Cruising into Fall: 2016 United States Sailboat & Powerboat Shows

 

Looking to kick off the fall season with a bang? Join Port Annapolis Marina and thousands of fellow boating enthusiasts from around the world for seminars, prizes and more at the 2016 Sailboat and Powerboat shows! We’ll be representing the local seafaring community—be sure to stop by Tent C39 to support your favorite Annapolis marina, learn more about our outstanding staff and services and join the area’s premier full-service boating location. Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming festivities so you can enjoy a stress-free day at the largest in-water sailboat and powerboat shows in the world!

Sailboat Show

2016 United States Sailboat Show

The economic upturn and subsequent industry growth means boaters will be out in full force this year—the collection of attendees is ever-changing so there’s never a dull moment regardless of how many times you may have attended in the past. There’s something for every interest: last year the show featured over thirty boats under thirty feet—a trend that will be continued this year with several entry-level cruising boats, custom-designed race boats, trailerable monohull and multi-hull boats and more registered. On top of all the wonderful boats and cutting-edge equipment featured, the show is jam-packed with educational opportunities for boaters of all ages and levels of experience. Those new to sailing can register for a brief training on board a brand new Beneteau First 22 in the First Sail Workshop. For those looking to potentially purchasing a boat can learn more about their buying options during the interactive “Take the Wheel” workshops that features an all-inclusive day of classes; sea trials on two of eight demo boat choices ranging from 35 to 54-feet; and breakfast, lunch, and an evening reception. Here’s the need-to-know info for those looking to partake in what promises to be one of the most exciting shows in the event’s history! Still have questions? Visit the show’s official even page at: www.annapolisboatshows.com.

  • WHEN: OCTOBER 6-10, 2016
    • Thursday, October 6, 2016 (VIP Day): 10:00am – 6:00pm
    • Friday, October 7, 2016: 10:00am – 6:30pm
    • Saturday, October 8, 2016: 10:00am – 6:30pm
    • Sunday, October 9, 2016: 10:00am – 6:30pm
    • Monday, October 10, 2016: 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • WHERE: CITY DOCK, ANNAPOLIS MARYLAND
    • Directions & Parking
      • United States Sailboat Show is located 1 Dock Street, Annapolis MD 21401.
      • For safety reasons, strollers are strongly discouraged.
      • Absolutely no pets.
      • Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium:
        • Boat show visitors are encouraged to park at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and take the free shuttle bus from the Navy Stadium to the United States Sailboat Show. Buses run continuously from 9:00am until one hour after the show closes.
          • Stadium Parking: $10.00
          • Stadium GPS Address: 550 Taylor Ave, Annapolis, MD 21401
        • Directions to the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium: Take Route 50 to Annapolis/Rowe Blvd (exit 24). Follow signs along Rowe Blvd. to the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
        • On Saturday October 8 ONLY** boat show visitors should follow signs to alternative parking. Shuttle buses will deliver attendees to the City Dock free of charge.
  • THINGS TO DO:
    • FREE COCKTAIL & WINE TASTINGS
      • Free cocktail and wine tastings throughout the show Sponsored by HENDRICK’S GIN, NOBILO WINES and PAPA’S PILAR
    • FIRST SAIL WORKSHOPS
      • Experience the joy of sailing on a Beneteau First 22. Taught by expert instructors, this two-and-a-half-hour class is designed for the beginning sailor.
    • PREMIER LAUNCH PARTY: OCTOBER 6TH
      • Celebrate opening night and kickoff the Sailboat Show with a star-studded cast from the sailing industry at an evening filled with island music, delicious food, complimentary wine all evening, rum and gin tastings, cocktails, chocolate, door prizes, and fun.
    • VIP PREVIEW DAY
      • A special day for the serious sailor, the VIP Preview Day is the best day to shop. Take advantage of a day ideal for talking with exhibitors and touring sailboats. Be the first for the unveiling of new boats and products, and shop opening day specials. Avoid the crowds.
    • VACATION BASIN
      • Dedicated to chartering, travel, and vacations and charter boat ownership in the Chesapeake Bay and exotic island locations.
    • GRAND PRIZE SPONSORED BY MOORINGS
      • A lucky boater will win a 6-night, 7-day charter in the British Virgin Islands aboard the award-winning Moorings 4800 Sailing Catamaran, ideal for up to 8 guests. Charter valued at approximately $15,000. Airfare for two sponsored by British Virgin Islands Tourist Board.
    • BROKERAGE COVE
      • A show within a show, overflowing with previously owned sailboats presented by regional boat brokers and available for immediate sale.
    • LARGEST COLLECTION OF MULTI-HULLS IN THE WORLD
      • Miles of docks are constructed to exhibit the largest collection of catamarans and trimarans in the world. Visitors also tour new cruising sailboats, kayaks, paddleboards, and canoes.
    • PREMIERING BOATS
      • The most exciting new sailboats from major manufacturers, including many new designs and models, make their debut.
    • SAILBOAT MANUFACTURERS
      • Only boat show in which virtually every major sailboat manufacturer is represented. Sailors have the unique opportunity to board and inspect most new models on the market, make side-by-side comparisons, and talk to industry representatives about all aspects of buying and owning a boat.
    • ACRES OF ON-LAND EXHIBITIONS
      • The sailboat show has the latest in navigational equipment, high-tech electronics, boating accessories, clothing, gear, and related services such as boating clubs, charter companies, insurance firms, and lending institutions. Boat show goers shop from a vast display of boating products and services.
    • EXCITING HIGH-PERFORMANCE RACING SECTION
      • A sailboat show venue is dedicated to sexy high performance racing sailboats.
    • CRUISER’S UNIVERSITY: OCTOBER 10-13TH
      • A comprehensive and expanded curriculum on cruising and boat preparedness for sail and power cruisers. More than 40 courses taught by expert instructors. Register for 1- 4 days of classes.
    • FREE SEMINARS ON SAILING
      • Daily programs presented by the Chesapeake Bay Magazine and Annapolis School of Seamanship.
    • TWO CAN SAIL COUPLES CRUISING SEMINAR
      • Individualized cruising lifestyle training, includes boat shopping, surveying, and personal training aboard your boat.
    • 74-FOOT SCHOONER SAILING CRUISES
      • Cruises will be available aboard the 74-foot Schooner Woodwind. All cruises depart from inside the Unites States Sailboat Show and pass by the United States Naval Academy and then into the Chesapeake Bay. Additional fee required.
  • TICKET INFO:
    • VIP Preview Day – $35
    • VIP Preview Day + Additional Day – $48
    • Adult One Day – $18
    • Adult Two Day Combo – $31
    • Children – $5 (6 & under FREE)

