Put the "ing" in your Boating

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Boating Articles

Doug and Brenda Dawson boating on georgian bay

Every couple of weeks, Doug and Brenda write seasonal articles informing boaters of new products, regulations, checklists of things to do for summerizing and winterizing, and covering topics like canvas, head, holding tank, cleaners, upholstery, teak, ropes and numerous other boating activities.

Here you will pick up tips and tricks to help make your boating easier and more enjoyable.

brenda doug boat showAnother year has come and gone, while Boat Show organizers have masterfully been bringing together Boat Manufacturers, Marinas, Brokers, Dealers and Suppliers all under one roof to present their products and services.


They are doing it for you!

They want new and seasoned boaters to take advantage of all the marine industry has to offer. They want you to get “Boat Fever”, so you’ll

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FM Book wSpine

For the First Mate on your Christmas list, finding the perfect gift can be quite a challenge.

Why not give a gift that makes life easier and more fun aboard your boat?

First Mate 101 does just that. Brenda shares tips and tricks to simplify the work leaving more time for the fun aboard.

When the First Mate is happy, everybody is happy and boating is a whole lot more fun!

Put a checkmark on your Christmas List. Order your copy today and get 2 free bonuses with your order. You can choose between printed or electronic download........

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to do listThe easiest way to put more spring in your boating is to start the season earlier—with no last minute repairs. The best time to address repairs is the fall. But if you didn’t, you are lucky—you have a second chance.

When you put your boat away for this winter, you probably had a few problems or jobs that needed to be dealt with, but time got away on you; so the boat went to bed with the “to-do” list undone.

The good news is, you don’t have to wait until next summer to check off the items on the list that will delay your boating.

You have a second chance right NOW!

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leaking hoseFall is definitely here, and it’s time for many boaters to prepare their boats for winter. Some have the marina staff haul, winterize and cover or store their boats (inside or outside) for the winter months; while others prefer to do some or all of the winter preparation themselves.

But, every year, there are some boats that suffer damage because things were missed, or done incorrectly. I remember, during the many years at our family marina, our service department being overloaded in the spring when owners, who had winterized themselves, brought in their boats for repair. We had to repair motors with cracked blocks and split water hoses, when the owner hadn’t drained them properly. We also had to replace cracked toilet bowls and on and on. All of these things could have been prevented.

Bringing in boats for repair in the spring puts a huge strain on the service department that is already busy enough summarizing and launching customers’ boats and new boats that had been sold over the winter months. This means there could be a long wait time for boats brought in at the last minute.

For those boaters who want to do their own winterizing, I would recommend that.....

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colourful shorelineWow! Tomorrow is the last day of summer and haulout is on the horizon.

For some, it has already happened; but, for others (us included) boating continues well into the fall taking advantage of every good day.

Accommodating the shorter, cooler days requires a change in boating routine.

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dog houseThe last thing a Captain wants to do is end up in the Captain’s Dog House!

But, unfortunately, it does happen and it puts a real damper on boating.

Just the other day another Captain ended up in the Dog House.

You may find this scenario familiar to what you may have seen in your harbor.

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thumbs downA Skating Pro knows before a skater jumps, that it will be a bad landing, by the way the skater enters the jump.

A Golf Pro knows before a golfer hits the ball, that the outcome will be into the rough, by the way the golfer stands and swings.

A Boat Docking Pro knows, when a boater enters a harbor, that it will be a bad docking.

One of the many early signs, that a docking will be entertaining is, when a crew member is on the foredeck with a boat hook.

Using a boat hook as a docking aid, just isn’t safe for a First Mate and is more often a hindrance than a help.


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first mate hatRecreational boating has been a big part of my life and all of Doug’s life. He was born and raised at the family marina, Dawson's Marina Limited on Lake Simcoe. I have had the opportunity to talk to thousands of First Mates at the marina, on the water and at the Boat Shows I’ve worked, since the mid 60’s.

Doug and I have been boating together since our teens in the 60’s. He is 5th generation and has been boating since he was tall enough to see over the windshield. During our years at the family marina, Doug and I had the opportunity to holiday in inventory boats and deliver boats both new and used—everything from daycruisers, cruisers, houseboats, trawlers, motor yachts and sailboats up to 48’. We even spent our honeymoon on a boat.

This sounds like an envious position to be in. But,

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man-questioning-use-marine-toiletBoat builders design boats to accommodate boaters’ needs; most with a head and galley. Some are small, but all are fully functioning.

Galleys have running water, cooking stove of one kind or another, frig/ice box and storage so that you can prepare meals and clean up afterwards. Galleys are meant to be used.

Heads are the same. Builders install a marine sink with running water and a toilet connected to a holding tank for the black water that is later pumped out through a fitting on the deck (similar to motor homes). Heads are fully functioning and they also are meant to be used.

Many owners of bowriders and outboards are eagerly waiting to trade up to have a boat with a head and galley, so they don’t have to use facilities elsewhere or wait.

So, why do we hear from boaters around the world that they don’t use their heads?

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friends enjoying boatingEntertaining and taking family/friends for a cruise, is part of the fun of having a boat. But, far too often, the Captain ends up doing all the work and the family/friends just get to enjoythe ride.

I’ve watched Captains bring their boats back to their slips, with guests in the cockpit texting and oblivious to all the docking preparatory work while the Captain is running around hanging fenders, preparing lines and trying to be at the helm as well as entertaining—all at the same time.

There is one tip that will make your dockings so much easier.

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