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24 | New Boat Laws
What you need to
know about your state

37 | Top Safety Apps
How Lenny Rudow loads
up his smartphone

48 | Gift Guide
Cool new gear for your
holiday wish list

76 | Docking Smart
How to nuzzle your
boat up to any dock

Boat Owners Association
of The United States

December 2013


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BoatU.S. Magazine

Your annual subscription to this
award-winning magazine is one of the
many benefits of BoatU.S. membership.
See page 81 for details.

December 2013


Great Escapes — Special Section
40 | Flying (To) Fish
By Mike Vatalaro

Island-hopping to Tuna Alley, by seaplane and boat
43 | Going With The Floe
By Bernadette Bernon

A spur-of-the-moment getaway to the Antarctic,
one of the most remote places on earth
46 | Two Legends In The Caribbean
Photos, Top to bottom: Pat Ford, Jason Taylor, Chris Landers

By Tania Aebi

Johnny Coconut’s desperate voyage, remembered in the Grenadines
48 | BoatU.S. Magazine’s Holiday Gift Guide

Our editors found something for everyone, as long as they’re boaters


50 | Let There Be LED Lights
By Mike Vatalaro

Your old light bulbs may be costing you more than you think.
Here’s a primer for switching to efficient LEDs
54 | Shootout In The Ozarks
By Chris Landers

One of the largest boat races in the
country is a high-octane affair


COVER: Nauti Toy, a 65-foot Pershing, chased
by an ever changing and unlimited color palette,
thanks to OceanLED’s Colours HD Pro Series lights.


6 | Reader Forum
10 | BoatU.S. Reports
81 | At Your Service

18 | American Boater
Dolphins, Racers,
And Killer Bs

Edited By Ann Dermody
No surprise professional athletes such as
Jason Taylor take their boating seriously

24 | Government Affairs
New Boating Laws In 2013
By Nicole Palya Wood
Are the rules changing in your state?

28 | Advocate
Should You Buy An

By Charles Fort
The answer used to be a simple “no.”
Manufacturers are trying to change that

33 | Good Foundation
Alternative Outboards
By Chris Edmondston
Putting the latest environmentally friendly
outboards through their paces

37 | Electronics
Apps To Keep You Safe
By Lenny Rudow
From flashlights to float plans, your
smartphone has an app for it


Practical Boater Projects > Skill-Building > What’s New
63 | Projects | Dazzle The Dockside With Holiday Lights By Tracy Leonard
68 | Gear & Electronics | The NMMA Innovation Awards By Beth Leonard
73 | Do It Yourself | 5 Ways To Use A Multimeter By Tim Murphy
76 | Skills | 4 Steps To Easier Docking By Mike Vatalaro

this month

78 | Seaworthy | Avoid The Boat Insurance Blues By Beth Leonard

Making Life Simpler
Have you noticed the new, improved responsive design on yet?
Now, whether you’re reading us on a smartphone, tablet, or on your desktop,
the content and organization will be optimized for you. So say goodbye to
awkward clicks on links and lots of scrolling when you log onto

Spending Dinner On The Boat?
Before you open that bag of chips, check out recipes and tips for cooking
aboard, share your own success stories, or subscribe to “Our Favorite Recipes”
at BoatU.S. “What’s Cooking,” featuring our acclaimed food writer Lori Ross.

Roll Up Your Sleeves
Looking to work on a project this winter? Whether it’s fixing fiberglass or fitting
a fishfinder, our BoatTECH guides cover what you’ll need to take care of your
boat. Check out our advice on winterizing, maintenance, equipment, and safety.

Photos, Top to bottom: John Horn, Marcus Floro, Yamaha, Leo A. Dilling (Photo Contest 2012)

4 | At The Helm

Chart your course
for a new adventure.

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*Call 877.799.8755 or visit for a chance to win a FREE 474PC for the event.

At the
VOLUME XIX, No. 6, December 2013

Sharing The Love
Last June, we decided to practice what we preach at BoatU.S. and organized
a “Go Boating” event for our headquarters staff at a local Potomac River marina
in Alexandria, Virginia. We’re a company that’s all about boating, so we wanted
to celebrate and spread that enthusiasm. While there are loads of boaters in our
ranks, we have some folks who aren’t, and so we had no way of knowing how
our event would go. Would the non-boaters be excited to learn? Would people bring their
families? With 20 languages spoken in our office, would our diversified workforce get into it?
Everyone has busy lives; would folks get themselves to the marina on a summer work night,
just to “mess about in boats” with their co-workers? I hoped so.
Working with our HR team, we created an evening that brought together some of our
staff’s powerboats and kayaks, and we borrowed sturdy Flying Scot sailboats. On land,
BoatU.S. Foundation staff gave out life jackets, and there were sandwiches, knot-tying demos,
navigation lessons, and casting practice. TowBoatU.S. Potomac Marine even brought a red
towboat! With initial preparations made, we sent an email out to our staff, and I held my
breath. Slowly, the first emails arrived: “Go out on boats? Seriously? I’m there!” and “Can I
bring my kids?” and “I can’t wait to learn how to drive a boat!” Then, the emails flooded in.
That June evening, with unusually pleasant weather and 5-10 knots of breeze, we had
a few dozen volunteers running boats and
education stations, handing out water, and
more than 150 people joined us to go boating! We saw lots of kids and spouses we’d
never met, and even three generations in at
least one family. There were loads of smiles,
and a terrific vibe.
Our volunteer skippers, who had hundreds of years of experience among them,
later told me how fun it was to see people
taking the helm for the first time, or to watch
the surprise in a newbie’s eyes as they realized they were making that boat go, or to see
BoatU.S.’s Elio Betty coaches Carole, an a child discover they’re pretty darn good at
casting a fishing rod. It was especially rewardexcited skipper-to-be, on the Potomac.
ing to see new bonds created between people
from different departments who really hadn’t known each other before that day. Some participants conquered fears or erased impressions made years ago by a bad boating experience.
Then there were folks who’d never been on a boat before — imagine! — energized about the
family recreation they were just discovering.
This joy of boating is one that you and I are lucky enough to know quite well. One of my
2014 resolutions is to make sure I spread that gift around, and I hope you will too, with your
families, your friends, and your co-workers. I guarantee you’ll get back more than you give.
Happy New Year to you and your family!

Margaret Bonds Podlich
BoatU.S. President
4 | BoatU.S. Magazine

Your annual subscription to this awardwinning magazine is one of the many
benefits of BoatU.S. membership.
To reach our Member Services
department, or to learn more about
joining BoatU.S., call 800-395-2628
BoatU.S. President
Margaret Bonds Podlich
Bernadette Bernon
Ryck Lydecker, Chris Landers
Contributing editors
John Adey, Bob Adriance, Don Casey,
Elaine Dickinson, Tom Neale
Claire Wyngaard
Stacey Bruen
ProofReader Regina Cruz
Rick Kelvington, Marcus Floro
Elio Betty
PHONE: 703-461-4383
FAX: 703-461-2845
[email protected]
John Bratten, Advertising Sales Manager
PHONE: 703-461-4389
FAX: 757-383-6132
[email protected]
William J. McVey, Jr.
PHONE: 212-316-0383 / 800-447-4766
FAX: 212-666-1980
[email protected]
PHONE: 888-282-2628
FAX: 703-461-4664
Lauren James
880 S. Pickett St.
Alexandria, VA 22304
PHONE: 703-461-2864
FAX: 703-461-2845
Email: [email protected]
address change: 800-395-2628

BoatU.S. Chairman & Founder
Richard Schwartz

©BoatU.S. Magazine (ISSN 1090-1272) Published bimonthly
by Boat Owners Association of The United States, 880 South
Pickett St., Alexandria, VA 22304 (six issues). Periodicals Postage Paid at Alexandria, VA and at additional mailing offices.
Subscription is $6.00 annually to BoatU.S. members. Contact
BoatU.S. for permission to reprint articles, (703) 461-2864.
POSTMASTER: Send Change of Address to BoatU.S. Magazine,
880 South Pickett St., Alexandria, VA 22304 (2013).

december 2013


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December 2013

BoatU.S. Magazine | 5

Forum [email protected]

None Of Your Beeswax
I read Lenny Rudow’s article regarding boat wax, which was very
informative. He advises to use wax with a beeswax base. Every
wax product I can find is either a carnauba base or no description
at all. Help!
Dan Callen
Ooltewah, TN
From Lenny Rudow: It doesn’t need to be 100% carnauba-free, it just needs
to be based on beeswax instead of carnauba. Most waxes contain some
level of carnauba, the key is having a large amount of beeswax. If it doesn’t
specifically state carnauba wax, you can safely assume it’s beeswax.

Battery Topper
In “Watering Batteries” (“Ask The Experts,” Oct. 2013), Don Casey
replied to Ron Beitelspacher that he was unaware of a solution for
topping off, and not overfilling, batteries in a confined space. A perfect solution for me has been a battery-watering system that interconnects all the cells together with neoprene tubing to a central refilling
hose, which is commonly done to maintain golf-cart batteries.

Jim Wolfe

Germantown, TN
From Don Casey: We’ve heard from a number of BoatU.S. members about
various plumbed solutions for inaccessible batteries and have passed along
this new enlightenment to Ron in Loreto.

Keeping A Lookout
Loretta Lynn
Wooldridge writes
that her 15-month-old cat Mink, seen here with friends Rainey Just,
and Michael and David Laquara, loves going out on their 42-foot
Coastal Cruiser. This picture was taken at Ripley Light Yacht Club, in
Charleston, South Carolina. Just don’t let the cat chase the light.

With Friends Like These ...
Terry and Rosa Biagi sent in this
picture of their friends’ boat, a
1974 Skipjack with … a bit of a
problem keeping the water on
the outside. “The boat had never
been named,” Terry writes, “but
they’d always answer to ‘Leaky
Leaky’ when called on the VHF.”
Terry and Rosa decided to make
it official by ordering decals
from BoatU.S. Graphics and by
taking this photo during its first
voyage with the new name.

Towing The Line?
We got several letters about Bill Parlatore’s “Magenta Line” (October
2013). Reader opinion ranged from praising Parlatore for his helpful
suggestions to, echoing one correspondent, “Duhhhhhhhh!”
— The Editors
Bill’s dead on. Blind adherence to the magenta line in some barely
football-field-wide sections of the Intracoastal Waterway will run you
aground before you can pull back your throttle. Using the GPS as a
“guideline,” paying close attention to navigational aids, and using
your “sixth sense” as Bill suggests are excellent points. In many cases,
“local knowledge” of recreational and commercial boaters who run
the waters ahead of your boat is just a hail and a channel change
away. Even more helpful, and always reliable, is your depth sounder.
Jay Moore
Norfolk, VA
Bill Parlatore’s “Magenta Line” was a great history of the ICW and
made various good points. However, I was dumbfounded to find out
that he followed a chart’s magenta line when navigating the ICW.
I’d think that a prudent navigator would use all available navigation
6 | BoatU.S. Magazine

That’s One Happy Kid
Tim Stolar, from Rhinelander, Wisconsin,
writes: “This picture was taken last year
when my wife Amy and I took our family
of five kids out on our 34-foot Mainship
trawler Iron Horse on Lake Superior. The
photo is of me and my youngest son
Cole. For months all he talked about was
driving the boat with me, and when he
finally got his chance he was as happy as
a kid on Christmas morning. All winter
long when we would put him to bed, the
only comfort to make him go to sleep
was that he would be able to drive the
boat, and it always worked.”

SEND PHOTOS! We’d love to see photos of you, your
family, and friends enjoying great times on the water.
Email the high-resolution version to us with your name
and address to [email protected] and tell
us who or what’s in the photo.
december 2013

December 2013

BoatU.S. Magazine | 7

resources – in particular, the navigation aids that delineate the channel. I’ve traveled the ICW in both directions several times, Bahamas,
and parts of the Caribbean. I’d never rely totally on a chartplotter!
Just as an example, pulling into Alice Town, Bimini, from the south. If
I followed the chartplotter, I’d be on land! To be fair, there was a sidebar, “Planning To Travel The ICW,” that does say to check with other
navigation aids when the magenta line conflicts with the surrounding landscape. But why would anyone follow a line on a chartplotter
instead of navigating by the channel markers?
Pat Lynch
Harpers Ferry, WV
From Bill Parlatore: Thanks for your comments. It appears some may have
taken me out of context or assumed we followed the magenta line over other
aids to navigation. Yes, this is a wonderful tool to get a sense of the general
route one takes when traveling north or south on the ICW, but it is not to
be used as a primary navigation tool, as I hoped to affirm in the article.
The magenta line is not now, nor was it ever intended to be, an accurate
depiction of a course line on which one can place waypoints. It is simply
a broad brush of the Intracoastal Waterway. Boat owners today have a
variety of tools from which to navigate, including buoys, paper charts,
chart books, electronic plotters, even iPads. The prudent mariner uses them
all but fully relies on none.

Thanks For Reading
I get other boating magazines each month and I read a few parts
of each. I also get BoatU.S. Magazine, and I have to say I probably
read all of it. Your articles are timely, pertinent, and informative.
Notwithstanding all of the services BoatU.S. provides, and the work
BoatU.S. does protecting boaters’ interests, I think I’d continue to
join just to get the magazine. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying, “Job
well done.”
Dick Mullins
Cape Coral, FL

The Shape of Things
A few seasons ago, I was anchored at the edge of a channel when I saw
a commercial tug pushing a barge at a distance of about two miles,
appearing to be coming right at us. I tried to reach him on the radio,
and when the tug was about a half-mile from me, I pulled the anchor
and moved. The tug never altered his course or signaled in any way.
I mentioned this event to an old salt in my marina and he asked me
if I was flying an anchor ball. I had never heard of one before. I started
doing some checking and found rule #30, regarding day shapes. As I
understand the rule, the anchor ball (day shape), similar to having your
anchor light illuminated at night, indicates that you are at anchor. Perhaps
this is a long-forgotten rule, but it still is in the regs.
Frank Lawther
Glen Cove, NY

A Familiar Scene
Gary Halford got a surprise when he opened the last issue of the
magazine and saw … his own boat, Sandpiper. Turns out, when a
photographer snapped the shot, Gary and Sandpiper were en route
to “Paddle for the Border,” a kayaking event that goes from the
Virginia state line to the Dismal Swamp State Park in North Carolina.
The North Carolina Tourism folks liked it enough to send it out, and
we liked it enough to run with Bill Parlatore’s “Magenta Line” story.
“We aren’t looking for royalties,” Gary writes, “just the great satisfaction that Sandpiper was chosen for the spot.”

A Rare Cruiser
Jim Hornung sent in a shot
of himself, Simba Jo, and
Lil’ Simba enjoying the sunset after arriving in Kemah,
Texas, from Fort Lauderdale.
And they were traveling
first class, aboard his former U.S. Navy Yard Patrol
boat, YP 655, which has
been converted to a recreational boat. He says there
are about four of these
wooden boats still afloat,
“the last of the wooden
Navy.” His was decommissioned in 1992.
A Family Affair
Speaking of navies, Bobby Shore, from Mechanicsville, Virginia,
sent in this photo of the fleet his family is amassing on the lower
Potomac River. From left to right that’s Bobby’s daughter Amber,
sister Deborah, and brother Brian. Also from left to right, that’s two
kayaks, a 9-foot hydroplane, a 16-foot Chris-Craft, Bobby’s 24-foot
Superboat, and a Glacier Bay with two 90-hp Yamahas. “The boating
tradition all started with my father 45 years ago,” Bobby says, “and
it has been passed down to me and my family. Every summer finds
us having fun on the water with our boats.”

Lesson Learned
I thought Charles Fort’s article, “What A Yacht Broker Can Do For
You,” was very well written and I hope your members read and understand it. As a yacht broker, I did take exception to the idea that selling
your own boat can save you 10-15 percent. Most of these owners will
learn and come running to a broker to help them sell their next boat.
The brokers have the tools to do it. Dick Sciuto
Mattapoiset, MA
8 | BoatU.S. Magazine

december 2013


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december 2013

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BoatU.S. Magazine | 9


news from the world
| of american boating
Edited by Ryck Lydecker & Chris Landers

10 | BoatU.S. Magazine

Photo: Onne Van Der Wal

Sailor Onne Van
Der Wal started
taking pictures
in 1981, when a
camera company
gave him a camera
to document his
team’s Whitbread
Round the World
Race. His latest
book, Sailing,
shows that it was
a good investment. The book is
huge — make sure
you have a sturdy
coffee table — and
its subjects span
the globe from
Antarctica to St.
Tropez. (Shown
here: Highland
Fling races off
Key West.)
Most of us probably won’t get to
see all of these
places, but Sailing
gives us a taste
of what it must
be like. A great
gift. $100 (Rizzoli International
For more gift ideas
see page 48.

december 2013

Catching The
Christmas Comet
Stargazers are in for a treat
this winter, thanks to ISON


f astronomers are correct,
you probably won’t be able to avoid
seeing Comet ISON as it arcs through
the skies this winter. But if this once-ina-lifetime celestial event intrigues you,
there’s every chance you’ll see it best on
your boat. In clear weather, away from the
lights on land, ISON’s brilliant tail could
stretch across a quarter of the sky, according
to astronomers.
Out on the water, and as far as you
can get from urban glare, could be a great
front-row seat as ISON makes its Earth
debut, according to Arnold Medalen, editor of the “Stargazer” column published
in every issue of The Ensign, membership magazine of the United States Power
Squadrons. “The comet should be visible
to the naked eye by mid-November, reach
its brightest late that month, and remain
visible without optical aids until midJanuary,” Medalen reports. “It may be as
bright as the moon. But that’s, of course,
if it doesn’t fizzle first.”
According to astronomers, ISON could
possibly disintegrate or break up — comets
have gone bust before — but if not, as it
nears the sun, ice will melt off, releasing gas
and dust and forming, as Medalen puts it, “a
gigantic, long dust trail that will stretch for
dozens of degrees across the sky; it could be
quite spectacular.”
ISON will be making its pass by Earth
from early November 2013 through early
January 2014, so it’s already picked up the
moniker, “The Christmas Comet.” Just think
what this heavenly ornament will add to this
year’s Christmas lighted boat parades from
coast to coast. As it swings by our neighborhood — a mere 40 million miles away at its
closest — new moons falling on December
2, and New Year’s Day night, will add to the
comet’s brilliance. — R.L.

December 2013

BoatU.S. Magazine | 11

Boaters (and
marinas) have
more to smile
about thanks to
the almost $21
million returned
to transient
boating facility
development in
2013, through the
national Boating
Grant program.

Bogus Mayday Is No Joke


Photo: USCG

n Ohio light aircraft pilot’s wallet is nearly a half-million dollars lighter after U.S. Coast Guard investigators linked
him to a false mayday report over Lake Erie last March. After
takeoff from an airport near Cleveland, Danik Shiv Kumar, 21, radioed
that he’d seen a “fishing boat” in distress shooting off flares and counted
four people aboard.
That set off both
U.S. and Canadian
Coast Guard vessels and aircraft rescue operations that
found nothing. After
admitting to the false
report, a judge fined
Kumar $489,007 for
search costs and sentenced him to three
years of supervised
release plus 250
hours of community
service. — R.L.
12 | BoatU.S. Magazine

That’s the amount
awarded by the U.S.
Coast Guard Office of
Boating Safety to all
50 states, the District
of Columbia, and the
six territories in 2012.
The money, matched
by state funds, pays for
boating safety education,
search-and-rescue, and
on-water law enforcement
that state boating agencies
provide to the recreational
boating public. The money
comes from taxes on fishing tackle, imported boats,
and gasoline that boaters
pay into the Sport Fish
Restoration and Boating
Trust Fund. — R.L.

Asian carp caught
during Kentucky’s
Carp Madness fishing

december 2013

21 Million More Reasons For Boaters To Smile
transient boating facilities development in
2013 to nearly $21 million.
Boaters, in fact, pay their own way in
the BIG program through excise and other
taxes on certain fishing and boating equipment, and on gasoline used in recreational
boats. That money goes into the Sport Fish
Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, which
then channels those dollars back to state
boating agencies, where a percentage of it is
used to build transient slips, add new moorings, and otherwise improve facilities for
cruising boaters.
In 1998 BoatU.S. shepherded legislation
through Congress that created the program.
Often viewed by local municipalities as an
economic development tool to attract cruising boats and related boater spending, more
than $170 million in competitive grants have
been awarded since the program began.
Much of the money has been used to provide
safe anchorage and transient slips as well as
restrooms, fuel docks, dinghy docks, utilities,
pumpouts, and other boating infrastructure.
“The BIG program is one of many ways we
support access and provide quality outdoor
opportunities for the nation’s recreational
anglers and boaters,” said Hannibal Bolton
who heads the grant programs of the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service. “These grants also
spur major construction projects, create
jobs, and provide much-needed economic
benefits.” In fact, the competitive BIG grants,
which must be matched at 25 percent by nonfederal dollars, often leverage state boating
funds as well as private marina investment to
increase access for America’s boaters. – R.L.


$850,000 to Riviera Beach, Florida
Marina to add transient dockage that can
withstand a Category 3 hurricane for 26
eligible vessels


$270,059 to Belmar, New Jersey, to
help rebuild its Municipal Marina from
Superstorm Sandy damage


$36,364 to Grassy Sound Marina, Middle
Township, New Jersey, which suffered
major damage from Sandy


$65,710 to Silver Cloud Harbor Marina,
Forked River, New Jersey


$593,501 to Shattemuc Yacht Club,
Ossining, New York, to construct 48 slips
and moorings for transient boats


$1,466,577 to Bayshore Marina in the
Lake Superior city of Munising, Michigan
to add 28 new transient slips


$861,028 to Bristol, Rhode Island, to add
facilities and services for transients at its
Maritime Center, including 16 additional


$1,496,462 to the City Marina, Charleston,
South Carolina, to add 50 new slips for
transient vessels


$1,273,689 to St. John Marina, St. John,
U.S. Virgin Islands, to provide 96 slips.

