Natural gas may be the future of boating

Fishing was the favorite hobby of engineer Miguel Guerreiro, the founder of Blue Gas Marine, when he had to set it aside for a while and address the reality that powering his boat was now costing him $4 per gallon for gas. It was during his pursuit for an economically viable solution that Guerreiro developed a technology that allows boats of any size to operate on natural gas as its leading or secondary fuel source. 

With Blue Gas One, the leading concept of Blue Gas Marine, no smoke or odor is generated through the operation of a boat, compared to traditional gasoline-powered boats, cutting down significantly on air and water pollution. The green-energy corporation, located in Apex, North Carolina, manufactures a gas hybrid fueling system that is compatible with current gasoline and diesel engines and can be installed on the existing outboards, inboards and generator engines of a vessel. 

The company is the first of its kind, specifically marketing its compressed and liquefied forms of natural gas to charter boats, commercial fishermen, tugs, ferries, large ships, recreational boaters and military departments.

One of the products other major selling point is its startling affordability. Compared to a $50 price tag for filling a 10-gallon gasoline tank, natural gas would only cost $15 for the same amount of fuel, according to what Guerreiro says in a Boating Industry article. 

Meanwhile, Guerreiro is still working on securing more investors to expand the businesses activities. The 2014 Cleantech Open Accelerator competition recently named Blue Gas Marine, Inc. a semifinalist in its national accelerator program, securing an additional $45,000 for the company in terms of visibility, services, training and mentoring. 

While the boating world sees new changes on the horizon, ePal will keep you updated while remaining prepared to meet your needs for the most dependable and affordable boat accessories and boat parts available. Contact us today! 

Leaders in fishing industries pen letter to Congress

Leaders in the recreational fishing and boating industries have comprised a letter with more than 200 signatures for members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives requesting support in regard to crucial policy changes to saltwater recreational fisheries management in the upcoming Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) reauthorization.

Signed into law by President George W. Bush on January 12, 2007, the MSA mandates the utilization of annual catch limits and accountability measures to preclude overfishing, calls for increased international cooperation and advocates market-based fishery management. 

Engine manufacturers, boat builders, fishing tackle manufacturers and retailers all convened under the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and the American Sportsfishing Association (ASA) to convey the message to congress that recreational fishing and boating must become pivotal components of the MSA reauthorization. Part of the collective argument maintains that the MSA, and the federal fishing management process that comes with it, is failing to adequately consider saltwater recreational anglers, a seemingly egregious oversight in light of the broad conservation and economic benefits that come from recreational fishing. 

Earlier in the week, in order to more effectively lay out its case before Congress about the need for the inclusion of recreational fishing and boating into the MSA, the NMMA and ASA conducted a Congressional Boating Caucus dedicated to this matter specifically. Representatives from both organizations along with those from the Coastal Conservation Association and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership came together to address congress directly about the benefits of government support of recreational fishing and boating. 

We'll keep you aware of any new developments regarding the matter and the final outcome of the MSA reauthorization. And remember, when looking to learn more about the world of boating, including what boat parts or marine accessories may best go with your vessel, contact ePal! We have all of the dependable and affordable products that you'll need.

Statistical Surveys July boat sales report

Due to the cold and wet spring of 2013, the sales of boats in the following July skyrocketed to double-digit gains when the industry recovered. July of 2014 faced the similar circumstance of the previous year's soggy spring, but the rebound wasn't as exuberant, with the gains being present but more modest, according to a report by Statistical Surveys.

Overall, July of 2014 saw growths of 3 percent in main power boat segment sales and an 8 percent increase in industry-wide activity, compared to industry-wide growth being 12 percent and main segment sales showing 18 percent growth in July of 2013. According to Trade Only Today, Ryan Kloppe, Statistical Survey's national marine sales manager, hinted that despite the growth, this July's progress was dwarfed by the activity of 2013. 

Kloppe, who expects upcoming reports to reveal continued growth in August, went on to say that he doesn't "think we'll be seeing a lot of double-digit gains in the categories, but there should continue to be slow, moderate growth."

The boating industry's most popular vessels since the beginning of the recession, aluminum fishing boats and pontoons along with 11- to 40-foot outboard boats, continued their upward trends. Fishing boat sales rose by 3.7 percent. Pontoons saw a 5.3 percent bump in purchases while fiberglass outboard sales climbed by 6.6 percent compared to last July's figures. By state, sales grew by 35 percent in Tennessee, 28 percent in Florida and 25 percent in California. 

