Category Archives: boats and boating

Traditional End to Boating on Labor Day

Tradition has it that Labor Day is the end of the boating season. This is not a traditional year!

Last weekend while fishing a club tournament at Jackson I was shocked at the number of barges still on the lake. I consider boats that don’t plane off, that just plow through the water making a huge wake, a barge.

Although they are great for skiing and they don’t really bother me when they are out on the lake, for some reason some drivers think they have to stay near the bank and get as close as possible to fishermen. That does cause problems.

One boat at Jackson just before noon was not only being inconsiderate, they were breaking the law. I was fishing a long point in Tussahaw Creek and had put a marker out about 100 yards from the bank where the point dropped from ten feet deep into deeper water. From my marker back to the bank the bottom slowly sloped off.

There was one boat that came between me and the bank about 75 feet off the bank. I have no idea how they didn’t hit the bottom. This big boat was plowing along about 25 miles an hour making a wake at least four feet high. And no one was behind the boat skiing.

Not only did they rock me a lot, they went by a dock with pontoon boat tied to it. They were within 50 feet of the dock. Georgia law says boats must stay at least 100 feet from a dock unless at idle speed. When the barge went by the dock I though its wake would tear up the pontoon boat.

They kept going along the bank like that as far as I could see them. At weigh-in I mentioned it and another club member said that same boat came by him just like that, way up the Alcovy River. Apparently the folks in that boat ran the whole shoreline of Jackson Lake just like that. I wonder how many boats they damaged that were tied to docks.

I expect pleasure boaters to be inconsiderate of fishermen, but I find no excuse for someone in a fishing boat to do that. While on that same point in Tussahaw creek a bass boat was puling tubers. For some reason their route made them circle over the point I was fishing rather than go 100 yards to more open water. They circled within feet of my marker, some times when I was within casting distance of it, repeatedly.

The fun did not end at the ramp. We were taking out at 1:30 at the Georgia Power Ramp. There is a double ramp there with docks on each side. When I pulled up someone in a pontoon was tied to the dock, completely blocking one ramp. I watched as they finally got a trailer backed in and started trying to load it as two or three boats either launched or took out from the one ramp they left open.

In the meantime three teenage boys had pulled to the top of the ramp. They were waiting to put their bass boat in. They started yelling at the older men having trouble with the pontoon, fussing at them for being so slow, I think.

When the pontoon finally moved the teenagers got their boat backed into the water after several tries. For some unknown reason one of them was wading along beside it. He finally got into the boat and, after several minutes, got it cranked.

He kept trying to back it off the trailer but it would not move. He yelled at the truck driver to back in further and kept having problems. He finally had the diver pull up on the ramp so he could get out of the boat, walk around to the back of it and unhook his rear tiedowns.

One of these days it will be cold enough to make some folks stay home. I won’t miss the comedy.

Why I Will Never Buy Walmart Batteries Again

For many years i have run Walmart Batteries in my bass boat, using from one to four depending on the boat. They were relatively inexpensive, you could trade them almost anywhere if you had problems, and I could get from two to two and one half years service from them.

My current boat, a Skeeter ZX 225, has a cranking battery, a batter for accessories like deptfinders and aerators, and two trolling motor batteries for the 24 volt Motor Guide trolling motor. I started using a different battery for accessories a few years ago when my boqt would not crank, the aerators had been running all day and I had stayed in one creek all day. I vowed that would never happen again.

In November my two Walmart Batteries were drained the first day of a Top Six tournament on a very windy day. That night a windstorm blew a tree down on the power lines going to my campsite so my batteries didn’t get fully charged. I was dead in the water by 9:00 the next morning. Since the batteries were about 30 months old, and I usually got from 24 to 30 months from Walmart batteries, I replaced them and the third battery too.

By the first tournament this year, only 13 months later, those two batteries would not hold a charge for more than half an eight hour tournament day. I took them in but they tested ok. They would hold a charge but were useless for a trolling motor used all day.

Even worse, last fall, less than a year after putting a new Walmart battery in for accessories, it started falling after about six hours. It was running an HDS 8 unit up front and an HDS 10 on the console and most of the day the console unit was on standby. Both aerators were also running. Again I took it in and it tested ok – and it will hold enough of a charge to use as a cranking battery in my Ford 1510 tractor.

I knew better but got another Walmart Battery for the accessories in November. In February it would not hold a charge for an eight hour tournament day running just two depthfinders and two areators. i had to use jumper cables to keep aerators running until the end of the day. Early in March I would fish all day in the wind at Eufaula. When I came in the two Exide Batteries I put in this January would be down to 90 percent charge. After a couple of hours they would be at 100 percent and still be at 100 percent the next morning.

The five month old Walmart battery would be down around 50 percent when I came in, the point where the depthfinders started failing. It would charge back to 100 percent overnight with my three bank on board charger and a stand alone charger hooked to it. But an hour later, after taking the stand alone charger off, it would drop to only 80 percent.

I put another Excide battery in today for accories! I will never buy another Walmart Battery.

Batteries Ready For Spring?

Are Your Lead-Acid Batteries Ready For Spring?

Hibernation isn’t a restful sleep for 12V batteries. As many seasonal boaters unfortunately discover in the spring, it can be a nightmare.

