The SkipperLiner Blog

The 3 Part Recipe For Easy Docking

yacht-docking

Anyone can push the throttle forward in open water, but it takes someone who is truly in touch with their boat to execute an elegant docking maneuver.

Gliding gracefully into a docking area is one of the most satisfying and impressive parts of boating. Confidence comes with experience, but it also helps to have some secrets and tips for making docking easier.

The position of the wheel, the force and timing of the throttle, wind direction, and the pull of the current all come in to play. Docking well requires more than just knowledge of the conditions, however. It takes technique.

The Recipe For Easy Docking

Docking well is an exercise in finesse. Here is the three part recipe that will help you dock like never before.

1. Know Your Turning Circle. Your boat‘s turning circle is determined by the amount of space your boat needs to make a full turn. This can change at different speeds and in different conditions. Knowing your turning circle in a given situation can help you know how and when to turn when docking. Whether you are dead ended in the fairway of your marina or you’re working against a current at a fueling dock, knowing your turning circle will help you maneuver with ease. You can get a good sense of your turning circle by taking note of landmarks you pass while on the water like bow pulpits, pilings, and raised outboards. Practice this until you have it down pat. The more you do it, the more you will ingrain it in your mind and movements. Over time, your turning circle at different speeds and in different conditions will become intuitive.

TIP: Props aft of your boat’s transom create a wider turning circle than props that are forward of your transom.

2. Know Your Boat’s Carry. Carry is the distance your boat coasts when you cut the throttle. It also takes into account the amount of force behind your boat as it glides through the water. Slicing through the water after shifting into neutral is not only fun, it’s important to know when timing the use of throttle in different wind and current conditions when docking. Underwater form, the diameter of your propeller and windage all affect how far your boat carries. As a general rule, deeper, taller boats, and boats with larger wheels carry farther.  Carry varies with boat speed, wind, and current. Paying attention to all three of these variables is crucial to a successful docking maneuver.

TIP: monitor your engine’s rpms instead of the boat speed to get a better sense of how current and windage are affecting carry. This can help you avoid the uncomfortable and often embarrassing situation of having to throw the throttle wide open in reverse to stop a collision from occurring

3. Know Your Kick. Kick refers to the sideways movement and direction of the stern of your yacht when you shift into gear. The end goal of docking is to stop at the dock. Knowing your kick will help you get a feel for how and when to apply reverse thrust when pulling up to the dock. Basically, when you turn your propeller, you create a sideways force called propeller torque. This torque and the effect it creates on your boat is called the kick. Rpms and propeller rotation direction will create variance within the kick. The placement of the rudder and gear case on your yacht can also have an effect on your kick. So how can you use kick knowledge to dock well? Keep an eye on your rudder and gear case position along with your rpms before shifting. Shifting into neutral before making rudder changes will also give you more control. A great way to practice is by centering your rudder, then taking note of how changes in propeller rotation and rpms have on your boat.

TIP: Movement of crew or passengers can cause listing, which will effect your kick and the way your boat handles.

There are more components to docking, and everyone has their own methods and techniques. The key is to spend time with your boat, get to know how it operates in different conditions, and practice. The more times you approach a dock, the better understanding you will have of how your vessel behaves in different conditions and with different methods.  Combining this 3 part docking recipe with your own knowledge and experience of docking your yacht will have you pulling into marina and fueling stations with confidence and precision.

“Image Credit: flickr.com

Practical Tips for Avoiding a Boat Crash

boating-right-of-way

Blame it on the open water, the rippling breeze, or Captain Jack Sparrow, but it’s nearly impossible to deny that a certain air of romance and grandeur accompanies boating.

There is no better reprieve from the stressful hustle of daily life than spending time out on the water. While yachting can be a wonderful way to escape the world, it’s important not to become overly seduced by that notion: we share the water with other boaters just as much as we share the road with other drivers.

Failing to follow the rules of the water can result in a serious accident, which means you need to understand what they are and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Reading Navigation Rules is the best resource to use when it comes to learning about boating regulations.

Ignorance is no excuse for an accident; you should always know what to do in order to keep yourself and others safe when you’re at the helm. However, you should remember that truly practicing good boat safety begins before you even get on the water.

Staying Safe on the Water

Before you even take your boat out of the slip, you should check the weather and make sure you that there are as many lifejackets on board as there are passengers. If the weather looks dicey or if there are not enough lifejackets, the outing should be rescheduled. Choppy seas and poor visibility are not only dangerous, but they’re also just plain not fun. And, of course, it’s illegal to take your boat out on the water if there are not enough lifejackets on board.

