RSS

Category Archives: BoatUS Report

BoatUS Report

BoatuslogoBoatUS Fire Facts: Claim Files Show Six Ways Boat Fires Happen

Anything we can do to raise the awareness of fire prevention aboard your boat can help to avoid something terrible from happening. Here is some excellent advice from our friends at BoatUS. Be safe. – Capt. Ken

Fire ranks number five among all boat losses according to the BoatUS Marine Insurance Program claims files. Dig a little a deeper, and those claims files also tell you the six specific areas that lead to most reported boat fires. If every boater paid attention to these six things, over a third of all fires aboard boats would be prevented. So what are the top six ways boat fires happen, and some lessons to take home?

26% of fires are due to “Off-the-boat” sources: Over a quarter of the time, a BoatUS member’s boat burns when something else goes up in flames – the boat next to theirs, the marina, their garage, or even a neighbor’s house. It’s every boater’s responsibility to prevent fires, but when all else fails, having a good boat insurance policy is the last backstop.

1173

This shore power pedestal inlet and cable aren’t that far away from sparking a major boat fire.

20% of fires are due to “Engine Electrical”: For boats older than 25 years, old wiring harnesses take a disproportionate chunk of the blame here. A good electrical technician can put one together for you as most boats of this age had relatively simple electrical systems.

15% of fires are due to “Other DC Electrical”: The most common cause of battery-related fires is faulty installation of batteries – reversing the positive and negative cables or misconnecting them in series (when they should be in parallel). So take a picture. Label the cables. Use red fingernail polish to mark the positive lug. By gosh do everything to hook it up right the first time.

12% of fires are due to “AC Electrical”: Most AC electrical fires start between the shore power pedestal and the boat’s shorepower inlet. Inspecting the shore power cord routinely (connector ends especially) and for boats older than 10 years, inspecting or replacing the boat’s shorepower inlet, could prove wise.

9% of fires are due to “Other Engine”: This one is all about when an engine overheats due to blocked raw water intake or mangled impeller, the latter of which can also happen after experiencing a grounding or running in mucky waters. Be sure to check the engine compartment after getting underway and replace impeller every other year.

8% of fires are due to “Batteries”: This fire fact is for the outboard folks to pay attention to. On older outboards, by far the most common cause of fires is the voltage regulator. At 10 years of age, failure rates on these important electrical components begin to climb. Once it hits 15 years old, it’s time to replace.

Does your boat insurance cover boat fires? Get a free boat insurance check up and quote by calling the BoatUS Marine Insurance Program experts at 800-283-2883. Or get an online quote at BoatUS.com/insurance.

About Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS): Celebrating 50 years in 2016, BoatUS is the nation’s largest organization of recreational boaters with over a half million members. We are the boat owners’ voice on Capitol Hill and fight for their rights. We help ensure a roadside breakdown doesn’t end a boating or fishing trip before it begins, and on the water, we bring boaters safely back to the launch ramp or dock when their boat won’t, day or night. The BoatUS Insurance Program gives boat owners the specialized coverage and superior service they need, and we help keep boaters safe and our waters clean with assistance from the non-profit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. Visit BoatUS.com.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 14, 2016 in BoatUS Report

 

Tags: ,

BoatUS Report

BoatuslogoNo-Cost “Boater’s Guide To Winterizing” Offered by BoatUS

Easy to follow steps can help you safeguard your boat.

For those of us who spend our boating season in northerly climes where temperatures and precipitation can often bring with it damaging conditions that can and will make life that much more unbearable, my industry friend Scott Croft has sent over this informational release in order to head off any problems with the soon-to-come cold weather. The price is right and the advice is important. -Capt. Ken

Unlike this vessel, boats that are properly winterized are most likely to enter next year’s boating season without damage and ready to hit water (Photo Credit: Jack Hornor).

Unlike this vessel, boats that are properly winterized are most likely to enter next year’s boating season without damage and ready to hit water (Photo Credit: Jack Hornor).

Water expands in volume by about nine percent when it freezes, creating a staggering force that can crack a boat engine block, damage fiberglass, split hoses, or destroy a boat’s refrigeration system overnight. As cold weather approaches, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) dug into its claims data and found that more than three-quarters of winter-related claims involved cracks in the engine block or the exhaust manifolds. Now, the national boating services, safety and advocacy group has available at no-cost a 15-page “Boater’s Guide to Winterizing” that can ensure boaters don’t miss a step for any type of boat.

