Keen on Kayaks

Kayaks were the invention of the Inuit peoples (formerly called Eskimos) of the Arctic. They were hunting boats frames made of wood or bone with animal skins stretched over them. They were light and tough but not so light and tough as modern composite plastic and Kevlar versions. Kayaks differ from canoes primarily in that the top is closed over in most, helping to keep water out. Consequently, bow and stern do not have to be upswept as in a canoe, and wind resistance is lessened as a result....

If Your Boat Springs a Leak

Bilge pumps are the devices that stand between you and any leaks. A 2,000 gallon-per-hour pump costs only 50 more than a 500 gallon-per-hour pump, so it makes sense to check your bilge pump and if it's not a jumbo, replace it with a larger pump. It's very inexpensive insurance. Pumps should be hooked to an automatic float switch that turns the pump on any time several inches of water gathers in the bilge. This way, you don't have to worry about a leak getting a big head start on you before you...

Problems of the Improper Prop

Problems with the prop are one of the primary woes of beginning boaters. Both initial selection and maintenance can cause difficulties. If your boat doesn't want to take high. The available power of the Some boats designed for top-end speed are purposely overpropped to squeeze out the last tenth of miles per hour at full throttle, even though this makes them real dogs at the takeoff. If you have to be the fastest skipper on the lake, you may want to select a prop that is taller than is best for...

Tides in the Estuaries

Tides follow wider, deeper channels first. That's why tide flows show up at major coastal passes long before they arrive at docks and boat ramps several miles inland. In a bayou fed by several tidal creeks, you may see that the inflow begins on the main arm and is already flowing strong there while it's dead or even going out on the smaller feeders. The tide comes into an estuary in a plume that you can see on the surface when the water is calm. It has a rounded leading edge, and it stays...

Power to the People Boats with Motors

For most families, that first boat is a powerboat that is 14 to 16 feet long and powered by a two-cycle outboard motor of 50 to 90 horsepower. Powerboating takes less study and requires less physical work than sailing, so it's a quick, easy way to get started. Powerboats range from slow as a turtle to fast as a flying fish. They can be broken into many subclasses, including the following Runabouts, ski boats, and performance boats Live-aboards cruisers, trawlers, and houseboats Powerboat prices...

When Two Anchors Are Better Than

When anchoring larger boats overnight, particularly in a crowded harbor, you may want to use two anchors at a 45-degree angle from the bow. The extra anchor keeps your boat from swinging widely and banging into other boats, and also gives you added security in a storm. If space is really tight, you might go to a pair of anchors set at close to 180 degrees, with the boat suspended in the center. This keeps the boat from doing anything but swinging in a circle by the bow as the winds and tide...

Weather You Like It or

Becoming your own weather-person Winds and waves and how they affect you as a boater Handling squalls, lightning, and other dangerous conditions You quickly learn to become adept at reading the weather when you spend much time afloat, particularly after the first few times you get caught out in a howling thunderstorm when the TV forecaster promised a calm, sunny day. Conditions change rapidly on the water, and those white, puffy clouds that look so welcoming when you leave the dock can quickly...

Bridge Clearance

Do you ever need to know the tide heights if you're not crossing a shallow bar Maybe. It could be that problems arise above the water. A low bridge can block passage for fly-bridge cruisers and sailboats on high tide, yet let them pass with space to spare on low. Sometimes even runabouts can be blocked by low-hanging roadways. You obviously need to know your boat's bridge clearance if you navigate anywhere that passage beneath one of these structures is common. The bridge clearance (BC) refers...

The Least You Need to Know

Paddle-power designs should be chosen depending on their intended use. Learn the basic strokes and you'll find paddling a canoe simple. Kayaks are probably the easiest of all boats to propel, but they don't have the load capacity or passenger space of canoes. Understanding a few basic strokes makes propelling and steering both canoes and kayaks simple. Rowboats require more muscle power to move than canoes or kayaks but offer greater stability and space. According to Merriam-Webste, the term...

Props for Electric Motors

The plastic, nylon, or Lexan props supplied with electric trolling motors do a good job due to their low speeds and modest horsepower. I've chewed several of them up pretty badly, but they still hold their blades and keep on functioning. Trolling motor props are available in three- or four-Look Out blade weedless models with large barrels and small blades, which are designed to cut through the thick weeds found where largemouth bass, pike, and other species live. When installing a plastic...

Riding the Waves

Sailboat handling is a bit different than powerboat handling in large waves because of the minimal power available from the sail and or auxiliary engine. It's best to sail close-hauled into oncoming seas, letting the bow take the seas at an angle. This prevents the boat from rolling in the troughs and stabilizes the ride. On the other hand, sailing upwind in a blow will increase the apparent wind, while running downwind will reduce it. Your best strategy will depend on the kind of boat, the...

When the Motor Overheats

When the warning buzzer comes on, it's usually because of weeds in the water intake, found on the lower unit housing slightly above the bullet or gear housing on most outboards. Plastic bags can also cover these intakes. And if you run aground, soft mud can jam them. Tilt up the lower unit and remove any obstructions, and you should be good to go. If there's mud in the intake, you can clean it out with stiff leader wire. It's also possible, on outboards and stern drives, that you have the lower...

If You Lose Your Anchor

Somebody forgets to secure the bitter end of the anchor rode to a cleat and the first thing you know, anchor and line are deep-sixed, or even worse, deep-sixtied. Sometimes an anchor can't be broken loose from bottom. Sometimes the anchor line is cut by coral or wreckage. You can't just swim down to bottom, grab the anchor, and swim back up with it. If you lost the whole shebang including the anchor line, one approach is to swim down, grab the loose end of the line not the one with...

Inboard Engines

Inboards are primarily automobile and truck engines, slightly modified to fit the marine application. They supply power to the prop via a shaft through the bottom of the boat. The inboard power system allows the use of engines much larger than those available in outboard power, so they're the universal choice for big sportfishing boats and yachts. The disadvantage of inboards is that the prop and shaft are fixed in place, straight ahead. They can't be adjusted or trimmed to improve the running...