With these two basic elements of boat safety taken care of, let’s turn our attention to one of, if not the, most important boating rules: right-of-way. When we’re driving, the lanes of the road clearly demarcate where each car needs to be. Because there are no roads on the water, determining who has right of way and where each vessel needs to be is a bit more complicated. When two vessels approach other, one is the stand-on vessel, which means it has the right of way, and the other is the give way vessel, which means it must let the other boat pass first. Sailboats that are not being powered by a motor are always the stand-on vessel. In all other cases, which vessel has right-of-way depends on the situation.

If you’re in a narrow channel of some sort and are wish to pass a boat ahead of you, you are the give way vessel and must either ask permission (via horn blasts) or wait until you’re out of the channel. If you and another boat are on course to cross paths if neither of you changed direction, the stand on vessel is the boat to the right: this boat has the right-of-way and the other boat must let it pass in front of it. If you’re approaching a vessel head on, you should each steer to the right until you have enough room to safely pass port-side.

Understanding Right-of-Way

In order to avoid a collision with another boat, it is necessary to have a firm grasp of how right-of-way works. Always remember that even if your vessel is the stand-on vessel but the other boat does not appear to be altering its course, you should yield the right-of-way. It’s more important to be safe than right!
In addition, it’s important to keep in mind that boat safety is something that needs to be practiced even when your boat is not actively moving. For example, one of the most common reasons smaller boats capsize is because they were improperly anchored: you should never anchor to the stern. Boats are meant to go over waves bow first, so when you anchor to the stern, it only takes the unlucky collaboration a few small factors to result in a situation where your boat might take a wave stern first and capsize.

Finally, one of the best ways you can ensure the safety of yourself, others, and your boat is to never drink while boating. Enjoying a few beers while out on the water may seem like the most harmless thing in the world but the truth of the matter is that drinking while boating is just as bad as drinking while driving. When you drink, you’re engaging in an activity that will reduce your awareness, reaction time, and impair your judgment. This could prove to be a deadly combination.
In many ways, the reality of boating is just as wonderful as the one we imagine. However, keep in mind that a boat is still a vehicle and therefore needs to be operated with precision and care. Ultimately, practicing good boat safety must be a key element to any day spent out on the open seas (or lake) with your family or friends!

“Image Credit: wikimedia.org

The No Navaid Survival Guide

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When you’re boating, you have to navigate your surroundings without being able to rely on road signs or traffic signals.

Instead, you have to become acquainted with a brand new set of indicators. They might not be as obvious as a traffic light or stop sign, but they are equally as communicative. By learning how to interpret and apply these signs, you will soon realize nautical navigation provides a plethora of signals that can be used as guides.

Navigating Your Yacht

In many ways, learning how to navigate a yacht is like studying a foreign language because it requires learning a new vocabulary and forces you to communicate with yourself and your surroundings in an entirely different way. You must learn the names of the different parts of the boat, understand the movement of the tides, be able to make inferences about the seafloor, observe changes in the coastline, and know what different buoys, markers, and light sequences signify. It is no easy task, but it is both an incredibly worthy undertaking and also an immensely rewarding one.

Years ago, becoming fluent in nautical navigation was as much about mastering an art form as it was about mastering a skill: it required a deep understanding of mechanics, astronomy, meteorology, and oceanography, just to name a few. While modern nautical navigation no longer relies as heavily on the sextant or celestial movements, it still bears evidence of this past. Dead Reckoning, for example, is still a vital component of nautical navigation, although it is now calculated through the use of modern instrumentation instead of by hand. Additionally, one aspect to nautical navigation that will always remain constant is that it takes years to truly master its language and understand all its various components.

Navigating Without Technology

The technology of nautical navigation is both vast and constantly evolving. These days, it’s rare anyone even gets in the car without a GPS and boating is no exception: most boats are equipped with a variety of electronic devices to make nautical navigation as safe and precise as possible. For example, sonar modules are becoming more and more commonplace. These modules provide you with detailed and instantaneous charts depicting the topography of the ocean or lake floor below you. Additionally, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration regularly charts any changes in the ocean floor and keeps detailed charts of the tides, all of which are available online. The U.S. Coast Guard supplements these charts with maps and warnings of its own, so boaters will hopefully never be unduly surprised by the physical characteristics of the waterways they find themselves in.

Rivers, lakes, and shorelines are all extremely susceptible to Mother Nature’s capricious nature: strong winds, flooding, and rain can all drastically change the topography of waterways in sudden and unforeseen ways. Moreover, these changes can pose serious dangers to boaters as unexpected changes to the coastline or lake floor can cause boats to bottom out or capsize. Additionally, boaters rely on channel markers and buoys in much the same way that drivers’ rely on road signs: these indicators communicate vital information about the waterway and the boater depends on these details to know where and how to position the boat.

