Friday, October 26, 2012

Is Your Boat Ready for Hurricane Sandy?

We don't get many Hurricanes here in the Mid Atlantic, but it is starting to look like one is coming to visit us Monday or Tuesday. The time to get your boat ready is now, not Sunday or Monday when conditions may make it unsafe to prepare. Is your boat ready for Hurricane Sandy?

Many boaters in our area don't even think about getting their boat ready for a hurricane because they keep their boats on the trailer. You might think that your rig will be OK sitting in driveway or in your yard. Some customers keep their boat in the water, if you do? You should pull it out as soon as you can and then get it prepared for the storm. I keep a couple of boats on South Florida where hurricane preparing your boat is a must, below I will share some thoughts that you might not have thought about.

Preparing your boat for a hurricane is much different than preparing for afternoon thunderstorms that hit our region on a regular basis. Hurricane's last for hours, even days, we are in the 4" to 8" of rain cone as of this writing. Tree roots become loose from the torrential rains, the wind will be blowing for hours, even healthy trees come down during a hurricane. The first thing you must do is find a safe place to park your boat. Look around the area that you usually park your rig; can trees fall on it? Are there items near by that could be blown into your boat by the wind (trash can, carts, bikes, etc...)? If your rig is parked on pavement or concrete, chalk your wheels so the wind doesn't blow your boat into something like your car or truck. If it is parked on the grass, make sure that you can back up to it without getting stuck in the mud after the storm passes. Pull your drain plug, you might have a auto bilge pump, but we are talking a lot of rain, your battery might go dead trying to pump all the water out. If your batteries go under water, they can cause damage to your boat. Park with the trailer nose up so the boat drains well. Charge your batteries, you may not have power for some time after the storm  and you might need your boat after the storm in case of a emergencies. After the storm make sure that you get the the standing water off your your boat cover, the weight of the water will stretch the material and possibly break your windshields.These tasks might seem like a pain, but it is easier to get ready for a hurricane than it is to come back from not getting ready and costs a lot less.

 Do these things and you should be as prepared as possible for the upcoming storm, don't get ready and I will talk to you next week. Have your insurance agents phone number and the claim number for us when you drop your boat off for repairs. Please be careful during this storm and hopefully everything and everyone will be OK.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

It's That Time of Year; Burn That Gas Out of Your Boat

Fall is fast approaching, season ending fishing tournaments and championships are going on now. Some have already put their boats away to get ready for hunting season, while others are just putting their boats away for the season. I know that I blog about ethanol way to much, but that should be a sign to you that it continues to big a huge issue for our customers. If you continue to use your boat year round, ethanol will not be a issue that you will have to deal with. If you do store your rig over the winter months, burn that gas out of your boat before your you put your rig away.

Ethanol is used in all gasoline that is distributed along Route 95, this means that everyone using gasoline in the Mid Atlantic area uses it. That means you use it in your boat, your lawn mower, chain saw etc. Ethanol has a shelf life of under 90 days before it has phase separation. At which time it will begin to absorb water, creates an acid solution and loose its octane rating. This is really bad of your outboard and any other gasoline engine that you put into storage. Phase separated gasoline can blow your engine, corrosion can cause damage to your engine components and cost you a lot of money.

Preventing problems from ethanol phase separation is pretty easy. Before you put your rig away for the season, add some brand of ethanol fuel treatment to your boats gas tank (we use Sierra E Guard or Star-tron at our shops), then run the boats gas tank as low as possible the last time you plan on using it. If you have already put your boat away without doing this, drain your gasoline out of your boat and put it in your car or truck, then add ethanol treatment to your tank. When you put gasoline in your boat for the first time next spring, fill it up with high test gasoline, this will raise the octane level of the older gas when blended with fresh gasoline.

Remember that you still need to do your standard winterizing, gear oil filter, greasing etc. If you winterize your boat and take care of the ethanol issue you will be a lot better off when spring arrives. If not, we will be waiting to see you in the shop in the spring.