When Life Gives You Lemons

Photo: Kentucky fish & Wildlife

Photo: Yamaha


n the high-stakes world of retail
merchandising, “just-in-time delivery”
is a watchword, and in August the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service “delivered”
more than $7.3 million in boating grant
funds in record time and in some strategic places. Normally, grants from the
federal Boating Infrastructure Grant program
(BIG) are awarded in the spring. But this
year the Service took extraordinary action
to make additional money available in a second round of funding for 2013. That allowed
some BIG money to be put to work quickly
to help rebuild boating infrastructure damaged or destroyed in October of last year by
Superstorm Sandy.
In April the service had awarded $13.5
million in BIG funds on the normal schedule
but later agreed to an expedited second
round with those boater-generated dollars
that otherwise would have sat idle until the
2014 grant cycle. And the timing proved
right-on. Two of the nine second-round
grants for 2013 went to marinas in Belmar
and Middle Township, New Jersey, to rebuild
transient facilities damaged by Sandy last
October. Another went to Ossining, New
York, a Hudson River town also damaged by
Sandy. Also, the 2013 round-two grants now
are at work improving facilities for transient
boaters in Florida, Michigan, Rhode Island,
South Carolina, and for the first time, the
U.S. Virgin Islands. The service also released
approximately $400,000 in BIG money
to smaller projects in Florida, Louisiana,
New York, South Carolina, Washington, and
Wisconsin. That brings the total returned to

for 2013

december 2013

processing plant in Wickliffe, Kentucky, began shipping to overseas customers this summer. The product? Processed Asian carp. The nuisance fish is caught
nearby and headed for China, where it’s considered a delicacy. Two Rivers Fishery
had just opened in May of this year, and by August the plant was processing around 6,000
pounds of carp a day. The first shipment to China totaled 40,000 pounds, with an order
pending for another million pounds. Plant manager Jeff Smith told a local radio station that
the company planned to bring on more fishermen to fill the large order.
Asian carp may be desirable elsewhere, but in the Mississippi and Ohio rivers and the
region around them, the fish are a serious nuisance, destroying local ecosystems and even
causing injury to boaters. The fish grow to be 20 pounds and launch themselves out of the
water at the sound of a boat motor, sometimes with damaging consequences for the passing
boat and its occupants. And in the Upper Mississippi and Illinois river watersheds, they are
the cause of an intense battle over the best way to keep them from populating the Great
Lakes and destroying native fish there.
In a statement at the plant opening in May, CEO Angie Yu touted the economic and
environmental benefits of the company’s plan. “We are thrilled to be a member of the
Wickliffe/Ballard community,” said Yu. “After years in the international fish importing and
exporting business, we have realized our dream of creating our own factory. Our hope is
that this facility benefits Kentucky’s waterways as well, removing Asian carp from the rivers
and turning them into a positive resource.” — Chris Landers

Marks 25
The Southern
California Yachting
Association will
celebrate the 25th
year of its Women’s
Sailing Convention
when it meets on
February 1, 2014.
The convention
(which BoatU.S.
sponsors) will be
held in Corona del
Mar, California,
and is open to all
women with an
interest in sailing.

BoatU.S. Magazine | 13

Have you done a renovation on your
boat’s interior or exterior that made a
dramatic difference? We’re looking for
inspirational projects — new cushions
and surfaces, smart new enclosures,
updated paint jobs, or clever rebuilds
that improve the way you enjoy and
use your boat. Have you got beforeand-after photos? Share them with
us. We’ll publish the most inspirational
in BoatU.S. Magazine.

Tell us about your makeover
project and send highresolution digital photos
(by April 1, 2014) to
[email protected]


arm-raised fish and shellfish account
for nearly half of the world’s seafood
supply, but when the fish being raised
are carnivores, that can be a problem. Fish like
cobia, which eat squid and other fish in the
wild, need a similar diet in the tank — fish Cobia feeders
Allen Place and
meal and fish oil — and it can take five pounds
Aaron Watson
of wild fish to produce one pound of farmed
fish. That diet might work for the cobia, but
it’s tough on the farmers’ pocketbooks, not to
mention its effect on world fisheries as food
fish are depleted.
Scientists at the University of Maryland’s
Center for Environmental Science have hit
on a possible solution — make the cobia go
vegetarian. To try it in the lab, they replaced
the fish meal with a mixture of corn, wheat,
and soy; soybean or canola oil stands in for the fish oil. To that they added taurine, an amino
acid found in carnivorous fish — and in energy drinks, by the way. Their research, published
in the journal Lipids, found that cobia were able to grow to maturity on this vegetarian diet.
“This makes aquaculture completely sustainable,” said study author Allen Place. “We can
now sustain a good protein source without harvesting fish to feed fish.” — C.L.

Sportfishing By The Numbers

47,000,000 48%
Americans fished in 2012, up
from 46.2 million in 2011

Fished from
a boat

Photos, top: University of Maryland, Bottom: Pat Ford

A Dramatic

Might Be Easier If The
Humans Just Ate The

Hurricane Sandy changed the landscape of large parts of the East Coast, rendering charts out of date and leaving mariners guessing about depths
and shorelines, like these before-and-after photos from Mantoloking, New Jersey. Now, new surveying efforts by NOAA, the U.S. Geological Survey,
and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers aim to bring those charts up to date. Using disaster-relief funds from Congress, the three agencies will be
measuring water depths, looking for submerged debris, and mapping altered shorelines in areas that present a danger to navigation. The results
of the surveys will be open to the public and will be used to update charts, replenish beaches, remove debris, and plan for future storms.
— C.L.
14 | BoatU.S. Magazine

december 2013

Photo: USGS

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BoatU.S. Magazine | 15

Survey Ship Discovers … Survey Ship


Sea Turtle Nests Rise In Southeast


and green sea
turtles in the
Southeast are nesting
in record numbers
these days as a result
of 30 years of federal
protection, according
to the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service.
At Hobe Sound
National Wildlife
Refuge on Florida’s
southeast coast, a
mid-August green
turtle count of
1,147 more than
doubled the 2011
record of 543. At
Archie Carr National
Wildlife Refuge, near
Melbourne Beach on
the central Atlantic
coast of Florida,
greens had built
10,420 nests, topping

the record of 6,023
set in 2011. By midAugust, loggerheads
had built 1,878 nests
at Cape Romain
National Wildlife
Refuge, South
Carolina. That’s
200 more than
the 2012 count and
the highest since
1978 when protections went into effect.
Sea turtle nesting
continues until
November, so service
biologists expected
those numbers to rise
even higher.
The coastal refuges provide critical
habitat for nesting
sea turtles because
they are largely free
of development and
beach lighting, which

16 | BoatU.S. Magazine

disorients turtles, as
well as seawalls. The
ability to construct
cages around nest
sites in the refuges
also protects against
predators. Where necessary, nests can be
relocated on a refuge
to prevent them from
washing away.
Sea turtles take
20 to 30 years to
reach sexual maturity, which is why this
year’s nesting gains

may reflect actions
begun decades
earlier. But how this
kind of progress will
offset threats to survival isn’t known, the
service notes, citing
ocean debris, habitat loss to erosion,
and sea level rise as
continuing threats,
as well as the pollution of lagoons and
estuaries due to runoff from surrounding land. — R.L.


wo years ago the Federal
Communications Commission
(FCC) denied LightSquared,
a privately held start-up communications company, permission to build a
cell phone communications network.
The commission held that the network
would interfere with GPS signals and
dangerously compromise positioning
accuracy. The decision, a major victory
for BoatU.S. and a broad coalition of
GPS users, protected the GPS signal
from interference and overloading issues
that testing had indicated the proposed
network would have created. Shortly
afterward, in May 2012, LightSquared
filed for bankruptcy.
Now LightSquared’s investors are
suing GPS manufacturers, including
Garmin, for $1.9 billion. The federal suit,
filed in August, alleges the manufacturers
intentionally designed receivers to utilize
the same frequency as the proposed satellite network. The claimants charge that
the manufacturers knew the receivers
would be overloaded, and the GPS signal
compromised, when the LightSquared
system became operational.
“It’s not uncommon for entities that
lose a legislative or regulatory battle
to then take the issue to court,” said
David Kennedy of BoatU.S. Government
Affairs. “But for boaters who rely on such
a far-reaching system as GPS, the results
of this particular case could be a real
challenge.” Kennedy noted that for years
GPS manufacturers have designed products that operate on this specific part of
the spectrum, and that these products
are integral to daily life and essential
to the safe navigation of boaters and
for a wide variety of outdoor recreation
activities. — Nicole Palya Wood
december 2013

Photos, Top Left: Mariners’ Museum, Top Right: Allied Artists, Bottom Left: Kacey Luensman/Mote Marine Laboratory

federal hydrographic survey vessel, on post-Hurricane Sandy assignment
off New Jersey, discovered the wreck of one of its earliest predecessors, gone missing over a century-and-a-half ago. The NOAA ship Thomas Jefferson used multibeam
sidescan sonar to locate the wreck of the U.S. Coast Survey steamer Robert J. Walker 10 miles
east of Absecon Inlet in August.
Although commercial fishermen had known about the wreck since the 1970s, it had lain
on the bottom in 85 feet of water since 1860. It remained an anonymous wreck symbol on
nautical charts despite being regularly explored by recreational scuba divers. In August, a NOAA
dive team, in the area on a separate Sandy-related mission, positively identified the wreck as the
Walker. The size and layout of the iron-hulled wreck, its unique
engines, rectangular portholes, and location proved key
clues for the nautical archaeologists who identified the ship, still pointed toward the Absecon
Lighthouse, “the final destination of a desperate crew on a sinking vessel.”
Twenty sailors among the 66 crew
died when the Walker sank in rough seas
in the early morning hours of June 21,
1860, 10 miles off Absecon Inlet. The
Walker, built in 1847, had finished surveys
in the Gulf of Mexico and was sailing to
New York when it collided with a commercial
schooner and sank within 30 minutes, the largest
single loss of life in the history of the Coast Survey and
its successor agency, NOAA. With the identity confirmed, the
Thomas Jefferson’s crew conducted a wreath-laying ceremony to honor the final resting place
of the 20 crew, the waters where USCS Robert J. Walker still lies. — R.L.

december 2013

BoatU.S. Magazine | 17

sharing a love for the Water

Edited By Ann Dermody

Jason Taylor — The Boating Dolphin
Despite an inauspicious boating start and a turn with sequins and megayachts,
this former pro footballer has found his nirvana on the water

Jason Taylor with
his family aboard
his 43-foot SeaVee
Pocket Nines.


rowing up in Pittsburgh, I wasn’t exposed to a lot of boats
or the boating lifestyle,” says former Miami Dolphins defensive
end and linebacker, Jason Taylor. “Then, my first time on a boat

was in a fishing tournament on a rough day, and I got seasick.”
With a start like that, who would’ve guessed that the six-time Pro

Bowler and football superstar with 15 NFL seasons under his belt would become
a passionate boater who’s owned seven boats in the past 15 years? Not that he
started out small. “My first boat was a 57-foot Ferretti named Truly Blessed,”
says Taylor. “From there, we moved to a 99-foot Hargrave that I named Katina
after my wife.”
18 | BoatU.S. Magazine

Then Taylor moved out of yachting, opting for smaller boats that he runs himself.
He now owns a 43-foot SeaVee named Pocket
Nines, which is powered by four outboards,
and a 24-foot Pathfinder bay boat. He finds
every moment he can to spend time aboard
with his wife and three children. “This is our
lifestyle, and not something we have had to
force,” he says. “My wife loves it, too, so it
was a natural fit for us from the beginning.”
In 2007 Taylor was named Walter Payton
NFL Man of the Year and in 2012 he played
his final game against the New York Jets,
december 2013


December 2013

BoatU.S. Magazine | 19

which the Dolphins won. But football hasn’t
been his only brush with fame. In 2008
he appeared on the sixth season of ABC’s
“Dancing With The Stars” where he made
bold costume choices involving sequins
because “I figured, if you’re going to do this,
you’ve got to go the whole way.” He made it
to the finals, and placed runner-up.
Recently, Taylor has been an analyst for
ESPN and is heavily involved with the Jason
Taylor Foundation, dedicated to improving
the lives of children in South Florida. “We’ve
auctioned dinner cruises and fishing trips
to raise money for other charities as well as
our own,” he says. “In addition, we recently

partnered with Invicta Watch CEO Eyal Lalo
on a program called ‘Ocean Time – Kids
Tackle the Sea’ where we essentially take
children out of hospital beds and provide
them with a day out on the open ocean for
cruising and fishing. The experience has been
incredible for all involved.”
Nobody guided Taylor toward boating,
but he is certainly a mentor for his three
kids. “My two boys would live on the boat
if they could. They’d be fishing all day and
sleeping on the bow at night if I let them,”
he says. “I’m just worried about when they’re
teenagers and want to take it out for a spin

Taylor has covered the Atlantic coast
from New York to the Caribbean and looks
forward to chartering in the Mediterranean,
and possibly to building a newer version
of the SeaVee. In the meantime he’ll continue
to savor what he loves best about boating.
“Getting away,” he says, “the solitude, peace,
and quiet – just a way to recharge the batteries. Whether it’s a two-week vacation or
just me and the boys running out with our
fishing rods for a few hours, we try to get
out on the water anytime we can.” And his
best advice for boaters everywhere? “Don’t
answer your phone.”

— Zuzana Prochazka

From the pits
to the blue
yonder is all in
a day’s work for

Ryan Hunter-Reay — The Need For Speed
When not vying for pole position, this speed king is just as likely to be spearing fish


20 | BoatU.S. Magazine

Photos: Ryan Hunter-Reay

rankly, you’d think he’d be too busy. Between being 2012 IndyCar champion
(he finished the 2013 season in the number seven position), becoming a new dad,
and being a global envoy for the LIVESTRONG foundation, it’s amazing Hunter-Reay
has any time to get out on the water.
“Boating has been my life outside of racing,” he says. “I started racing at 12 years old,
but I’ve been on boats with my dad and my family since I was 5. I feel very fortunate to have
been raised that way. It’s what makes me really happy outside the race car.” And he’s been
pretty happy in the race car in recent years. In 2007, Hunter-Reay accelerated onto the racing scene when he became the IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year, despite only competing in
six of 17 events. The following year it was Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year honors, and
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BoatU.S. Magazine | 21

in 2010 he signed to drive for Andretti
Autosport, where he won the prestigious
To see an exclusive BoatU.S. video of
Long Beach Grand Prix.
Ryan Hunter-Reay “geeking out” (his
But 2012 is his biggest year to date,
words) on his boat, see this article
professionally and personally. Not only
online at
did he win the IndyCar championship to
become the most successful American driver currently competing in the IZOD IndyCar
series (he has more than three times as many wins as all the other current American drivers combined), he and his wife Beccy Gordon Hunter-Reay, herself from car racing royalty,
welcomed their first child, son Ryden, last December. Now almost a year old, Ryden’s an
old pro on the boat, too. “By the time he was 6 weeks old, he’d already been in the boat
five times. I guess that tells you something.”
You won’t see Hunter-Reay taming the waves near his South Florida home on a lazy
Sunday afternoon. “We race on weekends, so I try and get out on the water during the
week,” he says, despite a packed work schedule that involves intense gym time, sponsorship meetings, and race practices. “A lot of my friends are pro fishermen, or work on
boats, so it’s natural for us to go out and fish, or scuba dive, or free dive, or spearfish.
We’ll run over to Bimini or the Keys, and my boat makes that possible.”
His boat is a tricked-out Yellowfin 36, aptly named Inside Line for the racing connotations, and powered by three sizable Honda 250s. “Reliability is a big thing for me. I really
don’t want to be looking for solutions to problems when we go out. I want to be able to
start it up and do 60 mph. I guess as a race-car driver I need the speed!” With fast cars
and shiny boats at his disposal, it would be easy to think Hunter-Reay is cruising through
a pretty perfect life, but there’s more depth to him than that. He lost his mother to colon
cancer in 2009. That inspired him to co-found Racing For Cancer, a foundation to unite
motorsports fans globally in the fight against the disease. He was also named global envoy
for the LIVESTRONG Foundation in 2011. — Ann Dermody

online Extra

Bob Baumhower — From
Killer B to Bimini Bob
From the Crimson Tide to Orange
Beach, with a few more colorful tales
on the way


oating is in my blood,” says
five-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman
turned restaurateur Bob Baumhower.
“My mom’s family were shrimpers in the
Outer Banks, and my dad was in the Navy.”
Throughout his life, Baumhower never
strayed too far from the water. Born on the
Chesapeake Bay in Portsmouth, Virginia, his
family moved to a town just outside Toledo,
Ohio, near the shores of Lake Erie, where
he learned to fish for walleye and pickerel.
“We moved to South Florida when I was a
freshman in high school,” says Baumhower,
“and I’d fish out of Palm Beach inlet all the
time.” Somewhere along the way, he spent at
least a little time on land, enough to land a
spot on the University of Alabama’s football
team, coached at that time by Paul “Bear”
Bryant. Two SEC championships and 246
tackles later with the Crimson Tide, he was
drafted by the Miami Dolphins, for whom he
played for 10 years (1977-1986) as a member
of the “Killer B” defense. He still holds the

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team’s single-season record for tackles by a
defensive lineman.
“I bought a 28-foot John Allmand during
my second year with the Dolphins. Richard
Todd, who played for the Jets, asked me to
take it to Bimini to go diving. I fell in love
with the islands and the people, and spent as
much time as I could there. Richard Todd also
got me into the restaurant business. He and
Joe Namath opened a restaurant in Miami
called Bachelor’s III; I was more of an investor.” Shortly afterward, former Dolphin linebacker Steve Towle introduced Baumhower
to the concept of Buffalo chicken wings.
Baumhower thought he was crazy until he
saw the line out the door. Baumhower soon
took the concept home to Alabama, opening
his first restaurant on the strip in Tuscaloosa
at the University of Alabama. “After football, I
was either going to be a boat broker or try to
make the wings thing happen.”
Over the next three decades, he’s added
13 more restaurants of various themes — two
based on his love of the islands, the Compleat
Angler grills, and Bimini Bob’s, which opened
at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama. The
Compleat Angler restaurant, named after the
Bimini hotel where Ernest Hemingway was a

A vintage shot of Bob,
on Bimini during his NFL
days (before life jackets for PWCs became
compulsory), and (inset)
behind the bar at one of
his many restaurants.

guest when he spent two years on the island,
is hung with photos from Bimini, fishing, and
fellow football players, and Hemingway memorabilia. During those years, he also worked
through a series of boats from a 65-foot cockpit motoryacht to a Forest Johnson Prowler
called PT-73. “Everybody thought it meant
Pro-Tackle 73, my number, but it was a
‘McHale’s Navy’ reference,” says Baumhower.
However, in the early ‘90s, he took a break
from boating, selling a 53 Hatteras named

after his wife, Leslie Marie.
“I’ve got four kids, 21 and under, and
for years they’ve been bugging me. ‘Dad,
why’d you sell all the cool stuff?’ I’ve been
working hard to get back to where I could
keep a boat again.” About a year ago he took
the plunge, with a 1973 Huckins Sportsman
that he keeps in Ft. Lauderdale, also named
Leslie Marie. “We went back to Bimini for the
first time last summer, and I loved it,” says
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Affairs BoatU.S. Special Report

By Nicole Palya Wood

New Boating Laws of 2013
Every year states pass new boating laws.
Regulations might have changed in your area
recently, so take a look at what’s new


While all PWC operators
and riders must wear a
Coast Guard-approved
life jacket, many states
are raising the age requirement for mandatory
wear of life jackets for
children and teenagers
on boats, too.

hether your vessel of choice is a sailboat, a

Multiple Boardings

center-console, or a ski boat, state legislatures have

Boating under the influence is a threat to safe
waters no matter where you boat, but other
issues are more regional, such as multiple
safety-check boardings where more than
one marine patrol operates as is the case
in Ohio and Michigan. The Ohio legislature passed the Boater Freedom Act, which
should reduce the number of safety stops for
boaters on Lake Erie. Local marine divisions
of law enforcement now must have reasonable suspicion that a boater is in violation of
a state or local boating law in order to stop
and board the vessel.

a brief glance at some state law trends from the 2013 legislative sessions that BoatU.S. has been monitoring, and a

prediction of what you may see at your statehouse during 2014.
On The Water, On The Road, Penalties Stiffen
Georgia, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Washington have responded to the number of boating
accidents involving alcohol and other drugs by passing laws that aim to make penalties on
the water consistent with those on the road. All four states now have set the limit on bloodalcohol content at .08 percent rather than .10 percent. The states have increased penalties for
boaters who break the state laws and included new penalties for boaters under the influence
of inhalants and intoxicants. In Illinois, if you’re convicted of BUI twice, or if you refuse to
take a sobriety test on the scene of a boating accident, you can lose your automobile driver’s
license. Both New York and New Jersey introduced bills to increase the penalties for leaving
the scene of a boating accident, and in Utah the crime is now a third-degree felony.
“Boaters operating under the influence are one of the leading causes of boating fatalities nationwide,” said BoatU.S. president Margaret Podlich. “The message is clear. If you’re
impaired, don’t take the helm.”
24 | BoatU.S. Magazine

Weight & Wakes
Overloading seemed to be a recurring theme,
with Illinois passing a law that makes those
being towed behind the boat count toward
the boat’s weight capacity limit. Maryland
passed a regulation that requires the weight
of water contained in ballast tanks used for
watersports to be counted against the weight
december 2013

Photo: BRP/Sea Doo

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BoatU.S. Magazine | 25

capacity of the vessel, and another requires
wakesurfers to keep their boats at least 200
feet from shore, docks, other marine structures, and swimmers.

Life jackets & Teens
While it may be tough to get teens to wear
their life jackets, it’s the law in many states
and becoming more common as states raise
the age requirement for mandatory wear. In
Georgia, any boater under 13 years of age is
now required to wear a life jacket while under
way, putting the Georgia state law in line
with U.S. Coast Guard recommendations.
Virginia and Wisconsin are the only states
that don’t require children to be in life jackets
while under way. Virginia introduced a bill
requiring life jacket wear for children, and
California looked at requiring children under
12 to wear life jackets on docks, but neither
measure passed.

Boat-Friendlier Taxes
Kansas boaters can now keep their boats in
Kansas and pay a personal-property tax rate
similar to that of surrounding states. Gov.
Brownback signed a law that will reduce
personal-property tax rates on boats from 30

percent to 11 percent in 2014 and then down
to five percent of assessed value by 2015. For
those boating in Connecticut, you can now
stay longer without worrying about a tax
assessment. The state passed a law that allows
you to keep your boat there between October
1 and May 31 without having to pay sales and
use tax on it, allowing cruisers another option
for mooring, haulout, or repair. Washington
introduced a bill that would have increased
the 60-day limit vessels could stay in their
waters before being subject to sales and use
tax, but the measure hasn’t passed.

Getting Smart On The Water
Georgia passed a boater-safety course requirement for all boat operators in the Peach State
who were born after January 1, 1998. The
bill allows those boaters to take any NASBLAapproved course, including the BoatU.S.
online boating safety course, which is free of
charge. Find it at
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
signed a mandatory boater safety education law that goes into effect in 2014 and
requires all those born after May 1, 1996, to
obtain a boater safety certificate. The law also
gives the State Commissioner of Parks and

Recreation the ability to approve an online
course option. In 2012, Suffolk County, New
York, passed a law that required all Suffolk
County resident boaters 18 and older to
take a boater safety course by November 6,
2013. The BoatU.S. free online course will
satisfy this requirement. Preexisting requirements for personal watercraft operators in
Suffolk County and throughout New York
remain in effect.

