Category: Boating Tips

How to Increase The Life Span of Your Boat Dock

As many of you boat lovers know, once your dock is installed, it can be easy to ignore regular maintenance. In the blink of an eye, signs of wear and tear start to show, such as small impacts, rust and rot.

In most cases, wood docks require occasional maintenance and care to keep their functionality. That being said, for any repairs you may need to execute on your dock, creating and sticking to a maintenance checklist can help ensure that you are not slacking on essential upkeep tasks. In order to keep your dock in good shape and as safe as possible for other boaters and family members, check out our best of the best boat dock regimes that are proven to maximize the lifespan of your dock!

1. Clean properly and often
The exact method and frequency of cleaning your dock will depend on the type of building materials used. However, more than likely your best bet will be a periodic pressure wash to remove any unnecessary dirt and debris. If you do use a power washer, be cautious not to overdo it and damage the wood. For softer woods, such as pine or cedar, be sure not to go over 500 psi to 600 psi, and hold the tip about a foot away from the surface of your dock.

2. Pay attention to detail
When your dock is ready for a maintenance check-up, a thorough inspection to ensure fasteners, hardware, bolts, stairs and ladders are all stable and working properly is critical.

3. Safety first
If you find anything missing or damaged, take action immediately. There is no such thing as a temporary repair and quick fixes will only cause more damage in the long run. Take care of problems when they first arise to avoid more serious safety issues with your dock.

4. Replace the wood
Replace wood that has become discolored or weakened over time. Things to look for regarding the stability of your dock are an excessive amount of splinters, cracks and rotted wood. Keep an eye on things throughout the year and be sure to do a more thorough inspection right before boating season starts.

5. Environmentally-friendly options
Keep in mind that any cleaning products you use will wash directly into the water and impact the marine life in the area. There are plenty of affordable and safe solutions, such as baking soda paste, that can be used to clean aluminum, and a solution of three parts olive oil to one part white vinegar for wood. When in doubt, purchase products from brands that offer biodegradable and phosphate-free cleaning solutions.

Similar to other parts of your home, your dock is central to family summer fun, which means a lot of wear and tear during the summer months. Keeping an eye on things and doing small maintenance throughout the year will greatly extend the life of your dock for years to come.

Best Boating Terms to Use This Summer

Before venturing out into open waters, it’s crucial to have a basic understanding of common boat terms associated with the positions and directions of your boat. We want to make sure you have the best experience possible on your boating journey, therefore, we’ve gathered a few of the most commonly used boating terms for reference. Take a look at our list below!

  1. Bow – refers to the front end of a boat
  2. Stern – refers to the rear end of a boat
  3. Forward – used to describe moving toward the front end of a boat
  4. Aft – used to describe moving toward the rear end of a boat
  5. Hull – the main body of the boat
  6. Underway – when a boat is moving
  7. Ahead – refers to a boat moving in a forward direction
  8. Astern – meaning: at the back of the ship
  9. Port – when you’re standing at the rear of the boat looking forward, “port” refers to the entire left side of the boat.
  10. Starboard – standing at the rear of a boat and looking forward, “starboard” refers to the entire right side of the boat
  11. Port Bow – refers to the front left of the boat
  12. Port Quarter – refers to the rear left side of a boat
  13. Starboard Bow – refers to the front right of a boat
  14. Starboard Quarter – refers to the rear right of a boat
  15. Amidships – the central part of a boating vessel
  16. Topside – moving from a lower deck to an upper deck
hitide boating terms diagram
Image Source: https://imgur.com/7nDyNnD

Be sure to add these terms to your repertoire this summer to sound like a true boating professional. For all your other summer boating needs, be sure to check out our Hi-Tide products.

Choosing the Right Boat: 5 Considerations to Get You Started

If you are thinking about joining the 18 million Americans who enjoy recreational boating, you probably have an image in your head about the kinds of activities you’ll be doing on the water. The right boat exists for every person, activity, and budget. As experts in the boating industry, we can help you narrow down the search to make sure you find the boat that best suits your needs!

Which type of boat meets my needs?

First, start with the simplest question: What will the boat be used for? Will you be fishing? Are you more into wakeboarding and other exciting water sports? Maybe you’re all about cruising with family and friends while enjoying the local waterways.

Maybe you’ll be enjoying a little bit of everything. It’s important to have in mind what you’re looking for, that way you get your money’s worth and invest in a boat that’s right for you.

Which hull design is right for me?

A hull is the main structural body of the boat. First thing’s first, there is no one perfect type of hull. All boats have different structures and vary in performance, useable space, and cost.

One of the most obvious differences that can exist in hulls is the shape. You’ll typically be choosing from five common hull shapes, which Boats.com outlines below:

  • Flat Bottom Hulls: a hull that has almost no deadrise
  • Deep-V Hulls: a wedge-shaped hull from bow to stern
  • Modified-V Hulls: the most common hull for small boats
  • Catamarans: two hulls bridged by a deck
  • Chines and Strakes: molded strips run lengthwise along the hull bottom and are virtually universal on modern planing boats

For more in depth information, check out this article all about the variations of hull designs.

What type of engine should I get for my boat?

