boat maintenance

  • Help With Hatches

    Shop the Skipper's hatch sale! Get 10% off hatches, doors, and portlights through April 30. 

    You're ready for boat season! Your fiberglass is shiny, your decals are brilliant, your chrome is so bright that it shines like the sun itself. How about those hatches? Is the Plexiglas® hatch lens cracked or clouded? Are the frames discolored? Maybe it's time to swap them out for something new.

    Hatches take a beating. Their job is to keep out the elements, so that's what they're exposed to: sun, wind, weather, and waves. Plus, being set into the deck as they are, people sometimes walk on them - and in the case of plexi ventilation or escape hatches, that's not great for their longevity.

    Once you've found the right hatch, installation is easy. As with any project, having the right materials and tools helps a lot.

    You'll need:

    • your new hatch
    • sealant/caulk
    • screwdriver (manual or power)
    • putty knife or flathead screwdriver
    • tape
    • plastic sheet or garbage bag

    1. Working from inside the cabin, tape some plastic over the hatch opening to keep crud from falling into the cabin.

    2. Use your screwdriver to unscrew the hatch from the deck, then lift it out. Use a putty knife or flathead screwdriver to pry the hatch loose, if necessary.

    3. Scrape away old sealant with the putty knife. Work carefully to avoid gouging the deck.

    4. Tidy up the hatch opening: brush away dust and wipe with a damp, soft cloth. Wipe dry or allow to dry naturally.

    5. Install the new hatch. Dry fit the hatch first, to be sure it's going to fit correctly. Then follow the manufacturer's directions, if you have them. If you are replacing the old hatch with the exact same model, you can simply apply your sealant, fit the hatch into the cutout, put the screws in (don't over-tighten), wipe up any squished-out sealant, and let the caulk dry.

    If you are installing a hatch with a different mounting hole pattern, fill the old screw holes with epoxy and let it cure before installing the new hatch.

  • Super Seats

    Get 'em while they're hot! All boat seats are 10% off through April 14, 2019!

    New boat upholstery is so beautiful: flawless and firm. As much as we wish it, it doesn't stay that way; the elements inevitably make their mark. When that time comes, you can look at it as a wonderful opportunity to create a custom seating configuration for your boat.

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  • Merci, Monsieur Pitot!

    In 1732, an engineer named Henri Pitot got the job of measuring the flow of the Seine, the famous river that bisects the city of Paris. A late bloomer, Pitot seems to have been an unremarkable student until age 19, when he fell in love with geometry after picking up a book on the subject in a shop. Pitot went on to accomplish many feats of engineering in his career, but it's the contraption he devised to measure the speed of water flow that has made his name famous among boaters.

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  • Trust, But Verify, Part 3: Speedometers

    When boaters talk speedos, they don't mean the cheeky swimwear (well, not usually). The speedometer enjoys pride of place on a boat's dashboard, and when it goes bad, it's pretty obvious. Finding and fixing the problem can take a little detective work, but it's not difficult.

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  • Trust, But Verify, Part 2: Basic Gauge Troubleshooting

    Nobody enjoys bad news, especially not from one of the boat's gauges. If you're getting a reading that doesn't seem right (or no reading at all), it's not difficult to figure out the problem.

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  • Trust, But Verify, Part 1: Fuel Gauges

    With certain parts exposed to the elements, your boat's gauges and their sensors can take a beating. If you suspect that your gauge is not giving you an accurate reading, we have some hints for how to figure out the problem and how to fix it.

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  • Five Easy Fixes for DIYers

    What's more satisfying than a good day spent on the boat? Maybe knowing that you've worked on it yourself! DIY work doesn't have to mean slapdash or chintzy. With quality parts, the right tools, and some spare time, you can make improvements you can be proud of. Here are five DIY projects to make your boat better.

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  • Prop Problems

    Save 10% on all boat propellers through July 22, 2018!

    Before every outing, inspect your propeller(s). You can file out small nicks and burrs yourself, and bent edges can be fixed by carefully straightening them with a pair of crescent wrenches. Serious mangling needs professional attention from your local prop shop.

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  • Why Use A Jack Plate?

    Save 10% off jack plates and motor mounts through June 9, 2018!

    What the heck is a jack plate, anyway? It's a movable plate that mounts to the transom and lets you raise and lower your boat's outboard motor. Here are a couple of reasons you might want to be able to do that.

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  • Listen Up: 6 Tips for Selling Your Boat

    Selling a boat can be bittersweet. On the one hand, it's exciting to make room for something new, but on the other, your old boat has been a part of many happy memories. Give yourself the best chance at finding your boat a good home with these six tips.

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