Teachers teach math through boat-building

When thinking about possible summer school assignments, working on a boat at a country club probably wouldn't instinctively rank high on your list. But two teachers from Hamden Middle School of Hamden, Connecticut, have found a way to create a harmonious union between boating and math lessons.

Andrew Marzano, an eighth-grade science teacher, and Frank Kachmar, a technology teacher, have teamed up to educate eighth-grade students on math and science skills by helping them build a sailboat. Marzano said that the idea of combining boat-building with math and science lessons came to him after watching people build boats at Connecticut's Mystic Seaport, the largest maritime museum in the world. 

The three-week program was designed to meet the needs of students who have faced challenges with math and science and incorporates principles about angles, measurements and adding and subtracting fractions into the curriculum. According to the New Hampshire register, Marazano especially sees value in the boat-building initiative because it "really incorporates math, science, history and English." 

Marazono also enjoys seeing students who "work better with their hands, rather than a pencil and notebook" making the connections between math and building boats, and growing excited about the two as the project continues.

"They start to see it's not just a hammer and nails, but that it's actually something functional," Marzano said.

Michael Cox, one of the students in the program, expressed his enthusiasm for building the boats, specifically when learning how to measure the seats properly. 

If building an entire boat is a little more work than you're looking to do, maybe finding some high quality boat accessories like a handheld marine gps are more your speed. These products an more are available through ePal Inc. at great prices. Contact us today!

3 tips for safer boating with pets

There is still a good amount of time left in the summer for boating adventures. And it's never a bad time to consider the best ways to share those rides with your pets. Boating with a furry friend can be a great bonding experience, especially when you plan ahead for any complications that may arise. So here are a few tips to help minimize the challenges that come with bringing a four-legged loved one aboard:

Adjusting to the Boat: As it goes with most pets and new items, especially young pets, incrementally introducing them to the boat and water is best. Letting him or her run around the deck while the boat is docked or just turning on the engine so your pet can acclimate to its sounds and smells are great for helping your pet learn to love the experience naturally. A few small cruises to fully introduce the pet to the riding experience would ensure that a lengthy ride in the future would go smoother.  

Flotation Devices: Even if your pet is a good swimmer, falling into water unexpectedly, as dogs occasionally do when trying to leap from a boat to the dock, can throw anyone into a panic. A pet life jacket is, at least, a great way to protect your pet from his or her own clumsiness. 

Using the bathroom: Creating a space for your pet to use the bathroom may be one of the most daunting challenges. Cats are relatively easier, as a litter box can fit in most areas, but dogs can prove to be a little more complicated. If there are no planned stops on land for the dog to go ashore and handle his or her business, then a portable dog potty may be your best bet.

And if you're looking for any boat accessories or other products, visit ePal Inc. today!

Top 3 boat accessories for wake boarders

In yesterday's blog, we talked all about how to install your very own wakeboard tower. These structures make spending the day on the lake or on the ocean even more fun because towing becomes easier, safer and more exciting. For serious wake riders, a tower is a must-have boat accessory. But did you know that these towers have additional accessories of their own?

Here are a few of our favorite wakeboard tower accessories:

Bimini - This bit of shade on cloudless days will save you from cooking in the sun all day long. Don't underestimate how much being on the water, exposed to the elements and riding the wake can take out of you. Sometimes it's nice to have a spot where you can cool off, wind down and get out of the sun for a few. A bimini top is the perfect solution. This accessory can be custom fit to your boat for decreased wind resistance and reduce the number of moving parts on your tower. We recommend the bimini tops from Dallas Manufacturing and the storage packs from Kwik Tek for the ultimate experience.

Camera Mount – What's better than being able to catch some sweet shots or video of your day on the water? Whether you are opting for a waterproof version of your everyday camera or going for those wild GoPro angles having a sturdy mount for optimal picture taking is a great idea! RAM has some great inexpensive options, while PanaVise has some super durable, customizable units.

Gear rack -Being able to get your gear out of your boat and out of the way is always a bonus; especially when it can be as big and clunky as wakeboards and boots. Try installing a gear rack for your wakeboard tower for the best storage for all your riding needs.

For more information on products or boat accessories, visit ePal Inc. today!

How to install a wakeboard tower

With about a month of summer left, making the most of your time on the water is key to soaking up as much sun as possible. For motor boat owners, water skiing, tubing and wakeboarding are often a way to get the whole family involved in outdoor fun. But what if your boat is not equipped with a wakeboard tower to enjoy this summer sport?