 

 

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2016 United States Powerboat Show

The powerboats are back with a bang at the 2016 United States Powerboat Show. The Annapolis Boat Shows have gotten bigger and better every year—and this year is looking to keep that trend going! Hundreds of inflatables, small trailerable boats, kayaks and paddle boats, along with express cruisers, sport fish, and long-range blue water cruisers are all being featured this year—virtually all styles of boats from eight to eighty feet are powering into Annapolis from far and wide! Besides the jaw-dropping array of featured vessels, there’s a full range of events to keep attendees engaged. The Demo Dock offers potential boat buyers an exclusive opportunity to try out boats before purchasing; Cruisers University gives power cruisers all the info they need to know before hitting the water; and you can meet Paul Hebert, the Wicked Tuna captain of the Boat Wicked Pisah at the party at Brokerage Cove. Here’s the event details for the largest powerboat show north of Florida—additional information can be found on the show’s official page: http://www.annapolisboatshows.com/united-states-powerboat-show/

  • WHEN: OCTOBER 13-16, 2016
    • Thursday, October 13, 2016 (VIP Day): 10:00am – 6:00pm
    • Friday, October 14, 2016: 10:00am – 6:30pm
    • Saturday, October 15, 2016: 10:00am – 6:30pm
    • Sunday, October 16, 2016: 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • WHERE: CITY DOCK, ANNAPOLIS MARYLAND
    • Directions & Parking
      • United States Sailboat Show is located 1 Dock Street, Annapolis MD 21401.
      • For safety reasons, strollers are strongly discouraged.
      • Absolutely no pets.
      • Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium:
        • Boat show visitors are encouraged to park at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and take the free shuttle bus from the Navy Stadium to the United States Sailboat Show. Buses run continuously from 9:00am until one hour after the show closes.
          • Stadium Parking: $10.00
          • Stadium GPS Address: 550 Taylor Ave, Annapolis, MD 21401
        • Directions to the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium: Take Route 50 to Annapolis/Rowe Blvd (exit 24). Follow signs along Rowe Blvd. to the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
  • THINGS TO DO:
    • EXPLORE HUGE RANGE OF FISHING BOATS FROM 40 MANUFACTURERS
      • From Everglades to Boston Whalers and everything inbetween. Click below for complete list of fishing boat manufacturers displaying at 2016 boat show.
    • MEET CAPTAIN PAUL HEBERT OF WICKED TUNA
      • Sponsored by Maui Jim, Wicked Pissah’s Captain Paul Hebert will be at the United States Powerboat Show October 14-15, 2016.
    • GRAND PRIZE: EDGEWATER 170CC DEEP-V CENTER CONSOLE
      • This year the Annapolis Boat Shows is celebrating the 45th birthday of the United States Powerboat Show and center console fishing boats by giving away an EdgeWater 170CC Deep-V Center Console Power Boat.
    • GRAND PRIZE: MARINEMAX VACATION
      • Win an exotic 7-day and 6-night charter vacation aboard a luxury bareboat MarineMax Power Catamaran!
    • DEMO-DOCK—TRY BEFORE YOU BUY
      • Dealers and manufacturers will be offering demos and sea trials from inside the boat show. Try before you buy new models, engines, and stabilizing systems.
    • CRUISERS UNIVERSITY FALL SERIES: OCTOBER 10-13TH
      • Come to the show a day or two early. Cruisers University offers a comprehensive curriculum on cruising and boat preparedness. The expert instructors will help you plan your cruise, equip and maintain your boat.
    • PREVIEW DAY: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 13TH
      • This is a special day for the serious boater to take advantage of any opening day specials. Preview Day is by far the best day to shop for new and previously owned powerboats and an ideal day to talk with exhibitors.
    • BROKERAGE COVE
      • Brokerage Cove, a show within a show, is overflowing with previously owned boats, presented by regional boat brokers and available for immediate sale.
    • PUSSER’S PAINKILLER PARTY BARGE
      • Enjoy an Annapolis favorite, the Painkiller, on Pusser’s Painkiller Party Barge.
    • FEE SEMINARS ON BOATING
      • Free daily seminars on boating are presented by the Chesapeake Bay Magazine and the Annapolis School of Seamanship
    • ARES OF ON-LAND EXHIBITORS
      • The powerboat show has the latest in navigational equipment, high-tech electronics, boating accessories, clothing, gear, and related services such as boating clubs, charter companies, insurance firms, and lending institutions. Boat show goers shop from a vast display of boating products and services.
  • TICKET INFO:
    • VIP Preview Day – $35
    • VIP Preview Day + Additional Day – $48
    • Adult One Day – $18
    • Adult Two Day Combo – $31
    • Children – $5 (6 & under FREE)

