NEWS From BoatU.S.
If You Don't Want More Corn In Your Gas Tank,
BoatUS Says Boaters Need to Speak Up Now
THE ISSUE: The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is the 2005 federal law that requires the blending of biofuels such as corn-ethanol into our gasoline. When it was written, it assumed that America's use of gasoline would continue to rise and mandated escalating amounts of biofuels to be blended with our fuel. Since 2005, however, gasoline usage has actually declined steadily, which today forces more ethanol into less gasoline.
To keep up with this RFS mandate, in 2010 the EPA permitted E15 (fuel containing up to 15% ethanol) into the marketplace. Even though E15 is prohibited from being used in marine engines, snowmobiles, motorcycles, small engines like lawnmowers and leaf blowers, as well as any vehicle made before 2001, this fuel can now be found at over 100 stations in 16 states at the very same pumps as E10 and ethanol-free gasoline.
Over 60% of Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) half million members as well as millions of recreational boaters fill their boat's fuel tanks at roadside gas stations where the higher blend ethanol fuels are often the cheapest fuel at the pump. This creates a huge potential for misfueling and puts boaters at risk.
ACTION NEEDED NOW: For years, BoatUS has been battling in Washington to make sure recreational boat owners can buy gasoline that works with their recreational boat engines. Senators Diane Feinstein and Pat Toomey have now introduced S. 577, the "Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015" in the US Senate.
This bill, which has both Democrat and Republican support, will effectively remove the government mandate for higher blends of corn-based ethanol fuels (more than 10%) and allow for investment in other more compatible biofuels. BoatUS believes it is a critical step to solving the ethanol issue and urges America's boat owners to contact their Senator now to become a co-sponsor and supporter of S. 577. Boaters can easily do this at: http://goo.gl/S4bWMu. For more on the Renewable Fuel Standard go to www.BoatUS.com/gov.
WHO: Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the nation's leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its over half million members with government representation, fighting against unfair federal taxes, fees and regulations that single out boat owners. BoatUS is also non-partisan working on both sides of the aisle as well as with state agencies to promote boating laws that make sense.
Maryland Boaters Can Now Take No-Cost Boating Safety Course at Home BoatUS Foundation Online Boating Safety Course Approved by Maryland DNR
ANNAPOLIS, Md., September 17, 2013 – Until now, the only option for Maryland boaters wanting to take a required boating safety course was to pay for one out of their own pocket. However, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources now offers Maryland boat owners a free option with the availability of the no-cost BoatUS Foundation Online Boating Safety Course. The BoatUS course fully meets the state's education requirements for boaters and PWC operators born on or after July 1, 1972, and also approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and recognized by the US Coast Guard as exceeding the minimum requirements for the National Recreational Boating Safety Program.
"Our goal is to make boating safety education as accessible as possible to as many boaters possible," said BoatUS Foundation President Chris Edmonston. "By making Maryland's course free, it removes the last possible barrier towards ensuring everyone's safety. And because you can work on it as you go, it fits in with today's busy schedules."
The course is loaded with interactive animations, videos and photos to give boaters an education that goes well beyond the basics of boating. Videos show important safety devices such as visual distress signals, how to get help in an emergency, how to prevent fires aboard your boat, and the best way to fit a child's life jacket.
Virginia Boaters Can Take Free Boating Safety Course at Home
BoatUS Foundation Online Boating Safety Course Approved by
RICHMOND, Va., December 13, 2010 - With a phase-in period that began last year, many Virginia boaters and PWC operators will soon be required to carry a boating safety certificate while operating a PWC or boat with motor having 10 or more horsepower. The catch is, to get the certificate, Old Dominion state boaters need to complete a boating safety course. The challenge for some, however, may be finding a nearby course that fits their schedule and their budget.
However, the new Online Boating Safety Course provided by the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is now approved by Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries which allows the state's boaters to take the course at no cost in the comfort of their own home.
The online course and exam is also approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and recognized by the US Coast Guard as exceeding the minimum requirements for the National Recreational Boating Safety Program.
"We've loaded the course with interactive animations, videos and photos to give boaters an education that goes well beyond the basics of boating," said BoatUS Foundation Director of Boating Safety Chris Edmonston. "It includes videos that demonstrate important safety devices such as visual distress signals, how to get help in an emergency, how to prevent and extinguish fires aboard your boat, and the best way to fit a life jacket to a child so they will not slip out," he added.
"The best part of all is the course is free and can be taken at home, and it's designed so that you can stop and then continue at any time. I will guarantee you that everyone will learn something new," said Edmonston.
Upon finishing the course, boaters can print their own Certificate of Completion, including a wallet-sized card that can be cut out and laminated to carry with you on your boat.