Fuel For Thought
Boaters in Florida may now find it a bit easier
to obtain ethanol-free gas at roadside pumps.
In June, Governor Scott repealed a law,
which had, until recently, mandated Florida
gasoline to have at least 10 percent ethanol.
Meanwhile, ethanol was a focal point in
Maine as the statehouse debated eliminating corn-based ethanol from their gasoline
supply. The bill package didn’t pass but will
likely re-emerge during the next session as
the Renewable Fuel Standard gets debated on
the national level.

The Cost of Dredging
Sequestration and low water levels in the
Great Lakes have forced states to think

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december 2013

outside the box when trying to conduct
the dredging necessary to maintain channels and waterways. In Michigan, Governor
Snyder signed a bill that invested $20.9
million into dredging 58 public bays and
harbors last summer. The shallow-draft inlets
of North Carolina were also a concern for
the Tar Heel State. BoatU.S. worked with
the North Carolina legislature to retool a bill
that would have placed the cost of dredging
shallow-draft inlets squarely on the shoulders
of recreational boat owners through a drastic
registration fee hike. Instead, commercial
boaters will pay into the dredging fund and
a higher percentage of fees already allocated
through the state gas tax will be set aside.

2014 Forecast
States will continue to leave no stone
unturned in their pursuit to find the necessary funds to keep waterways safe and navigable. States that haven’t raised their boater
registration or titling fees recently may look
to raise revenue for projects once maintained
by the now underfunded Army Corps of
Engineers by increasing these fees. This will
be particularly true for states maintaining
large dredging projects, or those that have

BoatU.S. Represents Your Interests


ith boats and boating activities changing every year, state laws must
evolve. BoatU.S. will be here for you along the way, working to ensure
that proposed changes are practical and realistic. If you’d like to receive

a “heads up” on boating proposals that may affect you, please sign up for BoatU.S.
Government Affairs email alerts, and check out our website for more information
on all government affairs issues affecting you:

experienced record-low water levels over the
last few summers.
Boating-law administrators in charge of
keeping the peace on the water may look to
align penalties for boating under the influence, and leaving the scene of a boating
accident with those of roadway violations.
Additionally, some states will look at penalizing or removing road driving rights for those
who are repeat offenders of BUI laws.
As watersports grow and wake heights
with them, states will attempt to keep both
waterfront landowners and boat owners with
ballasted boats happy by setting buffer zones
between the two. Watersport and leisure
boats that pull towables will also need to
monitor new laws that will count the weight
of ballast tanks or riders on towables toward


the total weight capacity assigned to safely
operate your boat.
With increased awareness of Electric
Shock Drowning (ESD), more states may
seek to address this problem by mandating ground-fault interrupters for docks.
ESD occurs in fresh water when alternating current (AC) leaks from boats or docks
and creates an electrical field where people
are swimming.
Very small amounts of electrical current can cause heart fibrillation or paralyze swimmers, resulting in drowning. For more information on ESD, go to
Nicole Palya Wood is a member of our BoatU.S.
Government Affairs Team.

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world. You’re with friends.


december 2013


10/30/13 9:09
BoatU.S. Magazine | AM

The Advocate


Should You Buy An Extended-Service Contract?
Offerings from manufacturers can take some of the risk out of service contracts,
but make sure you know the facts before you buy
Fact 1. Extended “warranties” you
have to buy aren’t really warranties,
they’re service contracts. A warranty


t used to be that deciding whether or not to buy an extended-service
contract on your engine (erroneously called extended warranties by some)
was pretty easy. Until recently, our answer to the question was simple:
Don’t. Service contracts of old were more profit centers for dealers than

is a promise by the manufacturer that their
product will be free of defects for a period of
time. Warranties, by law, are included in the
purchase price. A true warranty offers broad
coverage and has the weight of state and
federal warranty laws behind it. Problems
with your new boat or engine, aside from
wear and tear, accident, or abuse, will be
covered under a manufacturer’s warranty.
Service contracts, on the other hand, are
really insurance policies generally underwritten by third parties, not manufacturers, and
are regulated as such in most states. They are
simply an agreement to pay for repairs only
if the breakdown is covered, and they must
be purchased at additional cost. Service
contracts are often marketed as “extended
warranties,” implying that the boat or engine
manufacturer will cover repairs after the
original warranty has expired, just as they
would if it were covered under the original
factory warranty. Usually, they don’t. But
manufacturer-backed service contracts from
companies such as Yamaha and Mercury
Marine are beginning to perform much the
same way as warranties, though they still fall
outside of state and federal warranty law.
Yamaha’s Extended Service (YES) program is underwritten by an insurance company, but because it’s managed directly
through Yamaha, it acts more like a true warranty and, for most people, it feels similar.
Mercury Marine’s Product Protection program uses no outside underwriting, allowing
the company to tailor their service contracts
to more closely mimic their factory warranty.

benefits for buyers, and navigating the exclusions and other confusing

small print was downright scary. But manufacturer-backed service contracts
have raised the bar; the question now deserves a second look. Here are some
facts to help you decide if buying one makes sense for you.
28 | BoatU.S. Magazine

Fact 2. Service contracts have limitations that true warranties don’t. Over

the years, BoatU.S. Consumer Protection
has received numerous complaints where an
december 2013

Photo: John Tiger

Buying an extended
service contract may
help you avoid paying
for repairs later.

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December 2013


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owner purchased a service contract only to
find that consequential damage wasn’t covered. Here’s an example: A BoatU.S. member
bought a new 30-foot boat with a third-party
extended service contract. Six months later
an alternator suddenly began overcharging
and blew out the electronic control unit
(ECU) on one of the engines. The boat was
still under warranty, so the manufacturer
replaced the alternator and the ECU at no
charge. Five months after the new-boat warranty expired, the other alternator suffered
the same problem and damaged the other
engine’s computer. The service contract cov-

ered the broken alternator ($650), but didn’t
cover consequential damage (when failure of
one part causes another to be damaged), and
wouldn’t pay for the ECU ($1,300), leaving
the owner to pay the difference.
Manufacturer-backed service contracts are
usually different. According to John Potzauf,
Yamaha’s warranty manager, their program
covers consequential damage, the same as
it would during the factory warranty period.
Amy Wiesener, Mercury Marine’s warranty
manager, also says consequential damage
isn’t excluded.
Another limitation: Most service contracts

Fact 3. Having a service contract
won’t protect you from out-of-pocket
expenses. Service contracts usually come

with deductibles, like health-care insurance
policies, often between $25 and $50 per
incident. Sometimes, it’s just one deduct-

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Tell us you’re a member.
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30 | BoatU.S. Magazine

december 2013

Photo: Billy Black

Repairs under extended
service contracts are made
by qualified technicians.

have maximum payouts for claims or even
for repeat failures of the same component.
Limits are often based on the value of the
covered product, in this case, the engine.
Third-party service contract underwriters can
and do cancel contracts when paid claims
exceed the current value of the engine. Here
again, manufacturer-backed programs have
advantages because most provide coverage
up to the list price of your engine when you
bought it. Before you buy a service contract,
don’t just look at the sales literature; ask to
see the actual contract. Pay particular attention to the “Exclusions Section” — often a
lot longer than the “Items Covered” section.
Some manufacturer-backed service contracts
offer more than one level of coverage. You
can save money buying the cheaper level,
but there will be more exclusions, such as
no coverage of electrical items, including the
expensive ECU.

In the past few years, customer satisfaction surveys from J.D. PoweR have noted a
steady decrease in the number of problems reported for marine engines.

ible per incident; sometimes a deductible is
charged per item that needs to be repaired.
As mentioned above, service contracts often
don’t cover consequential damage so even if
your engine breaks down, repairs may not be
completely covered.
Many contracts don’t pay to remove
the engine from the boat or have the boat
hauled if it’s required for repairs, so there
may be additional expenses for that. Some
manufacturer-backed programs only pay for
haulouts if you buy the higher level of coverage, and even then it’s usually limited to a
couple of hundred dollars, though they often
don’t have deductibles. Also, wear and tear
isn’t covered by any policy and sometimes
that definition is a little squishy, resulting in denied coverage. Check the contract
details to find out how the company handles
deductibles and consequential damage.
Fact 4. Most service contracts aren’t
backed by manufacturers. Third-party

insurance companies usually write the contracts, and manufacturers and dealers typical-

december 2013

ly won’t step in to help if there’s a problem.
On the other hand, factory-backed programs
have agreements with their dealers. The
factory (rather than an insurance company
that may also provide service contracts on
refrigerators and cell phones) is ultimately
responsible, so you should expect better service when there’s a problem. Ask the dealer
if an offered contract is managed by the
manufacturer or a service contract company.
Those managed by manufacturers typically
provide significantly better coverage, and if
there’s a problem, you can speak directly to
the manufacturer. Keep in mind you don’t
have to buy the service contract sold by the
dealer. You can shop around for others and
compare prices and service.
Fact 5. You may be paying for coverage you don’t need. If you buy a third-party

service contract when you buy a new boat, it
won’t apply during the manufacturer’s warranty. That means that if you buy a three-year
contract on a boat with a one-year warranty,
the contract may only cover the last two years.

If you decide to buy a contract, find one that
will begin after the manufacturer’s warranty
expires. Don’t be pressured into buying an
extended service contract the same day you
purchase a new boat or engine. Many independent and manufacturer-backed contracts
offer a nine-month to one-year window for
signing on, so find out what the window is
and wait as long as possible before buying.
Fact 6. Several complaints received by
BoatU.S. Consumer Protection over the
years involve the dealer “forgetting”
to send in the premium. Unfortunately,

this doesn’t come to light until there’s a
breakdown and the service contract provider
refuses to pay on a claim. Make sure you get
verification that the contract premium was
received. Check with the company 20 days
after buying a contract to make sure all the
paperwork was completed.
Fact 7. Service contracts are moneymakers for dealers. Some contract plans

administered by independent companies

BoatU.S. Magazine | 31

online Extra
For more on whether you
should buy an extended warranty, see this article online,

allow retailers to mark up contracts 100
percent and more over the actual cost they
pay to the service contract company. That’s
pure profit earned just by getting you to sign
on the dotted line. Consumers usually get
a better deal on service contracts that bear
the name of a manufacturer because these
usually limit the dealer markup amount.
Don’t forget, though, that service contract
prices are a negotiable part of the sale. Some
companies, like Yamaha, allow you to buy
a contract directly through them, bypassing
the dealer.
Fact 8. Independent service contracts
require preauthorization before starting repairs. While that’s fair, some com-

panies may require you to use their network
of shops, just like health-care PPOs, and
there may not be a facility in your area.
Manufacturer-backed service contracts usu-

ally perform more like warranties — simply
bring in your engine for service and the
dealer takes care of all the paperwork and
billing. While you’re limited to using only a
manufacturer’s dealer for repairs, it’s usually
not a problem because they have a vast network of competent repair shops. Beware of
contracts that require you to use the selling
dealer for repair work. It won’t be very useful if you’re away from home or if the dealer
can’t handle the repairs.
Fact 9. Most service contracts are
transferable, for a fee. A new owner may

need to pay a prorated amount of the contract. In that case, the seller may get a refund
of the same amount, which can be used as
part of the negotiations. But beware, not
all contracts are transferable. Manufacturerbacked programs are usually pretty straightforward and charge a small flat fee, but also
require an inspection from a dealership for
the new owner to qualify. Find out the details
before you buy the contract, not when you
sell your boat.
Fact 10. You may be able to cancel the
contract within 30 days of purchasing

of buying a boat. Typically, you’ll pay a

prorated amount plus a fee. Review the company’s contract to see how it works.
Most defects in new boats and engines
show up within the warranty period, so
spending money up front on a service contract may not make sense. If you decide to
buy, manufacturer-backed service contracts
typically provide better coverage and more
accountability, though they may cost more.
Consumers also need to look into the reliability history of their vessels and engines.
Some models with higher-than-average problems might benefit from a service contract.
The BoatU.S. Consumer Protection Database
contains thousands of firsthand reports about
boats and engines. This invaluable online
resource, created by consumers for consumers, is available only to BoatU.S. members at
For more information about boat buying,
warranties, and service contracts, download our
free “BoatU.S. Guide to Buying and Selling
a Boat,” at and
“BoatU.S. Guide to Marine Service,”


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32 | BoatU.S. Magazine • 877-867-7861

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december 2013

BoatU.S. Foundation For Boating
Foundation Safety & Clean Water BY CHRIS EDMONSTON

The Latest On Alternative Outboards
Foundation Findings #52: Our team takes a close look at how
environmentally friendly outboard motors perform
we try to show how boaters will operate the
products in the real world. We aren’t trying
to pick a winner — any of these engines
could be just what you’re looking for — but
there are more considerations before you buy
than just, “How fast does it go?”


Putting the
Travel 1003
through its

If you’ve used an outboard, chances are
it was powered by gasoline; that was the
case with all of our test drivers – mostly our
Foundation staff, and our BoatU.S. Magazine
editors. We used two different Mercury
Marine outboards, a 2.5-hp model ($899),
and a 9.9-hp ($2,239), both four-strokes.
There were differences between the two —
the smaller model has a built-in, non-removable fuel tank, and doesn’t have reverse gear
(you swing the engine around to back up).
The 9.9 was considerably quieter than the
2.5 because its exhaust runs through the
propeller hub, rather than discharging higher
up like the smaller engine.


emember the days when you could hear an outboard long
before you could see it, and it was almost always accompanied by

Gasoline engines are the industry
standard, and our drivers had high
confidence in the Mercury outboards.

a blue cloud of smoke? Fortunately, for us and the environment,
today’s modern outboards put those experiences in the dustbin
of time. In recent years, manufacturers have been putting out

more (and greener) choices in outboards than ever before. Even traditional gas
engines meet environmental standards that were out of reach not that long ago,
and now manufacturers are adding alternative fuels to the mix.
To find out how these outboards performed, we took several of them out on a variety of
boats in Annapolis Harbor. We used three commonly available brands (Mercury, Lehr, and
Torqeedo) using three different fuels (gas, propane, and electricity), and sent them
out with boaters who had a wide range of experience. The boats we used were a
Mercury Marine 9.9 hp
Weight: 84 lbs.
12-foot jon boat, a 10-foot rigid hull inflatable, and an 18-foot daysailer. Parts
Fuel: 87 octane gas
of our testing were empirical, but we also wanted to find out the operators’
MSRP: $2,239
impressions of how the engines performed. As with all Foundation Findings,
December 2013

Mercury Marine 2.5 hp
Weight: 40 lbs.
Fuel: 87 octane gas
MSRP: $899

| 33

Lehr 2.5 hp
Weight: 37 lbs.
Fuel: 110 octance propane
MSRP: $1,049

Operators liked the
small size and weight
of the 2.5 for mounting
and storage, and found
the operation straightforward. The locking tiller on the
9.9 was great on the daysailer, and operators liked having
all the controls on the tiller.
Executive editor Mike Vatalaro
was a big fan of the larger Merc: “It
was smooth and quiet. I had confidence in
it. It made me want to own a small boat.”

Propane engines are similar enough to gasoline outboards that there are conversion
kits available to switch smaller, gas-powered
outboards over to propane use. Why do that?
Propane burns 50 times cleaner than gas, it’s
domestically produced, and propane engines
generally start more easily than a similar gasoline engine because the fuel is pressurized.
Propane is also easier to refuel than gasoline
— just screw the tank in, no sloshing around
at the fuel dock — and there are no issues
with water (or ethanol) in your fuel or the
long-term storage of fuel.
The propane engines we used were built
by Lehr, the first manufacturer to build an
outboard specifically for propane. As with the

The propane-powered
Lehr engines are clean
and efficient, without
being too unfamiliar.

the throttle on the Lehr outboard, the range
is surprisingly broad.” The 9.9’s shift lever,
placed right next to the pull cord, caused
a few busted knuckles when starting the
engine, but it was smooth-shifting and powerful, and had excellent acceleration.

Lehr 9.9 hp
Weight: 92 lbs.
Fuel: 110 octane propane
MSRP: $2,600

Mercury outboards, we tried
out the 2.5- and 9.9-hp models.
The smaller model used a onepound camp-stove-style canister,
with the option of adding a larger tank.
The internal fuel line was a little short, making it difficult to screw in the fuel canister
(and a little painful when the engine was
hot). The small Lehr was the loudest engine
we used and vibrated more than the other
outboards, but it also drove the boats faster
than the same-sized Mercury. The larger
Lehr, which our drivers preferred, was much
quieter than the 2.5 (but still louder than its
gasoline counterpart). “The Lehr is about as
close to a traditional outboard as you can get,
but without the hassles of choking the motor,
mixing fuel, and pouring gas of traditionally
fueled outboards,” said Ted Sensenbrenner
of the Foundation. “Most of us who’ve used
a traditional gas grill expect a small change
in flame height when the control knob is
turned from min to max. But when you twist

Unlike the electric trolling motors you may
be familiar with, Torqeedo designed their
outboards to be the primary propulsion for
your boat. Torqeedo uses a different calculation to measure the engine’s power than the
gas and propane engines (propulsive power
at the prop, rather than “shaft horsepower”),
so output comparisons are difficult. We used
a small Travel 1003 model, which puts out
68 pounds of thrust, and a larger Cruise
2.0 model, which will make 115 pounds of
thrust. At $1,999 and $3,299, respectively,
they were the most expensive motors we
used, but manufacturers contend that if you
use the motors often, the cost of ownership
compares favorably to a gas engine over the
motor’s life because of reduced fuel costs.
The Travel 1003, as its name suggests, breaks
down into smaller pieces for ease of storage.
The Cruise model is intended to be remotely
controlled (also an option on the smaller
engine), and would be best suited to a small
sailboat or as a kicker on a fishing boat, so we
only tried it on the sailboat.
The Torqeedos are emission-free during
operation, although there are likely emissions
for the power source used to charge them.
Both engines are waterproof to a depth of

How The Types Of Engines Stacked Up
Gasoline Pros Propane Pros Electric Pros

Easy to service
Least expensive up front
Wide array of brands & sizes
Boaters are familiar with gas
engines, so there’s higher initial


Simple to store fuel
Easier start than gas motors
Propane more efficient than gas and
burns more cleanly, reducing maintenance
Refueling easier and cleaner than gas
Variety of fuel-container options


Motors are modular, making transport,
storage, and installation easier
Easiest to start
Fastest acceleration
No end-of-season maintenance
Completely waterproof

Gasoline Cons Propane Cons Electric Cons

Engines must be maintained
Fluids can leak if engine is improperly stored
Gasoline smell
Ethanol, bad fuel, old fuel
Refueling can be messy
Can be hard to start — especially for
young or weaker operators

34 | BoatU.S. Magazine


Heavier than gas engines
More expensive than gas engines
Depending on problem, can be harder
to find service
Not many models available


Most expensive up front
Harder to find service and parts
Batteries are expensive
Recharging options are limited or
nonexistent on the water
Running at high speed spends
batteries quickly

december 2013



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BoatU.S. Magazine | 35

The emission-free Torqeedo
electric motors were the quietest
our drivers tested, but caused
“range anxiety” for some.
Torqeedo Travel 1003
Weight: 29.5 lbs.
Fuel: Lithium-ion Battery
MSRP: $1,999

one meter,
and both
Torqeedo Cruise 2.0
display curWeight: 38.6 lbs.
rent speed, range
Fuel: Two 12v batteries
at that speed, and
MSRP: $3,299
battery life. That’s
good because battery
life was a concern to
our operators. With
the smaller Torqeedo,
our consumer editor
Charles Fort said, “There’s some anxiety
about the range, but with the gauge right
there, you know what the range is. You
don’t have to guess.” Operators did manage to drain the battery of the Travel 1003
in less than an hour at wide-open throttle,
and it requires 15 hours to fully charge. The
only options for more power on the smaller

36 | BoatU.S. Magazine

outboard are a second battery, which
costs $700, and a solar charger, which
can prolong a trip, but won’t charge
fast enough to prevent draining the battery. Fort said, “Apart from the range anxiety,
this was a great engine.” On the larger outboard, operators slowed down rather than
risk depleting the battery (at slow speeds it
drained slowly). Fort said there was much
less worry about the range with the larger
Torqeedo. “I’d have no problem with that
on a daysailer,” he said. “It had really good
throttle response, and at low speed was
almost completely silent. You could hear the
water going past the hull.” Both engines are
responsive and vibration-free, and start easily
at the touch of a button.

No engine is perfect for every situation, and
while price, size, and the boat are certainly
key factors, you also need to consider how
the boat will be used, how the motor will be

stored, and who will use it. A cruising sailor
who dinghies ashore occasionally might be
attracted to the solar-charging, easy-to-store
Torqeedo, while a powerboater who values
ease of service might stick with the familiar
gasoline outboard. The propane models offer
a mixture of the two, with easy refueling
and a lessened environmental impact. The
good news is that there are a lot of options
out there for boaters, and manufacturers are
experimenting more and more with cleaner,
greener, more fuel-efficient engines. That
variety is great for boaters, as we look for the
perfect engine for our particular needs.
Chris Edmonston is president of the BoatU.S.
Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping boating safe and
clean, independently funded by donations from
BoatU.S. members and by grants. He was
recently elected chairman of the National Safe
Boating Council.

online Extra
For the complete Foundation Findings
on alternative outboards, including
more results and testing methodologies, go to

december 2013

hot new app favorites

By Lenny Rudow

Apps To Keep You Safe On The Water
Your cell phone or tablet doesn’t just make boating better, it can make it safer, too


ears ago it was engine alarms that caused ringing
on a boat, but these days, this sound is far more likely to
come from a cell phone. Or two, or three, or five phones
because in today’s world, just about everyone aboard
who’s old enough to watch a PG-13 movie is likely to have

a smartphone in their pocket. In many ways this situation leads to distraction, frustration, and annoyance. But in other ways, the miracle of the
modern cell phone can be a true blessing aboard — and even a lifesaver.
Cell phone and tablet apps can be harnessed by boaters in a number of ways:
weather prediction, navigation, and maintenance logging are a few prime examples.
And in the past, we’ve told you about apps that can help you accomplish these things.
But there are a number of new or updated apps which focus on making boating
safer. Let’s have a look at some of those that could even — yes, it’s true — save your
life some day.

