3 tips for staying safe on the water

The start of summer has many boat owners out on the water with friends and family. While boating is a wonderful recreational summertime activity, if skippers or passengers are not taking all precautions, it can end badly.

In Chicago over the weekend, for example, a 33-foot-long motor boat capsized on Lake Michigan, casting four passengers into the chilly waters. One man was found 12 hours after the time of the accident, floating on life jackets. He is the only known survivor at this time, and the cause for the accident remains a mystery according to the report from the Chicago Tribune.

While the case in Chicago is still under investigation, it is important to keep in mind that preventative measures on and off land can ensure the safety of all aboard your boat.

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) offers some memorable tips for safe boating this summer:

Don't drink and drive- Boating under the influence is both dangerous and illegal. The USCG says that "alcohol is more hazardous on water than on land. The marine environment – motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, wind and spray – accelerates a drinker's impairment. These stressors cause fatigue that makes a boat operator's coordination, judgment and reaction time decline even faster when using alcohol."

Undergo a vessel check- A free and beneficial service, a vessel check is done by a certified examiner at a time that is good for both parties. With no charge and no consequence if your boat is missing a key element, or has something fundamentally wrong, having your boat checked out before it goes in the water is a great way to ensure safe travels this summer.

Wear a life jacket! According to statistics presented by the USCG, the chance of drowning while wearing a life jacket are 1 in 66, whereas the chances without a life jacket are 1 in 11. In fact, it is unlawful to not have an equal person to life jacket ratio aboard your vessel.

As always, for all your boat accessories, look to ePal Inc. Our array of products, and knowledgeable customer service, are sure to get you everything you need to have a safe and fun time on the water this summer.

5 gift ideas for dad this Father’s Day

The trouble with shopping for dads is that when they need something, they go out and buy it themselves. That makes this time of the year particularly difficult as we scramble to come up with gift ideas for Father's day. So, what do you get for the guy who has everything?

Fear not! We've put together a list of five great gift ideas for the outdoorsy dad that are sure to put a smile on his face!

  • For those dads that didn't get their boat in the water in time for Memorial Day, boat cleaner makes a great gift! With hull wash, deck polish and a little TLC, you and dad can spend the day bonding while you buff out the boat for a summer of fun on the water. The Flitz Marine Detailers Kit is a handy, affordable package deal for this type of job. Featuring polish, wax, lime and rust remover and buffer balls, this purchase is really a one-stop shop for sprucing up the boat! 
  • Anyone who has ever been a passenger on a power or sailboat knows the importance of dry clothes and towels. So make sure your dad is prepared by investing in a waterproof bag for him. A safe place where he can store his water-sensitive items like his cell phone, camera, clothes and towel, a waterproof bag is ideal no matter how long you plan on being on the boat. Attwood Marine offers dry bags that can hold 20 or 40 liters worth of dry goods that are a perfect substitute for an overnight bag on the water. 
  • Dads are masters at capturing those unflattering, but nostalgia-inducing, photos and videos from years of yore. As much as we hate them at the time, those pictures oftentimes capture some of our favorite memories. Make sure that your dad is equipped to seize the moment, on and off land, with a waterproof case for his camera, phone, tablet or iPad. DryCase offers an affordable and easy-to-use option that creates an air-tight seal around any tablet device.  
  • A little weather never stopped dad from spending the weekend out on the water. So if you are willing to splurge on dad's gift this year, check out tools to navigate even in the worst weather. A marine radar system is a handy gadget that helps skippers to maneuver through tight harbors and inlets, avoid buoys and pots and have a comprehensive knowledge of water depth at any point along their adventure! Check out options from SI-TEX, Furuno or RayMarine for high-quality products. 
  • And finally, for those laid-back days at sea or out on the lake, make sure that dad's boat is ready to snag the ultimate catch-of-the-day with top of the line fishing boat accessories. For top-of-the-line tackle bags and boxes, look no further than pre-packaged totes from Wild River. For coolers and bags check out products from Coleman and C.E. Smith. If you are looking for an installation piece, like a rod holster, look to industry leaders like Scotty or Wahoo Industries. No matter what you choose, dads from every school of thought will love the addition to their boat.

Even if you are still unsure about what type of boat accessories to pick up for your dad this year, don't worry! At ePal Inc. we've got you covered! Our team of boating and outdoors experts can help you find the gift that is perfect for your pop, and we offer free ground shipping to the lower 48 states, plus flat rate expedited options. Contact us today and we will help you make this Father's Day one to remember!

Must-haves for weekends on the water

Now that Memorial Day is over chances are that your boat is finally in the water, and with the combination of beautiful summer weather and no holiday traffic, weekends on the water are fast approaching! Whether you are on a powerboat or sailboat, there are a few gadgets that are must-haves this summer.

  • Marine GPS/Fishfinder Combo – This handy tool makes it possible not only to plot and navigate your destination or current coordinates also to see what is going on below your boat. With a GPS/Fishfinder Combo, you will never feel lost no matter how far from land you are, and you will always be able to find the (sometimes elusive) catch-of-the-day!
  • Cellular Amplifier – With this technology, you will be able to use your cell phone from any location, no matter how bad the service normally is. It will make your home, RV, workplace or boat become a reception hotspot. Using this tool, going out on the boat for a weekend fishing trip will get you far enough away from the real world without leaving you unable to call for help if needed!
  • Waterproof bags – Every mariner knows the importance of a dry set of clothes. Likewise, every parent knows how critical it is to have a camera at the ready for those memorable moments. With a waterproof bag, everything that you could need for a day, night, or weekend on the boat will stay safe and dry.

For all of your boat accessories, look no further than ePal Inc. Our intuitive website makes finding the product that is right for you easy. Our expert staff is at-the-ready to answer any product questions that you may have and to ensure that you find the items that best suit your needs!