Yacht brokers are reporting that January sales of boats were down by about 5 percent year-over-year, according to TradeOnlyToday.com. The data was reported to SoldBoats.com, a proprietary database used by brokers to monitor industrywide sales. Overall, 1,635 boats changed owners in January, lower than last year's total of 1,728.
Much of the decline was in the category of boats under 26 feet, which saw a decrease in sales of 21 percent. However, the industry is still looking much healthier now than it did just a few years ago. In the past five years, the monthly average for boats changing hands was 1,559, so January 2014 was still well above the norm.
Additionally, despite the decline in the number of boats that were sold, the actual revenue generated from those sales was 2 percent higher than last year, at $242.7 million.
The industry is hoping that as the economy improves and people feel more secure in their jobs and incomes, that more boaters will think about investing in a new vessel. Recreational vehicles such as boats and RVs tend to be the first purchases that get nixed during hard times. But given the falling unemployment rate and rising equity markets, it seems as though the worst days for the boat sales industry are behind it.
If you've decided you'd rather hold on to your yacht rather than trying to upgrade to a newer one, you may want to consider replacing some of your components with state of the art models. For example, if your GPS unit is starting to show its age, we recommend checking out ePal's inventory of the latest Garmin marine electronics. This simple upgrade can make a huge difference in your boat's navigational system!
One of the most important marine instruments you can have on board is a depth finder, whether it's an advanced transducer or similar device. Sometimes it's an independent instrument and other times a part of your chartplotter or GPS. In any case, these devices help you figure out the clearance between the end of your keel and the bottom of the body of water where you're boating.
But depth finders and transducers can only help you so much. They can't tell you how deep the water is a quarter mile in front your bow or off to the side. They also don't necessarily give you an accurate reading if the water is too deep. It all depends on the power of the sonar beam they're transmitting.
At Sail Magazine, writer Connie McBride has a good rhyme that is easy to remember and can help you better judge water depths visually:
Brown, brown, run aground
White, white, you just might
Green, green, in between
Blue, blue, sail on through
Simply put, when the water in front of you is a light brown color, it's best to avoid it in the event that you scrape your hull or run aground. White-colored water could mean that there is sand reflecting sunlight back to the surface, though it may be deep enough that you don't have to worry about hitting anything. Green water typically indicates that there is grass on the surface, but it could still be deep enough that you can sail over it safely. Blue water means you're good to go!
With a more powerful marine transducer, you can judge depths more effectively and avoid running aground. Shop at ePal today for our latest deals on tranducers and other equipment!
The shipping industry is expecting to rebound after several years of unprofitability. Reuters reports that while overcapacity has led to a drop in freight rates that weren't enough to cover shippers' costs, but these rates are expected to go up in the next few months, leading to more revenue.
Overall, global dry bulk seaborne trade is expected to increase by 5.8 percent in 2014. Industry observers have said that some of the main reasons for the increase are the Chinese economy and urbanization, as well as falling iron ore prices. The forecasts have led to a rise in prices for new and used shipping vessels.
However, the optimism about these increases is dampened somewhat by the fact that forecasters predict many shipping carriers will continue to have trouble, and that the market is currently oversaturated. Several carriers have already filed for bankruptcy or receivership, including TMT Group and STX Pan Ocean.
It does seem as if the world economy is on the mend, even if growth is relatively tepid. The United States is seeing a slow rise in GDP, while Asian and South American countries continue to develop at a quick pace. Hopefully, these trends continue so that the shipping industry can return to profitability.
For carriers who are looking to save money wherever they can, one budget item they shouldn't ignore is marine equipment. At ePal, we carry a wide inventory of navigation and communication equipment that is essential for operating a shipping line. More importantly, these products can be obtained for discount prices. For more information, check out our online store today.
Boating is one of the most rewarding recreational activities, but it can also be one of the most dangerous if people travel without the necessary experience and marine supplies. Even those who have been piloting boats for years are sometimes unable to avoid accidents, which is why it's important to make sure your vessel is equipped with the latest communications and navigational systems available.
