1. Proper Freeboard height
All boats are built for specific conditions and missions. It is the responsibility of the boat operator – and his alone – to operate the boat in conditions for which it was built. The height of the boat’s freeboard must match the boat’s mission.
2. Adequate Dewatering Design and Equipment
If water gets into the boat, you need to get it out. For example, all boats that are kept on a dock or a mooring should have a self-draining cockpit. That means simply that the cockpit deck should be higher than the waterline so that rain water or sea water coming aboard can find its way out – by gravity – without a pump.
Larger boats should have appropriate capacity bilge pumps and ocean-going vessels should have emergency valves on the engine intake so that the engine raw water pump can be used for dewatering.
Small open aluminum boats will not have self-draining cockpits so a bucket should always be aboard for bailing. When left at a dock, these boats should be monitored.
3. Seacocks or gate valves on thru-hull fittings
All thru-hull fittings below the waterline must have a marine seacock or gate valve that can be turned off in case a hose gives way.
All hoses leading to a thru-hulls should have double hose clamps at both ends.
4. All thru-hull shut off valves must be easily reachable
This sounds obvious but we are amazed every year when we find a few boats that require an orangutan to reach the thru-hull valves.
5. Every boat with cockpit drains or scuppers should have large ones that are unobstructed
When metal plates with holes in them are used for cockpit drains, its usefulness is greatly diminished. The best design in our opinion is one that allows the full interior diameter of the drain and hose to be utilized. Plates with small holes in them greatly restrict water flow.
6. Access to fuel-fill fittings
All boats should have specific marine grade hose that leads from the fuel-fill on deck to the top of the fuel tank. After each refueling the operator should check the hose junctions at the top of the tank to make sure there is no leakage. This should be done before the blower is turned on.
7. A proper anchor locker
Increasingly, builders of small boats are eliminating a dedicated locker in the bow for anchors and anchor rode. The reason is usually because they are trying to create more seating space.
Furthermore, few pontoon boats have a dedicated anchor locker.
In a boat with no dedicated anchor locker, a seat storage locker can be used to store both the anchor and the anchor rode. To facilitate quick deployment and eliminated tangles in the rode, this locker should not be used for any other purpose.
Large boats should have a large enough access to the rode locker to facilitate untangling the anchor chain or line. After a rough passage, the chain can become horrendously tangled.
All boats must have an anchor and an anchor rode.
8. Proper anchor cleats on the bow
This is a key item of equipment that more and more builders these days are skimping on in small boats. Ideally, the cleat should be on or close to the centerline of the boat.
We do not favor using cleats set off to each side of the bow on the rail for the anchor rode tie-off.
As a corollary to this, in every anchor locker there should be a way to tie the bitter end of the rode to the hull or other a secure structure.
9. Reboarding ladder extending 22” below the waterline
ABYC standards require that virtually all power boats be equipped with a ladder that can be reached by a person in the water – and that it extend at least 22” below the waterline.
10. Handy Engine Kill Switch or Shutoff
All small boats must be equipped with a kill switch that is in a location conducive to a lanyard being connected to the operator. Large boats should have an emergency engine shut off device handy to the helm.
11. Windshield header ABOVE eye level
If the windshield header is at eye level when underway, the operator will never be comfortable. Either he must stand up or duck down to see forward.
Note that most boats ride at a 3 to 5-degree bow-high attitude when on plane. As a result, what may appear to be a header at eye level at rest is actually higher on plane. Nevertheless, when idling the header should not be at eye level.
On large boats, particularly European-designed express cruisers, it is often impossible to stand at the helm and see out forward without bending down. Such boats require that the captain must be always seated when piloting.
12. Operator’s pedestal seat must not wobble
A common complaint among owners of small boats is that the helm seat wobbles. Not only is this annoying, it can also be dangerous.
All seats should be ergonomically correct, which is to say – be comfortable.
13. Handholds for all seats
ABYC standards require that a handhold be installed for every seat on a small boat. The reason is obvious, and while most builders are careful to do this, some seats are occasionally in locations that do not lend themselves easily to the installation of handholds.
Large boats designed to go offshore should have overhead handholds, something we rarely see.
14. Adequate Seating Capacity
Every boat under 26’ has a U.S.C.G capacity plate by the helm that notes both the maximum horsepower for the boat and its rated capacity for passengers.
The stated passenger capacity sometimes bears little relationship to the number of seats on the boat. The reason is because the U.S.C.G uses a formula to calculate load capacity based on interior cockpit volume and an average weight for passengers of between 150 and 180 pounds (68-82 kgs).
We recommend that consumers count the number of seating positions and use the smallest of that number or the U.S.C.G rated capacity.
In boats over 26’ there is no capacity limitation in the U.S., but in Europe the CE classification changes depending on how many people are aboard. Owners of boats with a flying bridge should be careful not to overload the bridge. Some manufacturers affix plates on the stairs leading to the bridge giving its capacity.
Source: riviera boat
When it comes to fishing, we all need as much help as we can get. Those cunning fish seem to know all the tricks, so we’re willing to try and outsmart them whenever we can.
A new lure…you’ll take five, thanks very much
A high-performance echo sounder is released…you’re first in line to order one
Someone has a secret fishing spot…you offer him a year’s worth of beer for the location
But what about using submerged lights for night fishing? Can lights really improve your fishing results?
How Coloured Lights Work
Night fishing with lights attracts zooplankton to the surface that are chasing the light source. The bait fish follow the zooplankton and then the game fish (which we’re chasing) follow the baitfish. Soon you have a lifecycle happening right before your very eyes.
Which Colour Works Best
The zooplankton is attracted to submerged green and white lights. Similarly, small flying bugs like the same colours so keep the lights submerged if you don’t want a swarm of them. Green is also a good colour in areas where the water clarity is poor. The green light will make the water appear cleaner and reflect less.
Colours penetrate the water at different lengths. Red light can’t be seen past five metres, orange disappears at 10 metres, yellow is 20 metres, green is one of the longest at 30 metres, but blue is by far the furthest at 50 metres.
The human eye is sensitive to green and blue shades so both colours stand out and are quite spectacular at night if you are looking for the fishing and party effect. However, if you usually boat in clear water, white LED lights are stunning at highlighting the beauty of the water.
