Chris Riley

Lifestyle Editor Expertise: Boating | Water Sports | Outdoor Lifestyle Highlights: Experience: Chris Riley is a Lifestyle Editor and founder of, specializing in boating, outdoor sports, and hobbies. Chris heads up a team of industry research experts, curating a comprehensive platform and industry anchor. caters to professionals and passion hobbyists alike. Chris’ experience on the water spans his life and career, with sailing, fishing, surfing, and diving as his prime passions. He’s combined digital-research with his sailing and water-sports expertise, to curate the best in gear, boats, gadgets, and nautical knowhow for his international readership. Based in Rogers, Arkansas, Chris lives in the Ozarks and is surrounded by the Buffalo and Mulberry River, not far from Beaver Lake. When he’s not putting outdoor enthusiasts at the helm of their passions, you can find him on, under, or alongside the water. Education: Chris’ entrepreneur-ship sailed at age 12. Since then, he’s captained innovative projects, navigating his prime passions: sailing, water sports, and outdoor living. He received a first-hand education in boating and water sports, sailing to over 50 islands and travelling to 70 countries. He has his Advanced Open Water PADI Certification.

Articles by Chris Riley

How to Remove a Fish Hook

If you’ve never been snagged by your own hook, congratulations. You have achieved a rare feat. Unfortunately, most of the rest of us are not so lucky. At some point in time, nearly every finds a hook stuck in a finger, an arm, a leg, or somewhere worse. They go in pretty easily, but getting…

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What Are Canal Locks And How Do They Work?

If you’re an avid boater who likes to sail far and wide, channel locks are something you’re bound to encounter. If you stay in your own little lake or just off the coast you may never come across one of these interesting features. But if and when you do stumble upon one, you definitely need…

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Clean Boating – How to do Your Part

Clean boating is the responsibility of every boater. Spills of oil and gasoline can happen by accident, but how you deal with them is your responsibility. Understanding the principles of clean boating can ensure safe and healthy water ways for us all. The Environmental Toll of Petroleum in the Water Petroleum in the water is…

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Navigating Inlets: A Practical Guide For Any Boater

Navigating inlets cannot be mastered by reading a single article. All inlets are different, and circumstances such as weather, your vessel and the presence of other boaters can alter how you navigate. Therefore you’ll need to understand the best practices for navigating any particular inlet and combine those with common sense at the moment.  What…

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How big a boat can I handle by myself?

A question that I get almost monthly deals with how large a boat can one handle on their own. I thought that the answer might be of interest to those of you who are continually looking for some way to spoil an otherwise nice day. One version of the question and the answer follows. Capt…

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Essentials of an Abandon Ship Bag

An Abandon Ship Bag (also called a “ditch bag”, “ditch kit”, “grab bag”, or “flee bag”) is common among most mariners. It has additional emergency supplies to take along in case they need to abandon ship. The question of what supplies to place in the bag provides plenty of stimulating discussion among sailors and boat…

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Your Detailed Guide to Keeping Station

“Keeping Station” refers to the difficult but important skill of maintaining your boat’s position on the water without being anchored or docked. What Is Keeping Station? “Keeping station” refers to holding a position in the water – not moving relative to the land – and here we’re talking about staying still without being secured to…

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The Basics You Need to Know on Any Boat

As a friend of mine once said, the only thing better than owning a nice boat is having a good friend who owns one. None of the headaches, none of the problems, none of the responsibility but all the fun when asked out to enjoy the water. But what happens when your friend, the owner…

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How to Use a Boat Tow Line

There’s no guarantee that you’re ever going to need to tow another boat in the water. But it may happen. And if you think you could just avoid it or wait for someone else to come along, consider if the shoe was on the other foot. If you were in a stranded boat, wouldn’t you…

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WHICH VESSELS MUST BE DOCUMENTED? With a few exceptions, all vessels of 5 or more net tons which are used in coastwise trade, Great Lakes trade, or the fisheries, on the navigable waters of the U.S. or the Exclusive Economic Zone must be documented. A commercial vessel of 5 or more net tons engaged in…

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Everything You Need to Know About Nautical Charts

Every boater who’s serious about what they do needs to know how to read nautical charts. It’s a fundamental, like using a magnetic compass. The practice is becoming less and less common these days. Especially among recreational boaters. Most people who hit the water in their fishing boat or sailboat rely on electronic aids to…

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How to Rescue Someone Who’s Fallen Through the Ice

Hands down, safety is the most important thing to remember on the water. And in the cold, this is even more important. Icy cold water kills much quicker than warm water. Unfortunately, most people aren’t aware of just how dangerous it is. The problem stems from how our minds understand temperatures. If the weather says…

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Bridge Procedures

Traveling the inland waterways can be a pleasant experience but can also bring some special challenges especially for larger boats and sailboats. Dealing with draw bridges takes some knowledge of how the system works and knowing what you are looking for, especially at night. Nautical charts only tell you that there is a bridge and…

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Anchor Bend Knot Step 9

How To Tie An Anchor Bend Knot

Learning how to tie an Anchor Bend Knot is an essential part of boating. If you’ve ever wanted to drop an anchor, you’re going to need to know how to securely fasten that anchor to a line. A regular knot won’t cut it either. Since anchors are responsible for keeping your boat safe and secure,…