Check your batteries

Check your batteries

If owners haven’t used a battery charger or maintainer with Pulse Technology over the winter storage period, they can anticipate sluggish or dead batteries during the spring equipment thaw out.

All batteries, regardless of their chemistry, will self-discharge when not in use. The rate of self-discharge for lead-acid batteries depends on the storage or operating temperature. For example, a 125 AH battery that is stored for four months (16 weeks) during winter months without being charged or maintained will lose 80 amps of its 125-amp capacity. The battery will also suffer from severe sulfation buildup, inhibiting the plates from accepting and distributing a charge.

As good as lead-acid batteries are they all suffer from the same main failure mode‹80% of all lead-acid batteries fail due to the damaging effects of sulfation build up. If left unmanaged, sulfates found in the electrolyte will crystallize and root onto the battery plates and eventually result in premature battery failure. This is especially true with seasonally used boats and vehicles with short run times and high key off parasitic loads.

All lead acid-batteries consist of two flat plates‹a positive plate covered with lead dioxide and a negative made of sponge lead‹that are immersed in a pool of electrolyte (a combination of sulfuric acid (35%) and water solution (65%). Electrons are produced from the chemical reaction producing voltage. When there is a circuit between the positive and negative terminals, electricity begins to flow, providing connecting sources with power.

A lead-acid cell produces voltage by receiving (forming) a charge of at least 2.1 volts/cell from a charger. Known as Storage Batteries, lead-acid batteries do not generate voltage on their own/ they only store a charge from another source. The size of the battery plates and amount of electrolyte determines the amount of charge lead acid batteries can store.

Storage capacity is described as the amp hour (AH) rating of a battery. In a typical lead-acid battery, the voltage is approximately 2 volts per cell, for a total of 12 volts or a rating of 125 AH, which equates to the battery’s ability to supply 10 amps of current for 12.5 hours or 20 amps of current for a period of 6.25 hours.

Those who didn’t use a battery charger or maintainer over the winter months will typically discover a discharged, heavily sulfated battery when they go to use their boats in the spring.

To bring those batteries back to peak performance condition, PulseTech Products Corp., a national manufacturer of battery maintenance and charging products, recommends the following checklist:

* Give the battery case a quick clean to remove any dirt from the outside case.

* Clean terminal posts and make sure they are free of any corrosion. If significant, clean the terminal posts with a small wire brush to remove sulfate deposits and use dialectic grease or corrosion inhibiting spray to minimize future corrosion.

* Make sure the electrolyte levels are high enough. If levels are below the maximum line add distilled water (not tap water) up to the line. Not all batteries have a maximum fill line. If that’s the case with your battery, simply fill to 1/8² below the ring o plastic that extends into the cell. Never overfill the battery.

* Use a battery tester to ensure the battery has a minimum charge of 12.6 volts. If the charge is below that level you will need to charge the battery in a well-ventilated area. To ensure best performance use a smart charger featuring Pulse Technology for a week or more to dissolve the capacity robbing sulfates so the battery can be fully charged and retail full capacity.

* Not all batteries can be totally recovered. If a battery has a short circuit or physical damage, it is impossible to bring back.

About PulseTech Products Corporation

Maximizing battery performance while minimizing battery-related expenses for individuals, companies, fleets and military forces since 1994, PulseTech offers a full line of products that will help protect the environment from the hazards of lead waste from discarded lead-acid batteries.

Fishing Boat Buying Tips

Boat buying tips to land the fishing platform of your dreams
from The Fishing Wire

With spring just around the corner, anglers around the country are dreaming of open-water adventures in the months ahead. For many, these dreams include buying a new boat.

If you’re thinking of purchasing a new fishing platform for 2016, follow the advice of veteran guide and boating sage Bernie Keefe to land the boat of your dreams, without getting soaked.

“A boat is a major purchase for most of us, so take the time to do your homework and also a little soul-searching to decide which one will best fit your needs and your budget,” he begins.

The internet is a wonderful tool for checking out available boat models, features and prices. “Online research is critical,” says Keefe. “Don’t just show up at a sport show or dealership and buy the first boat you look at.

Deep, roomy boats like the Crestliner Authority 2250 excel for big-water applications.
“You can also use online tools like the “Build Your Own Boat” feature on Crestliner’s website to plug in boat style, length, cost, primary purposes and more,” he adds.

All are key considerations.

“Choosing boat style, whether hardcore fishing, fish-and-ski or a ski boat comes down to how you plan to use the boat the most,” he says. “I strongly encourage fishermen to talk to their families to collectively determine what’s right for everyone who’ll be using the boat.”

For example, while a serious fishing boat might not be ideal for other watersports or serious leisure cruising, a fish-and-ski could provide a great compromise that keeps everyone happy. “And if the whole family is on board, you’re going to get a lot more use out of the new boat,” he says.

Boat size is likewise important. “If you mainly fish small lakes with primitive access points and only one or two people aboard, you’re not going to want a large big-water rig,” he says. “But if you plan to fish the great lakes, something big and deep like

Carefully choose options including livewell, baitwell and tool holders to fit your style of fishing.

Crestliner’s 22-foot 2250 Authority could be a perfect fit. Besides the ability to handle heavy seas, it has tons of storage space, plenty of elbow room for a large fishing party and is flat-out a troller’s dream.”

