Archive for the ‘Boat tips’ Category

Tips for Safe Boat Transport

If you’re a boater who lives in an area with major seasonal changes in weather, you have to go through the arduous process of hauling your boat from the water as the cold approaches and placing it in storage. Then when spring rolls around and the weather starts to break, you go through the whole process again in reverse, though returning your boat to the water is usually quite a bit more enjoyable than removing it.

Taking the steps to ensure that your sailboat or power boat has safely made it through boating season and performing necessary maintenance prior to stowing it away for the winter are great ways to extend its life. Properly winterizing your vessel prior to storage is also a great way to ensure that you’ll be able to get back into the water once the weather has broken.

One very important aspect of boat transport that can easily get overlooked though is the condition of your trailer. A thorough inspection of your trailer prior to hauling your boat is essential for your safety, your boats safety and the safety of all those around you.

Things like dry rotted tires, rotted boards and damaged rollers can spell disaster if they happen to get overlooked prior to hitting the road. The trailer isn’t necessarily an overly complex piece of equipment and most repairs can be addressed by boaters who are comfortable working with their hands. You may only use your trailer a few times a year, but it’s an integral piece of equipment if you need to haul your boat.

Sailing with Your Pet, pt. 3

Boat owners know that they need to carry sunscreen for themselves but they may not think about how to protect their pets from getting sunburned. Even animals with lots of fur can get burned by the sun’s rays and animals cannot tell you in words when the heat is getting to them.

Some animals can use the same kind of sunscreen that people use as long as it is hypoallergenic. You should check with your vet about what kind of sunscreen to use for your pet.

Where you really need to be careful is your pet’s eyes. Both the eyes and the skin surrounding them can be very sensitive to sunlight but you do not want to use sunscreen near the eyes.

People like to put sunglasses on their pets to be funny or to take pictures. However, if you really want to protect your pet’s eyes when they spend prolonged periods of time on a boat in the sun, get special goggles that are designed for animals. These usually wrap around an animal’s head so they do not fall off and can also protect the eyes from insects.

Keeping your pet protected from sunburn can ensure that your companion enjoys many sailing adventures with you.



Sailing with Your Pet, pt. 2

Pets, like people, can act a little different aboard a boat because it is not their usual environment but if you take time to make your pet comfortable, you can have a good time.

Another thing that people and pets have in common is a tendency to eat more when they are in unfamiliar places. You can make a boat trip easier on your pet by providing smaller meals more often than you would at home. This may help with nervousness and your pet may find comfort in eating more often, especially the first time you take your pet sailing.

If you leave out dry food for your pet, you can take a trick from food stylists to make it remain appealing: spray a little mist of water on dry food that has been out for a while. Pets are big on scents and the mist will bring out the scent of the food.

A jittery pet may want to chew things on board and this can be dangerous if those things include line that you need or a cord. Rubbing line or cord with a dry bar of soap can discourage chewing.


Sailing with Your Pet, pt. 1

Sailing is something that can be enjoyed by the entire family, including the four-legged members, with some preparation. You don’t just get on your boat at set sail without gathering supplies for yourself, so take the same precautions with your pet.

Pets need pet-flotation devices (PFDs) that fit well without being restricting movement. Rather than just buying one by looking at it, try it on your pet. You should ask permission first. Most stores that sell marine supplies know that you need to try a PFD on a pet to see how it fits before you commit to buying it.

You don’t want an emergency or accident to be the time when you find out that the PFD you got for your pet does not provide the kind of buoyancy that your pet needs to stay afloat.

To test the effectiveness of a PFD, calmly walk your pet into a body of water that you know to be safe. You know your pet, so you know just how your pet may react to being in the water. If your pet does not like the water, be prepared for this, but keep in mind that you really need to test out the PFD before you take your pet sailing with it.



Taxes on Boat Fuel Can Vary

Before becoming a boat owner, you probably only thought about fuel for cars (even if you did not drive one). When you buy a boat, you have to pay attention not only to fuel costs but to how often and just where you can fill up. And depending on where you buy fuel for your boat, you may be paying taxes that you do not need to pay.

If you notice that you are required to pay highway taxes when you buy gas in your area, have you ever stopped to wonder why? Depending on where you get your gas, those taxes may or may not be authorized.

When you buy gas on land, the person selling you the gas is not going to be able to distinguish between your boat and a vehicle that regularly travels on land. In those situations, there are taxes to be paid because you are buying fuel on the ground in a place where those taxes are applicable.

When you buy gas at a marina, you should not be charged a federal excise tax for marine diesel. If you feel comfortable, you can ask why you are being charged this tax. If you do not feel comfortable approaching someone at the marina, you can contact the IRS.


