Blog May 2016


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Posted On: May 30, 2016


The History of Memorial Day

Originally called Decoration Day, from the early tradition of decorating graves with flowers, wreaths and flags, Memorial Day is a day for remembrance of those who have died in service to our country. It was first widely observed on May 30, 1868 to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers, by proclamation of Gen. John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of former Union sailors and soldiers.

During that first national celebration, former Union Gen. and sitting Ohio Congressman James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who were buried there.

“We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.”

- James A. Garfield

May 30, 1868 Arlington National Cemetery

This event was inspired by local observances of the day that had taken place in several towns throughout America in the three years after the Civil War. In 1873, New York was the first state to designate Memorial Day as a legal holiday. By the late 1800s, many more cities and communities observed Memorial Day, and several states had declared it a legal holiday. After World War I, it became an occasion for honoring those who died in all of America’s wars and was then more widely established as a national holiday throughout the United States. 





Posted On: May 25, 2016

Keep On Charging

It's that little box that keeps the whole show running. Show it the respect it deserves with these simple tips.

Load Testing Your Batteries

On a boat, the easiest way to apply enough load to a battery for a meaningful test is to use the starter motor on the engine as the load. Disconnect the ignition coil, if yours is a gas engine, so the engine won't start up, connect your voltmeter to the battery, and have a friend crank the engine. If the voltage falls below 9.6 volts, you need a new battery.

It Won't Stop Your Heart, But ...

Direct current (DC) might be less likely to shock you than alternating current (AC), but there's a lot more to safety than not getting shocked. DC sparks around charging batteries can cause an explosion. Battery electrolyte is made from sulfuric acid, which can cause severe burns or blindness. DC systems are relatively safe, but still demand your respect and caution.

Don't Let Your Batteries Go Boom

Batteries do go boom from time to time. Explosions involve two things: hydrogen gas and a spark. Hydrogen is the lightest of the elements, so it will disperse quickly if released into a ventilated space. But an explosion could still happen if the electrolyte levels get so low that the plates are no longer covered or, if the vent is clogged, allowing hydrogen to build up. So, be sure your deep-cycle batteries are in a well-ventilated space, check the electrolyte levels regularly, charge it using a marine charger with a regulator, keep grease and other contaminants away from the vents, and watch out for bulges in the battery case, which indicate a buildup of hydrogen gas.



Posted On: May 23, 2016

Boating Safety

National Safe Boating Week (May 21-27) is here. Many boaters will make extra effort to improve their on-water safety this week. But it’s just as important to keep it going all season.

 Here’s a great piece from BOATUS published May 18, 2016

Three Tips for National Safe Boating Week and Beyond

ANNAPOLIS, Md., May 18, 2016 – With National Safe Boating Week (May 21-27) nearly upon us, many boaters will make extra effort to improve their on-water safety. But after the annual event is over, will they continue to stay vigilant? “Making boating safety easy to embrace means more boaters will continue to make the effort,” says BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water President Chris Edmonston. With that goal in mind, the BoatUS Foundation has three simple tips for boaters that will improve their boating safety game all summer long:


1. Select a life jacket that you will actually wear: Consistently wearing a life jacket may be a challenge for some boaters, but it doesn’t have to be. Inflatable life jackets can be as unobtrusive as a small, lightweight beltpack worn around the waist or suspenders style inflatable worn over the shoulders. They don’t trap body heat, and give full mobility needed to cast a line or trim a mainsheet. “The best life jacket is the one you’ll actually wear,” says Edmonston, “And inflatables make it easy to wear because they’re so comfortable that you forget you have it on.” For more, go to

 2. Take a boating safety education course that’s free and easy to get: Learning the rules of the road can be difficult for some boaters as they don’t always have the time to take a Boating Safety Course. But all you need is a comfortable chair in front of computer or tablet to take the free online Boating Safety Course from the BoatUS Foundation. Learning can be paused and picked up again as your schedule permits, and the courses meet boating safety education requirements in 34 states – and may even get you a discount on your boat insurance. For more, go to and click on “State Boating Safety Course.”

3. File the uncomplicated float plan you’ll do all year: What kind of float plan do you need? Simpler may be better. For most boaters who boat on familiar home waters, a float plan can be as easy as a text message to a friend or relative telling them where you are going, who is aboard, and what time you expect to return. And don’t forget to close it out with a text message after you’ve returned. If you’re at a boat ramp, leaving the details of your trip on a piece of paper or on a float plan form and putting it in view on the dashboard of your tow vehicle is another simple way to do it. More detailed float plans such as the one offered by the US Coast Guard Auxiliary are also great if you have a need for more detail and coordination, such as for longer offshore passages.



