Boating & Marine Accessories

4 Steps Involved in Choosing a Compass

A magnetic compass is a critical piece of boating equipment. A properly installed compass can help to give a real-time reading on the direction headed.

Boat CompassGoing with the right compass for a motor-driven or sail boat can be a difficult process because of the wide-ranging choices in the market. Plus, this type of instrument should be seen as a must-have item of safety gear.

Here are four of the major issues to consider in the process of installing and adjusting the right compass:


A high-end compass should come from a reputable and established manufacturer. The best compasses rely on the latest engineering methods to ensure a dependable and accurate reading is possible at all times.

Mount Type

A compass is installed using one of several different types of mount systems. A preferred mount technique will relate to the set-up of the specific boat – which mostly relates to the space and layout of the piloting area. Common mount types include:

  • Bracket (easy to mount to the deck or dash area)
  • Flush (a space-saving option with its ability to recede into the dash)
  • Surface (similar in design to the flash unit, but rests on the surface of the dash area)
  • Dash (easy to mount in a vertical position)
  • Bulkhead (a practical choice to save space or avoid issues with interference)
  • Binnacle (comes complete with case and light-protecting lib)

Dial Type

  • Direct read – An easy to read dial like that direct read is intended to be read when in front and close to the eye level.
  • Flat card – A flat card dial makes it easy to read a compass that is flat on a deck or similar area.
  • Combi dial – A combi dial is a versatile option and makes it possible to read the compass in both a flat card and direct read, so able to permit reading of dial at any angle.


The size of compass dials can vary quite significantly from about 2 to 6 inches in diameter. Compass size is likely to match the size of the vessel and length of voyage. If planning to travel at greater distances, it benefits to have a large compass that is easy to read at regular intervals.

Compass size guidelines:

  • Motor-driven boat < 16-ft = 2 inch dial
  • Motor-driven boat < 20-ft = 2.25 inch dial
  • Motor-driven boat and Sail boat < 24-ft = 2.75 inch dial
  • Motor-driven boat and Sail boat < 28-ft = 3 inch dial
  • Motor-driven boat and Sail boat 25 to 34-ft = 3.75 inch dial
  • Motor-driven boat and Sail boat 29 to 42-ft = 4.5 inch dial
  • Motor-driven boat and Sail boat > 30-ft = 5-6 inch dial

Maintenance and Protection

A compass should be protected from long spells of exposure to direct sunlight when out of commission. Use the protective cover if applicable, to help minimize these issues. Also, to avoid issues with interference make sure to create a safe, non-magnetic environment that will not be disturbed by steel or iron items within close proximity.

Go Boating

Use the Proper Lay-up Techniques for a Sail Boat

Nothing is likely to cause more long-term damage to a sailing boat than neglect.

Sail Boat in Action

If the proper lay-up techniques aren’t put into practice for the duration of the off-season, a boat is certain to notice the ill effects. A significant aspect of preparing a boat for the lay-up is to avoid potential damage from freezing conditions. Liquids or fluids need to be protected or removed. Anything that might be damaged by poor weather needs to be removed from the vessel.

Preparing a checklist

If you really want to make certain that you are properly prepared for winterizing a vessel an in-depth checklist is certain to help with completing the ideal steps. By writing out a complete checklist of things to do at the season end, this should ensure a vessel is more likely to be in a high state of repair when spring next arrives.

Winter lay-up responsibilities include:

Empty lockers

A simple step is to clear lockers of can, bottles, and perishables or similar such items that don’t need the left on board the sailing boat.

Pump out the tanks

In an attempt to avoid the freezing liquids, it will be highly beneficial if you are able to drain the water heater, pump out the holding tank, and empty all freshwater tanks.

Remove sails and rigging

If the sails, rigging, and canvas are less exposed to the winter conditions – whether this might be furled or folders – it is certain to shorten the overall lifespan of these items.

Use lubrication on the furling system

A good time to lubricate the furling system is at the season’s end.

Remove the electronic equipment

If you are able to remove electronics and navigational equipment (VHF radios, radar displays, chart plotters, fish finders, etc.) from the vessel and store them in a safe and protected location for the winter period this is certain to prolong the overall usable lifespan. A further reason to take the electronics off the sailing boat is to protect against theft. Plus, make sure to wrap loose connectors or cable ends with high-quality electrical tape.

Also ensure other boat related equipment (ski ropes, fenders, flares, fire extinguishers, dock lines, life jackets, etc.) is protected throughout the off-season. Protect all gear on board that might be subjected to moisture and dirt.

Place marine batteries in a safe area like a workbench or similar that isn’t on the ground. Give the battery terminals and cables a clean and light coat of good quality grease.