Lightning Finder — This app was previously only available to iOS users, but went live
for Android this summer. It does exactly what
the name would lead you to believe, displaying
lightning strikes in near real-time, on a map.
It also tells you how far you are from nearby
strikes, and how long ago they
took place. You can even set
this app up to send you a text
alert when lightning starts
striking within a certain parameter. Obviously, this app can
significantly boost your safety
margin, but it isn’t cheap, in
app terms. There’s a yearly
subscription. Cost: $5.99

Flashlight And Morse SOS — We’ll bet you’ve seen the free Flashlight app for iOS and Android
before — it sure does come in handy when you drop your keys in the darkness — but you may not think of
it as a safety app. Think again. Simply by making your screen as bright as possible with a white light, the
Flashlight app can turn your cell phone into a signaling device. Similarly, the Morse SOS app
(also free, and also available for both iOS and Android) turns your cell phone screen into a
signaling device. But instead of a mere white light, it becomes a flashing, nonstop SOS. This
has already proven a lifesaver, and was credited with helping the Coast Guard spot a sinking
boat with six people aboard at night — including an infant and a 9-year-old — this past July
on the Niagara River. One of the boaters downloaded the app and began using it on the spot
when they saw the lights of a 25-foot USCG response boat in the distance. “We would have
had a hard time locating this boat because of the darkness and the location without the SOS
signal,” Petty Officer First Class Tyler Benson said. Cost: Free

Float Plan — This app (for both operating systems) has been around for a couple of
years now, but it’s such a good idea we wanted to make sure everyone’s heard about it. It
helps you create a float plan with all of the important information needed, like destinations,
vessel info, crew info, and ETA. Then at the click of a button, your float plan gets emailed
to a pre-programmed “person of trust.” We think the price is a bit steep considering how
simple the app is, but if you don’t already have another method of reliably filing a float
plan — which is the best way to ensure help is sent if you don’t reach your destination and
you can’t communicate with people on land — this app is something you should consider.
Cost: $2.99
December 2013

BoatU.S. Magazine | 37

NOAA Buoy Data — NOAA Buoy

GPS Tracking — This is an app that

Data, which was upgraded to version 5.02
late last year to fix bugs, lets you tap into
the NOAA buoy system with a flick of the
finger. Plus, it includes tidal data for the
entire U.S. You can search for buoys by
name or region, or set a custom search
radius to find out what buoys are nearby.
This one’s been available to iOS users for
several years, but just recently, an Android
version made it possible for everyone else
to join in. Cost: $1.99

can come in handy and provide peace of
mind for the parents of young boaters.
When the kids are ready to take out a boat
on their own, make sure they arm their
phone with GPS Tracker and you can keep
tabs on their whereabouts at all times. In
fact, you can track up to six users at one
time and display their whereabouts on
your phone’s maps or Google Maps. There
are actually a number of apps (for both
iOS and Android) that can turn a GPSequipped cell phone into a tracking device,
but we like this one because it’s free. You
can also opt for an upgraded version that
has unlimited users, eliminates ads, and
includes messaging, Facebook, and Twitter
functions. Cost: Free (basic version)

Safe Skipper — This app is like a book on
boating safety, which lives inside your cell phone.
It includes boating safety information and tips,
lists emergency equipment, includes emergency
procedures, and has over 100 graphics designed to
inform. Specific sections on communications, trip
preparation, and emergencies are spelled out in
detail. Safe Skipper was just updated this summer
and comes in both Android and iOS flavors. Cost is
$2.99, which seems fair for an app that took this
much work to create, but since some heavy reading is involved, you may want to keep this one on
your tablet instead of the phone. Cost: $2.99

Boat Essentials-USCG Safety Gear — Released by the American Boat
and Yacht Council (ABYC) this year, the Boat Essentials app is currently available
for iOS devices only. But ABYC says an Android version will be developed when and
if funding allows. The app is based on a simple checklist of required boating safety
gear, which helps you make sure you have all the necessities aboard. It goes a few
steps farther as well, by tracking scheduled maintenance in your calendar, filing and
saving float plans, setting replacement reminders for gear that has an expiration
date or requires regular inspection (like
flares and fire extinguishers), and providing
links to boating agencies. For those of you
who own multiple boats, it can maintain
lists for up to three different vessels. The
app was developed with funding from a
USCG Recreational Boating Safety nonprofit grant, so naturally, it’s free. Judges of
the International Boatbuilders’ Exhibition
and Conference (IBEX) were so impressed
with the Boat Essentials app, they awarded
it an Innovation Award. Check it out on the
iTunes Store. Cost: Free

Shipfinder HD — AIS is great, but
if you can’t afford a full-blown AIS system
or your boat is too small to accommodate
one, you can still take advantage of the
technology via Shipfinder. The cost of this
app is rather steep, but it works with both
Android and iOS, provides the same data
on ships as AIS does in near real-time, and
includes global coverage. The 3.0.1 version released last summer has bug fixes,
improved worldwide coverage, and added
ETA functionality. Cost: $6.99

online Extra
See this article online for more great apps to make you feel like your cell
phone is running your boat as well as your life.
38 | BoatU.S. Magazine

december 2013

BoatU.S. 2.1 — And finally our favorite app ever. Yes, of course we’re a bit
biased, but naturally we love the latest
version of the BoatU.S. app, which was
released earlier this year. It’s still based
on one essential function: You can use
it to call for a tow when in need of onthe-water assistance, and when you
activate this feature, our crew will get
critical information automatically (such
as contact info, boat type and size, location, and whether you have a working
VHF onboard). But the BoatU.S. app also
allows you to share your location, letting
your friends know where you are via text
message or email, with your latitude,
longitude, and a Google Maps link included. And, it also gives you 24/7 access to
the BoatU.S. directory. So, what’s new
about it? Between versions 2.0 and 2.1,
the app can
now be used
with tablets,
graphics have
been updated,
the app runs
faster, and yes,
there were
also a few bugs
we squashed.
Cost: Free

Sale Ends January 20, 2014

Along with all of these apps, of course,
there’s a slew of others that could also
help increase your safety. We’ve mentioned
these in past articles (see Online Extra) so
we won’t rehash them now. But when it
comes to making sure the weather is appropriate for boating, apps like WindGuru
(which obviously focuses on wind speeds
and predictions) and Bluefin (which provides NOAA reports and animated Doppler
radar) are a big help. And for navigating in
a safer manner, Navionics Mobile (which
currently has over a million downloads) is a
charm, especially considering the constant
updating our fellow mariners can give to
the charts with the shared community data
layer. Yes, there’s no doubt that your iOS or
Android device should be kept close to the
helm and used as a boating tool. Just don’t
let it catch you off guard, if it rings like a
phone once in a while.
december 2013

BoatU.S. Magazine | 39

Know Before You Go:

Here are the resources you’ll need to fly
over to Bimini and go fishing, either on
your own boat, or via seaplane.


Eagle Eyes Fred
[email protected]
Bonefish guide
Resorts World Bimini
Ferry service, lodging, marina,
restaurants, casino gaming
$250-$1,200 per night
Ferry $69 and up round trip
Tropic Ocean Airways
Seaplane flights to Bimini,
Florida Keys, and more
Start around $200 one-way
40 | BoatU.S. Magazine

Photos: Pat Ford (main, Far Right and Lower Left), Michael Vatalaro

Browns Marina
Seasonal and transient slips
available to 150 feet
Bimini Big Game Club
Fishing or dive charters,
lodging, restaurant, watersports
Rooms from $159-$300 per night

Fly, sail, or cruise: these
destinations will take you
off the beaten path & leave
you with a story to tell

Sunrise over the docks at Bimini Big Game Club. Top left: Wahoo on board means
fresh fish for dinner. Signposts point to just a few of the local attractions. Above
left: Pilot Adam Schewitz of Tropic Ocean Airways at the seaplane landing near
Browns Marina. Above right: Eagle Eyes Fred with a happy customer.
december 2013

Flying (To) Fish
Bimini, Bahamas
By Michael Vatalaro


ad I seen our pilot’s passport photo before our flight, I may never have gotten
aboard the little five-seater floatplane. Adam, who’d pilot our flight to the island of
North Bimini in the Bahamas, lacked none of the customary self-assurance associated with pilots. He carried himself like any other young guy with an incredibly cool
job. But in his passport photo, he looked 14. Even the customs officers gave him a

hard time about it. I’m glad I went, though. Flying to the island from Fort Lauderdale or Miami takes
less than 30 minutes and makes it abundantly clear how close this corner of the Bahamas is to
South Florida. But the best part was landing in the recently dredged channel off North Bimini and
taxiing directly to the beach across from a Bahamian Customs Office annex. Step off the plane, into
the sand, and cross the street to clear in. Couldn’t be easier.

My wife Stephanie and I had flown in for a weekend of fishing and exploring ahead of the Miami boat
show. On the plane we met Michael Weber, general manager of the Bimini Big Game Club, a legendary
fishing lodge. On the beach we met Robert Levine, owner of Browns Marina, another fixture in Bimini, its
docks immortalized in Hemingway’s Islands In The Stream. The next day we would be trolling for wahoo
on Levine’s 50-foot Riviera sportfish, and deep dropping with electric reels in the afternoon. Day two,
the plan was to chase bonefish on the flats with a guide. In the meantime, we relaxed dockside at Browns
before heading from Alice Town north toward Resorts World Bimini where we’d be staying.
There are few cars on Bimini; most people, locals and tourists alike, travel by golf cart. The roads are
narrow, the distances short (the whole developed portion of the island spans maybe three miles) and gas
expensive. Traveling from Bimini Bay to Alice Town at the far end of the island takes 15 minutes. But those
minutes bridge the old Bimini, where buildings constructed in the 1930s saw their heyday in the ‘60s and
‘70s, and the modern Bimini Bay complex. The complex includes two marinas, several restaurants, the
newly opened casino, plus a pool, tackle shop, grocery store, and, of course, unit after unit of condos and
single-family homes, many available through the rental agency.

December 2013

BoatU.S. Magazine | 41

online Extra
Watch video of a floatplane take
off from the channel on North
Bimini from a unique perspective. See this story online at

“It’s really a tale of two cities, with the five-star resort on the north
end of the island and the old fishing village in Alice Town at the south,”
says Levine. The resort is just another focal point of change on an
island that’s seen its share of ups and downs through the years. “When
we were growing up in the ‘60s, my father would take us over by boat.
This is before LORAN and GPS. You had to dead reckon over there,”
says Levine. “We were there during the drug years, during the humansmuggling years. The island bounces up and down through prosperity. When they announced the plans for what became Bimini Bay,
my father had romantic notions about the Browns Hotel. He bought
the place, but passed away in September 2010, and left it to my
brother Alan and me to run the place.” Their father, I. Stanley Levine,
is remembered as a champion of the arts in Miami, and a co-chair of
the Lincoln Road Task Force that revitalized the pedestrian mall at the
heart of South Beach. But besides the arts, his other enduring passions
were fishing and diving, loves he passed along to his sons.
Bimini is made up of two inhabited islands, North and South,
that stick up from the western edge of the Great Bahama Bank.
This huge area of shallow water drops off to thousands of feet just
offshore, making it a prime location for big-water gamefish. On a
sunny Saturday, we motored the short distance out the channel and
dropped lines at the color change. Trolling along the drop-off, we
hoped to entice a wahoo or similar predator lying in wait for baitfish
swept over the shelf by the outgoing tide. After boating a ‘cuda, and
a nice wahoo, we decided to deep drop for a while.
42 | BoatU.S. Magazine

I never knew what to make of electric reels. I assumed, as I think
many do, that they sort of take away from the angling experience.
What I didn’t realize was how much skill it takes to use one to keep
a weighted line on the bottom, nearly a thousand feet down. And
how this sort of fishing wouldn’t be possible without them. Using a
six- to 12-pound cylinder of lead connected to 100-pound braid, we
could drop 800 feet of line over the side and still feel every bump
and twitch as the lead bounced and thumped the mud bottom
below. With one hand on the line to feel for strikes, and the other on
the controls of the Lindgren-Pitman reels, you had to concentrate to
raise or lower the weight so it kept bouncing on the bottom. I didn’t
master the technique fast enough to add any fish to the box, but the
other reel yielded a yellow-eyed snapper (silk snapper) for dinner.

Where the Fish Are
But the big attractions for most anglers are twofold — the flats with
abundant bonefish and permit, and the pelagics just offshore. Bluefin
tuna migrate past Bimini each May, and blue marlin follow. Many of
the big-game tactics used to land such enormous fish on hook and
line originated with Bimini’s bluefin tuna fleet in the ‘50s and ‘60s. In
its heyday, on a southeast wind, a 70-mile-long strip of water between
Cat Cay and Bimini known as Tuna Alley would come alive with bluefin schools, with monster 500-plus-pound fish rising to the surface to
surf down the face of waves along the rip. The fish could appear anywhere along the 70-mile stretch. Captains would sight-fish for these
december 2013

Photos: Robert Levine, Michael Vatalaro (Above left), Pat Ford (Above Right)

Browns Marina
and Alice Town.
Right: A Lindgren-Pitman reel
for fishing very,
very deep. Far
right: Spectacular diving can be
found near the

roving predators, stationing a mate high up a mast as a lookout, and
endeavor to maneuver the boat in order to troll a single bait in front of
the pack without spooking them.
One of the focal points of these efforts was the docks of the
Bimini Big Game Club, founded in the 1930s as a dinner club and
relocated to its present waterfront location in 1947. The modern club
still retains much of the charm of its past, but has been updated and
expanded to feature activities that appeal to the whole family, not just
fishermen. A recent addition is the Bimini Bull Run, a chance to dive
with bull sharks right off the docks of the club (see Gift Guide, page
48). But if adventure and adrenaline aren’t your idea of a vacation, you
can paddle out across the main channel onto the flats for a morning
yoga session on a quiet platform, or kick back in the pool and wait for
the fishermen in your group to bring back fresh fish for dinner.
We brought our catch back to the docks at Browns for a meal in
their newly renovated outdoor lounge, starting with wahoo sashimi
that seemed to melt on your tongue. After cooking out on the grills,
we planned to head back to Bimini Bay to take in a beachfront fashion
show, complete with runway, part of the celebration of the inaugural
run of the new fast ferry from Miami. The ferry and the dredging of the
channel that enabled it to begin making runs across the Gulf Stream
are both part of efforts by the Genting Group to bring casino entertainment to Miami. After originally planning and being denied permission
to build a casino at the former Miami Herald property adjacent to the
ICW in downtown Miami, the company took a different approach.
“They said, ‘If we can’t bring a casino to Miami, we’ll bring Miami
to the casino,’” says Levine. Shortly after beginning ferry operations in
February, the Genting Group announced they would take over management of the Bimini Bay Resort, rename it Resorts World Bimini,
and expand the ferry operation from a few hundred passengers to
a full-blown cruise ship, capable of moving 1,600 passengers to the
island in just two hours’ time. The ship began daily service in late July.
Bimini, once accessible mainly by private boat or plane, suddenly is a
cruise-ship destination. “You can’t have an island 46 miles away from
8 million people and not have it be discovered,” says Levine.
But in February, that was all part of someone else’s future plans.
Our plans on day two were to tangle with some bonefish, and I
enlisted the help of Eagle Eyes Fred, a local guide. Fishermen rave
about the bonefishing in Bimini. The sheer number of fish will shock
a fisherman used to hunting the elusive “grey ghost” on the flats of
the Florida Keys, though the Florida fish tend to be larger. But on the
warm, gin-clear flats between the North and South islands, bonefish
bunch up so thick that their shadows look like a handful of oversize
rice cast up on the sand.
In my defense, it was really windy. Gusts to 35 and so on. And
precision casting of a lightly baited line to a spooky fish is best done
without having to consider if the wind will rip your measured cast 45
degrees off course. But you have to fish in the conditions you’ve got,
and I didn’t have time before our 2 p.m. flight to be picky. In the end,
Fred’s amazing eyes and my frustrated casting combined into three
hookups, all lost to mangrove snags. But not before the last fish put on
a blazing display of speed, flashing from 10 to 2 in an instant, which
made Stephanie turn around in her seat and say, “Did you see that?!”
I did, and much like our time in Bimini, it was over too soon.
Michael Vatalaro, BoatU.S. Magazine’s executive editor, fishes from a
24-foot Pursuit center console.
december 2013

Great Escapes

Going With The Floe

By Bernadette Bernon


here are special places in the world
that, after experiencing them, seem to divide
your life in two — the part before you saw
the place and the part after, when your outlook, no matter what it was before, alters.

Antarctica is one of those places.
Douglas and I hadn’t started out with a plan to visit The Frozen
Continent when we flew to Buenos Aires, Argentina — our 20th
anniversary gift to ourselves. We’d planned to take a month off
work, unplug, then go where inspiration, four weeks, and our
Lonely Planet guidebook took us. Our only scheduled event was the
flight home.
Argentina is vast — 3,650 miles long, with summer temperatures
hot in the north, and cooling rapidly as we meandered southward
toward Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. Following tips from fellow
travelers, we rented bikes and cycled around massive turquoise lakes
of “glacial milk,” hiked in the El Chalten mountains, and climbed to
the top of the Perito Moreno Glacier. In Patagonia, we kayaked across
the kelpy Beagle Channel separating Argentina from Chile, on the
lookout for leopard seals.
In my dog-eared Patagonia folder, I had a note to myself, written 11 years earlier, in case I ever got to the southernmost town of
Argentina, called Ushuaia. A boating friend who had sailed there
had told me about a travel office that acts as a clearinghouse, selling
unsold “last-minute,” heavily discounted Antarctica trips on various
cruise ships. When Douglas and I arrived in Ushuaia, sure enough,
we stumbled upon it. In the window of Turismo Ushuaia was a sign
advertising two less-than-half-price tickets available for a 12-day
voyage to the Antarctic continent leaving — are you ready for this?
— the next day. It was one of those rare snap-judgment opportuniBoatU.S. Magazine | 43

ties that you hope, if you’re ever presented with one, you won’t start
making excuses to turn down. We looked at each other, went inside,
and slapped down a credit card.
The next morning, with every piece of Smart Wool we owned,
plus new waterproof pants we’d found in town, we boarded a Quark
Expeditions ice ship with 90 other travelers, and set off across the
unruly Drake Passage toward the bottom of the world. For a dayand-a-half, we got to know our fellow passengers — everyone giddy
and hailing from the four corners of the globe. On the journey, we
listened to wildlife lectures from the Quark guides, and scanned the
vast Southern Ocean for orcas and humpbacks, hoping this treacherous body of water south of Cape Horn, with its monstrous history,
would stay calm. Luckily, it did.

Landfall Antarctica
On day two, an announcement rang over the loudspeaker, “ICEBERG!
Iceberg at one o’clock!” The first bergs were emerging from the mist
ahead — some reaching high into the sky like cathedrals of ice, others stretching out in amorphous shapes, striated with 1,000-year-old
sediment, looking like great vanilla layer cakes. Despite the cracking
cold, everyone piled out on deck, awestruck, as our sturdy vessel
ghosted along — our minds adjusting to the stunning scope of the
scenery coming into view as we passed from the familiar realm of
humans into a mystical realm of nature.
When we’d anchored at the Antarctic Peninsula, and it was time
to go ashore, everyone’s adrenaline was pumping. On went the layers of clothing — warm, wooly long underwear, thick socks, woolen
sweaters and pants, waterproof over-pants, Quark-provided thick-tread
Wellingtons and insulated foul-weather jackets in neon yellow, a smart
touch to find us if we went astray. Next went on the hats and gaiters
and gloves, the camera bags and tripod straps, the sunglasses, the life
jackets. Dressing for Antarctica’s below-freezing summer temperatures,
was a theatrical production.
When we dinghied ashore and actually set foot on the continent,
two things were instantly striking — first, the enormity. The soaring
white mountains and blue ice faces, the bergs, the extreme beauty of
it all. Tears rolled down my cheeks as it hit me — I was really here
and seeing it with my own two eyes, this place I’d only ever dreamed
about. The next thing that struck me was the astonishing activity level
of the animals and birds. What drama! By February, all the species
had given birth and were hurrying to fatten their offspring to grow
and strengthen in the short window of the southern-latitude summer.
Soon, as temperatures start to plummet, they’d have to leave.
Baby gentoo penguins, chubby from mama’s constant feedings,
strained to shed their fluffy feathers, so they could learn to swim.
Black-robed chinstrap penguin parents, with fish in their gullets, ran
around the rock ledges at top speed, letting themselves be “chased”
by their hungry babies. Closer and closer the parents enticed them
to the edge, until the little ones fell in and flopped around in shock.
The parents then torpedoed in after them and kept them close
from predators, until all were back on the safety of the ledge, the
exhausted parents’ lesson finally sinking in to junior about where his
dinner really comes from.
Baby seals stalked the beach crying for their mothers, who were
out at sea hunting. Skuas soared above, high over the ice fields, then
down to the nesting grounds, on the lookout for unattended eggs or
weak infants — nature up close and gritty. Everybody was on a mis44 | BoatU.S. Magazine

online Extra
Ice Pics & How To Get Antarctic Discounts
For more details about the ship, highlights of the trip,
and a great slideshow about the Bernons’ Antarctic
experiences, PLUS info on half-price discounts, visit
this feature online.

Sleepy seals sun themselves on Antarctic
floes. Top, Douglas and Bernadette as the
Quark Expedition ship rounds Cape Horn.
Light illuminates the cathedrals of ice
towering over the black dot of a Zodiac.
Everyday, kayaks go out to explore, up
close and personal.

sion, their instincts screaming at them that the window was closing,
that winter was on the doorstep, that it was time for the fledglings to
learn, to fatten up, to toughen up. It was do-or-die time for youngsters who’d soon have to take to the water or air for the first time,
head out to sea for the winter, and survive on their own. Higher-thannormal snowfalls during the last few years have been wreaking havoc,
shortening the breeding seasons. This has tightened the time frame
for bringing up baby, which means that many late deliveries will have
december 2013

Know Before You Go:

Expedition ships visit the frozen
continent during the Antarctic
summer — December, January,
February — leaving from Ushuaia,
Argentina. For 12-day trips, costs
run from $7,000 to $15,000 per
person; the Bernons paid $4,000.
For info about how to obtain
half-price discounts on similar trips, visit this story online.

to be left behind, incapable of maturing in time.
The life-and-death drama amid the ice palaces was unlike anything we’d experienced. Our hearts were forever in our throats on
our hikes up these shimmering white mountains to find the nesting
grounds of different species, or on Zodiac rides around the bergs to
find seal families sunning on the floes. Once again, as is often the case
for us, it was a boat that had brought Douglas and me to an extraordinarily personal moment in our lives, a corner of the world where
december 2013

no photographs could do justice, where no news reports could make
us appreciate as deeply as we do now how precious and fragile the
balance is in nature and in life — a timely reminder on the occasion
of one’s 20th anniversary.
Bernadette and Douglas spent six years cruising their 39-footer throughout the Caribbean to South America. Enjoy the amusing blog of that journey, “The Log Of Ithaka,” exclusively at
BoatU.S. Magazine | 45

Great Escapes

Two Legends In
The Caribbean
The Grenadines
By Tania Aebi


still remember my first sail in the Grenadines 16
years ago. Rollicking winds lifted the 45-foot sailboat we’d chartered, and heeled us over as soon as
we popped out of the protection of Grenada to face
open water. We sailed right over an active underwa-

ter volcano named Kick-‘em-Jenny, heading for Carriacou.
In the pitching cockpit, I recall reading aloud about that
volcano from the cruising guide, promising it wouldn’t be
a bother, as my all-woman crew held on, double-checking my expression for signs of concern. I really wasn’t worried. It was a beautiful
day with blue skies and puffy tradewind clouds. We didn’t see any
unusual bubbling, but knowing a volcano is boiling beneath your
keel is disconcerting. Or, exciting! The women sailing with me
seemed to straddle the two emotions, while I kept pointing out what
a heck of a gorgeous sail we were having and how much they were
going to like the Grenadines.
This had been my old stomping ground. When I was 17, at the
beginning of my sailing life, my father left me to take care of his
40-foot sailboat in Antigua for a couple of months. Now, as a mother
of two boys long past the 17-year mark, I wonder what on earth he
was thinking. No way I would’ve given my offspring the chance to
have as much fun as I did. It was 1984, a blast. All my new friends
who’d worked as crew on the fancy yachts by day, and partied at
night, had spoken of the Grenadines with longing, describing it as a
bucolic tropical ideal. Years after the party ended, I never forgot that
the Grenadines were loved by people I liked.