Posted On: May 18, 2016

How To React When Your Temperature Gauge Spikes?

If your engine's suddenly got a fever, quick action will often save the situation, but never ever, ignore the symptoms!!

Here's what to do when things start to flare.

Any number of things can be the cause of your engine's temperature spike. Some are a serious threat, others are not. The worst possibilities could be loss of compression because of damaged rings or valves, lubrication issues, main-bearing problems, and misfiring. Most of these normally require a good mechanic and that may be pricey to fix.

But very often, a spike in temperature signals a temporary malfunction, one that will have few long-term consequences if quickly remedied.

1. Check for cooling water coming out of your exhaust or the "pee hole" in the outboard.

If the volume of water has diminished or if there's white steam (which may look like extra exhaust), not enough water is going through the engine to cool it. You'll need to work through the next few items to find the problem. But if the cooling water is spewing out normally, check your voltage. A voltage change at the gauge, as when you turn on the instrument-panel lights, could, in some installations, cause a slight increase in the temperature reading that has nothing to do with the engine.

2. Turn off the engine immediately, if safe to do so.

Do not restart until it cools down to within normal operating temperatures. Usually the engine temperature will continue to increase after shutdown because it's no longer getting any cooling water. Restarting at the higher temperature may ruin the engine. Always wait until the engine has cooled before you work on it.

3. Check for obstructions.

When debris blocks the cooling water intake or clogs the strainer and restricts water flow, failure to remedy the problem immediately can result in the destruction of the impeller and other more serious problems. Debris in a raw-water strainer for an inboard is easily fixed by turning off the engine, closing the thru-hull valve, and cleaning the strainer. An inboard engine may suck a large piece of debris, such as a plastic bag, onto your strainer outside the hull, particularly if you're moving slowly. On outboards, plastic or even seaweed over the cooling intake vents will prevent water from reaching the engine. Often on outboards and inboards, just shifting into reverse for a moment will clear the debris over the intake.

4. If you are on an inboard, check the V-belt.

A sudden high temperature rise can be caused by the breakage of the V-belt on an inboard with an enclosed cooling system. This will cause the freshwater recirculation pump on the forward end of the engine to stop turning. This should be easy to fix with a temporary "fits-all" belt or a spare belt if you have one.

5. Look for connection problems in the raw-water system.

In a freshwater-cooled inboard, a sudden high temperature spike could indicate a busted cooling-water hose or loose hose clamp, which has allowed a hose to back off its nipple. This will also cause flooding. Some outboards may be prone to this. Depending upon the situation, you may be able to temporarily repair a busted hose with Rescue Tape, or simply reinsert a disconnected hose on the barb and tighten the hose clamp. A failed seal on an inboard freshwater recirculation pump will also result in serious water loss and high temperature and probably require a tow.

6. Clean the injection nipple.

On many inboard engines, raw cooling water is injected into the exhaust at the riser after passing through the heat exchanger(s). Often, these clog over time from corrosion and heating of organic material in the water. This diminishes raw-water flow. Remove the hose and clean any buildup inside the injection nipple. Take care not to damage the pipe, especially if it has corroded.

7. Make sure there's nothing on the bottom slowing you down.

A bad growth of barnacles and weeds, as can quickly occur in warm, nutrient-rich waters, can increase the resistance of the boat moving through the water and lead to slightly higher temperatures over time. Snagging a crab or lobster pot on your rudder can do the same thing. If you're losing speed as the temperature rises, a dive to clean your bottom or running gear may be all you need to do. Make sure it's safe, the engine is off and the key taken out of the ignition while the swimmer is in the water, there are others aboard who can help you, and that you have the requisite stamina and skills. Always carry a mask, snorkel, and flippers aboard, just for this kind of event.

If Things Are More Complicated ...

If one of the above is the problem, you should be able to deal with it and proceed with your temperature back in the normal range. If not, you're probably not going to be able to remedy the problem on the water, but you may still be able to limp home without doing permanent damage. Exactly how you limp home will depend upon what you think the problem is.




Posted On: May 16, 2016

How To Keep Your Boat Looking Beautiful

Ever wonder how all those big yachts keep their shine and beauty? Can we possibly reach this perfection, too? How a boat looks depends on how much energy or money goes toward maintaining the appearance. In the case of superyachts, it helps that they have large crews who must be kept busy every day.

