Boat Docking and Safety

Don't Beach Your Boat or PWC! Try This New Way To Tie Up At the Beach!

Don't Beach Your Boat or PWC! Try This New Way To Tie Up At the Beach!

Many boaters and personal watercraft users drive their boat right up to the shore and beach their boat.  You may have seen many people now off shore anchoring and wonder why. Why should I use an anchor bungee line? Anchor bungee lines have become a popular way to secure boats for many reasons. Read on to see why so many people are using anchor bungee lines instead of pulling the boat right up to the shore.

 

Here are a few reason ,why so many people using anchor bungee lines?

  1. Off shore anchoring with a bungee anchor line protects the bottom of your boat. Your boat, Jet Ski or PWC is a big financial investment. You want to make sure you protect that investment. When you pull up on shore, you could encounter rocks or debris that could cause major scuffing or damage to the bottom of your boat.
  2. You favorite spot on the lake most likely does not have a dock to tie off. You don't want to relax on the beach only to see your boat drifting away from the shore. Many boaters know the feeling of their heart racing as they jump up to catch their boat from drifting off. 
  3. It is unusual to have perfect still water all day. The incoming waves from wind or boat wake cause boat to rock back and forth on the shore and cause undue damage to the hull of the boat.

How do I use a Bungee Anchor Line?

Using a bungee anchor line is fairly straight forward and easy. You will attach your anchor to your bungee anchor line off shore. The distance depend on the amount of stretch in your line and the water depth. Slowly allow your boat to coast toward the shore. Make sure you have a rope on the front of your boat. Let everyone our on shore and hold the rope , allowing the bungee to pull the boat back off shore. Use your bow line to tie off your boat. There are many great shore anchor systems  to tie off to. We particularly like the Sanddocker anchor.  It is easy to put into the ground and stays secure to hold your boat well. 

Can My Dog Go On A Boat Without A Lifejacket?

Can My Dog Go On A Boat Without A Lifejacket?

If you love your dog as much as you love your boat, it is very likely you will want you dog to enjoy your day on the water. So, you may be wondering, does my dog need to wear a life jacket on my boat, seadoo or kayak. Although the simply answer to "Does My Dog Need a Lifejacket ?"

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Can I Wake Surf Behind My Seadoo

Can I Wake Surf Behind My Seadoo

Wake surfing is all the rage now, it seems to have replaced waterskiing, wake boarding and knee boarding, and become the most recent boating trend. You may want to wakeboard, but don't have a huge expensive wake surf boat, but you have a personal watercraft, and have wondered can I wake surf behind my seadoo? Can I ski behind my seadoo? Can I tow a tube behind my Seadoo?

The simple answer to Can I wake surf behind my Seadoo is yes! The fun is limitless with your little personal watercraft, no what brand you have. You can wakeboard, ski, pull a tube and wake surf behind your jet ski or personal watercraft. There are a few rules you will need to keep in mind before you grab your board and rush out to the river or lake. 

Just like a boat you will need to make sure you follow all the boater safety rules and licensing for Personal watercraft. Be sure you know the regulations about licensing and water safety certifications before you tow anyone behind your Jet ski or seadoo.

The most important thing about towing anyone behind your Personal WaterCraft is making sure you have enough seats on your PWC for a driver, spotter and the person you are towing. In most case, that means you can town a single skier, tuber or boarder. On a boat there is more room for passengers, so you can put multiple people behind the boat at once. It is suggested you purchase a single tube, if you are planning to tow tubers behind your Seadoo.

In, some case, we think it is easier to teach kids to ski behind a PWC because it is a more gentle pull out of the water. The down side to this is it is difficult to quickly get up to speed to pull an adult out of the water. 

So yes, you can ski, wake board and tube behind your Seadoo. Just make sure you are following all of your state regulations. Have fun and be safe on the water.