To take the course go to www.BoatUS.org. For more information about Virginia boater education, go to http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/boating.
BoatUS Asks: If Not Ethanol, Why Not Butanol?
ALEXANDRIA, Va., February 6, 2012 -- With its ability to attract moisture and clog fuel filters, it's no wonder America's boaters have not been thrilled with ethanol in gasoline, which today is most commonly found as a 10% blend and known as E10 at the gas pump. America's desire for renewable fuels is growing, but recent Department of Energy tests on boat engines showed that increasing the amount of ethanol to 15% doesn't work for boats. While higher ethanol content has been approved by the EPA for 2001 and newer cars and light trucks, E15 is not legal to use in boats and other gas-powered equipment.
Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) suggests that butanol, an alcohol with a characteristic banana-like odor typically made from corn and beet byproducts, may be an answer.
Unlike ethanol, butanol is less corrosive, doesn't attract moisture which can cause harmful "phase separation" of the fuel, and can be mixed in ahead of time and shipped through existing pipelines. It has a higher energy value (110,000 Btu per gallon versus ethanol's 84,000 Btu), and is safer because its flammability is similar to diesel fuel. So why aren't America's boaters, motorists and gas-powered tool and toy owners using butanol?
"Part of the answer is how the stuff is - or was - made," wrote BoatUS Seaworthy Magazine Editor and Damage Avoidance Expert Bob Adriance. He says, "Back in the 1980's when the government was looking at biofuels, the cost to produce butanol was much higher than ethanol. Congress also gave ethanol a head start 30 years ago with a subsidy to produce it from corn. However, the subsidy is now expired and new technologies have made the costs to produce both fuels similar, although butanol is ultimately far less expensive to produce in terms of the amount of energy delivered per gallon."
"With its new cost competitiveness and energy advantages, butanol could be a biofuel that boaters embrace," said Adriance. "However, we need to find out more about any potential long-term effects, and would need to overcome the not-too-insignificant reality of ethanol's financial and political momentum in the market today."
BoatUS - Boat Owners Association of The United States - is the nation's leading advocate for recreational boaters providing over half a million members with government representation, programs and money-saving services. For membership information visit www.BoatUS.com or call 800-395-2628.
BoatUS Angler Will Assist Competitors in Need During B.A.S.S. Opens
ALEXANDRIA, Va., January 18, 2012 - Traveling thousands of miles each year on the road and making it to weigh-in at the end of a tournament day are "givens" for today's successful pro angler. But roadside breakdowns and on-the-water troubles can threaten a winning paycheck. That's why it's a perfect fit to announce that BoatUS Angler, which has provided both roadside and on-the-water assistance to boat and rig owners for nearly 20 years, has signed a sponsorship agreement with B.A.S.S. to be the Official Towing Service of the 2012 Bassmaster Open Series.
"On more than one occasion last year, we saw first-hand the goodness of BoatUS Angler being able to provide much needed assistance to our anglers during competition," said B.A.S.S. Senior Tournament Manager, Chris Bowes. "Thus, entering a formal agreement to have BoatUS Angler towboats officially available to all Open competitors is a very logical relationship," Bowes explained. "It's a reassuring benefit to our anglers, as well as the B.A.S.S. staff who, first and foremost, want to see all of our competitors return safely to the dock each afternoon."
BoatUS Angler is the fishing division membership from the nation's largest association of recreational boaters. They offer boat-owning fisherman services such as on-the-water breakdown and towing assistance provided by the largest fleet of towboats in North America, as well as roadside boat trailer and tow vehicle assistance through 20,000 specialized towing companies.
"Tournament anglers spend countless hours behind the wheel of their bass boat and tow vehicle," said BoatUS Angler's Steve Levi. "We're offering a program that takes the hassles away with 24/7 dispatch assistance when either one breaks down, and gives you the chance with our Weigh-to-Win incentive program to make some extra cash when competing in nearly 300 professional fishing tournaments."
"Our TowBoatUS Dispatch Service handles on-the-water breakdown calls on most of the nation's major inland lakes, rivers and reservoirs," added Levi. "If we don't have TowBoatUS location nearby, our 24/7 dispatch centers can get you the help you need whether your engine fails, you're out of gas, your battery dies or you run aground in shallow water."
Sheriffs' boats, camera boats, and other non-competitors have towed Bassmaster tournament anglers experiencing breakdowns safely to shore in the past, but this new agreement will mark the first time in history where B.A.S.S. has allowed outside help from a formal towing service for anglers during competition.
Services provided by towboats are free of charge with an affordable BoatUS Angler membership. Competitors who have not signed up for membership will be charged the standard cost of services provided by TowBoatUS.