“Boaters up North know they need to winterize, so their freeze claims almost always involve poor winterizing,” said BoatUS Director of Technical Services Beth Leonard. “In the temperate South, the issue can be a case of no winterizing, or relying on a heater when the electricity goes off, usually when you need it most.”

Proto Credit: BoatUS, Al Posnack

Proto Credit: BoatUS, Al Posnack

The downloadable brochure addresses the reasons for more than 95 percent of the freeze claims handled by the BoatUS Marine Insurance Program in the past decade. Included are chapters on: Storing your boat – The options and the tradeoffs; a Winterizing Checklist to use as the starting point for creating your own boat’s winterizing list; Engines and Drives – The dos and don’ts; and Plumbing – Getting the water out, which is great for larger boats.

Additional information includes tips on choosing antifreeze, lessons learned from BoatUS Consumer Affairs about protecting yourself with a winterization contract, and green winterizing information.

The checklist is available at www.BoatUS.com/winterizingguide.

About Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS): BoatUS is the nation’s largest organization of recreational boaters with over a half million members. We are the boat owners’ voice on Capitol Hill and fight for their rights. We help ensure a roadside breakdown doesn’t end a boating or fishing trip before it begins, and on the water, we bring boaters safely back to the launch ramp or dock when their boat won’t, day or night. The BoatUS Insurance Program gives boat owners the specialized coverage and superior service they need, and we help keep boaters safe and our waters clean with assistance from the non-profit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. Visit BoatUS.com.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 16, 2015 in BoatUS Report

 

Tags: ,

BoatUS Report

BoatuslogoBoaters Find Newest Portable Outboard Fuel Tanks Are Not All They’re Cracked Up to Be: Installing A Fuel-Demand Valve Is A Wise Move

Here is the latest BoatUS Report from my industry friend Scott Croft. It is safety oriented and will help to give you a bit more peace of mind while out on the water with family and friends. Enjoy your boating and be safe. -Capt. Ken

Owners with outboard powered boats have lived with portable fuel tanks for years, but recent well-intentioned efforts to stop smog-causing gas fumes from escaping by eliminating the familiar two-way vent is causing new concerns. Without a vent – typically a small screw type fixture on the tank’s cap or top – a portable tank can swell up like a balloon in the hot sun with the internal pressure forcing gas into the outboard where it can spew inside the cowling, eventually dribbling out. It’s a wise move to install an inexpensive fuel-demand valve in the fuel line that will prevent any gas from reaching the motor unless the motor calls for it, and BoatUS has a video and easy to follow instructions to show you how.

The newest fuel portable fuel tanks require installation of a fuel demand valve and BoatUS shows you how.

The newest fuel portable fuel tanks require installation of a fuel demand valve and BoatUS shows you how.

“Our members are telling us that the new tanks aren’t all they are cracked up to be,” said BoatUS Magazine Executive Editor Mike Vatalaro. “These new EPA compliant portable tanks and jerry jugs have special fittings that greatly reduce evaporative emissions from gasoline. But where traditional tanks simply vent to the atmosphere, the new tanks won’t vent until the internal pressure reaches five pounds per square inch. In the meantime, fuel could be forced up the fuel line into the outboard, many of which have no means to hold it back.”

“Leaving the tank disconnected just results in the same gush of gas once you do hook it up, either from the tank end or through the engine,” added Vatalaro. “Installing an inexpensive fuel-demand valve in the fuel line will prevent any gas from reaching the motor unless the motor calls for it.” The video and instructions can be found at:

BoatUS.com/installfueldemandvalve

The video was done in partnership with the American Boat & Yacht Council (abycinc.com) and is part of BoatUS Magazine’s Practical Boater series that offers skills building, techniques and best practices to get the most out of boating.

###

About Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS): BoatUS is the nation’s largest organization of recreational boaters with over a half million members. We are the boat owners’ voice on Capitol Hill and fight for their rights. We help ensure a roadside breakdown doesn’t end a boating or fishing trip before it begins, and on the water, we bring boaters safely back to the launch ramp or dock when their boat won’t, day or night. The BoatUS Insurance Program gives boat owners the specialized coverage and superior service they need, and we help keep boaters safe and our waters clean with assistance from the non-profit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. Visit BoatUS.com.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on June 30, 2015 in BoatUS Report

 

Tags: , ,

BoatUS Report

BoatuslogoReadiness, Preparation, and Action

It is prudent to have a storm plan in place, just in case.