 

Choose The Right Life Jacket For Your Activity

Choose The Right Life Jacket For Your Activity

How to Choose the Right Life Jacket

Today’s life jackets come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. No matter which life jacket you choose, be sure it’s right for YOU, your planned activities, and the water conditions you expect to encounter.

Oops! That jacket is too big and loose.

TRY IT ON!

  • Check the manufacturer’s ratings for your size and weight to get started.
  • Make sure the life jacket is properly zipped or buckled.
  • Raise your arms straight up over your head while wearing your life jacket and grab the shoulder material, gently pulling up.  
  • If there is excess room above the openings and the life jacket rides up over your chin or face, it does NOT fit properly. A snug fit in these areas signals a properly fitting life jacket.

Fit Facts

  • It is extremely important that you choose a properly fitting life jacket.
  • Life jackets that are too big will cause the flotation device to push up around your face, which could be dangerous.
  • Life jackets that are too small will not be able to keep your body afloat.

Important Reminders

  • Make sure your life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard-approved.
  • Double-check that your life jacket is appropriate for your favorite boating activities.
  • Life jackets meant for adults do not work for children. If you are boating with children, make sure they are wearing properly fitted, child-sized life jackets. Do not buy a life jacket for your child to “grow into.”
  • It's state law on recreational vessels underway, children under 13 years old must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket unless they are below decks or in an enclosed cabin.
  • Life jackets are required to be worn in Class III or higher whitewater rapids.  
 Life Jacket Variety
Life jacket style images
 

Inflatable Life Jackets
 

Inflatable life jackets use compressed air cartridges (CO2) and when deployed, fill the life jacket chamber (bladder) which is packed (folded) in a way that allows the jacket to inflate quickly and efficiently. Inflatables provide 45 percent more buoyancy when inflated. This causes a person to float higher and be more visible when the life jacket is inflated. Always read the owner's manual for instructions and manufacturer contact information. 

 

There are two primary types: manual (inflates with the quick jerk of a cord) or automatic (inflates when submerged in water). Both types can be orally inflated by breathing into an inflation tube/mouthpiece. This is a backup method to inflate the life jacket in case the inflation mechanism malfunctions and gives you the ability to adjust the comfort of the jacket once inflated. The inflation tube is also how you will DEFLATE the life jacket to repack it.

 

All inflatable life jackets have these components: air holding chamber, source of compressed gas (usually CO2), inflation mechanism to discharge gas from the cylinder into the inflation chamber, inflation tube/mouthpiece to add air to the chamber manually or to deflate, and a manual "jerk to inflate" cord. When wearing any inflatable life jacket, be sure the manual "jerk to inflate" cord is easily accessible.

 

An automatic inflatable life jacket will automatically inflate when the life jacket is submerged in at least four inches of water, either when a small tablet dissolves in water and causes the inflator to activate or when using an internal water pressure gauge that activates the inflator. In addition to the automatic inflating, every automatic inflatable life jacket has a"jerk to inflate" cord in case the automatic mechanism fails or the life jacket may be inflated by breathing into the inflation tube. 

 

Rearming kits can be purchased through the life jacket manufacturer and many are sold at outdoor/sporting goods stores. Cylinders are single-use only and need to be replaced. Also, cylinders have expiration dates to be mindful of.  

 

Inflatable life jackets are a great option, but also require routine maintenance and regular testing. Please read the label and follow instructions for maintenance and testing. All inflatable life jackets should be tested annually to make sure the inflation mechanism and regular manual inflation of the jacket hold air. We recommend that you deploy your inflatable life jacket in a pool to understand how it fits. feels and inflates. Test it. Try swimming in it. Make sure the harness isn't too tight. Get comfortable blowing air into and releasing air, using the inflation tube. Know how to fine-tune adjustments for comfort. In 2019, Oregon had 18 recreational boating fatalities. Three were wearing life jackets. Two were wearing inflatables. One failed to deploy and the other did not have the CO2 cartridge/mechanism functioning properly. 