Pre-Sale Boat Prep: A Little Effort Goes a Long Way

Guide to selling your boat

When it comes to selling a used boat, first impressions are essential to attracting potential suitors. Just like selling a house, the boat must be properly “staged” in order to sell for a premium price. Boat owners looking to put their vessel on the market should ensure that their boat is in tip-top condition from bow to stern. A well-cared for boat will not only be more appealing to customers, it will help it sell faster and avoid potential repercussions from aggravated customers claiming they bought a so-called “lemon.” Here are some factors to consider when prepping your boat for sale.

Rev Your Engines

Your boat’s horsepower is one of the most vital—and expensive—features that buyers will surely pay attention to when giving your boat the once-over before making an offer. Likewise, you should thoroughly service your engine beforehand. Ensure that it is in overall good working order and has fresh oil and oil filters. Gas-powered engines should also be outfitted with clean carburetors that are calibrated to a proper idle setting. Meticulously clean your engine room including the bilge and operating bilge pump to give a ship-shape appearance to discerning customers.

Call the Pros

Unless you’re willing to let your boat go for a fire-sale price, you should address any major electrical or mechanical problems currently ailing your vessel. Regardless of whether you have any specific concerns in mind, it’s a good call to consult a trusted, certified marine technician or hire a marine surveyor to check your boat for any problems lurking below the surface. Overlooked mechanical issues can potentially ruin a solid sales opportunity if the buyer discovers them during the closing process.

Give the Exterior a Makeover

A clean exterior not only looks good to would-be buyers, it shows that you as the owner take proper care of the boat in all aspects—an encouraging signal in the marketing process. Give your boat a thorough wax and polish job so it’s at its glistening best when the buyer first lays eyes on it. It’s also worth considering to invest in a few minor inexpensive cosmetic repairs that could go a long way in tipping the scales in your favor when showing the boat to prospective buyers. Refurbishing torn canvases, broken canvas zippers, worn-out interior carpeting and damaged seating upholstery are relatively easy fixes that may make a considerable difference to a buyer’s perception of the overall condition and desirability of your boat. 

Kick Clutter to the Curb

Another significant selling point when it comes to closing boat sales are vessels that feature interior cabins with lots of storage space—and the more cluttered your cabin is, the smaller it looks to buyers. Do your best to eliminate any non-essential personal belongings to give your boat’s interior a more spacious visual effect. A neat and neutrally-styled boat interior provides a more inviting environment for potential customers and helps showcase additional features and amenities that might have otherwise been hidden or overlooked in an over-cluttered setting. Removing your personal effects will lessen possible distractions for buyers and more aptly enable them to imagine their future escapades in their future boat.

Showcase Add-Ons & Extras

Have you made significant improvements to your boat? Then highlight them to the buyer! Let buyers know that the boat is safe by prominently featuring well-kept personal flotation devices, up-to date fire extinguishers and distress signals, and first-aid kits. Show off any state-of-the-art electronics by providing them with a list of operating gear by date, manufacturer, and model. If you have an on-board galley, stage it with well-kept plates, bowls and mugs and make sure all appliances are clean. And last but not least, docking gear is almost always included in the final sale of used boats—if yours is well-maintained, it can make a significant impact on the selling price. New fenders and dock lines can cost hundreds of dollars, so it’s definitely worth at least cleaning them up with detergent and molding the ends of dock lines and then coiling them neatly to give a great appearance to the buyer.

Looking for some other ways to get more bang for your boat? Schedule an appointment with our service department to have our awesome team give your boat a once over! We’ll help you determine what is essential to upgrade before listing your boat for sale. Contact Christina Davidson to schedule your appointment today!

20 Reasons Why Your Boat’s Engine Won’t Start

boat engine

There’s nothing quite as frustrating as looking forward to getting out on the water only to arrive at the marina to find your engine won’t start. As tempting as it may be, resist the urge to keep cranking the ignition or you’ll end up draining your batteries and compounding the situation. Instead, consider the following list of twenty common issues for outboards, inboards and sterndrives that might be preventing your engine from turning over—chances are you’ll be able to fix one or more of these minor issues and be underway in no time!

Problem #1: Gas tank on “E.”
Solution #1: Fill ‘er up!

Problem #2: Gas tank air vent is closed.
Solution #2: Double check that the tank is properly ventilated by opening all vents.

Problem #3: Kinked or pinched fuel lines.
Solution #3: Ensure all fuel lines are free of obstruction and replace any that are damaged or frayed.

Problem #4: Water and dirt has infiltrated the fuel system.
Solution #4: Water will sit under the fuel in a distinctly-defined layer—if you see this separation drain the water and change the filter. If a significant amount of dirt or sediment has found its way into your tank, you might need to flush the system and re-fuel.