It’s worth noting that with shorter boats, a wave-taming deadrise can help the hull cut through the chop. “I’m guiding out of a Fish Hawk 1950 this season, which has a 17-degree deadrise for a smooth ride in rough water,” says Keefe.

Of course, your tow vehicle and available storage space also affect boat size decisions. If you’ll be pulling the boat with a car or light pickup, buying a large, heavy boat is asking for trouble, unless you plan to upgrade the vehicle as well. In a similar vein, pulling home a boat too long for the garage can lead to headaches as well.

Keefe also counsels matching the boat to your style of fishing. “I do a lot of vertical jigging, so a low-profile boat that doesn’t catch the wind makes boat control easier in windy conditions,” he says.

Features such as seating arrangements, storage, livewell and other accessories merit serious consideration. “They can drive up the cost of a boat, but at the same time it’s cheaper to get the features you want now than try to add them on later,” says Keefe. “Figure out what you really need and do your best to fit these features into a package deal.”

Budgeting is also a necessary step. “In this day and age, cost is a factor for most folks,” he says. “Don’t pull the trigger on a budget buster. If it breaks the bank and you can’t afford to take it out and play with it, you’ve defeated the purpose of buying a boat in the first place.”

Don’t overlook the boat’s powerplant, either. “Motors have a huge effect on performance and price, so here, too, choose wisely,” Keefe contends.

After conducting serious online research, you’re ready to kick the tires at a dealership or boat show. “If you attend a show, you have the opportunity to pick the brains of boat company pro staffers, who spend a lot of time on the water and can help talk you through the decision-making process,” he notes.

Follow these steps and Keefe is confident you’ll land your dream boat. “It sounds like a lot of work, but in the end it will pay off with hundreds of hours of on-the-water fun in a boat that makes everyone in the family happy,” he says.

For more information or to book a trip with Keefe, visit:

How Do I Do Winterization and Ethanol Blended Fuels

Winterization and Ethanol Blended Fuels
from The Fishing Wire

The coming of cooler weather means an end to the boating and motorcycling season for many. Chiefly important in preparing these vehicles for winter is managing the potential for engine damage from the federally-mandated ethanol blend in our nation’s gasoline supply.

Ethanol in gasoline stored for long periods can damage marine and motorcycle engines: “phase separation” of the fuel can leave a corrosive water-soaked ethanol mixture at the bottom of the gas tank. Half of the respondents of a recent Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.) survey reported that they have had to replace or repair their boat engine or fuel system parts due to suspected ethanol-related damage, costing an average $1,000 for repairs.

To prevent ethanol problems over the winter, boats with built-in gas tanks should have fuel stabilizer added and the tank left nearly full. E10 fuel remaining in small portable gas tanks (and not pre-mixed with 2-stroke engine oil) should be poured into your car’s gas tank and used quickly. Same goes for motorcycles – store full with stabilizer or drain completely.

So how did ethanol get into our gas? Signed into law in 2005 and expanded in 2007, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requires an increasing amount of biofuels such as corn ethanol to be blended into the gasoline supply. However, the ethanol mandate has failed to achieve promised consumer and environmental benefits.

In addition to winter storage and engine repair concerns, ethanol-blended fuel is actually worse for our air and water. According to research from the University of Tennessee, ethanol’s “clean alternative” record is “highly questionable.” The 2014 federal National Climate Assessment reported that ethanol production can require 220 times more water than gasoline.

Ninety-one percent of those surveyed by BoatU.S. prefer non-ethanol fuel for their boats. An AMA-commissioned poll found that 78 percent of all voters – not just motorcycle owners – have “very serious concerns about E15 use” and 70 percent oppose increasing the amounts of ethanol blended into gasoline.

But the Environmental Protection Agency ignores the public’s concerns and continues to increase the amount of ethanol required to be blended in our nation’s gas. Even though it’s illegal to use E15 (15 percent ethanol by volume) in marine engines, snowmobiles, motorcycles, lawnmowers, and any vehicle made before 2001, E15 can now be found in 24 states. Using E15 in many vehicles on the road today will void the manufacturer’s warranty.

With a recent $100 million USDA grant made available to subsidize the installation of blender pumps at gas stations throughout the country, access to ethanol-free gas may soon be more difficult, leading to even more cases of inadvertent misfueling and engine damage.

Thankfully, Congress is considering bipartisan legislation to repeal the ethanol mandate, but the question remains whether our legislators will protect consumers and our environment by eliminating the ethanol mandate.


Editor’s Note: Today’s feature was prepared by Rob Dingman, President and CEO of the American Motorcyclist Association, America’s largest motorcycling organization and Margaret Podlich, President of the Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the nation’s largest recreational boat owner advocacy, service and safety group.

Don’t Forget To Get Your Boat Batteries Ready For Winter

Take Charge – Get your boat batteries ready for winter.

Don’t forget your battery when winterizing your boat

Prepping your boat for its winter hibernation is one of the best things you can do to protect your investment and ensure your fishing platform is ready to hit the water next season.

When it comes to “winterizing,” as it’s called, much attention is lavished upon the fuel system and outboard, and rightfully so. But there’s definitely more to the story if you want to truly prepare your boat for the harsh realities of cold storage.

