A successful boating season draws to a close

Marinas officials are reporting that they enjoyed a good boating season this year, even though the winter before it was particularly harsh.

"It zoomed on by," said Anne Brown, a co-owner of Channel Grove Marina in Danbury Township. "Even though we had cooler temperatures, we stayed busy. I didn't have a whole lot of open slips, so I can't complain."

Now, as the weather begins to cool again, customers are starting to take their boats out of the water and prepare them for winter. Many of these are families with children, who have just started school, and won't have time to use the boats again regardless of weather. Some enthusiastic boaters, however, will wait until the last possible moment to do so. Local boaters, for instance, tend to stay in the marina longer, removing their boats at some point in October.

As the season comes to an end, area coast guard members gather to debrief on the events of the season and devise ways to improve performance next year.

"We had over 50 search and rescue calls, conducted 2,000 patrol hours, conducted 450 recreational boating safety boardings checking everyone's gear with high compliance, and the biggest number of all — we had zero fatalities on Lake Superior this year," said BMCM Robert Pump, of the U.S. Coast Guard, in an official statement. "It's been a phenomenal year."

Boaters are no doubt disappointed that the season is nearing its end, but it's always nice to look forward to next spring when you can take your first ride of the season. In the meantime, if you are in need any marine accessories, ePal Inc can certainly match you with your ideal product for the best possible water performance.

How to winterize your boat

It's officially fall and time to winterize your boat. Remember that it's important to prepare your boat properly for storage, even though we know you'll be sad to say goodbye to summer. The better care you take with storing it, though, the better condition it will be in come spring. Here are a few tips to help you during the process:

  • Anti-freeze: Run anti-freeze through your boat and also stabilize fuel. It's a good idea to consult a professional about this step, because it's the most important part of making sure your boat makes it through the winter undamaged.
  • Clean: Give the boat a good scrubbing before you place it in storage. This includes wiping out the lockers and rubbing down the wood with oil. When you come back to a fresh, shiny boat next year you'll be glad you did this.
  • Cover: Cover the boat with a tarp for protection and block exhaust pipes to keep animals from nesting in your boat.
  • Take it for one last spin: Take your boat on one last joyride, and appreciate how much fun it's given you and your friends and family over the course of the season. You'll have plenty of good memories to look back on during the harsh winter months. While you're riding, observe how your boat is working and assess whether or not it needs any repairs. Make a list of things you need to fix and parts you need to replace. Over the course of the fall and winter you can work on collecting these new pieces in anticipation of spring.
  • Unpack: Unload all the towels and life jackets and sports equipment that have piled up over the course of the summer.

Lastly, remember that if you're in need of any marine supplies you can find them at ePal Inc, where we strive to give customers the best boating experience possible.

3 tips for properly fueling your boat

One of the many ways that owning a boat is not like owning a car can be experienced through the refueling process. Unlike with cars, your vessel has several safety requirements that should be adhered to when filling its tank. Older boats that rely on gasoline can be especially risky if their fuel hoses have become brittle, leaving them susceptible to cracking and spilling fuel into the bilge. And inboard powered boats have closed engine compartments, making the dissipation of gasoline vapor challenging. 

With these and other challenges in mind, here are few tips to remember when refueling your boat: 

Avoid static: It probably goes without saying that static occurring while pouring a highly flammable substance into your boat is not an ideal situation. To preclude this from happening, keep the fuel nozzle in close contact with the fuel deck fill. Furthermore, stay close by to keep an eye on the fueling process which means fighting off the urge to use the hands-free clip. 

Disembark: Once your vessel has been safely docked, everyone should leave the boat and keep a safe distance while the fueling process happens. Portable tanks should also be removed and filled from the fuel dock also.

Know your limit: If you overfill your tank you'll have gasoline splashing out of the fuel tank vent. Sometimes it takes the familiarity with a vessel that only comes with time, but after a while you should be able to know how much fuel you'll need without thinking about it. Also, a tank that is too full presents the risk of fuel expanding and splashing out of the tank on an especially warm day. 

If you're looking to buy new boat parts or marine accessories, ePal has all of the dependable items that you need, and at great prices. Contact us today!

How to navigate a "No Wake" zone

A common question from boating novices is the one that inquires about "No Wake" zones. 

"No wake" indicates that a vessel is traveling at or beneath an idle speed, a pace at which the boat and its wake, a term used for waves, aren't likely to cause injury or damage to another person, boat or property. What has become somewhat controversial about "no wake" scenarios is that the designs of many boats aren't exactly conducive to them, especially if the hull of a boat comes with a deep-v. Also, operating stern-drive vessels can lead to further engine complications that exacerbate the situation. 

Nevertheless, none of these realities make adhering to "no wake" zones impossible. 