If you ever find yourself in a position where you think the topography of a waterway you will be using has changed in a significant way, there are a couple of strategies you can use to prepare yourself. First, visit the U.S. Coast Guard website and check the “Notice to Local Mariners” page to see if there are any navigational changes or warnings for your area. Secondly, use a sonar tool that combines your radar with a chart plotter, which will allow you to see if there have been any concerning changes in the depth and structure of the waterway.

The most important strategy to employ, however, is an “eyes wide open” one. Ultimately, you should study your surroundings and trust your instincts and your eyes. The surface of the water can tell you a lot about what lies below. For example, wakes that build up or break in a certain spot indicate that is a shallow area. Additionally, the way that the wind ripples the water might also be indicative of a lack of depth in that spot. Finally, if the water’s surface has different shades of color, this could be another sign of varying depths.

Modern day nautical navigation has become very reliant upon electronic instruments but don’t forget that you can use the lessons and traditions from its past to help you navigate a potentially risky area. The best thing you can do is to be patient, maintain a low speed, and constantly and vigilantly observe your surroundings. When you use this strategy, you will be able to carefully chart the safest course over whatever danger might be lurking just below the surface.

“Image Credit: wikimedia.org

The best way to mount your marine electronics

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Mounting Your Marine Electronics

It doesn’t matter if you’re piloting a 20-foot trailer boat or a super yacht, finding solid, convenient mounting spaces for your marine electronics and gadgets can be a challenge.

Having space at the helm is a matter of convenience (where did you set those binoculars!?), but it’s also a matter of safety. Quick access to an organized set of marine electronics will help you select your route, know your position, and allows you to communicate quickly and effectively.

Space is precious on a yacht, and it always seems like you could use some more convenient spots for your equipment. We’ve put some thought into it and are ready to share some of our creative solutions for mounting gadgets in tight spaces.

Yacht Gadget Mounting Solutions

  1. RAM mounting solutions. With more than 100 mounting brackets and mounting variations, RAM (www.rammounts.com) provides yachters with an incredibly diverse set of options. Choosing from the over 100 mounting options allows you to create an endlessly unique electronics installation that is truly customized to your yachting space. RAM has made a name for itself not only for its many mounting options, but for it’s patented, adjustable ball joint technology that allows you to adjust a bracket to any angle for optimal viewing and interacting. Many brackets, like the RAM-111U, the RAM-B-101 and the RAM-109HU are all in the fifty dollar range and can handle nearly any small display application. Other RAM brackets, like the RAM-109VU have adjustable arms that swing out, allowing you to position your screens for direct use or to get them out of the way.
  2. Pod mounting solutions. Using pods to mount your marine electronics can be an excellent way to make use of areas with limited space. Pods are efficient mounting solutions that convert a mounting footprint of only six or eight inches into surfaces that can hold 12 to 15 inch panel displays. How do they do it? Pods elevate your marine electronics above the dash and over the mounting footprint, giving you more space and visibility. Many pod mounts have features like side to side swivel base options, four-way swivel bases, and come in precut or uncut options for custom installing your particular electronic devices. Both NavPod’s Grand Prix mounting options (oceanequipment​.com) and Seaview’s Power Pod series (seaview​global.com) offer resourceful, creative, and effective solutions for mounting your gadgets to give you as much room on your dash as possible while still having convenient access to your screens.
  3. Remote solutions. Is your helm getting crowded with gadgets and touch screens? While mounting  your electronics in unique, creative, and clever ways can help you organize your instruments and give you more space at the helm, there is no substitute for removing things. Applying remote controlled solutions to your electronic devices allows you to control them from a pocket sized remote and frees up your dash. One of the classiest ways to free up room is to send your VHF radio unit packing. Don’t get rid of it, of course. A remote electronics solution allows you to keep your bulky radio equipment in the cabin and just a remote full-function microphone at the helm. Many VHF radios are equipped to use this option (even units that use a “black box” VHF device). Another remote option that can clear up space at the helm is by removing autopilot control heads. Si-Tex’s SP-70 (si-tex.com) operates with a small remote control device that doesn’t use any space on your dash, yet gives you the full autopilot functionality you need.

Organize your electronics for convenience and safety

Whether you’re cruising the Great Lakes, motoring on the shores of the Bahamas, or headed to a sand bar on a winding river, having easy access to your marine electronics is more than convenient, it’s a matter of safety. Organizing your devices in a way that maximizes your space at the helm and gives you the full benefit of your electronics help you be prepared for anything on the water.

