Be a Greener Boater: Protecting the Environment

Environmental-friendly boating practices help seafarers look beyond the bow and make a difference to maintain clean, healthy waters for years to come. Boating goes hand-in-hand with wildlife watching, swimming, fishing, snorkeling and diving—and each of these experiences is enhanced by the clean water required for a healthy bay. Unfortunately, mishandling a boat can be detrimental to marine ecosystems, wildlife and water quality. Improper handling, irresponsible or neglectful vessel maintenance, and poor refueling, repair and storage habits all present significant environmental risks. Reducing these risks not only helps preserve clean water and protect the animals that live in it, but also keeps boaters and their families safe – and can even save money!

 

Below, the experienced staff of Port Annapolis Marina lays out some best boating practices for a greener boating experience—practical steps you can use every time you hit the water. Learn more about how boaters can develop and incorporate environmentally friendly management strategies in six key areas:

  • Oil and Fuel
  • Sewage Pollution
  • Vessel Maintenance and Repair
  • Marine Debris
  • Storm Water Runoff
  • Vessel Operation

It’s important to realize you can make a tremendous difference and impact in preserving the health of the ocean and waterways!

 

Oil and Fuel

Diesel fuel and motor oil are toxic to people, plants and wildlife. They can also block life-giving sunlight in the water. Most oil pollution results from accidents and/or carelessness.

  • Refueling is when most spills happen. The U.S. Coast Guard recommends filling the tank to only ninety-percent to capacity to reduce the chance of spills from overfilling.
  • Even small oil spills spell trouble for water quality; bilge pumps can often discharge oil directly into the water. Be sure to use oil absorbent pads in the bilges of all boats with inboard engines.
  • Inspect thru-hull fittings often. A sinking boat is not only a safety risk for passengers, but also leaks dangerous fuel, oil and chemicals into the water.
  • DO NOT use soaps to disperse spills – it is ILLEGAL.

 

Sewage Pollution

Think one boat doesn’t make a difference? A single overboard discharge of human waste in a shallow enclosed area like a bay can be detected across one square mile. Excess nutrients disrupt natural cycles and pose a human health hazard.

  • Install and use a marine sanitation device as required by law.
  • Sewage and chemicals from holding tanks readily contaminate water.
  • Bring portable toilets ashore for proper disposal.

 

Vessel and Maintenance Repair

Sanding, cleaning, painting and degreasing boats can pose major threats to our waters. Particles of dust and paint in the water can block life-giving sunlight, and toxic substances from cleaners and antifouling compounds can sicken or kill marine life.

  • Use nonhazardous materials—if it’s hazardous to you, it’s hazardous to the environment.
  • Old batteries can leach dangerous lead or cadmium, and expired marine flares contain toxic materials as well so dispose of them properly.
  • When you paint your hull, choose officially certified environmentally-friendly materials

 

Marine Debris

Trash in the water isn’t just an eyesore; it damages boats and threatens the well-being of marine wildlife. It also undermines tourism and economic activities that create jobs. But there’s good news. Litter in the water is entirely preventable.

  • Bring your food containers, cigarette butts and other trash back to shore and recycle them whenever possible.
  • Let your marina know if it can provide better waste collection facilities.
  • Boaters are known for being good stewards and routinely picking up trash. For greater impact, raise awareness and collect data on what’s out there by participating in programs like Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup.

 

Storm Water Runoff

At marinas, storm drains can carry pollutants – including toxic metals from boat hull scraping and sanding, oil and grease, detergents, litter, and hazardous bilge waste – directly into the water.

  • Use nontoxic cleaning products.
  • Discard worn motor parts carefully so oil doesn’t wash from them into storm drains.
  • Dispose of trash properly in onshore bins.

 

Vessel Operation

Marinas and individual boaters must play a role in reducing vessel operation damage. Vessel operation damage occurs whenever improper handling, irresponsible use or neglect of a vessel results in damages to the environment. The effects can be costly.

  • Anchors aweigh: Choose anchor sites carefully and use proper techniques to avoid damaging sensitive habitat.
  • Avoid boating in shallow water, where you can stir up sediments and disturb underwater habitat—not to mention damage your propeller, hull and engine if you run aground.
  • Know where to go slow to prevent shore-damaging wakes.