The 14 – to 30-foot sterndrive and inboard fiberglass category was the only high-volume group in the main segments that revealed a decline with a 12.8 percent drop.

With the summer winding down and the opportunities to get on the water become fewer, make sure you consider what boat accessories and boat parts will best complement your vessel next year and contact ePal! We have all of the products you need that are both dependable and affordable.

3 tips for avoiding turbulence on the water

Some people are indifferent to bumpy waters while others won't step foot on a boat if there's a hint of turbulence, whether out of anxiety or a fear of motion sickness. What's universally accepted is that sometimes a rocky boating trip simply can't be avoided. However, there are steps you can take to minimize your chances of being overwhelmed by the extreme highs and lows of angry waves and high splashes. 

Here are three tips to remember: 

Lees are a relief: When plotting the course you plan on taking in a boat, out of consideration for any passengers with an acute sensitivity to motion, stay in the lee of an island, the portion of a body of land that works as guard against wind and other weather elements, is a kindness.

Mornings are mellow: A common feature of many coastal areas is that winds are generally calm in the earlier parts of the day. But by the time the afternoon has arrived, you may have to endure full-bodied gusts and waves with broad shoulders. Sometimes ensuring a smooth ride is simply a matter of good scheduling. 

Weather is king: Unless you're a mythical deity from an ancient civilization, you lack the ability to control the weather. But you can fortunately make the most out of the predictions, paying attention not only to what, if any, precipitation has been forecasted, but also to the speed of winds and size of the waves. If you or a boating companion are looking to avoid an uncomfortable trip, these metrics give you the best chance of making a good decision about whether you should stay in and catch a movie instead.

If you have a need to find boat accessories or a high-quality chartplotter to help you navigate choppy waters, contact ePal! We have all of the products you need that are both dependable and affordable. 

Navigating your boat through locks

With regard to boating, a lock is a restricted section of a waterway or canal where the level of water can be altered through the use of gates or sluices, primarily employed for the purpose of raising and lowering vessels between two gates. But what may be more important than knowing what a lock does is knowing how to navigate them when one comes across your path. 

There are usually several factors to consider when approaching a lock, but once one has a grasp on some of the most basic features, traversing a lock is a simple enough process. Specifically, two of the most pressing elements to consider are speed and space. Currents are hardly ever a problem when in a canal with a lock, but the speed of the current before reaching the canal should be monitored to ensure that your approach isn't too fast.

John Wampler, delivery skipper, tells Boating Magazine that "When a lock blocks the canal, current isn't an issue. But check for current before approaching a lock alongside a dam or spillway."

The narrow space in some waterways means that there is a heightened chance of bumping into a wall or damaging your boat due to carelessness. This is why engaging your vessel's propellers as little as possible and entering as close to the center, especially when navigating narrow and shallow locks, is usually cautioned. Other details to be aware of when navigating a lock is that twin-engine inboard boats may pull the stern toward the walls when the propeller nearest the wall is activated, and vice versa when the propeller is reversed. 

If you'd like to learn more about boating, boat parts and the best boat accessories for your vessel, contact ePal. We have all the products you need at affordable prices.

2 tips for boating under a bridge

With the benefits of technology, navigating through narrow channels and maneuvering across a patch of stormy weather isn't nearly as daunting as it once was centuries ago. We also are fortunate to have maps detailing some of the most minute details of the waters we traverse, making for safer and more surefooted journeys. Nevertheless, some man-made challenges, like bridges, remain tricky to pass by at times, sometimes because of a combination of factors like tall waves and inclement weather. Other times, we are caught unaware that a bridge ever existed and have to do the best we can with the sudden obstruction. 

Here are two useful tips to remember when it's time to pass under a bridge:  

Know the height of the boat: Specifically, it's crucial to know what the height of the boat is with all of the antennas retracted. A good method for estimating how much space your boat needs for bridges in general is using a measuring tape or a marked broom or brush handle while passing under a bridge to measure the amount of space needed to safely clear it. Make sure to leave enough room in case you ever have to make a pass when the water is rough.

Learn the language: Contacting a bridge to confirm the accuracy of clearance boards is a great idea. But the intricacies of bridge slang, such as "low steel," can be simple enough for some to discern intuitively. But for others, the Coast Guard has published a glossary of bridge terms that would be helpful to know if you find yourself trying to make a pass during a stormy or emergency situation. 