Flash Forward
So there I was on my first charter, lots of sailing miles later, finally
exploring the Grenadines for myself with a group from the women’s
sailing school I co-owned — in my job leading overseas charters
with seamanship lessons thrown in. Though I’d already dropped
anchor in many other fantasy islands around the world, that week
in the Grenadines was my first solo charter without my business
partner Jill London skippering a second boat. The day before, five
women from around the U.S., and spanning multiple decades in
age, had come aboard in one of the craggy jungle bays of Grenada,
full of excitement for a great week. It’s a pretty self-selecting bunch
of people who’ll sign up for a sail in a relatively small space with
strangers. But it works out well, with new friendships forged
46 | BoatU.S. Magazine

online Extra
Read about what happens when
Tania “unplugs” her two teenage
boys and takes them cruising for a
year by visiting this story online.

quickly and many intense new memories created. These trips are
so much fun that for a while there, when my kids were young and
he was my favorite author, Jill and I used a Dr. Seuss quote as a
logo: “It’s fun to have fun, you just have to know how.”
So my plan to sail from one beautiful anchorage to another unfolded. From Carriacou, we sailed up to Union Island, then across a narrow
channel to Palm. It was on the way to Palm that one of the women told
a story that made a profound impression. In 1946, she said, after World
War II ended, a young soldier named John Caldwell was stranded in
Panama after trying unsuccessfully, for way too long on ships that kept
getting recommissioned, to return to his new wife in Australia. Without
any prior sailing experience, he was frustrated enough to buy a derelict
29-foot sailboat to carry him back Down Under. In 1949, the classic
he wrote about that harrowing journey, Desperate Voyage, became an
international bestseller. He and his wife Mary had two children, and
continued sailing, eventually arriving in the Caribbean. In 1965, they
bought a 99-year lease to the 135-acre Palm Island, with a vision of
turning it into a beautiful resort and home.
Turns out, John Caldwell and I both had experienced unlikely solo
sailing adventures in our younger lives, and so once my charterboat
arrived at Palm that day, he and I were brought together and chatted
about everything from solo sailing at a young age to home-building
december 2013

Know Before You Go: To charter a 40-footer in the Grenadines
(bareboat) with The Moorings costs
$4,200 - $5,900, depending on
season. Visit

The lush palm trees of the Grenadines,
such as here in the colorful island of
Bequia, are a legacy of Johnny Coconut.

adventures. Even in that, he and I had much in common. We sat
in his heady restaurant of tropical blooms and shady palms, signed
copies of our books for one another, and too soon, just before the
evening dancing began, he went off to bed. It was hard to imagine
that this place had once been a swamp, that one intrepid couple had
transformed it into a tropical ideal.

Johnny Coconut
Everyone called him Johnny Coconut because when he and Mary
arrived in the Caribbean, they were dismayed by the lack of coconut
palms, which were ubiquitous in the South Pacific. John knew that
these fast-growing trees quickly made themselves indispensable as
food, drink, fuel, and building material, and decided to introduce
them to Palm Island. So, while building his paradise, Johnny sailed
up and down the island, planting coconuts everywhere he went.
By the time we visited the island, the trees were towering and
plentiful, and the resort was a picture-book version of what one imagines when dreaming of a tropical paradise. I soaked up this character
of legend, wondering how a person could accomplish as much as
he had by 80.
Finally, we pulled ourselves away from Palm and sailed on, up to
the Tobago Keys, a cluster of islets surrounding an enormous and
december 2013

Tania Aebi Sailing Adventures is offering an all-women Grenadines flotilla
April 17-27, 2014. Cost per person is
$2,500 - $3,500 (including provisioning, excluding air and meals ashore).; 305-304-6554

exquisite turquoise lagoon. Around the white sandy islets of this
tableau swayed Johnny’s palm legacy, which I would have taken for
granted as being what one expects of a place like this if we hadn’t just
met the man who planted the trees. It’s impossible to imagine that
these universal symbols of island life didn’t exist here before John.
We also sailed to Canouan, the laid-back island; Bequia, the
island of eclectic whaling culture turned artsy; and Mustique, playground getaway for the rich and famous except for the charterboat
guests who flock ashore with paparazzo aspirations.
Since that first charter, when I met John Caldwell, I’ve been back
to the Grenadines several times over the years — with guests and
with my family — but never again to Palm Island. A year after my first
visit, John died, his oasis was sold to a resort company, and I haven’t
wanted to see how his legacy has been packaged. These days, with
new groups of guests, I’ve discovered other nooks of these extraordinary islands, places that were loved by people I liked, such as the
extraordinary Johnny Coconut.
In 1985, Tania was the youngest woman to solo circumnavigate the world
and is the author of Maiden Voyage, the international bestseller about
her 2 1/2-year adventure aboard a 27-foot boat at age 18. She lives in
Vermont, and runs sailing flotillas around the world.
BoatU.S. Magazine | 47

GoPro Hero 3
There were stupid human tricks before Letterman,
and they’ll continue long after he’s off the air. But
far more acts of bravery/stupidity have been captured on a GoPro. These go-anywhere cameras
shoot fantastically clear HD video in a variety of
formats, including very wide angle, and high-frame
rates. Use the underwater housing for a different
angle or while diving (it’s waterproof to 60 m).
The Black Edition is Wi-Fi enabled, which lets you
control the camera remotely, either with the handy
remote (included) or with your smartphone and
the GoPro app. $399 |

Water-Powered Alarm Clock
You know what boaters like? Water. So say goodbye to
batteries, and hello to H20. Metallic plates inside the
water reservoir turn ions in the water into a current
that powers the clock and alarm. Pure genius.
$26 |

The Gift Of Education
Do you worry about what would
happen if something went
wrong out on the water, and
your partner was left to take
the boat home, solo? BoatU.S.
and the United States Power
Squadrons have teamed up to
offer Partner In Command, an
interactive online course that
helps with anchoring, docking, navigation, bad weather,
onboard emergencies, and more. For a limited time, the
course is offered at reduced rates for BoatU.S. members.
Give a gift that will increase your partner’s confidence —
and your peace of mind — on the boat. $40 ($31.60 for
BoatU.S. members) |


Gift Guide
By Chris Landers

Wooden Charts
These layered, laser-cut charts from thin
sheets of birch are hand-colored to show
underwater contours, framed, and protected by ultra-clear Plexiglas. Stick
with GPS for navigation and hang
these lovely framed charts
on your wall. From $128

Diddy Bagg
We’re pretty sure Joseph Conrad once said, “Where did all this ditty come from and
where the heck am I going to keep it?” The answer comes, as it always must, from the
storied former whaling shacks of Nantucket. Designed by a master carpenter (but also
popular, according to their website, with knitters), this ditty bag (or, as they would have
it spelled, “diddy”) holds everything you need for wooden-boat building and/or knitting, and converts to a tool roll or backpack. $169.95 |

december 2013

Scanpod Rail Pod
Installing electronics can often be a
pain for many boaters. Scanstrut’s
Rail Pod sits securely on any curved
or standard rail. You can set the
viewing angle you’d like, and cables
are routed internally through the
clamp and onto the rail for a safe
and streamlined finish. You might
get an “Oh, great. What is it?” when
this gift gets opened, but several months from now,
you’ll get a big thank you when the chartplotter, fish
finder, and other small electronics are still on the boat
rather than in the water. $169 |

Looking for gifts for the
landlubbers on your
holiday list? Too bad. These
are for the important people
in your life — the boaters!

Sweet Sloops
Harbor Sweets offers
handmade chocolates
in whimsical nautical designs — sloops,
schooners, sand dollars, seashells — in an
assortment of clever
packaging. Their newest
creation, Salt & Ayre
truffles, could be the
perfect way to remind
a boating friend of the
best parts of summer
boating when you’re
stuck in winter dry dock.

This little underwater robot requires a little assembly.
OK, a lot of assembly. And some soldering skills, and ...
Look, maybe you should just study the website before
you invest in this. If you’re up to the challenge, though,
the payoff is pretty high. You get a customizable,
remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) for a
fraction of the price of the preassembled kind, and you
get to be a part of an active (and helpful) community
of people all doing the same thing. It’s basically an
entire new hobby that is semi-related to the one you
already have. $849 |

From $10 |

Breitling Emergency II
That old saying about cameras applies just as well to
personal locator beacons (PLB) — the best one is the
one you have with you. The Breitling Emergency II is a
classy watch with a built-in antenna. When activated,
it broadcasts your location to COSPASS-SARSAT at
125 and 406 MHz, just like a regular EPIRB. It’s a heck
of a lot more expensive than a dedicated PLB, but it’s
definitely a more versatile fashion choice. And if you
were to, say, get washed off the deck of your megayacht, leaving your PLB in your other tux, the price
might not seem so bad. $16,000 |

Swim With The Sharks
Literally. The Bimini Big Game Club Resort and Marina is offering dive encounters
with the elusive great hammerheads, from January through April 2014. The good
news? Their favorite snack, the spotted eagle rays, will often jump high into the air
in an attempt to escape the sharks. (No word on how high the divers would jump.)
If there’s an adventurer in the family, this might be the perfect gift. Waiting to hear
all about it poolside, with a cocktail in hand, in February doesn’t sound too terrible,
either. For more on Bimini, turn to page 40. $499/person |

BoatU.S. Magazine | 49

Inside or out, above
or below the waterline. No matter where
you want light on
your boat, there’s an
LED for that
By Michael Vatalaro


ost of us don’t give lights much thought until
we flip a switch and nothing happens. But on your boat,
unless it’s relatively new, chances are the lights aboard are
inconveniencing you more than you know, even if you’re not
replacing burnt-out bulbs from time to time. Incandescent

bulbs are spectacularly bad at what they do, which ostensibly is producing light. Only five percent of the energy that goes into an incandescent
bulb becomes light. That’s a staggering inefficiency that makes the internal
combustion engine look positively thrifty. Moreover, the penalty for this
inefficiency spills over in ways you might not have considered.

50 | BoatU.S. Magazine

What’s the last thing you want to add to
your stateroom on a still, sweltering summer’s night while at anchor? More heat,
right? But 95 percent of the power being
drained from your battery bank to run the
reading light above your bunk is becoming
just that. The additional heat means running
the air conditioner more, and therefore the
generator as well. Those hot bulbs are costing you money and more time at the fuel
dock. But wait, you say, I’ve got solar panels.
I get my juice for free from the sun. Ah, but
did you really need those panels? And if so,
december 2013

did they have to be so large?
The point is, retrofitting
your boat with LED lights will
cut the amount of energy used
to light your boat by 90 percent. And the
amount you’re using now can be surprisingly large. Just illuminating an average set
of running lights consumes around 7 amps.
A few halogen surface-mounted fixtures in
the saloon can eat up 10 amps. Running for
an hour after sundown and then entertaining aboard for a few more can burn up 40
amp hours of your battery-bank capacity.
December 2013

Photos: OceanLED, Inset: Imtra

Light-Emitting Diodes use far less
energy to produce the same amount
of light, making them ideal for
boating applications. Left, a center
console shows the eerie glow of blue
underwater LEDs, while top right, a
fleet of Viking sportfishermen show
off white lights below the waterline.
Right, cockpit courtesy lighting on a
sailboat makes use of indirect light
and LEDs’ cool blue glow for maximum appeal. Inset: A close-up of
an LED bulb showing the individual
diodes and circuit board.

But with LEDs it would be more
like 4.
“From a consumer standpoint,
it sounds expensive,” says Bradd
Wilson, of Cruising Solutions. “But you’ll
see cruisers investing money in solar panels,
wind generators, or gensets. If they’d just
cut back on their power consumption, they
wouldn’t need any of it.”

What To Think About
“The first step is deciding whether you want
to keep the existing fixtures,” says Wilson.

If you’re happy with the look and feel of
your fixtures and don’t want to add remote
switches or dimming, replacement bulbs can
be an effective solution. “We’re at a point
where we’ve got a bulb to fit in just about
every kind of fixture,” says Wilson, whose
company started selling LED replacement
bulbs eight years ago. Before you go swapping every bulb onboard for LED replacements, take a moment to make sure you’re
getting well-engineered LEDs suitable for
marine use. Here’s what to look for:
■■ Constant Current Circuitry: A quality LED
BoatU.S. Magazine | 51

the same frequency of light. If not done, a
bulb made up of six diodes could have one
different from the rest, which — believe it
or not — is visible and will stand out every
time you look at it.

will have “constant current circuitry,” which
maintains the current at an exact level to
deliver the greatest illumination per watt
for the longest duration (30,000-50,000
hours). This CCC designation should be
present on a good LED bulb.

Voltage Regulation: LEDs need only 4 volts
to make light; marine LEDs are rated at
10-30 volts, which means they need a
DC-to-DC converter to make use of the
12 volts out of the boat’s batteries. In the
early days, some manufacturers produced
“marine” LEDs derived from automotive
lighting, which used resistors to reduce the
voltage. Trouble is, resistors cut voltage by a
set percentage. For example, two 50-percent
resistors in series would step 12 volts down
to 3. This means that, as soon as the battery runs low, the voltage will drop below 4
volts, and the LEDs will flicker and fade. If
it runs high, such as when the alternator is
charging the battery, the LEDs burn up. A
DC-to-DC converter will always output the
4 volts necessary as long as the input voltage is within the specified range. This also
means they can work with 12 V or 24 V
DC systems.


Reverse-Polarity Protection: Resistorregulated LEDs also won’t tolerate reverse
polarity. Even if you install the bulb correctly, if you get reversed polarity off a
dock, you’ll damage your lights. Those with
DC-to-DC converters can handle reverse
polarity without failing. If an LED bulb is
listed as “polarity sensitive,” it should be


Heat Dissipation: LEDs also don’t like
heat. A quality LED bulb will use aluminum or copper backing under the
printed circuit to pull heat away from the
diodes. If the bulb is enclosed, it should
have an external heat sink to draw away
excess energy.


Binned (Matching) LEDs: Not all LEDs
are created equal. Each individual diode
will put out a slightly different frequency of
light, usually measured on the Kelvin scale.
Manufacturers will talk broadly about Kelvin
as a descriptor of how “warm” or “cool” the
light coming off the LED is, but binning is
much more specific. The term comes from
the physical act of sorting individual diodes
into matching piles, where each diode emits

52 | BoatU.S. Magazine

TIP: Look for bulbs with a one- or twoyear warranty. Bulbs that don’t feature
CCC typically don’t offer warranties of
this duration.

Above, choosing “warm white” LED lights for interiors brightens up woodwork
and provides a traditional look. Right, OceanLED makes underwater lighting
with a controller that can change the color of the light to any color in the visible spectrum. Blue is popular, but orange, purple, or green are also possible.

Going All In
If you aren’t wedded to your existing fixtures,
you throw the doors open to a world of possibilities, particularly if you’re willing to drop
the headliner or fish some new wires. Remote
switching, dimming, recessed fixtures — all
of these options come into play.
“When we talk to customers, we ask what
their motivation is,” says Kinder Woodcock,
project manager at Imtra. “Is it to save power?
Do they have maintenance concerns? Or is it
heat or safety issues? Some just want to modernize the look of their boat. LED light has
a certain look to it; it just sets things apart.
If you’re only concerned about power and
not fussy about the color or intensity, bulbs
are a great solution. They’re easy; you just
swap them out. The downfalls would be that
they’re only so bright and most of them don’t
have the ability to dissipate heat, so they are
limited to a certain amount of output.”
A well-engineered LED fixture offers several advantages over replacement LED bulbs,
including more intensity, better or more

protection, and to reduce the amount of RF
(radio frequency) interference put off by the
light. This last point can be critical when
installing LED bulbs or simple fixtures near
electronics. A colleague with an LED masthead light reports that the interference from
the fixture impacts his AIS antenna, reducing
the range of the AIS by about half when it is
lit. “There’s only so much room on an LED
bulb to include electrical protections,” says
In addition to installation considerations, Woodcock advises thinking aesthetics through as well. For example, Imtra
offers both cool-white and warm-white fixtures, as do many manufacturers. Each has
its place aboard. Cool white, for example,
looks great against shiny fiberglass as, say,
a courtesy light, but it does wooden brightwork no favors. Similarly, cool white works
well in engine spaces, but you don’t want
it in the galley making your burger look
purple, and your lips, too. And many people
can’t stand reading by cool white, preferring
december 2013

Photos: Imtra (left), OceanLED (right)


complete electrical protection, and color
consistency. An LED fixture can have a sizable heat sink, which means it can handle
the output of more diodes than a typical
replacement bulb, yielding more light. With
a recessed fixture, that heat sink pushes
excess heat into the hull or deck of the
boat, preventing it from heating the interior.
There’s also room in a fixture to include
reverse-polarity protection and voltage spike

the more familiar warm white that mimics
a halogen bulb.
Another option is color. If you’re thinking
about courtesy lights for your walkaround
or center console, blues and greens have
become popular. And of course, you can get
a red light for over the chart table. “A big
consideration with courtesy lights is glare,”
says Woodcock. “LEDs tend to seem more
intense, so you want to think about using

indirect light, particularly on steps or companionways.” LED fixtures designed with
“eyebrows” to prevent you from looking
directly at the light are a good option. You
also want to look for fixtures rated to IP65
or greater, which means they can withstand
direct spraying with a hose or short periods
of submersion.

Getting Started
Making the changeover to LEDs doesn’t have
to be an all-or-nothing proposition. If power
consumption is your primary concern, you
can start with the lights you use most or that
draw the most amps. If you want the look of
LEDs, start with exterior fixtures, such as courtesy lighting, spreader lights, or cockpit lights.
If you decide to start with bulbs, first
you’ll need an inventory of the existing bulbs
december 2013

The Final Frontier — Underwater


here are only two reasons to install underwater lights — to catch more
looks or to catch more fish. If you’re not about bling or bait, skip to the end.
“A big trend we’re seeing right now is that these lights help catch fish,” says
Don DeMott, general manager at OceanLED. “The light will bring in bait and concentrate it at the boat. Our pro staff guys run the blue lights during the day as well.
It creates a strobing effect and makes the predator fish curious, turning the hull
into a giant teaser.”
Planning an underwater light install typically takes a little more consideration
because you need to drill holes to run
power leads and choose locations that
keep the lights submerged in order to
dissipate heat. At the same time, you
want the light to have a clear path into
the water. The color light you choose
is mostly about preference. However,
some colors work better in clear water;
some do better in brackish or stained
water. OceanLED’s website features
useful tutorial videos; it helps to have
a picture of your transom handy when
you start the planning process.
Another factor is how you store
your boat. If your boat is on a trailer or
lift, a light designed to be submersed
only part of the time will suffice, such
as OceanLED’s Amphibian series. If
you keep your boat in the water, you’ll
need one with a housing designed
to resist fouling, like their Pro series.
The Pro series also are brighter for a
given size fixture: for
example, 800 lumens
for the Amphibian T12
versus 1,300 lumens
from the Pro series A12.
“I always tell people to
buy the brightest light
they can comfortably
afford,” says DeMott.
“Ultimately, you’ll
be happier with it.”

in the various fixtures aboard. Write down
both the type of bulb (festoon, wedge, bayonet, or two-pin) and its wattage. You might
also want to note the manufacturer of the fixture. Depending on size and output, a quality
LED replacement bulb will cost you $15 to
$30, but should last for thousands of hours,
far longer than you’re ever likely to use it.
If you decide to go the fixture route, consider not only the cost of each fixture, which
depending on your taste could top $200 per
unit, but also the cost of any headliner you’ll

want to replace and/or installation costs if
you don’t do the work yourself.
When you’re doing the math, don’t forget
that the savings aren’t limited to replacing
bulbs. LEDs can save costly upgrades in
batteries, as well as forestalling the need to
invest in generators, solar panels, and other
costly charging capability.
Michael Vatalaro, BoatU.S. Magazine’s executive editor, has a 24-foot Pursuit center console
and enjoys doing all the work aboard himself.
BoatU.S. Magazine | 53

In The Ozarks


t starts out as a low rumble, a single boat making its way across the still

lake at the break of day, like an alarm clock for the crowds that will gather later, in
the water and ashore. Elsewhere in the Ozarks, people are playing golf and going
on wine tastings, but for the thousands of boaters who turn out, this weekend is
dedicated to having fun, and about things that go very quickly through the water.

As the TV announcer will later say, over and over again on the big screens outside
Captain Ron’s Bar and Grill, “It’s the Shootout!”
Over the years, the Shootout has grown from a weekend event to a full week of boating festivities. But the signature event is racing down two dead-straight miles that have been cleaned of
debris by crews who’ve been working to make it safe since before dawn. The object is to go as fast
as you can past the radar gun, which is stationed halfway down the closed two-mile course. The fastest of the fast takes home the Top Gun trophy. Ask any racer what brings them to the Lake of the
Ozarks Shootout, what causes them to drive across the country to a lake in the middle of Missouri,
with million-dollar machines strapped to boat trailers the size of semi trucks, to compete in a twomile race that offers no prize money, and they will all tell you they do it for charity.
There is some truth to this. The event started out, 25 years ago, as a small fund-raiser for the
local fire departments and has grown to the point that this year they raised $115,000 for two dozen
charities. Charity isn’t the whole story, though. If it were, they could all stay home and write a
check. Something Dorsey Schroeder said, when he was emceeing the first inductions into the new
Shootout Hall of Fame, rings closer to the truth: “To break that barrier, to push it further down the
road, that’s what we do. Racers like two things: They like fast and they like loud. And if you don’t
like fast and loud, you’re in the wrong room.”
The “fast and loud” theory explains some otherwise inexplicable things, like the remote-controlled boat race, the “mini-shootout,” where the winner’s speed was 119.4 mph. It explains why I

54 | BoatU.S. Magazine

december 2013

Why, for the past
25 summers, does
a race with no
prize money keep
drawing thousands
of boaters to a lake
in the middle of
the country? We
sent one of our
editors to find out

December 2013

BoatU.S. Magazine | 55

saw a Shootout racer go 114 mph in a pontoon boat. It explains why visiting boaters
created a raft-up three miles long. And that
was only the first row. It even explains how I
came to love the paint job on Mike Maasen’s
cigarette boat. But more of that later.

readouts covering the boat’s dash.
Later, after long hours in the Missouri sun,
most participants park their boats and head
to the last stop, Shady Gators, for the drawing
and general sharing of stories at the packed
bar. By that time we’re all old friends.

a while, you begin to appreciate the violent
clash of colors. Like the boats, and the event
itself, quiet cocktails on the deck of a yacht
club it ain’t. It’s loud, fast, and rock ‘n’ roll.
It’s the Shootout!