Fishing at Night
The submerged lights only work at night and can’t compete with sunlight to attract the plankton. The boat must not be moving otherwise the plankton can’t gather around the light. Use an anchor or preferably two anchors so the boat doesn’t pivot. The stiller the boat (and lights), the better.
It’s ideal to use more than one light to give you a wider radius of illumination. Even better, two different coloured lights will allow you to test which light is attracting more fish then make both lights the same colour.
It’s not just boats the lights can be used on. Attach the lights to your dock or jetty and see the kids’ enjoyment as they watch the different fish come in. Use the lights to hold their attention and teach them about the life cycles. Just remember, the water around the dock has to be deep enough to hold fish.
Submerged LED lights are the most popular for a few reasons.
- Minimal power – these lights won’t chew up your battery power.
- Low heat – only a minimal amount of heat is produced so they can run longer than traditional lights.
- Tough environment – LED lights stand up to humidity, vibration, shock, impact and rough weather.
- Longevity – an LED’s life can span more than 40,000 hours so they almost never need replacing.
Types of Lights
Submerged lights can take many forms from a portable light dropped over the side of the boat, strobe lights attached to fishing lines right through to surface-mounted and permanent thru-hull lights on the sides of boats.
Source: riviera boat
For years you’ve been dreaming of the day you pick up your new boat, launch it like a pro and return to the ramp with more fish than you can pack in your mum’s deep freeze. But the dream doesn’t always become a reality. It’s a steep learning curve for new boat owners. What could possibly go wrong you ask? A lot it seems.
1. The Launch
If you haven’t mastered reversing a 6’x4’ trailer at the local rubbish tip, don’t consider backing a boat down a ramp without some serious practice behind you. You don’t want a cranky queue of Sunday morning boaties watching you attempt to coordinate the steering wheel with the boat trailer for the very first time. That’s best done in an empty car park with no one watching!
2. Grab a Bucket
I’m not talking about your seasick passenger. If you forget to put the bungs in before launching your boat, you’ll soon be madly bailing water to stop it sinking.
3. Fuel Alert
Know which fuel your boat uses, and which deck fill connects to the fuel tank. If your mate is helping fuel up while you look after important things like ice for the esky, don’t assume they have any clue which fuel to use or where it goes.
4. Weather Warning
Some people think a weather check is rushing out the front door in their boxers to check the sky is blue. Everything seems fine until later that day when they find themselves miles offshore in high winds, big swell and a darkening sky. Do a proper weather check via internet both the night before and on the day itself.
5. Anchors Away
You find the perfect spot between two boats that you can squeeze into. You throw the anchor overboard and get ready for a fun day in the sun. Your neighbours won’t be happy if you don’t check that your anchor has held and end up bouncing off the sides of their boats.
6. Trim Tab Trauma
Trim tabs are so convenient – until you forget they are there. Make sure you tell your passengers that they aren’t little step ladders for getting back on the boat after swimming, and when you get back to the ramp don’t forget to raise them before loading otherwise the damage bill could be considerable.
8. Mooring Mishaps
Learn how to moor using the correct angle and speed. It’s a good idea to have someone on the bow observing and helping by giving you signals during mooring. Make sure you agree on the signals before attempting the manoeuvre however, if you want to still be on speaking terms during the trip home!
9. YouTube Stardom
The internet is littered with videos of people unhooking their boat too early, so that it falls off the trailer and hits the ramp rather than the water. Or they reverse the car a little too deep and the next thing you know, both the boat and the car are launched. Don’t end up a YouTube celebrity for all the wrong reasons!
10. Ramp Etiquette
We’ve left the big one ‘til last. If you don’t want to be on the receiving end of death stares from seasoned boaties, learn some ramp etiquette. Don’t hold up the queue because you’re busy organising gear in your boat and putting lifejackets on the kids before launching. Pre-plan and pack at home, organise gear and put on life jackets in the car park and only get in the ramp queue once you’re actually ready to launch.
When someone else annoys you on the boat ramp with their lack of awareness or preparedness, you’ll know you’ve made the transition from novice to nailed it. Until then make sure you’ve got good boat insurance.
Source: riviera boat
Your boat trailer winch works hard. It has to retrieve a wet boat weighing hundreds of kilos, and bring it up perfectly centred onto a few slippery rollers, all on a steep slope.
If you are like many other boat owners, you may dread the launch and retrieval part of the day. There’s plenty of stress when getting your boat off or onto the trailer quickly without any damage to the car, boat or crew. Some skippers upgrade their trailer winch to make the task easier and minimize stress and hassle.
There are two kinds of boat trailer winches – manual (muscle power) and electric (12v). With each type, it’s essential to make sure it is suited to your boat’s length and weight.
How Boat Trailer Winches Work: Electric vs Manual
The hand-cranked manual winch method and components have changed little in the past few decades. The crank pulls the line in to be stored on the drum. The windlass, a horizontal-axle rotating machine, maintains tension while the ratchet lock prevents slipping and a gearbox allows for winching at different speeds or ratios.
The gearbox has three main speeds:
- 1:1 ratio – for winding up the line once the boat has been launched into the water
- 3:1 ratio – for pulling lighter boats onto the trailer
- 5:1 & above – for pulling a heavier boat onto the trailer without the assistance of water (e.g. it is completely out of the water)
Instead of a crank handle and muscle power, the electric winch is hooked up to a 12-volt battery and uses variable speed high gear ratios.
Most standard electric winches will have basic features like being able to power in and freewheel out. The winch motor pulls the boat on to the trailer. Freewheel or float means gravity is used to float the boat into the water. The only case where this is not true is with the Powerwinch 915 which has a power-out control that assists with releasing the boat into the water by slowing releasing the gear. Trailer winch models are based on the size of boat they need to pull out of the water – small (3 metres), mid (5 metres) and large (7 metres). A maximum boat weight also ensures the winch is suited to your boat.
Some electric winches have a smooth pulling action and less amperage draw. A level wind system helps prevent snarls and wear in the cable.
Why Choose an Electric Winch?
The cost of an electric winch is more than a manual one, so the advantages need to justify the additional cost.