“While gas and oil are important, the electrical system is also critical to preserving your batteries and getting off to a fast, hassle-free start in the spring,” says veteran angler and diehard boat prepper Scott Glorvigen.

He should know. Based in northern Minnesota, where Mother Nature brutally dishes out some of the continent’s harshest winter conditions, the veteran guide and tournament champion takes care to nurture his fleet’s electrical systems throughout the mean season.

“A lot of folks overlook their batteries, but doing do can be a costly mistake, in terms of dollars and time on the water,” he says.

Onboard charger

Onboard charger

Onboard chargers like Minn Kota’s four-bank 440PC make it easy to maintain batteries throughout the year, including during winter storage.

Neglected batteries can lose their firepower, suffer damage and even freeze up in bitter cold. In fact, run-down batteries can freeze at warmer temperatures than properly maintained power plants.

For example, while an absorbed glass matte battery might survive a blast of 50-below air temperatures when fully charged to about 12.6 to 12.8 volts, its ability to shrug off the cold declines when not fully charged. Standard flooded batteries are even more at risk when run down, because their sulfuric acid and distilled water won’t mix properly, allowing the water to freeze.

This can weaken or even totally destroy the battery’s ability to hold a charge and reliably dispense power, especially if the case cracks-leading to major replacement costs.

“Prevention is the best medicine,” says Glorvigen.

One option is removing the battery, moving it to a heated location such as a shop or basement, and maintaining it with a portable marine battery charger like the Minn Kota MK 210P, which offers two 5-amp banks for 10 amps of total charging power.

Portable Charger

Portable Charger

Portable chargers provide power wherever you need it.

“If you have multiple batteries, an easier solution is installing one of Minn Kota’s Precision Onboard Chargers in the boat,” says Glorvigen. “You don’t have to wrestle with heavy batteries or deal with complex wiring configurations and connections, just plug it in.”

In maintenance mode, the charger’s voltage is reduced once the battery reaches full charge. After 12 hours on duty, it automatically turns off, only stirring when the battery’s power dips below 12.6 volts.

“With either portable or boat-mounted setups, the charger keeps the battery full of life during the winter,” he adds. “Considering everything the battery will be asked to do next spring, from spinning the starter to running your trolling motor, electronics, bilge pump and more, it’s the least you can do.”

Glorvigen also offers handy tips on surefire charging.

“If you’re using an extension cord, make sure its plug’s pins match those on the charger,” he says. “Also choose a cord with a rugged jacket to guard against moisture, oil and chemicals. And don’t lay the cord anywhere you might drive over it, which could damage the wiring. Finally, above all, make sure the cord is rated for the charger’s energy requirements.”

Power draws differ by device. For example, a household lamp might require just .5 amps, while an air compressor or shop vac may need 15 to 20 amps.

Thankfully, Minn Kota simplifies the cord-selection process by recommending specific American Wire Gauge (AWG) ratings for cords used with each of its chargers.

Healthy batteries engender smooth sailing.
“From there, it’s a simple matter of choosing the right charge setting for your battery and letting the charger do its job,” he says, noting that while you’re tending to the battery, it’s a great idea to clean off the terminal connections with a wire brush and check the fuses on the charger.

While these precautions do add extra steps to the winterizing process, Glorvigen assures us that such simple and inexpensive maintenance goes a long way toward ensuring that you’ll enjoy worry-free boating next spring, without wasting time and money replacing neglected batteries.

Glorvigen & Glorvigen LLC – 29 County Road 63, Grand Rapids, MN 55744 – 218-301-9072

How to Winterize Your Yamaha Four-Cylinder Outboard

DIY – Winterize Your Yamaha Four-Cylinder Outboard
from The Fishing Wire

I am so glad I get to use my boat year round!

Have the Right Tools

Have the Right Tools

Yamaha offers a popular line of four-cylinder four-stroke outboards that are used in a wide range of single and twin installation applications, in both fresh and saltwater, all over the world. From pontoons to center consoles, bass boats to work skiffs and even water taxis, they are great performers and real workhorses. The most popular are the F90, F115 and F150 models, and many are used in climates where they are taken out of service for the winter months.

While there’s definitely merit in having your outboard winterized by a certified Yamaha dealer, the process is simple enough for owners to do themselves when armed with the right tools, products, and a bit of proper education. Pete Reils, a long-time certified Yamaha Technician at Garden State Marina in Pt. Pleasant, New Jersey, recently took the time to show us how he winterizes Yamaha outboards. The boat featured here is a late model Cobia® center console powered by a single Yamaha F150.

Prep Work

Clean and Oil

Clean and Oil

Prior to winterizing the outboard, it’s a good idea to give the boat a good cleaning inside and out, power wash the bottom, and put a coat of wax on fiberglass hulls.

Before you get started, check out Yamaha’s Maintenance MattersTM publication under Extended Storage then put together a checklist of everything you’ll need, and be sure you have the proper Yamalube® lubricants, additives and filters for the job. (A list is available in your owner’s manual, and on our website at The correct amount of engine oil for your four-cylinder model can be found on late model Yamahas on the engine cover under the cowling. Your dealer also has handy Yamaha Outboard oil change kits that have the correct amount of Yamalube 4M, the Genuine Yamaha oil filter, and the drain plug gasket you’ll need to do the job right.