Tournament anglers who buy a BoatUS Angler membership will also benefit greatly from their subsequent free participation in the BoatUS Angler "Weigh-to-Win" tournament cash bonus program.
Participation in BoatUS Angler's "Weigh-to-Win" is as simple as signing up for any of the following invaluable programs. You choose which option appeals to you most.
The On-the-Road Towing package includes a BoatUS Angler membership for just $38 and is great for bass anglers concerned about breakdowns on the highway. Those who want on-the-water assistance would likely choose the On-the-Water Unlimited Freshwater Towing package for $58. Anglers that want their mind at ease, both on-the-road and on-the-water, would choose the combined BoatUS Angler membership for $72. All three offerings make you eligible to enter the "Weigh-to-Win" tournament cash bonus program at no additional cost.
Simply said, it pays to buy a highly affordable BoatUS Angler membership regardless of what B.A.S.S. events you compete in, including the Bassmaster Weekend Series - especially when you're registered for the Weigh-to-Win cash tournament bonus program, and that's why hundreds of anglers signed up last year. To make sure you are eligible in 2012, just dial (918) 742-6424 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. CST, and ask for Kendell, she'll make sure you get signed-up. Or to learn more, please visit www.BoatUSFishing.com.
Boating Safety Starts at Home
Includes No-Cost Online Boating Safety Course Approved in Over 30 States
ALEXANDRIA, Va., October 25, 2010 - Learning about boating safety from the comfort of your own home just got a lot easier with the new BoatUS Foundation Online Learning Center at www.BoatUS.org. The website offers a no-cost online Boating Safety Course that makes learning easier and retention stronger with the use of new animations, videos and interactive activities.
The course is great for boaters or anglers who need to take a boating safety course - it's valid proof of boater education in over 30 states - and it's also a great option for those wanting to brush up on their boating safety. It is designed so you can start, stop and continue where you left off at any time, making it easier to fit today's busy schedules.
"We believe in reducing the barriers to boating," said BoatUS Foundation Director of Boating Safety Chris Edmonston. "Some boating safety courses can cost over $100, which can present a big hurdle, especially if several family members want to run the boat. Also, in some parts of the country it may be hard to find a classroom course near you or that fits your schedule. By making our course free, available at home and doable on your own time, we hope to ensure your boating remains fun and everyone makes it home safely."
The difference between the BoatUS Boating Safety Course and other online courses - beyond the cost issue - is the scope of the material. "We don't just tell you basics," continued Edmonston. "We go beyond the minimum amount information you need to know."
"For example, most boats must have a fire extinguisher aboard. But if you have a larger vessel, we'll show you why it is wise to have more than the minimum requirements and understand what to do in the event of a fire on your boat," added Edmonston. "We also will tell you, for example, not only how many life jackets you need to have aboard, but demonstrate in a short video how to actually fit a life jacket to a child so they won't slip out."
Upon completion of the course, you can also print your own certificate to provide your state's boating agency as proof of boater education (for states that accept the course). In addition to the certificate, a few states require a small fee to issue a boating safety card or document. As an option, the Foundation can also provide a certificate suitable for framing for a nominal $5 fee.
Putting a Boat Away for the Winter? What You Need to Know About E-10 Gas
ALEXANDRIA, Va., September 9, 2010 - Boaters and anglers will soon be putting away their boats for the season. But before they do, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has some tips learned from fuel industry insiders on how to store a boat with E-10 gasoline (containing 10% ethanol) over the winter.
The Octane issue:
Over long winter storage periods, E-10 gasoline loses octane at about the same rate as non-ethanol gasoline. So leaving the gas tank mostly empty - and then refilling in the spring in the hopes of "refreshing" the fuel to regain any octane loss - is not necessary. However, a nearly empty gas tank introduces another problem: the strong possibility of phase separation.
Ethanol (an alcohol) attracts water. It also absorbs water - about 10 times more than regular gasoline. When ethanol can no longer absorb the water, it will "phase separate" from the gasoline. Should phase separation occur, the (water soaked) ethanol will settle to the bottom of the tank, which is where the engine's fuel system pick-up is located.
The problem with leaving a tank mostly empty is that it increases the tank's "lung capacity" to breath in moist air (water) through the vent. If the tank is mostly empty over the winter, there will also be less E-10 gas in the tank to absorb the moisture. This combination of more water and less absorption greatly increases the chances of phase separation. Adding fresh gasoline in the spring would not remedy the problem - the phase-separated ethanol would remain separated at the bottom of the tank.
The Water Separator issue:
Any moisture in a tank will be readily absorbed by the ethanol. E-10 can hold up to 1/2 percent of water by volume and up to that concentration the water molecules will dissolve in the gasoline forming a soluble mixture that will pass through a water separator and burn harmlessly in your engine.
