Dehumidifier suitable all boats

With winter now well and truly hear hopefully you have a dehumidifier on your boat. If not, here is one that I use.

This particular dehumidifier is portable, efficient and economical. It uses modern technology which makes it light and quiet. Any moisture extracted from the surrounding environment in your boat, is stored in the dehumidifiers removable water tank.

A 2 litre tank capacity which when full, automatically turns off the unit. It can remove between 550-600ml of moisture per day at 30°C 80%RH (so it works best if you have a low energy heater also running to keep the temperature above say 15 degrees C). In this condition it will dramatically reduce the effects of mould, dampness and of course humidity.

I have been using this model for over a year. Last winter it worked a treat and I have had it plugged in since November. I check it each weekend and empty the water out. If I did not do that it would switch off when the tank becomes full.

One of these dehumidifier does my 9 metre boat just fine with all the cabin doors open. Perhaps if you have a boat with separate cabins; say an aft cabin you will need to buy two dehumidifiers.

At the moment it is the cheapest dehumidifier on ebay!


Christmas presents for boaters.

Many people struggle to find a Christmas present for boaters. So often there is nothing that is obvious that a boater needs. A person that has a boat seems to have everything that is required on their boat.  However, consumables like engine oil, filters, spark plugs, locks, and grease are always overlooked. These are things that are needed by boat owners. So why not buy these items as presents?

Engine oil is essential to be replaced each season by the boat owner. Fresh engine oil will make a tremendous benefit to the overall performance of the engine. So it needs replaced. Why not give a good quality engine oil as a present? Wrap it up in Christmas paper with a bow! You will be delighted by the reaction you receive!

A new set of spark plugs will really benefit the performance of the outboard engine. This is an item that most owners think about but normally overlook each season. They tend to clean the existing ones and make do. However, if you give them as a Christmas present then they should be fitted by the owner before the new season begins.

A set of fuel filters are also on most boat owners to do list. However, they are often overlooked. So by giving them as a Christmas present you are providing a good opportunity for the owner to replace them. It is the same with providing Grease as a present. Before the season begins it is a great idea to use grease on all the places it is required before launching the boat. This will make using the equipment a lot easier because it will run smoother with grease!

When a boat is in the water it is subject to all sorts of dangers. One of the dangers is theft. So it is best to try and prevent thieves from stealing equipment. There are various locks available to use. You should look around your vessel and identify what can be stolen. Then use locks to prevent theft of any equipment. Outboard motors are the most potential items of theft because they can be unscrewed from the vessel easily. So if your outboard is screwed to the outboard bracket it would be sensible to put a lock on it.

All of the above are potential Christmas presents that you could provide for the boat owner in your family. Although you might think some of the items are not sufficient to give as a present, believe me, they are ideal! Most people look for the big items at Christmas and forget the small things. The above list will certainly provide your boat owner family friend with everything they wanted for Christmas!



Winterising an inboard diesel engine.

Winterising your inboard diesel engine can be completed in 12 easy steps!

1. If you have a diesel inboard engine and it has been running well all season, then the first thing to do is to fill the fuel tank right up to the top. This should be done carefully so you can see the fuel come up the filler tube. There is a good reason for doing this practice. If the tank is not completely full there will be an air gap between the fuel and the top of the tank. This will lead to condensation caused by the cold weather during the winter. Diesel bug thrives in these conditions. Add a small amount of biocide (fuel additive),such as Racor Diesel, or Marine 16, to kill the bug.

2.  Next ensure the fuel cap seals properly by smearing the thread with either grease or petroleum jelly (Vaseline). This will stop moisture entering the tank as well as making the cap easier to open in March.

3.  Locate the fuel filter and drain into a clear plastic bottle. If you use a fairly large bottle you will also capture the filter making it less messy to clean up later! Refit the new filter and bleed the fuel system to ensure there are no air bubbles in it. However, if your engine has not been running well all season then do not top up the fuel tank to full. Instead, drain the remainder of the tank and flush it out. Once cleaned, the tank can be filled with fresh new diesel right to the top of the tank.

4.  This stage involves a bit of work. Changing the engine oil. If you run the engine until it reaches its normal temperature, the oil will flow easier. Next remove the dip stick and insert Vacuum pump down it. Pump continually to suck up the oil from the sump – this is the cleanest way to remove the old oil but requires energy on your part to do it! When you are sure it is all out ( measure the quantity removed). Replace with new fresh clean oil.
5.  If you did not get messy changing the oil, you will be after you change the oil filter! Use a special tool for undoing the filter. A Filter wrench will do the job. Try to get a basin or tray under the filter to catch the oil as you undo it.It is important to change the oil filter each season as impurities such as carbon build up and restrict the flow of oil.

