Monthly Archives: August 2016

  • Make a Splash with Water Trampolines

    Editor's Note: We wrote this article for the July issue of Great Lakes Scuttlebutt, and the good people at that magazine have granted us permission to repost it. Many thanks!

    What’s more fun than a trampoline in the backyard? How about a trampoline in the water? If you’ve visited Destin, Florida, you’ve probably seen the Crab Island Water Park on Destin’s famous sand bar and party spot. Fun for kids of all ages, it’s made up of inflatable slides, balance beams, and trampolines.

    Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Photo: Destin Vacation Boat Rentals

    Like a swim raft, a water trampoline must be anchored in water of a safe depth. The manufacturer Rave Sports recommends smaller trampolines for shallow water. Larger trampolines provide a bigger bounce and, consequently, a deeper plunge into the water, so anchoring a big trampoline in deep water is important to keep jumpers safe. Unanchored, a water trampoline makes a free-floating raft with space for several friends to lounge.

    Water too cold? The more ruggedly built inflatable trampolines, like the Rave Sports Bongo line, can be set up on land, too. Check with the manufacturer to make sure your bouncer can be used this way without damage; one sharp stick or jagged shell is all it takes to pop an inflatable.

    As seen at Crab Island, slides and logs can be attached to trampolines to create a mini water park in your favorite swimming hole. Great Lakes Skipper carries complete packages from Rave Sports with trampoline, slide, and balance log, plus ladder and pump. Inflate, assemble, add your own anchor, and watch your beach become the most popular around. An exciting addition to any trampoline setup is the launch, a squishy inflated bag that swimmers can use to catapult each other into the water. Rave Sports includes a launch with its Aqua Jump 150 set, found on our website.

    pic1 Rave Sports Aqua Jump Eclipse 150 with log & launch

    The best fun is safe fun. Supervise the kids and make sure everyone playing on the trampoline is wearing a life vest. Don’t dive into shallow water, or water of unknown depth.

    Whether your swimming spot is a beach resort, a summer camp, or a single dock, a water trampoline can enhance the enjoyment of you and your guests. Here’s to buoyant, bouncy fun!

  • Mad Props: Replacing Your Boat's Propeller

    You're cruising along your favorite lake or river, and you feel a little bump. The boat keeps running just fine, but when you get back to the dock, you check your propeller and find you've cracked or bent a blade. The damage might not look too bad, but even a little crack in a propeller blade can negatively impact performance, reduce fuel efficiency, and cause costly damage to the engine itself. In this instance as in so many others, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure: Install a new propeller as soon possible.

    Choose wisely. Aluminum propellers are affordable, but for durability, you can't beat stainless steel. Steel props also are reputed to be faster, adding as much as 3 knots in speed. Large boats and motor yachts with inboard motors frequently use nibral propellers, made of a nickel-brass-aluminum alloy. Make sure the propeller you choose is suitable for your motor. If in doubt, consult your local prop shop (or call Great Lakes Skipper customer service) for advice.

    Safety first. Put the boat in neutral, remove the key, and pull the kill switch to keep the engine from starting while you're working.

    Mark your spot. Mark the position of the old propeller on the shaft with a Sharpie or other marker. This takes the guesswork out of positioning the new prop.

    Off with the old. Use a ratchet set to loosen the nut, then pull the old propeller off the shaft. A prop puller makes this part easy. If you don't own one, some marinas and shops have them for rent. Without a puller, your most important tool might be patience. If your propeller is cracked or broken, avoid cutting yourself on any sharp edges. Once the propeller is off, inspect the shaft for damage. And keep track of your hardware! The only thing worse than hunting for lug nuts in a snowdrift is searching for a prop nut in the water.

    On with the new. Grease the prop shaft well with a quality marine lubricant, and slide the new propeller on. Align the prop with the mark you made, and carefully tighten the nut. You're done!

    Take good care. For best performance, pull your propeller and clean and lubricate the shaft as recommended in your manual (usually every 50-100 hours). Before each outing, check your propeller for damage to avoid unpleasant surprises.