Draining the Oil

Drain the Oil

Drain the Oil

Pete’s process starts with changing the crankcase oil. Place an oil pan under the lower unit and with the engine trimmed all the way up, remove the drain plug located inside the rubber tube below the rear of the cowling (most mid-range models).

Pete places a piece of plastic tubing as an extension over the rubber tube to direct the oil into the pan. Lower the engine using the trim switch on the starboard side to start the oil flowing. After the oil has finished draining, replace the gasket on the drain plug and re-install the drain plug, tightening to spec (see Owner’s Manual).

Draining the Lower Unit

Drain Lower Unit

Drain Lower Unit

With the engine still down, slide an oil catch pan directly underneath the lower unit and remove both the vent screw and the drain screw on the starboard side of the lower unit to remove the old lubricant. Depending on the temperature of the air and the outboard, this may take a while. Be patient, until all the oil is drained. Check the old lubricant for any milky residue, which is an indication that water could be getting into the lower unit through a damaged seal. If this is found, it’s time to contact your authorized Yamaha Marine dealer for a seal replacement and a pressure test. Also, check for any large metal particles in the oil or adhering to the drain plugs (they’re magnetic). This would be a reason to see your dealer, too.

The most common cause of lower unit water ingestion is discarded fishing line caught behind the propeller. While you’re here, remove the propeller, remove any line or other debris, and grease the propshaft with Yamalube Marine Grease. Keep the prop off in a safe place until you’re ready to use it again.

Replacing the Oil Filter
While the gearcase is draining, remove the engine oil filter found on the port side. You can use the Yamaha special tool like Pete or on these smaller engines, a simple strap wrench works fine. Just be careful not to disturb the oil sensor located on the block just above the filter.

Lubricate the rubber gasket on the new filter with a little fresh engine oil to assure a proper seal, and then install by hand tightening the filter to specification (the procedure and spec are printed on every Genuine Yamaha outboard oil filter).

Refill the crank case with the proper amount of Yamalube® engine oil (see owner’s manual).

Filling the Lower Unit
Now it’s time to refill the lower unit. Pete winterizes so many outboards he uses a bulk can of Yamaha lower unit lubricant with a pump, but you can use quarts and a hand pump available from your Yamaha dealer. Thread the fill hose into the drain plug hole and carefully pump in the lubricant until it starts weeping out of the upper vent. Pause for 5 minutes to allow all air to escape, then slowly pump additional lubricant until it comes out the vent hole again. Make sure to change the gaskets on both the vent and the drain plugs (do not reuse them).

Reinstall the vent plug until tight, then remove the fill hose from the bottom and reinstall the drain plug.

Fuel Filters
Now it’s time to turn your attention to the fuel system. First, carefully remove the 10-micron fuel/water separating the filter located in the boat (Yamaha’s is light blue) and discard filter and contents appropriate to your local regulations. Then, reinstall a new 10-micron canister, using another thin film of clean oil on the gasket surface.

Stabilizing the Fuel
For the next step, Pete uses a portable fuel tank with a small amount of fresh gas treated with Yamalube® Ring Free, Yamalube EFI Fogging Oil and Yamalube Fuel Stabilizer and Conditioner. Start by placing a hose flusher over the main lower unit water pickups and turn on the water.

Disconnect the rubber fuel hose at the inlet side of the primary on-engine fuel filter by loosening the spring clamp with needle nose pliers and connect the hose from the portable tank. Pump a primer bulb installed in the portable tank’s fuel line until firm and then start the engine, after turning on the water. Run it for 10 minutes at fast idle until the mixture is thoroughly distributed throughout the fuel system and combustion chambers. This lubricates the injectors, valves, cylinder walls and piston rings for the long storage period ahead.

When 10 minutes are up, quickly rev the engine very briefly until you see a puff of smoke caused by the fogging oil exit through the prop hub and shut it down. Turn off the water and remove the flush muff. Remove the fuel hose from the portable tank and securely refit the onboard fuel hose.

Trim the engine fully “in” to drain the water from the cooling system and disconnect the onboard flushing hose so that it drains, too. Then reconnect.

Don’t Forget

Tilt the engine up and use a grease gun charged with Yamaha marine grease to lubricate all grease fittings. There is one on each side of the steering slide forward of the engine, another found on the steering column, and one on the shift mechanism where the shift cables enter the cowling.
Spray the engine and rubber components with a liberal application of Yamalube® Silicone Engine Protectant and Lubricant or YamaShield. Once the boat gets to its final winter resting spot, trim the engine full “in” for storage and disconnect the negative battery cable(s).
Remove the battery or batteries to a cool (but not freezing), dry place. Charge the battery fully before storage.
Return the cowling to its proper position and your outboard should be ready for winter storage and start up in the spring.

The typical Do-It-Yourself-er can usually complete the entire job in a couple of hours. Just be sure you have all the supplies you need on hand and take your time, covering all the steps.

You’ll find more information in Yamaha’s comprehensive “Maintenance Matters” publication, available at your nearest Yamaha Marine dealer or online at

Not a DIY’er? No worries. Just contact your local dealer and set up an appointment, but don’t wait too long. The threat of winter’s first freeze is almost always too late. Taking time now helps ensure good times come spring.

