Blog March 2016


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Posted On: March 30, 2016

How to Care for Them?


Chafe is the nemesis of any line (good or bad).

Although wear is inevitable, it's not uncontrollable. In a permanent docking arrangement, the chafe problem is most chronic.

First, chafe-proof your boat as you would childproof your home. Examine chocks, cleats, bitts, posts, and other hardware for rough edges. Next, consider how you lead the lines, being careful to avoid acute angles, which present opportunities for abrasion. Last, get defensive. Chafe protection can range from heavy cloth such as old blue jeans wrapped around the line at the point of contact to ready made chafe guards attached to the line where it passes through the chocks.

Research has shown that chafing material that doesn't let moisture and air into the line can result in excessive heat buildup as the line moves back and forth within the material. Therefore, it would be important to avoid using materials that can do this, such as a plastic or rubber hose. TideMinders help avoid chafe where the line goes around the pilings.

Whether you're in your permanent slip, or just passing through, regularly check the condition of your lines for signs of wear. The investment in your boat could depend on it.

Size Matters

As a general rule docklines should equal two-thirds of your boat's overall length. Spring lines should be considerably longer. You will need to be able to use these to bring your boat alongside while docking. You may need to pay the spring line out to ease your boat to a stop in the right position and as the helmsperson brings the boat alongside. This is an art in itself, but very important. You should have lines of various lengths available to use depending on the circumstances as you come alongside a dock and the pilings and cleats on the dock.  The shortest should be approximately the same length as your boat.




Posted On: March 28, 2016

Get ready, found this interesting little article by Robert Ferris

Sometime in April or May of this year, a swarm of insects called Brood II Cicadas will rise from the earth and fill the skies all across the Northeast, from Virginia to Connecticut.  It sounds like a horror film, but Magicicada Brood II is a relatively harmless — though massive — legion of cicadas scheduled to venture above ground and mate this year, as they do every 17 years.

 This year's brood will emerge in the following states: Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. You can find when the cicadas are coming to your region on

Periodical cicadas spend most of their lives underground, surfacing only for the last few months of their lives to produce the next generation. As soon as they hatch, young "nymph" cicadas dig their way underground, where they live for the next 16 years by sucking the sap out of tree roots and moving very little, according to AAAS's Science NetLinks.

 In the Spring of the 17th year the adult cicadas come up from the earth. The warmer the weather is, the earlier they come, according to Cicadamania. When the ground eight inches down warms to 64F they start to emerge from their slumber in droves.And when they do dig their way out of the ground, they flood the skies numbering in the tens of millions. Per acre, populations are usually in the tens to hundreds of thousands, which is much higher than most other cicada species.

Some have observed numbers as high as 1.5 million cicadas per acre, according to website, run by cicada researcher John Cooley.  These insects only leave their subterranean burrows every 17 years, so they have few natural predators. They are easy to catch, but animals that do hunt them will likely find themselves full-to-bursting well before they even make a dent in the swarm.  Apart from their sheer numbers, their impressive size (around three inches), beady red eyes, and black shell of a body might spook or startle you, especially if they start landing on you. They are so dense in places, the ground will crunch underneath your feet, according to Caitlyn Kim of WNYC.

During the day, they also make an incessant sound that resembles a whirring buzz. They are often confused with locusts, which are also known to swarm in large numbers, but they aren't related. A second type of cicada has a similar lifestyle but only stays underground for 13 years.

Cicadas don't sting or bite, aren't poisonous, and aren't known to transmit disease. They do, however, feed on trees by piercing branches and sucking out the fluid inside. Orchard keepers or nurseries with many young, vulnerable trees should think about waiting to plant them or keep them indoors until the swarm dies down in late July.



Posted On: March 23, 2016

The US COAST GUARD requires boaters to carry safety equipment on board. This could save your life.

Make sure you have all the necessities before you set sail.

Required Boating Safety Equipment

Make sure you carry these items on board to stay safe (and legal!) on the water.

Life Jackets

A properly fitting and serviceable jacket for every person on board.

Fire Extinguisher

It must be a Coast Guard-approved B1 model.


Boats over 16 feet must carry a throwable device.

Signaling Device

A bell, whistle, or horn to warn other boaters.



 Visual Distress Signal

For boats under 16 feet, this is required only at night; for boats over 16 feet, this is required both day and night. Different rules apply on small bodies of water, but it's always wise to carry them. 




Posted On: March 21, 2016


Boat insurance is flexible, from one that protects your assets in case of a liability claim against you to one that covers the majority of situations that could damage or destroy your boat. It's up to you.