In the event that you have a man overboard (MOB) situation, responding quickly and using all of the tools at your disposal will help increase the likelihood of a successful rescue. One of the first things to do in an MOB situation is to hit the MOB button on your GPS or chart plotter. Many GPS devices also have a track or trail function that allows it to create a detailed map of your course, which can let you retrace your exact route to where the MOB event occurred. Using these functions in a timely and efficient manner requires organization. Mounting your GPS or chart plotter in a convenient location on your helm will help you stay calm and will allow you to focus on the task at hand instead of searching your dash for the electronic device that you need.

“Image Credit: flickr.com

How to rescue a man overboard

man-overboard

Hopefully you’ve never had to deal with a man overboard (MOB) situation on your boat.

If you have, you know that rescuing a distressed swimmer in open water is a challenging endeavor.

Clear thinking, the right equipment, and a protocol for MOB situations are your best tools for a successful rescue.

Rough water, high winds, and other adverse conditions can make rescue very difficult. Whether the MOB is a member of your own crew, a capsize victim, or a distressed swimmer, utilizing teamwork and helpful lifesaving gear while staying calm can help increase your chances of success.

Man Overboard Rescue Procedure

Every MOB scenario is different, and there is no exact protocol for how to perform a safe and successful rescue. The following steps are not necessarily in the order you will need them, but they are the core of a successful MOB rescue.

  • Maintain visual contact. Keeping an MOB in sight is critical to a quick rescue. If a crew member or passenger falls into the water, immediately yell “man overboard” to warn others on the boat and to signal the crew. Check your heading and make a 180 degree turn as soon as possible. Knowing where the MOB is at all times will make this process much easier and safer. Emphasize in training and during a rescue procedure that your crew must keep their eyes on an MOB at all times when possible. When someone goes overboard, repeatedly ask crew members where the person is, have them point out the person, and request bearings and directions regularly to make sure you are approaching the MOB quickly and directly. Ask for bearings from the bow and the relative distance regularly, as well. If, despite your best efforts, you can’t find the swimmer or visually locate them, it’s time to alert the Coast Guard. Immediately contact them or the local marine patrol unit with VHF Channel 16. You will need to report your coordinates, a visual description of the MOB, and the time the incident occurred, so be prepared with that information. You should also hail all other vessels in your proximity using Channel 16 and alert them to the MOB, asking for help or assistance in locating your passenger or crew member.
  • Hit the MOB button. Your GPS or chart plotter likely has an MOB button that you can press. Doing so will create a reference point for you to use if you are unable to successfully locate the MOB, or if you move off course while making your 180 degree turn. You can also use your GPS’s track or trail capability to create a map of your course, allowing you to retrace your movements. Although wind, currents, and movement by the MOB may have changed their position, having as much navigational information about your movements can prove very helpful.
  • Make use of binoculars. Have your crew members get as high as they can and use their binoculars to search for a missing MOB.
  • Put a lifejacket in the water. Even if you can’t see the MOB, they may be able to make their way to a life preserver or life jacket. Put one in the water as near to them as possible as quickly as possible.
  • Make a smart approach to your target. Once you have spotted your MOB and are moving in their direction, it is important to make the right approach. Move slowly to the leeward (downwind or downcurrent), which will prevent you from drifting over the swimmer, and will allow you to maneuver your vessel more easily. Prepare a life ring or other flotation device that you can safely toss to the MOB. Aim to overthrow so you don’t strike the swimmer with the float. They can grab the line, or you can draw the floatation device closer to them if necessary. Once they have hold of the line, turn the engine off or throw it out of gear, and pull the swimmer in.
  • Board safely. As the MOB approaches your vessel, extend a boarding device, such as a rope ladder, hook-style metal ladder, or other prop.
  • Assess the swimmer. Locating your MOB and extending them a life saving device is a major achievement. The rescue procedure doesn’t stop there, however. Once they are near enough to your yacht to use the boarding device, help them up. Grab them under their arms in a firm grip and assist them as they climb aboard. Once they make it on deck, get them warm and dry quickly and administer any first aid that is required. Even in good conditions, shock can set in, which can trigger hypothermic symptoms. Make sure to also check for swallowed or inhaled water and any cuts or injuries they sustained either from their fall or while in the water. Hopefully they are fine, but if anything is amiss, seek medical help immediately.

Even if you never face an MOB situation, being prepared for one will give you peace of mind and confidence in the safety of your passengers and crew while you are out on the water. Having a clearly defined procedure and the proper equipment to execute an MOB rescue may save a life.

“Image Credit: wikimedia.org

The 12 Tips for Buying Boating Binoculars

boating-binoculars

The importance of a good pair of field glasses cannot be overstated.

