Blog August 2016


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Posted On: August 31, 2016

Acrylic Windows

Rigid, clear plastic gets the nod over glass for boat windows because it delivers similar strength at half the weight, it's much easier to fabricate, and it doesn't shatter into malevolent shards. Plastic windshields and port lights are nearly always acrylic (PMMA), known by the brand names Plexiglas or Lucite. Plastic hatches are often made from polycarbonate (such as Lexan), which has its own requirements to ensure long life. There are just two care requirements for clear acrylic: Don't scratch it and keep all chemicals away from it. That includes everything from intentional applications of household cleaners to unintentional contact with fuel, chemical mists, fumes, and handprints. Dirt and salt accumulations scratch acrylic, so flood it often with fresh water and wash it with a clean, soft cotton cloth. You can use a mild soap, but never detergents, spray cleaners, or glass cleaners.

If it isn't crazed internally, hazy acrylic can be polished to clarity. Almost any mild abrasive will work — a headlight restoration kit, clearcoat compound, even toothpaste — but for the best results use a proven polish like 210 Plus or Novus No. 2 followed by No. 1. For deep scratches, start with Novus No. 3 or, for deeper still, by wet sanding with increasingly fine-grit paper (400 to 1,000) followed by three-step polishing. Plastics treatments offering UV protection will do no harm, but acrylic is UV stable so it does not really require protection from the sun.

See you around...



Posted On: August 29, 2016

If you frequent Fire Island, you may be inconvenienced for awhile. 

The dual-storm-damaged Watch Hill National Seashore Marina will undergo renovations starting Sept. 12, 2016, and will be closed to private boaters and ferry service through the summer of 2017, according to the National Park Service. To the disappointment of many, the docks will not be reconfigured to allow for more use by larger vessels. Here’s an excerpt from the National Park Service press release:

Fire Island National Seashore Superintendent Chris Soller announced today that work will begin on a $5.4 million project to replace electrical and lighting systems, and adjacent bulkhead and boardwalk at the Watch Hill Marina on Fire Island. The multimillion dollar project, funded by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and National Park Service (NPS) will begin September 12 and is slated for completion by late summer 2017.

"We are working to ensure that this marina is sustainable for years to come," said Fire Island National Seashore Superintendent Chris Soller. The project will replace the existing electrical distribution systems, damaged in 2012 by Hurricane Sandy. Plans call for a new elevated electrical building to be constructed and for the existing conduit, conductors, and pedestals to be replaced. A new bulkhead will be built and composite lumber will be installed over a strengthened substructure on adjacent boardwalks, making the marina more resilient to future storms.

The project will require closure of the Watch Hill Marina to ferry service and private boaters through summer 2017. The visitor center, bathrooms, lifeguarded beach, and tent campground will be closed on September 19 for the remainder of the 2016 season. The marina will remain closed until the project is completed in 2017. However limited visitor services may be available in 2017 depending on the progress of the project. Updates will be posted at:

Since Hurricane Sandy struck Fire Island National Seashore in October, 2012, five recovery projects have been completed in partnership with the FHWA at Fire Island National Seashore. The Watch Hill Marina project is the sixth such project and is funded in part by FHWA and NPS. The FHWA secured funds through Emergency Relief for Federally Owned Lands and the NPS obligated funds through the Hurricane Sandy Relief Supplemental Aid and recreation fees.

Watch Hill is located on the western edge of the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness, directly across the Great South Bay from Patchogue on Long Island. The Watch Hill Marina opened in 1967 and has 182 slips with 120 and 208 volt service, which accommodate boats with a draft to 5 feet and 8- to 17- foot beam. Of the 182 slips, there are 23 which accommodate 15- to 18- foot beams and offer 208 volt service.




Posted On: August 24, 2016

So you finally got it!! Great, now what are you going to name it?

What’s in a Name?                                                                                            

One of the most difficult (yet fun) decisions of all those you have to make now awaits you: naming your boat.

“Seas the Day”                                 “All Tide Up”

“Slalom Oath”                                 “She Got The House”

“Marlin Monroe”                           “ Petty Cash”

The possibilities are endless, so here are a few tips and suggestions to spark your imagination. We know some of you already have a name picked out even if you don't have a boat yet. Here's some pointers so you don't regret any decisions down the road.

I can’t tell you what to name your boat, but I can tell you that boats are usually given a female association. (Seriously, who would want to spend an afternoon on “Uncle Bob”?)

It’s also been said that to rename a boat is bad luck.

That’s just not true!!

People rename boats all the time. Just be sure to do a proper naming ceremony when you do. So, if you’re a sailor and you come across a boat named “Scuttlebutt,” don’t be afraid to switch it up.

