Merry Christmas!

I would like to wish all my readers a Merry Christmas!

Hopefully, you have all got everything organised to make your Christmas celebrations go well. Also, that you have dropped enough hints to friends and family as to what to get you for the forthcoming boating season!

Please use the holiday period to relax and recharge your batteries before you return in the new year to all those things that need doing. Which leads me neatly onto your new years list. Start writing your new year to-do list over the holidays. At this stage it could just be a wish list. In other words a list of all the things you would want to complete this year. Once you have written your wish list, take another look at it and get realistic!

How many of the things on your list can you really achieve this coming year? So score off the impossible ones. Then look at the rest and try and identify when it would be possible to complete them. Some could be done in January; some in February etc. Try and spread each job over a period of weeks and months so you are not left with too much to do before the season starts.

The best way to organise this would be a timetable of activities to complete. Be realistic and allow enough time to do each job to a good standard. Or if you need a professional to do it allow them time as well. Make a note to phone and book the job for a convenient time for you and the professional. At this point try and get a quote for doing the job – this will allow you time to save money for it if this is required.

Jobs like servicing the engine(s) can be expensive – so booking a service for the first week in April will give you 4 months to put aside money to meet the bill! On this topic of money – look for the time and place of the next nearest Boat Jumble – so you can plan a visit with your boating list. There will be loads of things you can pick up cheaply at the Boat Jumble that would cost a lot more in the Chandlers shop.

If you have been lucky enough to be given a boating present that needs to be installed on the boat, this is the time to plan its’ installation.

Hopefully this has given you some ideas to think about during the holidays. Once again I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Winterising your engine.

Whether you lift out your boat at the end of the season or keep it afloat, you should make your engine ready for the winter. If you have an outboard engine either as the main engine or one for the tender, it will need attention right now! Before any damage can be done. There are a few steps to take to make your outboard ready for the winter lay up –

  1. Wash the outboard motor with fresh water – by flushing it through while it is running, then cleaning it on the outside.
  2. Thoroughly dry the engine with an old dry cloth, to remove as much moisture as possible.
  3. Remove the Spark plug(s) and insert and oily cloth in the hole(s).
  4. Clean or replace the Spark plugs.
  5. If their is any fuel left in the engine – drain it off.
  6. Use lubrication spray such as WD40 on all moving parts.
  7. Grease the tilt mechanism, gear change lever, throttle and prop shaft.
  8. If it has a pull cord – check for wear and replace if required.
  9. If the outboard has a separate fuel tank – drain it or use it in another engine.
  10. Store your outboard upright on a secure bracket in a dry place away from extreme cold.

If you follow the above steps your outboard will be prepared for the cold winter weather and will not deteriorate with non use.

 

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Christmas Gifts for Practical Boat Owners 2010.

Christmas 2010 gifts for every practical boat owner should be not only useful but real value for money. The type of gifts that are really useful are those that need replaced each season. Items like a Log Book, Tide tables and charts all need up dating each year. However, most of us also like gifts that are unique and perhaps high tech. Marine GPS systems are getting more compact and powerful, so some of us would like one for a Christmas gift!

Practical boat owners also appreciate tools both hand and power that can make life a bit more easier when doing the annual maintenance. During the winter that little tool that was given as a present at Christmas can prove very useful! Even reading about ways to improve your vessel is interesting, so not only books but nowadays, cds and dvds are a really great Christmas present.

Two years into this recession means that most boat owners are used to making every penny count. Value for money in gifts for the family and friends is important. But that does not mean that the funny and silly Christmas gifts need to be ignored! Making someone laugh when they realise what they have unwrapped on Christmas morning is a great tonic for these difficult times.

So if you want to see what the top Christmas gifts for practical boat owners are for 2010, then click here.

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Accessories

Sometimes when you buy your outboard you really could do with some accessories. Whether it be a control box and cables to aid your handling of the boat, or some method of starting or charging the battery, you will find it in our store.  From maintenance items like oil or practical things like an outboard bracket, it will be in our store.  Perhaps you just want to know more about your engine and need a manual?  Chances are it will be for sale in our store! If you are regularly travelling quite a distance in your boat and need extended tanks, there are some available in our store.

Propellors are often getting damaged. A slight ding on a blade can reduce your engines efficiency and affect fuel consumption. It will be best to replace this damaged propellor with a prefect one.  Many are advertised in our store.

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Service your outboard!

With most of us having our boats ready for the water or already in the water, it is important to have a reliable outboard.  There is nothing more frustrating than having the outboard engine stop just when we need it!  Rarely, it is some unpredictable reason for it to fail.  Most of the time it is because we failed to do something to the outboard.  Either have it serviced or flush it with fresh water after a long run in seawater or whatever?  If we do not maintain the engine it will let us down.  Deep down we know it and some of us put off doing the right thing, for whatever reason.  But if you are out at sea you really need to know your engine is going to keep going because you have done everything possible to ensure it does.  Not giving your outboard motor a service before using it this season is false economy.  It may cost you more just trying to cut corners and not servicing it.

Elsewhere on this blog I mentioned getting your 4 stroke engine’s oil changed.  This is another routine thing to do.  It will help your engine run better and more reliably.  Modern 4 strokes tend to be smoother when idling than the older 2 strokes, although this will not be the case if they have not been maintained properly.  Take time to pamper your engine and it will respond, by keeping going when you need it most!

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