If you'd like to learn more boating tips or about what boat accessories or boat parts will best complement your vessel, contact ePal. We have all the products you need at affordable prices.

3 Boat Safety Tips

One of the unfortunate realities about boating is that sometimes accidents happen. What can be most frustrating about those mishaps is that sometimes they are entirely avoidable if safety guidelines are adhered to. That's why there is rarely ever an inappropriate time to stress the importance of safety on the water. 

Here are a few tips for you to remember:

Create a Float Plan: Letting someone who is not going along on a boat trip know all pertinent details is a savvy way of protecting you and your passengers from any unforeseen mishaps. A good float plan will include the names, addresses and contact information of the trip leader and all of the passengers. The boat type and registration information, the trip itinerary and all of the communication and signal equipment available on the vessel are all also crucial pieces of information that would help locate the boat if it becomes damaged or lost. 

Life jackets: Although use of the life jacket is one of the most obvious safety tips, it is also one of the most repeated because of how resistant people can be toward using them. If your hesitancy is due to life jackets being too bulky and uncomfortable, they now come in all kinds of designs intended for an array of activities from water sports to fishing. There are even comfortable life jackets designed for pets.

Use the free safety check: The United States Coast Guard offers complimentary boat examinations to confirm the integrity of your boat and its safety equipment in regard to both state and federal regulations. There are also virtual safety checks available online to use. 

Remember, ePal has all of the boat accessories and marine supplies you'll need to make the most of your time on the water, including safety equipment. Contact us today!

What to look for in transducer frequencies

With the continuous technological advancements of sonar there has also come a drop in prices for such boat accessories as well as a boom in options regarding what kind of equipment is best for your boat and boating activities. A device that once had been used primarily for measuring the depth of the ocean is now deployed for finding fish, creating underwater maps and scanning ocean floors for debris. 

A universal truth about all sonar equipment, whether they are a fishfinder you can carry around or a mapping system that has to be hoisted with a crane, all depend on a quality transducer. Functioning as both a receiver and distributor of information, transducers are either submerged or placed in close proximity to a pond or ocean in order to emit wave signals, which move at predetermined speeds and bounce off of any objects with a density that doesn't match that of the water. 

The typical transducer frequency used for boats that work occasionally on commercial projects or primarily serve recreational purposes moves between 25 and 400KHz, with 200 and 50Khz being the most common levels within that range.

Lower frequencies usually display a stronger penetrating ability through water than higher frequency waves. This is why when trying to decide what transducer frequency you need for your vessel, it's essential to remember that low frequencies around 50KHz are ideal for displaying the wide area of a bottom, especially when the water is deep. Conversely, fishfinders and recorders, are often considered most effective when they come with higher frequencies because of their effectiveness with showing more details in shallow waters. 

If you would like to learn more about what transducer frequency would work best for your boat and about other boat accessories that would complement your vessel, contact ePal today. We have everything you need at affordable prices. 

3 tips on how to maintain your boat

With the summer winding down, now may not seem like the opportune period to conduct maintenance on your boat as the more time you spend working on it, the less time you have to enjoy it. However, now is a great time to start thinking about what improvements to make, especially the ones that can be completed with a modest amount of effort. At the very least, you'll have fewer kinks to work out on the other side of winter when its time to bring the boat back out again. 

Here are three tips: 

Keep your trailer in action: If your trailer only gets used for the launching in the spring and the hauling in the fall, it's a good idea to move it around a few feet just to prevent its bearings from becoming stuck. An alternative to that idea would be to jack the trailer up and spin its wheels for a few minutes.

Let your engine breathe: If you've had some stalling issues, a good trick to try is opening up your fuel fill cap and letting the boat run on a day when there is no precipitation. It's important to keep water out of the vent. If the stalling issues stop then you most likely have a clogged fuel vent that needs to be cleaned.

Spray your engine: There are myriad lubricants you can use to lather your engine's blocks and heads to prevent a build up of dirt. For the sake of maintaining quality performance, spray down the engine at least twice during the colder months. Even if it doesn't prevent something going wrong with the engine, having the parts kept in good condition will make repairing anything that's gone wrong easier than if you hadn't. 

If you like to learn more about how to maintain your boat parts and what boat accessories will help you do that, contact ePal. We have all the products you need at affordable prices. 

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!