Boat names often deal with the water and relaxation, like “Sea Breeze.” Those who hit it big often use boat names that reflect how they were able to finance their dream cruiser. Say, “Lucky 7s.” Other names, like “The Party Barge,” openly reflect (and refuse to apologize for) what they are.

Some reference ex-spouses or divorces (not recommended).

Whatever you choose, make sure it means something to you, and you can live with it.         



Posted On: August 22, 2016


Selling a boat on your own can take some luck, some money, some perseverance and a lot of preparation. So to help those brave souls who wish to set out and try to do it themselves I offer the following:

Survey your vessel. Unless you are selling your vessel “as is” (seen by some buyers as a red flag), you may be responsible for repairs. You may not want to do the work, but you should know ahead of time how this would affect your asking price and bottom line.

Keep up the Maintenance on your boat. It’s unlikely you’ll get a higher price for keeping up on routine repairs and replacements, but a cared-for boat is more attractive to potential buyers.

Fix it up. A little rust here, some peeling paint or blisters there, and tired looking upholstery are turnoffs. Even if you followed tip number 2, signs of neglect send a message to lookers that unwelcome and expensive surprises might lay ahead.

Throw out the old. Remove tattered curtains, worn rugs, and personal art.

Clean out the junk. Empty out lockers that became catchalls for everything from extra rope to spare parts and old clothing. If you were selling your home you’d clean out the closets, and the same applies here — a clean locker makes a boat look bigger.

Give your vessel the sniff test. Nothing detracts quite like a ripe bilge or head.

Shine it up. A professional waxing and buffing job make even tired old Nellies appealing.

Take lot of pictures. Photograph the hull, topside, below the water line, rigging, cockpit, controls, safety equipment, galley, head, engine room, sleeping accommodations, storage areas, and the boat underway from various angles.

Share the paperwork. I hope you saved the operating manual for every piece of equipment that came with one. Potential buyers appreciate that.

My suggestion is get some help.

Hire a pro  The commission you pay is worth every penny. These are the experts who know the market, maintain a vast network of contacts, and guide you on advertising. They show off your vessel when you are not available and handle all the paperwork. Additionally, brokers help you avoid thieves, scammers, even terrorists. Many marinas discourage “For Sale” signs posted on a hull or in the cockpit to avoid attracting criminals and a broker will shield you from losing your shirt to scammers — your broker has seen their deceptively enticing hustles but you haven’t. As a broker works just as hard to sell a $200,000.00 vessel as a $10,000.00 runabout, not every broker is the right fit. Some may turn you down or vice-versa.

Move the boat. After selecting a reputable broker, move your boat to his or her location. That’s where the selling team is, and a site with many boats for sale attracts a multitude of buyers. Someone looking for another craft may just take a shine to yours.

Let the pro work. You may think your golden craft can command more than the market does, so let your broker set the price. When someone is interested, allow the broker to do the bargaining.

When is the best time to sell? Boats change hands year round, but nautical tire kickers in colder climes start dreaming of a new vessel in the dead of winter (in part because they avoid paying storage fees). Perhaps a bargaining tool to entice an autumn buyer may be to pay for storage, especially if the cost of storage is less than your loan payments for three to six months. Other buyers prefer to shop when the weather’s warmer so they can readily schedule their own survey, conduct a sea trial, and complete the transaction within a reasonable period.

What if, instead of following my advice, you sell your boat to Uncle John or the next-door neighbor? Of course, it’s done all the time, but you are still faced with the paper work and the uncertainty of knowing whether you cheated yourself of full value. On the other hand, if something goes wrong, you may lose a long-time friend or ruin family Thanksgivings forever.




Posted On: August 17, 2016

The past few weeks have had more than their fair share of headlines involving lightning. Our friends at Boating magazine recently wrote an excellent article on “Surviving Lightning Strikes While Boating.”

We thought a lot of it was worth sharing, so we’ve excerpted the article here.

Powerful, dangerous, highly unpredictable — all are common descriptions of lightning. A direct strike that results only in ringing ears and a few roasted electronics would be considered lucky. Unlucky would be through-hulls blown out, a sunk boat or worse — possibly serious injury or death. While the odds of a boat being struck by lightning are only about one out of 1,000 boats in any given year, the dire consequences of a strike call for some techniques and strategies to avoid disaster:


A strategy of boating only on sunny, cloudless days may work well in places like Idaho and California, but that would mean almost never using the boat in places such as Florida, Louisiana and much of New England where storms boil up and move in quickly on hot summer days. Boaters should track VHF, Internet and television weather reports and make responsible decisions about whether to go boating depending on the likelihood of storms. Short-term forecasts can actually be fairly good at predicting bigger storms, but small, localized storms might not be reported. This is when knowing how to read the weather yourself can come in handy.