Problem #5: Clogged-up fuel filter.
Solution #5: Check filters for any obstruction or damage and remove any build up or replace if necessary.

Problem #6: Motor isn’t choked to start.
Solution #6: Ensure you follow the proper pre-ignition protocol for your specific motor—consult the engine manual if you are unfamiliar with the starting sequence.

Problem #7: Unprimed engine.
Solution #7: Similar to #6 above, ensure that your engine is properly prepped. 

Problem #8: Incorrect carburetor adjustments.
Solution #8: If the carburetor adjustments are too lean there will not be an adequate amount of fuel in order to start the engine. Re-adjust the settings and attempt to restart the engine. 

Problem #9: Motor timing and synchronization out of balance.
Solution #9: Unless you’re a seasoned mechanic, your best bet might be to call in a professional—there might be a damaged flywheel that needs replacing or other internal damage that can be quickly replaced.

Problem #10: Manual choke linkage is bent or damaged or auto choke is out of adjustment.
Solution #10: If there is only a slight bend or dent, you might be able to readjust it yourself with a pair of pliers or hammer—but if there is significant structural damage the part will have to be replaced in full. 

Problem #11: Faulty spark plugs.
Solution #11: If your spark plugs are improperly gapped, dirty, or damaged you’ll have a hard time getting your engine to turn over. Double-check your spark plugs and adjust or replace as needed.

Problem #12: Inoperative fuel tank primer.
Solution #12: If your boat features a pressurized fuel system, a misfiring primer might be the root of your engine-starting problems. Depending on the degree of damage, you might have to replace this component before going underway.

Problem #13: Offset ignition points.
Solution #13: Plain and simple – if your ignition points are improperly gapped, dirty or broken, your engine isn’t going to start. Make sure the connections are snug, free of dirt and grime and undamaged.

Problem #14: Frayed electric insulation.
Solution #14: Replace any visibly compromised loose, broken wire or frayed insulation segments or mend accordingly with electrical tape for a quick, temporary fix.

Problem #15: Reed valve issues.
Solution #15: If a reed is broken, fractured or missing it’s like having a hole in your engine and fuel cannot be properly delivered to the affected cylinder. On engines that feature check-valve bleed fittings within the intake manifold you might be able to put a pressure gauge on the bleed fitting and monitor the crankcase pressure to diagnose the source of the problem. Once you locate the faulty or damaged reed, it can be replaced with minimal hassle.

Problem #16: Weak coil or condenser.
Solution #16: You’ll most likely need to replace these worn-out components that commonly suffer from the overall wear-and-tear of frequent outings.

Problem #17: Cracked distributor cap or shorted rotor.
Solution #17: The distributor cap is an important part in the secondary circuit of the ignition system and must be in perfect condition to have a properly tuned engine. Even small cracks in the distributor, not always visible, will permit the high tension current to short circuit and prevent your engine from running smoothly. If you’ve factored out all other possibilities, this might be your problem—replace the component and give it another try.

Problem #18: Loose fuel connector.
Solution #18: Ensure all connections are snug and properly sealed before attempting to start your engine.

Problem #19: Safety lanyard or kill switch disconnected.
Solution #19: In all the pent-up excitement to get out on the water, you might have simply overlooked to disengage the safety lanyard or kill switch—don’t worry, it happens to even the most seasoned of sailors. Hide your blushes, disengage the safety features and be on your way. 

Problem #20: Dead batteries.
Solution #20: Check the voltage of your batteries. If they’re low, either recharge or replace the battery and attempt to re-start the engine.

What to Do if You Run Your Boat Aground

What to do if you run your boat aground

Caught Between a Rock and a Wet Place?

Regardless of how careful you are, sooner or later it will happen to you—unfortunately, as anxiety-inducing and potentially dangerous running aground is, it is an inherent risk of the boating lifestyle. Whether they’ll admit it or not, most experienced boaters have “touched bottom” so to speak. But whatever you call it, accidents happen, even to the most capable seafarers, so it’s important to be prepared. Grounding-induced damage is often needlessly compounded by panicked reactions from the skipper who hasn’t developed a coherent course of action in advance. Here’s some tips on how to stay safe and limit costly damage to your vessel when you run aground.

Stay Calm

The first step when running aground is to calmly assess the situation. Your first reaction might be to apply throttle power and attempt to push your way across the obstruction. Unless you’re absolutely sure you only hit a small shoal with deeper water beyond, doing so will only put yourself harder aground and cause greater damage. Conversely, don’t immediately shift into reverse to try and ease off the blockage as you run the risk of clogging your engine intake with mud or sediment or inflict more damage to the propellers. Shut down your engines immediately and leave them off so that the cooling water intakes don’t get jammed with sand or silt.

Check for any hull damage, if there is a considerable breach, cast anchor to keep you in place. Prioritize safety. If they aren’t already, ensure that all passengers have donned lifejackets and even if you think you don’t need immediate help, radio the Coast Guard or local marine authority and inform them of your location, assessed damage and planned course of action.

Take Action

If the hull damage is minimal and the tide is rising, the increased water level should be enough to float your vessel without further assistance. While getting towed off by another ship might be faster, this option is safer for both your hull and passengers—just make sure you set out an anchor in the direction of the wind to prevent the incoming tide from running your further aground. If you are less fortunate, and the tide is falling and there are no fellow boaters in the vicinity to help tow, you may attempt to “kedge off” by casting an anchor in the direction in which you intend to move and then use an anchor windlass or sheet winch to take in the line.