First, most boats have two separate 5 mph speeds. One involves the throttle being adjusted forward of neutral for what is known as "idling in gear." This is where the engine is turning at roughly 600 rpm. The other, and more broadly known, 5 mph involves the engine spinning at about 1,300 rpm, where there is more thrust but the boat is squatting, which means a larger wake even without increased speed. 

The difference is as significant as your respect for the federal law, which requires you acknowledge wake regulations. Here is another tip to consider when looking to reduce your wake: 

Act quickly: Slowing down in advance is your best option for successful compliance. Some may even consider it your only option as backing off the throttle just as you're lining up next to a small boat likely means that you are already in the zone with a prominent wake. 

Sometimes, a little knowledge can be one of the most useful boat accessories you can have. Nevertheless, if you're looking to add new boat parts to your vessel, shop ePal! We have the expertise and extensive selection of dependable and affordable marine instruments to meet all of your needs and desires. 

Lowrance Elite-7 HDI Gold Combo 83/200/455/800 T/M Ducer

The most satisfying feeling for ePal comes when we've succeeded in putting a customer together with the right item that enhances their experiences on the water. Whether it's fishing, sailing or traveling, we want our customers to be able to maximize the experience that gives millions of people joy every year.

Sometimes all of the noise surrounding a new product makes it difficult to determine if it's really worth your hard earned dollars. That's why we work so diligently in finding out what items are worth your time and will produce the highest quality. That's also why when we talk about a quality fishfinder or chartplotter, the discussion often turns toward an item from the Lowrance Elite-7 series.

The Lowrance Elite-7 HDI Gold Combo 83/200/455/800 T/M Ducer employs Hybrid Dual Imaging™ (HDI), the combination of two award-winning technologies, to create the most accurate view possible beneath your vessel. The Broadband Sounder™ is ideal for tracking fish arches and lure action while the PLUS DownScan Imaging™ uses an easily understood format to display all of the details below, including the location and size of structures. With all of this and a color display enlarged by 70 percent, this is an ideal product for your fish finding and chart plotting needs. 

What makes this Elite-7 line product worth purchasing? 

The seamless combination of multiple technologies is what makes this a desirable product. The DownScan Imaging Overlay paired with the Broadband Sounder display provides an incomparable view of the activity and environment beneath your boat. Furthermore, along with the fully adjustable color palettes, the technology is further enhanced with a TrackBack™ Into Sonar History feature. The Sonar History allows for the immediate review of previously scanned areas and lets you revisits specific spots for further consideration which saves time and fuel when plotting a course as you can mark your waypoint with just the press of a button. 

The Elite-7x also works with 83/200 kHz and 50/200 kHz Skimmer transom-mount transducers. 

How does this product differ from its competitors? 

The accurate and easy to use navigation that comes via the installed marine GPS antenna as well as a United States background map is one of this product's strongest features. The multi-window display only adds to the accessibility of the various capabilities, allowing you to occupy up to three panels at once to use features that include advanced NMEA 2000 networking compatibility.

Through the networking feature, you're able to share data among networked displays to enhance coordinated efforts. Along with the one-touch menu system and the limited one-year warranty provided by the Lowrance Advantage Service program, this is a device that definitely merits your consideration. 

This is one of those marine electronics items that serves multiple purposes for both commercial and recreational anglers and you can get it for a great price when you shop through ePal!

Lowrance Elite-7 HDI Combo 83/200/455/800 T/M Transducer – No Charts

One of the simple beauties about boating is that it's fun. Whether you're enjoying the warmth of a summer day or eyeing the way the moon's reflection bounces off the water, there are small pleasures everywhere to be appreciated.

Even going fishing on a day when nothing seems to be biting can be a enjoyable experience. But that doesn't mean that making a good catch isn't the goal. We want you to be able to make the most of your time on the water and your investment in your vessel along with all of its accompanying boat accessories. Many anglers use fishfinder and chartplotters to do this but one of the trickiest aspects about that approach is finding out which appliances make for the best investment.

Our choice when customers are looking for a high quality, dependable transducer is often an item from the Lowrance Elite-7 series. For example, the Lowrance Elite-7 HDI Combo 83/200/455/800 T/M Transducer is a top notch product that comes with two award-winning technologies that will enhance your ability to view the action occurring beneath your boat. While the Broadband Sounder™ excels at identifying fish arches and following the movement of lures, PLUS DownScan Imaging™ supplies comprehensive details through a picture-like display that doesn't require any interpretation. Furthermore, the device comes with widescreen visibility through a color display that has been increased by 70 percent. 

Why is this Elite-7 line product worth the investment? 

Overall, what you receive with this transducer is a clear image of the activity happening beneath your boat. But, also, this imagery comes with minimal manual adjustments and the benefit of a recorded history that allows you to fully comprehend the details of your location and to forecast potential changes. 