It’s hurricane season for those of us who live on or near eastern coastal areas of the United States, including the Gulf of Mexico, With the devastating aftermath of Superstorm Sandy still a painful memory for most of us here in the northeast, having a storm preparedness plan in place is key for weathering any system that may present itself in the area. The Boat & Yacht Report’s close editorial friends at BoatUS have sent along this latest update to assist us as we enter 2015’s storm season. Take heed; all it takes is one of these to hit a particular area and the result can be devastating losses.-Capt. Ken 

With 2015’s FEMA Hurricane Preparation Week now come and gone, that being 5/24-5/30, waterfront towns and boating businesses are learning how to better prepare their local boating community. In the aftermath of 2012’s Superstorm Sandy, orphaned boats littered the streets around Staten Island, New York’s Great Kills Harbor, hindering the clean up and delaying the return of electrical power. Keeping boats better contained in Sandy would have sped recovery efforts on every front. To help do a better job preparing for this hurricane season, Boat Owner’s Association of The United States (BoatUS) has some no-cost, downloadable hurricane prep guides to help boaters, marinas and boat clubs.

 Boats tossed around in a hurricane can hamper a community's recovery effort, like these boats that floated into streets and power lines after Superstorm Sandy.

Boats tossed around in a hurricane can hamper a community’s recovery effort, like these boats that floated into streets and power lines after Superstorm Sandy. Photo: BoatUS


They include:

  • Boater’s Guide to Preparing Boats and Marinas for Hurricanes available atwww.BoatUS.com/hurricanes/boaterprep is a boater’s guide and has the details on protecting your own boat as well as a marina.
  • What Works: A Guide to Preparing Marinas, Yacht Clubs and Boats for Hurricanes available at www.BoatUS.com/hurricanes/ycmarinasprep is a resource for marina and boat club staff, community resiliency managers and local government that focuses on preparing boating facilities.

Local emergency managers, marina or club fleet operators can also download at BoatUS.com/hurricanes a sampling of marina hurricane preparation plans to see how their local marinas compare, learn about the value of strapping down boats stored ashore, and view features on why some marinas fare better than others. If a storm approaches, the website also offers up-to-the-minute storm tracking tools with live satellite images, as well as checklists for what to do before and after a hurricane strikes.

Much of the information comes from BoatUS and its Marine Insurance Catastrophe Team, which over the course of 30 years has seen first hand how better storm preparation can keep boats from drifting away and reduce damage. Go to BoatUS.com/hurricanes for more.

###

About Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS):

BoatUS is the nation’s largest organization of recreational boaters with over a half million members. We are the boat owners’ voice on Capitol Hill and fight for their rights. We help ensure a roadside breakdown doesn’t end a boating or fishing trip before it begins, and on the water, we bring boaters safely back to the launch ramp or dock when their boat won’t, day or night. The BoatUS insurance program gives boat owners the specialized coverage and superior service they need, and we help keep boaters safe and our waters clean with assistance from the non-profit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. Visit BoatUS.com.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 8, 2015 in BoatUS Report

 

Tags:

BoatUS Report

BoatuslogoBoat Motor Oil Analysis Made Simple

I am sure most of you are hands-on boaters; that is, you take care of all those preventive maintenance items each and every time you leave the dock. My media friend, Scott Croft at BoatUS has me up on his radar screen with this latest addition to our continuing efforts to make your boating experience that much more enjoyable by being safe. -Capt. Ken

A lot goes on inside a boat engine, and akin to drawing blood, an engine oil sample analysis (OSA) can tell you a lot about the health of your boat’s motor. While a single sample may not give you the whole story, an OSA creates a “baseline” that helps you look at your engine’s health over time. That’s why some mechanics and surveyors recommend taking one sample every year. But what does a typical oil sample analysis include and what does it tell a boat owner or buyer? BoatUS, the nation’s largest boating advocacy, services and safety group has some answers.

It’s easy to take an oil sample with the right gear (Credit: Alison Mazon).

It’s easy to take an oil sample with the right gear. (Credit: Alison Mazon).

Most oil sample analyses will include the following:
-Spectral Exam: A spectrometer is used to find the quantity of various metals and additives in the sample – useful for finding excessive wear in bearings, pistons, rings, cylinders, valve train and gears. It also determines the composition of any oil additives.

