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Raft Up!

May 28, 2014

Rafting your boat is a great way to spend time on the water with family, friends and other boaters. Here are a few tips to keep you and your boat safe while rafting up this summer.

Raft Up!Gear:
Make sure you have the right gear for rafting up. Fenders, dock lines, spring lines and anchors are important. A boat hook is also handy to maneuver boats at close quarters while keeping hands and feet clear for safety.

Make a Plan:
Having a good plan will make the process of rafting multiple boats together go smoothly and safely.

  • Designate the heaviest boat (not necessarily the biggest) to be the host or ‘anchor’ vessel. This will be the first boat in the raft, setting a good anchor for the boats that will then tie along either side.
  • The total load on the center boat will be more than normal and extra scope is necessary. Make sure the captain of the anchor boat is familiar with his anchor and sets it good at 7:1 minimum scope, 10:1 is always a good idea especially for larger rafts.
  • Size up the boats that plan to participate in the raft up. It is best to place similar sized boats next to one another to best protect the vessels when tied and make crossing between boats easier. Place larger vessels near the center of the raft, on either side of the host or anchor boat, and smaller boats towards the ends of the raft.
  • When planning a larger raft, it is a good idea to have multiple boats set an anchor to secure the raft, every third boat is a good rule of thumb. Be aware of current, tides and wind conditions. Plan to either anchor your raft in place (forward and aft) or to allow for swing (which can tangle lines and anchors if you are not careful).

Raft Up

Communicate:
Use your marine radio or cellphone to communicate between boats as they are added to the raft up.

Be Ready:
Have your fenders deployed and lines ready. Take into consideration if you will be setting an anchor prior to easing alongside the raft. Be safe, look for swimmers and smaller watercraft as you join the raft up. Children and guests not involved with rafting up should be sitting out of the way.

Tie Off:
When in position, tie off to the other boat. Adjust bow and stern lines so your stern aligns with the rafted boats. This allows for safer and easier travel between rafted vessels. Use spring lines to prevent forward and aft shifting between boats.

Movement:
Movement, especially in wake situations is usually unavoidable. This is one reason some choose not to participate in raft ups, and is often a cause for the rafted boats dispersing before dark. How protected your anchorage is from wind and wake, how safe and secure your fenders keep your boat, and how securely lines were tied are all important factors that will contribute to a safe and damage free raft up experience.

HAVE A PLAN, HAVE THE RIGHT GEAR AND HAVE FUN THIS SUMMER BOATING SEASON!

Be Respectful: Respect the privacy and belongings of the boats next to you, especially when coming aboard another’s vessel to cross along the raft. Be mindful of where you step, avoid walking over hatches and through cockpits, etc..

Be Safe: Take your time when crossing between two boats, never jump! Climbing over bow rails, lines, gunwales or swim platforms pose trip hazards and safety concerns. Be careful of cleats and other sharp objects when barefoot. Keep arms and legs out from between boats, you never know when shifting may occur. Wear life jackets or PFD in case of a slip. Never swim between boats.

The Right Tools: Even if you only raft up with other vessels once in a while, it pays to have properly sized and shaped fenders, and the right kind of dock lines for the task. For rafting up with larger vessels, you might want to consider having a set of at least two slightly larger fenders. Having slightly heavier dock line is a good idea too, especially if some of the boats in the raft are larger. Make sure you are tying lines off securely. Checking and maintaining your boat’s cleats and other gear is a good practice to prevent damage while rafting up or dockside.

Get The Gear Here!

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Marine controls are an essential part of any boat (including auxiliary powered sailboats). After the wheel or tiller, there is nothing else that you touch as much. Your marine controls connect you to the thrust and direction of movement of the vessel whether docking or out on the open water at full throttle. A control may operate the throttle or shift or both; several choices and options are available. Reliability, smoothness, accuracy and response are all features to look for in a marine control.

