Sure signs of spring…geese are flying north, days are getting longer and customers are beginning to prep their boats for the season.

As in past years, I’ve tried to put together something worthwhile for you to think about while you’re getting your boat ready for the start of a new season. Before I can ever hope to give you anything new, I first need to remind everyone of those items that are too important not to repeat yearly.

Let’s start out by addressing those of you who are anxious for an early launch. The water temperature is still around 40 degrees and it’s that time of year when you can expect sudden and extreme changes in the weather. When you are in the water early, there are no other boats or objects to act as wind and/or wave breaks. You are it and you should prepare accordingly. To add to this normal state of affairs, this year we have very high water levels. This means having both an adequate number and adequate size dock lines. Line snubbers are a good idea. While I usually encourage fender use, they may not even come into play this spring as the water level approaches dock level.  Over the years there has been more than one instance of severe boat damage due to inadequate preparation and mooring techniques. In the event of a storm or extreme weather activity, we do our best to monitor how your boat is ridding in its slip and if we feel that dock lines are inadequate or are wearing excessively we will take it upon our selves to provide additional lines and bill you for such. Believe me when I tell you that dock lines are always less expensive than hull repairs.

In an effort to keep both your boat and our indoor storage facility cleaner, we will require again this year that all bottom sanding be accomplished using a vacuum collection sanding system. In the past, every time the wind blew through the building all that depleted paint dust has blown on to neighboring boats creating a dirty mess as does walking through where someone has sanded and then tracking blue footprints onto someone’s boat. Your cooperation would be appreciated. If you don’t have access to this type of equipment, the marina has three FEIN dustless sanding systems that can be rented for your use for $1.00/ft per ½ day (4 Hrs.) plus the cost of your  used sanding discs.  These are really nice systems and are reported to be 95% dust free. Those of you storing outside may continue to prepare your boats as in the past, but I remind you that Federal Environmental and NYS DEC regulations require that you lay down a suitable tarp for the collection and disposal in the dumpster of all sanding debris. Of course, the Fein sanders are available for your use also. With a little thought, effort and consideration on the part of all of us, we can achieve a much cleaner, nicer and more ecologically friendly marina.

When you are ready for launch, you must call or stop in the office to be put on the launch list. Please see to it that the following items are in order. (1) We have both an engine and cabin key to your boat. When we launch, we must enter each boat to make sure that it is not sinking. If we don’t have a key, we will cut the lock. The engine key should be obvious. Once in the water, the vessel has to be moved and towing is not a good alternative. (2) The batteries must be fully charged so that both the engine and bilge pump will run. (3) All hull plugs and disconnected hoses should be in place. (4) If you have any other pertinent instructions pertaining to the launch of your vessel, please leave them now. If you would like us to touch up the bottom paint under your cradle pads, leave a small quantity of paint in a can on your cradle proceeding launch.

If you haven’t updated you client information card with Jenny Lee in the office, now would be a good time to look into that. It only takes a minute and the information can be invaluable for the protection and safe keeping of your vessel. Too many times we have been stymied when trying to contact a customer who has retired, changed jobs, moved to a new office or divorced. I promise not to hand out this information to a telemarketer.

Now for the new stuff.

Over the winter we have revamped the Ship’s Store. We’ve expanded our store offerings in many categories from a new line of Pettit bottom paints to a bigger selection of fastening hardware including metric sizes. You’ll find more personal and gift items as well as a new drink cooler for those looking to purchase bottled water. As in the past, I think that you will find our store prices to be competitive with, and often times lower, than the big box stores. If we don’t have that particular item you’re looking for, just ask, and we can usually have it within three days.

For those of you needing assistance with bottom paint, new hardware and instrument installations before your boat is launched, please let Kevin in the service department know as soon as possible. It’s heading towards Memorial Day and while we try to make everyone happy, there is just so much time in one day.  With 200+ boats to get in the water, the early bird really does get the worm.

Have a great season!

Bill Van Gee