Some of the reasons for using an electric winch include:
- Boat size – the length and weight means it can’t be manually winched
- Skipper strength – if you aren’t strong or nimble enough to manually winch the boat
- Speed – an electric winch can make it a little quicker to retrieve a boat
- Safety – the risk of accident and hull damage can be minimized by electric winching
Trailer Winch Capacity
Choose your trailer winch based on its Safe Working Load (SWL) capacity and the weight of your boat. Remember to include the weight of your motor, fuel and equipment, not just an empty hull.
There are some factors to consider when deciding on the winch. If you usually launch on a steep ramp, you will need a bigger capacity winch than if you winch on a gentle slope ramp. Your trailer has an impact on how much your boat slides and therefore how hard your winch has to work. If you are using rollers, there is less resistance than carpeted wood bunks so a smaller winch will do the job.
Regarding cranking resistance, lighter boats can use a manual winch with a 3:1, 4:1 or 5:1 gear ratio. For a 3:1 ratio you turn the handle three times for the drum to rotate once.
For heavier boats, a two-speed winch may be required to give you the option of a quick pull-in ratio and a second low speed with a ratio around 16.2:1 for increased mechanical advantage. If the two-speed manual winch isn’t strong enough, it might be worth moving to an electric winch that has variable speed and high gear ratios.
How to Service & Maintain a Boat Winch
Your winch is one of the hardest working parts on your boat and trailer. Winches and their accessories are fairly easy to maintain and replace. If you have owned your trailer winch for a few years and given it little to no love, it’s time to do some maintenance.
The level of maintenance your boat trailer requires will depend on the type of water your boat is launched and retrieved in. If you only use your boat in the ocean, your boat’s maintenance schedule will be different to one that is only launched in freshwater.
Some winches are rated for a number of hours of exposure to saltwater but you still need to make sure you hose down your trailer and winch with fresh water after every trip. A few minutes of your time can extend the life of your winch.
Manual Winch Maintenance
After each trip check if the strap is wet or dry. A wet strap will deteriorate faster and place the drum at risk of corrosion. Pull the strap out its full length and let it dry before winding up again.
Check the winch line regularly for signs of fraying. If you notice any fraying or areas of wear, replace the rope, strap, and cable. You don’t want the strap breaking whilst you are retrieving the boat as this has the potential to cause an injury.
Non galvanized winch gears are particularly prone to corrosion. Use a marine grease to lubricate them, then do the same for the shaft and bushes. Use wire rope lubricant regularly on the cable’s strands so they slide over each other with a minimum of friction.
When the boat is off the trailer, check the rollers. They should move freely and not show any signs of damage. If there is any damage, replace the roller. You may be surprised how much easier it is to retrieve your boat after replacing a roller.
If you see any rust or signs of corrosion on the winch, use a wire brush to remove it and a galvanising compound to prevent more corrosion.
There are parts of a manual winch you can’t inspect without taking them apart. Your trailer winch will have a long life if you take it apart once a year to check the moving parts and to apply grease.
Electric Winch Maintenance & Servicing
Once a year, clean and check your electrical trailer winch. Take off the cover and lubricate the gears with a lithium-based grease but be careful not to spread grease on the clutch lining. Lubricate the cable with WD40 or a similar product by spraying the shaft and cable while the cable is being wound. If the cable is worn or frayed anywhere along the length, buy a new one.
When replacing cable, be sure to buy the same cable type to ensure the winch rating and cable strength are matched for both performance and safety. When replacing the cable wear leather gloves and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Tips for Using a Trailer Winch
If you are using an electric winch, remember to keep your car’s motor running to reduce the drain on your battery. You don’t want to retrieve your boat only to get back into the car and find you can’t drive off the boat ramp because the battery has died. Don’t overlook your car’s battery. If it’s being used to power your winch, you don’t want any problems on the ramp. Clean the battery terminals and check its charge before hooking up.
If you are using a manual winch, be careful on the ramp. Before you start winching, make sure you have a firm footing and good leverage as ramps are often slippery. Also, be aware that the winch handle can kick back and injure you at any time. You can download a handy guide to boat ramp safety and etiquette here.
Don’t rely on your winch to hold the boat on the trailer while travelling – that’s not its job! Instead, use dedicated boat tie downs to ensure the boat and trailer stay connected while you are driving on the road.
It’s important that your winch and boat weight are a match at the time of purchase and later on. Your boat’s weight is rarely the same when you take trip after trip. The boat shouldn’t exceed more than 75% of the winch’s weight rating. This will allow for a steep incline on a boat ramp or poor weather conditions which effectively add weight to the boat.
Source: riviera boat
Every boat is a compromise. It’s a fact of life. So when you’re trying to find a boat that fits your on-water lifestyle you know there’s no such thing as perfection. There are only boats that can achieve some percentage — you hope a large percentage — of what you have in mind.
Center-console boats are good at that. They occupy a huge segment of small-boat market because they can bring a lot of utility to a lot of people. They also deliver generally excellent performance, rough-water ability, and good looks. They can range from fuel-efficient (single-engine, minimal transom deadrise) to ocean-aggressive (double or triple outboards, lots of deadrise). You can load them with coolers and fishing gear, skis or tow-tubes — or keep them open and simple. And they’re built by a range of well-established, high-quality manufacturers.
You can buy a center-console boat so big that it has room for amenities like bunks, a mini-galley, and even air-conditioning. But a “standard” center console from, say, 20 to 30 feet long, is an open boat with some weather protection for people clustered near the console behind the windshield and under the bimini top. Many center-consoles will have a small head compartment and wet locker inside the console itself, and some minimal seating – behind the console, on top of cooler lids, and often in the bow. The rest of the boat is for doing stuff.
So let’s get back to the utility issue, because center-consoles are like hunting dogs: They’re optimized to do a job, and that’s where they shine. In this case, it’s fishing. Center-consoles offer plenty of standing room and open decks for following a fish, open sky for casting, few things to snag lines on, good security in the cockpit, and capability in rough water. Many of the same qualities make it good as a general-purpose tow-boat — but if you and your family are serious about skiing or wakeboarding, you should look into boats built for the purpose – they’ll have hull forms, engine and drive configurations, wake-making abilities, and on-deck gear built to maximize your enjoyment of those sports. The same is true for scuba diving. A center-console can get the job done, but dedicated divers will want to look at other options, too.