Choosing a pair of binoculars for your yachting excursions is more than a matter of convenience. A good set of “eyes” on the water is also a smart and safe way to travel.

Objective and Eyepiece Lenses

Binoculars are comprised of two main sets of lenses. The lens at the front of the binoculars, the larger, thicker, and farthest from your eyes, is called the objective. Its purpose is to collect light, gathering as much of it as it can in order to focus the image. The objective uses the light it gathers from whatever you are observing to create a bright, small focused image that is sent down the tube of the binoculars.

The lens at the other end, the smaller, thinner lens closest to your eye is called the eyepiece. The eyepiece has the critical function of magnifying the image created by the objective. It also generates an image that appears right side up to your eye (the image sent from the objective is upside down).

For the image to be clear and focused, a minimum distance must be maintained between the objective and the eyepiece. In order to shorten this distance, binoculars harness the power of prisms. Housed inside the body of the binoculars, a virtual gauntlet of prisms reflect light from the objective, lengthening the distance between the objective and the eyepiece right inside the housing. This allows binoculars to be compact and easy to handle.

Magnification

The numbers that binoculars are marked with indicate the power of their magnification and their size. There are typically two numbers that give this information. 7 x 50 is a popular and powerful magnification that is well-suited for marine applications. The 7 refers to the power of magnification. Binoculars with a magnification power of 7 make an object appear 7 times closer to you. For example, a buoy at 200 yards viewed through binoculars will look like it is just 28 yards away.

The number that refers to size, the second number, indicates the diameter of the objective lens. This number is displayed in millimeters. Generally, the larger the lens and the greater its diameter, the more light it can gather. More light creates a more focused and brighter image. Yachters typically use a standard 7 x 50 set of binoculars, the reason being that binoculars of greater magnification are difficult to hold steady enough to focus on an object.

Having a good set of binoculars on your boat is a must. Choosing the right pair takes more than just reading the numbers on the side of them, however.

Here’s how to buy a great set of specs:

12 Tips for Choosing Boating Binoculars

  1. Magnification. When it comes down to it, the usefulness of your binoculars relies on appropriate magnification. Too powerful and it will be difficult to hold an object in focus. Too weak and you might as well throw them overboard. The standard boating binoculars have a magnification of 7, making object appear 7 times closer.
  2. Waterproofing. Hopefully your binoculars will stay aboard ship while you’re on the water. Waves, rain, sea spray, puddles, and other forms of moisture inevitably find their way on deck. Keeping water and water vapor out of your binoculars will help them operate properly, keeping fogged lenses out of your vision.
  3. Prism type. To shorten the distance between the objective and eyepiece lenses, binoculars employ a series of prisms. When on the water, Porro prisms are generally believed to out perform roof prisms, in large part because of the fact that they are easier to use with compasses and range finders.
  4. Lens coating. Fully multicoated lenses are considered the best for marine applications. Lens coating reduce glare and scattering, creating even light transmission that produces clear, sharp images.
  5. Objective lens size. Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to lens size. While larger lenses do gather more light and can help create brighter images (especially in low light conditions), objective lenses that are larger than 50 mm in diameter can be difficult to wield, especially on a boat. The larger the objective lens, the heavier the binoculars become. 50 mm lenses are that standard size for yachting binoculars.
  6. Field of view. The visible seascape is measured in degrees. For a wider view, choose a larger number.
  7. Grip. While this may seem like a creature comfort, a softer grip can actually help absorb shocks and bumps, preventing your binoculars from sliding off of surfaces where you set them down, such as the helm, counter tops, or tables.
  8. Fog resistance. Some binoculars are internally pressurized with nitrogen gas. Nitrogen is resistant to expansion and contraction during temperature changes. This can protect your binoculars from over-pressurization, preventing moisture from entering through cracks and broken seals.
  9. Eye cups. Eye cups are the soft, rubber extrusions that fit over the eyepiece lenses. They block light from entering while you hold the binoculars up to your eyes.
  10. Focus mechanisms. Binoculars can be focused with varying degrees of specificity. Individual focusing allows you to adjust the focus for each eye. Center focusing controls the focus of both sides simultaneously. While the type of focus you choose is largely a matter of preference, individual focusing is generally a better option for waterproof binoculars.
  11. Eye relief. The distance from your eye to the eyepiece is referred to at eye relief. Take eye relief into account if you were eyeglasses or sunglasses when using your binoculars. A longer eye relief will help you in those situations.
  12. Exit pupil. The exit pupil is a measurement of the amount of light that actually reaches your eye. The exit pupil is determined by the power of magnification and the size of the objective lens.