If there is serious damage to your hull and you find yourself taking on water, you can use a bunk to keep your sinking boat afloat. When assessing hull damage after running aground, keep in mind that just a three-fourths of an inch hole situated two-and-a-half feet below the waterline lets in water at 24 gallons-per-minute, or 1,440 gallons-per-hour! Even if you have a bilge pump handy, it would have a hard time stemming the flow long enough for you to reach shore. An effective method to stop a leak is to plug it with a tapered piece of softwood commonly referred to as a “bung” that swells to fit the hole and form a watertight seal. Be sure to manually push the bung in place, hammering it into place can cause more damage or enlarge the hole.

Marina Etiquette Basics: Top Five Rules for a Neighborly Boating Community

Marina Etiquette and safety

Ideally, marinas are a boater’s utopia—a place to relax, unwind and enjoy the company of fellow enthusiasts after a long day spent on the water. If you’re new to the marina environment, it’s important to first get acquainted with what’s expected from its members. The majority of marinas have set standing policies to ensure a peaceful, safe community. Although there are several rules common to generally all marinas such as keeping dogs on leashes, not swimming in the marina waters and not riding bikes on docks; some venues might have “house rules” to manage potential complications that have come up in the past at that specific location. It’s always a good idea to first get “the lay of the land” by getting in touch with the marina manager or dock master to learn about parking passes, regular pavilion events and other regulations you should be aware of to keep the marina running smoothly. Here are a few basic hard-and-fast rules to keep in mind when adjusting to the marina life:

1. Slow and Steady

You might be in a rush to make those dinner reservations after a long day on the water, but when you’re pulling into a marina be sure to slow down to 6 knots or less. Maintaining a safe speed will give you more time to react to fellow boaters maneuvering around you, prevent disturbing others with your wake, and keep noise levels down.

2. Dock Properly

It might take a little extra time, but make it a habit to always dock stern-in. It’ll be worth the effort, not only does it make it considerably easier to get on and off your boat aft, it also provides a clearer walking path along the docks for fellow patrons. Never let your bow extend out over the dock. It is a safety hazard, especially if the anchor is protruding near the walkway. Marinas are busy places, and as long everyone takes the time to dock in an organized fashion, things will flow along more efficiently, safely and with less hassle.

3. Ditch the Clutter

Nothing irks boaters more than a sloppy tenant. Always neatly coil your dock lines; organize any tangled shore utility electrical cables; stow watersports gear, uneaten food, life jackets and cleaning supplies. When the sun starts to set, it’s difficult for those walking along the dock to spot those hazards.

4. Keep it Down

Be considerate and use some common sense when it comes to noise levels—some marinas have a more active nightlife than others. Don’t get too rowdy if you see the majority of other boaters turning in early. Hitting up the marina restaurant or café for dinner? Be sure to shut down all of your gear first. Turn off all your lights, your marine radio equipment, CD players, televisions and anything else that might be a distraction to your dock neighbors while you’re away from the boat. Additionally, while marinas are a great family environment, be sure to keep an eye on your kids.

5. Don’t Drag

Need gas? Fill up and get a move on! Need to stock up on supplies or unload? Do so only in the designated areas and don’t lag around the launch ramps. Although most boaters are generally patient, friendly individuals, constantly holding up traffic at these busy communes can be a common and easily-avoidable source of friction. When taking on fuel or loading gear, move your vessel from the fuel dock or loading float as soon as you have completed the task. Do not exceed the posted time limits without the dock master’s consent. If necessary, plan in advance and develop a go-to strategy for fueling, loading/unloading and launching to minimize any extended delays.

3 Boating-Safety Steps When Celebrating the Red, White & Blue

3563866 - u.s. flag at back of boat

A nautical safety primer for Annapolis 4th of July celebrations

July 4th is right around the corner, and for many boaters this means watching fireworks, family get-togethers, barbecues . . . and a trip to the emergency room? Unfortunately, that’s the stark reality for many patriotic seafarers.

Research conducted by the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) indicates more than half of Maryland’s annual total of boating accidents occurs between July and August. Last year, Maryland recorded 130 boating accidents that resulted in 12 fatalities and 96 injuries. These daunting statistics prompted the NRP to focus on a simple, yet obviously essential goal for this July 4th holiday: fewer boating accidents. Their game plan is straightforward, with officers deploying in full force to all state waterways from the Atlantic Ocean to Deep Creek Lake.

“Maryland has seen eight boating fatalities so far this season and that’s eight too many,” said Col. George F. Johnson IV, NRP superintendent. “Our officers will be aggressively targeting reckless and negligent boaters, and those whose judgment is impaired by alcohol or drugs.”

In 2015, the NRP conducted Operation Dry Water, a nationwide campaign to curb alcohol- and drug-impaired boating in the weeks leading up to and including July 4th. Officers arrested six people for operating under the influence of alcohol and three for drug-impaired boating while issuing 87 tickets for other violations and conducting 727 vessel safety checks. Despite these efforts, Maryland recorded four boating accidents, three of them fatal, but the NRP aren’t giving up—and they’re turning to YOU to reign in these less-than-stellar statistics.

