Since we’re in the boating season, especially over the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, new boat owners may need some tips on docking their craft for the first time or maybe many times. As such, here are some tips and techniques that may help you to a smooth docking from the folks at Go Boating Florida, a state where boat owners get to use their crafts a lot more than we do here in the Snowbelt.
Docking especially in a wind, can be easier as you can slow your approach to the dock by reversing your engine's power, head bow in, tie off and then use that line as leverage to pivot in. Docking when the wind is blowing away from the dock is another thing. One thing is for certain…eventually, you will need to slow down and put the boat broadside to the wind. The moving air will then blow you away from the dock, and likely turn the boat. Your options for counteracting this become scarce—especially without the benefits of twin engines, bow thrusters, or a friend on the dock.
On your initial approach you will be almost 90 degrees to the dock. This minimizes the turning effects of the wind. The maneuver requires you to use brief but aggressive use of steering and throttle. Consequently, it must be done skillfully and attentively, firmly but smoothly.
Use the boat's momentum to your advantage. Think of this as 'throwing' your boat at the dock, and throwing it into a skid to get it into the slip. To execute the 'throw' you must first run at the dock, then give the throttle a firm but calculated surge of power as you make your final turn.
Done correctly, the boat will slide into its slip using this rotary motion, coming to a stop at exactly the right spot. It may require several attempts but this is okay. Don't rush it or be rushed by anybody else. You can also 'play the wind' and get the boat into position but this can be trickier—and riskier. Keeping it simple is best.
Lines work…use them. In actual practice, combining the above technique with the aid of a line means you don't have to bank as much on momentum to accomplish the maneuver. One of the best ways to do this is using a double spring line, one end attached at the stern and the other near the bow. Just get close enough to the dock and throw the middle of the line past the dock cleat so you can hook it. You can then move the vessel forward or aft to pull in on either end. Once close enough, just cleat it off somewhere in the middle. Be sure to do it quickly—especially if the wind is strong.
Watch and learn. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video can be priceless. Watch this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BokrBo20Rqo), which demonstrates other techniques and gives some additional tips. Practice is never to be undervalued, and watching more experienced captains can take a lot of the mystery and intimidation out of it.
Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) said today crime rings responsible for stealing boats, Yamaha outboard engines, Garmin electronics, and other expensive navigation units along the East Coast’s I-95 corridor have moved across the country. Largely striking boat dealerships and boat-storage facilities, the thieves are getting the attention of a new intelligence working group made up of local, state and federal law enforcement officials as well as certified marine investigators who urge recreational boaters to be vigilant.
One Virginia marina recently reported six 600-pound engines stolen, with dealerships in upstate New York and Texas hit in similar fashion, according to a June 2 report in Soundings Trade Only Today. Working-group member Daniel Rutherford, claims director for Maritime Program Group, a leading marina and boatyard specialty insurance program company said, “They are professional. They know what they are doing and get in and out quickly leaving very little damage.”
What can boat owners and boating facilities do to prevent thefts? It’s hard to stop a determined thief, but you can reduce your chances of being targeted. BoatUS offers seven tips:
1 Take a look at your boat storage area. Is it lit at night? Does it have motion-operated lighting or audible alarms? How difficult is it to gain entry? Is there one or multiple ways to enter? Does it have an effective, fully operating video-surveillance system? Does the storage facility have signage advising that license plates are being recorded and property is under 24-hour surveillance?
2 Slow a thief down. Are helm electronics locked behind a solid instrument cover? Use tamper-resistant fasteners for mounting electronics and outboard locking devices. Using a special nut with an engine-mounting bolt that requires a special key can help.
3 Make stealing expensive electronics less appealing by engraving and posting a warning (this goes for the outboard, too). Create and keep at home an engine and electronics inventory list that includes manufacturer and serial number, and take plenty of pictures – including the boat.
4 Be wary of suspicious questions. In most of the boat dealership theft cases, a suspect posed as a boat shopper on the day before the theft occurred. For boat owners, loose lips sink ships. Boaters should remain cautious to questions from strangers wanting to know more about access. Get to know your dockside neighbors so you can more readily recognize suspicious activity and people who don't belong.
5 Consider adding a boat tracking device that can sound an early alarm if something’s amiss.
6 Yamaha outboard engine owners may want to investigate Yamaha Customer Outboard Protection, or Y-COP. Y-COP is available with the manufacturer’s Command Link (CL) and Command Link Plus (CLP) systems.
7 Help get the word out. If you are a victim of theft, ask your local law enforcement to share the information on the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), a computerized database of documented criminal-justice information available to virtually every law-enforcement agency in the U.S. or add to state crime-tracking databases.
