Despite all the jokes revolving around beer-soaked boat rides, boats and booze don't always mix well. Having an alcoholic drink or two is all right if you're not the one at the helm, but even for passengers, overindulgence on the water isn't wise for safety's sake. Alcohol slows down reflexes and can play havoc with your balance. If you choose to drink alcohol while on the boat, please don't drive or operate any watercraft. It's not only dangerous, but also illegal. Don't let a bad decision ruin a good time.
- Continue ReadingJune 28, 2019
- Continue ReadingJune 02, 2017
The Atlantic hurricane season began June 1, but Mother Nature started weeks ahead of schedule with Tropical Storm Arlene back in April. Though Arlene stayed out to sea, we can't count on being so lucky all season. The latest Pacific temperature data is trending towards El Niáo, but the water is not yet warm enough to qualify. The researchers at Colorado State University's Tropical Meteorology Project have revised their earlier forecast and are now predicting 13 named storms this season.
- Continue ReadingMay 19, 2017
Memorial Day in the USA is the unofficial beginning of summer, kicking off the warm-weather party season. You don't need a big yacht to host a boat party, and you don't have to be Martha Stewart to throw a fun, flavorful, and safe party that your boating buddies will remember for a long time.
- Continue ReadingJuly 22, 2016
The ancients blamed the hot weather of July and August on Sirius, the intensely bright Dog Star. During these "dog days," an afternoon on the water can be especially refreshing, but hot weather can present boaters with challenges unique to the season. Watch the Weather. The number on the thermometer doesn't tell the whole story, so check the heat index before heading out. So-called popup thunderstorms are common on hot days, and while they don't usually last long, they can pack quite a punch. As always, if you see lightning, head for port. Performance. Hot, humid summer weather reduces engine power and can knock your speed down by as much as 3 or 4 mph. It can't be helped, but it's nothing to worry about, either. If your boat is otherwise working properly, lower performance in hot weather is normal. Expansion. Heat causes vapor to expand, meaning that gas tanks that get hot can swell. Make sure your tank's vent, if present, is open and unobstructed, and be careful opening portable gas cans, as the pressure caused by expanding vapor can make gasoline splash out. Overheated? If your engine overheats, shut it down immediately. Letting an engine run while it's too hot can cause serious (and expensive) damage. Once the engine's off, you can start troubleshooting. Keep Your Cool, Too. The sun feels so good...until it doesn't. Protect yourself against sunburn with sunblock cream and relax under a shady
- Continue ReadingJune 10, 2016
Summer means long days, late sunsets, and soft, starlit nights. It's easy to enjoy night cruising and fishing safely when you take a little care. Check out the Skipper's tips for safe night boating. Be prepared. Make sure your boat's safety equipment is in good working order. Change old batteries, get a fresh can for your air horn, stock up on flares and glow sticks, and be sure you've got at least one emergency flashlight on board. Giving glowing necklaces and bracelets to your passengers not only makes for a fun atmosphere, but will make them visible in case they go overboard in the dark. Know your surroundings. Even familiar waters can seem strange when night falls, so don't make your first trip in new waters at night. Slow down. Yes, opening up and kicking up a wake is fun, but save it for daytime. And don't tow tubers or skiers after dark, either; it's just too dangerous. Dial it down. Your eyes adjust to the amount of light available, and they can't adapt to the darkness if you're trying to see over the bow from within a brightly-lit cockpit. Turn down the interior lights, and use a compass instead of your chartplotter; even its dim screen can interfere with your eyes' adaptation to the dark. Also, turn down the stereo. Cranking the tunes means you can't hear other boats' horns, so turn down the volume for safety's sake. Learn the lights. Each and every boat is required by law to have correct lighting after dark. Make sure your own