The only time water will collect in a tank and not be absorbed is if phase separation has occurred, and by then it will be too late. A water separator is not a solution to the phase separation problem.
The Fuel Additive issue:
Fuel additives are good for many reasons and should be used when laying up a boat for winter, but no additive will stand up to a good-sized slug of water. And once too much water has entered the tank and the gas has begun to phase separate, no additive will return the fuel to its original state. The only solution to phase-separated gas is to have a professional drain the tank and start anew.
The best advice for storing E-10 in your boat's gas tank over winter:
Keep the tank nearly full. This greatly reduces the volume of moist air that can enter the tank via the fuel tank vent when temperatures fluctuate in the fall and spring. With any fuel, an antioxidant will help keep it fresh during lay-up. Finally, never plug up a fuel tank vent - it creates pressure that could cause dangerous leaks in the fuel system.
For more information including free downloadable winterizing checklists, go to www.BoatUS.com/winter. To watch a short video on ethanol and winterization, go to: http://www.youtube.com/user/BoatUSvideos#p/u/44/QWgLHTkDhYU.
BoatUS Foundation's Top Picks For On-the-Water Weather Services
A Look at Cell Phone, Smart Phone, Chartplotter, and
ANNAPOLIS, Md., August 12, 2010 - On the afternoon of July 25th, a fast moving storm packing 70 mph winds, rain and lighting swept across the Chesapeake Bay. Over the next two hours, US Coast Guard Sector Baltimore, MD, received 37 calls from mariners in distress. Unfortunately many boaters and anglers, unaware of the supercell's fury, were caught unprepared. But it didn't have to be this way.
Today there are dozens of hi-tech ways to receive up-to-the-minute weather information aboard your boat. The BoatUS Foundation recently reviewed 28 products and services to see which provided mariners with the best information and has issued its recommendations for its top "picks."
"Sometimes bad weather can approach with few visual signs," said Program Manager David Carter. "Having these resources available can complement your VHF radio's weather broadcast."
The review, which covered satellite and phone-based weather services for the coastal inshore and inland boater, included free cellular phone text messaging services to fee-based subscription services that display weather information on a chartplotter. Each weather service includes hardware, such as a standard flip phone, smart phone, computer or chartplotter, as well as the software designed to present the information.
Foundation staff limited their focus to the actual content and depth of weather information provided. This included the ability to deliver local, land-based weather information (current conditions such as temperature, wind or barometric readings), hazardous weather warnings, radar imagery, land and marine forecasts, and NOAA buoy reports.
The BoatUS Foundation's weather service "picks" are:
Best Free Flip Phone Option: NOAA's mobile.weather.gov
To view the full report and details on each pick's features, Foundation Findings #49 - Weather to Go, go to BoatUS.com/foundation/Findings/49.
BoatUS and Mariners Learning System Team Up
Increasing Educational Opportunities for Boaters
ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 13, 2010 - Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has teamed up with Mariners Learning System to offer BoatUS members a way to enhance their boating knowledge or start a career in the marine industry. The new partnership offers a suite of six US Coast Guard-approved online captain's licensing courses, from "six pack" to master 25/50/100 ton licenses, that can be taken online in the comfort of home or on the road and at your own pace.
The Mariner's Learning System incorporates broadcast quality, on-demand audio lectures, professionally produced training videos and online computer-based training. Included is access to online instructors, each a Coast Guard-licensed master who has gone through a rigorous Coast Guard approval process to become an instructor. In addition, toll-free telephone support and access to staff instructors is provided.
Upon completion of a course, taking a proctored exam, and meeting other requirements such as documenting sea time and passing an physical examination, BoatUS members simply submit, within one year, the application package to the nearest Coast Guard Regional Exam Center and upon review and approval, they will issue the license. To date the system has trained more than 15,000 students with a 98.7% exam pass rate.
"These courses are also available on MP4 players, Blackberries, iPhones, and other smart phones, so you can learn anywhere, anytime," said David Mann, BoatUS membership programs manager.
For more information, go to www.BoatUS.com/membership/mls.asp .
Two Myths About Boat Insurance That May Surprise You
Bring up the topic of boat insurance and most boaters will tell you it's a sleeper. However, Boat Owners Association of The United States ( BoatUS ) says that many boaters and anglers might be surprised to know the important details about their own boat's insurance policy. BoatUS would like to debunk two common myths about boat insurance to help boaters choose the right coverage, and become more informed consumers.
Myth #1: If you understand home or auto insurance, you'll understand boat insurance.
Most consumers are familiar with standard home or auto insurance policy language, so it's easy to shop for price as long as each insurance company has about the same service. Then when you have to file a claim, each company will treat the loss in the same manner, right?