The pastor of a Los Alamitos, California, church was critically injured in a boating accident that occurred near Catalina Island, just off the coast of California. Bayless Conley, who is the pastor of Cottonwood Church, underwent surgery to repair soft tissue in his neck and throat, but his vital organs and vocal chords were left uninjured.
The Long Beach Press-Telegram reports that two other passengers, Keith Johnson and Jeff Perry, were hospitalized after the incident. Johnson suffered facial injuries and possibly broken ribs, while Perry is recovering from a fractured sternum, cuts and bruises.
The accident took place on February 3 near Two Harbors, a small community that is located on the isthmus of Catalina Island.
In addition to serving as a pastor at Cottonwood Church, Conley is also a broadcaster who hosts the television show "Answers with Bayless Conley."
Even if you're an experienced sailor, it is important to make sure that your vessel is in good condition and that it has all the tools you need to communicate with the shore and navigate safely wherever you happen to be sailing. You can find the best marine electronics technology by shopping at ePal, the leading internet retailer for marine supplies and parts.
Boat insurance can be more complicated than other types because the range of coverages that are available vary significantly. Insurance for cars and homeowners tend to be more regulated and cover very specific risks, while for boats there are policies that are both extremely limited and comprehensive. So it's a good idea when you're shopping for a new policy to read the fine print and find out when you'll actually be covered.
The Boat Owners Association of the United States (BOATUS) recently published a rundown of which clauses you want to keep an eye out for in your policy. Here are some of the most important points:
- Consequential Damage: This type of coverage is crucial because it covers damage that results from a failed part. Many policies will exclude any problems that occur because of a component on your vessel that corroded or failed in some way due to neglect. Consequential damage, however, ensures that you'll be covered for the subsequent repairs needed from the failed part, even if your insurer won't replace the part itself.
- Fuel-spill liability: If your boat sinks and fuel is released into the water, the federal government could hold you liable for the damage. These liabilities can total hundreds of thousands of dollars, so make sure your policy covers fuel spills.
- Salvage: If your boat sinks because of a hurricane or some other disaster, you'll most likely have to salvage it, which can be a pretty expensive operation. Be careful when you're purchasing a policy to make sure it covers these costs.
Once you've invested in a policy that provides good coverage, you can add in the chartplotter you've been wanting with the assurance that if anything happens to your boat, you'll be reimbursed for the damage! Make sure to check out ePal's extensive inventory of navigational and communications equipment today!
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal agency that monitors and enforces workplace safety in the United States, announced on February 4 that it had appointed 15 individuals to serve as members of the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH). MACOSH is a commission that advises the agency on issues related to maritime safety.
The committee is divided into four groups of people, with each group representing a particular segment of the maritime industry. The divisions include management, labor, the health and safety professions and government. An additional appointee was chosen by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Members of MACOSH will provide guidance to OSHA in determining new safety guidelines and requirements for employers who operate in the maritime industry, such as commercial fishermen, shipbuilders and shipping companies. David Michaels, the Assistant Secretary of Labor and director of OSHA, will occasionally seek their assistance in approving new rules for how workers in the industry should be trained and protected on the job.
Maritime jobs can be particularly dangerous, given how some operations will require crews to operate in extreme weather and sea conditions. As such, it is important for the agency to place particular focus on ensuring the safety of all professionals in the industry.
One of the best ways to make sure you and other members of your maritime operation remain safe is to supply them with marine instruments and electronics that will help them navigate and communicate with shore. These items can be procured affordably when you shop at ePal.
If you're an explorer, extreme outdoorsman, boater or any other type of individual who spends a great deal of time in remote areas without cell phone access, few tools are more important and useful than your satellite phone. Not only do these devices provide those outside of populated areas with the ability to make phone calls, they are also now capable of delivering internet service and text messages without needing to access a terrestrial network.
However, if there is a limitation to these products, it's that you need a separate phone in order to take advantage of the extended service. But Globalstar, one of the premiere manufacturers of satellite phone technology, has just announced that it has created a new network dubbed Sat-Fi that will allow users to log on to the internet using their smartphone, tablet or PC.