This year, the NRP is urging Maryland boaters to take precautions to ensure the safety of passengers and those in other vessels during their 4th of July celebrations—as Johnson puts it: “When it comes to safety, you are the first line of defense, by using common sense and following simple safe boating rules you can help NRP make this a safe and happy holiday.” So avoid a citation, and more importantly, the risk of serious injury or death, by following these safety measures this holiday weekend!

1. KEEP CALM AND FLOAT ON

Before heading out, ensure your lights are in working order. Even if they worked the night before, double and triple check. With the heavy boat traffic, don’t risk your safety! Will you have enough lines and fenders for the day? Bring some extras as backup; chances are good you or a fellow boater will end up needing them!

Make sure there are enough life jackets for ALL passengers on board and that they fit well. While it may be warm and unfashionable, don’t be tempted to forgo wearing a life jacket. Remember, children ages 12 and under are required by law to wear a life jacket at all times while the boat is underway. Accidents happen quickly, and often there isn’t time to put on a life jacket once an accident has happened. Statistics consistently show that 80% of all boating fatality victims were not wearing a life jacket.

Don’t overcrowd the boat. Heed the boat’s capacity plate on the transom or by the helm, or look up the passenger capacity in the boat’s manual.

Don’t rush to get home after the fireworks display. Allow some of the boat traffic to dissipate before raising anchor.

Take the time to thoroughly brief your crew with basic emergency procedures, and show them how to contact authorities for help via marine radio or cell phone.

Ensure that you have flares and that they are up to date, but never use flares as a form of fireworks. Doing so constitutes a false distress call, which is a Class D felony, punishable by up to six years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines, plus the costs associated with the false rescue response!

2. IF YOU’RE A SKIPPER, YOU’RE NOT A SIPPER

Appoint a sober skipper to remain at the helm all evening and be responsible for returning the boat and its passengers safely to shore after the conclusion of the fireworks display. Simply put, boating and alcohol do not mix—in addition to impairing the operator’s ability to make sound judgments, intoxication also negatively affects the ability of passengers to respond in the case of an emergency on the water. The combined effects of the sun, wind, waves and a boat’s motion in the water can add to an operator’s impairment. Intoxicated boaters can face both federal and state charges with penalties of up to one year in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.

3. BE THE MAN (or woman!) WITH A PLAN

Follow the directions issued by NRP, the Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary and local police as to where you may safely anchor to view the fireworks away from sparks and ash. For Annapolis-area boaters, keep in mind that the drawspan of the Eastport Bridge will be closed to boat traffic from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Boaters must avoid the 1,000-foot SAFETY ZONE around the fireworks firing area which will be established and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. At approximately 9:15 p.m., the fireworks will be launched from a barge in Annapolis Harbor.

Also be sure to file a float plan with a shore-bound friend that lists all passengers aboard, your intended destination, what the boat looks like, and when you expect to return. Instruct them what steps to take in the event that they don’t receive notification from you within a reasonable time of when you expect to reach shore at then end of the evening. Visit http://floatplancentral.org/ for a complete plan along with instructions. Select in advance the route to your fireworks-viewing destination and use a GPS to help keep you on course. While on the water, be on the lookout for other boats in the vicinity, stormy weather, or anything that appears unusual. The Coast Guard advises the public to stay aware of their surroundings, including monitoring watching water conditions, celebrating responsibly and not misusing emergency flares as fireworks. Report any emergencies to local authorities by calling 911 or VHF Channel 16.

Sail Into Spring

2016-03-20 Spring Pic

Last month you cleaned things up and now that spring has sprung, you’re ready to set sail! Before leaving port, don’t let an ill-prepped vessel put a chill on your warm-weather plans! We know you’ve been itching to get back on the water all winter long, but those long, dreary months spent ashore can take a toll on your boat’s sea-worthiness. Follow the checklist below to avoid “springing” a leak and get your 2016 boating season off to a safe and enjoyable start.

FUEL SYSTEM:

  • Check for any obvious leaks or physical damage, paying specific attention to fuel hose connections and tank surfaces.
  • If fuel hoses appear soft, brittle, or have visible cracks, replace the affected parts and make sure clamps are secured

BELTS, CABLES & HOSES:

  • These components have a tendency to decay during winter storage; make sure belts are tightly fitted around corresponding pulleys to prevent slippage
  • Check the outer jacket of the throttle; cracks or swells in this area may indicate internal corrosion of the shift and control cables

ELECTRIC SYSTEM:

  • Make sure all electrical connections are free of visible corrosion; remove any corroded terminals and clean them thoroughly with a wire brush before replacing
  • Charge and test your battery
  • Consider getting your electrical system inspected by a qualified technician

FLUID LEVELS:

  • Ensure that oil, power steering, trim reservoirs and engine coolant levels are topped off
  • Change the engine oil and filter along with the drive lubricants

PROPELLERS & HULLS:

  • Look over propellers to make sure they’re free of excessive dents, pitting, or cracks that could cause vibration and damage the drive chain
  • Check hull for blistering, splinters, holes and cracks and ensure the drain plug is secure prior to launch

SAFETY GEAR:

  • Ensure life jackets are not damaged or frayed and there are an adequate number of appropriate-sized vests for all passengers on board
  • Check onboard fire extinguishers
  • Verify all enclosed areas have operable carbon monoxide detectors; replace batteries in these devices if necessary

Boating Must-Haves

Boat Safety

Safety First! 