Lightning strikes typically occur in the afternoon. A towering buildup of puffy, cotton-white clouds that rise to the customary flat “anvil” top is a good indication to clear the water and seek shelter — or move out of the storm’s path if possible. That’s if the storm is at least somewhat off in the distance (most storms are about 15 miles in diameter and can build to dangerous levels in fewer than 30 minutes). If lightning and thunder are present, just count the seconds between the lightning and corresponding thunder and then divide by 5 — this will provide a rough estimate of how many miles away the storm is.

A storm that builds directly overhead might be less obvious until those pretty white clouds that were providing some nice shade moments ago turn a threatening hue of gray as rain dumps on you and the wind starts to howl or, worse yet, boom with thunder and lightning that are right on top of each other. Now is the time for a mad dash to the dock and shelter if close by. Like the National Weather Service says: “When thunder roars, go indoors!” If out on open water or too far from shore and shelter, it’s time to hunker down and ride it out.


Even though getting caught in a storm is not always avoidable, there’s still plenty that boaters can do to minimize the chance of a strike and lessen injury and damage if there is a strike.
We all learn in grade school that lightning seeks the highest point, and on the water that’s the top of the boat — typically a mast, antenna, Bimini top, fishing rod in a vertical rod holder or even the tallest person in an open boat. If possible, find a protected area out of the wind and drop anchor. If the boat has an enclosed cabin, people should be directed to go inside and stay well away from metal objects, electrical outlets and appliances (it’s a good idea to don life jackets too). Side flashes can jump from metal objects to other objects — even bodies — as they seek a path to water. Lowering antennas, towers, fishing rods and outriggers is also advised, unless they’re part of a designated lightning-protection system. Some boaters also like to disconnect the connections and power leads to their antennas and other electronics, which are often damaged or destroyed during a strike or near strike.

Under no circumstances should the VHF radio be used during an electrical storm unless it’s an emergency (handhelds are OK). Also, be careful not to grab two metal objects, like a metal steering wheel and metal railing — that can be a deadly spot to be if there’s a strike. Some boaters opt to steer with a wooden spoon and keep their other hand in a pocket if forced to man the helm during a storm, while others like to wear rubber gloves for insulation.

An open boat like a runabout is the most dangerous to human life, since you are the highest point and most likely to get hit if the boat is struck. If shore is out of reach, the advice is to drop anchor, remove all metal jewelry, put on life jackets and get low in the center of the boat. Definitely stay out of the water and stow the fishing rods. If all goes well, the storm will blow past or rain itself out in 20 to 30 minutes. It’s best to wait at least 30 minutes until after the last clap of thunder to resume activities.


Knowing what to do in a storm and having the best lightning-protection system installed on the boat is by no means a guarantee that lightning won’t strike. The immediate checklist for a direct hit is very short:

1. Check for unconscious or injured persons first. If they’re moving and breathing, they’ll likely be OK. Immediately begin CPR on unconscious victims if a pulse and/or breathing is absent — there’s no danger of being shocked by someone just struck by lightning.

2. In the meantime, have someone check the bilges for water. It’s rare, but lightning can blow out a transducer or through-hull — or even just blow a hole in the boat. Plug the hole, get the bilge pumps running, work the bail bucket or whatever it takes to stay afloat. An emergency call on the VHF is warranted if the situation is dire. If the radio is toast, break out the flare kit.

If there are no injuries and no holes or major leaks below, just continue to wait it out. Once the danger has passed, check the operation of the engine and all electronics. Even a near strike can fry electronics and an engine’s electronic control unit, cutting off navigation, communication and even propulsion. Some boaters stash charged handheld VHF and GPS units and a spare engine ECU in the microwave or a tin box for this very reason. These makeshift Faraday cages have saved equipment.

Obvious damage will need to be assessed and set right. Even those lucky enough to come away completely unscathed with no apparent damage should have a professional survey done just to be sure. Minor damage to through-hulls can result in slow leaks, and all manner of electrical wackiness can emerge — sometimes much later. It’s best to catch these issues right away and get that information to the insurance folks for coverage.



Posted On: August 15, 2016

All hoses are not created equally

Boat owners are constantly changing hoses, at least, they should be checking them regularly. But you need to get make sure that you use the right hose for the job. Not all hoses are the same, AND NOT ALL HOSES ARE THE RIGHT SIZE FOR THE JOB..


Hoses are sized by their inside diameter (ID) and hose fittings are labeled based on the ID of the hoses.

Hose should be well-supported and not allowed to sag.

One of the best ways to inspect hoses is to squeeze them. If they feel mushy, crumbly, or excessively hard, they are beyond their useful life. Also, look at the ends—if they’re splitting or swollen, the rest of the hose is in just as bad shape even if you can’t see it. Hose that has standing liquid in it, whether effluent, gas, or water, won’t last as long, which is why it’s important to make hose runs that won’t trap liquid.

