Photo accompanying Building a Boat showing a glued lapstrake sailboat on the water

Building a Boat

By Al Meyer

The beginning

I launched my previous boat, Wee Lass, a Penobscot 14 designed by Arch Davis, in 2004 and had lots of fun with it. In 2008, Hurricane Ike damaged the boat, but I repaired it and got it back in the water.

The boat developed a slow leak where the centerboard case joins the hull. Over time, it became more and more of a nuisance. When I noticed discoloration on some of the hull planks, I decided to start building a replacement.

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DIY trailering device

DIY trailering device makes hitching easy

By Dave Osmolski

Boating is back in full swing! That means hitching up the trailer and taking the boat to the launch ramp. Sometimes hitching up the trailer isn’t all that happens. I have completely redecorated my vehicle’s license plate while hitching up my trailer. When I had a tow vehicle with a steel bumper, this didn’t bother me so much. The unique license plate helped me positively identify my vehicle in large parking lots. I have a plastic bumper now, and those near misses don’t enhance the resale value of my vehicle so much.

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Add shapes to your boat with PVC pipes

Add shapes to your boat with PVC pipes

By Dave Osmolski

One of the oldest and ubiquitous polymers, PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is used for water toys, rafts, boat curtains and many other marine applications. I have used it to hold propane cylinders on deck, make flagstaffs and hold trailer light fixtures. The list of things you can make from PVC piping is endless.

Readily available at most hardware stores, PVC pipe comes in two grades, or schedules. Schedule 40 has a thinner wall and is probably the easiest to work with. Schedule 80 has thicker walls but the same outside diameter. I suggest using schedule 40 for your projects, as it’s tough enough to withstand almost any abuse.

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Refurbishing trailer bunks

Refurbishing trailer bunks

Discover how to replace the worn carpeting on your trailer bunks

By Dave Osmolski

As simple as boat trailers seem, they are fraught with problems. If it isn’t the lights, it’s the wiring; if the lights work, the wheel bearings need replacing, or tire belts have given up the ghost and are ready to separate in the first 40 miles of your vacation trip. If it isn’t one of these things, it’s probably the carpeting on the trailer bunks.

Trailer bunks are the pieces of wood fastened to your trailer that your boat hull rests on. The wood is usually covered with special carpeting that won’t mar the hull’s gel coat but allows the boat to slide on and off with the proper degree of friction.

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DIY Flagstaff

Build a DIY flagstaff for your powerboat

By Dave Osmolski

I’ve been vacationing in Southwest Florida for longer than I have been a member of United States Power Squadrons. I haven’t visited every yacht basin and marina, but out on the water and along the Intracoastal Waterway, I have never seen a vessel flying the USPS ensign save for the one on my boat.

USPS encourages members to introduce our organization to the public with seminars, classes and by our presence at boat shows. While these are important, I think one of the best ways to advertise our presence is to fly the ensign.

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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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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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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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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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