Not true with boat insurance, because each company can include or exclude whatever coverages it desires. That means that one company's policy could cover damage if your boat sinks, for example, while another could exclude the same loss attributing it to simple "wear and tear."
Generally, a marine specialty insurer will offer better coverage when compared to adding your boat to your homeowner's insurance policy. For example, true "boat specialty" policies will have 24/7 emergency response operations to not only take the first report of a claim, but are able to dispatch resources needed to immediately recover and repair the boat, which can also reduce the boater's exposure to fines and penalties if their boat is sinking and leaking fuel.
In another example, after a hurricane some homeowner's insurance companies' primary focus is to process claims for home damage, leaving boat insurance claims a distant second priority. And the longer you wait, the greater the chance the boat could incur more damage.
Myth #2: Most companies that specialize in boat insurance have similar coverage, so it's best to shop on price.
Again, even among marine specialty insurers, all policies are not the same, so the first task is to review the "exclusions" to see what losses are not covered. A fairly standard exclusion usually starts with wording such as, "any loss caused directly or indirectly by wear and tear, gradual deterioration, rot, corrosion, etc."
The second task is to then see if the policy has a provision to add back "consequential damage" coverage. Consequential damage coverage appeals to many boat owners because it covers the "consequences" of a loss that was the result wear and tear, deterioration, rot, or corrosion. In plain English: if consequential damage is not covered in your policy, almost every sinking or fire could be excluded.
Lastly, some boat policies limit salvage coverage, or combine salvage expenses with other repair expenses in the same "pile" of money to handle the claim. This means if your boat sinks and the combined cost of salvage and repair surpass your policy's limits, you'll be on the hook for the rest. Not good. Most boaters need a policy that treats salvage and repair expenses separately. For example, if you boat is insured for $40,000, you should have up to the full value of the policy ($40,000) for salvage efforts and another $40,000 available for repairs or replacement.
LAKE ANNA, Va., May 13, 2009 -- Capt. Peter Merrick, owner of TowBoatU.S. Ingram Bay in Kilmarnock, Va., has opened a second location, TowBoatU.S. Lake Anna. The on-the-water towing and assistance company gives recreational boaters a reliable way to summon on-the-water assistance day or night. Battery jump starts, fuel drop offs, ungrounding services and tows back to a launch ramp are some common requests.
"Boaters and anglers have been asking us for a long time when we would open up on the lake," said Capt. Merrick. "Since we have professional captains and all the right equipment, they know it's a lot easier to call us rather than have to ask a friend to find them and safely get them back to the dock or launch ramp," he added.
TowBoatU.S. Lake Anna is located at Anna Point Marina near the Route 208 bridge. It is operational 24-hours a day, seven days a week from May 1 to September 13. Off-season service is also available. The new port joins a nationwide BoatU.S. towing fleet of over 600 towing assistance vessels.
Stationed at the port is 16-foot center console response boat loaded with a full complement of towing and salvage equipment including extra fuel, engine fluids, pumps, dive gear and a battery "jump pack" to handle dead batteries. With a shallow draft and fold-down radar arch, the vessel can easily pass under all of the low bridges on the lake to reach stranded boaters in any location. The vessel can be identified by its distinctive red hull, white bow stripes and "TowBoatU.S." lettering along its sides.
BoatU.S. offers an "Unlimited" on-the-water towing plans for freshwater boaters for just $53 a year, which includes BoatU.S. membership Without a towing plan, boaters face costs that nationally average about $600 per incident. Boaters in need of towing assistance can reach TowBoatU.S. Lake Anna by calling the company directly at 804-435-7650; by VHF radio on channel 16; or through the BoatU.S. toll-free Dispatch Service at 800-391-4869.
Visit BoatUS.com/towing for more information.
Summer Water Safety Tip:
ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 16, 2009 - Summer will soon be here and for many parents, this may be the first time your family goes boating. To make sure everyone is ready, the non-profit BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Waterhas three free online resources at www.BoatUS.com/foundation/LJLP/fit_video to make sure the kids are safe:
How to properly fit a kid's lifejacket: Having a child wear an adult or incorrectly sized life jacket could be as dangerous as having no life jacket at all, giving parents a false sense of security. A short online video explains how to fit a right-sized life jacket to your child.
How to borrow a kid's life jacket if you don't have one: Boaters don't always have every kid-sized life jacket aboard. However, the BoatU.S. Foundation has over 500 locations across the country - local marinas, fire departments and other waterfront businesses - where parents can borrow a kid's life jacket (in various sizes) for the day or weekend, absolutely free. The Web site allows parents to search for a Kid's Life Jacket Loaner location near them. The program loaned out over 90,000 life jackets last year, and three lives have been saved to date.
