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.

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

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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.

Boating’s ‘Great Divide’: Sailors vs. Powerboaters

Which Side Are You On? 

Ever since the advent of the outboard engine, powerboaters and sailors have largely regarded each other with disdain. Virtually every member of the boating community falls firmly onto one side or the other—with the rare exception of those who good-naturedly refer to themselves as “bi-boaters” or “transvesselites” that have the financial means and open-mindedness to straddle the party lines and practice both forms of aquatic exploration. Powerboaters equate sailors with the stuck-up bourgeois, while sailors feel powerboaters are classless adrenaline junkies. While these generalizations are perhaps a bit exaggerated, you get the idea: there’s undoubtedly some tension between the two groups. In reality, there’s nothing wrong with either form, it’s just a matter of personal preference based on what your preference is while out on the water. If you’re new to the boating scene and have yet to pick a side, here are some pros and cons of each type of boating experience to help you make up your mind.

POWERBOATS

PROS:

  • Powerboats are generally bigger across the board, and thus more suited for entertainment and extended trips. That’s because more of the boat is above the water line, allowing for multiple levels, stand-up galleys and roomy heads.
  • Powerboats have a high cruising speed allowing you to make significant headway even in less-than-desirable weather conditions and complete long trips in a shorter amount of time.
  • Since you’re not dependent on the wind, a powerboat allows you to sail any time, in any direction and be able to predict your time of arrival with considerable accuracy.
  • Powerboats feature shallower drafts, which means you’re less at risk of running aground—giving you increased access to shallow water areas and allowing you to get closer to the beach.
  • If you plan on fishing, powerboats allow you to trawl—a big drawing factor for anglers.
  • Powerboating is less physically demanding, no cranking winches or hauling sails. This more hands-off approach allows you to sit back and enjoy the company of your friends and the pleasure of being out on the water.

CONS:

  • The obvious trade-off for all that power and autonomy you get with an engine is the noise—which can get pretty intense depending on the size of your motor.
  • The engines are also highly technical, making maintenance and operation somewhat complicated if you don’t have the requisite experience.
  • Fuel—it’s EXPENSIVE!
  • Powerboats can be a bit trickier than sailboats in windy conditions because of their higher center of gravity.

SAILBOATS

PROS:

  • For those environmentally conscious individuals: sailboats are eco-friendly as they obviously don’t rely on fossil fuels like power boats do.
  • Sailboats operate on a combination of manual labor and wind: both are FREE!
  • Sailboats are quiet, allowing you to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the open water.
  • Teamwork: operating a sailboat is a highly interactive activity that requires everyone to work in unison. Sailors like to think of it as an art form and gain a sense of satisfaction from working with the elements instead of against them.

CONS:

  • If you compare a sailboat and power boat that are equal in length, the sailboat offers considerably less inside space because its lower center of gravity and design structure.
  • Winds can be unpredictable, meaning you could be stranded if that once-healthy breeze shifts or dies out completely.
  • Sailing is physically demanding and requires complete attention; this time consuming process means you have less time to socialize with your guests and relax.
  • Sails and rigging require constant maintenance and repair.
  • Sailboats have a deeper draft, meaning you have limited access to shallower waters and always be on the guard for running aground.

IN CLOSING…

It doesn’t matter which side you pick! Although there’s a healthy rivalry between the two groups, they’re united in their mutual love of the water—as Steve Tadd, director of the National Marine Manufacturers Association observes: “There’s a big difference in personalities, but it’s a friendly rivalry. I get kind of a kick out of it—like college football.” When all is said and done, sailors and powerboaters alike usually end up at the same place at the end of the day: the local marina! For a great place to rub shoulders with all types of seafarers, check out all the amenities the Port Annapolis Marina has to offer; including: family friendly pool and sun-deck, onsite restaurant, private shower facilities and much more!

Shrink Wrap vs. Boat Cover

Which Option’s Right For You?

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With winter around the corner, boat owners near and far are struggling with the plethora of choices associated with the winterization process. Perhaps one of the most important decisions for sailors to make when it comes to off-season care for their most prized assets is whether to go with shrink wrap or a boat cover. While both options offer adequate protection from the elements, here’s a brief rundown of both products to help you pick the one that’s right for your specific situation.

