Marine Systems

Updating My Digital Chart Table

Updating My Digital Chart Table

As part of my midseason checkup, I reviewed the electronic devices and apps I use. Seems a bunch has happened that I had not really taken into account. Some navigation apps work better than others, and some no longer work at all. Companies consolidate and merge products and technologies in this shifting landscape, much like it did when paper charts were replaced with various formats and digital standards.

Monday Minute - The End of Ethanol?

Monday Minute - The End of Ethanol?

The hated ethanol-blended gasoline has been a pain in the butt for years, rendering an outboard motor inoperable on a regular basis. Having a dinghy that won’t start is not fun, and we’ve all had to live with it. But now it seems ethanol may be going away...finally.

Monday Minute - Consider Night Vision

Monday Minute - Consider Night Vision

Carrying night vision on your boat offers great utility, and is great fun. It makes night travel a lot safer, providing you with the tools to see in the dark. Highly recommended equipment, more affordable than ever before.

How to Avoid Windlass Woes

How to Avoid Windlass Woes

Often ignored until there is a problem, maintaining your boat’s anchor windlass system is the key to keeping your anchoring abilities safe and carefree, as it should be.

A New Take on Single vs Twin Engines

A New Take on Single vs Twin Engines

The question of single engine versus twin engines has been beaten to death many times over, in my opinion. It really doesn’t matter which you choose, as a single engine with a bow thruster can perform as well as a boat with twin engines. But given how the marketplace has evolved, many buyers are looking at older trawlers, and the age factor somewhat changes the discussion.

Monday Minute - How Good is Your Bilge Pump?

Monday Minute - How Good is Your Bilge Pump?

Make sure your bilge pump requirements are checked off before you head over the horizon. There has been reports over the last couple of years where boats have been abandoned rather than saved for precisely this reason.

Monday Minute - Extending Anchor Chain

Monday Minute - Extending Anchor Chain

If you need to connect two lengths of anchor chain, there are numerous ways to do so. Here is one product I found that seems to be the best of available choices.

Taking Care of your Mechanical Steering

Taking Care of your Mechanical Steering

Some useful information to keep your mechanical steering working properly.

Taking Care of Your Hydraulic Steering

Taking Care of Your Hydraulic Steering

Maintaining your hydraulic steering system is not difficult, and a thorough inspection should be an annual affair to keep it operating properly.

Monday Minute - Air Separation in Diesel Fuel

Monday Minute - Air Separation in Diesel Fuel

Air exists in diesel fuel and this service bulletin from Racor explains the phenomina.

Surveying An Engine Room

Surveying An Engine Room

The value of an engine survey can't be overstressed when looking for your ideal cruising boat. A separate effort from a general boat survey, an experienced mechanic's skill at judging the overall health of a boat's engine(s) and generator gives you the ability to decide if the boat is right for you, or if you should keep looking. More so than any other element of a cruising motorboat or trawler, the engine room is the most important space on the boat. 

Create a Speed/Fuel Burn Curve for Your Boat

Create a Speed/Fuel Burn Curve for Your Boat

Rather than guess what speed you should run your boat, it is important to develop real-world numbers of the speed and burn consumption your boat reaches at various engine speeds in open water. Depending on how your boat is equipped and loaded, and the propeller(s) you have, it is a straightforward process to develop a speed/fuel burn performance curve that will identify the sweet spot for running your boat at cruising speed.

Along the way of determining this ideal speed envelope, you will also get an sixth sense of when the hull and engine is in harmony as she glides through the water with maximum efficiency and reasonable fuel burn. This is a satisfying project every boat owner should create for his or her boat.

Monday Minute - How Hard to Run Your Diesel

Monday Minute - How Hard to Run Your Diesel

Knowing how to properly run your propulsion engine is the key to long term health care in your engine room. I share great advice from Alaska Diesel that relates to all pre-ECM diesel engines, both power and sail.

Monday Minute - Exhaust Systems, The Achilles Heel of Boating

Monday Minute - Exhaust Systems, The Achilles Heel of Boating

Marine exhaust systems are not perfect, and each system variation has its good and bad points. Awareness is key, and knowing you must address this on a regular basis, regardless of engine hours.

Making a Good Boat Better - Part 3 - Both Power & Sail

Making a Good Boat Better - Part 3 - Both Power & Sail

Finding ways to make your trawler or sailboat better capable of traveling offshore. All of these efforts result in a better seaboat, even if you are not planning to cross oceans. And these upgrades will better familiarize you with the many systems on a cruising boat. And that brings confidence.

Making a Good Boat Better - Part 2 - Power

Making a Good Boat Better - Part 2 - Power

We continue our look at how to prepare your boat for going offshore in a powerboat or trawler, and what you should address to make sure things go as planned. The stresses of offshore travel are different from running in protected waters and preventative effort can help ensure a trouble-free passage, which is what we all aim for.

The Dawn of Hybrid and Zero-Fuel Cruising

The Dawn of Hybrid and Zero-Fuel Cruising

Rapid advances in many technologies provides opportunities we have not seen before. While recreational boat lags behind other industries in adoption, we will see future boat choices that have a significantly lower carbon footprint, and allow us to enjoy cruising without impact on the environment.

Designing a Modern Fuel Delivery System

Designing a Modern Fuel Delivery System

Putting together a fuel delivery system is best done by taking a high level view and making it as simple, as accessible, and as futureproof as possible. Eliminate unnecessary fittings, use fire rated, CG-approved fuel hoses and high pressure fittings, and your system should be reliable and trouble free for the life of the boat.

The End of Paper Charts...and More

The End of Paper Charts...and More

So much has happened in our lifetime, so why should anyone be surprised that paper charts are going away? Modern electronic charting and navigation systems at so much better in all ways, whether you are a commercial, government, or recreational mariner. Change is coming...

When His Get Home Saved The Day

When His Get Home Saved The Day

Brian Calvert shares his experience of losing his Cummins diesel engine at a critical place and time. After trouble free operation taking him halfway around the world, its loss put him in peril. Thankfully, he installed a Wesmar auxiliary propulsion unit before leaving Seattle. This get home system saved him from serious consequences off the coast of Borneo.