"Whether on land or at sea, Sat-Fi subscribers will be able to maintain constant, reliable connectivity when traveling in and out of cellular coverage with seamless handoff capabilities, while permitting numerous individuals to communicate through a single Sat-Fi hot spot using their existing devices and phone numbers," Globalstar said in a press release.
The company hasn't released full details about the new service, but those who want to take advantage would need a Sat-Fi device and an app installed on their preferred mobile system. As more information becomes available, we'll post updates here. In the meantime, you can take advantage of Globalstar's extensive network of satellites by picking up one of their phones at ePal, the leading marine equipment supplier on the internet.
Although many boaters can leave shore with a basic marine radio onboard, others require more serious communication equipment for those occasions when they'll be heading farther out into the ocean, away from ports and cell phone towers. For such situations, it may be necessary to purchase a satellite phone.
If you're unfamiliar with this equipment and how it works, here are some tips to keep in mind as you decided whether you want to buy one:
- Although they're known for their ability to provide service anywhere this isn't always the case. There are some networks, such as Iridium, which work globally, but others are restricted to certain regions. This may not be a problem if you typically boat in the same body of water.
- Consider whether you're existing marine equipment already provides some of the functions that are available with satellite phones. For example, if you already have a GPS system that delivers weather information, there's not much need to also have this function in your satellite phone, unless you're afraid of the GPS losing reception.
- Think about what you want to use the phone for. Is it for emergencies, or will you be consistently relying on it to send messages back to shore? Do you plan to use it for phone calls only, or email and internet as well?
At ePal, we offer satellite phones and accessories from Globalstar, Inmarsat, Iridium and other companies, so you should be able to find a phone that fits your needs specifically. If you have any questions about this topic, we invite you to give us a call today at (877) 245-8649 to find answers!
Although it's clearly the last resort, there may come a time when you're faced with the decision of whether or not you and your crew should abandon ship. No matter how valuable your boat is or how much it means to you, if it comes down to a choice between the safety of your passengers and staying with your vessel a little bit longer, you need to choose safety.
But knowing when to jump ship isn't always easy to determine. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- It's not a good idea to wait around to see what happens. If you've decided that it's too dangerous to stay onboard, then you need to get on your life raft and get away from the boat, as it could damage the raft in choppy seas.
- Not all captains wait until their boat is sinking to abandon it. Yachting Magazine recently reported on the story of Ian Hubbard, who was with his wife and children on a 60-foot ketch in the Atlantic when he had to call for search and rescue. The boat was fine, but he and his crew were completely fatigued and seasick. Had they waited any longer, Hubbard would have had to pilot through an approaching hurricane.
Hopefully you'll never have to make the decision about whether or not you should abandon your vessel. You can make such instances less likely by investing in the best marine GPS products and electronics at ePal. These instruments will deliver weather information so that you can always stay ahead of the next storm.
So you've decided to purchase a boat. Much like buying a house or a new car, it can sometimes be a long and complicated process, depending on how big the vessel is. If you're buying anything bigger than a skiff or small motorboat, you're probably going to have to deal with a broker. Most sellers will contract with someone who handles the sales process and takes a commission from the sales price.
If you're entering the market, make sure to keep these tips in mind when working with a broker:
- Consider hiring your own broker: If you want a more unbiased expert to help you navigate listings, having your own broker can be a valuable resource. They'll take your personal needs into consideration to make sure you get a vehicle that is in good condition and will leave you a happy sailor.
- Get everything in writing: When you hand over a deposit, make sure that the broker is storing your money in a separate account and that you have the account number and bank where it is being held. You should also make sure the conditions of the deposit are clearly stated, such as when you can get it back if you decide to pull out of the deal.
- Have a surveyor inspect every aspect of the boat you're buying: This is critical for making sure that the hull, engine and marine instruments on the boat you are purchasing are in good condition.
Once you've bought your new boat, make sure you head over to the ePal online store and check out our inventory of the latest technology in marine equipment!