Additionally, you may want to select a separate pair of night vision binoculars for use at night.

“Image Credit: wikimedia.org

Winter Boating Tips from SkipperLiner

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Are you a die-hard boater who will gladly brave sub-freezing temperatures in order to enjoy your favorite river or lake?   Thought rare, some boaters will traverse through the winter, keeping their boating desire alive throughout the entire year.  Keep these winter boating tips in mind when out cruising with through that chilly, arctic air.

  1. Bring Plenty of Warmth – Hypothermia is the leading killer of the outdoorsy folk during the off-season.  Hand-warmers, thermos’s filled with hot drinks or soups, and an extra change of clothes is recommended, should you run into any issues.  Remember the common adage “Cotton Kills” – and it may just save your life.   Cotton takes much longer to dry than, say, wool or synthetic materials.  Simply put – pack as much warmth as possible, whether it be cotton material, wool, or others.
  2. Trickle Charge – Depending on the type of battery you have for your vessel, trickle charging insures your battery will remain at its most efficient level.  During the winter months when boats may sit for long periods of time in close to or sub-freezing weather, dead batteries are a common occurrence.  By trickle charging, put it on one-amp trickle charge at all times.  Solar chargers are recommended for a job like this, and are fairly inexpensive
  3. Invest in Float Coats – Heavy-duty jackets lined with foam floatation material inside the body and arms, float coats are meant to keep you both afloat and warm.   Often, float coats can be substituted for heavy-duty winter jackets – doing away with jacket and life-vest combinations that can be cumbersome and uncomfortable.  These jackets, however versatile for winter boating, also work for warmer weather boating.  Versions are made with mesh sides allowing more airflow, ultimately keeping you cool and providing better movement for those wearing the jacket.
  4. Proper Eyewear – Often overlooked when winter boating, proper eyewear will be key when out cruising in close to sub-freezing temperatures.   Traditional eyewear, ie Sunglasses, are better than nothing but should be kept at home until the summer months.  Invest in Ski or Snowboard goggles – those made specifically for going against the winter wind.   An investment such as these will be ideal for wintery conditions, as well as during rain or shine.  Ski and Snowboard goggles help reduce glair and sunshine when out on the slopes, so they can only help reduce the same when out on the water.
  5. Spray will go a Long Way - For the winter boaters, you’ll want to go to the greatest of lengths to prevent rust and/or corrosion on your vessel.  Proper lubrication is key.  Boesheild T-9 is perfect for helping keep your vessel looking shiny and new all through the year.  According to the website, “The formulation, based on a unique combination of solvents and waxes, is designed to penetrate metal pores and dissolve minor corrosion, then leave a resilient waxy coating that lasts for many months.”  Whether you’re a winter boater or otherwise, every vessel owner should keep this product handy.

Some of these tips may go without saying, but they all bear repeating.  Bringing plenty of warm clothes when winter boating is a bit of a no-brainer, but many boaters often forget, or ignore the tip until they run into an issue and are unprepared.  The more prepared you are, for any condition, the better.  Keeping your battery in tip-top shape is always important, and should be number 1 on your checklist before going boating.  Float Coats are a more comfortable alternative to the winter jacket + life vest combination, plus some models are good all year round – making them a more versatile and comfortable option you and your passengers can appreciate.   Put those ski or snowboard goggles to use all year round – they’re perfect for out on the slopes or out on the water.  Finally, keep your boat looking great all year round with the proper lubricants and applications so future maintenance can be avoided, leading to maximum boating time.

Hopefully with these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite hot-spot all year round.   What are some other tips you seasoned winter boaters have?  We’d love to hear them!

2014 Boat Shows: Your Best Plan of Action

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– Insert Your Family Here -

With 2014 right around the corner, multiple 2014 boat shows will begin to pop-up all across the country.  However fun and exciting they may be, you should consider your plan of attack when first thinking about going to these shows.  Visiting boat shows is a great way to find out about the latest innovations, technologies, and to discover new and improved products.  Before you go trotting around these wonderfully lit and product-filled arenas this winter, there are a few things to consider.

Find Your Show

Obviously, the best time to schedule show visits is during the “off-season” – and to visit the 2014 boat shows that are closest in proximity to you.  If you suddenly feel you have the travel bug, travel elsewhere and go to a show that you’ve never been to.  Doing this may further your wanderlust – leading to more exciting boating journeys in the future.  Visit Discover Boating’s website for the nearest boat show for you!