The solution is simple: Install a sturdy and safe wakeboard tower. But how do you do that? We are here to help:

  • Center - The key to your wakeboard tower is that it is centered level over the middle of your boat. The best way to set the location of the unit is to wrap thick rags around the mounting bases and arch so that if it does come in contact with your boat, it won't scratch the paint or surface. 
  • Connect - Boating Magazine explains "Mounting points are forward on the bow cockpit gunwales ahead of the windshield and on the gunwales aft of the helm seats. First determine the aft points. Assemble the rear legs to the top section to form an arch. Snug up the bolts to hold the arch's shape. Put anti-seize on the threads to make tightening easier and reduce wear."
  • Secure - Depending on the unit that you purchase, the specifications for where the legs and arch should sit will change. The best way to ensure the stability of your tower is to follow instructions and enlist the help of a few friends. When you first assemble it, the tower will be wobbly and difficult to erect on your own, so you will want the extra pair of hands.

Once you have your tower installed, the fun can begin! Be sure that you have the best gear and boat accessories for your waterborne adventure. Rave offers a great selection of boots and boards, while AIRHEAD will have you covered on tow lines and handles. These brands and their products are available through ePal Inc. at considerable discounts. For more information or any product-related questions, contact us today!

3 must-have boating apps

While fishing is one of the oldest careers for coastal residents, the ways that people boat nowadays could not be more different from days of yore. With new developments and technologies being created all the time, there are so many great gadgets and devices to employ aboard your vessel.

For on-the-go boaters, sometimes the best technology is the gear that you can have on your person at all times. In the digital age, this translates to apps that are downloadable to your phone or tablet. The primary consideration for this type of tech is that these apps can eat up battery life. With most waterproof cases not able to accommodate for watertight charging it is a risk to take these gadgets on the water.

But if you are willing to risk it, here are a few of the top boating apps according to Boating Magazine:

- Garmin BlueChart Mobile – According to Boating Mag, this app was the easiest to learn for new users. This app allows Apple customers to plan routes and waypoints in the same way they would on their chartplotter. Users can access weather conditions, temperatures, radar and cloud cover overlaid on chart data, dewpoints and directions right on their iPhone, iPad or iPod. Consumers can create and plan their boating trip from the comfort of their homes then seamlessly and wirelessly transfer their plans and information to their traditional chartplotter once aboard their boat.

Navionics Boating - The mobile adaptation of the technology that is available through chartplotters and fishfinders – like those in the Elite-7 line from Lowrance – the Navionics Boating App is a free download that allows you to customize its capabilities through in-app purchases. In other words, you buy the chart coverage you want after downloading, allowing you to navigate anywhere in the world. Without any upgrades, the free app gives users track recording, tide data, wind forecasts, community edits to chart information, social media sharing, backup for valuable markers, routes, photos and videos, according to Navionics. It is compatible with Apple and Android.

- Skipper - This is the cheapest of the apps that was tested by Boating Mag's Randy Vance. Offering the options of a free app or a $10 per year subscription, this mobile app allows users to download maps and charts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and set waypoints with a drag-and-drop feature on the touch screen. According to Vance, "We especially liked that the trip monitor bar at the bottom of the screen can be customized to display a variety of essential navigation data, such as course, heading, speed, current speed, ETA, position, etc. Google satellite maps are overlaid on raster charts, providing the user with a landlubber's detail in addition to all the nautical navigation information."

The great thing about these technologies is that they are accessible and usable for any type of boater. While Skipper is just for mobile devices, it is a great, cheap option to have in addition to a traditional marine GPS or chartplotting device. Meanwhile, the Garmin and Navionics options work well with traditional units and allow users to integrate the two for at home and onboard use.

If you are interested in investing in high-end boat accessories, visit ShopEpal.com today. Our knowledgeable staff can help answer any product questions you have and assist you in finding the materials that will create the best boating experience.

Top products for 2014

Boating, fishing and relaxing are some of America's most favorite pastimes. But as America has developed, so has the way that people enjoy their time on the water. What used to be rowing, or sailing, now is motoring around waterways. What most boaters have in common is that they love to have the latest and greatest technology that affords them complete control and knowledge of their surroundings while on the water.

The problem is that many of these tech-hungry seafarers simply do not know where to start when it comes to purchasing new equipment, and what new developments are worthy of purchase.