Shift / Throttle Functions of Marine controls:

Single Function / Single Lever (Controls Only One; Throttle or Shifter) – This is the simple lever that controls just the throttle or just the shifter. Some typical applications are with a Berkley Jet, this lever is the shifter and a foot pedal is used for throttle.

Dual Function / Dual Lever, Binnacle Mount Control

Dual Function / Dual Lever (Controls Throttle and Shift for Two Engines) – This control sees typical use with a twin-engine vessel and offers the simplest to use setup. Like all dual function controls, the lever controls both the shift and the throttle. As you push forward on the lever, the transmission engages and the engine throttles up.

Dual Function / Single Lever (Controls the Throttle and Shift) – By far the most common controller available for virtually every inboard, sterndrive and outboard application. This control is suitable for only one engine. The mounting options for this style control can range from helm stations to the side box controls on an outboard to sailboat cockpit controls. Like all dual function controls, the lever controls both the shift and the throttle. As you push forward on the lever, the transmission engages and the engine throttles up.

Single Function / Dual Lever (One lever controls throttle, the other lever controls shift) – A more traditional approach to controlling the throttle and shift. Some manufacturers do not recommend this type of control because you could throttle up (first) then slam the transmission into forward while the throttle is high! For twin engines, you simple mount two of these. Not for novices and can be dangerous when operated in a panic situation.

Control Mounting:

Traditional Runabout w/ Side Box Mount Control

Runabout, Outboard or Sterndrive Controls – Smaller boats typically use a side box mount controller, fitted to the right of the helm. With the exception of some jet boats, most of these controls are dual function, single lever. There are specific controllers made for Mercury / Mariner / Force as well as OMC / Johnson / Evinrude. You may be able to use a more generic controller by choosing cables that have end options that work with your system.

Sailboat Controls – Most sailboats use a flush side mount marine control. Older sailboats typically operated with Morse single function / dual lever controls. Most sailboat auxiliaries setup since the 1980’s use the dual function / single lever control to manage the throttle / shift in a smooth fashion.

Inboard and Larger Vessels – These controls are most often binnacle mounted controls that may have two stations (upper helm and lower cabinhouse) and twin-engine setups. The common traditional setup is a single function / dual lever control at the helm station. Owners often want more response and a ‘make sense system’ to help when maneuvering larger vessels with twin engines.

With the right controls, nearly anyone can take the helm* – note that the boat below is not under power!

Upper Control Station - Twin Engine, Single Function / Dual Lever

Lasdrop Dripless Shaft Seals

December 15, 2011

Lasdrop Gen II Dripless Shaft Seal, Premium Shaft Seal

Lasdrop dripless shaft seals are the answer for an easily installed replacement to the original stuffing box on nearly any boat. Once installed, there is virtually no maintenance required. The “Original” Bellows and Generation II models will last as long as eight to ten years before servicing, while the DrySeal model will last three to five years before the inner lip seal must be changed. At the service interval, both the Original and Generation II models would most likely require refurbishing of the seal surfaces. In addition, the bellows on the Original model should also be inspected and replaced, if necessary.

Green Solution – Lasdrop shaft seals are the green solution to preventing contaminated bilge water from entering the ocean you are in. Whether you are running a research vessel in Antarctica, a fishing boat in Norway, a world cruising sailboat or a workboat in Maine, keeping the water you run in clean is a good practice. Remember, keeping water out also means keeping engine and drive train bilge water in.

Lasdrop Shaft Seals are manufactured and engineered entirely in the USA. All Lasdrop products are backed by a three year warranty. Each model is easy to install, requires little or no maintenance, and is sold as a complete kit. Installation is easy and straight forward as long as you can access the area where the seal is installed. It will be necessary to disassemble the shaft from the coupling and the shaft will need to be slid back far enough to remove the original stuffing box.

