small yacht practical advice - Fitting Out and Laying up - good working knowledge-article
engine technique - "do it yourself" technique - auto engine converted to marine use
Buying a boat via eBay - May be interesting if you plan to Buy a Boat via the internet
"go-fast" ideas - sailing and "go-fast" ideas by Steve Benjamin(article)
Boat shopping simple guide - important considerations
Point of View - Is Bigger Boat Better?
Problems - Anchoring Problems, Facts and Rules
Fisherman type - Fisherman anchors, characteristics & advice for selection
Guide to Food onBoard - Packaging, Garbage, Beverages, Transportation and storage
How to keep the boat during the winter. Check out what Boat Owners have to say.
AIS and Radar - There isn't a "better" solution - different systems, different advantages
Boating Etiquette Tips - Certain boating etiquette and Rules of boating
the Old style pole mooring - spar/devil's claw arrangement
Guide to Thermometers - a full spectrum of Thermometers, Commonly Used thermometers and How to choose one
When & How Tips - Boating and Sailing Tips
A good Tender - The most important items of equipment, Size & Weight, Tender Power and Speed, Storage & Maintenance
12-volt flow control valve - (Storage Problems) How to Avoiding Fuel Theft
Take care: Boat handling
Boat Articles, Guides, Commentary and archival articles & helpful sailing - information
How does the ordinary boatie, get on when just starting out.
What do I really need to know to keep friends and family safe?
Boat handling can be described as an art form when performed by someone displaying a nonchalant skill as she brings a boat alongside a berth, onto a trailer or over seaway.
If you are buying or have just bought a boat and want to know how it handles here are a few things you can do:
Ensure you have your vessel loosely tied to the wharf or berth with a headline, one at right angles to the bow onto a secure point on the wharf, a forward spring (a line from the bow, front, running along the length of the boat and secured to the wharf adjacent to the back stern and a stern line. From the stern at right angles, or as close to as possible, onto the wharf. Start your engines.
Gently put the engine just into forward gear and observe which way the stern appears to 'walk' and which way the wash leaves the stern. If the stern 'walks' to starboard (until the loose stern line comes tight and the bow falls off to port (toward the wharf) you have a right hand turning propeller. If it goes the other way then you will have a left hand turning propeller. This knowledge can and should be used to advantage when manoeuvring your vessel, as the vessel will turn the tightest opposite the direction of the prop-walk. A right hand turning prop will turn a vessel tighter to port than to starboard. Keep it in mind approaching anything in the water.
Speed - just like on the road speed kills - it sure kills the impression of being a good boat-handler when you prang the wharf or another boat because you got it wrong. Good boat handlers use power for sure, but not speed. When in close proximity to something, do everything else as slowly as possible so as to maintain steerage and control.
In fact - Here's a tip: if you divide the speed in Nautical Miles per hour (knots) by two, you have approximately the speed you are doing in metres per second. The mark one eyeball then can be an excellent gauge as to the distance off something that you are. For example, 30m off a wharf doing 10 knots is 10/2= 5m per second. It will then take 6 seconds for you to arrive at (T-bone) the wharf. If you practise this it becomes second nature and can save some embarrassing moments.
Wind: every boat behaves differently in the wind, so what I recommend is that you take it to some flat open water where there is little or no current and let it 'lay' to the wind naturally. This can then also be stored in the cranium to be recalled one day when attempting to berth in a strong breeze. Which way does the boat naturally want to go when stopped or going slowly? Arms and legs; keep them inside the boat - never use your crew or family as fenders - unless you are attempting to put them off ever coming again.
Boats are heavy and mobile, whereas hands, wrists, feet are fixed and fragile. Always ensure you are stopped before activity goes on outside your boat.
Ensure you have life jackets, communications , radio, flares, cell-phone, spare fuel, an anchor and warm clothes.
Always wear your life jacket and ensure your family/crew always wears theirs. Check out the specially colour-coded charts: the white areas are for boating on, the blue areas are for anchoring in, the yellowy/green areas are for drinking in. Leave your alcohol or ... at home and enjoy your boating
Deep Water Boat Control
Offshore fishing often requires anchoring over a reef, wreck or fish holding bottom. The trickiest part of anchoring is setting your boat so that your stem is upwind and uptide of the fishing hole. The goal is to float or cast your bait into the area. You have to take an educated guess when you drop the hook as to how the winds and tides will position you. For the most part if you're 100 feet and mpre off the mark than you won't catch many fish. Once your anchor is set you can compensate and steer the boat by turning your steering wheel right or left. Even at anchor, your boat will respond and steer off of the anchor line. Use this to your advantage to make up for wind variations or when you simply set up a little off your fishing hole.