 But following some of the practices from superyachts can keep your boat looking its best for years.

Cover That Fender

Keep your fenders wrapped in terry cloth to protect the hull from abrasion and dirty docks.

Hose That Hull and treat with Vinegar

Hose down the hull carefully. Then jump into the dinghy and wipe it with vinegar to remove saltwater spots on the glossy finish. Dark-colored hulls tend to show the salt more, requiring frequent vinegar treatment.

Keep Stainless Stain-Less

Wipe stainless steel and chromed bronze fittings with a chamois cloth often. Make polishing and waxing these metals routine. Some metal-polishing products already include wax compounds.

Cover Up What You Can

External varnished bright work should be protected from UV damage by Sunbrella covers. Take them off to impress guests. Sunbrella covers should also protect stowed tenders, dinghies, outboard motors, barbecues, and other accessories.

Protect Upholstery

Use covers that can take wear and tear and food stains. If your boat's in the yard, or you're having a mechanic aboard, cover decking and internal floorboards with tough plastic sheets with a nonskid pattern, sacrificial rugs, or carpeting.

Drop A Hint

To protect varnished floorboards from daily wear, put large baskets by the companionway so visitors get the hint and take their footwear off at the dock or at anchor.

An Alkaline Shine

To keep engine rooms and engine spaces impressively clean, apply light acid or any alkaline teak cleaner to aluminum diamond-patterned plate floorboards. If possible, take the pieces outside for this work, where they can be rinsed off easily.

 Nice And Neat

Anti-chafe leatherwork on the loops of docklines looks seamanlike and protects the lines.

 Good Luck, if you put the work in, everyone will notice.

Based on an article written by Tom Zydler, who spent three decades as a professional yacht captain navigating high latitude destinations



Posted On: May 11, 2016

Proper care will add years to the useful life of clear plastics while improper care can shorten it to a single season. Glass windshields remain crystal clear with little or no attention, but the same is not true for plastic windows. Soft or hard, clear plastics are damaged by exposure, inevitably losing clarity over time. Care varies by the material. Soft plastics that can be rolled away are usually made from vinyl.

Here's some sage advice on cleaning your vinyl windows, This is based on an article originally published in US BOAT by Don Casey.

Vinyl Windows

A walk down any dock will reveal that plenty of boat owners neglect or mistreat their clear vinyl (commonly called Eisenglass). Sunlight is the enemy. The reason clear vinyl turns opaque, then yellow, and ultimately brittle is the loss of plasticizers, most often due to evaporation caused by sun exposure. Just as with vinyl canvas, if you prevent the plasticizers from escaping, you extend the life of the vinyl indefinitely.

Two brands of clear vinyl, Strataglass and O'Sea, incorporate hard surface coatings for scratch resistance, which have the added advantage of sealing in the vinyl's plasticizers. All other clear vinyls, whether from a roll or a pressed and polished sheet, lack this barrier. The barrier that seals in the plasticizers in clear vinyl is a polymer coating, a liquid that you apply to both surfaces of the vinyl. Give this substance sunscreen characteristic and it becomes a two-for-one deal. It's best to start when the windows are new.

Even factory-coated vinyls need a periodic booster treatment. Strataglass specifies that you must use only Imar Strataglass products — 301 Protective Cleaner and 302 Protective Polish — to maintain the warranty. On other clear vinyls, you can use the protectant or plastic polish of your choice. Select one that includes sunscreen.

Before applying any treatment, wash the vinyl thoroughly. The imperative for gentle cleaning that applies to all clear plastic is especially critical for the softer surface of vinyl. Start with flooding to hydrate and soften dirt and salt. Paper towels are too harsh and will scratch the vinyl. Wash with soft cotton fabric — diapers, T-shirt material, cotton flannel, old terry cloth. Soap can extract plasticizers from the vinyl and remove previously applied seal coat, so use soap (never detergent!) only if you really need it. Pat-drying clean windows with a soft cloth minimizes spotting. A 90/10 solution of water and white vinegar can remove old water spots without damaging the vinyl, but rinse thoroughly.

Apply your treatment of choice to both sides of the vinyl, and renew the coating at least every four to six weeks. Reapply it anytime you wash the vinyl with soap. If you wash your windows daily, or even weekly, using an abrasive-free product will be kinder to the vinyl. Numerous manufacturers, suppliers, and fabricators recommend 303 Aerospace Protectant for its ease of application, slick finish, and effective UV screen.