The DownScan Imaging Overlay combined with the Broadband Sounder display results in a pristine viewing situation that markedly distinguishes fishing targets from surrounding structures and obstacles. It also comes with overlay transparency and a color palette that can be adjusted according to your tastes. 

Moreover, the immediate scroll back option attached to your sonar history feature allows you to review areas that have already been covered and highlight appealing fishing spots, saving you both time and fuel when plotting your course. Through chartplotter models, all that you have to do is press a button to mark a waypoint. 

Furthermore, through Proven ASP™ (Advanced Signal Processing) the manual adjustments needed have been drastically reduced but still allow you to understand what is happening under the water with minimal effort. 

What features about this product separate it from its competitors?

With the DownScan Imaging feature alone, you're able to peruse depths of up to 1,000 feet. With DownScan Imaging and Broadband Sounder, depths of up to 2,500 feet become visible with a clear cut digital representation. There is also an extremely trustworthy built-in marine GPS antenna that comes along with an intricate U.S. map, complete with optional charting upgrades that are available through Navionivs Gold and Hotmaps Premium, Fishing Hotspots PRO and Lake Insight and Nautic Insight PRO. 

The Advanced NMEA 2000 Networking Compatibility is another attractive quality that allows you to share waypoints among networked displays, which is ideal for group events. The page-selection feature, a menu system that gives you the opportunity to access all of these features with a simple thumb stroke, and the the fact that all of these options come supported with a one-year warranty provided by Lowrance Advantage Service program are even more reasons why this particular transducer is a leading product in the market. And if you're feeling overwhelmed with all of the things you can accomplish with it, the multi-window display provides you an opportunity to utilize up to three panels at once to accomplish various tasks simultaneously. 

If the Lowrance Elite-7 HDI Combo sounds like one of the boat parts you've been looking for, contact ePal today!

Lowrance Elite-7 CHIRP Fishfinder/Chartplotter Base Combo – 83/200 455/800 Transom Mount

Boating adventures are major national past time. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, the United States commercial and recreational saltwater fishing sector produced more than $199 billion in sales in 2011, while supporting 1.7 million jobs. There's no clearer way to explain how popular boating is.

Nevertheless, with this popularity often comes an overwhelming amount of opportunities. Boat, boat accessories, boating and fishing locations, boating blogs and more, there is always a new item or opinion about an item asking for your attention. That's why we take such care at ePal to ensure that our product reviews and web content is dependable and consistent with our values.

That's why when it comes to attaining the best view beneath your boat via the help of a fishfinder, we'd recommend almost anything from Lowrance Elite-7. The CHIRP Fishfinder/Chartplotter Base Combo – 83/200 455/800 Transom Mount is an especially desirable piece of hardware that makes finding fish easier as it includes CHIRP, compressed high-intensity radar pulse, sonar to its award-winning built-in Broadband Sounder™ and DownScan Imaging™ fishfinder technologies. The significance of CHIRP sonar is that its amplified sensitivity, which leads to more precise target resolution and effective noise rejection for a sharper imagery. 

What is so appealing about the Elite-7 Line?

Just a few of the winning features included in this product, along with the CHIRP Sonar, is that it allows you to more accurately target the location of fish at greater depths and do so while your boat cruises at faster speeds, keeping you from overlooking any schools that would be easy to miss. Added benefits of looking for fish with CHIRP is that you are able to handle multiple frequencies from a single transducer of a number of makes and models. 

What are the standout features about this product?

The Elite Fishfinder/Chartplotter comes with DownScan Imaging™ that supplies images of fish beneath your boat that may as well be professionally taken snapshots. Also, the extremely detailed United States map built into the system displays more than 3,000 lakes and rivers along with coastal contours to 1,000 feet that also come with optional chart upgrades through the the microSD card slot, which include Lake Insight™, Nautic Insight™ PRO and HD, Navionics® Gold and HotMaps® Premium, Fishing Hotspots® PRO and Jeppessen C-Map Max-N. But if the standard upgrades don't meet your needs, you can also upload your own map from the real sonar data you record through Insight Genesis™.

Manually adjusting settings doesn't need to be a nuisance any longer either with the Advanced Signal Processing (ASP), which will tackle that matter for you and leave you with more time to review the recorded sonar histories that include structures, the transitions of the fist and significant locations. 

Overall, we'd say this quality of marine electronics is ideal for both commercial and recreational purposes. It's simple to use, dynamic in its features and, perhaps best of all, comes at a great prices when you buy it through ePal!

