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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.

full camper enclosureLast fall, when you put your boat to bed for the winter, you were diligent, planned ahead and you cleaned your canvas getting rid of all the bugs, dirt and mildew/mold. You also checked for any tears and holes in the canvas and vinyl and made an appointment with your canvas shop to do the necessary repairs over their less busy fall and winter months; so that your canvas would be ready to put back on you boat in the spring.

Oh, but that only happens in a perfect world and we all know that during the hectic time in the fall, things get missed. Quite often, it is the dirty and sometimes damaged canvas.

Canvas has many uses on different sizes and styles of boats including; bimini tops, convertible tops, cockpit covers, tonneau covers, dodgers and biminis and full camper enclosures.

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cleatEvery time, we all hope for a pleasant docking, but it doesn’t always happen that way. Quite often, boaters depend on dock helpers when they come into a new harbor; or even their home port. Sometimes this works out okay; but, many times, it ends in disaster for the Captain’s ego. Why?

The intentions of dock helpers are good, but their level of expertise is always unknown to the Captain. The dock helper could simply be a passerby, but who knows nothing about boats; a boater who can dock his own boat, but knows nothing about the techniques required for your drive system. You could be lucky and have a dock helper, who has been trained to help boaters dock, thus knows what to do. But, how do you know when you pull up to the dock, that you can really count on this dock helper to actually help you dock?

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knotNow is a good time for you and your whole crew to brush up on your knot tying skills, to be ready for the boating season.

If you don’t use the “6 boating knots you need to know” over the winter, it is so easy to forget them. Then, you have to learn and practice them all over again. To learn all the knots suggested for boating is so overwhelming though, it gets put to the end of the “To Do” list and we all know that we seldom get to the bottom of that list.

The good news is, you only really have to know 6 knots. That is a lot easier to learn and master—and, you can use them all year so you don’t have to re-learn every spring.

But, and there seems to always be a “but”, learning how to tie the knots is only half of the battle. You also need to know when and how to use them on the boat, for knot tying to be a useful skill.

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harbor collisionA collision at sea can be catastrophic!

A collision in the harbor may not be as catastrophic, but it can not only cause serious damage; but also be extremely embarrassing. It can happen so easily.

We witnessed the following “miss” and use this story to show, how easy it is for a collision in the harbor to happen. Art isn’t his real name, we changed it for obvious reasons and the boats in the picture above are not the boats involved.

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changeBack in the 1960’s, Boat Shows were dominated by sailboats displayed with sails up. Some power boats made up a small part of the Shows.

Over the decades that followed, we saw the opposite swing to almost all power with some sail, then to all power with only a few sailboats.

We have seen a move over time to smaller family boats as older family members with yachts passed on. Now, the highest percentage of boats purchased are smaller boats—much different than the larger yachts that were in demand decades ago. There have been huge swings in size, price and style.

As the outdoor recreational economy now seems to be outpacing the overall economic growth, more confidence is encouraging more and more people to get on board and go boating.

All signs are positive and point to strong recreational boating growth.

For more good news……

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1 10This time of the year, boaters flock to Boat Shows to see the latest and greatest boat models, accessories and all things boating.

Organizers not only plan, market and display marine products, but also add features, events, meet and greets, educational seminars, contests, food courts and even baby-sitting services and more.

They want to make your Boat Show experience more productive, informative and enjoyable.

So, how was your Boat Show experience on a scale of 1-10?

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Have you ever suffered from “crunchitis”?

docking badly 3Crunchitis is a docking disorder associated with stress, contact with the dock, usually yelling, embarrassment and frequently accompanied by extensive pain in the pocket book to cover repair bills.

Most boaters have suffered from Crunchitis at one time or another, and it takes forever to get over it.

No boater wants to experience the embarrassment of hitting the dock.


There are many causes of crunchitis, some more common than others:

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brochure fan4Knowing the actual “real” length of the boat you are about to buy, whether you are buying used/pre-owned or new, will arm you with excellent valuable information in the boat buying process. Comparing the actual length allows you compare apples to apples.

Boats tend to grow, when they are being sold or bragged about; and conversely, they shrink when they are being stored or docked.

Don’t get ripped! Compare actual hull lengths (without pulpits, platforms and creative marketing). Beware of model numbers, as they most often imply that the boat is longer than it actually is.

How do you know what size your boat really is?

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Kidde RecallMore than 40 Million Kidde Fire Extinguishers have been recalled.

This is important information for boaters who count on their Fire Extinguishers to work if they ever need them.

The American Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website shows you how to identify the recalled Fire Extinguishers sold between January 1, 1973 and August 15, 2017.

According to the CPSC website, consumers should immediately contact Kidde to request a free replacement fire extinguisher and for instructions on returning the recalled unit, as it may not work properly in a fire emergency.

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yellingpointingfinger2If your docking involves any yelling, swearing, jumping, boat hooks, bionics, dock helpers, guesswork or embarrassment, you are not in the “Best” Boat Docking category, and should probably upgrade your docking skills a level or two.

Boaters, who read our last newsletter “Bad, Good, Better, Best”, know that docking your boat should not include any of the above.

We have heard from many boaters over the years, who have mastered Doug Dawson’s Docking Techniques and are enjoying stress-free docking, but sometimes have difficulty explaining why it works so well, when challenged by another boater—especially one who is more senior and “qualified”.

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