Troubleshooting tips for your boat

In an earlier post we mentioned how the stress of uncertainty can be overwhelming when your boat malfunctions on the water and you don't know what to do, even if you have an idea of what may be wrong. Sometimes having a few troubleshooting tips to fall back on can offer just the relief you need to manage the situation efficiently. 

Here are two troubleshooting suggestions:

The suddenly silent engine: When an engine stops operating suddenly, one of the most typical causes is the failure of a primer bulb. When a vacuum happens inside of a boat's fuel tank, the fuel supply to the engine is cut off, resulting in a collapsed primer bulb and a silent motor. To remedy this issue, unscrew the vent to create some air flow through the engine and pump the primer bulb until it becomes hard again. 

Another time when a simple solution may be all you need for a dead motor is when the kill switch has been accidentally flipped. It's a mishap that's easy to overlook. But if you're on the water and it suddenly comes to mind that disengaging the kill switch may be the answer to your problems, you may end up saving yourself a lot of time and worry. 

The off-kilter propeller: Often, a malfunctioning boat is due to debris. That has been the case with propellers frequently enough to mention it as a possibility here. Firstly, turn the engine off and see if any foreign objects can be removed from the blades and shaft and try the engine again. 

Secondly, if the clearing away of debris doesn't fix the issue, inspect your propeller's shear pin. If it's broken it will have to be replaced. 

If you're interested in learning about some of the best marine accessories that would complement your boat as well as how to troubleshoot unexpected issues, ePal has everything you need and more. Contact us today!

What to do with an overheating outboard motor

There are few experiences in life that are more stressful than having your boat give out on you when you're trying to enjoy a day on the water. Along with the anxiety that may come with the uncertainty of what the nature of the breakdown may be, there are often also questions about how much it will eventually cost to correct the problem. Sometimes there are issues that can only be fixed with the assistance of a trained professional. But occasionally, having a few troubleshooting techniques memorized can be a great help in repairing a defect or, at least, alleviating some of the stress that may come with it. 

Here is a tip on how to handle a common enough malfunction:

The Overheating Outboard Motor

The constant flow of water through the engine is how outboard motors remain cool. Often enough, if the outboard motor has become overheated, the issue lies with a lack of adequate water flow. The first step is to shut down the engine and make sure that there is no blockage due to foreign objects like weeds or man-made debris. Another threat to water flow could be a defective water pump impeller, a round disc with blades that keeps the water in circulation.

If the water pump impeller is broken it will likely have to be replaced. However, if the outboard motor has overheated because it was clogged, giving the engine a few minutes to cool down after you've cleared away any obstructions may be all that is necessary to get your boat cruising again. 

If you find yourself in need of a new water pump impeller or any other boat parts, or are simply interested in learning about the best boat accessories for your vessel, contact ePal! We have all the dependable products at affordable prices that you need.

Labor Day weekend safety tips

With Labor Day weekend quickly approaching, it's important to match our enthusiasm for getting out on the water with an understanding of safety measures. Drowning is America's second leading cause of accidental deaths. An overwhelming majority of those fatalities could have been avoided if the victims had only been wearing life jackets. It's also important to be mindful of where any children may be. A child can drown in only 20 seconds, and many fatalities take place when a victim is less than 10 feet from safety because nobody knew of there whereabouts.

Being alert is key in avoiding tragedies and property damage this weekend. That's why drinking and driving a boat don't mix. Along with the increased risk of injuries and collisions, excessive alcohol consumption on a hot day could also result in a sunburn over even sun poisoning. Using a designated driver is one of the best decisions you can make, especially since alcohol stands as the primary contributor to most boating deaths, according to the Coast Guard's Office of Boating Safety. 

One of the trickiest hazards to be aware of comes from the boats themselves. Carbon monoxide emissions from the engines can accumulate around the boat. Early signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include nausea, dizziness, eye irritation and headaches. Make sure that your carbon monoxide detector is functioning before taking your boat out and maintaining good air circulation will minimize the threat of carbon monoxide sickness. 

Another smart practice includes following the weather forecast regularly as the weekend approaches to remain aware of any warnings regarding dangerous conditions. Otherwise, we hope your Labor Day weekend on the water is a fabulous one. 

If you need any new boat parts or boat accessories before you ship off for the weekend, contact ePal! We have all the dependable products you need and provide them at affordable prices. 

Peer-to-peer boat sharing (Part 2)

In an earlier post, we discussed the growth of peer-to-peer boat sharing initiatives. Some companies who facilitate exchanges between boat owners and consumers have released statistics outlining their managing of thousands of boats stationed throughout hundreds of American cities. Other organizations have boasted figures of overseeing more than 10,000 boats stationed throughout 52 countries. 