Fortunately, each year Boating Industry puts out a comprehensive list of items that they deem to be the 'Top Products.' This year's list compiles technology from computer software, to onboard cleaning supplies and everything in between. According to the list, each product was chosen based on a number of factors, including impact to the industry, innovation and how they advance their category – or create new categories.

If you are looking to purchase some of the best new innovations in marine equipment, here are a few ideas:

- Engine - The Volvo Penta D11 series is a new line of diesel engines offered by the notorious car company in conjunction with their marine-focused partner company. This series is offered in three power classes and offer consumers more powerful torque, increased ease of driv‚Äčeability and quieter noise emission than other models.

- Floors - Often overlooked as a key aesthetic element, floors are an important aspect for functionality and looks. Make sure they look their best by leveling and sealing them. With Interlux Interior Floor system, Boating Industry suggests that you will not need floating wood floors or self-leveling products anymore. You can even walk on this in the same day you apply it, which makes this an easy weekend project.

- Outboards - This list generated a lot of talk about different engine options that consumers had for their boats. Included by Boating Industry was the Yamaha F115 Outboard, for its power, lightness and compact build. The list also included two Suzuki models that are the lightest in their respective classes, which makes them great options for smaller vessels whose skippers are looking for increased maneuverability on the water.

- Quick Fixes – The only product to make the list in this category is called MagicEzy. According to Boating Industry, the "structural-grade nano-binder and sealant that seals and colors hairline damage in one application without the need to perform any pre-repair sanding or grinding. The low-viscosity solution enables it to penetrate deeply throughout the entire hairline crack and not only seal it, but also strongly bond the surfaces together."

- Vessel Tech – One of the coolest bits of technology that was recognized on this list was the Scout/Garmin/Mastervolt integrated vessel technology. The three companies have collaborated and come together to create an onboard system that integrates all the necessary components to operate a safe and efficient boat. Perfect for a professional boater, this software allows for complete control over circuits and systems through touch-screen technology. It allows for complete control over boat lighting and bait levels for fishermen. 

Many of these products are new on the market this year and have revolutionized the world of boating. Industry leaders work to make your experience on the water better with each new development. If you are interested in investing in new products, or you have questions about any of those listed above, visit ShopEpal.com. We are happy to assist you in getting top-of-the-line products that will make relaxing, fishing and enjoying time on the water even easier.

What is DownScan Imaging?

Fishing is a favorite American pastime and for many it is a lifestyle and a means of income. For both recreational and commercial boating vessels, making sure that you have the appropriate gear and technology on board to make your time on the water as enjoyable and effective as possible.

A key piece of technology to implement on your boat is downscan imaging. For most commercial fishermen this is must-have gear and now many just-for-fun boaters are utilizing it as well.

According to C.H. Smith Marine, "Down Imaging, as the name suggests, is the ability on fishfinders to provide detailed picture-like images of the bottom and structures directly below the boat. The picture-like images are displayed using specific Down Imaging software that represents the return sonar signal in a more realistic manner."

Down Imaging was trademarked through Humminbird fishfinder systems and now many GPS and fishfinders have similar technology.

This software allows users to literally see what is below their boats through an on-board unit, and utilize the information for better fishing practices, as well as increased safety on the water. While DownScan Imaging only focuses on what is directly below the boat, when it is paired with side scanning programs, you can have access to the full 180 degrees of ocean below your vessel.

Whether you are just starting out or you consider yourself an old salt, DownScan Imaging is a great option for any boater. Allowing for an increased understanding of your surroundings, the technology creates a safer and more profitable knowledge of your boat and the ocean. For more information on the products that carry this software, contact ePal Inc.

What is CHIRP Technology?

In the world of boating and marine life, there are many different technologies that are put to use on commercial and recreational vessels that increase safety, efficiency and understanding on the open ocean.

For professional fishermen and families alike, being aware of your surroundings on the water is a key piece of information that makes relaxing a little bit easier. One piece of technology that is used to inform seafaring folks is CHIRP Sonar Technology.

CHIRP, which stands for Compressed High-Intensity Radar Pulse, was originally released by Garmin and Simrad in early 2011 and has become one of the leading forms of sonar technology on the market. Instead of releasing one single frequency at a time from the homing unit, CHIRP sends a continuous sweep of frequencies, which gives users more information about bodies below and surrounding the boat.