 

Wearable Offshore Use

Intended for use offshore or potentially rough seas where quick rescue may not be likely. It has a greater flotation value and is designed to turn an unconscious person face-up. It is reversible and is available in two sizes, adult (90 lbs. or more) and child (less than 90 lbs.).

 
Wearable Inland Use

 

Designed for general boating activities and is suitable for protected areas, where rough water is not likely to be found or for activities where quick rescue is available. Not suitable for extended survival in rougher cold water. This type of jacket is less buoyant and is designed to turn an unconscious person to a vertical or slightly face-up position. These life jackets are available in several sizes.

Wearable General Use/Impact Activities
 

Intended for general boating activities or specialized activities such as canoeing, skiing or fishing due to the freedom of movement it allows. These life jackets are suitable for protected areas where rough water is not likely or where quick rescue is available. This type of jacket provides moderate buoyancy and is designed to provide a stable face-up position in calm water for a conscious person floating with their head tilted back. It is not intended to turn or maintain an unconscious wearer, face-up. These life jackets are available in many sizes, styles, and colors that appeal to all ages and work well with varying boating activities.

 
Throwable Device (float cushion)
 

Intended to be thrown to a person who has fallen overboard. This device is designed to be grasped and held by the user until they can be rescued. Not suitable for rough or cold water survival. This type of float cushion is useless to an unconscious or exhausted person and is not recommended for non-swimmers or children.  Float Cushions should never be worn on the back. This will force the person’s face underwater. A person overboard should put their arms through the straps and hold the cushion to their chest, which will keep their head out of the water.

 

Wearable Special Use Devices

This type of life jacket is designed and approved for restricted uses or activities such as sailboarding or commercial whitewater rafting. If it is approved and identified for commercial use only, it does not satisfy requirements for recreational watercraft. The label on the life jacket indicates the restrictions or limitations that apply and its performance type. This type of life jacket is only acceptable when used for the activity for which it is designed and labeled.

A hybrid inflatable life jacket is also a Type V. This type of inflatable has 7.5 pounds of inherent buoyancy when deflated and inflates up to 22 pounds. To count for life jacket carriage requirements, the hybrid inflatable must be worn except when the boat is not underway or when the boater is in an enclosed space, such as the cabin.

 

New Life Jacket Labels

Newer life jackets on the market will have different Coast Guard labels. The label on the life jacket indicates the restrictions or limitations that apply and its performance type. Be sure to check the label and ensure that the life jacket is approved for the activity for which it is designed. Types I-V (legacy) life jackets are still approved and accepted for carriage requirements. 

 

New life jacket labels
 https://amzn.to/2NJq2uc

 

Do I Need a License to Drive a Jet Ski?

Do I Need a License to Drive a Jet Ski?

Do you have a friend with a jet ski or personal watercraft? Are you thinking about buying a jet ski or Seadoo? One thing you may not be aware of is the laws of the water. Maybe your are even wondering , can I drive a jet ski without a license? That is a good question to ask.  Many  people are excited to be invited to the lake with friends, but are not aware they need a some preparation to drive their friends jet ski or watercraft. 

There are a few factors in play, when it comes to answering the question, do I need a boating license to drive a jet ski. First is what state you are in. Each state has its own laws and regulations for boating. Some states do require a license for anyone to drive a boat or jet ski.   Others require a boater safety course , and require you to carry your card showing you took that course. Regardless of the laws it is highly recommended you get a license before you drive any motorized watercraft. Think of you PWC as a motorcycle on the water, you still need to know the laws of the water to be safe and protect the safety of others. We suggest you go to your state boating regulations to ensure you have all the details, before you hop on your just ski. You do not want to get to get sited by the water police.