Lasdrop incorporates injection ports for water lubrication in vessel applications where speeds are over 10 knots. Lasdrop builds single injection port shaft seals from 3/4″ to 1-1/8″ and offers 2 (dual) injection ports installed for shaft sizes from 1-1/8″. Built for any budget and boat, Lasdrop supplies 3 different levels of dripless shaft seals.

Good – the Lasdrop DrySeal is a compact, economical lip seal designed for quick and easy installation. This option offers a lip seal that is in constant low friction contact with the propeller shaft, preventing water from entering your vessel. The simple, affordable solution to a leaking tired stuffing box.

Better – the Lasdrop Original “Bellows” seal is a face seal that features a vibration absorbing bellows, ideal for use on sailboats and workboats. Specially balanced for smooth rotation, this model utilizes a 316 stainless steel and carbon graphite for its sealing surfaces. These modifications and materials result in a dripless shaft seal that lasts twice as long as the Lasdrop DrySeal.

Best – the Lasdrop Gen II is a culmination of more than a quarter century of experience in shaft seal design. An exclusive feature that makes it the premier shaft seal are a unique ball-bearing drive system that allows the seal ring to “float” and remain in constant contact with the carbon graphite seal surface, resulting in a seal that’s impenetrable to water.

The Perfect Dock, Garden, Yard Cart

There are few items that can travel so effortlessly between use for the boat and use for around the home as the Tipke Aluminum Folding Cart. At a mere 33 pounds, the Foldit cart is capable of handling loads in excess of 300 pounds! Removable front gate (included) allows for larger loads and quick, easy, controlled dumping of soil or mulch. Use it for carrying valuables up and down the dock or for work around the garden and yard; and when you are finished with the cart, it folds to a compact depth of just over 9″ for easy out-of-the-way storage.

Made in the USA and backed with a 2 year warranty!

Other Uses

Tipke has thought of uses beyond the dock, yard and garden with two accessories. This dock cart can be ‘towed’ around by more than just you. There is a bicycle hitch attachment that allows your cart to be towed behind your bike to the local market or on errands. There is also a trailer hitch attachment that allows the cart to be pulled along behind a yard tractor.

Rugged Service

This cart is built for years of rugged service. The all aluminum construction is rust free and corrosion resistant. The 20 inch pneumatic tires along with the position of the axle allows travel with heavy loads over uneven terrain with some ease. When not in use the cart is kept folded by the retracting handle. The cart can be ready for use quickly by unlocking the handle and opening the cart.

Your Own Dock Cart

For boaters, the corrosion resistant construction, weight carrying capacity and compact storage size meet all the criteria of the boater who is cruising around or wanting their own cart. The days of hunting the finger piers for an empty cart are gone. When you travel from marina to marina during the summer cruise, the Tipke dock cart comes in handy for picking up supplies or loading and unloading guests possessions.

Replacement Boat Lift Canopies

The boat lift has been at the lake for years. It has stood up surprising well for an aluminum frame that has been alternatingly; in the water or dragged up and frozen on the shore.

The primary purpose of a boat lift is two-fold; to lift the boat out of the water to keep the bottom clean and to keep the boat shaded / sheltered from above to protect it from the sun and weather.

Now after more than a decade, the cover portion of the boat lift is starting to look worn – or perhaps a recent wind storm finally finished the old fabric top off.

Go2marine supplies boat lift canopy covers for many of the boat lifts built-in the past 40+ years. Boat lift cover fabric is available in 3 types of fabric with 6 colors each offering 18 choices of personalizing the fabric.

Fabric

  • Vinyl – good quality and long-lasting; likely the fabric you had on your boat lift canopy from the factory. Heavy weight at 16 oz. per square yard. Easy to clean and affordable.
  • Harbor Time – better quality and more visually appealing to some. This is an Acrylic coated Polyester material. Quality look at a lighter weight, 11 oz. Made by the same company that makes Sunbrella.
  • Seamark – great quality with a rugged fabric. This fabric is a combination of the two best materials; the rugged acrylic fabric Sunbrella and a backing of waterproof vinyl. Sunbrella is also waterproofed at the thread level (no coating to peel away). At just over 16 oz. it is the heaviest of the boat lift cover fabrics.