Know Your Budget

Not setting a budget is the last thing you want to do before entering a giant arena full of shiny, enjoyment-bringing objects.   Go into a boat show knowing exactly what you’re looking for and your set and agreed upon budget.  The last thing you want to do is regret buying something that brings you and your family such joy – you’re smarter than that.  Before even thinking of attending the show, however, sit down with your entire family and decide on the best approach for purchasing your boat.  Once you’ve arrived at a decision, use the Discover Boating Boat Loan Calculator that will simulate the boat buying process, and walk you through exactly what your dream vessel may cost.

Bring the Family

Most events are extremely family friendly, full of fun events for all ages.  The kiddos will love to climb on boats, pretend to drive, and be generally in awe of the massive vessels.  The most important person to convince, however, may be your spouse.  Surprisingly, in most cases, one spouse supports the decision to buy a boat more than the other.  Often times boating can help improve relationships – by bringing the family closer together, spending more time together having fun, etc. – which is something that should be conveyed to the spouse.

Choose the Right Dealer for You

Just as important as all the above-mentioned steps is finding the best dealer.  Lets be honest – a boat isn’t a small or inexpensive purchase, and you want to make sure you do it right the first time.  Dealing with an experienced and friendly dealer will make your experience that much more pleasant, and is just as important as the boat on which you decide to buy.  Plan on working with this dealer for an extended period of time, as you will need to contact them for routine services, off-season storage, dock space, etc.

Once you’ve done your homework prior to visiting your desired 2014 boat shows, and be sure you DO your homework, you’re ready to set off on an exciting journey.  The boat buying experience should be fun!  A boat is a large purchase, but its benefits can be endless.  Increased family time, building better relationships with family and friends, and the ability to get away and unplug for a while are just a few of the many reasons boat owners are, in fact, boat owners.

SkipperLiner will be at a few upcoming boat shows this year, including the Utah Boat Show!  Swing by and pay us a visit – we look forward to seeing you there!

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How to deck out the interior of your custom yacht

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Your yacht is a reflection of your taste.

Above deck is where you enjoy the sunsets, the breeze off the water, and the rhythm of the waves, but the interior of your yacht is where the real luxurious amenities come into play. Below deck is where you entertain, where you sleep, and where you relax.

Your yacht is your home away from home. So when you’re aboard ship, you want to feel comfortable. Decking out the interior of your custom yacht will bring luxury and amenity to your time onboard.

Interior Style

Whether you are creating a customized super yacht from scratch, or remodeling a weekend cruising yacht, bringing your sense of style to the interior of your boat is an important step. You want to match the impressive rugged elegance of your yacht’s exterior with a plush custom interior.

The fit of each piece of trim, countertop, and light fixture adds beauty, elegance, and value to your boat.

Some options for custom yacht interiors include:

  • Genuine wood veneers. The look, feel, and texture of real wood veneer communicates grace, good taste, and enduring style. Luxurious black cherry, distinguished maple, or elegant African mahogany are all excellent choices. Choose a veneer that is made of real wood, however, for the most impressive and refined look, instead of faux teak or pressed particle board veneers.
  • Interior wood paneling. The beautiful grain and texture of cherry wood can transform the interior space of your yacht into a luxurious den. Cherry wood is often used for its beauty and pleasing grain. There are many other interior woods that you can select that create the look you are going for. Depending on your taste, you can select from flush-filled panels that are finished in a satin or high-gloss finish. Wood paneling can add a warmth, a richness of color, and an inviting atmosphere to the interior of your boat, as well.
  • Custom cabinetry. Hand crafted custom cabinetry is a must for the completely deck out custom yacht. If you use a custom design for your interior, you will need to rely on custom cabinetry that fits like a glove and extends the style and atmosphere that you create in your boat. You can make selections from solid-stock bullnose moldings, frameless styling, doors and drawers with flush-mounting, and bowed cabinetry fronts. Solid stock wood, in particular, brings richness and warmth to a yacht’s interior. The manufacturer of your yacht will likely have recommendations about where to source high quality woods for custom millwork.
  • Granite countertops. The quiet beauty of granite brings more than opulence to your yacht — it
  • Textiles, draperies, and other fabrics. Cushions, carpeting, draperies, curtains, wall fabrics, and bedding are more than just accents to your interior design. They are components that are extensions of your taste. Work with the designers who are building your yacht, or incorporate your own designs into the textiles you use throughout your boat.
  • Cornices. Custom cornices and moldings around windows can help create an open, bright, and airy feel in your salon.
  • Interior lighting. Custom interior lights let you shed light where you want it. Including dimmers throughout your yacht allows you to set the mood any time of day.
  • Interior storage. Take advantage of storage areas under berths. You can opt for the pleasant look, feel, and aroma of cedar-lined storage systems.
  • Architectural details. Give your yacht flourishes of architectural design with veneered columns, sketch-face doors, and arched doorways.