Center-consoles also come in catamaran form, variety of interests on the water – not just fishing or tow-sports, but cruising, picnicking, gathering with friends, then you’re going to need more protection, more comfortable seating, and better stowage. This is where smaller center-consoles begin to lose their edge: Few offer much built-in seating, and even that tends to isolate people in remote areas of the boat — two in the bow, two in the stern, and a big console in between. But once you start loading folding chairs and tables into a boat like that, you undercut its strong points. And there’s no room to stow loose furniture anyway.
As they increase in size, center-consoles do begin to offer more amenities – pull-out transom seats, reversible helm seats, U-shaped settees in the bow, etc. And again, the really jumbo models can set you up for a weekend out of your house. But now we’re talking very serious bucks. With those same bucks you might do better with an express cruiser, a small sport-fisherman… or maybe a vacation home equipped with a small center-console?
Did we mention that all boats are compromises?
Source: riviera boat
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I fully embrace the old saying, “A bad day fishing is better than a good day at the office.” My addiction to fishing started with my father, who was an avid angler. He handed me an old tackle box, a small fishing rod tipped with a hook and bobber, and a plastic cup full of worms. Then he taught me how to tie on a hook, rig the bobber, and weave a wriggly worm onto the hook.
Eventually we moved on to coastal fishing, trying our hand at catching flounder off the beach and large striped bass in our home waters of the Chesapeake Bay. We did it all in our ugly green—but beloved—12-foot, Sears & Roebuck Ted Williams skiff. Looking back, there are perhaps no better memories I have than fishing with my dad.
So, maybe you’re looking to create some of your own angling-oriented memories with your family, but don’t know how to get started. That’s something I hear often from non-angling friends with families: “Hey, Gary, I want my kids to have the kinds of memories you did with your dad; teach me how to fish.” While I can’t teach you how to fish in one short article, I can give you a shopping list for some gear I’ve used and recommended to others to get going. Visit your local tackle shop to find out more on the specifics about which hooks, rigs, or lures to use for the fish that inhabit the waters you’ll be angling in, and the techniques to fool them.
If you’re completely new to fishing—perhaps you don’t know the difference between a bobber and a bloodworm—I’d recommend seeking out family or friends who can show you how to rig up and use some of the gear I’ll discuss. If you’re lucky, maybe you can even talk them into taking you out for a day on your boat or theirs to give you a primer in the basics. Otherwise, seek out local fishing clubs or conservation groups, which often have “Fishing 101” events to help introduce people to the sport, especially kids. With that in mind, let’s get ready to rumble.
An Angler’s Light Saber
If a Jedi Knight is nothing without his light saber, the same is true for an angler and his or her fishing rod. One of the first things you’ll want to add to your angling arsenal is a fishing rod—one for each member of your family. As a beginner, you can certainly break the bank and spend thousands of dollars on expensive, high-tech rods and reels. But you’d be wasting your money doing so, in my opinion.
Instead, consider an inexpensive spinning rod/reel combo package. Some even come pre-spooled with fishing line, too. The thinking behind starting out inexpensively is that as you learn how to fish, you’ll likely hone in on a particular type of fishing you enjoy most. It’s at that point when investing in better rods that are built for the specific types of fishing you do makes more sense.
One particular combo I like for families is Shakespeare’s Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Combo, which won’t trash your budget at only $50. These rods also can stand up to a tremendous amount of abuse, including being stepped on by careless little feet and tossed aside like yesterday’s worn-out toy. Bass Pro Shops, a large retailer with both brick-and-mortar shops and a huge online presence, also has a spinning combo I like a lot—its Power Plus Trophy Rod and Reel Spinning Combo. No matter where you shop, most tackle shops and outfitters have budget-minded combo packages available—ask for one they recommend.
Whether you’re fishing primarily saltwater or fresh, look for a rod between six and seven feet that is classified as “medium action,” which refers to its stiffness. The stiffer the rod, the bigger the fish it can handle. For fishing line, 10- to 15-pound monofilament is a good all-around bet for starters, but you can go lighter if you fish only in small lakes and impoundments.
If you have kids under about five or six years of age, there’s no shame in getting them a Barbie (or similar) rod. They’re cheap, effective, and there’s no great loss when they break.
Again, if you’re just getting started, keep it all very simple… and cheap.
Once you’ve secured a rod, reel, and spooled up that reel with a load of monofilament or braided line, visit your local tackle shop—or one near where you’ll be fishing—to get loaded up with hooks, bobbers, bottom rigs, lures, bait, and any of the other “stuff” you’ll need to fish for the species that inhabit the area you’ll be fishing. A local pro can also help set you in the right direction with local intel and tips. And it’s OK to say, “Hey, I’m new at this, can you help me?”
All of that aforementioned “stuff” won’t do you much good rolling around in the bottom or bilge of your boat, so the next piece of gear I recommend is a tackle box.
Again, start simple. The Plano 5300, for example, is a great beginner’s box, with three trays and a huge under-tray stowage area with a cost that won’t set your wallet on fire. No matter which tackle box you get, keep it small. Lots of anglers try to carry everything they own in one box, which means eventually they’re carrying around 50 pounds of gear, little of which they actually use.
Tools for Success
Rigging up any sort of fishing apparatus usually involves one tool or another. As an angler, you’ll need something that can cut monofilament or braid line, a tool to crimp down split-shot sinkers, a knife to cut bait — and before you know it you need a tool box to hold your plethora of fishing tools. That’s why I consider the multi-tool a must-have piece of fishing gear. My favorite is the Leatherman Skeletool. It has the bare minimum of tools and a clever design that makes it lightweight and easy to snap right to a belt loop on your jeans without weighing you down. Onboard is a pair of pliers, a knife, wire/line cutters, and a neat screwdriver with both Phillips and slot inserts. While this is the one I like, there are all manner of different multi-tools out there at all sorts of different price points.