Whether you’re piloting a 60-foot high-end yacht on a multi-day voyage or paddling a canoe across the bay, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) requires that every boat—regardless of size or type—has essential safety equipment aboard. Luckily, these items aren’t overly expensive or hard to find and, more importantly, they could save your life in the event of an emergency. Check to make sure your vessel has all of these items, or you could be risking both stiff fines as well as your life.

  • Personal Flotation Devices: The USCG requires you provide a personal flotation device for every person aboard. Although federal law doesn’t require the device to be worn at all times the boat is underway, certain states regulate children below a certain age have to do so. Maryland law states that all children under the age of 13 must wear a USCG approved personal flotation device while underway on a recreational vessel under 21 feet in length on Maryland waters. The life jacket must be the proper size for the child and must be in good and serviceable condition. Additionally, in states where no children’s life jacket law is in place, a USCG interim rule requires children under 13 on moving boats to wear a USCG approved life jacket that fits. Furthermore, the USCG mandates that if your boat is over 16 feet in length, a throw-able personal flotation device (ex. a life ring) needs to be available at all times.
  • Whistle/Horn: The USCG also requires that every boat carries a noise-generating device to both warn other boats in the vicinity of your presence and to use as a distress signal in case of emergency. For vessels longer than 39.4 feet, there must be both a bell measuring at least 7.87 inches in diameter and a whistle that can be heard at a distance of ½ a nautical mile on-board.
  • Visual Distress Signals: If you plan on boating at night, you must carry visual distress signals that may include emergency flares, flags, flashlights, water dye markers and smoke signals depending on your vessel’s size and the area in which you are planning to set sail.
  • Fire Extinguisher: Motored boats 26 feet and over, or less than 26 feet if there are permanent fuel tanks installed, must carry a USCG-approved marine-type fire extinguisher—although it’s a good idea to have one where you can get to it quickly and easily regardless of how big your boat is.

In addition to the USCG-required items, it’s a good idea to consider the following list of recommended items to ensure your safety while enjoying the water:

  • Blanket/Dry Clothes: You don’t have to be in the water to be at risk of hypothermia—and being stuck in wet clothes or exposed to the elements will only expedite the loss of body heat. Always keep a change of clothes and blankets in waterproof containers.
  • Oars: In case you have engine problems, you should have a pair of oars in order to remain mobile.
  • First-Aid Kit: Injuries happen. Make sure you have an adequately stocked first-aid kit and know how to use all the items properly.
  • File Plans: Even if you’re just planning a short trip, it’s always a good idea to file your route plans with a trustworthy 3rd party in case you experience trouble so any potential rescue efforts will have a starting point to begin their search efforts.
  • Tool Kit: Make sure your on-board tool kit has everything you need for any repairs you may have to make.
  • Bilge Pump: In case you start taking on water, you’ll want a bilge pump to prevent accumulation until you can repair the source of the leak.
  • Non-Perishable Food: If an emergency situation turns your ‘short trip’ into an extended ordeal, make sure you have adequate food reserves to keep your energy up.
  • Chart & Compass: Electrical navigation systems inevitably fail—have these items aboard and know how to use them if you have to find your own way to shore.

For all your equipment needs, be sure to check out The Ship Store at Port Annapolis that combines a wide selection of boating essentials and provisions with a personable, experienced staff always at the ready to ensure you find exactly what you need. For personalized attention to your specific marine supply requirements, contact The Ship Store today at (410) 286-1215.

A Checklist to Spring Into Ship-Shape

Port Annapolis Marina, Annapolis MD“The sea finds out everything you did wrong.” This invaluable truism comes from Francis Stokes, a guy who knew a thing or two about boats—he completed six solo trans-Atlantic in the early 1970’s before the advent of many technological advances sailors today take for granted. So what’s the takeaway from Francis’s advice? The open water is an unforgiving place—meaning an ounce of preparation is worth its weight in gold.

Sure, the weather’s warming up—but you’d rather not take an unanticipated dip in those all-too recently thawed waters thanks to a neglected maintenance routine to get both you and your boat up to speed for the new sailing season. To make sure you’ll be trimming the sails instead of treading water this spring, here’s a checklist to help you prep your vessel after a long winter.

Keep in mind; the advice below assumes you have previous boating experience. If you’re new to boating, or simply not technically inclined, consider hiring an American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC)-certified technician or mechanic to regularly perform maintenance inspections.

“Spring-Cleaning” Checklist

  • Reinstall and recharge all batteries and fill lead acid batteries with distilled water. Make sure all electrical connections, including battery terminals, are free of debris and secure and insulate with protective spray/grease.
  • Reopen seacocks and make sure handles move freely. All hoses should be double-clamped with stainless-steel fasteners. Replace any that look rusted.
  • Check the raw-water intake strainer is tight and free of any irregularities.
  • Ensure running lights are operational and replace bulbs if necessary.
  • Check VHF and GPS antenna connections.
  • Look for signs of leaking at trim cylinders and hoses as well as at hydraulic steering pumps and rams. Replace the O-ring or gasket if necessary.
  • Inspect port lights, hatches, and deck fittings for dirty or displaced caulking, water trails, dirt, and green corrosion, any of which signals a leak that needs to be re-caulked.
  • Check flares, fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide and fire alarms. Replace/recharge as necessary.
  • Make sure all fuel hoses are flexible, with no leaks, protrusions, or corrosions.
  • All engine hoses should fit snugly and be solidly secured in place. Replace any clamps that show signs of corrosion.
  • Replace fuel filters and clean or replace air filter.
  • Make sure your oil change is up-to-date. Check fluid levels in the transmission, hydraulic steering fluid, and coolant devices.
  • Check engine belts for signs of stress and wearing.
  • Examine exhaust manifolds for signs of corrosion and water seepage that indicate blockage. If you suspect a problem, remove the manifold and inspect thoroughly.