A Poker Run Is Not A Race

Fast, Loud, & Rock ’N’ Roll

The poker run, one of the main side events
to the Shootout, kicks off the week’s onthe-water action. I hesitate to explain what a
poker run is because the world, it seems, can
be divided into those who already know and
those who never will. But the rules are simple.
Starting at Captain Ron’s Grill, the participants travel to six other places, picking up
some token at each. At the end of the day, the

A note on the paint schemes of speedboats:
They are garish. Loud enough to give the
engines a run for their money. There are
flames and stripes; stripes that turn into
flames at the end; flames that fade from yellow to orange; white leather seats with blue
and orange trim; lime-green dashboards with
blue gauges; and hulls striped with every
color of the rainbow. And that’s just Mike’s

Mike’s company, Poly-Lift, makes boat lifts
and sponsors the poker run. Donnie has
a company that builds bars and houses
on docks. Most of the people involved in
the race, whether as racers or organizers,
seem to be small-business men and women.
Connie Weyer, who’s been rushing around
with a walkie-talkie organizing events, owns
Advantage Marine, a chandlery and repair
center, with her husband Dave.

boat. Others are decorated in the rest of the
human-visible spectrum, or themed, like the
Batman boat with bat-fins and an airbrushed
city of Gotham on the front. Brett Wagner
shows up at the helm of a 2005 46-foot Black
Thunder, painted with a Monopoly theme by
a former owner (a mortgage broker). Others
are subtle, with the addition of skulls. Still
others, the purpose-built race boats that are
here to compete for the title of Top Gun,
look like they flew here from a distant planet
where light reflects in strange new ways, or
where neon is an effective camouflage. After

This a homegrown event, and everyone
here knows each other, even the out-oftowners who come annually. The area around
Lake of the Ozarks swells with tourists every
summer, and it’s home to an infamous “party
cove” that attracts hundreds of boats on
summer weekends. At heart, though, it’s a
group of small towns that relies on tourism
as its main industry. The lake was formed in
1931 by a dam across the Osage River. At the
time, it was the largest man-made lake in the
country, and it’s been a magnet for vacationing boaters ever since, home to hundreds of

A Homegrown Event

tokens are exchanged for seven playing cards,
and the best poker hand wins the money. A
popular T-shirt at the shootout features a kid
writing on the blackboard over and over, “A
poker run is not a race,” and it isn’t, officially.
But if a little spirited competition breaks out
along the way, well, no one seems to mind.
The start of the poker run is signaled by
a helicopter passing overhead, and when it
passes over Mike Maasen’s 42-X cigarette,
Just One More, we take off with a sound that
renders all other sounds obsolete. Mike is at
the controls, his wife Karie and friend Donnie
Simpson next to him in front. Donnie’s wife
Jessica and yours truly hang on in back. At
least one of us is grinning like a maniac as
the three Mercury Racing 525-horse engines
propel us at speeds I hadn’t thought possible.
I can’t say for certain how fast we go, partly
because of the wind in my eyes after my sunglasses flew off, but mostly because of the
bewildering collection of dials, gauges, and
56 | BoatU.S. Magazine

december 2013

Photos: George Denny Jr., Todd Taylor, Chris Landers

My Way, on its way to victory
(above). The crowd beats the heat
trackside, at a raft-up that stretched
for miles (right).
See any clues that this 46-foot
Black Thunder was originally owned
by a mortgage broker (far right)?

resorts and beach-town attractions.
The meandering, snake-like lake makes
boating the preferred way to get around,
and the quickest. Its status as a man-made,
privately owned lake (the power company
Ameren owns and manages it) means that
houses can be built close to the 1,150-mile
shoreline. Docks, lit at night by blue lights
to warn off passing boaters, dot the shoreline. It’s where the central plains head to the
ocean, and the thin, winding lake ensures
seclusion for just about any activity, be it partying or a tour of the state park that takes up
17,400 acres on the east end. Locals divide
the lake roughly into east and west sides, the
St. Louis and Kansas City sides, or the quiet
and the noisy side. During the Shootout,

Meanwhile, along the shore, under the watchful eye of the Water Patrol, thousands of
people anchor and swim, and listen to the
radio for the speeds from the radar gun — the
only number that matters.
The current Shootout record of 209 mph
(no knots here) was set in 2007 by Dave
Callan, racing on the old Shooters 21 course,
after which he pretty much stopped racing.
His coy responses to reporters have kept
people guessing as to whether he will jump
back into the fray this year to defend his title
from Canadian Bill Tomlinson, who’s made
the trek from the Thousand Islands, trailering his 50-foot Mystic catamaran My Way
and talking a big game about his boat’s twin
3,000-horsepower turbine engines. In 2011,

anyway, the quiet side gets a little loud, as
it’s home to Captain Ron’s Bar and Grill on
Buccaneer Bay, ground zero for the race.
Captain Ron himself is less piratical than
you might expect. This may be because he’s
only Captain Ron part-time and has a title
insurance and escrow business as his main
job under the alias Ron Duggan. He raced in
the first Shootout, but decided it wasn’t for
him. “I went 66 miles an hour and got tons
of advice on how to go faster from the other
guys, but I was like, ‘That’s all right, I just
wanted to see what it was like.’” He’d rather
be involved in hosting the event where, he
says, it’s like seeing old friends every year as
the racers return to the lake.

Tomlinson took issue with the radar speed,
saying his GPS clocked faster than the 208
mph shown on the gun, although it was good
enough to tie the course record with Hall
of Fame inductee David Scott. Speculation
around Captain Ron’s is that if the Canadian

The Shootout
The Shootout is a difficult event to spectate.
The best seats are at the bar at Captain Ron’s
place, next to the beach volleyball court, with
a cold beer and a good view of the screen.
december 2013

makes a good showing, Callan will just have
to come out of retirement. The first day of
the race, Tomlinson ties the record, with 209
mph in My Way. Afterward, he tells a wellwisher, “We’ll get serious tomorrow.”
One of the distinctive things about the
Shootout is that pretty much anyone can
enter. You don’t even have to be fast. At one
point, the captain of Celebration, a large dinner boat, takes a shot with a speed of 6 mph.
Racing the faster boats takes a two-man crew:
usually a driver, who steers and operates the
trim tabs, and a throttle man. The trim tabs
seem to be the key part, getting the boat onto
just the right plane to minimize the drag
through the water. You can gauge how well
they’re doing on screen by how steady the
nose of the boat is. Movement up and down
or side to side causes friction, and friction
costs speed.
Mike Maasen decides to take a shot and
passes the radar gun at 91 mph. On another
run, with Dave Weyer as copilot, he hits 92.
Both times, he’s beaming like a kid with a
new toy when he gets back to the dock. It’s
Sunday morning, though, when the crowds
are a little thinner, that Bill Tomlinson and
Ken Kehoe make the run everyone will be
talking about. My Way passes the gun at a
blistering 224 mph, and after a second run of
216, the Canadians call it a day and load the
boat onto the trailer for the long trip home. In
the afternoon, the racers file out of the docks
to the waterfront stage facing the beach to
accept their awards, and as Tomlinson takes
his, he utters the sentiment in the heart of
every racer here, professional or amateur:
“I think we could’ve gone a little faster.”
Award-winning writer Chris Landers is an
associate editor at BoatU.S. Magazine.

A Note On Safety
Shootout organizers pride themselves on the event’s safety record, and on the precautions
they take to keep drivers and spectators protected. They’ve never had an accident in the
Shootout’s 25-year history.


The closed racecourse is 400 feet wide. There’s a safety zone 400 feet beyond that.
So race boats remain at least 700 feet from spectators.
A no-wake zone extends the length of the track.
Boats in the Shootout always race one at a time, never against one another.
Water-patrol personnel are everywhere, keeping spectators within the safety zone, and
monitoring their activities.
Life jackets and helmets are required for all racers in the Shootout.
The U.S. Coast Guard is on the water in full force monitoring the event, as well as
Homeland Security personnel, and six different fire departments and emergency crews.
TowBoatU.S. Lake of the Ozarks is also on standby for all the events.
Rescue divers from local fire departments also stand ready to jump in from helicopters;
their demonstration dives were a real crowd pleaser. — C.L.
BoatU.S. Magazine | 57

boater |
58 ask the experts 63 Projects 68 Gear 73 DIY 76 Skills

78 Seaworthy

Practical Ask the Experts
solutions from the BoatU.S. tech team

Salty Or Sweet?

John Adey: Sure! If you’re trailering the boat or leaving it in the water for short periods
(a week on vacation may be OK) and you rinse it with lots of low-pressure water, it should be
fine. If you use a power washer, do a thorough low-pressure rinse first, then follow up with
pressure to remove dirt and grime (power washers push the salts into seams and crevices on
an aluminum hull and can cause long-term issues). Give your trailer the same treatment as
well. If this is permanent season-long use, you may need a professional. There are multistep
processes to bottom paint an aluminum hull, requiring the right prep followed by the right
primer followed by the right paint. Copper bottom paint will attack the aluminum galvanically unless the right procedures are used. Some manufacturers say the bottom is paint ready
and recommend a type of paint to use. Check with Lund; you might be able to do it yourself.
Enjoy the saltwater.

Don Casey: If you have no shore-power
system, and no AC wiring, the easiest and safest way to plug in a single 120-volt appliance,
whether it’s the charger you want to leave
on or a power tool you need for a repair, will
be to buy a 30-amp to 15-amp adapter with
an integral ground-fault circuit interrupter
(GFCI). Both Marinco and Hubbell make
these. The one from Marinco will set you
back about $90, the Hubbell version a little
more, but with either you can safely bring
the power aboard with a heavy-duty 15-amp
exterior power cord. Be sure not to exceed
15 amps draw and find a way to run the cord
aboard the closed boat that prevents it from
being pinched, strained, or submersed.

Safe Power

Where To Tie Up?

I’d like to safely plug my Guest dual-bank charger into 30-amp shore power while at the dock
to keep my batteries charged overnight. I do not have other AC power needs. How can I do
this economically? Robert Pietrantonio
Macomb, MI

I keep my 48-foot Sea Ray on the St. Johns
River, Florida. There are private day markers
showing the entrance to the marina. They’re
approximately six feet above water. If a hur-

Can I put an aluminum boat such as a Lund in saltwater? If so, what are the
safeguards other than a freshwater wash-down?

Dennis Ward
Cincinnati, OH

58 | BoatU.S. Magazine

december 2013

ricane hits, would you recommend tying to
the marker poles?
Rudy Rundlett

Camden, SC

Beth Leonard: Tying to marker poles
isn’t a good idea. They’re meant to be aids
to navigation, not to take the full windage
of a boat in hurricane conditions. Tying to
government aids to navigation is illegal, and
it’s possible that these markers might fall
into that category. Depending on how you
tied up, you might block the channel, which
could endanger others. In general, hauling
out in a marina that’s protected from wind,
surge, and waves where they tie the boat
down has proven the best solution in Florida
with the highest likelihood of protecting
your boat. You’re fortunate to be well inland,
so if there are no marinas where you can take
your boat to haul, securing it in a narrow
channel would be another option. But you’ll
need to tie to substantial and well-anchored
tether points in a place where you can center
the boat in the channel without obstructing

I come back to the boat a day or two after a
nice long cruise up the Potomac River and
there are dead bugs everywhere. I’m forever
vacuuming them up and wiping them away.
How do I keep the bugs out?

Fred Wilfert

Springfield, VA

Tom Neale: I’m assuming from your
description that the bugs are small, they fly,
and that you’re talking about the areas under
your boat cover, not inside the cabin. If, for
example, you had the infamous Caribbean
cockroach coming aboard, you wouldn’t
be able to vacuum it up. It would probably
eat the vacuum cleaner. Are you leaving one
or more lights on in your boat? This would
attract bugs in and under the cover and
they’d die there. These bugs have a much
easier time finding their way in than out.
Turn off the lights if you don’t want the bugs.
Or you may have spilled something and not
noticed it. It may be that dock lights around
the boat are attracting them, or someone
spilled a drink on the dock and they’re just
coming in to crash after the party. If that
were the case, I’d turn off the dock lights and
hose off the dock.
There are sprays, but you’d need one that
works for your visitors. Some sprays stick
December 2013

to the surface for a while and that could be
good or bad. Some are also more toxic than
what you’d want on the boat, and some
might damage your covers, so you’d need to
experiment with small patches. If your boat
is under a shed or boathouse, you could be
suffering from bird lice infestation. That’s
pretty serious and a professional bug man
may be needed.

Mushy Mounts
A survey found moisture in the stringers
under our engines. Short of tearing them out
and replacing them, is there something we
can inject into the stringers that will solidify
and maintain structural integrity?

Ron Puckett

San Ramon, CA

John Adey: This all depends on how
extensive the damage is and if you can find
the original cause of water entry. Are the
mounts totally saturated or just in localized
areas around the mounting hardware? These
mounts are critical; have a good repair yard

give you a full report on the extent of the
damage. A moisture meter and hammer tapping will only tell you so much. Experience
and an infrared camera are the next steps. Get
a solid second opinion; there’s a big difference between a reading on a moisture meter
and rotten stringers that need replacement.
Either way, find the cause and area of water
entry ASAP If you can isolate and thoroughly
dry the affected areas, you may be able to
“honeycomb” (drill a bunch of small holes)
the stringers to let small areas dry before you
inject your choice of epoxy or urethane-based
“goo.” Once dry, evaluate the repair for structural integrity. I would then re-glass the area
where the holes have been drilled.
If damage is excessive, I’m afraid nothing
short of cutting, grinding, and rebuilding will
solve your issues. Keep in mind how much
the engine torques these mounts! They’re
subjected to big forces and are the first line
of defense in keeping your engine/drivetrain aligned. If the alignment isn’t proper,
it can cause vibration, premature wear, and
failure of parts.

meet Our experts
Beth Leonard

BoatU.S. Magazine’s technical editor, Beth grew up powerboating, waterskiing, and fishing on Lake Ontario. Since 1992, she and her husband
have completed two circumnavigations by sailboat, doing all maintenance themselves. They also installed the systems on their 47-foot
aluminum sloop. Beth has written The Voyager’s Handbook, the how-to
bible for offshore sailors, and hundreds of technical articles.

Tom Neale

He’s cruised long distance with his family for most of his adult life. He
can take apart and fix almost every system aboard, has written two
books, filmed a two-set DVD on East Coast cruising, written for top
marine magazines, and has won nine first-place awards from Boating
Writers International and many other awards for his technical writing.

Don Casey

One of the most consulted experts on boat care and upgrades for 30
years. He and his wife cruise their 30-footer part of the year in the
eastern Caribbean. His books include Don Casey’s Complete Illustrated
Sailboat Maintenance Manual, and the recently updated This Old Boat,
the bible for do-it-yourself boaters.

John Adey

The president of the American Boat & Yacht Council, John has been in
the industry since 1990, with experience from a yacht brokerage and
boatyard to owning a marine supply store. He and his family sail their
classic 1976 Irwin ketch, a boat he completely restored.

Contact these and all our experts at
The best part? this service is free to members.
BoatU.S. Magazine | 59

Stripping Gelcoat
What is the best way to remove bottom
paint? I’d like it off because I don’t keep the
boat in water.
Russel Solgot

Clay, MI

Don Casey: There’s no good way to
completely remove bottom paint. Every
method risks damaging the underlying gelcoat. Sanding works until you reach the
fiberglass, then you’re sanding the gelcoat,
which you don’t want to do unless you are
repainting. Chemical strippers are worse.
The kind you find in paint and home-supply
stores cannot tell the difference between
paint resin and polyester resin, so when they
get through the paint, they will literally start
dissolving your boat. So-called fiberglass-safe
strippers can work, but are only safe if you’re
meticulous in how long you leave them on,
which is often insufficient to fully remove the
paint. That brings you back to sandpaper.
Boatyard staff may recommend sandblasting,
but sandblasting fiberglass boats damages
them, no ifs, ands, or buts. Blasting with a
softer medium, such as baking soda, is probably the gentlest removal option, but you’re
going to have to find someone who does

I am planning our first trip to the Jupiter Inlet
and lack local knowledge. Any advice would
be welcome.
Yvan Girardin

Pompano Beach, FL

though less so if the inlet is maintained for
large shipping. However, be especially careful
of large ships. They can’t “move over” for us.
If you’re not familiar with an inlet, get a
thorough briefing by someone with current
local knowledge. Local TowBoatU.S. operators are always willing to offer assistance.
Don’t try it the first time (and hopefully
not anytime) when conditions aren’t ideal.
Be familiar with handling characteristics of
your boat, particularly as they relate to the
individual issues of that inlet. If possible, visit
the beach and study the inlet, or hang out in
your boat and observe it for awhile, looking
for wave patterns and other issues. Study your
charts before running the inlet. You may not
have time to do this once you’re committed.

Tom Neale: You ask about a specific

A Screw Loose?

inlet, but your question has important implications for all inlets. Inlets can be treacherous;
for example, if the current is running out into
an onshore sea, it can break all across. If the
inlet is shallow, onshore waves can hump up
and break as you go in or even before you
reach the sea buoys. This may not be every
wave, but the wave that gets you is the wave
that counts. Shoaling is frequently a problem,

How do I repair a stripped screw that fastens
a small bracket to the fiberglass on the topside of my Sea Ray?
Dan Kennedy

Media, PA

this and it will not be cheap.
That typically leads me to recommend
not removing the bottom paint just because
you no longer need it. If the color bothers
you, then prep the bottom and paint it with
white bottom paint (Pettit Vivid). This will
be undetectable except by close inspection,
can actually make the bottom easier to keep
clean, and could be beneficial if you use your
boat for vacations where it stays in the water
for days rather than hours.

Inlet Info

Don Casey: If there’s no core material
involved, just solid fiberglass laminate, and if
the load on the bracket doesn’t exceed the
strength of threads in glass composite, sim-

Check out the
expanded selec
of Marine par

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at while supplies last.
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60 | BoatU.S. Magazine

december 2013

Which Carpet?
I need to replace the carpet on the bunks
of my trailer. What type of carpet material
works best, and how should I attach it to
the wood bunks?
Roger Collins

Auburn, MI
Ted Sensenbrenner:  You’re
looking for a product that resembles
indoor/outdoor carpet, but marine-grade
carpet is a much better solution for
several reasons. It offers better UV protection, won’t rot or mildew, and has a
better, more durable backing, with only
minimal water retention. Be sure to fold
the ends or edges over,
and if you have a staple
gun, buy yourself a box
of stainless steel staples
and affix the carpet to the
wood. This will keep it
in place and your boat’s
hull cushioned and protected. Another option is
a smooth product made

by Taco that will attach to the top side of
your bunks.

Dustin Hoover: Most people buy
a standard indoor/outdoor carpet from a
home improvement store, which works
well and can be bought at a decent price.
A trailer manufacturer may also sell you
carpet; they tend to have a better material,
but you’ll pay for it. I typically double up
on the leading edge to give it extra padding and support, regardless of the type
of carpet. If you can find stainless staples,
they’re your best bet. Just remember to go
back and hit each staple with a hammer to
make sure it holds.
Ted Sensenbrenner of the BoatU.S.
Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean
Water has been pulling, fixing, and studying boat trailers — and every type of trailer
problem! — for years. He’s our man.
Dustin Hoover of Legendary Trailer
Repairs fame is a top service provider for
BoatU.S. Trailer Assist in Annapolis, MD.
There’s nothing he doesn’t know about
trailers (

online Extra
Frozen bolts and stripped screws
driving you crazy? For tips on how to
remove them, see this article online,

ply redrill the hole with the proper pilot drill
for a larger-diameter screw, and install the
larger fastener. The bracket may also have to
be drilled to accommodate the larger screw,
but this is the easiest solution with the added
benefit of being stronger than the original. Be
sure to countersink the enlarged hole in the
fiberglass to prevent it from lifting and cracking
the gelcoat.
If you need to keep the screw to the original size, fill the stripped hole with an epoxy
putty such as Marine Tex or J-B Weld, then
pilot drill the cured plug. This may be weaker
than the original installation, but should work
if you don’t overtighten the screw when you
install it. A third option is to drill the hole
oversize, run a tap through it to cut threads,
then install a Heli-Coil threaded insert. In
fiberglass it’s a good idea to coat the external
threads with epoxy to bind the insert in place.
Install your bracket with a machine screw that
matches the interior threads of the insert.

Don’t let minor repairs limit
your time on the water
New WEST SYSTEM Six10® Thickened Epoxy Adhesive is the fastest way
to make strong, lasting, waterproof repairs with epoxy. The dualchambered, self-metering cartridge fits into any standard caulking gun.
The static mixer delivers fully mixed, thickened WEST SYSTEM epoxy
in the amount you need for the job at hand. No waste. No mess.
Six10 is uniquely formulated as a superior gap filling marine
adhesive with the ability to wet out fiberglass, carbon fiber and
other reinforcing materials. You can also use it to fill minor
imperfections or apply it as a protective coating.
Ready to use
and easily stored
with your gear, Six10
comes in a 190 ml
cartridge, available for
around $22 from your local
To learn more about Six10
or find a dealer near you,
december 2013

Perfect epoxy for
an imperfect world



BoatU.S. Magazine | 61

HEL524-04_4.7x9.5_Layout 1 10/24/13 3:05 PM Page 1

Electric Upgrade

Meet the Beauty
in the Beast

I have a wooden 1969 41-foot Chris-Craft
Constellation, with two 300-hp gas engines.
My plan is to replace those with electric
motors. After some research, my options
include WarP11 DC motors producing 40
hp, or Elco AC motors producing 70 hp. My
main concern is replacing two 300-hp gas
engines with 40- to 70-hp motors. Do you
think I’ll be able to make at least 5-6 knots?