Beam Me Up, Scotty
Finding fish used to be left up to intuition and experience. You’d use your angling mojo to guess where the fish would be feeding—or hiding—and then you’d cast your bait or lures into an area that seemed promising. Today you can cut down on the guesswork significantly by buying a fishfinder. It’s a piece of electronics gear that sends a beam of energy down through the water column that, when it bounces back off the back of fish, displays the critters on an LCD screen, revealing their secret hidey-holes. Once you’ve found the fish, it’s simply a matter of casting to them and hoping they’re eager to feed.
There are all sort of fishfinders out there, but in keeping with the “getting started” and “budget” themes of this story, I hope you’ll consider a couple of good, but affordable, fishfinders before you break the bank on something big and fancy.
You’ll be surprised how much more effective you are when you know where the fish are from the start. Getting them to bite is sometimes another story.
Enemy of the State
Now I know you’re likely uber-excited to get out on the water and catch something, but not so fast. Unless you want to earn yourself a ticket—and possibly a hefty fine—make sure you secure the proper licensing required wherever you’ll be angling first. Some states allow folks to license the boat, which means everyone inside of it is covered, while other require a license for each person onboard. Some states even require specific licenses for certain species. Before you dip a line, spend some time online or visit your local department of natural resources or game commission to see what the rules and regulations are. Many tackle shops also issue fishing licenses—just ask.
When you get your license, you’ll likely also be given a handbook that outlines the seasons, sizes, and creel limits (how many you can keep) for each species. Pro tip: Ask the person who issues your license if they also have a state fish ruler. Many states give out plastic or stick-on rulers that show the minimum sizes for the species that swim in their waters. Make sure you know the rules and have all the proper licensing before you go out.
Spares and Extras
Not fitting within a specific category, there are lots of miscellaneous items that will help make your angling expeditions a success, and your crew a bit more comfortable.
For gear, make sure you have plenty of spare monofilament, fluorocarbon, or braided fishing line, as well as extra hooks, bobbers, bottom rigs, swivels, jigheads, lures, bait, etc. Anything on the end of your line can be gone in a second if it meets with the right toothy fish or jagged underwater rock, so you’ll want to be able to have the right ingredients on hand to re-rig. A spare rod also is not a bad idea, because they do break.
Keep Kids Comfortable
A sure-fire way to ruin any fishing trip is to bring your kids along and neglect to keep them comfortable, occupied, and safe. Here are some basics that go a long way toward a peaceful angling day on the water with your younger family members.
Keep plenty of snacks—healthy and otherwise—aboard. The only thing worse than a grumpy kid is a grumpy kid who’s also hungry. Well, a thirsty and hungry kid is pretty bad, too, so bring lots of water and other drinks along. That goes for you, too.
Buy your kids comfortable personal flotation devices. Your kids will make your life miserable if you force them to wear a big, bulky international orange PFD all day long. Consider instead more comfortable options, including inflatable PFDs, and vest-type lifejackets that are easier to wear.
Yes, there will be boring days when the bite is slow, and if you’re unprepared for them, your kids will make you pay. When things slow down, consider putting one of the kids at the helm, and teach them how to drive as you move from an unproductive fishing spot in search of a better one. Whatever you do, be prepared with alternative onboard activities for them. I always like giving improvised lessons on wildlife we see, such as birds, turtles, and other critters.
Speaking of bad days fishing and good days at the office, I’m not sure about how you feel after reading this, but just writing it has given me an itching to get out on the water. Heck, maybe I’ll pile a couple of my nephews in the boat and head out for an afternoon of white perch fishing.
Pile up with the right gear, and you’ll be well on your way to creating family fishing memories of your own. Tight lines!
Source: riviera boat
Aside from knowing how to safely run a boat out on the water, being able to securely moor it is one of the most important skills a boater can possess.
Yet it’s something that’s frequently done very poorly—and even by boaters with lots of experience. While it may not seem like a big deal, there are plenty of instances where a bad mooring job causes major damage not only to the boat, but also to other boats around it. Whether you’ve got a pontoon boat or an inflatable dinghy, knowing how to properly secure your boat can certainly prevent a lot of expensive headaches.
Before we dig into the heart of the matter let’s take a look at some basic nomenclature that will make it all clearer.
- Bow lines stop the bow of a boat from moving side to side. A bow line also keeps a boat from drifting away when tied alongside, such as when you’re tied off to a bulkhead or pier.
- Breast lines are used to keep a boat from moving away from a pier, or to make it easier when pulling the boat closer for easier boarding.
- Spring lines keep a boat from moving forward or aft. Generally only two of these lines are required, but as many as four are sometimes used, depending on the situation.
- Stern lines prevent the stern of a boat from moving side to side or, when tying up alongside a bulkhead or pier, a stern line keeps a boat from drifting away from the dock.
OTHER MOORING GEAR
- Fenders can be anything from a flat piece of foam to a large inflatable rubber buoy. They’re designed to cushion your boat when you’re tied up alongside a pier or bulkhead, or in any other instance when there’s simply no way to prevent your vessel from making contact with a dock, piling, pier, or another boat. Avoid the urge to call these “bumpers.” This will mark you as a boating newbie.
- Cleats are a horn- or T-shaped piece of hardware on a boat or dock that’s designed to secured lines.
- Pilings are long pieces of timber or metal that are driven into the bottom. Some pilings stand on their own, while others have structures such as bulkheads, docks, or piers attached to them. When a cleat is not present they can be used to secure a dock line.
When you pull into a slip or alongside a pier or bulkhead you’ll usually encounter two things to tie your boat to: cleats and pilings. Some places will have a combination of both, while some have only one or the other. Knowing how to secure a line to both a cleat and a piling is vital to tying up your boat, so let’s have a look at how it’s done.
CLEATS AND PILINGS
Tying off to a cleat—either on your boat or on the dock—is easy. The best way to learn is by watching How to Cleat a Line. If your dock lines have pre-spliced loops in them you can simply weave the loop through the center of the cleat (the eye) and then drape it back over both cleat horns before pulling it tight.
Tying off to a piling can be more challenging. You can use either a clove hitch, which you can learn how to tie by watching How to Tie a Clove Hitch, or you can use a loop in the end of a line—either by tying a bowline (here’s how to tie one) or by using a line with a pre-spliced loop—and drape it around the piling. Or, you can put the bitter end of the dock line through the loop, lower it over the piling, then pull it tight.