Although jet skis are smaller and some people see them as a motorize water toy, they are categorized as a boat.  In the United States 40 states require you to have some boater education or license before you drive a jet ski or boat.  Please keep in mind these rules apply while you are on vacation and want to you rent a Seadoo or Jet ski as well. You should take care of your boater education before you go on vacation. You don't want to waste your vacation time taking a boater safety course. BoatUS has online boat safety courses for each state. No need to leave you house. 

 

AmericanBoating.org, has a list of all states and their boat licensing rules. Go here to find the answer to the question, do I need a license to drive a jet ski in your state. Remember all states have different boating laws, and it is highly recommended you take a boating safety course before you hit the water.

So the simple answer to Can I drive a Jet Ski without a license is not likely, as it is considered a boat, and most states require a boating license. Check your state for the laws. Safety on the water prevents unwanted tragedy. Make sure you understand the rules of the water. Just like driving a motor cycle on the highway, jet skis are smaller and make you more vulnerable. Be water wise and safe!

7 Tips To Prep Your Boat For The Season

7 Tips To Prep Your Boat For The Season

Spring is just a here and the boating season is almost upon us. Regardless of what type  boat you have, spring is a good time to clean up and perform any needed boat maintenance. Be ready to go when the weather starts to warm up.  Start rounding up paint, wash buckets and tools to make your water vessel look good and to keep the engine working its best. Below are 7 routine checks you should make before you put your boat in the water. 

Tip #1: Visual Inspection, Washing, Waxing    and Initial Maintenance of Your Boat

Perform a visual inspection on your boat before placing it in the water. Check the hull for any cracks, punctures, or holes and get them repaired immediately. Keep your boat clean! Wash your boat regularly and if you own a fiberglass boat, we recommend that you wax it at least once a year. Washing your boat Waxing will prevent surface dirt buildup and make the boat easier to clean and rinse after using. Remember, many states now have invasive species laws including getting an invasive species decal. Check this link to see invasive species laws in your state. Keep your boat looking great on the water for years with this easy maintenance step. 

In many respects, boat maintenance is a lot like car maintenance. You should check and change the oil, replace the spark plugs, and replace any cracked or damaged hoses. All filters and belts should be checked as well. Many people do this on their own, if you don't feel comfortable take you boat in to a dealership and get the maintenance done. It is no fun to be on the lake and have your boat die on you. 

Tip #2: Care for and Wear Life Jackets

Boat maintenance is important, but equally important is the maintenance and care given to your safety and lifesaving equipment. Not sure of good lifejacket options check here. Make sure you have a good life jacket for every person on your boat as well as your dogs. It is always important to check for rips, broken buckle or other signs of wear before you head out to your favorite waterway. It is important for your dog to have a lifejacket or life vest, even if they are known to be a good swimmer, they may get exhausted if they have to swim a long time. There are many great lifejackets for dogs on the market.

dog lifejacket, ruffwear dog lifevest

Tip #3: Get a Fire Extinguisher and Inspect it Regularly

Your boat’s fire extinguisher must be U.S. Coast Guard approved, readily accessible, and in such condition as to be ready for immediate and effective use. We recommend getting a professional to inspect your extinguisher once a year and personally inspect it once a month. Do not test a fire extinguisher by releasing a small amount of the agent because this breaks the seal and may cause it to leak. Shake the fire extinguisher well before putting it away because that keeps the chemical from packing down in the canister.

"Periodic inspection and maintenance of your water vessel should be made throughout the year to help ensure you have a good time while out on the water." Pam Doty, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Water Safety Program Manager

Tip #4: Examine your Boat’s Navigation Lights

If your boat has navigation lights, check the bulbs to see that they are bright and in good condition. Replace the bulb if it is corroded, appears dim, or the glass is loose from the base. Make sure that you have spare bulbs aboard for each type and size of lights. Check the wiring, all the way from the socket to the power source. Be sure wires, insulation, terminals and switches are clean, free of corrosion and in good condition. All wiring must be well secured and away from any area where water might collect. Any splices should be soldered and well wrapped to make sure they are secure and watertight.