Evgueni Odoulo

San Diego, CA

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Rating of A+

John Adey: This is a massive project
you’re taking on! The choices are broad
and the technical information available is
often conflicting. The successful installations
I’ve seen are done with copious amounts
of research, partnering with suppliers and
installers, diligent maintenance, and data
logging. Once you’ve committed to spending 30-40 percent more than a traditional
repower, you need to make sure it’s done
right. I spoke to a colleague on just this issue
recently and he very bluntly stated that there
is no linear conversion formula from gasoline
horsepower to electrical power. I commend
you for realizing that this boat will never do
its previous speeds. Your 5-6 knots is a very
realistic number, although you may need
more power than you’re considering.
My recommendation for your application
is a solution similar to the new Greenline
boat model, a “parallel” hybrid with gasoline/diesel inline with electric, with the
ability to switch on the fly. This is a more
drop-in solution and for this I’d talk to Steyr
For electric only, Elco is a newer player
in the market and worth putting on your
list. Also check out Mastervolt (, RegenNautic (, and an ABYC-member company
called Propulsion Marine ( This solution is a “serial”
model, with a generator that exists to charge
the batteries.
You will also have to look at battery
chemistry and charge controllers to meet
your needs, complicated and rapidly evolving areas with potentially serious consequences if installed incorrectly, as well as
different solutions to maximize the motors’
torque. Don’t forget the requirements
for recharging battery banks if you’ll be
using shore power. Keep us updated on
your progress!
december 2013

Practical Projects
You Can Do It in a weekend

By Tracy Leonard


Your Dockside This December
on winning
the “most
boat” prize
this holiday season?
Here’s how
to go about
it safely


ook at your boat and build on its strengths,” says
Pete Chambliss, Chief Elf (yes, really) of the Eastport Yacht Club
Lights Parade in Annapolis, Maryland. While displays can be as
simple as a strand of lights run along the toe rails, or as elaborate as Santa and the Abominable Snowman cage fighting on

the bow while the elves look on, each one starts with a design. A powerboat
is longer than it is tall, so it supports horizontal designs well. A sailboat works

Photo: John Horn

better with designs with some height.
Decide how you want onlookers to view the display. Inflatables on the foredeck can be
viewed equally well from all sides of the boat, while words written in lights may be seen
best from the port or starboard side. Now is the time to figure out what decorations to use,
how to power them, and how to attach them securely to the boat. Outdoor-rated LED lights
approved by Underwriters Laboratory (UL) last a long time, use little energy, and produce
less heat, avoiding fire hazards. Many yard decorations can do double duty on a boat, too,
because their size makes them easy to see and they’re already graded for outdoor use.
December 2013

Keeping Santa Safe
When Powering Up
Adding extra lights to a boat increases the
risk of fire and electrical shock, so deciding
how to power the display has important
safety implications. Before hanging them on
the boat, check the lights for frayed wires
and loose bulb-base connections. Wrap plug
connections tightly between strands with
high-quality electrical tape, and don’t overload circuits. The number of strands that can
be connected together depends on the type
of lights, size of the wiring in the set, and
power source being used on the boat.
AC-powered lights can be plugged into
an inverter running off a boat battery; you’ll
want to use LEDs to minimize the current
draw. You can also power up using a propBoatU.S. Magazine | 63


or years, Richard Ewing and Idarae
Prothero have delighted with the Christmas
tree twinkling from their Beneteau First 42
Molto Bene. To make the tree, they run two temporary forestays and backstays from the deck to
the top of the mast. Over the course
of an afternoon, Prothero starts at
the top of the mast, zigzags graceful
arcs of green lights secured with wire
ties between the stays, and connects
the lights where the boom meets the
mast. Strands of red lights act as garlands. “I don’t string lights near the
lifeline because they interfere with
night vision, and I also like to plug
lights into a power strip that’s then
plugged into a generator so I can turn
on all the lights at once with a single
SAFETY TIP: Use a GFCI-equipped
pigtail between the power strip and
the generator.

erly installed marine genset (be sure to fuel
up during the day), but don’t use a portable
generator. Not only is there a risk of carbonmonoxide poisoning with a portable, they
could tip over if you get hit by a wake and the
hot exhaust could cause burns or start fires.
If using AC power, make sure to use a pigtail
with a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)

64 | BoatU.S. Magazine

as close to the source as possible. This will
shut the power down if anything goes wrong
in the circuit. AA battery-operated lights and
12-volt lights plugged into a 12-volt outlet
are other options. If 12-volt outlets are used,
the wiring and outlets must be protected by
fuses or breakers properly sized to protect
the wires supplying power to the outlet from

carrying more current than they can safely
handle. Any wiring connections should be
clean and free from corrosion.
To check the ABYC allowable ampacity of
conductors, see this article online at www. or in a reference guide
such as Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical
Manual by Nigel Calder. Look at the specs
of the lights you want to use, and consult
the manufacturer’s instructions, or an electrician. Test all the decorations and their power
source on land during the day. It’s easier to
replace faulty bulbs, correct overloaded circuits, and add more lights to a sparse display
before you hang them on the boat. To further
minimize risk of fire or neon Rudolph going
up with a bang, have no flames aboard, keep
the bilge clean, and have fire extinguishers
and flashlights operational and easily accessible. It’s a great idea for each crewmember to
have a small safety light or beacon attached
to their clothing, should they need it. Just
make sure your crew knows not to use lights
in a manner that will interfere with the vision
of others.
TIP: To calculate power consumption and
wattage, as well as how many strands of lights
can be safely connected together according

december 2013

Photos: Left,; Right, Rob fettus

Molto Bene Does Well

to UL standards, see this article online at

Windarra’s Design Has Got Legs!


ob and Julianne Fettus get many a chuckle with their
homage to the movie “A Christmas Story” aboard their 43-foot
Tollycraft Windarra. A well-lit eight-foot leg lamp, complete with
shade, is mounted on their upper deck while their rails glitter with red
and green lights and signboards flashing memorable phrases from the
classic movie. Using plastic corrugated cardboard, the Fettuses created the lamp and signboards, which feature LED lights poked through
the plastic like a Lite-Brite child’s toy. The lampshade is hand-sewn,
and the entire lamp is secured with guy wires at five attachment
points. “Definitely test run in the evening while you’re decorating,”
advises Julianne. “Walk away from the boat, and you’ll be surprised
at what you see. We’re constantly jumping off during the test run,
viewing from 50 feet away, and tweaking the decorations.”

Getting It All Up There
Attaching decorations when you don’t have
walls to tack things to is tricky. A simple
method involves attaching lights with wire
ties or duct tape. To make words or pictures
from lights, use chicken wire. String the
lights to the wire, and then staple it to wood
frames, which are then secured to the boat
using halyards, lines, blocks, and integral
boat structures such as outriggers, masts,
booms, and spinnaker poles.
String lights above the deck level, inside
boat lifelines, in case docking or assistance is
needed. Keep connections between strands
close to the deck for easy access but high
enough that seawater from waves or wake
can’t reach them. Make sure to keep connections away from metal rigging and metal
support structures.
Be careful not to obscure your navigation lights. Don’t decorate so bright lights
fall within the skipper’s line of sight, as
that will destroy his or her night vision, and
designate someone to stay out of the glare
who can keep watch for obstructions and

help navigate (see Online Extra for help with
night vision).

Don’t let Your Boat (Or
Crew) get tied Up In Knots
Decorators should also consider how displays affect the boat’s performance and overall stability, especially those using chickenwire frames, because the extra weight of
the structure can upset the balance of the
boat. Hoisting a large chicken-wire frame
is like hoisting a sail that can’t be reefed or
released. If the weather is too windy, or the
frame too big, it can dangerously destabilize

Smartkat –
Sailing Catamaran

tha t Fits r
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the boat. Keep in mind the crew will still
need to get to docklines and cleats at the
slip. Remember, crew will have to be able to
move about and perform jobs, some perhaps
on an emergency basis. Don’t decorate in a
way that interferes with safe boat operation.
Doublecheck the weather forecast before
leaving the dock so that you can ensure that
your boat and your decorations will weather
the elements well.

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BoatU.S. Magazine | 65

Did you know?
If you’re 50, you
need twice as much
light to see as well
as you did when
you were 30. If
your eyes are tired
their ability to distinguish green from
red will have deteriorated further.

online Extra
For tips on boating at night, see this story
online at

food, warm nonalcoholic drinks, windproof
jackets, and heavy blankets will help keep
the shivers from taking hold. And once
you’re safely back at the dock, you can
make merry with some Christmas spirits and
celebrate your bright and beautiful entry in

No Swan Song For Sally
John Yanik creates the award-winning lighthouse shining from his Swan 36 Sally
by starting with a paper drawing that he transfers to three chicken-wire frames using
a grid and spray paint. He then traces the borders of the lighthouse with twine and
secures lights with wire ties between the twine borders. After testing the lights, he
screws the frames together, hoists them with halyards and extra blocks, and secures
the bottom frame to the boom. After several years of experimenting, Yanik says,
“I’ve found limiting most of the design to two colors and stringing four lights per foot
results in the greatest visibility.” Looking at the photo, he gets no argument from us!

the light parade.


Float Your Art With Pride
Chief Elf Chambliss says that convincing
first-time skippers to brave a cold December
night on their boat can be a challenge, but
once they start, they can’t stop. “When you
hear the roar of the crowd, it’s so heartwarming that you forget the challenges and start
talking about what to do next year. In many
towns, it’s the boaters’ gift to the thousands
of people who come out to watch the parade.
Many people have told me that the Lights
Parade is the start of their holiday season.”
Author Tracy Leonard and her family can
be spotted on the Chesapeake Bay aboard
their J/120 Heron out of Back Creek in
Annapolis, Maryland.

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66 | BoatU.S. Magazine

View from
the Corner
Office Along the
Great Loop
december 2013

Photos: Top, John Horn; Bottom,

take your show on the water. Just as decorating a boat requires special attention to detail
and safety, so does operating a boat during
a light parade. The excitement, cold, and
darkness that often characterize a boat ride in
December can sometimes lead to accidents.
To refresh your knowledge of the Navigation
Rules, see this article online at www.BoatUS.
com/Magazine. Follow man-overboard (MOB)
procedures your parade organizers give you.
Captains should review first aid for hypothermia, emergency procedures for putting
out fires, and retrieving a man overboard
with their crew. Guests should also know the
location of safety equipment. It’s good policy
on parade night for everyone above deck to
wear life jackets, even on large boats. Warm

december 2013

BoatU.S. Magazine | 67


Gear & Electronics
Boating Innovations


Fingertip control becomes reality
in the Volvo Penta Glass Cockpit.

The Future is (Almost) here
Every year at the marine industry trade show, IBEX, the NMMA Innovation
Awards recognize manufacturers whose bright ideas will make your boating better


any of the new products displayed at IBEX, held in Louisville,
Kentucky in September, won’t be on this year’s boats or next
year’s, but the best will end up aboard new boats in the coming years and will redefine your future boating experience.
The Innovation Awards entrants provided insights into the

big trends that will shape our boats over the next few years. Let’s take a look
at the most interesting.
The World At Your Fingertips
Picture standing at your helm with a couple of
large flat-screen displays before you. You’re about
to dock, so you punch the docking option in
on one of the displays. The screens split, with
68 | BoatU.S. Magazine

cameras looking fore and aft, bottom contours and depth, and the engine instruments
including your RPM. Your helm controls
automatically switch to the joystick, and you
nudge the boat into the dock fully informed
and with fingertip precision. The Innovation
Award-winning Volvo Penta Glass Cockpit
brings together different technologies to create a touch-screen experience that makes
docking as easy and intuitive as working
your iPad.

Yamaha Helm Master
trims powerboats
december 2013

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Minimum loan amount for boats $25,000. For details, email [email protected]. Rates and terms subject to change. Lower rates are available based on credit score, down payment and/or term.

December 2013

BoatU.S. Magazine | 69

Left to right: Lowrance HDS-12, Syntec
Industries’ Smart Wheel, ITC Incorporated’s LunaTM LED FlexLight, Fusion’s
universal docking station for their MSRA205 Marine Stereo, Clean Marine
Systems’ Environmental Valve Vent,
Spradling Marine’s Hi-Loft 3R material,
ProMariner ProSport Generation 3 battery charger, Seastar Solution’s awardwinning Lower Unit Fill/Drain Kit.

The Glass Cockpit represented the most
extreme example of the trend toward integration of controls, ease of use, and intuitive
operation that were evident in a host of
Innovation Awards entrants. The Volvo Penta
Interceptor System and the Yamaha Helm
Master both trim powerboats automatically,

70 | BoatU.S. Magazine

providing a more car-like driving experience, making it safer to turn the helm over
to a less experienced boater. For anglers, the
Lowrance HDS-12 Gen2 Touch widescreen
color multifunction display brings together
the best in navigational and fishfinding technologies, allowing you to scroll back in sonar
history for a closer look at bottom structures
or fish targets and to pinpoint locations with
a waypoint.
Syntec Industries’ award-winning Smart
Wheel solved a problem most boaters didn’t
know they had. Unlike in their car, the steering wheel on their boat doesn’t have a horn,
let alone controls that can be bluetoothed
to a smartphone or radio. That’s because

boat steering wheels never have had power.
The Smart Wheel solves that with a clever
electrical connection that doesn’t depend
upon vulnerable wires. In the years to come,
expect to see all sorts of controls on boat
steering wheels that allow you to keep both
hands where they belong, even if you’re
talking on your phone or signaling the
bridge tender.
Touch control extended well beyond driving and navigation to include smartphonelike controls on the Kenyon International
Silken 2 induction cooking system, the
Dometic Marine Smart Touch Cabin Control
for air conditioning, and a variety of stereo
and lighting devices.

december 2013

Boat Bling
Whether it’s screen savers, smartphones, or
cars, these days it’s all about customization
and personalization. For instance, now that
LED lights have become mainstream for most
lighting needs aboard, they’re starting to be
used to liven up the boat.
New IBEX products included LED strips
that create a soft, continuous accent light
(ITC Incorporated’s LunaTM LED FlexLight)
and an LED multicolor control with a microphone that not only lets you pick your color
but also flashes in sync with the music’s beat
(Audiopipe Marine Multicolor Control).
Speaking of music, award winner Fusion
Electronics will allow boaters to bring their

music with them and plug-and-play when
they get onboard. Their Fusion MS-RA205
Marine Stereo has a universal docking device
that supports a wide array of smartphones,
media players, and USB devices. It takes up
almost no space, is Sirius ready, and also
delivers AM/FM radio and marine VHF. You
can even adjust the volume and balance separately in different parts of the boat so different generations can each hear the music the
way they want.
If you like your bling practical, there’s
the Marine Accessories Corporation Xtreme
Bimini (XB). It keeps the sun off like a traditional bimini, but its small footprint makes it
easy to install and get around, and the entire

bimini top tilts down to allow easy stowage
of lightweight water toys.

Ideas For Greener Boating
Have you ever wished fueling your boat
could be like fueling your car, where the
pump kicks off when the tank is full, instead
of allowing fuel to spill out through the
tank vents? Clean Marine Systems’ awardwinning Environmental Valve Vent (EVV)
uses carefully designed valves at the tank
end of the vents that close when the tank is
full. So in the future we can all look forward
to refueling with less heartburn over spills.
And here are more great ideas.
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BoatU.S. Magazine | 71

Airline_BoatUSAd_10-12.qxd:Layout 1


4:14 PM

Page 1

polyester yarn to make one linear yard
of Spradling Marine’s Hi-Loft 3R material used as backing for the company’s
marine vinyls.
The ProMariner ProSport Generation 3
battery charger’s Energy Saver Mode monitors batteries and resumes charging only
when needed, significantly reducing power
consumption over traditional trickle charging solutions.
Anyone with a sterndrive unit who’s ever
had to deal with their lube oil will want
Seastar Solution’s award-winning Lower
Unit Fill/Drain Kit. The five stainless steel
bits and keychain tool make it easy to check
or change your lube oil without spilling a
drop on the ground.
Innovative ideas such as these are how
tomorrow’s boatbuilders will be building better boats — and that’s what IBEX
is all about.
BoatU.S. Magazine’s technical editor Beth
Leonard is also director of tec‑hnical services
for BoatU.S. She served as an Innovation
Awards judge this year at IBEX.

Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation (Act of
August 12, 1970; Section 3685, Title 39, United States Code). 1. Title
of Publication: BoatU.S. Magazine. 2. Publication Number: 59 540. 3.
Date of Filing: September 25, 2013. 4. Frequency of Issue: Bimonthly. 5.
Number of Issues Published Annually: 6. 6. Annual Subscription Price:
$6.00. 7. Complete Mailing Address of Known Office of Publication: 880
South Pickett Street, Alexandria, VA 22304-4606 and other locations.
8. Complete Mailing Address of the Headquarters of General Business
Office of Publisher: 880 South Pickett Street, Alexandria, VA 223044606. 9. Names and addresses of Publisher, Editor, and Managing
Editor: Publisher: Margaret Bonds Podlich, Boat Owners Association
of The United States, 880 South Pickett Street, Alexandria, VA 223044606. Editor: Michael Vatalaro, Same address as Publisher. Managing
Editor: Ann Dermody, Same Address as Publisher. 10. Owner: Boat
Owners Association of The United States, 880 South Pickett Street,
Alexandria, VA 22304-4606. 11. Known Bondholders, Mortgagees and
Other Security Holders Owning or Holding 1 (one) percent or more of
Total Amount of Bonds, Mortgage, or Other Securities: None. 12. Not
applicable. 13. Publication Title: BoatU.S. Magazine. 14. Issue Date
for Circulation Data Below: October 2013. 15. Extent and Nature of
Circulation: A. Average No. Copies Printed (Net Press Run): 490,400.
B. Paid Circulation and/or Requested Circulation: 1. Paid/Requested
Outside-County Mail Subscriptions Stated on Form 3541: 475,529.
2. Paid In-County Subscriptions Stated on Form 3541: None. 3. Sales
Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors and Counter Sales and
Other Non-USPS Paid Distribution: None. 4. Other Classes Mailed
Through the USPS: 1,467. C. Total Paid and/or Requested Circulation
(Sum of 15B. (1), (2), (3), and (4)): 476,996. D. Free Distribution by Mail
(Samples, Complimentary and Other Free): 1. Outside County as Stated
on Form 3541: 8,006. 2. In-County as Stated on Form 3541: None. 3.
Other Classes Mailed Through the USPS: 621. 4. Free Distribution
Outside the Mail (Carriers or Other Means): 1,864. E. Total Free
Distribution (Sum of 15D (1), (2), (3), and (4)): 10,491. F. Total Distribution
(Sum of 15C and 15E): 487,487. G. Copies Not Distributed: 2,913. H.
Total (Sum of 15F and 15G): 490,400. I. Percent Paid and/or Requested
Circulation (15C divided by 15F times 100): 98.8%. A. Actual Number
of Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date (Net Press
Run): 480,272. 1. Paid/Requested Outside-County Mail Subscriptions
Stated on Form 3541: 471,030. 2. Paid In-County Subscriptions Stated
on Form 3541: None. 3. Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street
Vendors and Counter Sales and Other Non-USPS Paid Distribution:
None. 4. Other Classes Mailed Through the USPS: 1,200. C. Total Paid
and/or Requested Circulation (Sum of 15B. (1), (2), (3), and (4)): 472,230.
D. Free Distribution by Mail (Samples, Complimentary and Other Free):
1. Outside County as Stated on Form 3541: 4,827. 2. In-County as Stated
on Form 3541: None. 3. Other Classes Mailed Through the USPS: 745. 4.
Free Distribution Outside the Mail (Carriers or Other Means): 1,870. E.
Total Free Distribution (Sum of 15D (1), (2), (3), and (4)): 7,442. F. Total
Distribution (Sum of 15C and 15E): 479,672. G. Copies Not Distributed:
600. H. Total (Sum of 15F and 15G): 480,272. I. Percent Paid and/or
Requested Circulation (15C divided by 15F times 100): 98.5%. 16. Lauren
James, Circulation Manager.

72 | BoatU.S. Magazine

december 2013

Practical Do It Yourself
Engine Troubleshooting

By Tim Murphy

Five Ways To Use a Digital Multimeter
What do you do when your VHF or live-well pump is dead?
Start sleuthing, with the help of a multimeter


o understand what’s happening inside your
boat’s electrical systems, the single best tool is the
digital multimeter, sometimes called a DVOM (digital
volt-ohm meter). Available for as little as $20, a DVOM
reveals three main things about an electrical circuit:

the electrical potential (voltage), the electrical current (amperage),
and the electrical resistance (ohms). Voltage is like water pressure in
a hose. Current is the rate of flow — like, say, water passing through
a nozzle. And resistance is like a crimp in the hose, or even the hose

itself: the force that restricts flow. What’s a circuit? It’s the chain of six components
that powers a device: a power source (battery or distribution panel), a conductor
(wire), a switch, circuit protection (a fuse or circuit breaker), the device, and the
return path to ground (another wire). If the VHF works only intermittently or not
at all, chances are one of those six components is letting you down. The DVOM
will let you sort out what’s at fault. Here’s how to go about it.

Photos: Tim murphy

Open-Circuit Voltage Test

A DVOM uses two
leads: a black lead
and a red lead. Plug
your black lead into
the device’s “COM”
port, or common terminal. Similar to a negative terminal, this is
the reference lead. Plug
the red lead into the
port that corresponds
with the setting you’ve
chosen on the DVOM
selector switch. On
some DVOMs, these are
combined in a single
port; other devices provide separate ports for
amps, volts, and ohms.

December 2013

The first step is to determine if the boat’s power source is good, and exactly
how much voltage it can supply, using the open-circuit voltage test to determine the battery’s state of charge. A reading of 12.6 volts or more indicates a
full charge; 12.3 volts, a 75-percent charge; 12.2 volts, a 50-percent charge;
12.0 volts, a 25-percent charge. Readings below 11.7 volts indicate a discharged battery. Follow the steps below.
1. Turn the DVOM selector switch to DC volts (scale for less than 20 volts).
2. Turn all circuits on the boat OFF (battery selector switch to OFF).
3. Engine and charging system OFF.
4. Touch and hold the DVOM black lead (COM port on the DVOM) to the
battery’s negative terminal, and the red lead (DC volts port on DVOM) to the
positive terminal.
You should get a voltage reading that indicates your battery’s state of charge.
Write it down. If it’s above 12 volts, continue to the next test. If not, charge
the battery.

