Scared of Sharks

When I saw Jaws in theaters as a kid, it terrified me. I couldn’t go into any body of water for years; I was always afraid that I’d see a dorsal fin moving towards me and I’d start to hear that music in my head and then I’d be done for. That being said, before Jaws, I used to love the water. I loved boating with my family as a child and I had hoped that someday I’d be able to do it with a family of my own.

Now that I have that family, I’ve had to recognize how irrational my fear of sharks is, so that I can have enjoyable trips out on the water. Considering we typically go out on lakes rather than open ocean, I don’t really have to be afraid of any great whites. But just in case, I load my boat up with Mercury Premium Plus oil, so that if I do see any sharks, I can fly off faster than you can say “Look, there’s a shark!”

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The Hamptons

On the other side of the U.S. is a little beach haven known as the Hamptons. (Obviously, “little beach haven” is an understatement). While celebrities may hide out in their gigantic beach mansions, there are plenty of affordable beach cottages average Joes like me can rent.

When I was in university a bunch of us would pool our money and rent a Hamptons beach cottage for a week. Yes, it could be a bit cramped at night, but we spent most of our days on the water, so it wasn’t too bad. We even rented a boat a few times and serviced the engine with Evinrude XD 50 oil.

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Boating in Wisconsin

The next best boat to resident ratio is found in Wisconsin. For every Cheesehead there are nine boats. Every county has at least four lakes, with Vilas county having an impressive 1,327 (yes, you read that number correctly).

Even during the cold winters there are boat-able locations. One popular destination is the 600-acre Lake Columbia just north of Madison. Warm water from a power plant flows into the lake so it doesn’t freeze over. You don’t have to winterize your boat if you go there; just top off your outboard motor oil and you’re good to go for year round fishing.

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Golf Carts

About ten miles away from our lake house is a country club. It has a pretty decent back nine. A friend of mine, who happens to be a member, invited me to an early tee time a few days ago.

We had a blast shooting the breeze while we played a leisurely game. We even got to ride around in golf carts. As we were turning in our golf carts, I noticed one of the attendants struggling to get one of the carts going. I offered to take a look at the motor for him. All it needed was a little Yamaha oil and a bit of fuel to get going again.

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Best Boating States

Researching places to boat in Florida got me thinking about boating in other states. Every state can boast a few premium fishing holes, but which states are truly boater friendly. I took a look online at an article reprinted from Boating Life magazine to get some ideas.

For instance, did you know that Michigan has one million registered boats? Every resident is no more than 85 miles from one of the four Great Lakes and no more than six miles from a lake or river. There are 1300 government-run public access sites with indexed maps. Sales on Mercury premium plus must be through the roof with all that access to prime boating water.

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Roche Harbor

For those of you who love boating and history, you’ll want to check out Roche Harbor. The highlight of the unincorporated community is the Hotel de Haro. The wrap around porches and meticulous gardens invite you to really soak in the impressive views.

Another unique detail of Roche Harbor is the sunset ritual of playing the U.S. and Canadian anthems. Though the island is part of the United States, it sits right on the border and has a history that is linked with the formerly British Canada. Personally, I think it’s an interesting salute to the island’s history. It’s one of the spectacles I look forward to when I break out my boat motor oil for a day at the harbor.

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Teaching Proper Maintenance

Yesterday, I wrote about teaching my kids pride in ownership. I’ve been reflecting on that topic a bit since then. I’ve tried evaluating how well I’ve instilled those values in my children. Have I driven home the point?

I hope so. Just in case, I think I’ll add boat maintenance to the list of chores they’re responsible for. After all, if they’re more than willing to take the boat out for a spin, then they should be willing to help with its upkeep. Teaching them how to replace XD1 Evinrude ETec outboard motor oil is sure to be a skill they can use throughout their lives.

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Every 100 Hours

Every 100 hours of use, I change out the filter and oil on my WaveRunner VX 1100. The sporty Yamaha WaveRunner has held up very well over the years, due in no small part to my meticulous maintenance. It’s all part of my philosophy of pride in ownership that was instilled in me by my father.

I’m trying to instill the same values in my kids. The next 100 hours will probably be reached this weekend. At that time I’ll insist that my two teenage children assist me with replacing the WaveRunner oil and filter.

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Fly Fishing in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park straddles two states, Tennessee and North Carolina, and has some of the country’s best streams for fly fishing. Brook trout are native to the waters and brown and rainbow trout were added later to the area and have thrived. Recent droughts have triggered tighter restrictions on fishing in the park, but it still a must-see for avid fishermen and women.

If you’re looking to capture trophy fish, then Great Smoky Mountains National Park isn’t for you. The fish in the park are smaller – having adapted to their environment – but it is the terrain and degree of difficulty in catching some of the more elusive species that makes the site such a big draw. Although you can fish from dry land, you should still bring your boat, and plenty of boat motor oil, to try out some of the waters in and around the park.

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More Essential Yamaha Outboard Tools

Yesterday we detailed a few Yamaha outboard tools all responsible owners should have on hand. In continuing in that vein, boat owners should also carry extra spark plugs and a spark plug tool. On site swaps are not too difficult for a regular DIY-er.

Fluids, again, not strictly tools, are essential. You will want to have power trim and tilt fluid, like Performance Power, to ensure the prop shaft works properly. Yamalube 2W oil or Yamalube 4M oil, depending on what type of outboard motor you have, is necessary for proper motion and extending the lifespan of a motor. You may want to stock up on gear-case lubricant, too.

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Essential Yamaha Outboard Tools

To keep your Yamaha outboard running smoothly, there are several essential tools you should have in your shed. Take, for instance, a multimeter. The small, handheld tool is used to check electrical connections. It will help identify where problems stem from.

Stabilizer, conditioner, and battery protector are also important items to have in your possession, particularly if you use your outboard in extreme climates. Stabilizer and conditioner protect against ethanol damage, as well as fuel degradation. The battery protector does exactly what its name implies. Though not strictly a tool, responsible boat owners should always have extra lubricant, like Yamalube 2M oil, on their shelves.

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Installing a Water Pump, Part II

Once you’ve drained any remaining water from the hoses, you will want to remove all the bolts that hold the water pump to the block, and then carefully remove the pump. Scrape the old gasket off the engine block.

Find your new gasket and gasket sealer. Apply the gasket sealer to one side of the new gasket, then align the holes of the gasket with the water pump, and finally press the new gasket against the pump. Seal the exposed side with more gasket sealer. Put the new water pump into place, replace and hand-tighten the bolts. You can re-use and re-install the old drive belt pulleys and old hoses on the new water pump (provided neither is damaged). Don’t forget to check to see if the Yamalube 2M needs topping off!

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