Don’t Drink and Drive – Drunk Boating Kills

Drunk Boating Kills

As Labor Day approaches—one of the busiest boating days of the year—the Coast Guard is issuing a somber warning: Drunk Boating Kills.

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Cynthia Oldham
from The Fishing Wire

Drunken boating destroys lives.

A Coast Guard Station Boston response boat crew is underway, Friday, July 3, 2015 in Boston Harbor. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Karen Kutkiewicz)
Drinking alcohol and driving any vehicle is taking a risk, but on the water risks are elevated and consequences are devastating – and deadly.

This summer, New England Coast Guard crews have responded to multiple incidents involving alcohol and boating. In one of the most recent, it was not another boater who reported the reckless behavior aboard a boat near Martha’s Vineyard, but a fearful passenger on the boat who called for help.

The marine environment – the sun’s heat and water’s motion – intensifies the effect of alcohol, and an inebriated mind, coupled with relaxed inhibitions and inexperience, is why alcohol is the number one contributor to fatal boating accidents.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas Ciarametaro, a coxswain and boarding officer at Coast Guard Station Boston, put it simply; Boston Harbor has no lanes.

People generally have a lot more experience and confidence on the road than on the water. In fact, national data shows recreational boaters average only 110 hours – less than five days total – on the water each year.

Walt Taylor, the 1st Coast Guard District’s expert in recreational boating safety, said the Coast Guard wants people to have enjoyable boating experiences, but also to know things can and do go wrong.

“Alcohol use can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision, and reaction time,” said Taylor. “Combining alcohol with environmental stressors and motion of the boat can cause fatigue, dehydration, and may unknowingly intensify the effects of alcohol.”

A sudden change of weather, boat malfunction, or medical emergencies can quickly turn a pleasant day on the water into a disaster. If tragedy strikes, boat operators and passengers must have clear, sober minds to take appropriate action.

Consider what happened in May, when a boating disaster near Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor cost a woman her arm, and nearly ended her life.

The woman was one of many passengers aboard a boat partying with an operator who was under the influence. After jumping in the water, the woman was swimming near the boat’s stern and the propeller struck her, sliced off her arm, and inflicted severe body lacerations.The party turned to chaos.

When the Coast Guard rescue crew, which included Ciarametaro, arrived on scene, the boat’s operator was intoxicated and disorderly.Ciarametaro said the Coast Guard crew quickly focused on saving the woman’s life while the State Police took the boozed-up boat driver into custody.

This kind of inter-agency teamwork is common during emergency responses and routine safety patrols.

Operating a boat, including paddle boats, with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher is reckless and illegal. The statistics are scary. A boat operator with a blood alcohol concentration just above the legal limit, at .10 percent, is 10 times more likely to die in a boating accident than a sober boater.

Ciarametaro said the station’s crew does recreational safety boardings every day, and if there is probable cause to conduct a Field Sobriety Tests on a boat’s operator, they will.

In other situations, if a Coast Guard crew observes a boat operating erratically or putting other boaters at risk, they will board that boat and test the operator without hesitation.

Operators may decline, but in Massachusetts for example, refusing to participate in the test is an automatic civil penalty, admission of guilt, and a fine up to $3,000.

Legal repercussions, coupled with the severe risks to life and property, are real, terrifying consequences of drinking and boating.

Alcohol use on one boat threatens everyone on the surrounding water. If you plan to party on the water, have a designated sober boat driver and a reliable means to call for help.

Channel 16 on a VHF-FM radio is the preferred method to contact the Coast Guard, but the Coast Guard also has an easy-to-use boating safety app that features an emergency assistance button, which with locations services enabled, will call the closest Coast Guard command center. It could save your life.

What Is the Trouble With Ethanol for Boaters?

Trouble with Ethanol for boaters
Will New Regulations Mean More Costly Problems for Boaters?
from The Fishing Wire

Ethanol fuel attracts water,

Ethanol fuel attracts water,

Ethanol fuel attracts water, and this sometimes separates from the combustible portion of the fuel, creating a mix that will cause serious problems in internal combustion engines.

Unless you haven’t put fuel in your car in the past ten years, you’re probably familiar with the term E10. It refers to the 10 percent ethanol that is blended into the gasoline you buy at the pump. If you’ve owned an outboard-powered boat during that same time period, you are far more familiar with E10 than your over-the-road counterparts.

The introduction of ethanol into the U.S. gasoline supply was the result of an EPA regulation called the Renewable Fuel Standard, and it caused a lot of costly headaches for boaters at the 10 percent level. Now, the EPA is doubling down under intense pressure from the agri-industry’s ethanol lobby in Washington, increasing the mandated amount of ethanol in gasoline to 15 percent, a move dreaded by boaters and marine engine manufacturers alike.

Ethanol is derived from plant sources, mostly corn, and the government mandate has been a major boon to farmers and refiners. Basically, it is a fermented and refined grain alcohol that is denatured and then blended with gasoline. It initially found its way into the nation’s fuel supply as a replacement for a chemical additive called MTBE, which was used to increase octane and reduce emissions. After years of use, the EPA determined that MTBE was harmful to the environment, and the hunt for a replacement began. Domestically manufactured ethanol replaced MTBE, and was also promoted as a way to reduce the nation’s dependency on foreign oil. However, the use of ethanol in fuel came with a host of problems for marine engines and fuel systems.