TYING UP IN A SLIP OR BERTH
The terms “slip” and “berth” can generally be used interchangeably, depending on where you do your boating. Either way, a slip or berth is a defined area between two piers, two sets of pilings, or a combination of the two.
The idea when tying up in a slip is to keep the boat far enough away from the dock, pilings, and other boats as to avoid hitting them, but not so far as to make boarding difficult. You’ll usually need six total lines: four lines for your bow and stern (two each) and two spring lines. The spring lines should be about one and a half times the length of your boat while the bow and stern lines can be at or just under the length of your boat.
Using the techniques we discussed above to secure your lines to a piling or dock cleats, tie off a line to each bow cleat to keep the boat from moving side to side. Keep in mind that you may sometimes need to crisscross them to get the correct angle. Repeat the process with your two stern lines. Make sure your lines aren’t hitting any hard chafe-points and aren’t tangled in any way. Neatly coil excess line on deck.
Spring lines are a bit trickier. Just remember, we’re trying to keep your boat from moving fore and aft. First secure a spring line to a cleat or piling that’s near the stern of your boat. Next, run it forward to either an amidships cleat or all the way to a bow cleat. This forward spring line line will prevent your boat from moving ahead in the slip. Next, secure another spring line from a cleat or piling that’s at or forward of the bow, back to the aforementioned amidships cleat or all the way aft to a stern cleat. This line will keep your boat from moving backward in its slip. You can run the fore and aft springs on opposite sides, if necessary.
Lastly, be sure you leave enough slack in all of your dock lines to account for the rise and fall of the tide in your area. Spring lines should remain fairly taught, however, and are generally able to adjust with the tide, especially the longer they are. And don’t forget to place fenders where any potential contact points occur.
TYING UP ALONGSIDE
Securing your boat alongside a pier or bulkhead is another common scenario you’ll encounter. Fenders are an important part of the equation, to provide cushioning and protection from the piers or bulkheads you’ll be tying up to. Most folks tie them off with a piece of line and hang them between the boat and the pier or bulkhead, usually from deck railings or lifelines, though some boats have special cleats just for hanging fenders.
Tying up alongside is very much like tying up in a slip or berth, but you’ll only be worried about half of the equation. Two spring lines should be rigged the same way as we discussed when tying up in a slip. Also run a stern and bow line like we discussed above, though naturally, you can only put these on one side of the boat.
If you find your boat wandering out from the pier or bulkhead too far because of the angle of your bow or stern line, consider running a breast line perpendicular from the pier or bulkhead to an amidships cleat. You can also run an individual breast line to the stern and the bow cleat.
One thing a lot of boaters fail to do after they’ve secured all their dock lines is to test out how good a job they’ve done. You can see if you’ve done a proper job tying up by tugging on each dock line aggressively, to make sure the boat doesn’t hit anything as it swings back and forth. As with anything, practice makes perfect. The more docking situations you encounter, the better you’ll become at getting your boat tucked in properly.
Source: riviera boat
If you’ve ever taken a close look at your bilge, you’d likely admit that it’s probably the nastiest place on your boat, even if you do your best to keep the place clean. Dirt, sawdust, hair, fish scales, and all sort of other grunge somehow migrate to the bilge. Now imagine trying to make a piece of electrically powered marine gear work down there reliably, season after season. That, my friends, is the life of a bilge pump.
A bilge pump is designed to handle nuisance water primarily, but sometimes it’s also the only thing standing between your boat and the bottom of the sea in an emergency. That’s why it’s important that it works right, all the time. Keeping that in mind, we’re going to discuss what you’ll need to know to install a submersible bilge pump yourself, just like a seasoned marine professional would.
Mount the Bilge Pump and Float Switch
The first thing you’ll want to do is to remove your new bilge pump from the packaging and give it a big hug. OK, just kidding. On the bottom of most submersible pumps is a removable strainer assembly that not only prevents debris from clogging the pump, but also acts as the mounting bracket for the pump itself. Pop off that strainer from the pump, and then use it as a template to scout for a suitable installation location in your bilge. Also, if you’re going to be mounting a float switch, make sure the location has room nearby for the switch, too. The pump will need to go in an area at the lowest point of your bilge and preferably as far back in the boat as possible. That’s because bilge water generally runs aft. Once you’ve figured out your spot, scrub the area clean, and then dry it as best as you can.
Place the strainer assembly where you want the pump to go, and use a felt pen or marker to pinpoint where to pre-drill your pilot holes for the screws. Remove the strainer and then drill your shallow pilot holes, using the correct diameter drill bit for the screws you’re using. Know exactly where you’re drilling! Obviously you don’t want to go through the bottom of the boat, but also be aware of sandwich construction that could be compromised. When in doubt, use a bracket — available at many marine supply shops — and fasten your bilge pump to a stringer or other safe location. Sometimes the pump will come with screws, but you may need to supply your own. If your pump didn’t come with fasteners, use self-tapping pan head screws that will fit the holes in the strainer basket and are about three-quarters of an inch long. Before you screw in the base, put a generous dollop of polyurethane marine sealant (such as 3M 5200) in the pilot holes to prevent the fiberglass from soaking up water. Next, screw down the strainer base, and then click in the pump assembly. If you’re using a float switch, mount it as close to the bilge pump as possible, using the same “template” method you used for installing the strainer plate. Try to leave the sealant to set up for a day, if you can, but don’t worry too much if it gets wet—5200 cures in the presence of water quite nicely.
