Boating Skills

Bottom Stripping Basics

A boat bottom encased in Coppercoat instead of bottom paint, after a post-season pressure-wash.

Scene 1: A kitchen, springtime. A couple sits drinking coffee. Man (looking miserable): “I can’t hold out any longer. It’s been years.” Woman: … [Read more...]

Nautical Rules of the Road: Practice Like the Pros

The traffic separation scheme for San Francisco shows inbound and outbound lanes to and from the north, west, and south.

The nautical rules of the road can seem like pretty dry material to new boaters, but people who are experienced on the water know how valuable they are … [Read more...]

Exterior Marine Wood Finishes: Part Two — Oils, Sealers, Hybrids

A couple of coats of Amazon teak oil makes this teak deck shine, but without making the surface smooth and slippery like varnish or Cetol would. Photo courtesy of Teak Decking Systems.

It's a sign of spring: Boaters have been walking out of the marine supply shop where I fill in part-time with fistfuls of brushes, thinners, and wood finishes … [Read more...]

Small Cruise Ship, Shallow-Water Ops

Grande Mariner draws only seven feet, and can nose into a lot of places where larger vessels can't venture.

Most Boat Trader readers, whether they run on rivers and lakes or along coasts, can probably relate to boats that are purpose-built for their areas of … [Read more...]

Exterior Marine Wood Finishes: Part One, Traditional Varnishes

Varnish looks great and does a great job protecting wood, but getting it right requires a deft touch and some clever tricks. Photo by Gary Reich.

In recent years, real wood on new boats has definitely gone out of style. Unless you’re looking at a polished Chris-Craft launch, a 64-foot Jarrett Bay … [Read more...]

Tripping Your Anchor Free

Have your crew on the bow snub or make fast the anchor rode when it's "up and down," then let the boat's power break the anchor free.

While setting an anchor may have its challenges, getting it back aboard often proves the most difficult task -- especially if you're hauling it in by hand, … [Read more...]

AIS for Boaters: Part 1

This AIS transceiver not only broadcasts information about the vessel it’s installed on, but receives information about other AIS-equipped vessels as well. Note the various targets on the display, represented as circles with direction marks. Image courtesy of Furuno.

“When was the most scared you’ve ever been aboard a boat?” I get asked that question a lot, and every single time I remember a cold November evening … [Read more...]

Rafting Up: Tips and Tricks

Rafting up with friends is one of the big pleasures of boating, but there are procedures and protocols that make it safe and enjoyable.

Rafting up with other boats can serve two purposes – it can either provide you a docking place when the boat slips are already full, or it can be strictly … [Read more...]

10 Tips on How to Tow a Disabled Boat

The red tow-boat is postioned on the hip of the disabled sailboat. This helps in maneuvering in close quarters and in calm conditions.

The time-honored law of the sea says you have to render assistance to a fellow boater in trouble. It makes sense – you might be in his shoes next time. … [Read more...]

Safety Gear Checklists: Smart on Any Vessel

The safety checklist aboard Grand Mariner runs to 273 line items.

I sometimes write about the routines and challenges of running a charter schooner in busy Newport, Rhode Island. Now I'm reporting from  Belize city, … [Read more...]