Shrink Wrap

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When it comes to shrink wrapping, there are a couple of possible scenarios to consider. Most owners pay professional shrink wrapping companies to apply the treatment every year, with the cost varying depending on the length and type of vessel. Although the one-time cost of shrink wrapping your boat might seem preferable to the significantly greater cost of a quality custom-fit cover, keep in mind that this is an annual cost that, compounded over several years, may not be as cost-effective as it appears at first glance. While there are a variety of cheaper, do-it-yourself kits on the market, applying the shrink wrap on your own poses fire-hazard concerns and can be significantly time-consuming. Incorrect application may also damage your boat’s exterior and result in costly repairs.

When applied correctly, shrink wrap provides a waterproof protective seal that prevents corrosion and protects wear and tear from the elements. However, it’s also non-breathable, so if any moisture is under the cover upon application, it’s stuck there—and that means mold and mildew that can cause severe damage over the winter months. If you choose to shrink wrap your boat, ensure that vents are installed to allow adequate airflow.

Boat Cover

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The obvious benefit of opting for a boat cover is that it’s a one-time expense that you can use year after year to protect your vessel. True, it may be a hefty price when compared to the cost of a single shrink wrap, but if you’re thinking in the long-term, it may be well worth it if you plan on keeping the same boat for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, the installation process is fairly straightforward when compared to shrink wrapping, providing you with the added convenience of completing the task yourself without having to hire someone else or mess with potentially dangerous equipment.

As long as the cover is secured and supported correctly, it can extend the life of your boat by allowing moisture from rain and snow to run off and protect from any potential sun-damage that could cause blistering. Additionally, most high-end covers are made from a breathable fabric that allows any residual moisture escape, preventing the threat of mold or mildew.

“Sea” Your Dream Come True: Top 5 Tips for First-Time Boat Buyers

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Ahoy there, and congratulations on making the decision to become a boat owner! With over 200,000 registered boats in the state of Maryland, you’re about to join a diverse and welcoming community full of exciting opportunities to enjoy your love of the water. Make sure it’s all smooth sailing by following these tips when purchasing your first boat.

1. A Great Sale Sail? Find the Perfect Boat for YOU

Your first step is figuring out what type and size of boat you want. This is a highly individualized choice based on what you’re planning to use your new boat for. A helpful analogy is to compare your boat search to car shopping: you wouldn’t buy a tiny hybrid if you were looking for something to tow your horse trailer would you? The same principle applies to choosing the right boat—consider your purpose.  Generally speaking, there are three main boat categories that are briefly outlined below to jumpstart your search:

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  • CRUISING BOATS: If you’re searching for an ideal balance between entertaining guests and optimal mobility, then cruising style boats might fit the bill. Some are day-only boats, such as bowriders, while others, like express cruisers and motor-yachts, feature cabins, galleys, and other amenities suited for more extended-stay overnight trips. Furthermore, you could opt for a cruising sailboat if you enjoy contemporary sailing without a motor—indeed, many boating enthusiasts are in the market for sailboats that feature guest cabins and other cruising boat amenities in order to relax and enjoy the water on extended trips in a more traditional way.
  • FISHING BOATS: Fishing boats are typically designed with open cockpits in the aft portion of the boat to maximize the available deck space required for fishing activities, which means less seating and smaller accommodations than on cruising boats. While you can use sailboats to fish, most boaters choose motorized boats because it is a less-involved sailing and steering process—allowing them to focus their attention on catching fish.
  • WATERSPORT BOATS: These boats typically boast high-power engines and sleek profiles for those looking to waterski, wakeboard and parasail. Some of these boats are highly sophisticated and require additional training to operate safely and can be extra-costly to fuel—aspects to keep in mind when considering this class of vessel. Alternatively, sailboat racing is an extremely popular watersport (especially in the Annapolis area) for those looking for engine-free watersport boat options that combines mastery of mast-based sailing, speed and healthy competition all in one.

2. Tried & True or Brand New? Pros & Cons

After choosing the specific type of boat that best suits your needs, the next major decision is whether to go the new or used route. There’s no ‘right’ answer here—the choice will ultimately come down to a multitude of factors including budget, preferred amenities and your future plans. Here are a few pros and cons to weigh as you weigh your options.