Running the Overboard Discharge
Next, you need to decide where to mount the overboard discharge thru-hull for your bilge pump system, and that requires some careful forethought and planning. You want the discharge to be well above the waterline, but not so high as to reduce the efficiency of the pump. Also, think about where the water will end up when it comes out of that fitting. Is it so high that the water will shoot out onto the dock or make a lot of noise when it splashes into the water? When figuring out a place to install the thru-hull, take into account whether the location you’re thinking of will ever be underwater—such as when the boat is fully loaded, heeled over, or when it “squats” under power. The discharge for your bilge pump should never go underwater in any situation, ever. Otherwise, you create a condition where water can back-siphon through that fitting into the boat. A place that is a low as possible, but not too low, is what you’re looking for. The thru-hull fitting you select should have a hose barb the same size as the discharge fitting on the bilge pump. A typical Rule bilge pump, for example, has a discharge fitting that is 1-1/8” outside diameter, which means that the thru-hull would need to have a 1-1/8” barb. Consequently, the inside diameter of your house would need to be 1-1/8”, too. Nylon or fiber-reinforced plastic thru-hull fittings are suitable for this application, but consider a bronze thru-hull, if the budget allows. They’re much more sturdy in the long run. Once you’ve got the location sorted, you’ll need to drill a hole in the hull the same diameter of the threads for the thru-hull, using a drill-mounted hole saw. You’ll want to start on the outside and work in. Taping off the area where you’ll be drilling helps prevent splintering the fiberglass and chipping the gelcoat, but the key is not to use the hole saw at too low a speed; that’s when its teeth can snag on the gelcoat and chip it. Once you have your hole cut, apply a good-quality marine sealant around the fitting, insert it, and then tighten up the nut behind it. Use a paper towel or rag to clean up any excess.
Before you buy your hose, measure the distance from your bilge pump up along the path to where you mounted the thru-hull discharge, and then add a foot or two. We’ll explain why in just a moment. And don’t skimp when you buy hose for this project. That doesn’t mean you have to buy the most expensive, multi-layered, wire-reinforced raw water hose on the rack, but it does mean you’ll want to stay away from cheap, extruded, thin-wall “bilge flex” hose. Also know that corrugated (ridged) hoses are great for situations where you have to make a sharp bend, but they also reduce the efficiency of your bilge pump’s output. That’s because of the turbulence those ridges inside the hose create. When possible, buy a smooth-walled hose with a decent wall thickness that won’t kink when bent and will stand up to the harsh environment in your bilge. To install the hose onto the thru-hull, first put a properly sized marine-grade, stainless-steel hose clamp on the hose, push the hose onto the thru-hull’s hose barb, and then tighten down the hose clamp firmly. Next, create a loop that runs above the thru-hull and then down toward the bilge. This loop will prevent water from siphoning back into the boat in the unlikely event that the fitting ever goes below water (you’ll want to hope it never does). Last, run the hose neatly down to the bilge pump, making sure you use lined clamps at regular intervals to secure the hose. Attach the hose to the bilge pump repeating the same method we used on the thru-hull fitting.
The way you wire your bilge pump setup will have a profound effect on its longevity, reliability, and efficiency. Since the supply wires and their connections will spend a significant amount of time around—and in—some very wet and sloppy conditions, it is crucial that you connect them using only the best materials and ensure that all of your connections are completely waterproof.For wire, that means using only marine-grade, tinned copper wire of the proper gauge. The size of that wire depends on how far the pump is wired from the power source and how many amps the pump draws, so consult a wire sizing table (you can do an Internet search for one), or ask your marine supply shop pro to help you spec the correct size wire. When it comes to the connectors that you’ll use to hook up your bilge pump and float switch to the power leads, that means using adhesive-lined, heat-shrink terminals. In fact, we even recommend applying an additional piece of heat shrink over those connectors themselves, just to be safe.
The best way to wire up a bilge pump is by using dedicated three-way bilge pump switch. This switch will have a light to indicate when it’s operating, but also allows the pump to be set in “Auto,” “Off,” or “Manual” modes. Additionally, a bilge pump should be wired so that it still has power when the battery switch is shut off. That usually means running it right to the battery, or terminal strip supplied by the battery. By all means, ensure that you’ve installed a proper-sized fuse. Again, if you’re unsure, ask one of the pros at your local marine supply shop to help spec out the right one. Each pump, pump switch, and float switch come with specific wiring diagrams that you should follow to the letter. Some bilge pumps come with brown and black lead wires, while some come with other weird combinations, so make sure you follow the instructions in the box religiously. We’ve included a simple illustration of a basic wiring setup here, but use it only as a guide, making sure you pay attention to the instructions for the gear you’re working with. Once you have everything installed, it’s time to test your setup. Make sure that the bilge area is sealed (put in the drain plug, if you have one), and then fill it up with water using a hose until the pump switches on automatically. Next, wait for it to empty and turn off on its own. If you wired the pump to a three-way (auto/off/manual) switch at the helm or to a stand-alone bilge pump panel, fill up the bilge again and then toggle the switch to “Manual,” to make sure the pump turns on and pumps the bilge dry. Switch the toggle back to “Auto” when you’re done. Well, if everything worked out, a cold beverage of your choice is in order. Once you’ve kicked back with a cold one, remember that bilge pumps shouldn’t be ignored once you install them. It’s a good idea to check their operation every trip and also to look down in the bilge to make sure there’s no debris clogging the pump or affecting the float switch. Also, it’s not a horrible idea to install a cycle counter so you can spot any sudden increases in the number of times the pump is switching on. That can alert you to a leak. Happy pumping, campers—see you on the water.
Source: riviera boat
Everybody is looking for ways to make things last longer, whether it’s our cars, appliances, baseball games, or yes, our boats. What if I told you there were a few simple things you could do that would prolong the life of your boat’s engine — — inboard or outboard, and cost you next to nothing?
Too good to be true, right? Nope, not this time. And I had to say “next to nothing” only because one of these tips does cost a few bucks, but hardly anything in comparison to other maintenance expenses.
Run it regularly
We’ve all had those seasons where we don’t get out on the water enough. That’s hard on the psyche. It’s also not very good for your engine. Oil drains away from internal components and back into the pan, but running the engine every so often, even when you don’t have a chance to really use it, helps keep things in working order.
Running the engine “on the hose” gets the gas moving so it won’t just sit inside your fuel system and create varnish. Keep the hose and “earmuffs” handy and fire up the boat once a week to keep things loose. I also like to run fuel stabilizer all summer long — not just during winter storage — to keep the fuel from getting gummy.
Warm it up
As much as we hate long idles from the boat ramp to open water where we can get on plane and open it up, those long idles are actually good for our engines. Cold oil doesn’t flow well compared with warm oil. That resistance to flow isn’t as good at protecting engine components, and believe it or not, that resistance actually puts a strain on things like the oil pump and the mechanisms that drive it. Avoid premature wear by letting the engine warm up to operating temperature before you hammer the throttle — even if there’s open water available right away.