-Viscosity Test: The thickness of the oil at a specific temperature is tested – useful for finding fuel dilution, the breakdown of viscosity enhancers or other contamination.

-Flash Point: Tests the temperature at which vapor from the oil ignites – contamination can cause a specific grade oil to flash higher or lower than the design flash point.

-Insolubles Test: insoluble are typically abrasive solids – higher readings are usually byproducts of incomplete combustion.

An OSA typically costs about $25 by mail or at a local repair shop. If you’d like to learn how to take an oil sample or need more information, see the story “Oil Sample Analysis” by Alison Mazon in the magazine for it’s insured BoatUS members, Seaworthy, at BoatUS.com/oilsampleanalysis.

###

About Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS):

BoatUS is the nation¹s largest organization of recreational boaters with over a half million members. We are the boat owners’ voice on Capitol Hill and fight for their rights. We help ensure a roadside breakdown doesn’t end a boating or fishing trip before it begins, and on the water, we bring boaters safely back to the launch ramp or dock when their boat won’t, day or night. The BoatUS insurance program gives boat owners the specialized coverage and superior service they need, and we help keep boaters safe and our waters clean with assistance from the non-profit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. Visit BoatUS.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 12, 2015 in BoatUS Report

 

Tags: , , ,

BoatUS Report

BoatuslogoMedia Alert:
If You Don’t Want More Corn In Your Gas Tank,
BoatUS Says Boaters Need to Speak Up Now

Always on the alert for issues that affect the boating community, BoatUS has had its collective ear to the ground on this particular news for quite some time now. Here at the Boat & Yacht Report, we also feel it is important to get the information out as well. You decide. Thanks for listening. -Capt. Ken

images-1

THE ISSUE: The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is the 2005 federal law that requires the blending of biofuels such as corn-ethanol into our gasoline. When it was written, it assumed that America’s use of gasoline would continue to rise and mandated escalating amounts of biofuels to be blended with our fuel. Since 2005, however, gasoline usage has actually declined steadily, which today forces more ethanol into less gasoline.

To keep up with this RFS mandate, in 2010 the EPA permitted E15 (fuel containing up to 15% ethanol) into the marketplace. Even though E15 is prohibited from being used in marine engines, snowmobiles, motorcycles, small engines like lawnmowers and leaf blowers, as well as any vehicle made before 2001, this fuel can now be found at over 100 stations in 16 states at the very same pumps as E10 and ethanol-free gasoline.

Over 60% of Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) half million members as well as millions of recreational boaters fill their boat’s fuel tanks at roadside gas stations where the higher blend ethanol fuels are often the cheapest fuel at the pump. This creates a huge potential for misfueling and puts boaters at risk.

ACTION NEEDED NOW: For years, BoatUS has been battling in Washington to make sure recreational boat owners can buy gasoline that works with their recreational boat engines. Senators Diane Feinstein and Pat Toomey have now introduced S. 577, the “Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015” in the US Senate.

This bill, which has both Democrat and Republican support, will effectively remove the government mandate for higher blends of corn-based ethanol fuels (more than 10%) and allow for investment in other more compatible biofuels. BoatUS believes it is a critical step to solving the ethanol issue and urges America’s boat owners to contact their Senator now to become a co-sponsor and supporter of S. 577. Boaters can easily do this at: http://goo.gl/S4bWMu. For more on the Renewable Fuel Standard go to www.BoatUS.com/gov.

WHO: Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its over half million members with government representation, fighting against unfair federal taxes, fees and regulations that single out boat owners. BoatUS is also non-partisan working on both sides of the aisle as well as with state agencies to promote boating laws that make sense.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 24, 2015 in BoatUS Report

 

Tags: ,

BoatUS Report

BoatuslogoPeer-to-Peer Boat Rentals: What Do You Need To Know

10 Tips From BoatUS for Owners and Renters

As boat clubs and rental opportunities have gained momentum, my industry friend Scott Croft of Boat US has forwarded this brief guide to me in hopes that some questions can be answered if you are considering entering into an agreement with a boat owner or if you are thinking of renting your vessel out. Cross your ‘t’s’ and dot your ‘i’s’ and things just might work out. -Capt. Ken

Boaters have some new options to get on the water with online rental services. (Photo Credit: Boat US)

Boaters have some new options to get on the water with online rental services. (Photo Credit: Boat US)

Airbnb may be a popular “peer-to-peer” lodging site on the web, but if you want to rent a boat in your local area or away, you’ve got options too. Boatbound.com, Boatsetter.com and Cruzin.com are just a few of the new crop of online websites offering a chance to rent a boat for the day or weekend. These services, which connect private boat owners to renters, can help owners recoup some expenses, and can also give non-owners a chance to get on the water with friends without the cost of full-time ownership. So what do you need to know? Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has some information for both boat owners and renters.

