Boat Ownership: Part Five

Once you’ve made the decision to purchase a boat, you obviously want to protect your investment. We all recognize that the water and other elements provide a constant threat to our boat, which is why we invest in bumpers, covers and other protective gear. But what about boat theft?

It’s not the end of the world if someone swipes the Evinrude XD 100 out of the boat or grabs a stray life jacket, but full-blown boat theft is becoming increasingly common. Boats look like easy targets for criminals, especially when they’re just sitting there on a trailer. The easiest way to prevent theft is by locking your trailer at all times and keeping the keys on your person when you are moored at the dock. Also be sure to clearly label your boat, trailer and all of the removable equipment with your HIN and driver’s license number.

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The Anatomy of the Two-Stroke Engine: Part Five

Now that you’re well acquainted with the two-stroke cycle and its advantages, it’s time to look at the downside—because let’s be honest, there’s always a downside.  Here are a few reasons we don’t see the two-stroke engine used in automobiles and for other large-scale applications:

~Longevity: the fact that you have to mix the Evinrude XD 100 oil with the gasoline means that there isn’t a direct means of lubrication to the system, which leads to expedited wear and tear.

~Efficiency: two-stroke oil can be expensive, and the engine guzzles it up. As an example, you would use about one gallon of oil every 1,000 if there were a two-stroke engine in your car. You’d also notice a decrease in your gas mileage.

~Pollution: as stated above, two-stroke engines burn a lot of oil, equating to a lot of pollution.

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What Makes Some Synthetics Better?

When you’re buying oil and comparing Evinrude XD 100 and XD 50, do you really know what the difference is? The XD100 is more expensive, so it’s fairly obvious that it is superior in some way. Virtually all synthetics start with the same base structure, especially variants of the same manufacturer. The difference is in the additives.

Oils that are more expensive contain more additives, which enhance the performance of your engine. While standard grade oil will provide lubrication and protect your engine, premium oils work to eliminate ash, smoke and odor too. They also can improve the longevity of your motor.

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Mixing Gas and Outboard Motor Oil

Some people see mixing outboard motor oil and gasoline as a chore, but I actually prefer it. It beats having to change the oil the traditional way twice a year, in my opinion at least. Each two-stroke engine specifies a different fuel to oil ratio, so be sure to consult your owner’s manual; when I mix in my Evinrude XD100, I use a 50:1 ratio.

To figure out the proper combination, you first have to convert everything to a common unit of measurement—ounces are the easiest. There are 128 ounces in a gallon. So lets say you are going to prepare 5 gallons of mixed fuel, which is equivalent to 640 ounces. Since I use a 50:1 ratio, I divide 640 by 50 to get 12.8—so I need 12.8 ounces of outboard motor oil.

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How to Pull a Skier: Part Three

One way or another, the skier is eventually going to go down, and the proper steps must be taken to ensure their safety. As soon as the skier lets go of the towrope, immediately grab your safety flag—which should be stowed away with your extra outboard motor oil and other supplies. The flag alerts other boaters to the person in the water. Quickly circle back around and come back to the skier.

You should always pass the skier on the driver’s side of the vessel, which allows you to talk and keep them in constant eye contact. If the skier wants to go another round, bring the boat around to the right, which will draw the towrope up next to the skier. If, on the other hand, they’ve had enough, simply pull forward to give them access to the step. In our final installment tomorrow, we’ll cover some basic tips and precautions to ensure safe skiing.

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Pulling a Water Skier: Part One

Boats are certainly fun to drive and it’s enjoyable to spend a day anchored in the middle of a serene lake, but one of the main reasons most people invest in a boat is water sports. And while towing an innertube is a cinch, getting a skier up—especially a novice—can be difficult. The boat driver has a crucial impact on the enjoyment and the safety of the skier, so before you put someone behind your boat, be sure you know what you’re doing.

When the skier is in the water, have the engine cut and someone else on board displaying your safety flag, which should always be kept with your extra gasoline and Evinrude XD 100. Once the skier has the handles of the towrope and is comfortable in the water, clear the rope from the propeller and start the engine. Slowly move away from the boater until all of the slack has been removed from the towrope. Tomorrow we’ll go over how to get them up.

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Essential Boating Supplies

When you neglect to bring extra gas and supplies with you on a road trip, the consequences are minimal—perhaps you’ll have to phone in for a tow truck or get a ride to the closest town. But when you forget to pack the proper supplies on a boat outing it can sometimes be difficult to garner immediate assistance. To avoid incident on the water, here are a few essential supplies to always keep on hand:

~First aid kit

~Emergency Radio

~Extra food and water

~Gasoline and outboard motor oil

~A set of tools

~Extra parts, such as prop fins and fasteners

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Boat Trailers and Launching: Part Five

Whenever you are towing your boat, no matter how short the journey, always be sure to bring along a spare tire. In my experience, trailers get flats far more often than cars. Also be sure to bring along a jack that has the capacity to lift your trailer and boat along with your extra outboard motor oil.  Once you successfully get the boat to the launch, the only thing left to do is get her in the water.

If you have never backed up a trailer before, I recommend practicing before you get to the ramp. Be sure to always keep the trailer in your sights and drive slowly while you are backing up. I could spend all of next week writing a series on how to back your trailer, but the fact of the matter is that the only way you learn is by doing it yourself. One tip, however: Don’t be afraid to pull forward and start again. It’s always easier to launch the boat when you are aligned properly.

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