Newest outboard marine motors have taken on a new look, some of which, like Honda’s Design Concept engine, will mostly likely be a production model.
Inspired by Honda’s 2017 Acura NSX Supercar, the new engine has a bold, uncharacteristic for an outboard, look. It debuts at the Miami International Boat Show. The new engine, says Honda, is taller and evokes a sculpted center channel with a honeycomb mesh trim. The hear ducts feature an interwoven design with black honeycomb mesh reminiscent of the intakes on the ’17 NSX two–seat sports car.
According to Will Walton, Assistant Vice President of Honda Marine, “Designers at Honda’s Advanced Design Group were given a clean sheet of paper to design a concept motor that could be applied to a variety of engines. The group checked a portfolio of Honda’s product line and started with some sketches and then moved to digital modeling to create the dimensions and look of the concept engine.”
He went on to say, “The inspiration for the design of this engine was driven by the feeling you get when at the helm of a powerful boat on the water – the rush of excitement, the exhilaration and freedom, the feeling that hits you immediately with the boat at full throttle and the water and air around you.”
Honda’s marine concept comes after Evinrude’s debut of their vertical design motors last season.
This new Honda motor design follows on the heels of the introduction of: the new Honda BF-100, BF225 and 250 White motors; iST (intelligent Shift and Throttle) fore the BF250; the all new BF4, 5 and 6 engines; soon to be released BF40 BF65 and BF105 Jet models.
In addition to motors, Honda will spotlight the new Blackshear 200VK skiff that they partnered with boatmaker H20 Sports Manufacturing, LLC in 2016. The skiffs will be exclusively powered by Honda Marine Engines and will initially feature two 20-foot V-bottom skiff models joined later by 18 and 24-foot variations.
Despite the cold weather, there are some avid kayakers and paddlers who refuse to let the temperature stop them from enjoying their beloved sport. And for those new to the sport or those who received a kayak or canoe for a holiday gift and are dying to test it out, beware of the cold water.
BoatUS, the national boat owner’s association with over a half-million members, says you should wear thermal protection be it a dry or wetsuit while paddling. They say a long-assumed guideline that is meant to help paddlers make the right decision is sometimes known as the “120-degree rule,” however it may instead put paddlers in danger.
The 120-degree rule is a formula that adds together the air and water temperatures to determine when thermal protection is needed. It assumes that the total is above 120 F, so no dry or wetsuit is needed.
“Using this simple formula, a paddler could mistakenly believe that if air temperature is in the low 70s (which it isn’t in January) and water temperature is hovering around the low 50s, that thermal protection is not needed,” said Ted Sensenbrenner, BoatUS Boating Safety director. “That could not be father from the truth.”
Sensenbrenner says that warm fall, winter, spring days give paddlers a false sense of security. “Water temps that have plunged, but the warm sun on your face hides the reality that accidently going overboard during these chilly times could quickly lead to trouble.”
According to BoatUS research, sudden cold-water immersion can kill in several ways: involuntary gasp reflex and hyperventilation, cold incapacitation, and immersion hypothermia. And not wearing a life jacket compounds the risk of drowning.
So you may recognize them, here are the four stages of cold water immersion that can lead to hypothermia, according to BoatUS.
Cold Shock: Falling into cold water provokes an immediate gasp reflex. If your head is underwater, you’d inhale water instead of air and it’s unlikely you’ll resurface if you’re not wearing a life jacket (PFD). Initial shock can cause panic, hyperventilation and increased heart rate leading to a heart-attack. This stage, says BoatUS, lasts 3-5 minutes and at this point you should concentrate on staying afloat with your head above water.
Swimming Failure: In just 3-30 minutes, the body will experience swimming failure. Due to loss of muscle coordination, swimming becomes a struggle and the body tends to go more vertical in the water making any forward movement difficult. That’s why it’s not recommended to swim for help, but remain with the kayak/canoe or something that floats while keeping your head above water while awaiting rescue. In this regard, it’s always advisable to paddle with a partner if possible.
Hypothermia: True hypothermia sets in after about 30 minutes. Most victims never make it to this stage since 75 percent of individuals succumb and die in the earlier stages or cold water immersion. At this stage, regardless of your body type, size, insulation of clothing, acclimatization and other factors, your body’s core temperature gets dangerously low. Your survival chances are greatly lessened at this stage. Victims are usually rendered unconscious in this stage.
Post Rescue Collapse: A rescued victim must be handled very carefully. When a person is removed from cold water, the body will react to the surrounding air and the body position. Blood pressure often drops, inhaled water can damage the lungs and heart problems can develop as cold blood for the extremities is released into the body core. Proper medical attention is essential to re-warm the body safely.
So if you are going afloat during these cold days, heed these factors and take appropriate measures to not become a victim.