Yacht Furnishings

First class design is complemented by first class furnishings. The luxurious amenities that make your onboard stay classy and comfortable also reflect  your personality, your preferences, and your style. You’ll want to bring attention to detail and select high quality furniture that has lasting style.

To give you an idea of possible furnishings, here is a list of amenities included in some Skipper Liner super yachts:

  • Two (2) stainless steel refrigerator and freezer combination appliances manufactured by Sub-Zero.
  • 30-inch stainless steel gas range oven with hood manufactured by Wolf Appliances.
  • Custom solid surface countertops and tile backsplashes at each plumbing fixture.
  • Family dinner seating for fourteen (14), designed by Galley.
  • Luxurious mega-yacht style high gloss cabinetry
  • Custom flexsteel salon & Amish Galley furniture
  • Six (6) private staterooms  with ten (10) total beds.
  • Porcelain tile flooring system by Galley & Landings.
  • 42” LCD high definition television complete with home theater.
  • NanaWall all glass wall system by Salon.

This is just the beginning of what is possible. You may also want to include a custom sectional for your salon with spring-down seats, hand crafted and upholstered cushions, throw pillows, and fabrics. You can also use your sectionals for rod storage.

The fit and finish of each component of your yacht’s interior should be pleasing to you. One of the reasons you are customizing your yacht is so you can have it the way you want it. Extend your vision into every aspect of your yacht’s interior. Take care to select products, materials, and designs that fit your lifestyle.

However you decide to fashion the decor of your yacht’s interior, make sure you bring to it the amenities that you will enjoy the most. You don’t have to go it alone, however. You can work with a an in-house decor team provided by your yacht builder to achieve your vision. From each fixture and trim component to the overall layout of your boat, the interior design deserves the attention and talent of a discerning eye.

“Image Credit: flickr.com

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Boater in Your Life

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With the start of winter comes the end of boating season.  Its sad, but true.  Time to put away your captains hat, trade in your Topsiders for Sorel’s, begin the winterization process.  Just when things begin to look bleak – the Holidays roll around.   With the Holidays come the joy of both giving and receiving gifts.  Being the boater you are, you’d gladly trade in any hand-knit sweater or fruitcake for a relaxing day on the lake.  A boat ride in the dead of winter will be neither enjoyable nor reccommended due to the frozen condition of your favorite lake.

For the mean time, we’ve come up with some holiday gift ideas that will be perfect for any boater in your life.

  • GoPro Hero 3+ Camera Black Edition – Have you ever seen these videos?  They are all filmed using a GoPro Camera.  Users include skydivers, base jumpers and the occasional toddler, this slim and sleek camera is perfect for anyone wanting to capture their adventures onto video, without using once-popular digital cameras.  Perfect for boating, the Hero3+ comes equipped within a waterproof casing, keeping it safe and dry when out on the water. The price – $399 – may be a bit steep for some but for the avid watersports man or outdoorsman, the GoPro is perfect gift this holiday season.
  • Joby GorillaPod – A fun and more versatile take on the traditional tripod, the GorillaPod comes equipped with flexible legs giving photographers alternative angles for either photographs or film footage.  The “feet” of the tripod are also magnetic, giving you unlimited options when looking to use it while boating.  By all accounts, the magnets are very strong and sturdy s most reviews state it takes a bit of pull to remove it from any magnetic surface. If you use your mobile phone for photographs instead of digital camera, Joby also sells adapters that allow the use of any mobile phone desired.  The price tag is also very agreeable – $24.99 – that is sure to be appealing to anyone looking to save money this holiday season.
  • JIMMY STYKS 
10’0″ SurfSUP Stand-up Paddleboard – Chances are you’ve seen someone, maybe this past summer, float by your vessel while on a stand-up paddleboard.  The Jimmy Styks’ original wave-inspired stand-up paddleboard features a large nose and tail for effortless entry and to prevent the board from submerging while paddling across the water.  Smaller than a typical cruiser, this Surf’Sup model requires a higher level of riding skill due to its less stable nature, so be sure your recipient has beenstand-up paddle boarding once or twice. This wave surfer features a triple-glassed epoxy deck, double-glassed epoxy bottom for added durability, gloss coat and polished protective skin for long-lasting beauty, sure to catch the attention of anyone else on the water.  Heck, you could even attach your GoPro camera to your paddleboard to capture every memory of the water this summer.

Obviously there are countless other products out there, perfect for any boater this holiday season.  However impractical these suggestions may be for any one boater, they are fun – and isn’t that what being on the water is all about?

What do you think?  Do you already have any of these products?  If so, what do you think of them?

Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!