If you're comfortable with risking the value of your boat, many companies offer you the option for a liability-only policy that doesn't insure physical damage to your boat at all but provides a specified amount of coverage for your liability to others in the event of an accident, as well as protection from uninsured boaters. I recommend checking this with your insurance agent before deciding. Even if your boat isn't worth very much, you should still consider liability insurance. A collision with a small powerboat can cause serious injuries, and even if you're not found liable for those injuries, it could cost a significant amount of money in legal fees to defend yourself against such claims.

Policies that cover liability only, with no hull coverage, can be significantly less expensive than full-coverage policies. If you have a homeowner's umbrella (or excess-liability) policy, it will usually require your boat policy to have certain minimum liability limits (typically $300,000, but sometimes as high as $500,000), and you should make sure there's no coverage gap.

Get quotes on several different types of policies will allow you to make an informed decision based on the coverage versus the cost.

Baes on an article published in Boat US Magazine



Posted On: March 16, 2016

In talking with boaters,  it’s become apparent that some are baffled by buoys. The basic issue is the assumption that all navaids tell loads of detailed information.

Truth is, navaids give very simple information. The first buoys in the United States were casks, placed in the Delaware River in 1767 to mark shoals. They weren’t color-coded, lit or equipped with sound signals. In fact, casks and spars were used until the 1860s, when standardized sizes and colors and, subsequently, our present-day lateral system were emplaced. Before that, every port had different shapes, sizes and colors of buoys and markers. Those required interpretation. They simply told boatmen that something was there to be avoided. It was up to the skipper to see the riffle over an awash rock, the color change over a ledge, the wading birds. …

We can look at things the same way the old river men did. You see a red light flashing out of the gloom of night. Count: One, one thousand, two, one thousand, three and blink. That’s a light with a 2.5-second flash. Now look at the chart, paper or digital, and find the aid that matches that characteristic. Simple. If you know where you are, then you’re not lost. It’s a tiny bit of information but a very big deal on a black night with a wind coming on.

Red, right, return — the not so fancy method of remembering the lateral system — also trips up a lot of boaters. I think that while repeating that mantra, they are trying to ascertain if it also means green, right, depart, which it does, but while their brain is engaged with that, they run up on the ledge. And of course there are many coastal stretches where “seaward” is an arbitrary direction.

Instead of port and starboard, left and right, try using basic directions (or that spinning thing with 360 little marks on it mounted in front of your wheel). You should most always be on the same side of the buoy, regardless of the direction you are going. If a green can marks the northern edge of a ­channel when heading east, then guess what? It still marks the northern edge of that channel when you return heading west. Instead of juggling colors, lateral positions and nominal directions, just remember that most navaids mark the edges of channels, the limit of water that has been sounded as safe. You are always on the same side of same-color markers. Most helpful is to study the chart before starting your cruise and get a mental picture of the underwater topography. You don’t have to remember the number and color of every marker. Simply write, “Pass north of all greens” or “Keep east of all reds until inlet” in grease pencil (which wipes off easily) on your windshield. That way you don’t have to remember ­aphorisms, slogans and Sea Tow’s phone number. All you have to do is head at the marks, slowly and directly. If in doubt, mind your sounder and keep an eye out for riffles, color changes and wading birds.

Quick Tip: All red aids to navigation (ATONs) are conical or triangular, while all green ATONs are cylindrical or square.

based on an article published by By Kevin Falvey posted April 16, 2015 in Boating Magazine




Posted On: March 14, 2016


How to Dock Easier With Spring Lines

Great article to read  from Boating magazine as the season approaches. Whether a seasoned boater or a novice, it can help.

Using dock lines to work in and out of a tight slip.

By Pete McDonald

The wind had unexpectedly kicked up to 20 knots, churning up a fierce chop across the bay. We could handle that well enough by adjusting our speed and attitude — the real challenge came back at the marina. We had to pull into a slip defined by a finger pier on one side and by another boat on the other side. The wind was howling unabated across the slip so that it was impossible to line up our boat without getting quickly blown into the other boat. Thankfully, we had a plan B: tying a dock line to the midship cleat and springing the boat in via the line.

Using ropes to work in and out of a difficult slip is a tried-and-true technique called warping or springing. The classic way to use warping is to pull away from a side to dock when there’s no room to pull forward or back. With a line secured to a bow cleat and cleated on the dock aft of the bow, put the boat in forward and turn the wheel toward the dock; the aft end will swing out, giving you clearance to back the boat away. (A fender can be deployed as a pivot cushion.) Conversely, you can tie off to the stern cleat and hit reverse to swing out the bow — though this is trickier for sterndrives and outboards as the technique may place your props too close to the dock.