The 2014 Newport For New Products Awards are announced

Last week, the Newport Exhibition Group, the owners and producers of the Newport International Boat Show in Rhode Island, presented the results of the 2014 Newport For New Products (NFNP) Awards. Considered one of the leading honors in the industry, the NFNP Awards take any foreign or domestic product under consideration so long as it had been launched in the United States after April 1, 2014 and had already made their boat debut at Newport. 

Those who attended the show elected the People's Choice Award winner with all other categories being decided by industry professionals who consider the value of the product to the customer, safety, aesthetics and the level of innovation. This marks the ninth year that the award has been in existence. 

Some of the winners were ForwardScan from B&G for the best new navigation product, Wireless LED Lights from Nightwatch Marine won the best new boating operation, maintenance or safety product while Gunboat 55 from Gunboat ran away with the People's Choice award. 

Nancy Piffard told Boating Industry that "We were extremely impressed by the number and quality of entries this year. This is a new record for the Newport for New Products program, and we are pleased to have these boats and products represent all of the new and exciting introductions at the Newport International Boat Show."

Known for being one of the largest in-water boat shows in the country, this year's event displayed more than 750 exhibitors with boats ranging from 15 feet to 110 feet and all revealing diverse collections of boat accessories and boat parts from throughout the world. 

The event's host, the Newport Exhibition group, has been producing trade show for more than 30 years now. The group also holds the annual Newport International Boat Show as well as the annual Newport Charter Yacht Show. 

If you're interested in learning more about the latest innovations and most relevant appliances for your boating and fishing needs, contact ePal today! We have all of the dependable and affordable equipment you need. 

Ex-president George W. Bush gives keynote speech at Tracker Marine Conference

Last week, former United States president and fishing and hunting enthusiast, George W. Bush, arrived as the surprise keynote speaker at the Tracker Marine Conference at Big Cedar Lodge on Table Rock Lake. Similarly, the president's father, George H.W. Bush, spoke at the same conference 20 years earlier when it was held in nearby Springfield, Missouri. 

Bush received an invitation from Pro Bass Shops and Tracker Marine Founder/CEO Johnny Morris and came with stories about his and his family's love for fishing and the outdoors that regaled attendees in the room and those watching remotely from throughout the world, including China, Australia, Russia and South Africa. His presidential record of working to protect natural resources and the quality of the nation's resources also came up, including the North American Wetlands Conservation Act. Through cooperative initiatives, the act helped preserve more than 3 million acres of wetlands.

According to a KY3 article, Morris, a longtime friend of the Bush family, expressed gratitude toward "Mr. Bush and his father for their shared love of the sport of fishing and for their leadership and commitment to national conservation efforts. His efforts help ensure recreational fishing opportunities continue to exist for us and future generations. We are very proud that the president fishes out of his own Bass Tracker boat on his ranch in Texas."

Before many of the attendees retired to enjoy a lunch at the Arnie's Barn at the Top of the Rock resort, both the former president and Morris shared fishing stories with fishing luminaries present like Roland Martin, Rick Clunn and Jimmy Houston. The president also answered questions about his presidency and his new book "41—A Portrait of my Father," due Nov. 11, 2014.

If you share a passion for fishing that matches the presidents and are in need of a dependable fishfinder or other boat accessories, ePal has the affordable high-quality equipment that will best serve your interests. Contact us today!

Competition offers $10,000 for the best new life jacket design

What may be one of the worst-kept secrets in the world of boating is that, though life preservers are a critical device that have saved countless lives since their inception, many people do not like to wear them. One of the leading complaints is that they're too uncomfortable. This is why with professional engineers and technicians working throughout the decades, implementing new designs meant to make life preservers easier to wear for humans and even our pets, enthusiasm around the devices remains lukewarm. 

But BoatUS Foundation, the Personal Floatation Device Manufacturers Association (PFDMA) and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) have all come together to discover the newest life preserver technologies and design ideas with the "Innovation in Life Jacket Design Competition" with the prize of $10,000 going to the winner. 

In a Boating Mag article, BoatUS Foundation President Chris Edmonston provided insight into the thinking behind the contests, saying that "we believe there are some creative folks out there that can help us rethink a 100-year-old design with fresh, out-of-the-box ideas."

Everyone from individuals to groups, like high school science clubs, are encouraged to join in the competition. All entries are due by April 15 next year and can be simple as a hand-drawn theoretical design or as detailed as a working prototype with no limitations being imposed in regard to what materials can be used or what federal regulations must be honored. 

Comfort, reliability, cost and innovation are the four categories on which the submissions will be judged, with the winner being announced on September 15. All ideas can be submitted via the competition website: www.BoatUS.org/design.

Life preservers are some of the most important marine supplies that can be acquired, comfortable or not. If you want to learn more about other boat accessories and discount marine supplies, contact ePal today! We have all of the dependable and affordable equipment you need.