Know your state's life jacket laws: Confused about who needs a life jacket? The Web site has a state-by-state listing of life jacket regulations.
For more information on boating water safety and the BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water go to BoatUS.com/foundation .
About the BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water:
How to Save Money on Boat Insurance
ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 2, 2009 - Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.) has these tips to save money on boat insurance:
1. Reality check: Today's competitive boat buying market has likely reduced the value of your boat - which could allow you to reduce your premium.
2. Hold the small stuff: If you don't submit small claims and can handle a bigger deductible, ask your insurance company for a discount.
3. Check for duplication: If you have a homeowners or renters insurance policy it may cover things such as "sports equipment coverage" which is sometimes added to a boat insurance policy.
4. Go back to school: Many insurance companies give a discount for taking an approved safe boating class.
5. Join a boating group: Join the U.S. Power Squadrons or U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and earn an extra discount on your insurance while learning and participating in making our waterways safer.
6. Go liability only: If your boat is paid for and you feel comfortable with absorbing the cost of damage to, or the loss of your boat, consider a "liability only" policy that will still protect you and your other assets from lawsuits if you damage someone else's property or injure a third party. However, all liability policies are not alike - things like medical coverage for family and friends, salvage and wreck removal, fuel spill and uninsured boater coverage should be included.
7. Long lay-up? If your boat is in storage for an extended period consider a "port risk" policy that provides no navigation coverage but does cover your boat in cases of theft, fire or liability should someone get hurt.
8. Have the "right" type of policy: Most boaters have either an "Agreed Value" policy or an "Actual Cash Value" policy. The Agreed Value policy typically costs more but provides more reimbursement in the event of a partial loss by paying the replacement cost of most items, and it will pay the value stated on the policy if the boat is a total loss. However, the Actual Cash Value policy costs less but also depreciates all losses - and will pay you less in almost every claim. Both kinds of policies have benefits but only you can decide which best meet your needs.
9. Understand what you're getting: Boat insurance policies can vary widely. For example, an insurance policy with $800,000 for fuel spill coverage may sound like a lot, while other policies may exclude this coverage completely. In plain English, if your boat starts a marina fire that destroys other vessels, will there be enough money to cover the resulting spill as well as the loss of neighboring vessels?
Some other coverages to ask about:
· Salvage and wreck removal coverage: If your boat sinks, your insurer will write you a check for the value of the lost boat (hull value). But who pays to remove the sunken boat? Depending on your insurance company it could be your own wallet or a separate "bucket" of salvage money in your policy.
· Consequential damage: If your boat sinks because of a failed part, is the resulting water damage covered? Or, does the policy exclude "any loss caused directly or indirectly, or resulting from" the failed part? If it does exclude it, you'll end up paying more for repairs out of pocket.
· Contractual liability: Commonly needed by boaters who rent storage space or a marina slip, contractual liability satisfies a rental / slip contract's "hold harmless" provision. However, you may not need this coverage if you store your boat at home.
FIVE REASONS TO TAKE A CLOSE LOOK AT YOUR BOAT PROPELLER
ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 12, 2009 - Selecting the right propeller for your boat's motor is sometimes as much art as it is science. That's because every boater uses their boat in different ways and under different conditions. The January 2009 issue of Seaworthy from BoatU.S. Marine Insurance recently looked at why you may want to take a closer look at your prop this winter and ask yourself these five questions:
1. Is your boat slow to come onto plane? Pitch is the theoretical distance a prop makes though the water in one revolution. If a prop has too much pitch the boat will have a lousy "hole shot" -- meaning its ability to get on plane quickly will suffer, similar to trying to start a car from a stop in third gear.
Your tachometer can also indicate potential problems with pitch. Assuming you have a clean, well-maintained boat, your boat's engine should reach within 100-200 revolutions per minute of its rated wide open throttle (WOT). If not, a prop shop may need to adjust pitch.
2. Does your engine over-rev and boat seem slow? If there is too little pitch in the prop, the engine will over-rev and go past its redline at WOT. A prop shop can also add more pitch or recommend a new prop. Both under and over-reving can seriously damage an engine.
3. Did you run over a log, hit a sandbar or stump? You may have forgotten about that little bump that happened last summer, but your prop hasn't and it could affect performance when you launch in the spring. One prop shop proprietor reported to Seaworthy that 80% of the damaged propellers that come in to his repair facility look healthy at first glance -- until they are reviewed with computerized repair equipment.
4. Do you want to go faster? The first place to look is the prop. Stainless-steel props, with thinner and stronger blades, allow slightly more speed. However, the trade-off is that they are also more costly to purchase and repair, and should you strike a submerged object a stainless prop has the potential to cause greater lower unit damage than an aluminum prop.