It's still too early to determine how successful of an enterprise peer-to-peer boat sharing will become. Nevertheless, the costs of maintaining, stationing and insuring a boat stands out as one of the leading motivators for the industry, according to Trade Only Today. Peer-to-peer sharing allows boat owners to offset some of those costs. This is why, with the boating industry earning $35 billion yearly and serving a market where 75 percent of all boat owners earn less than $100,000 annually, the potential for peer-to-peer boat sharing is evident. 

One of the obvious benefits of partnering with a p2p platform is that many of them supply insurance offerings. Shawn Gardner, co-founder and CEO of Fun2rent.com, says that peer-to-peer organizations often provide better insurance options on account of typical rental companies not having the inventory to provide coverage on something like hull damage. 

"When you rent from these private rental companies, if you total the boat it's coming out of your paycheck," Gardner says. "We have better rental insurance than most of the companies out there."

Other incentives include no membership fees, simple boat listings, total autonomy over who rents your vessel and when it is rented and access to an entire boating community that has no geographic limitations. 

The future of p2p boat sharing may be uncertain but you can certainly contact ePal about the best boat parts and boat accessories today. We have all of the products you need. 

Peer-to-peer boat sharing (Part 1)

The internet has been a life-changing tool for all humanity, affecting everything from the way we learn and shop to how we do business and entertain ourselves. Perhaps one of the most controversial elements of the World Wide Web is how accessible it's made us to each other. Social media platforms have given us a chance to connect with long lost friends from our youth but they've also been the source of heated debates over privacy issues and concerns about information security. 

New business initiatives like crowdsourcing for information and crowdfunding for financial support have also risen from this new accessibility. We're now able to utilize peer-to-peer initiatives through our smartphones and find a stranger willing to loan their car or use it to taxi us around town. That's why it was only a matter of time before technology caught up with the way we use our boats. 

According to statistics provided by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), a boat owner's vessel can sit unused for roughly 339 days annually, while still incurring insurance, maintenance and storage fees along with other expenses. According to a Trade Only Today article, this is the condition that has led to the rise of a handful of companies who facilitate peer-to-peer boat sharing initiatives. 

Requirements to engage this service often mean completing questionnaires, affidavits and possessing a minimum of two years of boating experience, although the requisites vary among the different organizations. Fraud protection checks are utilized as well as this is a relatively new enterprise that carries uncertainties along with its potential benefits.

Ultimately, whether a boat is used in a peer-to-peer boat sharing service is up to the owner. Nevertheless, if you're an owner looking to improve your vessel with the best boat accessories and boat parts, contact ePal today for all the products you need! 

Tips on how to catch elusive fish (Part 2)

In a previous blog entry, we discussed how some fish will try to make you work a little harder than others when trying to make a catch and what you can do to get through these trouble spots.

Here are a few more tips:

Chase catfish at night: Catfish are warm water fish that, by midsummer, are looking to feed heavily. This makes the optimal fishing time between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. when the fish are moving out of the deeper waters to find food.

Go long: One way of raising your chances of catching more fish is so simple it's easy to overlook. Casting out further away means that you're covering more territory and giving yourself more options. One of the most effective ways to add distance to your cast is to use a lightweight line.

Watch the birds: Saltwater anglers are known for using the birds to find an ideal spot to catch fish but there are intricacies to this art. For example, some inshore birds like terns will favor smaller bait like sandeels and bay anchovies. But watching where the gulls head will lead you to larger bait fish like mackerel and herring. Meanwhile, cormorants will chase anything that's moving in the water. Offshore birds like petrels can lead you to shrimp catches but they also tend to feed on shrimp and plankton.

The best approach to using birds to your advantage is patience. Watch them long enough to see if a pattern unfolds and reveals whether there are fish in the nearby area or if they're as hungry as you are. A flock of birds suddenly changing course to a specific destination is usually a good sign. But if a large group of birds looks like it's resided to fly off and seek out something promising, it may serve you to follow their lead.

Remember, ePal has all of the boat parts and fishing boat accessories you'll need to make the most of your time on the water. Contact us today!

Tips on how to catch elusive fish (Part 1)

Providing the best fishing boat accessories is just one of the ways ePal helps its customers. We want people to love their time on the water as much as we do. But sometimes having the best equipment isn't always enough. A little cunning can go along way too, especially when it comes to getting fish to take the bait.  

Here are a couple of tips on how you can enhance your chances of filling your boat with a tasty bounty: 

Avoid getting rocked: Sometimes it's unavoidable that, when fishing, you run the risk of being "rocked," as a bold fish snatches a lure or bait and then buries its head in the rocks, kelp or weeds. Usually, you're not left with many options other than cutting the line, but there are a few tricks you can try. 

Instead of pulling back on the line as instincts would suggest, sometimes doing just the opposite works. Dip the front of the rod toward the water and allow the line to go slack, which may lead a fish to think it doesn't need cover any more and will cause it to retreat from its protection. Alternatively, you can pull back gently on the rod and pluck the line like it's a guitar string, sometimes annoying the fish to the point of trying to escape you. As a last resort, weight the anchor and move to a new position to try to yank the fish free from a different angle. 