  • BUYING NEW: Purchasing a new boat is a smart move for soon-to-be owners who know exactly what they want and are planning to invest in a single boat for the foreseeable future. Perhaps you already have years of sailing experience during which you’ve compiled a “wish list” of features and amenities you prefer but just haven’t taken the “plunge” yet of buying your own boat. New vessels typically feature the latest and greatest when it comes to design and technology—making them more economical, reliable and customizable. Another plus are the warranty options to recover repair costs and maintenance fees from experienced professionals. However, these benefits come at a cost: new boats are significantly more expensive. Additionally, as is common with new boaters, you decide you prefer a different type/size of boat after logging some hours on the water, you won’t be able to recoup a large portion of your expenditure—the value of new boats depreciates significantly even after a short period of ownership.
  • BUYING USED: According to a 2014 poll conducted by the National Marine Manufactures Association (NMMA), 60% of first-time boat buyers purchase a used boat—they can’t all be wrong can they? Far from it. There are a number of reasons why buying a used boat is a smart choice for the novice deckhand. From a financial perspective, used options are sensible choices if budget is a determining factor. Market data shows that the average buyer saves approximately 50% when buying a 5-year old model compared with the brand-new equivalent—which means more boat for the same money. Especially for new buyers, it might be a good idea to be conservative in your first boat purchase until you learn from experience what options you prefer and plan on upgrading after a few years “learning the ropes” with your first boat. Unfortunately, most dealers offer limited finance terms and warranties when it comes to covering used purchases, leaving you solely responsible for repair costs and maintenance if something goes wrong.

3. “Batten Down the Hatches”: Seal the Deal

073Now comes the hard part: actually finding and buying your ideal boat. New boats are generally marketed through dealers—many of which carry a specific line, brand or model. This makes it easier to start your search: begin with finding out what dealers in your location offer the type of boat you want and then start narrowing down your options based on which offers the best price, warranty and financing options. Buying a boat is a significant investment, so do your homework before showing up at the dealership. Consult online consumer review sites and reviews as well as determining the actual value of the boat you’re looking to buy—a great resource is the NADA Guides Boat Price Guide.

The more you know, the better position you’ll be in when it comes to getting a fair deal from a trustworthy dealer. On the other hand, if you’re in the market for a used boat, your options can range from dealers, brokers or private listings. Brokers are individuals who don’t actually own the boats they’re selling and instead operate on a commission-based scheme operating as a middleman between you and the owner. Be sure to ask around your local marina or boatyard to get recommendations from others. If this isn’t an option, look for a Certified Professional Yacht Broker (CPYB) that are members of the Yacht Brokers Association of America (YBAA)—these titles indicate they’ve taken a comprehensive exam and pledged to abide by a code of ethical guidelines. Also, make sure your broker maintains a separate bank account for holding deposits and that your sales contract specifies all stages of the deal and how/when your investment will be returned if the sale doesn’t go through.

4. Avoid the “Rip (Off) Tide”: Hire a Marine Surveyor

If you pursue a used option, you’re taking a greater risk since you don’t know the history of the boat, its previous maintenance, prior accidents or structural damages. Consequently, if you’re planning to invest a few thousand dollars or more on a boat, you’ll want to hire an expert marine surveyor whose job it is to ensure the condition and value of your prospective boat. Although marine surveyors aren’t centrally regulated or licensed, a professional affiliation with the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC), National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS) or the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS) is generally a reliable indicator of their competency. Additionally, marine surveyors tend to specialize—choose a surveyor who commonly assesses the type of boat you’re planning to buy. Find a surveyor that operates independently, meaning they have no affiliations with boat brokers, dealers, and boat-repair shops—especially if that third party is the one selling you the boat!

 5. Get Your Sea Legs (And Smarts!)

Before weighing anchor, first make sure you are familiar with all equipment and have proper first aid and emergency supplies. Additionally, Maryland law requires that anyone under the age of 16, operating a motorized vessel 11 feet in length or greater without a valid boating safety certificate, must be under the supervision of an individual 18 years of age or older who possesses a valid boating safety certificate or an individual born before July 1, 1972. Boating safety courses are offered throughout the State with a wide selection of prices, times and formats.

Regardless of what type of boat you purchase, be sure to visit Port Annapolis to enhance your boating experience. Port Annapolis caters to all types of boaters and all types of boats. From the blue water sailor to the weekend motor boater, we offer the marina services you need. Enjoy the beauty of our wooded, waterfront location with easy access to downtown Annapolis and Eastport while taking advantage of the areas best full-service marina.

Visit us at the 2015 Annapolis Boat Show, we’ll be in Tent C, Space 39!
October 8 – 12: United States Sailboat Show
October 15 – 18: United States Powerboat Show

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