Secure the trailer

If planning to winterize the boat on its trailer make sure to prevent the possibility of theft by blocking up the axles on the trailer. Plus, removing the tires during the lay-up is certain to help minimize the chance of flat spots appearing after a long period of resting in one position.

Fight against moisture

Avoid problems with a build up of moisture in the bilges by ensuring this area is free of oil, dirt, or standing water. This inspection should also apply to the storage areas, fish holds, livewells, drawers, or other similar lockers.

Safety at Sea

What to Expect With the First Sailing Lesson

Even though it is possible for the sailor to self-tutor using a boat and a book, the more effective option is likely to relate to attending an official sailing school.

Sailing Lesson

There is a varied range of sailing schools that offer many opportunities to learn the beginner to advanced skills for helming a sailboat. A learn to sail vacation is certain to be enjoyed by those that want to experience a practical sailing vacation.

The right way to learn

An essential aspect of learning to sail is to learn it the right way. Safe operation of a sailboat goes far beyond putting on a life-jacket. A more advanced aspect relates to learning the movement of the wind and waves. If planning to sail on the open waters, it is critical to have at least a basic understanding of the unpredictable nature of the conditions. Gaining the proper skill and knowledge is certain to help handle the conditions more effectively and efficiently.

Classroom setting

In the early lessons most of the sailing schools – commercial, community, or yacht club – are likely to start with a classroom setting. Prior to stepping on board a vessel for practical lessons, you really need to have a full appreciation of what to expect and experience. A classroom might be a pier or beach instead of a regular room, but you are still getting the same fundamental learning advice and guidance.

Starting out, a student is likely to be instructed on the basics, like marine terminology and parts of the sailing boat, since this is certain to be different from our day-to-day language. A need to have sailboat literacy is highly beneficial if you want a good understanding of what the instructor is communicating once the practical lessons start.

Learn the fundamentals of boating

It also helps the student to have a fundamental understanding of how the boat operates, such as how the sails and hull harnesses the wind. In many situations it is likely to be easier to explain these types of issues ashore with the help of pictures, drawings, and model boats.

Begin with the practical tuition

Once the practical tuition starts, a motivated individual that is able to receive intensive training over a two or three day period is certain to be able to rig a small sailboat, launch from the beach or dock, and experience an incident-free sailing trip for a number of hours. On return, and they will also be able to go through the motions of unrigging and laying up the vessel.

With the basics of sailing leant, a sailor is soon able to advance to sail single-handed with the larger sized day sailing boats in local waterfront towns or for hiring a charter vessel in a more exotic destination for a sailing holiday.

Get familiar with the boat

Spend a lot of time with a sailboat to become familiar with handling. Get to the point of becoming familiar with the different movements made by the boat. Over time the actions made in the boat will start to become second nature and this makes it easier to understand the effects of wind and waves.

Boat & Yacht Market

NADA Boats: Marine Appraisal Guide

If planning to purchase a second-hand Sailboat – Motor Cruiser – PWC it is advisable to research the market value to help in the decision-making process. That is when the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA Boats) appraisal guide comes into force.

Establish a Given Vessel

Often a subjective figure, establishing the market value of a used boat is determined by several different factors.

  • Find a similar make and model of craft in numerous print or online classified ads to get a basic understanding of the saleable price
  • Use a pricing service or marine appraisal guide to help research the value.
  • Contact a boat dealership to ask for their option
  • If high in value ($25,000+), it might be worthwhile using the services brokerage service to help in the sale
  • On aged, high valued, or vessels of a particular model, it is often a benefit to arrange for an out-of-water survey and valuation report to be carried out.

NADA is designed to evaluate prices on boats and personal watercraft (PWC) in the pre-owned market, in addition to several boat related accessories, such as the outboard motor and road trailer.

Establishing the market value of a used boat is much easier with a marine price guide with its ability to help either seller or buying in establishing a fitting sell-on price for a given object.

Even with the help of the NADA boats, it is still important to use some common sense on receiving a suggested value, and not to take that value as literal. Once the application form is complete, the price indicated relates to the average retail price. So for instance, if a 2010 Larson runabout is kept in first-class condition with minimal use, it is likely to have a market value higher than the price indicated in the guide. Guide prices are closer to the truth with boats or PWC aged at less than 5-years.

Other Factors to Note in Buying a Boat

  • Establish its prior use – crafts used in saltwater, ex-charter boats, etc – often have lower re-sale values.
  • Have a craft inspected by a qualified mechanic or surveyor to determine its overall seaworthiness.