Use the best marine grade 316 stainless steel hose clamps. Replace any that are even slightly rusted and double-clamp critical hoses. Clamps that are embossed rather that perforated are much stronger and longer-lasting.

Stiff hoses can be easier to install if the end is dipped in boiling water; this allows the end to stretch easier. When shopping for hose, if it is not marked properly (A1, etc.), it doesn’t meet the standards, no matter what the salesperson says.



Posted On: August 10, 2016

Is life aboard as romantic as I expect it to be?

Seems like every season, I get asked by someone about the romance of living on a boat.

Yes. And no. The good can be really good – and peaceful and romantic. The sunsets and surroundings can be like a slice of heaven. The gentle rocking (in a well-protected marina) can be magnificent. I love the rain on the water and on the sunny days sitting on my comfy beach chair on the dock drinking a beer, wine or drinks with my neighbors. I can change marinas whenever I want. And my friends love to come over.

However, life aboard can also mean mold and mildew, confined conditions, and constant repairs. If a neighbor is loud or disrespectful, you’ll know. Boats passing by can cause the gentle movement to become dangerous and a storm or heavy winds can damage or destroy your home. Boat maintenance cannot be understated and can take up lots of time. And you can’t escape the mess of the repairs. The life is glamorous and romantic and at times hard. To me, the hard is one of the things that makes it great

What about you out there?



Posted On: August 08, 2016

Nothing beats a day at the beach — except perhaps a day at the beach when you arrive by boat.

So it's understandable that many new boat owners want to beach their boat when it's time to go swimming. I strongly advise to resist this urge.

While driving the boat into shore with the outboard or stern drive trimmed up is the simplest approach, leaving your boat bow to shore presents some drawbacks.

  To address the issue, I refer to an article written by Michael Vatalaro who is executive editor of BoatUS Magazine. The article was published in 2014 but still holds true today.

First, it's easy to get stuck. A falling tide, wind, or waves pushing onshore — or even a large wake from a passing boat — can easily leave you high and dry, and a quick survey of Internet boating forums shows that's a common occurrence. Second, even if that passing wake doesn't push the boat ashore, it can swamp the boat, riding up and over the transom, which — depending on how far up the beach you left your boat — may be lower in the water than usual. Even if you deploy a stern anchor to keep the boat from being pushed out of position, you can't eliminate the possibility of stranding or swamping.

It takes a bit more effort, but anchoring your boat just off the beach, bow out, can prevent these problems and offer easier access to and from the boat via the stern.

Follow these steps:

1. Remove your anchor from the bow locker and carry it to the stern of the boat, making ure you pass the rode outside the stanchions and under the bow rail before heading to the back of the boat. Keep the other end of the rode attached to the boat.

2. You'll want to set your anchor with enough scope to hold, but not so much that the boat swings into very shallow water. It may take a few tries to find the sweet spot at a particular beach.

3. With the engine in neutral, have a crew member lower the anchor over the side at the stern. When it has touched bottom, motor extremely slowly toward the beach as your crew pays the anchor rode out carefully, keeping it away from the prop(s).

4. Continue very slowly into shore as you would normally, cutting the engine and trimming up in plenty of time before the bow nuzzles gently into the sand, where you'll stay temporarily

5. Unload your crew and gear over the bow. This includes a second stern anchor or sand spike for the beach and line. After securing that second line to an aft cleat, have a crew member walk that second anchor (or spike) toward the beach and set it securely.

6. With your crew ashore and the engine(s) remaining trimmed up, pull the boat back into deeper water using the bow anchor rode until you're satisfied that the stern is well clear of the bottom.

(It may help to get a little shove off the sand from someone ashore.) If using a stern anchor, be sure the line is flaked out to run free.

7. When you're a short distance off the beach, snub off your anchor rode at the bow, and pull your stern line so that you get enough tension to hold the boat in place. I like the water to be at least waist deep at the stern. That way, when I put out the boarding ladder, I don't have to worry about it striking bottom if a big wake comes ashore.

8. When it's time to leave, go out to the boat, climb aboard, pay out a little more scope on the bow anchor rode, pull in some of the stern anchor rode, then have the rest of your crew wade out to the boat and climb aboard. One of your crew can pick up the stern anchor or spike. Next, bring all the stern rode back into the boat and make sure it's coiled and secured in the cockpit. Don't forget to pull up the boarding ladder. Then, with your bow anchor rode, pull the boat back to deeper water until it's safe to lower your engines and fire them up. With the engines in neutral or in idle forward, if needed, pull in the rode and bow anchor, and you're away.