Got a few drink-holder-sized holes in your steering console that need patching? Or a spot where an antiquated plotter used to be that needs filling in?
Tip Of The Month
Tip of the Month
A few generalized tips on docking your boat safely, whether you’re short-handed or single-handed.
Power is the biggie when running an inlet—precisely controlled power. The trick is to precisely fit speed and steering to the constantly changing conditions once inside the pass—going not too fast nor too slow.
If you allow air to enter the supply line of an engine it will promptly airlock the engine and summarily shut it down. Here are the steps to get things going again.
Before departing any dock any time there are a few things you ought to get into the habit of doing...
If caught in unavoidably bad weather, get creative.
No matter how well designed an anchoring system is, if the basics are ignored, it won’t do you any good. Here are a few tips to help make your anchor stick.
When you need a serial or model number from the back of a fixed-mount electronic unit and you can’t see behind it, use your mobile phone to take a picture.
How to make a battery carrier for your boat out of a laundry soap bucket.
Garmin’s Tip of the Month, April 2012
Refilling my batteries tends to be a tough job because they are hard to get at. What I use to make the job easier is an empty 1.75-liter plastic liquor bottle. The plastic insert in the neck makes pouring the water into the battery cavities both easy and accurate. And to refill the bottle I simply remove the plastic insert with a screwdriver, pour in the water, and then snap the insert back on. The best part, though, is that I get to enjoy the liquor in the bottle as I empty it.
When replacing heavy engine parts such as manifolds, thread two bolts with the heads cut off into the outside bolt holes to line up the gasket and manifold with the exhaust ports. Start the new bolts in the empty holes, and when you have installed several of them hand-tight, remove the studs, thread in the last bolts, and tighten everything. This eliminates the difficult job of lining up the gasket and the manifold with the exhaust ports. It also makes manhandling heavy parts a one-person job.
Illustration by Steve Karp
Garmin’s Tip of the Month, Feb 2012
When winterizing your freshwater system, save the antifreeze jugs, cut off the top half and dry them out. Add about one pound of baking soda to each and place them around the inside of your boat for the winter. They will absorb odors, and when you uncover your boat in the spring, she won’t have that musty smell. Be sure to place jugs in your refrigerator, ice maker, lockers, and anywhere else odors typically accumulate.
A tip on installing an impeller in hard-to-reach places.
Carry frequently used maintenance part numbers, to-do lists, and shopping lists with you on your smartphone. Use any number of available free apps (try TurboList for the Droid and Easy Note for the iPhone) that will allow you to keep everything in either simple or categorized form. Or go a step further and use your smartphone calendar
When you’re winterizing your freshwater system and want to prevent messy spurts and sprays that occur when you’ve finished running antifreeze through the lines to the sinks, and the tank and pump are almost dry, cut the bottom out of a few
Even well-made splices in wiring can wick up moisture, especially if they are in a boat’s bilge. Wicking, of course, can cause corrosion, prematurely ruin a splice, and cause electrical issues. To prevent this sort of thing, I suggest adding a drop or two of oil to a splice before you crimp, heat-shrink, or otherwise seal it. The
When working in tight spaces with a cordless drill and stainless steel fasteners, here’s a helpful trick. If you can’t hold the fastener with one hand and the drill with the other, use masking tape to secure the fastener’s head to the driver bit so you can proceed single-handedly. Pull the tape off before sinking
I’ve got a great tool for topping off batteries. Attach a length of clear plastic hose to each end of a gas-line squeeze bulb. Next time you’ve got low distilled water levels, simply insert one end in the jug and squeeze. You’ll be able to control the amount of water going into each cell and keep from spilling and/or over-filling while pouring directly from the jug.
Splash-proof your smartphone with a (61/2" x 3 1/4") Ziploc snack bag. You can manipulate its touchscreen through the plastic and speak and hear clearly as well. This is not 100-percent waterproof, of course, but if you've ever bent over a livewell and watched your phone drop out of your shirt pocketwell, maybe you'll keep
Boaters are always trying to splice and strip small-gauge wires in spaces where a pen-knife or wire stripper won’t fit. I use a letter opener—one of those you hold in your palm. It has a little arm that guides the wire to the fixed razor’s edge while keeping it firmly in place. And it cuts without stripping strands and produces a neat, clean job even in cramped places.
Here’s a little suggestion that’s comparably green, at least in my opinion. Save the paint thinner you use to clean paint brushes in a plastic container. After you’ve set the container aside for a while, the paint residue will settle to the bottom and you’ll be able to decant the now-clear thinner through a paper towel into a second container for a fresh usage.
Dave Jogerst, Gulf
To keep plug-in-type low-voltage chargers for electronics sorted so you don’t inadvertently use an incompatible charger on a pricey piece of equipment, put a dot of nail polish on each of your onboard gadgets (rechargeable spotlight, hand-held VHF, etc.) and a matching dot of the same color on the appropriate charger. You’ll never goof up again.
To loosen a sticking oil filter that you can’t get to unscrew with a standard filter wrench; simply attach a hose clamp around the filter’s base, close and tighten it, and, after positioning a flat-head screwdriver sideways against the screw housing of the clamp, gently tap it with a hammer. I’ve had success with this method on more than one
Launch day means spring has finally arrived. Soon you’ll be out on the water again, and all will be right with the world. That’s the plan, anyway. But first make sure the old barge is up to snuff, that the boatyard did everything you asked, and that gremlins didn’t create springtime problems that weren’t there in the fall. Here are a few tips, along with suggestions for routine maintenance that