Selecting the right type of propulsion system for your boat is foundational and essential to having a safe and enjoyable boat experience. The weight and overall horsepower will impact how your boat performs. If your vessel if underpowered, its engine will continuously work too hard, use too much gas, and will perform poorly. Check out this article from Allstate to help determine just how much horsepower you’ll need.

Should I buy new or used?

This particular question is extremely popular amongst new boaters. We recommend whatever is most comfortable for you and your situation. However, shopping for a new boat first will allow you to gain insight on which boat type you like best and the market price. You can easily comparison shop for similar pre-owned models, but keep warranties in mind when comparing new and pre-owned as well.

How do I learn how to effectively and safely boat?

As recreational boating becomes more prevalent around the country and waterways become busier, there is little room for error when it comes to driving your boat. It’s important to learn how to drive your boat properly from the get-go.

Every person who is considering boating should take a boating safety course. Boating safety courses are inexpensive, easily accessible and necessary for learning the rules of the waterways. You’ll generally find classes offered at boat stores, colleges or community centers, especially in waterfront communities. Check out the availability online in your area!

Once you find the perfect boat for your needs, be sure to protect your investment with the right lift for your boat. Our lift finder tool makes it easy to get started.

How to Pick the Perfect Name for Your Boat

A boat is not just a boat to a true boat owner. It’s a home, a way of life, and an escape from reality. As a boater, it is a right of passage (if you will) to give your boat a name. A name so fitting that the boat will project to friends, loved ones and the world who you are every time you pass by.

Why Name Your Boat?

Boat names can reveal a lot about the personality, passion and life experiences of a boat owner. Historically, the majority of vessels were named after female figures, either historical or personal, with names often representing an important woman in a captain’s life.

You certainly wouldn’t want to invest your time and money into buying a boat and then pick a name without any thought. Most people choose a name which has a special significance to them, but be careful not to select one that is too long or obscure. Ideally, it needs to be short, memorable, and you should be able to withstand hearing it repeatedly on a VHF radio.

Tips and Tricks To Name Your Boat

  • Think Unique. A boat’s name should always be an excerpt of your imagination.
  • Keep It Simple. The name of your boat should never be too long to where it doesn’t fit comfortably in the area of your choosing. If the name is short, memorable, and catchy, it won’t be puzzling to friends, family members and other boat owners.
  • Keep It Clean. Or in other words, “Keep it classy.” Using a name that includes profanity could give off the wrong impression, especially if children are involved.
  • Have Fun With Puns. Short puns, clichés or other play on words can add a lot of character to the boat.
  • Find Your Inspiration. Family, friends, hobbies, a favorite song or movie serve as excellent sources of inspiration.
  • Location Is Key. In addition to choosing a name, you’ll also need to take into consideration the best place to put it. When it comes to designing your boat name or choosing the right color scheme and font to accentuate your boat well, you can go the DIY route or hire professionals to help you visualize your ideal boat name layout.

Make It Official

In addition to the location of your name, you can either have the lettering done by professionals or order the vinyl letters and apply them yourself. Below are tips to keep in mind when placing the letters on the desired spot of the boat.

  • Choose a large, open area on the boat. Leave inches of boat space above, below, and around the name to make easier to apply and stand out.
  • Do not wax the boat prior to putting on your new lettering. The adhesive will not stick to the wax.
  • Last, but surely not least, make sure to apply the letters when the boat is out of the water.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out this list of the most clever boat names from A to Z.

Already found the perfect name and now looking for the perfect lift? Our Lift Finder can help!

What is a Float Plan and Why Do I Need One?

When on the water, you want to know someone’s got your back. Conditions can quickly change, accidents happen, and unexpected engine trouble or other unknowns can come fast. Of course, many of us prepare for the worst (and hope for the best) when we go boating but preparation can only do so much. We could all use a safety net in a worst case scenario, and that’s just what a float plan provides.

What is a Float Plan?

New boaters may not be familiar with the idea of a float plan but simply stated, it is a document that shares vital information about your planned trip. Before your trip, you can fill out this extensive form that includes specifics on your vessel, identification information, passengers and planned timelines/itinerary for your trip that could all help in your rescue, should you need it.

Once completed, this form should be left with a reliable person who will not be joining you on your trip. Let them know when you are expected to return, as well as your trip plans (locations, planned course, timetables). Update this person if your plans change, as they may mistakenly alert authorities if you are later than expected.

Why Do I Need a Float Plan?

You may look at the idea of a float plan as an unnecessary trouble, it is anything but that. As we stated at the top, there are plenty of ways even the best-planned boating trips can go south. The sheer amount of unknowns is enough to warrant this extra measure that could literally save your life in a worst-case scenario.

Not just cruisers or yachts need float plans either. Jet Skiers, kayakers, rafters, canoers and more should all prepare and share float plans as well–yes, even if the planned trip is a relatively short one.

Regardless of your vessel, the length of your planned trip or the extent of your planning, you could always use someone who has your back just in case the worst happens when you’re on the water. As they say, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and this is certainly one of those times. Be safe out there, complete a float plan and we’ll see you on the water.

Download Your Floating Plan Here:
http://floatplancentral.cgaux.org/download/USCGFloatPlan.pdf

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