Tip #5: Carry a Carbon Monoxide Detector On Board and Know How to Recognize Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that can hurt or kill you both inside and outside the boat. Blocked exhaust outlets, inadequately ventilated enclosures and even exhaust from other boats can all be potentially dangerous. It’s not only important to know which areas of the boat present a risk, but it’s also important to know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and what you should do if anyone on board is suffering from it.

If your vessel has an enclosed cabin or living quarters, we recommend that you install a carbon monoxide detector for your safety. Another important consideration related to carbon monoxide is the proper maintenance of your portable marine generator. When repairing your generator use marine quality replacement parts instead of auto parts because auto parts tend to deteriorate faster. Auto parts may not create a proper seal that would stop carbon monoxide from entering the living quarters of your boat.

Tip #6: Examine and Maintain Your Boat Trailer

Pay attention to the condition of your boat trailer. The top five reasons for trailer breakdowns are:

  • flat tires
  • wheel bearing failures
  • axle problems
  • suspension problems
  • tongue/coupling trouble.

BOAT TRAILER TIRES

Trailer tires are different from car tires. Trailer tires provide higher load capacity and stiffer sidewalls whereas radial tires found on most passenger cars are more flexible. Underinflation is the primary cause of failure. An underinflated trailer tire won’t sag like your car’s tires because of its stiff sidewall construction. Make sure your trailer tires are inflated properly by checking the pressure with a tire gauge. Oxidation is often another culprit for trailer tire failure. Trailer tires often sit in one spot for weeks or longer and are usually in sunlight where UV radiation decays the tire. Check for dry rot and cracking on the sidewalls. Trailer tires need to be replaced every 3–5 years of use, even if they appear to have plenty of tread.

BOAT TRAILER WHEEL BEARINGS and LUBRICANT

Because they are regularly immersed in water, boat trailer wheel bearing maintenance is crucial. This causes the bearings to rust if not properly packed with lubricant. Make sure you use the right lubricant. In most cases a multipurpose No. 2 grade lubricant is recommended. Even trailers not immersed in water are subject to bearing corrosion. 

BOAT TRAILER AXLE, SUSPENSION and TONGUE/COUPLING

Even if your trailer has passed a visual inspection for rust and corrosion, it is still possible to have axle, suspension, or coupling problems if it is overloaded or if safe towing techniques are not followed. Make sure you don’t overload your boat when towing and practice safe towing techniques. 

Tip #7: Examine your dock ties and anchor lines.

bungee dock tienylon docking ropeBungee dock tether tie line

There are many types of boating ropes, dock ties and anchor lines. You make sure your ropes haven't been weakened by UV damage or torn by a sharp object. Double braided nylon ropes hold up well and are easy to use. If you want something a bit fancier you should look into bungee dock ties. They help your boat absorb the incoming wake, so it doesn't get tossed into the dock. One of the best ways to protect your investment is off shore anchoring. This requires a bungee anchor line and a nylon rope to tie off on shore. 

 

Use these last cool weeks of winter to get ready, go through the boating checklist and make sure you a prepped as soon as the weather turns! Happy Boating!

 



Launching Your Boat For Beginner Boaters

Launching Your Boat For Beginner Boaters

Launching your boat can be one of the more stressful parts of being a new boat owner. Make sure you are prepared, brush up on launching techniques, have the best boat launching and docking ties and ropes. View the boat launching guide for beginning boater and be on your way to a great day on the water.

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Can I Drink While Driving My Boat?

Can I Drink While Driving My Boat?

Winter seems to be giving way to spring, and boaters are getting their boats ready for the water. Being on the water produces such great memories! Boaters love to relax and let their hair down while on the water. One of the consistent questions we hear “ Can I drink and drive my boat?” or “ Are there open container laws on boats?” or “Do they really enforce drinking and driving laws for boats?”. Some answers to “Can I drink and drive my boat” are very clear cut. Other answers to drinking and driving a boat are more based in common sense. 