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Operating Your Boat in accordance with Homeland Security Measures

In light of security measures brought about by the events of September 11, 2001, it is critical that all boaters be aware of and comply with homeland security measures set forth by federal, state and local governments. These should include, but are not limited to, keeping a safe prescribed distance from military and commercial ships…

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U.S. VHF Marine Radio Channels and Frequencies

When you’re out on the water, it’s essential that you’re familiar with VHF marine radio frequencies and channels. The marine industry specifically uses the VHF frequency range for communication. VHF stands for Very High Frequency, and it’s used for ship-to-ship, ship-to-shore, and even ship-to-aircraft two-way communications. There are plenty of marine channel frequencies, and a…

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How to Change the Oil in Your Boat

Just like getting the oil changed in your car, you need to change engine oil in your boat. The difference here is that it can be a much messier job. Many boat owners dread oil changes in their boat. It doesn’t have to be as hard as it seems, though. It’s definitely something you don’t…

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Do You Really Need a Captain’s License? Here’s What You Need to Know

Do you need to be licensed as a captain to operate a boat? What’s the difference between a boat captain and a boat operator? How do you get a captain’s license if you need it, and how do you even know when you need one? We get asked questions like this from people concerned they’re…

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Buying Your Own “Hole In The Water”

Buying Your Own “Hole In The Water” The two most widely-used sayings about boats are that they are “holes in the water, into which you throw money” and “the happiest day of a boat owner’s life is the day they buy the boat and the day they sell it.” Although many people believe these axioms…

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Boat At Anchor With A Sailor Hauling Rope

Understanding Boat Navigation Lights

Boat navigation lights are essential when you’re out on the water. They’re essential, but it’s easy to misunderstand their uses and correct placements. If you don’t know the correct placement for your stern lights or know what type of navigation light you need on your mast, don’t worry: we’re here to help. Below, we’ve got…

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The Life Expectancy of the Marine Engine

The Life Expectancy of the Marine Engine The average marine gasoline engine runs for 1,500 hours before needing a major overhaul. The average marine diesel engine will run for more than three times that long and log an average 5,000 hours under the same conditions. The number of hours that a marine engine runs is…

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Watch Schedules and Ship’s Bells

Watch Schedules and Ship’s Bells As early as the 15th Century, a bell was used to sound the time onboard a ship. (Time, in those days, was kept with an hourglass. See The History of Navigation ) The bell was rung every half hour of the 4 hour watch. A 24 hour day was divided into…

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U.S Coast Guard Boat Requirements For Recreational Vessels


This is the current up-to-date list of the U.S Coast Guard’s minimum safety requirements for recreational boats with sizes of up to 65 ft (19.8m) in size. These requirements detail what boating safety equipment must be present on board, and other necessary features that must be installed to comply with federal laws. It’s worth noting…

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ICOM IC-M93D Marine VHF Handheld Radio

Ranking The Best Handheld VHF Marine Radios On The Market

A handheld marine radio is an essential piece of equipment for boaters heading out to sea. They can be used to contact the Coast Guard in case of an emergency, for communication with other vessels, and for regular information updates and weather reports. A handheld VHF radio is what you need! VHF stands for Very…

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Life Jackets and PFDs Hanging Up

How To Choose The Right Life Jacket For Your Needs

A life jacket is a personal flotation device (PFD) that comes in a variety of shapes, colors, sizes, and materials. Some life vests are made to be more rugged and last longer while others are made to protect you from cold water. No matter which life jacket you choose, be sure to get the one…

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Mark Twain Boat Definition

What do Mark Twain and your depth sounder have in common?

What Does Mark Twain And Your Depth Sounder Have In Common? A recent trip to Disney World in Florida and a subsequent ride on a paddle wheeler reminded me of something I had long forgotten. Thought some of you might be interested in how depth was measured in the “Ol days.” Actually, lead lines are…

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Understanding and Utilizing the Secrets of Waves

Understanding and Utilizing the Secrets of Waves Any time you picture a body of water larger than a puddle, one of the first things that comes to mind are the rolling waves, or the surf lapping at the shore. Well, at least that’s what happens with me… But waves are much more than tranquil anomalies,…

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Nautical Flags

International Code Flags or Signaling Flags

International Code Flags or Signaling Flags Although you may never see them displayed except at fleet parades, around naval installations, and areas with heavy international shipping traffic, International code flags are used to signal between two ships or between ship and shore. Also called signaling flags, they are a set of ship flags of different…

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SOS Meaning - Morse Code

The True Origination and Meaning of SOS Revealed

Harmony asks “Do the letters in the term SOS represent three words? If so, could you let me know what they are?” Thanks to Neal McEwen for allowing us to use some information from his articles “SOS”, “CQD” and the History of Maritime Distress Calls. There is much mystery and misinformation surrounding the origin and…

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Everyday Phrases and their Nautical Origins

Nautical terms and phrases have found their way into so much of our everyday speech. Though some terms make it obvious, like when you refer to something holding you back as an anchor, or maybe how a few drinks made you feel three sheets to the wind, other phrases are not. These everyday terms have…

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