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Tips for Owning a Boat, liveaboards, etc
Here is a partial list of things I have learned since owning a boat, living aboard, etc. It is Very partial, but just things that had rolled off my head. Everyone can feel free to chime in. Many of these are opinions... but educated opinions.
1) Bare Feet. I always recommend bare feet versus boat shoes. Personally, I think bare feet grip better. My wife interrupted me and said she likes shoes better (easier on her toes). However, with bare feet, you can feel when you are slipping, versus just start slipping with boat shoes. The exception of course is if it is cold. You have no choice.
2) Boat shoes. I always love it when people wear their boat shoes everywhere then come on their boat and wonder why they do not grip. One good walk through the parkinglot and you will pick up oil, etc and they do not work well anymore. I keep one pair of shoes for the boat (yes, boat shoes... it really does make a differnce) and one pair for off the boat. I especially love boat sandles. I have NOT noticed a slip difference b/t good off-brands and Sperry.
3) Anchor Snubber. If you have a all chain rode, or even if you do not, you can buy a large snubber to take the "jerk" out of it. I truthfully only use this on my all chain rode, not rope rode, as it does not really "jerk" much. Basically, take a short piece of line and thread through as you would normally. Get two SS hooks that fit across the chain. Make a loop in the chain and connect the two. Thus: anchor snubber. You will want to lash on one side of the snubber so that if it comes loose, it does not dissapear in the drink.
4) Dink Snubber. Use a snubber permanently wound with the painter to keep the painter from jamming the rail in seas.
5) Motoring into slip. Don't be ginger with the controls when motoring. Don't be afraid to give it some gas. Keep enough speed for headway. Watch out for prop walk... which is a very good thing in my opinion as it helps you get into tight places.
6) Sea cocks. Prudence says that you always close your sea cocks everytime you leave the boat. Reality is that most people do not. Regardless, I work my sea cocks (open/shut) as part of my monthly maintenance. I personally only leave open the ones that have to stay open (Air conditioner).
7) Water in the bilge. It is not unusual to have water in bilge. However, pour a bit of bilge cleaner in there periodiically (especially before you go sailing). Try to keep you bilge as clean as possible. PS You should know where your water is coming from.
8) Batteries. Pour distilled water in your batteries. Check the level at least monthly. Especially in warm climates, you will be amazed how quickly you can go through the water.
9) Dink and davits. I typically keep my dink on the davits, except when going offshore. Many do not. I will say that when you get into seas, the dink will slam around a lot on the davits if it is not lashed securely. However you will lose about a knot or so pulling your dink... depending on weight, seas, wind, etc.
10) Toilet paper. Use marine grade TP. Charmin (et all) seems to clump up and has not done well for us... especially on electric heads.
11) Glass Bottles. This is one of those educated opinions: They have no place on a boat. They don't store well, they don't pack well (trash), and the first time one breaks and you have to pick it out of your feet, you will agree.
12) Sun Burns. You can get them even being under your bimini all day. No substitute for lots of sunscreen. We carry aloe vera (for burns). It works pretty well, but there is no cure-all.
13) Cuts, etc. Always carry a good First Aid kit with lots of polysporin. Sea shells, sea urchins, and many other salt water critters will leave a nasty, infected cut.
14) Winch handles. Always, always carry a spare DOWN BELOW.
15) Life Jackets. Those orange things are great for CGuard Inspections, but are not worth a crud for anything else short of sinking. Mustang makes a great one for kids (with crotch strap, head float, etc) and if you can stomach the price, Sospenders autoinflates with harness are worth the money. They are comfortable and you will actually wear them.
16) Dock lines. Carry two dock lines on your boat (25' long) for tossing to the attendant at gas dock, etc. Make them easily accessible. Also, there really is a difference in good dock lines versus the cheapies. New England is our favorite.
17) Cutting line. When cutting line, first wrap it a couple of times with duct tape. Then cut through the middle of the tape. Then take your lighter (we use an aim flame) to burn both ends. If you do not, it will unravel quickly.