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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.

no swimming in harbor2Many boaters in Ontario have heard of or may be staying at a marina that has the designation "Clean Marine".

You may have heard recently about the Blue Flag Program.

But, there is something you Should Not Do at a "Clean Marine" or a "Blue Flag" Marina.


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rear view mirrorDoes "jackknifing, pulling forward, backing, jackknifing, pulling forward, backing up, jackknifing again, cursing furiously, pulling forward, backing up, jackknifing, being furiously cursed at" sound familiar on your launch ramp while trying to launch your boat?

If so, Ford may have found the answer to eliminate all the frustration and embarrassment at the ramp.

The following Houston Chronicle article written by Shannon Tomkins talks about best practices at the Launch Ramp and Ford’s Solution to perfect, easy launches.

Shannon writes:

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rick iceBoating in the summer is one thing, but boating in the early spring is another—particularly after this past winter with the Great Lakes totally frozen over. The early spring water is just above freezing with ice still floating is some areas. Hypothermia is a real possibility and you should avoid it at all costs. The water temperature is only 5° to 7° Celsius or 40° to 43° Fahrenheit—that is non-survival cold!

Thanks Rick for sending this picture of you holding a chunck of ice on Lake Huron on May 18 2015.

On your first cruise of the season, you are still sorting out procedures, lines etc. You’re still rusty and un-rehearsed.

Consider these three Cold Water Tips to help you stay out of the unforgiving icy water lurking invisibly around your boat, like a hungry shark just below the surface.

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boating bcAh, long weekends. 

There are only four during the summer so each one is cherished but this one coming up carries special significance for boaters and cottagers.  (There are few things we cherish more than our long weekends.  One such long weekend carries special significance for boaters and cottagers.) 

It’s the Victoria Day long weekend in Canada, followed next weekend by Memorial Day weekend in the US which is considered by most as the unofficial start of summer!  It’s the weekend where the “Honey Do” List takes a back seat to opening up the cottage, launching the boat and hauling out the water toys. 

Historically, though, these weekends generate

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joy stick dockingOver the decades, power boats have undergone many changes and improvements; so much so, that they don’t resemble the old 1930’s and 40’s boats with single inboards, large rudders and huge keels.

Outboards and Sterndrives were invented, requiring totally different handling and docking skills presenting boaters with different handling and docking challenges.

Then, just recently along came the joy stick as a docking solution, allowing boaters to dock a boat like playing a computer game. Sounds like the answer to simplify docking doesn’t it? Well,

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golf lessonBoating is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It is a family recreation enjoyed by millions for family fun, entertaining, relaxing, exploring, fishing and just being on the water.

Life truly is better on a boat.

As with all activities, for example; golf, tennis, painting your house or even handling and docking a boat, you can fumble through on your own, learn from a friend OR be taught by a Pro.

The results always tell the tale! Onlookers easily spot someone who has taken lessons from a pro or someone who hasn’t. Are your dockings worthy of a YouTube video?

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researchAfter a long, cold winter, we finally have a break. Boaters are excited about storing their snow shovels and snow blowers and are shifting their thoughts to spring launch and summer boating.

Many are buying their first boat or trading up; but, a good percentage will buy the WRONG boat.

How do we know? Boaters have been telling us their horrors for decades at boat shows, in harbours and phone calls for help.

Here are a few examples of boaters’ stories:


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old cruiser skegRecreational power boats have evolved over the decades from low inboard power boats with huge rudders, skegs and low flat decks in the 30’s and 40’s when the same docking lesson worked for both sail and power, to the variety of power boats you see on the water today.

As a result of all these changes and improvements, handling and docking a power boat is much more challenging and requires a completely different method of handling and docking for each drive system, BUT

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checklist-boat-springBoating is supposed to be fun! But, many boaters experience disappointment or even disaster on their first few outings in the spring.

Forgetting to bring the corkscrew for your wine, the can opener for your cans, or the fly swatter to protect yourself from the pesky flies are irritating, but aren't too serious and can easily be remedied by bringing them the next time.

But having an annoying water leak or the VHF radio not working, or your windshield wiper smearing your windshield could put a damper on your outing.

More serious problems like transmission or engine problems, leaky holding tanks, electronics not working, or missing safety items could easily result in disaster.

All of these problems are preventable with a simple.....

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There are knots for just about everything. You can find all kinds of information on the internet and view how to tie them. But, we are interested in finding out about one particulawnmower hitch smlar knot (hitch) that many boaters use but don’t know what it is called.

Last year, we asked for help identifying this helpful knot that has no name—or at least no name that we can find. Many suggestions came in that were close, but none match this knot.

It is often used to store a coiled rope or line when not in use either on the bowrail or on a rail in storage. The cow hitch and lanyard hitch appear similar once tied, but they are tied differently and not with multiple coils of rope or line.

Do you know what it is? See Unknown Knot - Still Unknown


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