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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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The Basics of Boat Maneuvering

  What is the most intimidating part of boating? Some might say the costs, but let’s assume that’s not an issue. Learning how to captain the boat. Maneuvering a boat is not like maneuvering any vehicle on land. It is a completely different process. This can be hard for some boaters to get a hold…

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The Basics of Dressing Ship

  The nautical term of dressing ship, to dress ship, or dressing overall can be confusing. This ritual is often reserved for military vessels. It can also apply to recreational vessels such as yachts. Even cruise ships may dress ship. It’s a process of decorating a ship for a celebration. You would dress a ship…

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Boating in Heavy Weather

Handling a small boat in a storm doesn’t have to be stressful. If you have kept a proper lookout, developed a “weather eye” and monitored the weather on your VHF radio, you should have plenty of time to get prepared. Obviously, the best way to handle rough weather is to get to shore immediately and avoid…

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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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The 14 Best Inflatable Life Vests for 2022

When the weather turns hot, you want to hit the beach. Boating, fishing, paddle boarding and more, all need to be done safely. If you don’t like the bulk of a typical PFD, then inflatable life jackets are a great option. Let’s check out some of the best inflatable life vests on the market.

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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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Converting Amps, Watts and Volts: Boating Electrical Basics

If you’re going to be operating a boat you need to have a basic understanding of how the electrical system works. The problem with that for many newcomers is that not everything electrical is explained in plain English. The terminology can get confusing, especially when you need to understand voltage, wattage and resistance. But you…

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Do You Need a Captain’s License?

Do You Need a Captain’s License? And what is a passenger for hire? We have received several emails asking about the necessity of having a captain’s license. One such email described a situation that follows: “A friend of mine was boarded by the Marine Police and the Coast Guard while fishing on the Chesapeake Bay….

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Everything You Need to Know About Distress Signals

Understanding what distress signals are, as well as when and how to use them is integral for boating. Rule 37 in the Rules of the Road states: “When a vessel is in distress and requires assistance she shall use or exhibit the signals described in Annex IV to these regulations.” These signals can be confusing,…

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How Do Boat Trim Tabs Work?

Trim tabs work exactly the same way as the control surfaces on an airplane. They help stabilize the boat and keep it running on an “even keel” as some might say. Once you understand how they work, it’s easy to see why they’re so helpful and how you can male the most of using them….

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How to Use a Multimeter

Many of the problems that you will encounter on your vessel are electrical problems. It is because of this that the multimeter is an invaluable tool. With it you can do a lot of troubleshooting and track down potential problems without calling an electrician. I prefer a digital multimeter that gives a more accurate digital…

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How to Dock and Undock a Boat

Like parallel parking a car, docking and undocking a boat just gives some people anxiety. But it doesn’t have to be that hard. You can prepare ahead of time and give yourself time to practice as well. Make a plan for docking and a plan for docking. How to Dock a Boat There are a…

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Documenting Your Vessel – FAQ

If you own a boat, it needs to be documented. It’s like having a registration for your car. You can obtain your documents from the National Vessel Documentation Center. They will issue you a U.S. Coast Guard certificate of vessel documentation. This is registered at the federal level. The U.S Coast Guard may ask you…

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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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How to Anchor a Boat

Anchoring a boat is one of the most important steps to ensuring safety on the water. If you haven’t mastered this step you can put yourself and your passengers in danger. Not to mention your boat and other vessels as well. If you plan to weigh anchor, follow our guide to ensure it’s done right…

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How to Repair Boat Hull Blisters AKA Chicken Pox

Boat blisters, also known as chickenpox, can be a real pain to repair. And a real stressor. A boat is supposed to be waterproof. That’s the defining characteristic of a reliable boat. But not every part of the boat is as waterproof as it needs to be. Not all the time, anyway. The outer layers…

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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 Basics of Boating Etiquette

Boating etiquette has been developed over hundreds of years. Some rules are actual rules, set in stone, that need to be followed. Ignoring these can have legal or financial repercussions. But a few rules are unwritten. These are courtesies that boaters extend to one another. Boat sets of rules work together to make boating a…

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The Best EPIRB for 2022

Boating safety is key to being able to enjoy your time on the water. Any sailor needs to have the proper emergency gear on board before you head out. This includes the obvious things, like personal flotation devices. But technology can also help make your sailing smooth. You want a good quality VHF radio on…

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How to Calculate the Distance to the Horizon

Calculating the distance to the horizon takes a bit of clever math. Not necessarily complicated, but not intuitive either. Consider what you’re trying to figure out, after all. You’re looking out from your boat across the water to the horizon line. And though it looks like a flat run from you to the edge of…

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Chart Reading 101: How To Read Nautical Charts

There’s more than one boat owner out there who doesn’t have access to any nautical charts. Maybe you’re one of them. No paper nautical charts and no electronic nautical charts available either. For many boaters, it’s like owning a road map. It’s outdated and, if you know where you’re going, why bother? But there’s a…

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How to De-Winterize Your Boat

Preparing boats for winter is one of the most important things boat owners can do. Winterizing boats will protect the boat engine, cooling system and more. It’s critical to keep your boat running. It will also prevent serious damage and insurance claims. But once the seasons change you need to undo all that work. Luckily…

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Kite Boats: What You Need to Know

Kite boating is not a new concept by any means. However, to many, kite boats are still a novelty. You don’t see them that often out on the water. But kite boating can be a lot of fun. And also a challenge. Plus there are some hidden benefits to kite boating. It can have an…

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Nautical Mnemonics: Understanding Boat Lights

  One of the most complicated things to learn about your boat are the COLREGs lights. That stands for International Regulations for Prevention of Collision at Sea. The lights on your boat, both power boats and sail boats, help you navigate at night. They also help other boats understand how to navigate around you. We…

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How to Prepare Your Boat for a Hurricane

Keeping safe on the water is no easy task. Storm clouds and hurricanes are always a risk. Boats need to be ready. How you prepare depends on where you plan to store your boat. Also on how much time you have ahead of the hurricane. As always, ensure your own safety first. Learning how to…

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Low-Head Dams: A Not-So Clear and Present Danger

On a river there can be many dangers. Some are easier to pick out than others. One that many people overlook are low-head dams. In fact, ask the average person what a low-head dam is and they will have no idea. Let’s take a look at what exactly a low-head dam is. Also how recirculating…

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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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How to Protect Your Boat From Lightning

Of all the dangers you can face at sea, lightning is one that almost no boater considers. Lightning is not a threat in the eyes of most people. It’s considered rare and unusual. You need to get that thought out of your head as a boat owner. Lightning strikes are far more common than you…

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