NADA boats is a recognized name in the marine industry for appraising recreational vehicles (Power Boats – Sailboats – Personal Watercraft) and related accessories and dates back its pricing to 1980 and older. A boat guide offers a quick, effective method to determine value and decide if the time is appropriate to invest in an up-grade or to stick with an existing craft until more favorable financial conditions present themselves.

Elsewhere, use a secondary service, such as, to avoid hidden problems. Get a vessels history to guard against unknown problems or potential damage; information obtained includes accident reports (fire, submerged, hurricane, salvaged, run aground, collision, etc), as well as reports on seized or recalled vessels.

Besides the invaluable tools for appraising values, NADA also offers a lot of other resources, services, and products, such as informational articles, tips and advice on matters related to the purchasing process – make it as easy as possible for the consumer.

NADA Boats – Marine Appraisal Guide Example:

NADA Guides price report for a 2003 Trophy Boats 2352 WA – 23-ft

In Summary

NADABoats is highly reputable and well-known in the world of appraising the value of boats and equipment (aged 1980 to now) in the market. By using the prices published in this boat motor appraisal guidebook, you are able to make an informed decision on when might be the right time to up-date or stay with an existing vessel until the market conditions start to show more encouraging signs.

Visit the official site: for more information.

Boat Maintenance & Organization

5 Boat Storage Options (Outdoor & Indoor)

Whether you are looking for an indoor storage unit, high-and-dry boat storage, or outside trailer storage, there are multiple options to keep the beloved boat and equipment safe throughout the winter lay-up period.

Boat Storage OptionsLeaving the motor-yacht tied up at the marine is a safe and convenient option, but is likely to cost the most. Alternatively, trailering the boat home will take a lot of time and effort and might leave it open to the elements (if left in the yard) and take up space.

Below are five of the most appealing boat storage options

Self-Storage Facility

A self-storage facility offers the most cost-effective method to safely store and protect the boat throughout the winter period. A storage unit is also convenient and easy to access with many storage facilities situated near your home, the ocean, bays, rivers, and lakes.

While a regular self storage unit is without doubt a convenient option, there is a high chance that it won’t give the most desired fit. A self-storage unit for a motor-driven yacht, sailboat, or runabout needs to be in the region of 10 x 15 feet. Other standard sizes can include 10 x 20 feet and 10 x 30 feet. Any boats outside these dimensions will find it difficult to use a regular self-storage unit. Also, a maximum height is about 8-10 feet tall.

Outdoor Boat Storage

Even if a self-storage facility doesn’t have enough space inside, some facilities have large outdoor spaces to park up boats, RV, caravans, trailers, etc. Outdoor boat storage is usually more cost-effective than going to a specialized service. But, this space is essentially open to the elements and might not give the desired protection.

Storage facilities located close to bodies of water are more likely to have the needs of the boat owner in mind and provide some type of roof or similar protection from the rain. Plus, certain facilities will offer extra services like light maintenance to boat transportation.

Dry Stack Storage

A dry stack storage system is designed to store RIBs and boats (up to a certain length) in a large rack with many other vessels. A storage rack is usually competitively priced and gives a high level of protection from the rain, snow, wind, etc. A well-protected dry stack storage system is based in a large warehouse. This should ensure the boat is fully protected from the elements at all times. However, the process of returning the motor boat to the water can be time-consuming and difficult.

Plus, the racks are limited in space and most facilities are only designed to accept boats that are within 35 feet.

Indoor Boat Storage

Most of the storage units are able to accept the boats at the more modest range sizes — although certain models of boat are just too big and wouldn’t be able to fit within a standard storage facility. However, the dedicated storage spots are designed with a layout that is more boat-friendly and able to accept the larger boats.

Indoor boat storage is certain to appeal to those living in areas that experience the more difficult weather (snow and ice) all through the winter. A boat left exposed on an open storage facility is certain to experience issues with wear and tear over time.

The majority of indoor boat storage facilities is large warehouses with space to store a number of boats in a single room. Certain extras can feature in the price of renting a space for winter hibernation, such as full winterization and transport (to and from the storage facility). Full winterization can include antifreeze, changing gear lube, stabilizing gas tanks, pumping out water tanks, winterizing air conditioners, and greasing external fittings.

Jet Ski Storage

Storing a personal watercraft (PWC) is similar to storing a full size boat, but at a much smaller footprint. This makes it more achievable to store the Jet Ski on the driveway, in the yard, or enclosed in the garage. But, if there isn’t any safe and secure space at home, there are several under cover storage options available.

A basic self-storage unit often makes a practical choice for storing the PWC. It offers undercover protection to ensure the watercraft is safe from the elements; it is much more cost-effective than leaving at the marina. Most 10 x 10 foot storage units are plenty for a jet ski.