5. Using too much fuel? It's a good idea to monitor fuel flow, either with a fuel flow meter or by doing the math. When fuel economy starts to suffer the first thing to check is for propeller damage as a dinged prop can easily rob you up to 10% in fuel costs.
The Problem with Ethanol Fuel: Phase Separation
ALEXANDRIA, VA, Sept. 9, 2008 -- Ethanol-laden gasoline, dubbed "E-10" for its 10% ethanol content, is now commonplace at marina fuel docks across the country. However, as winter approaches and boaters lay up their vessels for the season, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.) has some recommendations to ensure that spring commissioning will go smoothly. That's because E-10 can phase separate, or form two separate solutions in the gas tank - water and fuel - over a long winter storage period. Once this happens, the engine may not run and internal damage can occur.
BoatU.S. has these recommendations for storing boats fueled with E-10 this winter:
· Top Off: For boats with built-in gas tanks, stop at the fuel dock and top off the tank before you haul out, leaving it nearly full with just a little room for expansion. A tank that is almost full limits the flow of air into and out of the vent, which reduces the chance of fluctuating temperatures adding condensation (water) to the fuel, inviting phase separation. Anglers who fish over the winter should also top off their boat's gasoline tanks between outings to prevent condensation. Draining built-in fuel tanks of E-10 gas, while completely eliminating any chances of phase separation, is not practical and potentially dangerous.
· Freshening doesn't work: Midwest marina owners, who have dealt with E-10 for many years, report that phase separation typically occurs when boats are stored with tanks only one-quarter to one-half full, which cannot be remedied by adding fresh gasoline in the spring. Once E-10 phase separates, the water will remain at the bottom of the tank.
· Additive issues: With any fuel that sits in a tank for a long time, it's important to add a stabilizer. But stabilizers do not prevent phase separation. Once it occurs, additives and water separators can't help. The only remedy is to have the gas and ethanol/water professionally removed from the tank.
· Fiberglass tanks beware: Ethanol is known to chemically react with many fiberglass fuel tanks, which can cause them to deteriorate and potentially fail. Unfortunately, unless your boat's manufacturer can confirm that your fiberglass tank was built to withstand ethanol, your only remedy may be to replace the tank with a non-reactive material such as aluminum.
· Let it breathe: While ethanol does attract moisture, never try to plug up a fuel tank vent to prevent moist air from entering a tank. Without room to expand, the additional pressure could rupture fuel system components.
· Portable gas tanks: Any un-mixed gas (without 2-cycle oil) remaining in portable tanks may be carefully poured into your automobile gas tank. However, if you do have to store gas over the winter in a portable tank, keep the tank out of the sun and in a well-ventilated area away from ignition sources, keeping in mind that gasoline fumes are heavier than air. Recent BoatU.S. Foundation tests of portable jerry jugs confirmed that over time, gasoline can evaporate through the walls of some plastic containers.
· The good news: Next spring when you start the boating season you will already have a tank full of last year's gas, likely saving yourself some money on a fill up.
BOATUS OFFERS EASY WAY TO EXPLORE NEW BOATING AND FISHING GROUNDS
ALEXANDRIA, VA, August 11, 2008 - Are you bored with your local waterway?
Trailer boat owners and anglers don't have to settle for the same old water or fishing holes thanks to a free, online BoatU.S. Launch Ramp Locator at http://www.BoatUS.com/Trailerclub
The BoatU.S. Ramp Locator offers thousands of locations to launch a boat including municipal or state boat ramps, marinas, boat clubs, private sites and other locations that offer trailer boat access.
"We don't just give you a ramp's address - we've included all of the important information you need to make a decision, whether you're looking for new weekend cruise location, a new fishing locale, or just thinking about venturing a little farther," said BoatU.S. Trailer Club Director Beth McCann.
Trailer boaters and anglers can take advantage of the Locator's detailed boat launch site descriptions including parking information, hours of operation, boat size or motor restrictions, water depths, docking facilities, camping information, local services available, and contact information including Web site links and phone numbers.
McCann also says if you know of a boat ramp location not listed, you can get free trailer ball hitch cover from the Club by submitting the information online.
For anglers, fishing tips and species information as well as information on water depths and stocking programs are also included.
The BoatU.S. Trailer Club is part of Boat Owners Association of The United States - the nation's leading advocate for recreational boaters with 650,000 members. For $29 a year the Club offers 24 hour a day roadside assistance for boat trailer and tow vehicle breakdowns while towing, launch ramp fee rebates, and a subscription to BoatU.S. Trailering magazine, featuring information on towing techniques, how-to tips, trailer boating destinations from across North America and more.