New Gas Blends May Harm Boat Engines

Boaters should be beware: newer gasoline blends may contain more ethanol than their boat engines can handle. While ethanol is certainly not new and it has been included in gasoline blends since it the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed off on it three decades ago, newer blends are using a higher percentage. Although the addition of ethanol to fuel has been championed as a way to create cleaner-burning fuels that are better for the environment, it is not good for all typed of engines.

According to some, a boat’s engine is not equipped to handle gas that has more than 10 percent ethanol. However new blends that are hitting the market may have more than that, and perhaps even as much as 15 percent. This EPA has said that E15 gas is fine for vehicles that were built after 2001, but it did not include vehicles like boats and motorcycles because E15 gas can damage them. Stations are supposed to mark pumps that have E15 gas, but of course it is possible for this gas to be dispensed without a consumer being aware.

Make inquiries about the fuel you buy for your boat. It is better to ask ahead of time than to be faced with repairs later.

Boating Tips for Cold Weather, pt. 2

Earlier in the week, we gave you some boating tips for cold weather. Here are even more ways you can keep yourself and your guests safe when you venture out before the warm weather hits. You really do have to prepare for the worst. You may not find yourself in a water emergency, but if you do, you will not want to be caught unaware.

Kill Switch: Whether you are going out in your boat alone or with others, the boat’s driver should have the kill switch attached to his or her person. Falling in the water is bad enough; you don’t want to also have your boat traveling on without you.

Bag It: Keep your cell phone in a sealed plastic baggie. Should you find that you fall into the water, having your cell phone protected will allow you to call for help. While you should have other safety equipment, like a VHF radio, on hand, it is not a bad idea to make sure your cell phone will be functioning in case you need to use it. As for the idea that the baggie getting in the way of using it during a calm boating trip: Hopefully, you will be enjoying  your boat trip and not need to use it a lot.

Boating Tips for Cold Weather, pt. 1

If you buy a boat, you will want to enjoy using it as much as possible and for some of you that includes taking your boat out in cold weather.

What to Wear: Of course you don’t want to end up in the water, but you need to dress as if this might happen. People tend to dress based on the temperature of the air, forgetting that the water may be much colder.

You don’t want to wear cotton because it takes in water and can help your body temperature to drop faster than other fabrics. Look for clothes made of water-resistant fabrics and an outer garment that is waterproof.

Fix it First: You may get excited about heading out in your boat in the spring, but you want to make sure it is in good shape first. You can take your boat out on a short run before you take the first late winter/early spring trip to get ready.

Life Jackets Are a Must: Even the best swimmers can find that their ability to keep their heads above water is challenged when the water is very cold. No matter what your level of swimming skill, you really do need a life jacket. Life jackets play a key role in surviving in cold water.

The Best Way to Tow a Boat

Fitness guru Jack LaLanne, who died last week at the age of 96, lifted more that weights–he also put his strength to use towing boats. And he sometimes towed boats with his hands and feet shackled together. LaLanne once towed 65 boats that were filled with wood pulp in a Japanese lake.

When he was 70, he towed 70 boats that had 70 people on them going against the current in California.

LaLanne’s boat-towing stunts sound like fun to watch, but we do not suggest that you try it at home. We especially do not recommend attempting to tow a boat against the current.

However, you may find that once you buy a boat, you need to tow in on land to get to a lake or ocean. Instead of using your own strength, make sure that you have a vehicle that is large enough to tow the boat you have in mind. You also need to learn how to brake, back up and make turns while towing because they are not skills that come naturally. It is important to take time to learn about these things because you wouldn’t want to damage your boat after you have invested time, energy and money into finding a boat that is right for you.

Tips for Decorating Your Boat’s Interior

Once you buy a boat, it is time to decorate. Much like buying a home, you should resist the temptation to buy a lot of things until you spend a little time in it. Get a few basic things, but don’t go overboard. Once you see how you move around and make use of the space, then set about really trying to decorate.

Sometimes boat owners feel as if they need to stick with a nautical theme to decorate their boat. Really you are not limited in this way it all. If you are in a boat and on the water, that may be nautical enough for you. Pick a theme that is not related to sailing or decorate based on your favorite colors.

If your boat has space for substantial furniture, be sure to choose wisely because you want to don’t overwhelm the space. Even if you have a good eye, measure the amount of space you have before buying chairs or loveseats. Keep in mind that people have to be able to walk move a bit in the space.

And, much like a house, too many knicknacks can create clutter and make a space feel crowded. Every once in a while, take some time to edit your decorations. Not only will this keep the boat from feeling cramped, it will make things a lot easier when you need to clean.