Can I drink and drive my boat?


In most states, You are allowed to have open containers of alcohol, your passengers can drink, and even the person piloting the boat can drink as long as they don't meet the criterion for DUI. However, be aware that Harbor Patrol and other officers will look for open containers on boats. Keep in mind these guidelines apply to those of legal drinking age. You can never drink alcohol on your boat if you are under age! 

In this case, I would say just because it is permissible in most states to drink and drive a boat is it the best choice?


Can passengers on a boat drink?


The simple answer to this question is yes, passengers on a boat can drink. Most states allow for open containers on a boat. Please check our state’s laws. (this is information that should be covered in your boat safety course.) As a passenger, you should keep in mind alcohol can impair your judgement, so you may act in a way that would jeopardize your safety or be unable to help in an emergency. Always keep in mind, if something happens to the boat drier you may be called upon to  drive the boat.


Can I get a DUI when driving a boat?


Contrary to rumors that go around, you can get a BUI - Boating Under the Influence. These are laws not taken lightly. Consequences for BUI range from financial fines, loss of boating privileges to jail time.   The legal limit for drinking and driving is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% g/dL, and the same is true for operating a boat. This applies to any boat, including a canoe, kayak, Stand up paddle board or rowboat.

BUI is not only limited to alcohol!

BUI means boating under the influence of any intoxicant, including both legal and illegal drugs. You can get a BUI while under the influence of a prescribed medication if it is determined that the medication caused operator impairment. 


Alcohol is the leading cause of Boating Accidents!


Although it may be legal to drink alcohol on your boat, it is a risky choice. Many boating organizations report alcohol as the leading cause of boating accidents and boating fatalities. Boating helps create so many amazing memories, one alcohol related accident could spoil your great boating memories. 


You can have a lot more fun on your boat without alcohol ! You protect yourself, your passengers and other boaters on the water. 


I’d say the old saying , “Just because your can, doesn’t mean you should”, totally applies to drinking while driving your boat! 


***(this is a general information article- please refer to your own state’s boater safety laws)

Docking Your Boat For Beginners- Easy Step By Step Guide

Docking Your Boat For Beginners- Easy Step By Step Guide

Boat Lines and Dock ties Docking Ropes

Dock your boat can be stressful, if you are not prepared or are new to boating.  On a busy lake the docks and marina can get very hectic and can be overwhelming for a new boater.  Our list below is designed to help eliminate some of the stress and intimadations that are part of docking your boat. Below is your boat docking guide.

How to Dock A Boat

  1. Prepare your dock lines on your bow and stern and attach your fenders, before you approach the dock.  When you are ready to approach the dock be courteous to other boaters and be prepared. It will lower your stress and lower other boaters aggravation with you. There are many great docking lines on the market. A double braided nylon rope will do the trick for a quick stop at the marina or an extended docking stop. There are also many reliable dock ties, we are particularly fond of the Bungee Dock Ties, they are easy to attach to your boat cleats and the dock cleats as well. 
  2. Line up your approach and look over the docking area. Before you head straight for the dock, take note of other boats: Are they waiting for their turn to dock? Are there boat trying to leave the dock area? Are the other boats in the way of you making an easy approach to the dock?  You want to set yourself up for the least stress and easiest approach - this may require you to be patient and wait to dock.
  3. Make note of the wind, water currents, other water conditions and hazards.  It will be necessary to make adjustments of your approach angle based on wind and current. 
  4. Do NOT be in a hurry. Approach the dock slowly using intermittent acceleration. Boats don't have brakes, they have forward and reverse, in order to make docking smooth you need to take it slow. You should never approach a dock faster than you are willing to hit the dock. Slow approaches prevent damaging your boat.
  5. Tie your boat off to the dock cleats, posts or pilings using your dock line ropes or bungee boat dock ties. Boat Docking made easy for beginners