6.  Most marine diesel engines are fresh water cooled using a heat exchanger. Just like in a car, it needs anti-freeze added each winter. This needs to be the correct mixture. So drain off the old water and refill with the recommended levels of water and anti-freeze. This will prevent corrosion in the water ways of the engine and the water freezing!

7.  The salt water cooling also needs attention. Locate the salt water intake pump and open it up. Remove the impeller. Just before you are ready to put the boat back in the water, install a new impeller into the pump. Do this each season because it wears easily and becomes less effective as the season goes by.

8.  Loosen the rubber drive belts from the flywheel or alternator etc. Keeping the tension on these belts while in a stationary position all winter is not good for them. They may start to crack. If they look as if cracks are there, then wait until the launch date and replace them.

9.  Block off the water inlet with a wooden plug, to prevent moisture entering the engine. Then use a rag to block off the exhaust pipe. Again to prevent moisture.

10. Disconnect the battery. Take it home and put in a dry place, like the garage. Clean the battery casing and then put it on charge. Once fully charged keep the cell levels topped up and charge each 4 weeks during the winter. Write on the calendar – charge boat battery. So you will remember! If your boat battery is over 5 years old, I would recommend you replace it with a new one.

11.  Once you have done all of the above you should thoroughly clean the engine. Remove all small pieces of debris that might have collected on it. Use a lubricating spray oil to provide a barrier for moisture and prevent corrosion.

12.  Finally, clean around the engine, in the bilges and either side. Use a good cleaning liquid to remove oil stains etc. You will feel you have done a great job when it is all finished and looking good!


Approaching a mooring buoy.

Today I had a long conversion with a friend of mine who is new to owning a boat. His wife lacks confidence when they approach a mooring buoy. She does not like to be up at the bow of their yacht while it is rising and falling in a rough sea. So I offered him an easy solution.

Instead of his wife being asked to pick up the mooring pick up buoy, he should go up forward. They should practice when it is calm weather, approaching the mooring into the wind with his wife on the tiller. Practice until his wife gains confidence with the process. Then once they have done it successfully several times, I am sure his wife will be far more confident in rough weather picking up a mooring.

While I am on the subject, they should also practice man overboard routines by throwing a buoy or similar over the side. His wife should steer the boat while he picks up the buoy. This will add to her confidence in handling the vessel.

Practice handling a boat is the only way to gain confidence at sea. I was fortunate that I had parents that encouraged me to handle the family boat when I was very young. Over the years I have become an expert at controlling all sorts of vessels. However, it all stemed from those early years of practising basic moves such as approaching a mooring buoy.

The next time you are out on the water, spare some time to get the family involved in some of these basic manoeuvers. Start with approaching a mooring buoy!


Security of your Outboard Engine

The security of your outboard engine is essential at this time of the season. We are well into the boating season and you have probably been using your boat and outboard plenty of times this year. However, history proves that at this time of the year complacency sets in and your normal routine of making sure everything is secure some how lapses! Get into a routine of checking everything is locked and secure before leaving your boat.
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Outboards that are not bolted to the hull need a secure lock on the mounting screws. There are several on the market that provide good strong protection against thieves. A good strong padlock will normally deter a thief. Most opportunist thieves are looking for a quick, easy theft. In other words an outboard that only needs its screws unscrewed and the motor lifted off the bracket or transom. Do not provide the thief with this opportunity. Lock your outboard or permanently fix it to your boat.

A few years ago Essex police force provided boatowners with an alternative outboard casing. This casing was marked with Essex police force lettering and effectively made the theft of the outboard useless as the thief would then need to obtain a replacement cowling casing before selling on the outboard. Most professional thieves would not go to that bother. So your outboard would be safe.

Remember, the name of the game is to make it really difficult for a thief to steal your outboard engine.  Changing the cowling, locking the mounting screws and bolting the outboard engine to the boat are all effective ways of making the thief think twice about stealing your outboard. But what if you repainted the outboard a different colour? It is no longer resellable. If you are happy with your outboard and have had it for some years why not customise it. It will certainly be a one off and less attractive to thieves!

A few years ago I had a Yamaha 15hp outboard and I decided to add another newer Yamaha alongside it. The older outboard looked tired so I repainted it. But the two still looked different. So I repainted both black. Now I know you recognise all Yamaha outboards as being blue in colour so having two black outboards was certainly different. Needless to say no attempt was made to steal them as far as I am aware. Both provided great service for many years. When it came to resell them I told the new owner of the benefits of having a black yamaha!

In this recession hit economy there are many thieves around. Make sure you are not a victim by following some of the advice above. Look for security devices on ebay or amazon and make your outboard engine thief proof.