Flush it religiously
I can’t count the number of times I’ve been so tired after a day of boating that I didn’t feel like flushing the motors. It’s a chore. It’s a bore. And yes, it’s necessary.
Salt deposits in an engine wreak a lot of havoc inside , but flushing an engine at operating temperature every time you use it in saltwater will help keep interior corrosion to a minimum. This helps maintain gasket integrity, among other things. Let the motor run until you can’t taste salt in the exhaust stream. That sometimes takes a few minutes, which will give you the opportunity to flush the trailer brakes, too.
Prolong engine treatment
It’s not often I recommend a product, but Prolong engine treatment has gone into all my engines for the last 10 years. I was sold on it when I poured it into the crankcase while the car was running and the idle speed increased by about 200 rpm. That was on an old carbureted car, and I physically had to back the idle screw out a turn or so to get it back to normal.
Prolong somehow bonds to the metal surfaces inside the engine and makes things a lot slicker. That means things stay slick even when the oil drains back into the pan. It’s more of a metal treatment than an oil treatment. One of my automotive heroes, NASCAR hall of fame crew chief Smokey Yunick, swore by the stuff, and if there were ever a curmudgeon who would tell you when a product wasn’t worth a darn, it was Smokey.
Cruising speed is your friend
We all love to pin the throttles and boogie back to the docks flat-out, right? We get home quicker, and everybody wins. Well, if you could avoid that late-day sprint — leaving sooner would do the trick — and drive back to the docks at cruising speed, your engine will last longer.
Typically, cruising speed is where your boat is at its best and least stressed. The engine is making good power and the boat’s trimmed out, nice and free from the sticky water. Adding throttle adds rpm, which doesn’t log any more time on the hour meters, but it does make those hours more stressful. Keeping it at cruising speeds as often as you can is a great way to prolong the life of your engine and related components.
Source: riviera boat
Most boaters will agree that food tastes better straight off the grill—particularly on a warm summer day, after you spend many hours out on the water. Waterfront restaurants and bars are generally pretty convenient, but you’re often limited by access, hours of operation, and menu options.
Luckily, having the ability and the right tools to fire up your own marine grill while onboard can help to solve these problems. Just like cooking on land, there’s always safety to keep in mind regardless of whether you are using a gas, charcoal or electric grill. It’s also important to note that you must use a grill designed and approved for marine use—so don’t even think about dragging out the rusty old grill from the backyard. Here at Boat Trader, we’re happy to help get things sizzling on the water. Check out our tips on how to choose the best boat grill.
Choosing the right marine grill
Successful grilling all depends on the amount of heat that is applied, both directly and indirectly. It’s also important to keep in mind the size of your boat, how much grilling you’ll be doing, and your ideal budget. When it comes to choosing a marine grill for your boat, the first decision to make is between gas, charcoal or electric. Each of these options varies in the amount of heat they produce and the way they preheat. For example, gas (or propane) grills are known to preheat quicker than charcoal. Gas grills have become one of the most popular grills for on board use and they come in a variety of sizes. The fact that propane fuel is so cheap and widely available makes these grills a go-to choice for boaters. Not to mention, the smaller disposable fuel bottles can be used on even the largest grills and are still be easy to store. You’ll find propane grills that start in the $200 range and go all the way up into the $1,000s. While affordable and user-friendly, boaters still need to be cautious of gas leaks and the potential to ignite in the right conditions.
Similar to gas, charcoal grills are another top choice for boaters. Many grilling enthusiasts are eager to share their love for charcoal, arguing that you can’t beat the taste of meat seared above this kind of flame. These grills tend to cook a lot slower than gas or electric, but charcoal is readily available and generally easy to light. Boaters should always follow the manufacturers recommendations when it comes to lighting the grill. A downside to marine charcoal grills is that they can be difficult to store. They need to be kept dry and they tend to take up a large amount of space. One of the most common charcoal grills used onboard is a small, round stainless steel grill that can clamp onto almost any handrail or slide into a rod holder. The prices of marine charcoal grills are attractive at just around $150 or $200.
Unlike gas or charcoal, electric grills require that you have a reliable source of AC power on board—either from shorepower or a generator. Lately we’ve seen a trend with many boat manufacturers who have started to include built-in electric grills into their larger models. Typically these grills are placed up on the flybridge or in another dedicated area, permanently installed in the vessel. It’s no surprise that the disadvantage of electric grills is focused around their cost, which is significantly higher than propane grills and charcoal grills. Another obstacle is finding the right amount of electricity needed to operate the grill. On the other hand, electric grills do come with a few distinct benefits. First, lack of an open flame means you may be able to use your electric grill in places where charcoal or propane grills are banned, such as at a dock or in a marina. This lack of an open flame also means that these grills are much safer to use than their gas and charcoal counterparts. Similar to gas grills, the price range for an electric grill can vary immensely depending on size and accessories.
Tips for grilling on your boat
Once you’ve made your choice between gas, charcoal or electric, you’ll want to accessorize with all the usual grilling necessities—utensils, mounts, covers, lighters, a grilling light, storage containers, aprons and more. Oh, and don’t forget the grub.
When it comes to safety, always remember that you should never grill while underway. When you’re onboard, never leave a lit grill unattended, even for just a minute. Also, we strongly advise that you never use gasoline or any other non-approved accelerant to light a marine charcoal grill. Be sure to double check that all propane connections are sealed tight. If you believe you have a leak, check your connections with soapy water—if bubbles form when brushed onto a joint, then you have a leak. Don’t forget to ensure that embers never fall from the grill onto any part of the boat. And of course, be sure to turn off or put out the grill as soon as you’re finished. Once it cools down, detach and store your grill before you get underway again.
Prior to heading out on the water, you can save yourself time and avoid stress by pre-chopping your veggies and marinating your meats. Bring along storage containers and Ziploc baggies to help with leftovers and cleanup following your meal. And speaking of cleanup, be sure to give it the time and effort it deserves to keep your boat—and your marine grill—in shipshape.
Source: riviera boat