Make use of flooding: Bow-fishermen have long made use of flooded waters. Carp and gar are particularly known for swarming overflowing banks in search of food, often inching along and leaving their backs exposed for some of the easiest shooting there is. 

Nevertheless, the value of a good fishfinder and other boat accessories can't be overstated either. Contact ePal today for all of the fishing and boating products you need. 

What to do when your boat is sinking

The subject of a boat sinking often goes overlooked because of the common assumption that a boat sinking is a rare event or the consequence of recklessness or negligence. Sometimes this is the case. But inclement weather, malfunctioning parts or a poorly designed vessel also frequently contribute to a boat going under. Aside from the headaches even the thought of such a mishap can cause, especially when one thinks about the fuel or oil pollution fines that may be heaped on top of the property loss, what's most important is knowing what to do in the event of such a disaster. 

Here are a pair of tips: 

Find the leak: Once you find the leak, you can try to plug it with balled up clothes, boots or anything else that may fit to stem the flow. Also, moving as many items and people as possible to the opposite side of the boat will help slow the leak as well, even if the boat doesn't tip enough for the hole to clear the water.

Put on the life jackets and make a mayday call: This seems like a common sense piece of advice but scary situations often produce bizarre and panicky behavior. Perhaps the greatest counsel anybody could offer for such a tense moment is to breathe deeply and maintain your calm. But hailing the Coast Guard on VHF Channel 16 to provide your location and the number of people aboard along with preparing for the inevitability of being immersed in water are crucial as well. Also, don't forget the ditch bag you use to store signal flares, a waterproof handheld VHF and a personal beacon locator. 

Also, if you're looking to learn about what marine accessories would best serve you in such an unfortunate situation and advice on the most dependable boat parts for your vessel, ePal has everything you need and more. Contact us today!

3 tips on how to release a fish

Catch and release has become a more popular practice with fishing for a number of reasons. Some species are required by law to be returned to the water, some release fish in the interest of conservation and others simply refuse to kill something they won't eat. Nonetheless, knowing how to release a fish properly is most important, otherwise the fish may end up dying anyway. 

Here are three tips on how to safely release a fish back to the water: 

Handle with care: Cradling a fish by its lip puts stress on its jaw and internal organs. Also the gills of a fish are extremely sensitive and can be easily damaged. Holding it horizontally and keeping your hands around the lower jaw area or the belly are the best ways to prevent injury.

Land the fish quickly: Exhaustion is one of the most crucial factors regarding a fish's survival. Also, the energy level of a fish especially becomes unpredictable during warm weather when higher-temperature water means lower dissolved oxygen levels for the fish to rely on, resulting in quicker and more intense incidents of stress and fatigue for the fish. Ending the fight as quickly as possible elevates the chances of survival significantly. 

Mind the hook: Barbless hooks are ideal when planning on throwing fish back as they are easier to remove and minimize the chances of punctured fingers during the process. Long-nose pliers are also a handy tool for smooth removals. Another trick that can be used is holding the fish upside-down which sometimes helps pacify it and reduce the overall time needed to remove the hook.   

Also, if you're looking for a fishfinder or any other fishing boat accessories, visit ePal Inc. today!

A pair of tips on how to dock a boat

Docking a boat is nothing like parking a car for a number of reasons. Paved roads don't rock and an unexpected gust of wind isn't likely to twist your SUV a few inches to the right or left while you try to squeeze into a spot that is at times not much bigger than the vehicle itself. But, with docking a boat, the weather, the type of dock, marine electronics and even the number of engines involved can influence how smoothly or how clumsily a boat is docked.

That's why we'd like to offer a couple of tips to remember:

Speed: The golden rule with docking can't be overstated: Never approach the dock at a speed greater than what you'd be willing to use to hit it. Lower speeds mean less water flowing through the rudders, which will only benefit your steering, allowing you to accomplish sharper turns and achieve desired angles of approach. Solid docking means sustained periods of coasting, interrupted by the occasional fuel-injected burst to maintain momentum into a clean position. But familiarity with your boat and practice are the only guaranteed ways to learn when to inject that sudden thrust of speed. 

Wind: Firstly, be aware of your sails. An unattended sail while trying to dock in heavy winds can throw you way off your bearings and significantly increase the difficulty of a successful dock. Also, finding the most appropriate angle may never be more important in docking than when it comes to dealing with the wind. An approach aimed to cut the current that's trying to blow you away from the pier can lead to success just as paralleling yourself to the dock and allowing the wind to do a bulk of the work can.

Also, if you're looking for any boat accessories for after you've gotten it safely docked, ePal has all of the products you need. Contact us today!