Tips and tricks for boaters

October 21, 2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Fishing and boating tips

thunderstorm tips

Tips for every boater whether you boat in the ocean, bays, rivers, or lakes. Something useful here for everyone. Tips for thunderstorms, ethanol fuel, winter freezing, insurance tips and life jackets.

Ethanol Fuel

ethanol fuel

Boats are supposed to use fuel that is 10% or less ethanol. More and more 15% ethanol fuel is being sold. Even the 10% fuel can cause problems in older boats. Boaters that trailer boats and use regular gas stations are at more risk.

The Savings may not be worth the risk

BoatUS has been fighting for E0 fuel for boater use.  Damage by Ethanol seems to be increasing over the past few years. Only 36% of boaters know that Ethanol fuel can be harmful to their boats. It is illegal to use fuels higher than 10% ethanol in boats, motorcycles, outdoor power equipment and Cars older than 2000 models.,

For more information on proper marine fueling, fuel-related maintenance, and boating industry efforts to reform federal ethanol mandates and the supply of E0 fuel, visit BoatUS at and the National Marine Manufacturers Association at

Tips for boaters in Thurnderstorms

thunderstorm tips

Be prepared at all times. Every boat should have readily available lifejackets in case of emergency. A marine radio is a must and an extra handheld is helpful. EPIRBs or personal locator beacons are coming down in price and are good options.

Check the weather forecasts before you go and during your trip. Monitor channel 16 for alerts from the Coat Guard.

Watch the weights on the boat as overloaded boats are prone to capsizing especially in rough weather.

If you should capsize, stay with the boat. It makes you easier to find and gives you an extra flotation source.

Insurance tips for boaters

  • Look into freeze protection even if you store in a heated location and especially if you winterize your own noat. The power can go out due to winter storms and you could get freeze damage when the heat goes out. Most insurers offer it at a reasonable price.
  • Consequential damage coverage – If a part fails due to age or lack of maintenance, it is not covered on insurance. The problem is that it may causse other damage to the boat such as a thru hull fitting fails and the boat sinks. You need to make sure the sinking is covered even though the fitting isn’t
  • Fuel spill liability – You should have coverage up to the maximum amount you can be held liable under Federal Law which currently $939,800. If you only have liability coverage, your insurer will pay to that limit , leaving you with the rest.
  • Make sure you have separate salvage coverage. If the boat sinks and you don’t have salvage coverage, the insurer will deduct the salvage costs from the  total damage coverage on the boat. This could leave you with too little for repairs or replacement.
  • Trailer Coverage If you do trailer make sure this is in your policy. It is not standard with all insurers.
  • If you carry liability only coverage, make sure that you have salvage coverage for salvaging and removing a wreck. Also you will need separate coverage for fuel spills.

Take a boater safety course. These are available from the Coast Guard and Power Squadron. Many states require them

Use a float plan. It can be as simple as telling your spouse where you are going or texting a friend. If you text a friend, make sure you let them know when you return. Putting a float plan inside the windshield of your car also works. Leaving the details of your trip on a piece of paper or on a float plan form works well. More detailed float plans such as the one offered by the US Coast Guard Auxiliary are also great if you have a need for more detail and coordination, such as for longer offshore passages.

Get a lifejacket that will actually wear..

Consistently wearing a life jacket may be a challenge for some boaters, but it doesn’t have to be. Inflatable life jackets can be as unobtrusive as a small, lightweight beltpack worn around the waist or suspenders style inflatable worn over the shoulders. They don’t trap body heat, and give full mobility needed to cast a line or trim a mainsheet.

Life Jacket selection

Wicked Tuna