The Voltage-Drop Test
Voltage drop is the inevitable loss of electrical potential through a circuit. The
American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) allows for a three-percent voltage
drop in critical circuits (nav lights, VHF radios), and a 10-percent voltage drop
in all noncritical circuits. A higher voltage drop indicates a problem — faulty
connections, corroded terminals, undersized wiring — that must be corrected.
You should’ve noted the battery voltage in the first test. Now you need to
BoatU.S. Magazine | 73

Many boats have alternating
current (AC) systems installed;
these are supplied by shore
power or an onboard generator or inverter. Operating
at 120 volts or more, these
AC systems can be lethal
if you allow your body
to complete the circuit.
Before starting, be certain that the system
you’re measuring is
DC, not AC.

check the voltage at the VHF.
1. Battery and circuit you’re testing ON (flip
the appropriate breaker on the DC panel).
2. All other circuits OFF.
3. Turn the DVOM selector to DC volts.
4. At the VHF, touch your red lead to the
positive terminal, black lead to the negative.
Compare the result to your voltage at the
power source. A drop greater than 0.4 V (the
ABYC deems a VHF radio a critical circuit) or
1.2 V in any circuit should send you scurrying to clean terminals and check for ample

wire gauges. If the voltage reads zero, you’ve of properly sized wire to complete the circuit.
got continuity issues.
5. Connect your probes to each end of the
Checking Continuity
A beep or a meter reading near zero indicates continuity. “OL indicates overload:

A typical electrical fault is “an unwanted
open” — an undesigned break in the circuit no continuity. No continuity means there’s
— that interrupts the flow of electricity. That a break in the wire. You can also check for
can come from something as simple as a blown fuses and tripped circuit breakers with
blown fuse or something more complicated this test by touching each end with your
like a broken or extremely corroded con- probes (breaker must be on and disconnected
ductor, or a loose or separated connection. from power). It’s also possible the device itself
Continuity describes a circuit that is closed, has burnt up, breaking the circuit. If the conas it’s designed to be. To find out if you have tinuity is high, but not OL, go back and look
for a loose or corroded connection, or jiggle
a break in the circuit:
1. Turn the DVOM selector switch to the breaker or switch if they’re part of the portion of the circuit you’re testing. When these
ohms (Ω).
2. Check the DVOM battery. With the go bad, they sometimes work when pressure
leads separated, you should see “OL for is applied, but not when it’s released.

“overloaded” or no continuity. Now touch
the leads together, and you should hear a Measuring Current
beep for continuity or a value near “0” on Using Leads
the meter. If you don’t get these, replace the If the problem you’re having isn’t getting
DVOM battery.
devices to turn on but rather keeping them
on, you might be drawing too much current
3. Turn off the circuit to be tested.
4. Disconnect the two ends of the circuit (amps) through a given circuit. Fitting older
component you suspect is bad (say, the wire boats with new, power-hungry devices can
leading to VHF from the distribution panel). exceed the capacity of the original circuits. If
If your DVOM leads can’t reach, add a length you don’t have good documentation on how
many amps a given device draws, here’s how
to find out. Use a pair of meter leads that terminate in insulated alligator clips. You’ll need
to disconnect the power lead somewhere in
the circuit; the meter itself will complete the
circuit. A good place to insert the meter leads
is at the circuit protection (fuse block). If
there’s a fuse, remove it.
1. Switch OFF the circuit you’re testing.
2. Set your DVOM’s selector switch to DC
amps, at the proper scale.
3. Disconnect a wire where you’ll measure;
alternatively, remove a fuse from its holder.
4. Clip the black lead to the terminal closest
to the battery, the red lead to the other.
5. Switch on the circuit, being careful not to
let your body parts complete the circuit.
The meter will give you a reading in amps
to record. If the total amp draw on a circuit
exceeds its protection rating, the breaker will
pop. Measure all the devices on a given circuit
to find out if it’s overloaded.

Current Test Using
An Amp Clamp
Some newer multimeters come with a feature
called an “amp clamp” that lets you measure
current without disconnecting the circuit. But
there are still a couple of tricks. First, when
74 | BoatU.S. Magazine

december 2013

An amp clamp
can measure
current without
the circuit.


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measuring DC current, make sure you understand your DVOM’s directional component.
Some come with a plus sign and an arrow,
showing which side of the meter should face
the battery’s positive terminal. Consult your
manual. Second, you’ll need to measure
current through just one conductor — particularly, the positive conductor (usually red).
On marine DC systems, you’ll sometimes
find duplex wire, which contains both the
positive and negative (usually black or yellow)
conductors inside a single sheath; you’ll need
to separate them to do this test.
1. Identify the positive conductor of the
circuit you’re testing.
2. Set your multimeter to DC amps, at the
proper scale.
3. Open the jaws of the amp clamp, then
encircle the positive conductor. You should
get a reading to record.
For more detail on these and other tests, see
Ed Sherman’s Powerboater’s Guide to Electrical
Systems or take the online course “Basic
Marine Electricity and Marine Corrosion
Prevention,” created by Ed Sherman and
yours truly (
Tim Murphy is the co-author of Fundamentals
of Marine Service Technology (ABYC, 2012).
december 2013



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BoatU.S. Magazine | 75

Practical Skills
Techniques & best Practices

By Michael Vatalaro

4 Steps For Coming Alongside A Dock
Too fast and BANG. Too slow and you lose control.
Here’s how to dock an outboard with finesse


ocking makes boaters nervous. Throw a little wind and current in the mix, and you can find yourself overwhelmed with things
to worry about. Your technique shouldn’t be one of your worries.

Steps 1 & 2
Slowly approach center
of desired berth

Coming alongside a dock or bulkhead can be accomplished in just
four steps. But first, you need to know a few things about your boat.

This procedure is for outboard- or sterndrive-powered boats. Hopefully you’ve had enough
time at the helm to know how your boat pivots when you throw the wheel hard over in either
direction. Many beginning boaters are surprised at how much the stern swings or slides out
when they initiate a turn. If you’re not familiar with your boat’s tendencies, to get a feel,
practice by approaching a buoy or crab pot marker as though it were the dock. Once you’ve
got that down, choose which side you want to tie up, deploy fenders, and you’re ready to
make your approach. These instructions are for a portside tie.
Step 1 — Line Up Your Approach: When approaching the space on the dock where

you want to come alongside, first judge wind and current. If the wind or current will be pushing you toward the dock, a shallow angle will help you keep control and not strike the dock
with the bow of the boat. If the wind and/or current are conspiring to keep you off the dock,
as so often seems to be the case, you’ll need a steeper approach to carry enough momentum
to get you into the dock. Start with a 30- to 45-degree angle as you learn what works best for
your boat. Aim your bow toward the center of your landing point.


Step 3
Wheel to starboard,
engine in forward

Step 2 — Come In SLOWly: There’s an old saying, “Never approach a dock any faster than

you’re willing to hit it.” Bump the boat in and out of gear to maintain slow progress toward
your chosen spot. On twin-engine boats, use one engine at a time to creep in.
Step 3 — Time Your Swing: When your bow is within, say, half a boat length, swing

the wheel over hard to starboard (away from the dock). This is where knowing your boat
becomes important, particularly regarding where it pivots. Turn too soon, and you won’t end
up parallel with the dock. Too late, and bang. With the wheel hard over, bump the engine
into gear for an instant to kick the stern to port. This will also swing the bow away from the
dock (to starboard) so you won’t hit it.

Step 4

Wheel to
port, engine

Step 4 — The Flourishing Finish: As the boat glides toward being parallel with the

dock, swing the wheel all the way back to port, and kick the engine into reverse (on twins,
use the engine farthest from the dock for maximum effect). This will simultaneously stop your
headway and pull the stern of the boat to port and closer to the dock. When the boat has
stopped moving forward, put it in neutral. The boat should continue side-slipping right up
to the dock, allowing you to simply reach out and grab a line or piling.
Michael Vatalaro, BoatU.S. Magazine’s executive editor, has a 24-foot center console Pursuit.
76 | BoatU.S. Magazine

online Extra
Learn To Dock: Michael takes you
through the four simple steps in our
exclusive video. See this story online.
december 2013

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Within 1 Year Of Purchase
• No Hassle Return Policy
• 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed





R !

Item 69080


1" x 25 FT.
ITEM 69080/


$ 99


LIMIT 1 - Save 20% on any one item purchased at our stores or or by
calling 800-423-2567. *Cannot be used with other discount, coupon, gift cards, Inside
Track Club membership, extended service plans or on any of the following: compressors,
generators, tool storage or carts, welders, floor jacks, Towable Ride-On Trencher (Item
65162), open box items, in-store event or parking lot sale items. Not valid on prior purchases
after 30 days from original purchase date with original receipt. Non-transferable. Original
coupon must be presented. Valid through 3/20/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

WITH $9.99
LIMIT 1 - Only available with qualifying minimum purchase (excludes gift value). Coupon good at our stores, or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount, coupon or prior purchase.
Offer good while supplies last. Shipping & Handling charges may apply if not picked up in-store. Nontransferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 3/20/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.


R !


Requires three
AAA batteries

5 FT. 6" x 7 FT. 6"

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LOT NO. 953/69136/



SAVE $ 99
50% REG. PRICE $3.99

56% $ 59 PRICE


44", 13 DRAWER

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2633 LB.





REG. PRICE $649.99

LIMIT 7 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount
or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last.
Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 3/20/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.


R !


LOT NO. 66095

LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount
or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last.
Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 3/20/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

R !

900 PEAK/

2 HP (63 CC)

1000 GPH





$90 $

R !


"The Perfect Compressor with
Powerful, Quiet and Consistent
Airflow...Plus we Love the Low Price"
– Street Trucks Magazine



1000 LB.

LOT NO. 67847/



R !



$ 99

R !

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Item 94141



LOT NO. 94141/



LIMIT 3 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount
or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last.
Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 3/20/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.


LOT NO. 69924


LOT NO. 93454/


Item 93454 shown



LIMIT 8 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount
or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last.
Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 3/20/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.



LIMIT 9 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount
or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last.
Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 3/20/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

REG. PRICE $14.99

LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount
or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last.
Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 3/20/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.




Item 93888 shown

Item 67847 shown


LOT NO. 93888/60497

LOT NO. 61235

$ 59 PRICE


R !



REG. PRICE $179.99

LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount
or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last.
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LOT NO. 66619/

LIMIT 6 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount
or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last.
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2.5 HP, 21 GALLON,

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or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last.
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LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount
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R !

"The Undisputed King of the Garage"
– Four Wheeler Magazine



27 LBS.


99 LOT NO. 68053/69252/60569 3-1/2 PUMPS
$80 REG. PRICE $129.99 $
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or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last.
Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 3/20/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.



REG. PRICE $119.99

LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount
or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last.
Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 3/20/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

450 Stores Nationwide
December 2013

BoatU.S. Magazine | 77

Practical Seaworthy
From The BoatU.S. Insurance Files

By Beth Leonard

5 Ways To Avoid Boat Insurance Blues
The time to find out if your insurance measures up is before you have to file a claim


nsurance is one of those things you buy hoping
never to use. If you do have to use it, though, you expect
your boat insurance to pay “to fix the boat,” whatever that
means to you. If you haven’t taken a close look at your
policy, you could end up blindsided by clauses that exclude

coverage for certain types of damage. Don’t wait until you
make a claim to find out if you’re getting what you think
you’re paying for. BoatU.S. has just taken a look at
the most common claims in the past five years
(January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2012) in our
Marine Insurance program. Digging down into
what lies behind that list highlights five ways
that some boat insurance policies fail to live
up to expectations.

78 | BoatU.S. Magazine

december 2013

Photo: Christine Doyle, TowBoatU.S. Big Pine Key (Above)


Consequential Damage. Hurricanes head
our list of total claims payouts over the five-year
period, but hurricane activity varies greatly from
year to year, and in 2009 and 2010, hurricanes didn’t
make it into the Top 10 at all. Take hurricanes out, and
sinking tops the list. Keeping the water out is a constant
battle, and half of all sinkings that occur at the dock
happen when some small part below the waterline gives
up the fight. The most common culprits include stuffing boxes, outdrive bellows, hoses or hose clamps, and
sea strainers. But those parts most often fail due to what
insurers call “wear, tear, and corrosion,” meaning that
the part succumbed to general aging and deterioration.
Most insurers exclude losses from “wear, tear, and corrosion,” so they won’t pay for the failed stuffing box. But
what about your boat that’s now sitting on the bottom?
Some policies won’t cover that, either, because they
exclude any “consequential” damage that results from
wear, tear, and corrosion. Others will cover the resulting
damage as long as it falls into very specific categories,
most often fire or sinking. The most generous policies
would cover your boat that just sank, plus the other
losses likely to result from a failed part: fire, explosion,
collision, dismasting, and grounding/stranding.

Check that salvage
isn’t deducted from
what you get to fix
the boat.


Salvage. Hurricanes do head the list for 2008 to 2012

as a whole. That wasn’t just Sandy – remember Irene
and Ike? In every hurricane, boats get scattered hither
and yon, and after the storm they need to be salvaged – rounded
up and returned to where they belong. That takes Travellifts,
cranes, flatbed trucks, and other heavy equipment, and it can cost
hundreds of dollars per foot of boat length. In some insurance
policies, the money to pay for salvage is deducted from what you
get to fix the boat. Other policies pay salvage in addition to the
money to fix the boat, but will only cover salvage up to 25 or 50
percent of the insured value. The most generous policies provide
separate salvage coverage up to the insured value of the boat, in
addition to payments made for the boat and its equipment. Not in
a hurricane area? Everyday events can still result in salvage claims,
such as a serious grounding, hitting an underwater rock or floating log, or running into another boat. In fact, the first seven items
on the BoatU.S. Marine Insurance list can involve salvage. Reason
enough to be sure you understand how that would be handled
under your policy.

Jan. 1, 2008, to Dec.
31, 2012, ranked by
total payout
1. Hurricanes
2. Sinking
3. Weather/wind
4. Striking
5. Fire/explosion
6. Collision
7. Grounding
8. Injury
9. Theft of boat
10. Lightning
December 2013






Wreck removal.

Hurricanes, other wind and
weather events, fire, explosions, and sinking could also destroy
the boat beyond repair, leaving behind
only a wreck. Most people assume
their insurance company will cover
the cost of cleaning up what’s left.
But some insurance companies will
give you a check for the insured value
plus a specified percentage (5 to 10
percent of the insured value is typical) and walk away, leaving you to pay
for the wreck removal, and to arrange
it. The most generous policies cover
wreck removal out of the liability coverage and will pay up to the liability
limit (usually $100,000 or more) to
clean up the mess. Boats don’t just
get wrecked on shoals — sinking, fire,
and extreme weather can also destroy
boats. So four out of the top five on
our list could involve wreck removal.
BoatU.S. Magazine | 79


Marine Insurance The BoatUS

Insurance Program features broad coverage,
flexible payment plans,
and fast claims service
for nearly a quarter million recreational boaters
nationwide. For over 45
years, we’ve offered a
variety of affordable insurance policies developed for
boaters by boaters — all with unique features you won’t
find anywhere else. We insure boats of all types — Yacht
to PWC — with policies sure to fit your checkbook and
boating lifestyle.


BoatUS represents
recreational boaters by
working on Capitol Hill,
ensuring safe boating
and clean water for generations to come and by
resolving Member disputes with boat dealers or manufacturers.

Shopping Rewards

Earn West Advantage Gold Rewards —
the highest level of savings when shopping at West Marine — just for being a
BoatUS Member. For every $250 you
spend, you earn a $10 reward certificate.


BoatUS Members are
eligible for savings
when you travel on
thousands of hotels
worldwide and on car
& truck rentals. Plus,
receive discounts on
yacht charters and Star Clippers Cruises. Start planning
your trip today!

Visit Our Social Media Pages

Over Half a Million Members Know it Pays to Belong!


Towing Services For on water or on road

Unlimited On Road Towing

towing assistance, help
is only a phone call
away with our 24-hour
dispatch center. On
water towing service
includes towing, fuel
delivery, battery jumps
and soft ungrounding.
On road towing service is available for your vehicle,
boat and trailer while trailering your boat.

Unlimited Trailer
Assist® for your vehicle,
boat and trailer while
trailering your boat.
Includes trailering news
and information, service
for flat tires, jumpstarts,
lockouts and 100 miles of
towing from the point of breakdown to the nearest facility
within the U.S., Canada and Mexico — just $14 a year.

& Fishing

Smart Phone App

Save money on
a variety of purchases from fuel,
slips, and bait
to repairs and
fishing guides.
Just show your Membership card to receive discounts
at over 1,000 boating and fishing related businesses
nationwide. Find participating businesses in your area
by going to

Use this app while out on the
water or on the road to request
a tow, text or email your location,
share your favorite spots, display
your latitude and longitude (even
out of cell range), and more!
Available for Android, iPhone
Smart Phones and Android
Scan for video to learn more
about towing app features!

Visit us online at, call us at 800-395-2628 or email us at
[email protected] for more information on how to get the most out of your Membership.


Fuel-spill liability. Again, it
pays to read the fine print to understand what you are – or are not –
getting. Some policies only pay the cost of
cleaning up a fuel spill if it occurs due to a
“covered loss.” So if your sunken boat wasn’t
covered because the stuffing box failed due
to wear, tear, and corrosion, the resulting fuel
spill wouldn’t be, either. Some policies pay
fuel-spill liability out of the overall liability
limit for the policy, and it is lumped together
with other liability payments. So if you have
a collision that injures someone and the
contents of your gas tank end up in an environmentally sensitive area, the payment for

both the injury and the spill will come out
of the same pool of money. The most generous policies separate out fuel-spill liability
and provide coverage up to $854,000, the
maximum amount you can be held liable for
under federal law.


Liability. Injury comes in at
number eight on the BoatU.S.
Marine Insurance payout list, not
because there are that many injury claims,
but because the settlements tend to be very
expensive. If you’re already insured, it costs
very little to increase your limits, so it’s
worth checking how much liability coverage

you have and comparing it to your auto and
homeowner’s policies.
Uninsured because your boat isn’t worth
that much? You’re leaving yourself open to a
six-figure settlement if someone gets injured
in a collision or while skiing off your boat.
Shop around for a liability-only policy
just to see what it would cost; you might be
pleasantly surprised. But make sure you’re
comparing apples to apples by taking a
good look at the policy language before
purchasing. The most comprehensive liability-only policies cover not just personal
injury but also salvage, wreck removal, and
fuel-spill liability.
When it comes to insurance, you get
what you pay for. Compare only the bottom line when you’re shopping for boat
insurance, and you may feel let down if
you ever have to file a claim. To see if
your insurance matches your expectations,
take 15 minutes to check over your policy
language this winter in these five areas.
Then you can make an informed decision
between what you’re paying for the policy
and the risks you may not have realized
you were accepting.

Exclusive, Only In Seaworthy
Members who insure their boats with BoatU.S. Marine
Insurance also receive an extraordinary resource in the mail:
Seaworthy, the publication chock full of articles based on realworld experience from our insurance files. Seaworthy will give
you the step-by-step advice you need to really protect your
boat from damage and accidents, extend the life of your systems with expert maintenance ideas, and help to keep you and
your family safer on the water. Here’s a
sneak peak from our most recent issue:
Long Winter’s Nap. Our editors show you
how to protect, maintain, and drain your
outboard before putting it to bed so it
will be raring to go come spring.
The Ethanol Debate. Should you leave
your gas tank full or empty over the
winter? We help you figure it out.
Navigating The Asphalt Ocean.
Here’s everything you need to know
if you transport your boat over land.

Members can find these articles online; to subscribe and
receive your own full edition of Seaworthy in the mail, or to
find out more about our BoatU.S. insurance programs, visit

$5 off lazy bunz water floats.
and enter “BOATUS” at checkout
for more info contact [email protected] or call 855-529-9286

80 | BoatU.S. Magazine

december 2013

Photo: Norfolk Police Dept.

Between 2008 and 2012, boat
theft ranked number nine in total
insurance-claim payouts.

at your
service Membership News

The ultimate winter Getaway —
Our BoatU.S. Members’ Caribbean Cruise


oin BoatU.S.
and Your fellow
members on the
extraordinary Royal Clipper
for our 4th annual BoatU.S.
Members’ Cruise on March
14, 2014. The seven-day Star
Clippers voyage departs from
Bridgetown, Barbados, and
travels to the warm, sunny
Caribbean islands of St.
Lucia, Antigua, St. Kitts, and
others aboard the 439-foot
Royal Clipper.
This luxurious five-masted
fully rigged cruise ship (pictured left) boasts state-ofthe-art navigation systems,
every comfort, an array of
fun activities available every
day, and the atmosphere of
a private yacht. Members
will save up to 60 percent
on category 2-6 cabins, and
receive a $50 onboard credit
per person. We hope you’ll
join us for the voyage of a
lifetime. For information, visit

Winter Boat Show
Season Is Here
From January through April, BoatU.S. will
be on the road and coming to a boat show
near you. Visit us at the BoatU.S. booth
to enter to win a great prize, renew your
membership, upgrade your towing service,
or take a picture with us to get a free
gift. We’re scheduled to attend the New
York, Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Baltimore,
Seattle, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Miami,
Detroit, New England, Long Beach, Del Mar,
and Strictly Sail Pacific shows. Discounted
tickets are available for select shows at

Heading South
This Winter?
Visit our BoatU.S. Member
Services Locator to find
the marinas along your
route where you can save on fuel,
transient slips, and more. Members receive
discounts at over 1,000 marinas, repair facilities, bait shops, and other boating businesses
from coast to coast just by showing their membership card. So before you head out on your
next trip, take a moment to find the businesses
in your cruising area where you can save.

Top Benefits of Basic BoatU.S. Membership, all for just $24!*
To see all our services, join, or renew your membership online,
visit or call 800-395-2628.

n Government Affairs, representing the boater on state and national

n Six issues of the award-winning BoatU.S. Magazine

n Consumer Protection, your advocate:

n Highest level of shopping rewards at West Marine
n Discounts on fuel, transient slips, repairs, and more at 1,000+

boating businesses:
n Largest on-the-water towing fleet nationwide, 24/7 towing dispatch:


n Travel and chartering discounts:
n Boating safety courses, product testing:
n Roadside Assistance for trailering:
n Boat insurance available from dedicated experts: or call 800-283-2883

*Basic Membership is $24; higher towing service levels, Roadside Assistance, and insurance coverage are available for an additional charge.

December 2013

BoatU.S. Magazine | 81

Is Your
All It’s
Up To Be?
If you’re caught without enough coverage
in the months your boat isn’t in the water, you could be facing
a huge out of pocket expense. Significant snow and ice can
cause even the sturdiest storage facility to come down like a
house of cards. It’s an Act of God, and without insurance, you
could be stuck paying for
the salvage of your boat,
and the total cost to repair
or replace it.
That’s why BoatU.S.
only offers policies with
year round coverage, on
the water, the trailer and
in storage.
Coverage for your Boat, Engine and Boating Equipment
Full Salvage and Wreck Removal

‘Tis the season to shop for
insurance. Let the experts
at BoatU.S. look into an
insurance policy that won’t
leave you out in the cold.

Call for a free quote today!


Or visit us online at

Consequential Damage Coverage
Choice of Medical and Liability Limits
Diminishing Deductibles, Flexible Payment Plans
All policies subject to limits and exclusions. In the state of California, the BoatU.S. Marine Insurance Program is provided
through Boat Owners Association Insurance Services, CA License # 0H87086.

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