Having fun on the water is more than just going for boat rides or doing a little bit of fishing—real fun means watersports—and water toys
In days gone by, when we talked about watersports, we were really talking about water skiing. Zipping about on skis established a reference point for watery adventure. Truly hardy souls could push the envelope by ski-jumping a ramp—or by not using skis at all—barefootin’ seemed to be the very edge of watersports world.
My, how things have changed. Sure, you can still go water skiing, but for more thrills, you might want to check out the nearly unlimited selection of water toys that are available. Read More »
Now is a great time to teach the kids how to help with the boat and learn a few things along the way. Here is a compilation of ways to interact with your children this summer. Take the time to make many great memories.
Here’s a list of some of the responsibilities your kids can share:
Docking the boat (usually a team effort anyway)
Cleaning (a part of the boating experience) Read More »
Big or small, basic or souped up, there is one thing every boat needs. Maintenance. Fortunately, routine maintenance and even small repairs aren’t that tough. And in the long run, a little elbow grease will definitely pay off.
The first and simplest task is to wash your boat regularly. And if you boat in saltwater, rinse your boat thoroughly with fresh water after every outing to remove salt residue.
A long-handled boat brush or a spray wand make the job pretty easy, you can find it at your local marine retail store. To protect your boat’s finish, be sure to use soaps and cleaners made just for boats.
If you’re tempted to let this chore slide consider this fact: a boat with a clean hull bottom is more fuel-efficient than a hull that’s covered with algae or other aquatic scum. A dirty hall can easily add up to 30% of fuel cost.
Just like cars, boats need to have their oil changed. Four-stroke outboards, inboards and stern drive boats require regular oil changes. The frequency will vary by model, but a good rule of thumb is to change the oil every 100 hours of operation or at least once a year. Read More »
Sailing for Beginners
Sails work by “catching the wind” only when the boat is sailing directly downwind. The rest of the time, a sail is essentially an airplane wing standing on end, and works the same way:
When properly trimmed (adjusted or positioned), the sail’s leading edge—the luff—points into the wind, creating lower pressure on the windward side (the side facing the wind) and higher pressure on the leeward side (the side away from the wind).
The sail “lifts,” or moves, toward the lower-pressure zone, pulling the boat along with it. This works because the sail isn’t a flat sheet of cloth, it’s curved, like a wing. (The curvature, or “draft,” is built-in by the sailmaker, through careful cutting and sewing of the narrow panels that make up the sail.) Read More »
For some being out on the water is enough to make their stomach turn. Maybe it’s the waves, the boat, the motion, or just nerves. No matter what it is that makes you feel uneasy, it isn’t any fun. Here is a little story of a good day gone south (figuratively speaking).
Story by: ScubagalPNW
OK, here is a good one. My husband and I went on a Truth Aquatic trip to the Channel Islands last July. He is notorious for getting sick on dive boats. Needless to say the trip was very rough. The Santa Ana’s were blowing like crazy, one night we spent tucked up in a cove on the leeward side of San Miguel Island and the wind was blowing 40 knots!!!!
He was really doing pretty well and I think by this time had only puked over the side once. He always feels much better in the water that he does on the boat. Read More »
Some of the biggest mishaps around marinas involve a captain who maneuvers into a slip and then conducts a Chinese fire drill trying to make fast the lines. The results? Boats smash into pilings, bang the bow pulpit or the props against a bulkhead, or even lose a passenger overboard. Once I watched a dock helper break his arm between the gunwale and concrete. In each case the captain would have been better off with some help from a “deck ape.”
The term deck ape is Navy slang for the jack-of-all-trades sailor who handles the lines, manages cargo loads, does routine maintenance and cleaning, and stands lookout, if needed. It’s a lowly role in terms of naval hierarchy but it’s a vital one. Here are five “deck seamanship” responsibilities a captain should designate to his ablest (most apelike?) friend so he can keep focus at the helm.
An ape needs to know three basic line skills when situations call for these: a cleat hitch, a clove hitch and a bowline.
When tying to a cleat, always take a round turn around the base before doing figure eights around the horns. Read More »
Are you good at remembering to wear you life jacket? Do you make sure your kids have one on? In this article are some scary statistics, hopefully after reading we can all help to be advocates of safe boating.
Organizers of National Safe Boating Week, running through Friday, will continue to place emphasis on getting boaters to wear life jackets.
The North American Safe Boating Campaign — simply known as “Wear It!” — is a yearlong effort in the United States and Canada to spread the boating safety message and the importance of wearing a life jacket.
In 2011, the last year for which full data is available, there were 758 deaths and 3,081 injuries as a result of 4,588 accidents, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Of all fatal boating accident victims, 70 percent drowned. Read More »
Collisions occur between boats more often than you might think, usually because one or both captains did not know or were not applying the Rules of the Road. The rules come from the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS), with which the U.S. regulations are consistent. Following are the basic rules that apply to all sailboats in U.S. waters.
Whenever two boats come close to each other, the rules designate one as the stand-on vessel and the other as the give-way vessel. The rules are designed to prevent a situation like two people walking toward each other on a sidewalk who both step out each other’s way in the same direction and thus run into each other. The stand-on vessel must continue on its course and the give-way vessel must turn away to avoid collision. Therefore both captains must understand the Rules of the Road and know whether, in any given situation, their boat is to stand on or give way. Read More »