The frogs are chirping, the bull heads are biting and the boat customers are calling. Must be spring time.

And it must be time for another marina newsletter and all the usual reminders as we head into a new season.
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. This means having both an adequate number and adequate size of dock line. Line snubbers and lots of fenders are a good idea. Over the years there has been more than one instance of severe boat damage due to inadequate preparation and mooring techniques.

If you haven’t updated you contact information with us, now would be a good time to do 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. We promise not to hand out this information to a telemarketer.

When you call 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 provide them when you go on the launch list. 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 prior to launch.

Our yard master has asked that I remind you to remove all ladders and storage frames from your cradle prior to launch. Once the boat is removed from the cradle, we use large pieces of construction equipment to move the cradle to a storage area and can’t be responsible for loose items left unattended. Those of you with wooden cradles might want to make a quick inspection of the condition of the cradle so that necessary repairs can be made prior to fall haul out. Remember, the cradle is where your investment sits for six to seven months of the worst weather upstate NY can dish out.

Let’s keep it clean

In an effort to keep both your boat and our indoor storage facility cleaner, we require 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. So too 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 purchased three FEIN dustless sanding systems that can be rented for your use for $40.00 per ½ day (4 Hrs.) plus the cost of the used sanding discs. I will also require a returnable $20.00 deposit with each use so as to ensure that the machines come back in a clean reusable condition. These are really nice systems and are reported to be 95% dust free. No longer do you need to walk around looking like a blue smurf after prepping your boat bottom. Those of you storing outside may continue to prepare your boats as in the past, but remeber 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.

Battery questions

Every year I have customers with an array of battery questions. I have in the past tried to address them as best I can. One question that seems to pop-up on a regular basis, pertains to dealing with how to know just what is happening with your battery and it’s charging system. Probably the best way to accomplish this is with some type of battery monitor. That being said, every boat should have a battery monitor. The first step in balancing or upgrading your electrical system is to understand what is happening now with the existing system. A monitor will enable you to observe the state of your batteries, measure the effectiveness of your charging system, and track your power usage over time.

A battery monitor will tell you how much DC power is being used; how long it will be until the batteries need recharging at the current rate of use; how much charging current is being produced by the alternator or battery charger; and how much usable capacity remains in the batteries. This is a particularly useful piece of instrumentation and can be had for around $350.00 plus approximately 2 hours of installation time.

For those of you needing assistance with bottom paint, new hardware and instrument installations before your boat is launched, please let me know as soon as possible. It’s nearly May and while we try to make everyone happy, there is just so much time in one day and 200+ plus boats to do it to. The early bird really does get the worm.

Have a great season!

Bill Van Gee