While care takes a continuing effort, damage can happen in a second, so be vigilant about what chemicals come in contact with the vinyl. Never use glass cleaners or "all purpose" cleaners like Fantastic or Simple Green. Do not use ammonia, alcohol, acetone, or any petroleum-based solvents. Do not "protect" the vinyl with wax or with products containing petroleum distillates or silicones. When you waterproof the surrounding canvas, take care to protect the vinyl from the water proofer. Insect repellents are particularly damaging, so apply these far away and downwind of your vinyl. Many sunscreens contain chemicals that will fog clear vinyl. Be cautious not to handle or rub against the windows with repellent or sunscreen on your skin. The number of vinyl windows with handprints permanently etched into the plastic suggests that always washing your hands before handling the vinyl is a smart habit to form.




Posted On: May 09, 2016

So you think you might want a brand new boat?

Propulsion technology in the boats is changing. Larger pleasure boats 20 years ago were powered by inboard engines or sterndrives. Outboard engines tended to be larger gas-guzzling two-strokes, and the biggest outboards available were less than 200 horsepower.

According to Sea Ray’s Ron Berman, "Probably the biggest thing that's happened in 20 years is outboard technology," particularly with four-stroke engines, which bring state-of-the-art technology in digital shifting and joystick docking. And most significantly for coastal boaters, they avoid the corrosion problems of a lower end left in saltwater.”

 There are many more bells and whistles in the boats of today — integrated chart plotters, Zeus pods, joystick docking and automatic station-keeping for diesel-powered boats, Wi-Fi networks, lighter retractable hardtops, and so on.

All these helpful developments, joined with all the design and building refinements in play at state-of-the-art builders, have created well-built innovative boats designed to perform better, accommodate people more comfortably, and deliver better integrated features, all at a more competitive price than was dreamed possible decades ago.

So if you think you want new, go for it. if you can't quite afford new, ask us......we have solutions for almost every budget.



Posted On: May 04, 2016

So you are considering a diesel motor, or maybe the boat you are looking at has one.

Here are some tips to remember, but it’s a good idea to have a certified diesel mechanic look at it

Testing Diesel Fuel

One of the most common headaches for new skippers of used boats is caused by microbes forming in diesel fuel that had been sitting for many months while the boat was for sale. Idleness encourages condensation, which is what microbes need for spawning. When a buyer is finally found, the engine may start during the survey and run OK for a while, but the first time the boat and the fuel tank get bounced around, the gunk gets stirred up, filters become clogged, and fuel is cut off to the engine. If you're buying a used boat, it is worthwhile to have a mechanic inspect the diesel itself and open the fuel tank inspection port, if there is one, or maybe take off the fuel sender to look for gunk in the fuel. Microbe levels can also be tested with a kit,

Starting and Running the Engine

Starting a diesel will often tell you as much about its condition as running a diesel. Diesels should fire up quickly, at least in warm weather. Diesels that continue cranking and cranking and cranking whenever they are started often have compression problems, although hard starting can also be caused by fuel system problems or using fuel with a low cetane rating.

Cooling System

Unless you operate your boat in a swimming pool (clean and well filtered), your diesel should have a sea strainer, preferably one with a clear bowl that is readily accessible. Inspect the strainer regularly and clean out any debris (close the seacock first). The impeller is another critical component in the cooling system that should be inspected periodically. Cracks at the base of impeller blades indicate that the impeller needs replacing. An impeller will usually last longer if you take it out over the winter to prevent its taking a set. Should the impeller fail, broken blades must be located or water flow to the engine could be blocked. It's also a good idea to keep a spare impeller aboard.

A marine diesel that looks like it’s in bad shape probably is in bad shape. Oil streaks, discolored paint (indicating excessive heat), frayed belts, and gunk in the bilge are a neglected engine's plea for help. Rule one, then, is spend some time cleaning your engine and getting to know where the various parts are located. Maybe keeping an engine clean and bright won't help it run better or last longer, but it's a start.

Fuel System

The key to a healthy diesel. "Clean fuel, clean fuel, clean fuel". The reason healthy fuel is so important has to do with its injectors, which are delicate instruments that spray fuel into the combustion chamber in a precise, ultra-fine mist. Even microscopic specks of dirt or water can eventually wreck injectors, the combustion process, the engine, and your account balance.