Power Management: Lessons from Boeing

Anyone who owns a boat may have been thinking about batteries and charging systems quite a bit since Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner nightmare. The fact that diagnosis of the problem took as long as it did is a frightening prospect, but one cannot deny the benefits of new battery technologies—provided they’re managed properly...

Maintaining Dripless Shaft Seals

The dripless seals on your boat require just a little simple maintenance once or twice a year, if you ignore those seals they can turn ugly. Capt. Vincent Daniello will show you how to maintain the dripless shaft seals on your boat.

The Latest Marine Generators

Having a reliable source of power aboard is key, especially when you consider all the high-tech gadgetry you carry on your boat. Generators have kept up with the times, running quieter, burning less fuel, and even taking up less space. Check out the latest gensets here.


Interceptors can sharpen up a boat’s performance and efficiency.

For decades trim tabs have been the popular way to adjust a boat’s running angle. They work well on boats up to about 45 feet but on larger boats, you need some seriously big plates, which can create drag and don’t always deploy quickly. That’s why lately many manufacturers are turning to interceptors, such as those manufactured by Humphree and Naiad Dynamics. These blades mount to the transom and drop down vertically into the flow of water coming from beneath the hull to create lift without producing the drag of conventional tabs.

Bilgewater Treatment

Many years ago, because a now-defunct marine towing outfit I was working for at the time found itself a little short of qualified personnel, I became an instant chief engineer for a few months. I say chief, by the way, because there were no other

Bilge Pump Early-Warning System

Just the other day, I received in the mail a device called a BW8 Bilge Pump Activity Monitor from British manufacturer Celectron. Manufacturers occasionally send me products in hopes I’ll feature them in this column and, after looking the little unit over (and reading the

PMY TRIES... Nautic Air

It was an interesting suggestion, really.

Some weeks before, Heath Schuman of Nautic Air had UPS’d me an experimental version of his portable NA20 air purifier to temporarily try out on my trawler Betty Jane. I’d placed the thing on the dining table in Betty’s saloon straight off, plugged it into a nearby 110-volt outlet, and after securely closing all

Battery Blasphemy?

A contrarian take on battery replacement

All batteries have terminals and cable connectors that need to be periodically cleaned, preferably with a battery brush. I’m guessing I’m in the same boat as a few other folks these days. I’ve got three marine batteries salted away aboard my trawler Betty Jane...

The Creepin' Crud

Like lots of folks, I’ve got two diesel powerplants onboard, one for propulsion and the other for auxiliary power. And just a few months ago, the latter began showing signs of the creepin’ crud—it was overheating, sounding hoarse, and exhaling a greasy gray smoke under load.

The most telling symptom, however, seemed to be that the cooling water that was supposed to be

Maintenance Headache

Maintenance issues are constantly stalking boaters. The simple fact is that on a boat stuff breaks and things leak. Boats are complex mechanisms with dozens of systems and hundreds, if not thousands of components. But three issues seem to account for the majority of problems afloat. Here’s what they are and how to deal with them.

Arguably, the most important component on your boat is her

Water, Water Everywhere...

Heading south for the winter? Life's great under the swaying palms—until you get thirsty. Too often the drinking water in tropical paradises tastes funky. (Maybe that's why so many folks in the Caribbean drink Mount Gay rum for breakfast.) Protect yourself by turning bad water into something you'll actually enjoy swallowing with an onboard water-treatment system.

In the United States,

Watching the River Flow

FloScan's TwinScan shows you how much fuel burn is occuring with both engines.

Now that fuel is almost as expensive as vintage cognac, it's time to keep closer tabs on how much your boat is using: A fuel-management system is an affordable way to do this and relatively straightforward to install. The simplest systems consist of an

Twelve-Volt TLC

This cutaway of a conventional wet battery shows individual cells.

Most boats alternate between the genset and the yellow cord, so it's easy to overlook the batteries—but lead and acid need love, too. Taking care of your batteries usually demands little more than visual inspection and a quick wipe down with a rag. Ignore your

The Nose Knows

The weather is getting warmer, and the sweet smell of sewage is wafting through your cabin. Why? Maybe you took a winterizing shortcut last fall and failed to clean the holding tank thoroughly, leaving a sewage/antifreeze mix that became a smelly sludge glued to the tank bottom. Or maybe you've never rinsed your tank after pumping it out. Whatever the reason, your nose knows that this problem

Servicing the Circuitry

The screen looks complicated, but updating a Raymarine E-Series is easy.

When you go through your boat this spring, show your marine electronics some love, too.

Let me acknowledge right up front that I got help with this column from the Web. While I already had a lot of notions about commissioning marine electronics, asking

Beat the Heat

A fire on land is bad enough; at sea it can be disastrous. Since most fires start in the engine room, if you don't have an automatic fire-extinguishing system, it's time to install one. When fire breaks out, such a system will do the dangerous work for you, without anyone having to enter the compartment until the fire is out. (That's doubly important because opening a hatch introduces fresh air

Keep Your Cool

While most sportfishermen now come with ice makers, retrofitting an older boat with one is a no-fret, no-sweat way to keep your catch fresh.

Most fishermen lug blocks or bags of ice onboard until every insulated box is filled before they leave the dock and hope it will keep their catch cold until they get back. But this is the 21st

Is Your Prop Up to Spec?

As seen here at Hale Propeller, measurements get fed into a computer for precise analysis.

When did you last spend quality time with your propeller? I'll bet it was a long time ago, if ever—not many of us obsess over our props like we do our engines and electronics. But when it comes to performance, your propeller is arguably

The Ozone Zone

An ozone generator can be connected to any existing water tank that has an access plate.

Any shellback will tell you that ships don't run on diesel, they run on coffee. If the coffee's no good, the ship won't be a happy one. And the coffee won't be good unless the water that brews it is good—free of unpleasant tastes and

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