Never use E15 in a boat engine

Never use E15 in a boat engine

At the fuel pump, it’s critical never to use E15 in a boat engine, and manufacturers say even E10 can be harmful if precautions are not taken.

Not long after the introduction of E10 gasoline, boats using it began experiencing problems. Almost immediately mysterious substances began clogging fuel filters that were later identified as a byproduct of mixing fuel still in the tank containing MTBE with ethanol-blended gasoline, but that was only a harbinger of things to come. Fuel lines approved for gasoline engines on boats reacted badly with the ethanol additive and started breaking down causing clogged filters; and in cases where the problem was not identified quickly, possible fuel leaks were the result. Any sludge deposits in older fuel tanks began dissolving and were pumped into the fuel system, damaging components and making a mess of filters. And boats with fiberglass fuel tanks were subject to the added nightmare of ethanol actually eating away the resin, which required replacement of the tank and in many cases, serious damage to expensive engine components like valves, carburetors and injectors.

Why were all these problems manifesting as a result of a simple switch from MTBE to a 10 percent blend of ethanol? As mentioned, ethanol is a form of alcohol and alcohol is a highly efficient solvent. So when it is introduced into older metal fuel tanks, it gradually begins to break down accumulated sediments and washes them into the fuel system. Those same properties can cause resins and fillers used to make fiberglass fuel tanks to leach out into the fuel system where they adhere to internal engine parts. Ethanol-blended fuel can also be responsible for the decomposition of rubber gaskets and fuel lines that heretofore had been approved for use in gasoline fuel systems.

Boat and engine manufacturers took on the challenge of upgrading their products to avoid these problems going forward, and have done an admirable job. Yamaha Marine was an early leader in identifying these problems and correcting them in their popular lineup of outboard engines. They upgraded fuel systems with hoses and gaskets that are resistant to ethanol’s solvent properties. The company also developed injection systems and revised ignition modules so that Yamaha outboards can run efficiently with E10, which has a lower combustion temperature and therefore a slightly lower power output than gasoline without ethanol. Even though most of the problems with E10-blended fuels have been accounted for by outboard manufacturers, there are still some issues that are inherent to the product that continue to plague boaters.

Internal corrosion

Internal corrosion

Internal corrosion is among the issues that can result from use of high-ethanol fuels in boat motors.

Ethanol is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs water from the air. While this is rarely a problem in automobiles that live on dry land and have sealed fuel systems, marine applications are another story altogether. Boats live in a moisture- and humidity-rich environment, and boat fuel systems are vented to the atmosphere. Without venting, an outboard’s fuel pump would not be able to draw fuel from the tank. Venting allows outside air to enter the tank along with moisture and humidity where it contacts the ethanol in the gas.

“Water can and will collect in your fuel, and when the concentration of water molecules reaches just one half of one percent, those molecules will bond with the ethanol in the gasoline and sink to the bottom of the tank where the fuel pick up is located,” said David Meeler, Product Information Manager, Yamaha Marine Group. “This is called ‘phase separation’ and depending on the amount of water ingested into your outboard, it can result in everything from rough running to catastrophic engine damage.”

In the new brochure titled “Maintenance Matters
– A Simple Guide for the Longevity of Your Outboard,” Yamaha offers the following recommendations for avoiding the potentially damaging effects of burning ethanol fuel in your outboard engine.

10-micron fuel water filter

10-micron fuel water filter

A 10-micron fuel water filter like these from Yamaha can be the boater’s best defense against poor quality fuels.

1. Be sure to use a 10-micron fuel/water separating filter­—with proper flow rating for the engine—is installed in the fuel line between the tank and the outboard. This will filter out any debris that ethanol might loosen in the tank, and it will separate out and collect any water from the fuel. (Yamaha offers high-quality canister filters with large water collecting reservoirs for their outboards.) Filters should be replaced every 100 hours of operation or checked/replaced more frequently if the presence of significant water is found.

2. Add a high-quality, marine specific fuel stabilizer and conditioner to every tank of fuel. Yamalube® Fuel Stabilizer and Conditioner is a non-alcohol-based formula that helps counter some of the problems associated with ethanol blended fuels. They caution boaters about claims from some additive manufacturers stating unequivocally that, “no additive will restore stale fuel, remove water or cure ethanol-related issues.”

3. Add Yamalube® Ring Free Plus internal engine cleaner to every tank of fuel. It will do the job of keeping your fuel system clean and corrosion free.

4. Buy your gas where they sell a lot of it! Today’s ethanol-blended gasolines have a notoriously short shelf life and actually begin to degrade in a matter of days after refining and blending. Purchasing gas at a high volume retailer helps insure you are buying the freshest gas. Then be sure to add stabilizer and engine cleaner at the time of purchase. This will go a long way in helping protect your investment in your outboard engine from ethanol problems.

If you are like many boat owners who only use their boats on weekends or even less frequently during the boating season, it’s advisable to keep your fuel tank level at 7/8 full with properly stabilized, fresh fuel. Keeping your tank at that level helps prevent condensation build up in the tank while the boat is not in use. Condensation occurs when any moisture in the air in the tank condenses with changing temperatures. It is another source of water entering the fuel and bonding with the ethanol.