Port Annapolis has been recognized by the Department of Natural Resources as a Certified Clean Marina, so if you have any questions about how you can be a greener boater, please contact us! We’re happy to point you in the right direction and get you connected to local organizations in Annapolis that support green initiatives and cleaner water. Happy boating!

Fire Prevention Tips: Stop On-Board Fires Before They Start

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What’s the best way to deal with any problem? Stop it before it starts—and the same maxim hold true when it comes to boating. Experienced sailors are some of the most cautious people you’ll meet—and for good reason. While boating is an exhilarating and enjoyable pastime, there’s no getting around the inherent risk involved with heading out on the water, miles away from medical and professional assistance in the case of an emergency.

Fires are perhaps one of the most dangerous, yet preventable, potential threats to safety that can occur onboard a boat. Nothing can replace the effectiveness of fast, efficient action combined with a cool head—critical procedures of effective on-board fire management for dealing with fires before they spread out of control. Following these procedures can not only help sailors prevent a fire, or contain it in the event one breaks out, but they can additionally help them save the lives of their crew members.

First of all, make sure you have the proper size and classification of marine fire extinguishers on board your vessel. You may be required to have more than one depending on the size of your boat—the U.S. Coast Guard has published these requirements along with other highly useful safety information in its Federal Requirements brochure. The document is available for free online and can be accessed at www.uscgboating.org. Ensure that all fire extinguishers are mounted in such a way so that they are readily accessible and positioned in locations that you can get to quickly in the event of a sudden emergency. As with all on-board equipment, regular inspection and maintenance is key. You need to inspect your fire extinguishers at regular intervals to verify they are fully charged and have not exceeded their expiration dates. If your boat has an internal fixed firefighting system along with sprinklers, be sure that it is also inspected and professionally serviced annually in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

The majority of on-board fires are caused by fueling and electrical complications or errors. Prior to fueling your boat, request that all passengers disembark the vessel and shut off all open flame sources such as stoves or grills. Close all windows, doors and hatches to prevent excess gasoline fumes from entering the boat and providing a potential source of combustion. During the fueling process, make sure the nozzle maintains in direct contact with the tank in order to prevent contact sparks and avoid overfilling the tank so the fuel has adequate space to expand. Obviously, do not smoke while fueling. After you’ve completed fueling, be sure to wipe up any spillage and dispose of the rag in an off-board, designated location. Re-open all the windows, doors and hatches and run the exhaust blower on full power for approximately four minutes. Prior to turning the engine over, perform a “sniff” test of the bilge and engine compartment. If you detect the odor of gasoline, turn the exhaust blower back on until it dissipates.

In order to prevent electrical-based fires, routinely inspect all electrical connections. Furthermore, inspect any shore power connection lines that you may be accessing prior to connecting them to your boat’s power system. If any wires appear to be fraying or if you see sparks, quickly disengage the main power source and have the problem repaired before attempting to use the device again. As the weather gets colder, be careful when using heaters in enclosed spaces and never leave one running unattended.

In the event that a fire breaks out, be sure that all those on board are fitted with a life jacket in case they have to abandon ship. If possible, steer the boat so that the flame is downwind and direct all passengers and crew move upwind away from the fire. Never attempt to use water to extinguish a gasoline, oil, or grease fire as it will only spread the flames and if there is an active electrical current there is a very real threat of shock—access one of your on-board fire extinguishers and use it instead. To use your fire extinguisher, simply remember the saying “PASS”:

                  Pull pin

                  Aim at the fire’s base

                  Squeeze the handle

                  Sweep from side to side

Finally, radio for help on your VHF radio or cell phone if you have service and prepare to abandon ship if unable to prevent the fire from spreading out of control.

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.

Proactive Winter Boat Care—Worth Its Weight In Gold

Winter Boat Care

Many avid boaters equate off-season craft maintenance with everyday chores like doing laundry or taking out the trash—necessary, yet tediously mind-numbing tasks. While this mindset is perfectly understandable, think about it for a second: why put all that time and money into a boat just to neglect it for months? Winter weather can wreak major havoc on an improperly prepped boat, causing major headaches when prime boating season rolls around. Not only is taking a proactive boat maintenance approach during the cold months a perfect, ready-made excuse to escape the in-laws’ holiday visit for a bit (just kidding…maybe), it will also ensure you’re ready to enjoy the prime boating season. Here are a few tips on how to get started.