Go to http://www.BoatUS.com/Trailerclub or call 800-245-6923 for more information. If you are a boat-owning angler, you may find additional information at http://www.BoatUSAngler.com or by calling 866-906-0013.
MIDSUMMER BOAT MAINTENANCE TIPS FROM BOATU.S.
ALEXANDRIA, VA, August 6, 2008 - Seaworthy, the newsletter from BoatU.S. that helps boaters and anglers prevent damage to their vessels, recently looked into some of the more common reasons for on-the-water boat troubles that occur mid-season.
"Preventive maintenance will help you avoid the headaches and keep your crew or fishing buddies comfortable and safe," says Seaworthy Editor Bob Adriance. "So going over the boat's systems in the spring is very important. But now after a couple months of use, it's time to look at things again. A midsummer check-up will ensure you make it back to home port without a problem."
Here are some midsummer maintenance tips for both power and sailboats:
· Through-hulls: Make a thorough check around any below-the-waterline hole or opening. Check all through-hulls for leaks and cycle seacocks to ensure they close properly. If it's hard to move the handle, make a note to service it next time the boat is out of the water. Any hose clamps should be tight and hose ends secure. A bilge pump cycle counter is a simple upgrade and the best early warning system that unwanted water is coming aboard.
· Engine belts: For inboard engines, look in areas near the belts checking for evidence of black dust - a sure sign that engine pulleys need to be realigned and the belt replaced. Push on the longest run of the belt - it should not deflect more than one half inch.
· Engine hoses: Squeeze coolant and fuel hoses with your hands, looking for softness, cracks or bulges. Replace any that are suspect. Wiggle the ends to ensure they are secure and inspect for any possible chafing issues in the engine compartment.
· Sterndrives: Inspect the folds in the bellows and replace if they show signs of cracking.
· Sacrificial zincs and anodes: A wasted zinc is a sure sign of trouble, possibly stray current at the dock. Ensure all zincs are no less than half gone - and replace them now if they are.
· Control cables: Look for chafe, splits or swelling of the plastic jacket - a sure sign the cable needs replacement.
· Outboard engine mounts: Smaller engines can sometimes vibrate loose, so re-tighten clamps and ensure the cut-off switch is operable.
· Hydraulic steering system and trim tabs: Ensure reservoirs are full. If you have to add fluid, there is leak that must be fixed immediately.
· Batteries and electrical system: Dead batteries are often nothing more than corroded connections - sandpaper can easily clean them up. With conventional batteries check water levels and add if necessary. Inspect cables and wiring for chafe, especially wherever they may pass through a bulkhead.
· Shorepower cable: Look for burn marks on the plug ends and the connection to the boat. Replace both the plug and receptacle immediately if you find any.
· Head: If your boat has a flushing toilet and its handle is getting hard to operate, you've likely got calcium buildup. Pour a cup of vinegar into bowl pumping only once or twice. Let it sit for one night before flushing with one-fourth cup of mineral oil.
· On deck: Old, stiff, or chafed dock lines should be replaced. Also check anchor line and chain shackles and any splices.
· Sailboats only: Look for any broken strands on standing rigging. You can find them by running a loose rag up the rigging, which will snag on any broken ends. Cracked swages are an indicator for immediate replacement. Contact a rigger if you suspect a problem. Running rigging also needs to be looked at - especially the roller furling line.
· Trailers: Inspect bearings and ensure they are well packed with grease. Hydraulic brake reservoirs should be full. Lastly, check the tires for wear and ensure lugs are tight.
BOATU.S. ANGLER NOW OFFERS PROFESSIONAL FISHING GUIDE INSURANCE
ALEXANDRIA, VA, May 19, 2008 - BoatU.S. Angler, part of BoatU.S., with more than 650,000 members nationwide, now offers a commercial guide insurance policy for fishing guides to meet their unique boating needs.
"We know that a guide's boat and equipment are essential to success," said Michael Pellerin, director of the BoatU.S. Angler program. "That's why we developed a commercial guide's policy that not only meets the unique needs of boating, but includes the best protection for the other aspects of his or her business. It covers both personal and commercial use, including tournaments."
Coverage is available for boats under 24 feet operating with up to three guests. Policy features include:
· Agreed value coverage for boat, engine and trailer.
In addition, 24-hour emergency dispatch for fire, sinking, fuel spill, even roadside accidents and quick claims service is included.
BoatU.S. Angler is a new program from the nation's largest association of recreational boaters whose mission is to protect the interests of boat-owning anglers, increase boating safety, provide consumer assistance and ensure fishing remains worry-free. For more information, call (866) 532-1829 or visit online at http://www.BoatUSAngler.com/insurance
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