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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.

better-wayWinter is here for many of us, but for you lucky boaters who are fortunate enough to boat all year, you have an opportunity to improve your skills and knowledge, to enjoy boating even more.

There is almost always a better way to do everything on a boat.

Don’t get stuck in a rut.


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sherlock-holmesNow that much of the North is into fall, and you are going to your boat less often, who is watching your boat when you aren’t there? During the fall, we all want to squeeze in as many hours or even minutes on the water as we can. Knowing that haul out is just around the corner, each fall visit to the boat or fall cruise is precious.

Most marinas regularly check all the boats, but many do not spot smaller problems or potential problems. In some harbours, there is no one to check on the boats at all. If your boat isn’t being checked, there is a simple solution.

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T-Sterndrive2webfirstmate bkcoverAn e-Book is an “electronic book”.

  • E-Books are called “electronic” because they are files that you access on your computer.
  • Like normal paper books, they have cover art, an author, editor, illustrator, publisher and story.
  • E-Books are available in any genre, any length and many formats.


Dawsons e-Lessons are e-Books of how-to instructions or lessons on one specific subject.
You can just buy the lesson you want or need.

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“We owned a 33’ SeaRay Sundancer Twin Inboard for years.” Pat told us as she explained her docking story. “Then, we downsized to a 28’ Formula Sunsport Twin Sterndrive. We thought we could bring our docking skills with us and continue enjoying boating. Out on the water wasn’t so bad, but we couldn’t dock it. It just didn’t handle the same.

We almost hit other boats several times when trying to dock. Everybody said to tie the bow line first, but that doesn’t work for us, because our side decks are too narrow making getting to the bow almost impossible.

We are so stressed about docking,

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washing-dishes“Can I do the dishes for you?” asked Peter. I was hesitant to accept his offer but “sure” I said.

I was delighted that one of our non-boater guests wanted to help, but what kind of a mess would he make in my galley?

Most non-boating helpers don’t know how to “help” on a boat.

Then, Peter said something that I’d never heard before.

I was so impressed and excited by his statement that I want to share it with every boater—especially First Mates.

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telling-storyIt’s no secret! Boaters love to tell stories and quite often, the more times told, the grander they become.

As we listen to boaters’ stories, we enjoy the entertainment, but also hear the underlying message.

One boater told his story to a group of boaters who were enjoying refreshments in the cockpit, about a yacht Captain who really screwed up when exiting a lock in the Trent Canal.

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toilet-paperQuality is remembered, long after price is forgotten. I heard these words often as a child, from my Dad. He told me it was better to pay more and buy a quality product because it would last longer, I would enjoy it more and it would be cheaper in the long run.

But, today with prices going through the roof on just about everything, more and more people are shopping price just to make ends meet. Take toilet paper for your boat, for example. Why would you pay $1.50 per roll when you can buy one for 30 cents?

Well, let me tell you. I bought the marine quality toilet paper for our boat at $1.50/roll and saved $487.11! Dad was right!

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hand-fingersMuch has been written and most boaters know that you never put a finger, foot, hand or any other body part between a boat and any structure like a dock, pier, piling or another boat to prevent the two from hitting.

But, I haven’t seen anything written about the danger of knots and fingers.

When pulling in to a marina for a pump out one day, a willing service dock attendant offered to assist with our docking. We always look after our own lines, but I was told that this attendant had been trained in tying knots. “Do you know how to tie a figure eight cleat hitch?” I asked her. “Yes” was her reply.

As we came into the dock, I handed her the stern line from the platform and asked her to tie a figure eight cleat hitch. She squatted down and fumbled her way through tying the line to the floating dock cleat but…..

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drying-linesThe Anchor Locker on the bow of your boat is a compartment that is designed to store and protect your anchor rode and chain.

When not in use, the locker keeps everything untangled and ready for instant use when you arrive at your anchorage or for deploying in an emergency.

Anchor lockers get hot and wet with little or no ventilation causing hidden problems........

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falling2At our family marina, Dawsons Marina on Lake Simcoe, where I demonstrated and sold thousands of new and used cruisers for many decades, I observed so many new boaters who were not accustomed to the movement of the boat. As a result, they were terrified of losing their balance and would hang on for dear life.

But, it wasn’t only new boaters, as I noticed the same behaviour from people buying their second or third boat.

Nothing is more unsafe or frightening than losing your balance on the deck, on the platform, in a small boat in rough seas, or when the Captain accelerates quickly, or stops too fast. Many boaters and non-boating guests often end up falling with resulting injuries.

There is one simple free tip to prevent falls in all of these circumstances and many more situations.

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