.

In recent years, large vessels such as cruise ships, ferries and tugboats have increasingly adopted hybrid electric drives. Now that solar panels have become more efficient and dramatically cheaper, I decided to try converting a medium-sized hull to a solar-electric hybrid. Read More

Outboard problems underway

Troubleshooting outboard problems

Learn how to fix outboard problems while underway

By Rick Lavoie

Before starting to troubleshoot outboard problems on the water, make sure to secure the boat. Anchor if the boat could go aground or if wave action makes moving around difficult. If you can’t anchor, rig a sea anchor using a line with some life jackets and a bucket (or two) attached and deploy it off your bow.

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Step-by-step fiberglass deck repair

By Chris Leavitt

Houston Sail & Power Squadron/21 member Richard Lipham solved a big problem for Sea Scout Ship 1996. The ship’s main training boat, a 1973 Santana 30, had developed a crack in the outer fiberglass skin under a deck stanchion. The core became soggy, and finally pressure on the stanchion broke a hole through the deck. Here’s a step-by-step look at the repair.

Cdr Chris Leavitt, JN, of Houston Sail & Power Squadron/21 has been a Boy Scout leader since 1993, a Sea Scout Leader since 2000 and teaches seamanship, sailing and navigation. He has two sons and a wonderful wife of 37 years.

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Connect your GPS to your VHF radioa

Connect your GPS to your VHF radio

By Ron Schwiesow

Modern VHF marine radios include Digital Selective Calling, a semiautomated method of making radio calls. DSC allows mariners to send instant, digitally coded distress calls to the U.S. Coast Guard and other vessels within transmission range. It also allows selective, digital communication with other DSC-equipped vessels. When a GPS receiver is connected to the VHF radio, your vessel’s location is automatically included in the transmissions—distress or otherwise.

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