Apples ≠ Oranges…
It should come as no surprise the winterization process entails more than just dumping in some fuel stabilizer, draining the engine and adding antifreeze. Think of it as more of a methodical process that runs from bow to stern. Obviously, no two boats are the same, so start by checking the winterizing/storage sections of your owner’s manual—caring for a sailboat is entirely different from servicing a motorboat.

Keep Your Eyes on the Ball HULL…
Fiberglass is engineered to withstand the ravages of summer heat and corrosive salt water; so a little snow is not a problem—right? Not exactly. Ice build-up can split open hatches and window tracks, springing leaks. So outside storage demands the proper boat cover. However, before covering your prized possession, inspect the hull for stress cracks, which are especially common around the bow eye, and gel-coat blistering. Stress cracks can indicate underlying structural damage, and anything serious should be professionally evaluated. If you find blisters or punctures, drain, dry and patch them with an epoxy-based filler. For blisters in aluminum-based hulls, bang the drum slowly with a rubber mallet to knock out dents. Barnacles adhering to the bottom of your boat should have their free-ride privileges revoked by scraping and then sanding away any residue followed by a thorough pressure washing to remove dirt and sea scum. While you’re at it, go ahead and do yourself a favor: this step will be a lot easier in the future if you apply a coat of 3M’s Marine Ultra Performance Paste Wax or similar product that creates an acrylic shield over the hull to prevent dirt from penetrating into the wax—keeping the crud on the surface where it belongs and can be hosed off with minimal effort.

An Inside Job…
No we’re not talking about a heist—winter air can be either humid or dry; but both conditions can wreak havoc on vinyl interiors. Commercial gel or spray-on vinyl cleaners and protectants can prevent vinyl from drying out and cracking. More than one boat owner has eagerly unzipped his boat cover in the spring only to find the interior looking like a science project gone wrong with mold and mildew everywhere. To prevent this catastrophe, vent your boat cover for good airflow to minimize trapped moisture and take extra precaution by using mildew sprays and chemical dehumidifiers that pull excess moisture out of the air. Moisture can also corrode on-board electronics and electrical system. Remove any electronics possible, store them in a dry, temperate environment, and spray all exposed electrical connections with a moisture-displacing lubricant. Now is also the time for a thorough cleaning: vacuum and wash all carpets and the deck. If your boat has a removable head, clean and dry it prior to storage. Built-in units, including sinks and showers, should be drained and pumped with antifreeze.

Cover-Up Right…
When choosing a boat cover, ensure it protects the waterline. Although poly-tarp covers are relatively inexpensive, they should be used with a frame to distribute the weight of snow and ice evenly and away from vulnerable areas of the boat’s exterior. You can make your own frame from 2 x 4s or 2 x 2s or PVC pipe or purchase kits featuring reusable aluminum frames using special clamps that attach the tubes at any angle. Poly-vinyl covers are often used for maximum water repellency and resistance to mildew and stains—just make sure the cover is firmly tied down so air won’t get underneath the cover, blowing in snow or shredding the cover itself.

Rev It Up!
Winter poses major danger to engines via freezing, corrosion and fuel degradation. Remove the engine cover and check for frayed wires, connections and clamps and all hoses and belts, replacing those that are mushy cracked and adjusting tension if any are loose. Touch up any paint nicks to prevent corrosion and run the engine up to temperature before changing the oil and filter and flushing the engine with fresh water. Idle the engine when flushing, making sure it doesn’t overheat, until the water flushes clean and then store the engine in a vertical position to make sure the water drains completely as even a small amount of water left in the engine can freeze and cause irreversible damage. Inboards and stern-drives should be filled with propylene glycol antifreeze to prevent ice accumulation. Gasoline degradation occurs in periods of extended non-use; the lighter factions evaporate and the heavier ones form a jet-clogging and injector-sticking varnish. This harmful degradation can begin in as little as two weeks, so add fuel stabilizer to the tank and idle the engine for ten to twenty minutes to distribute stabilizer throughout the system.

Get To It!
Take note, this is far from an exhaustive list—but it’s enough to get you started for properly taking care of your prized possession during the winter months. To make sure you have all your bases covered, consult your local marina or dealer for expert advice and you’ll be ready to hit the water in the spring!