  • Renters do not want boats that are not safe and or can barely get out of the marina, so these services are often better suited to newer vessels less than 10 years old. Older, larger or faster boats may require a survey or inspection. Rental costs vary widely based on boat size and location, and renters typically are required to have some boating experience as well as a deposit.
  • These peer-to-peer boat rental websites generally handle every part of the transaction, including taking deposits and payments. They typically take 30%-40% of the rental fee, which covers overhead, profit, as well as insurance and on water towing services (more on both of those in a second … read on).
  • For boat owners, most boat insurance policies don’t provide coverage during the rental period and some companies may not provide coverage at any time simply if you list your boat with a rental program. If you happen to own and insure your boat but desire to rent another, your insurance company (including BoatUS Marine Insurance) may offer a temporary endorsement for liability coverage while operating the rental boat — but damage to the rental boat still is not covered. That’s why these “peer-to-peer” boat rental companies often provide additional insurance coverage. However, it’s up to owners — and renters — to read the fine print. For owners, know what happens if your boat is damaged, the claims process, how depreciation may figure in, and, in the event of total loss, how the insurance will value your boat. For renters, ensure you are OK with the level of liability coverage being offered during the rental, know how much you would have to pay if you damage the boat, and whether injuries to both you and your passengers would be covered.
  • TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist towing fleets provide on water towing and assistance service to some peer-to-peer rental services at no additional charge to the renter or owner. For the renter that means simply calling BoatUS’ 24-hour nationwide dispatch (800-391-4869) if there is a breakdown.
  • Renters need to ask about any other costs or fees, including fuel or other charges like pump-outs. They should also clarify with the owner what happens if the boat breaks down and becomes unusable.
  • Boat owners have the full right to say “no” to a renter, starting with an initial phone call. BoatUS member Bob Kellet, who has successfully rented his 30-foot sailboat, says owners are in full control of the process, from pricing to vetting renters. After speaking to a potential renter on the phone, if he’s comfortable, Kellet will meet at his boat for a full run-through. He may even take the renter out for a few minutes to show how everything works.
  • Kellet also suggests having a detailed instruction guide for the boat’s equipment and a step-by-step guide for things like starting the engine. Be sure to include safety gear.
  • Having a walk-through, pre-rental checklist is good for both parties, as is taking a few date-stamped photos showing the condition of the vessel.
  • While there is a certain element of trust, owner and renter reviews tend to weed out bad apples quickly, so be sure to check the renter’s history or the owner’s reviews from past renters. “Reviews are the best indicator of whether there will be a positive rental experience,” says BoatUS Consumer Affairs Director Charles Fort, who adds, “These services may also help those looking to buy a certain boat to try it out, if you will, before they purchase.”
  • One man’s experience: BoatUS Member Kellet said he was apprehensive the first few times he rented his sailboat to a stranger, but after a couple rentals he realized the renters cared about his boat, too, and they were there for the same reason: a love of the water and boating. A couple rentals a month easily pays his Seattle, Washington, area moorage fees. The only downside Kellet reports are scheduling conflicts when he’d like to use the boat himself.

For more, see the BoatUS Magazine story, “Is Peer-to-Peer Boating for You?” at BoatUS.com/thinkingofrenting.

###

About Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS)

BoatUS is the nation’s largest organization of recreational boaters with over a half million members. We are the boat owners’ voice on Capitol Hill and fight for their rights. We help ensure a roadside breakdown doesn’t end a boating or fishing trip before it begins, and on the water, we bring boaters safely back to the launch ramp or dock when their boat won’t, day or night. The BoatUS insurance program gives boat owners the specialized coverage and superior service they need, and we help keep boaters safe and our waters clean with assistance from the non-profit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. Visit BoatUS.com.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 12, 2015 in BoatUS Report

 

Tags: , ,