With all of the problems associated with the use of E10 gasoline in marine engines, you would think the federal government might do something to mitigate the effects by reducing ethanol requirements. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The EPA, under the guise of the Renewable Fuel Standard, is mandating a 50 percent increase in the use of E15 gasoline, which will further exacerbate the problems associated with ethanol in marine engines. In an interview with Martin Peters, Manager, Government Relations for Yamaha Marine in Kennesaw, Ga., he laid out the case from the marine industry against the ethanol increase, along with a dire warning for owners of existing outboard engines.

“The marine industry has determined through research and testing that E15 harms outboards by doing internal damage to moving parts such as valves and pistons – devastating, irreparable damage,” said Peters. “While Yamaha could engineer outboards that will run on E15, doing so would increase cost to the consumer without increasing consumer benefits.

“More importantly, if E15 becomes the predominately available fuel in the U.S., that would leave ‘legacy’ outboards at risk of damage,” he continued. “There are more than 10 million outboards currently in service that would be destroyed by the damaging effects of E15. As an industry, we cannot allow this to happen to consumers.

“We strongly urge consumers and members of the marine industry to make their voices heard and stop the EPA from going forward with a plan to increase the amount of ethanol in the fuel supply. They can do so by contacting the EPA—or their Congressman/Senator—directly over concerns that higher ethanol blends will have on their products or by accessing a number of marine advocacy websites such as the National Marine Manufacturers Association® (”

For more information about caring for your outboard engine, check out Yamaha’s Maintenance Matters website at:

Why Should I Be Worried About Paddlesport Boating Safety?

Paddlesports Boating Safety

By Frank Sargeant, Editor
from The Fishing Wire

While the loss of two boys offshore of Pompano Beach recently made national news, a scene just as tragic quietly unfolded this past week on the backwaters of Lake Guntersville, an impoundment on the Tennessee River in northern Alabama.

There, a father, his 16 year old son and two teen-aged friends–none wearing life preservers–decided to fit themselves into a single canoe for an outing on the lake. A storm came up, the overloaded canoe overturned–and at this writing the son has been found drowned, the father’s body remains undiscovered. The two teens were able to reach shore.

The incident highlights the need for basic boating education among those who indulge in what is generally known as “paddlesports”, paddling and fishing in canoes, kayaks and other non-motorized watercraft. Paddlesport boating safety is critically important.

There’s a tendency among those new to these little boats to think that there’s very little danger associated with them, since they travel so slowly and can’t really get out of control on still waters like the TVA chain.

But in fact they are generally more dangerous, rather than less so, for inexperienced and incautious users than are larger, motorized boats.

Be safe when paddlesporting

Be safe when paddlesporting

Properly trained and equipped, kids can safely enjoy canoes and kayaks, as shown here. But without PFD’s and an understanding of the physics of these small boats, an outing can become risky. (Photo Credit Old Town Canoes)

Stability is the first factor. Most canoes and kayaks are very “tippy” due to their light weight and rounded bottom. Lean too far one way and the boat simply turns turtle, flipping you and all your gear into the water. Strong winds and big boat wakes can also flip them. There are now some new models of fishing kayaks made with much greater stability due to broader beam and sponson-like bottoms, but for the most part, the majority of paddle-powered boats are exceptionally easy to flip.

Taking youngsters in these boats can be particularly risky because they may not comprehend how shifting their weight can affect the buoyancy–a quick primer in the basics is a must before you leave the docks.

Also, unless you are young and athletic, getting back into one of these boats once they turn over is no easy matter. Even if you’re in condition, getting back into many of them takes some specialized know-how. For those who are overweight and/or out of shape, it’s virtually impossible.

Next, no one should ever step into one of these little boats without wearing a quality life jacket. Simply carrying it along, as you might on a pontoon boat or other large, stable watercraft, just won’t do. If the boat goes over and you don’t have the life jacket strapped on, you may not be able to put it on in the water, even if you swim well and don’t panic. For those who can’t swim, it should be a no-brainer never to set foot in one of these boats without a good PFD in place. A flotation cushion as a backup is also a must.

Also, the charm of paddle sports–that they’re slow, silent and pollution free–can also be part of the challenge. Traveling with wind and current, it’s easy to get a long way from land before you realize it–and reversing course to go back against the wind or current will be very difficult. In fact, for those not used to paddling, it can be impossible.

Also, the amount of time it takes to get to safety should a storm approach can be far longer than it would be in a powerboat–and for those with limited experience, getting caught in open water in a canoe or ‘yak almost always leads to trouble.

While still-water paddle sports have their challenges, these are multiplied in flowing streams, of which North Alabama is blessed with many. In general, those with minimal experience in handling canoes and kayaks should simply assume they are going to get wet if they start down a fast-flowing river; you might be lucky, but you might not, too, particularly if there are any rapids.

But rapids are not the only issue in these streams–in many cases, trees blow down across the flow, and boats swept up against these obstructions are nearly always rolled over.

And simply keeping the boat pointed down-river can be a challenge for the inexperienced anywhere the water flows faster than a walk. If it goes sideways to the current, a rollover is once more highly likely.

All these cautions aside, thousands of outdoors fans enjoy paddle sports all over Alabama every day in complete safety and without the slightest problems, but it’s wise to be aware that there are potential dangers in these seemingly innocuous watercraft for those who don’t come prepared.