According to Boating Magazine contributor Randy Vance, "Think of the chirp a bird makes. It starts on a high or low note and ends on the opposite end of the frequency scale to make a pleasing noise. It is essentially a myriad of pings fired in a single burst. Thanks to the computing capabilities within the black box, these new sonars separate these frequencies, measure their distinctive returns, weigh the timing of the returns and their volume or amplitude and use the information to plot a high-resolution image of the bottom and targets in between."

If you are interested in learning more about CHIRP or want to purchase a system for your own boat, visit ePal Inc. today. Our line of marine electronics will help you to gain a better understanding of the ocean around you.

Why should my boat have a radar system?

Summer is prime time for boating around local waterways and adventuring into unfamiliar territory on weekend getaways. No matter which of the seven seas you are chartering, it is important that you and your passengers feel safe and sound. That means equipping your vessel with gear that gives you added visibility and self-locator while you are on the water. While there are many products on the market that make this possible, potentially the best option is having a radar system installed on board.

But what are the benefits of having a radar system?

There are a number of pros when it comes to considering this gadget. First and foremost, it gives you sight in inclement weather and darkness. Through its communication with buoys and waterborne traffic, these systems can pinpoint your location and afford you eyes and ears on the water. Secondly, this technology is built so that it doesn't consume too much of your vehicle's energy. Most models are able to run on very little electricity and are compatible with any boat that operates with an engine.

According to Boat US, "Radar is a real time image of what surrounds the boat and to be of real use should be installed at the helm station of the boat."

One primary thing to consider when selecting your radar device is the size of the antenna that you are installing on your boat. For increased performance, you want a taller antennae that can 'see' a broader range around the boat.

If you are in the market for marine equipment like a radar system, visit ePal Inc. online today. Our knowledgeable staff will help you determine the product that is right for you and your needs.

4 must-haves for a successful Fourth of July on the boat

This week, many people around the country will be celebrating America's independence with a backyard barbeque, fireworks displays and daytime boating adventures through their local waterways.

While boating on its own is a great time, being on the water for a national holiday just feels like freedom. Whether you will be enjoying the Boston Pops, participating in fun and games on the Great Lakes or heading to Newport Beach in California for their acclaimed fireworks show, make sure that you have everything you need for you and your guests to have the best possible holiday.

Here are just a few must-have items for play and practicality:

Communication - First thing is first, make sure that you have means of communicating with other boaters, people on land and, if necessary, rescue workers. The best way to ensure that you will be able to get in touch with anyone is by having a satellite telephone on board. This product does not rely on telephone towers like a normal cell phone, and therefore gets much better reception. If you are looking for a higher-end product, consider those offered by Iridium. But for a more budget-conscious boater, Globalstar and SPOT offer affordable and durable models. 

Fishing - What better way to celebrate America's independence than with one of the nation's most popular pastimes? Whether fishing on a lake or in open water, one handy tool to have on board is a fishfinder. This device affords boaters the ability to see below the surface and scope out the catch-of-the-day. One of the great things about modern fishfinders is that many of them now come with GPS capabilities, essentially offering customers a two-in-one package deal. If you are looking for a good deal, check out the models from RayMarine or Humminbird GPS.

Stay dry – Undoubtedly, being on the water means getting a little wet. But when you want a towel or a change of clothes, it's important to be sure those items are nice and dry. The best way to keep your personal belongings from getting soaked is by keeping them in a waterproof bag or duffel. Whether you are just trying to keep a phone or iPad from water damage or aiming to keep your towel from absorbing stray splashes, there are a lot of options for waterproof bags and cases. These necessary boat accessories even come with the added feature of buoyancy, which means that it will float if accidentally knocked overboard. Dry Pak, Aryca and Waterbrands offer an array of products in colors and styles that are sure to suit your needs.

Water sports – With all the technicalities out of the way, now it's time to have some fun! Make sure that your boat is well equipped with all the best treats and toys so that both kids and adults will have a blast. This year, we recommend products from AirHead, Rave Sports and Full Throttle. All three brands offer affordable, durable and fun-inducing products for tubing and other water sports. No matter what tub or inflatable toy you choose, remember to also purchase a new, well-tested rope to attach the product to your boat. Ropes can deteriorate year-to-year, so for safety, and all-day fun, make sure you have a product that will last.

While we are only a few weeks into the summer, the boating season is already in full swing. Make sure that you have all that you need for fun for the whole family. For more information on any of the products listed here, contact ePal Inc. today. Our staff will be sure to outfit you with all your boating needs for the ultimate Fourth of July.