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.

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.

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.

How to pick a boat propeller

Any boat owner knows the importance of the durability, functionality and precision of the propeller. When selecting which propeller to install on your vessel, whether it is a speedboat or a cruiser, it is important to weigh your options.

While the propeller might seem like a straightforward purchase, it is critical to the propulsion of your boat, and there are few things you should know about this piece of equipment:

- Construction – Propellers generally come in three, four or five bladed units. The unit itself will either be listed as having forged or welded blades. A forged blade is highly reliable and has greater strength for moving the ship, but they also tend to be more expensive. The welded blade is, as it sounds, welded together and to the hub, making it less structurally sound than the forged blade. It tends to be less expensive, but is still a durable option.

Material - Propellers are designed to move an entire vessel, which means that the material they are made out of have to strong and durable. The two primary materials that you will find are aluminum and stainless steel because both are high performance, tend to be corrosion resistant and last a long time. These factors are important as propellers need to stand up to the abrasiveness of seawater and the wear and tear that occurs over years of use. Unlike many of the other aspects of propellers, the material is largely up to user preference.

- Sizing - This part of propeller selection is perhaps the most important to pay attention to. Propellers are sized with two numbers that detail diameter and pitch. The first number listed is indicative of the diameter of the propeller. A large diameter should be selected if you are motoring a heavier boat or you maintain a large engine. The second number, the pitch, is used to describe the projected distance that each rotation of the blades will push the vessel forward. For example, if the pitch of a unit is 15 inches, it should propel your boat forward 15 inches. According to Savvy Boater, high pitch characteristics are lower top end speeds and less acceleration, whereas lower pitch models boast better top end speeds and better acceleration.

Turning Point Hustler offers a range of both aluminum and stainless steel options in a variety of sizes and constructions. Their products are also well tested and affordable.  If you are interested in purchasing a propeller contact ePal Inc. If you are still trying to determine the right unit for your vessel, our staff of knowledgeable customer service representatives are here to answer your questions about propellers and all other marine accessories.

4 tips for woodland survival

Recently on this blog, we talked about what you should do if you need to contact the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) in case of emergency. But what about you landlubbers who prefer camping and nature to sea life? It is always good to know what to do in case of emergency, so make sure you are prepared by checking out this list of things to do when lost or injured in the woods:

1. Before you leave: First, whether you are going for a few hours, or for the weekend, when you leave for an adventure you should always tell someone where you are going and how long you will be gone. This will ensure that, if you do go missing, someone will know to come looking for you. Secondly, you will certainly be packing a bag. Make sure to bring tons of water, a few snacks, a change of clothes, and a first aid or survival kit. Adventure Medical offers a few different kits that range from a single knife to a utility box.   

2. Call for help: In a 1946 pamphlet from the U.S. State Department of Agriculture on how to be safe in the woods, the Forest Service suggested that "A clear head will find itself." Meaning that if you take time to think, you would be able to save yourself. While the sentiment is nice, its not necessarily true. So first thing you should do is signal for help. You can do this by building a fire, spelling out an SOS or (if you have one) shooting off a flare gun.

3. Fire/Warmth: If building a fire is not part of your initial call-for-help plan, be sure that it is next on your list of things to do. No matter where you get lost, remember that any location gets chilly when the sun goes down, and you don't want to be prone to hypothermia. Building a decent fire in a safe clearing and layering on the warm clothes will help you to stay warm and dry. For this, you want to be sure that you have packed a good amount of compact, yet effective layers into your bag. When putting together camping gear, consider purchasing a dry bag for clothing, towels and blankets. Dry Pak offers some great duffel options that come in a number of sizes and colors.

4. Shelter: No matter where you get lost, finding or building a shelter should be a top priority. This could be in a nearby cave or under a natural overhang of rock. Keep in mind that if your location is prone to unpredictable weather patterns, you may want to try and camp on higher ground. This will give you a better chance of being seen from overhead and will also not allow for pooling of water wherever you sleep. While no one plans to get lost in the woods, preparing for a dry and warm place to sleep when packing your bag is a good idea. Make sure to bring a few extra garbage bags for lining the ground (or yourself) to make rain a non-factor. Also be sure to pack a lightweight sleeping bag or blanket just in case.

If you are planning a trip into the woods, and happen to get lost on your adventure, consider these tips for getting to safety. If you are interested in adding to your camping pack to ensure your safe return, contact ePal Inc. for a vast array of products, tools and gadgets. We offer a range of camping gear and also specialize in marine accessories. Contact us today! 

