Monthly Archives: November 2016

  • Fall into Late-Season Boating

    There's so much to love about autumn: the beautiful colors on the trees, the crisp air, the special blue of the November sky. There's no line at the boat launch, lots of space at the docks, and open water as far as the eye can see. It's nice to have the beach and water to oneself.

    With the end of peak boating season, marinas scale back services. You might not be able to refuel late in the day if the pumps close early, and you can't count on bait shops to stay open in the evening, either. Take enough bait, snacks, water, and supplies with you, and fill your gas tank before you depart. If you carry a spare gas can, fill it, too, and be sure to store it safely (not in the engine compartment or cabin).

    How are your lights? The days grow shorter, which means you might be getting back to the dock after dark. Replace burned-out bulbs when you find them. Cold temperatures shorten battery life, both in your boat's system and in flashlights, so carry extra batteries for your small electronics, charge your cell phone, and be sure you've got a full charge on your boat's battery.

    Temperatures fall after sunset, of course, and sunset comes early this time of year. Check the forecast and dress accordingly. Layer up! you can always shed a coat or sweater if you get too warm, but you can't add one if you don't have one on the boat. Bring along an extra sweatshirt or jacket just in case.

    Speaking of jackets, where's your life jacket? Carry a personal flotation device for everyone on board, and insist that children wear one. The Skipper recommends that every passenger wear a life jacket, but the law requires that kids under 13 wear theirs.

    A bimini top with side curtains or a camper top can help hold in warmth, whether that heat comes from a heater or just passengers' body heat. Be sure the driver can see all around while in motion, though, and keep the boat ventilated; carbon monoxide can't be smelled and can make you sick before you realize it's building up.

    Now, fill your travel cups with hot cocoa, buckle on your life jackets, and have some fall fun!

    Photo: dongnanxibei.wordpress.com