Construction

  • Maximum leak resistance – all the fabrics that are used in the construction for boat lift canopies are coated and offer long-term water resistance.
  • Custom fit, Custom details – CAD patterns, scalloped trim. Professional seams along with stitching reinforcement where it is needed the most.

Installation

The original top was being held on with springs and line. Your replacement cover will have all necessary mounting hardware included. Canopy Installation Instructions will be included with the new replacement fabric canopy.

Replacement boat lift canopy covers for most popular manufacturers of boat lifts, including: Shore Station, Lake Shore, Beach King, Floe, Hewitt, Newman’s, Pier Pleasure, Porta-Lift and Shoremaster. All of these manufacturers are based in Minnesota, the “Boat Lift” State!

The installed T-top boat cover keeps your boat clean and dry

Go2marine offers Taylor-Made T-top Center Console Boat Covers for boats with fixed position “T” tops. These boat covers are built to accommodate a wide range of vessels, from 17.5′ to 26.4′. There are two groups of T-top covers, those that fit boats with no bow rails to 6″ bow rails and another group for those with taller rails, from 6″ up to 18″ bow rails. If you are uncertain how to measure your boat, follow these simple measurement guidelines.

Fabric and Construction:

The semi-custom T-top boat cover is manufactured from 6 ounce Hot Shot with a 5 year limited warranty. Exclusive for Taylor-Made boat covers, engine covers and other fabric products, they are  now sewn together with Gore Tenara thread. The thread is resistant to UV sunlight, saltwater, chemicals, acid rain and harsh environments; in fact, Gore stands behind the Tenara thread and guarantees that it will outlast ANY fabric it is sewn with. From the Acrylic Coated Polyester to the strap buckles and straps, these covers are made to stand up to years of service.

Installation:

Unlike T-top boat covers of the past, this pattern allow for two major design improvements.

  • The cover is made in 2 sections that can be zipped together
  • The cover can be installed by just one person – without a ladder.
Get started by pulling on the bow section…

After removing the cover from the box, separate the front and the back sections. Place the bow section over the bow and pull the cover on until it reaches the center cockpit. You may need to work from side to side. Now do the same with the stern section, pulling it on until it reaches the center console. Standing on the deck, secure and zip down one side 1/2 way, then the other side. Pull the zipped cover up under the T-top and secure. Step off the boat and zip the cover the rest of the way down on both sides.

Secure the zipped portion of the boat cover down on each side. Once you are done with the zippers and securing the straps across the zipper, move to the bow. Install the trailer strap on the bow, then work towards the stern. Here are the Complete T-Top Coat Cover Installation Instructions.

The result is a fabric boat cover that keeps out the elements and protects your investment for years to come.

From boating on the lake to tying up at the dock...

Go2marine with Taylor Made Marine Products is offering a drawing of $500 Gift Card for one lucky boater. Enter the Taylor Made Sweepstakes.

Taylor Made manufacturers a complete source of marine products and accessories. From the dock edging and guards right next to your boat to the fenders, buoys and mooring whips that keep your boat from contacting the dock. Taylor Made offers bimini tops, anchor shade umbrellas, misting systems and other products to protect you from the sun while on your boat as well as boat covers to keep your boats finish looking like new.

Tenara Thread - Lifetime Seam Warranty

Tenara thread is now used in all Ultima and Hotshot fabric products including boat covers, biminis and motor hoods. Tenara thread is guaranteed to outlast ANY fabric that it is used to sew – this means no more seams separating because the thread has failed to live up to the sun or weather.

Sweepstakes ends June 15th, 2011. No purchase necessary. See details below**

**You must be 18 years or older to enter. No purchase necessary. $500 Gift Card will be issued from a major credit card company. See full sweepstakes rules and details here.