3 must-haves for any tackle box

Fishermen are always very possessive over their tackle boxes, and for good reason. They are a catch-all for anything and everything that he or she might need while trying to capture that elusive catch-of-the-day. But what goes into those handy bags and boxes? Here are some ideas for how to fill your box so you can tackle even the most evasive fish.

- Floaters and sinkers – Floaters (or bobbers) let you know when you get a bite from a fish and sinkers bring your bait far below the water's surface. These two items are clutch when it comes to lake or sea fishing. If you are looking for new additions to your tackle box, try the Davis Fish Seeking Trolling Plane. You can set its depth and it will do the rest!

- Line – This may seem like a no-brainer, but you don't want to get caught without it. Making sure that your tackle box is full of ample amounts of fishing line will reassure you in case you snap a line while reeling in a big one.

- Pliers – A necessity when you are wanting to take hooks out of fleshy fish, needle-nose pliers are a must for any sufficient tackle box. If you are looking for a new pair, try out the Gerber Evo Multi-tool. This handy gadget is an all-in-one equipped with wire cutter, pliers, bottle opener and knife, what more can you want?

If you are interested in these items, or any other marine supplies, contact ePal Inc. today. Our product line is sure to have anything you need for fun in the sun and our staff of knowledgeable professionals will be able to answer any boating questions you have!  

3 necessities for your fishing trip

Father's Day is this Sunday, and we know that many of you outdoorsy folks will be heading out onto the water for a day of fishing with dad. With a week left before dad's big day, make sure that you have the necessities to ensure the best experience for all on board.

1. First Aid Kit - You never know when you might need a band-aid, antiseptic or tweezers on a boat. Make sure that you are prepared for even the worst situations by assembling a first aid kit that carries all of your medical necessities. Make sure to have Neosporin, waterproof medical tape and throw in some sunscreen for good measure!

2. Knife – Whether you are cutting into packaging, slicing up the catch of the day or just snipping a line, having a knife on board is a must. There are a bunch of options out there, and depending on the intent of use, you may choose to have more than one. For multi-purpose, however, Gerber's Bear Grylls Grandfather Knife is perfect for every generation of fisherman.

3. PFD - It may seem trivial to load up the boat with life jackets, but if you ever need them, you will be glad they are there. Keep in mind that, as boaters, you now have a ton of style and function options that you didn't have before. Life jackets are available from small and compact inflatables, to industrial looking, strapped jackets. If you are looking for something on the small side, try the Mustang Inflatable Belt Pack. It looks like a belt, and acts like a PFD.

With these three simple carry-ons, your boat will be well equipped to handle a weekend away with pop. For these items, and many more boat accessories, make sure to contact ePal Inc. Our staff of customer service representatives will outfit you with everything you need for a fantastic Father's Day.

How to make your boat water sport friendly this summer

Summer sports are tons of fun and are a great outlet for the kids to let off some steam. But if the weather is too hot, it can put a damper on a good time. For boat owners, having some toys for the boat will get everyone active and on the water and make this summer a blast! Here are three fun water toys that are sure to be a hit:

Tube: Little kids love to go fast, and with the inner little kid in mind, why not consider buying an inflatable tube for your powerboat. This boating accessory is almost a necessity for any family on the water this summer. With products like the Mach 2 from AIRHEAD, kids and adults alike can have fun in the sun!

Wakeboarding: For those of you who are multi-season athletes, or at least raising your own, wakeboarding is a great way to keep those skateboarding and snowboarding skills up to par through the summer. And whether you are a veteran to wakeboarding, or just starting out, there are products for everyone. For beginners, consider the Rave Jr. Impact Wakeboard. This package deal comes with board and boots at an affordable price for people looking to try something new.

Water Trampoline: Could there be anything more fun than that? Jumping around with family and friends on a giant, floating trampoline and splashing into the water might sound too good to be true, but with Rave Aqua products, it's totally possible. The company's Aqua Jump is essentially a party size, floating trampoline that comes in a number of sizes and colors. It is even compatible with additions, like an Aqua Launch, that will throw jumpers into the air so they can land with a splash!

If you are in the market for these boat accessories or any other outdoor products, contact us at ePal Inc. Our staff of knowledgeable customer service representatives are ready to help you gear up for summer!