Shallow Water Boat Control
For shallow water pursuits you want to be close enough to the fish to cast to them but let your boat get too close to the mangroves or fish holding cover and you spook them. There is nothing more important in fishing then this. There is a fine balance with this. Always start further out from your spot and work your way in. Use the trolling engine as little as possible and do let the wind push you in whenever possible. Anchor repeatedly as you work into a spot casting your bait or fishing lure.
You can often turn livewells off temporarily and position my boat upwind to pass by islands or holes with no man-made noise. Shallow water stealth is the single most important thing you can do to increase your fish catching in water less than 5 feet. You can steer your boat by turning your steering wheel right or left as the breezes push you along. There must be some skeg in the water to steer. It is quiet and the boat will respond to steering changes without the motor running.
In the course of the day the winds on the most areas vary quite a bit. When offshore fishing, a wind shift may swing you off your spot. With no visual reference to tell that it's happened, the lack of fish biting will be your biggest clue. If your depth meter bottom contour differs from when you first started fishing then this is also a clue that you have shifted off your spot. One method is to power anchor where you engage your motor with anchor down to probe a short range of bottom. The goal is to not run over your line but take advantage of whatever range you have, dictated by anchor line length to study your bottom meter. You may find you are only 50 feet off the spot and by lengthening or shortening your line you may reposition over the fish. In waters less than 50 feet running your Outbord motor might not be prudent.
Good practices and tips - Docking in the wind .
Knowing these things and taking your time will make docking in the wind and current much easier.
Safety Netting around the perimeter of the boat - How to Installing and Attaching Safety Netting
Twin Engines & Boat Handling
Nearly all twin inboard engined vessels have the transmissions set so the propellers are turning outwards when operating ahead, in forward gear. When looking from the stern towards the bow the Starboard prop will rotate clockwise, Right hand, and the Port propeller will rotate counterclockwise, Left hand.
Because the prop shaft is angled there is a sideways thrust which is most noticeable when you go astern. This is called P-effect or commonly called prop-walk. If you consider the prop as a wheel at the stern, when the port prop operates astern and rotates clockwise, it will move the stern of the vessel to Starboard. Because the propeller is off-center it generates a twisting motion to the vessel which also moves the stern to Starboard.
If we wish to dock starboard side to the dock, we will approach at a shallow angle. We want the boat to coast up to the dock so we use neutral to control our speed. Just before you think that the hull is about to hit the dock, put the port engine astern briefly. The boat should stop, the bow swings out and the stern swings up to the wharf.
Points to remember:
1. Rudders amidship, centered
2. Engines at idle
3. Control your speed by using neutral. Around the marina or near other vessels, neutral is your best friend.
4. Steer the vessel by using the gear levers only. (See the above notes) For those people who have experience driving skid steer loaders or army tanks, you have an advantage.
Using your rudders
Up to this point, we have left the rudders centered. By turning your wheel in the direction of the turn, you can have the vessel turning quicker. For a turn to port:
1. Put your wheel hard to port,
2. Starboard engine ahead and port engine astern.
For a turn to starboard you would reverse the wheel and engines.
Sometime when backing into a slip, the wind will push you away from the float so you crew is unable to step ashore with the stern line. If the float were on your starboard side and you are a couple of feet off the float, a technique is to use the wheel. Put your wheel away from the float, in this case to port, and then go ahead on the dockside, starboard engine. The stern will swing toward the float. To stop the forward motion, you could place the port engine astern at the same time.
Precision Boat Positioning
Learn this very good tip - rolling hitch for the next time you're anchored your boat to fish bottom structure and avoid having to reanchor when your position changes. You can use it for sure for bottom fishing this winter.
How many times have you judged wind and current, then carefully anchored ahead of fish-holding bottom structure only to end up slightly off to one side? Here's how to fine-tune your position without having to reanchor. Simply grab a dock line and form a rolling hitch around the anchor rode, then fix the dock line to a cleat amidships and pay out some anchor rode.
The boat's bow will fall off the wind/current, swimming laterally opposite the direction of the bridle. Increasing the length of anchor rode between the bow and rolling hitch causes the bow to swim even farther to one side.
Note: that this has the additional benefit of creating more rail room for anglers to fish baits down current. A rolling hitch slides easily in one direction (in this case, away from the boat) but grips firmly in the opposite direction. It has many other applications other than the construction of an anchor bridle, such as lashing awnings, putting up hammocks or tying down items on deck.
From The Cruiser's Handbook of Fishing by Capt "Scott B."
Towing Tenders - "How to" tips to help you tow your tender safely and securely
Navigation Charts, Selection, Plotting and Stowage