In this crosswind situation, while trying to work into a slip, tying to the bow or stern would prove useless. But belaying the dock line on the midship cleat allowed us to work the boat into the slip without the wind pushing the boat into the neighboring vessel. Also, using the midship cleat — also known as a spring cleat — kept the boat parallel to the pier and prevented the bow or stern from swinging out into the other boat. Here’s how we made it work:

The captain pointed the bow off the end of the pier, and I stepped off holding the end of the already-cleated spring line and secured it around a cleat at the end of the pier. My buddy continued into the slip, allowing the line to come tight, and as it did he turned the helm away from the dock. He kept the engine idling in gear, which kept the boat pinned to the dock while I secured bow and stern lines and adjusted the pre-hung fenders in unstressed fashion. We were home safe.

Fortunately for us, we were working with fixed piers, and the protocol called for docking bow-in. The technique will still work in slips that use pilings instead of piers, but you’d have to make a piling your pivot point. It could also work docking stern-in, depending on your setup. Try practicing on a calm day when there’s no wind and no boat in the slip next to yours. That way, you’ll know what to do when the time comes to warp your way out of trouble. It’s an invaluable way to tame a crosswind.

Quick Tip: To pull side-to to a dock without lines, nose the bow in at an angle on the approach and, when lined up, turn the wheel to the dock and hit reverse.



Posted On: March 09, 2016

Ah… the first few warm days return and you got that itching spring fever to uncover the boat and get her wet for the first time. There is nothing worse than being gathered at the dock with a boat-load of people and you turn the key and nothing happens. It is likely this will happen if you do not take the time to de-winterize your boat. Do an inspection before setting out on the first trip of the season.

Here’s a pre-launch checklist to get your boat ready for the boating season.

Oil Check

If you did not change the engine oil when you put the boat up for the season, now is the time to do it. Make sure you change the oil filter also. Check the oil in the outdrive.

Battery Inspection

Reattach the cables. Make sure the terminals are not corroded. If so, wipe them clean. If your battery takes water, fill it up. A dry battery is a bad battery. With a battery tester, check the volts and amps. If it is charged and still won’t start, it may be time to buy a new battery.

Cooling System

Hopefully you drained the cooling system if you live in a cold winter climate to prevent freezing. If so, fill 'er back up. Rinse out the strainer and check the hoses for cracks.

Fuel System

You also should have topped off the tank with gas to prevent any moisture and condensation forming in the tank and diluting the gas. Change the fuel filter. Make sure the fuel line is attached and not cracked. In the winter these hoses can become dry and brittle


Take the distributor cap off and clean it out. Corrosion could have occurred during the winter. Make sure all connections are restored.


Tighten the belts if needed. You should only be able to push the belt slightly down. If the belts do not fit snugly in their pulley grooves, they may be worn and in need of replacement. Belts that are not tight will wear faster because they will likely begin to slip. The alternator belt usually wears faster than the others. A sign of a worn belt is black soot somewhere in the vicinity of the pulley.

 Things That Should Not Be Ignored

  • Change the spark plugs
  • Lubricate the engine with WD-40
  • Check all hoses
  • Check power steering/cables
  • Test the bilge pump
  • Replace the drain plug
  • Check rudder and shafts
  • Inspect the prop
  • Test the horn
  • Test the VHF radio
  • Check the trim
  • Inspect personal flotation devices
  • Check the fire extinguisher expiration date
  • Make sure the anchor in on board

*** The above de-winterizing tips are only a list of suggested things to do your boat that I've collected over the years. Each boat may vary as to what needs to be done to de-winterize it. As always, for complete instructions please see your boat's owners manual or consult your boat mechanic



Posted On: March 07, 2016


Bird poop apparently caused NY nuclear reactor outage

What’s your take? Are they full of……

Article by Associated Press



ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Bird poop was the likely cause of a December shutdown at a nuclear power plant outside New York City, according to the operator.

An Indian Point reactor safely shut down for three days starting Dec. 14 following an electrical disturbance on outdoor high voltage transmission lines, Entergy Corp. said. An outside expert is analyzing whether what's technically called bird "streaming" was the culprit.

In a report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission last month, the New Orleans-based company said the automatic reactor shutdown was apparently from bird excrement that caused an electric arc between wires on a feeder line at a transmission tower.

"If it has nowhere to send its electricity, the generator senses that and automatically shuts down," Entergy spokesman Jerry Nappi said.

Plant managers told the NRC they were revising preventive maintenance for additional inspection and cleaning and installing bird guards on transmission towers.

Nappi said he couldn't recall a similar incident in the past several years from birds at Indian Point, which is located along the Hudson River north of New York City. He didn't immediately know what type of bird was suspected. No carcass was found, he said.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Eliot Brenner said it's not uncommon for wildlife to trigger electrical outages on transmission lines regardless of the generation source of the electricity. "Squirrels are the biggest offenders," he said.

He didn't know if the NRC was specifically tracking animal-related reactor outages. "They're kind of few and far between, but certainly not unheard of," he said.