Remember: This list is by no means exhaustive. Every boat is unique and the work required to ensure it’s seaworthy will depend on whether it’s used in fresh or salt water, its size, manufacturer, model and the state in which it’s registered. Be sure to get the specific precautionary information you need for your vessel to ensure you prepare adequately and your boating season is safe and enjoyable.

It’s Good to be Green

Port Annapolis Marina, Annapolis MD

Port Annapolis Marina is one of the northeastern United States’ premier sailing attractions, offering quick and convenient access to the Chesapeake Bay and its many adjoining historic properties. The marina’s friendly accommodations in this regard are only enhanced further by the many amenities available on site. These include a large swimming pool, as well as the Overlook Pavilion, which is suitable for a wide range of events (including weddings, reunions, and corporate meetings). Port Annapolis also offers putt-putt golf, and features the on-site Cafe Windward and Ships Store. Port Annapolis Marina is thick with local color, but it looks positively stunning in green. It is one of the most environmentally friendly marinas in the eastern United States, a fact that continues to draw new tenants and pool members to its pristine and lovely environment each year.

How Port Annapolis Marina is Environmentally Friendly

Some of the marina’s environmentally friendly aspects will seem obvious, though no less profound, upon reflection. Others might catch you a little bit by surprise. The marina is proud of the innovative way in which it is acting, in partnership with other organizations and the community at large, to preserve the overall health and quality of the environment that is so deeply cherished by hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

  • Wind, Surf, and Sail: Port Annapolis Marina offers a safe harbor for sailboats of every kind. A boat ride powered by a steady wind – with the occasional support of some manual labor – can take you from one end of the Chesapeake to the other. Or, you can spend a leisurely afternoon cruising, with no particular rush to reach your destination. You’re avoiding the use of fossil fuels, and enjoying the quiet tranquility of the open water – without the use of a noisy motor.
  • Oyster Restoration: The marina has partnered with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Oyster Restoration Project. A keystone species within the bay, oysters are a critical part of the food chain and a major contributor to the bay’s overall purity and economic viability. Their reefs offer many other species of marine life a home, and the oysters themselves help to filter sand and sediment from the water – improving its cleanliness and clarity. Port Annapolis Marina has partnered with the CBF in boosting public awareness of its multiple programs, such as the Oyster Gardening Program, which are designed to boost community awareness as to the importance of oyster conservation.
  • Vegetated Buffer Zones: In many marinas across the developed world, storm-related runoff is a major source of pollution for the water. Port Annapolis Marina has helped to reduce this problem through the planting of strategically located vegetated buffer zones. These zones are maintained with permanent, year-round vegetation. They help to trap runoff from storms and unexpectedly high precipitation. This keeps sediment, pesticides, and nutrients that are beneficial to ground-dwelling fauna (but not so much to aquatic species) from entering the water.
  • Product-Related Concerns: Port Annapolis Marina works tirelessly to educate its employees in the promotion of environmentally Shrink Wrap Recyclefriendly products. Signage and documentation available at the marina offer suggestions and advice on environmentally friendly products to use during your visit. Receptacles for trash and recyclables are widely available, and are fastidiously maintained. Only dust-free sanders are allowed for work on boats, and substances such as motor oil, antifreeze, shrink wraps, and heavy metals are recycled religiously. During the wintertime, they actually heat the service shop using 100% recycled oil. In fact, some of Port Annapolis’ still-innovative recycling programs are more than fifteen years old!
  • Community Awareness: More recently, the marina has partnered with Annapolis Green to further educate the public about how to enjoy their facilities in a more environmentally friendly way. This kind of partnership has led to events such as “Do Good Have Fun,” which took place in July of 2014. Port Annapolis Marina partnered with Bud Light, Keep America Beautiful, and Annapolis Green for the event, which involved the cleanup of the Ellen O. Moyer Back Creek Nature Park next door to Port Annapolis, and a free lunch, courtesy of The Main Ingredient! The cleanup went well, and more community events are in the works for the future.
  • Dual Pump Out Carts: Nobody wants to think about this, but here’s the deal: if you own a boat with a holding tank, at some point you’re Pump Out Cartgoing to have to empty it out. Port Annapolis Marina maintains two pump out carts for maximum efficiency, as well as offering instructions and training in how to use them properly – so as to minimize your chances of creating a very unpleasant mess. Pump out carts are an environmentally friendly solution to the handling of human waste in an aquatic environment; they convey it safely and securely to the land-based sewage treatment system. The carts are free to use, for tenant convenience.

Port Annapolis has been recognized by the Department of Natural Resources as a Certified Clean Marina. For more information about Port Annapolis Marina, including its many environmentally friendly initiatives and community partnerships, call (410) 269-1990 today. Or, fill out the convenient contact form on the website, and someone will get back to you as soon as possible. Should you feel like dropping by, directions are available through the website as well.