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!

3 Easy Upgrades for your boat this summer

Whether you are out with the family or entertaining friends, your yacht has to be in tip-top shape to guarantee a relaxing experience on the water. As summer approaches and days out on the open sea become more frequent, consider some quick and easy upgrades that will ensure tons of fun for the whole family.

Get your grill on: Literally. Whether you are cooking for yourself or a flotilla worth of people an attachable grill is a great addition and is sure to impress your guests. Kuuma offers a few different models that cater to any type of chef. Their products are transportable and can be stand-alone, or mounted to a railing system for space saving. 

Fishfinding: Once you have the grill on board, you have to have something to cook! For the fishermen and women in the crowd, a fishfinder is the perfect bonus item for your vessel. Available in a range of models that offer different types of technology, boat owners are able to find the equipment that best suits their needs. If you are looking for a simplified, yet powerful, technology, consider the Lowrance Mark-5X Pro Fishfinder Mono. It offers an intuitive interface alongside an easy-to-read home screen for ease of use.

Swim Platform: Boating on the water often ends with a swim. So whether you are keeping the kids safe or making it easier on yourself, installing a new swim platform makes getting into your boat much easier. If you are in the market for a new platform, consider one made of teak or a poly blend. Both options will require much less maintenance and will last from season to season. Whitecap offers some easy-install, affordable and durable options!

For all these items and many more, ePal Inc. is a one-stop-shop for all your boat accessories and outdoor needs!

Buyers guide for summer camping

What says family bonding like trading in electronics and sturdy shelter for canoes and adventure? Summer camping trips are a great for getting away from the hyper-connected modern world we live in – even if it is just for the weekend. While getting the kids in the car might be easy with the promise of campfire s'mores and no bedtime, reality sets in when you reach the campgrounds and they realize the lack of amenities.

But just because you are going off the grid, it doesn't mean that you have to go without. So make sure that you pick up all of your camping needs, and in case you are needing some assistance on picking out the right necessary items, we've got you covered!

- First, you will need a tent. Tents can be pricey, but they are a worthwhile investment if you are going to be a regular camper. For those of you that are traveling by land to your destination, just be sure to pick a tent that will accommodate all the people in your party. If you are a parent traveling with kids who are old enough to have their own tent, give them the independence and responsibility of setting up their own shelter for the weekend. If you are choosing to camp on the water and are traveling by boat to your destination, be extra sure to pick a tent that is waterproof or quick dry. Consider checking out tents from Coleman. They have an array of styles and features that are sure to please any camper!

- Once your shelter is set up, you are probably going to be hungry. Make sure that the food that you have brought with you, along with anything that you might fish for on your trip, is well preserved in a functional and effective cooler. NorChill offers a soft-sided cooler that can be used for hot or cold items.

- Then, once you have established a place to sleep, filled your belly and spent some time enjoying the surroundings, you are going to want a cozy place to lay your head for the night. While there are a number of types of sleeping bags out there, be sure to pick one that keeps you warm on cold nights while still allowing good ventilation so you don't overheat at night.

If you are interested in purchasing camping gear for the coming summer months, look no further than ePal Inc. Not only do we have a vast array of products, including camping and boating accessories, but we also have a staff of knowledgeable customer service representatives that are available to advise you on the right choices for your needs.

5 gift ideas for dad this Father’s Day

The trouble with shopping for dads is that when they need something, they go out and buy it themselves. That makes this time of the year particularly difficult as we scramble to come up with gift ideas for Father's day. So, what do you get for the guy who has everything?

Fear not! We've put together a list of five great gift ideas for the outdoorsy dad that are sure to put a smile on his face!

  • For those dads that didn't get their boat in the water in time for Memorial Day, boat cleaner makes a great gift! With hull wash, deck polish and a little TLC, you and dad can spend the day bonding while you buff out the boat for a summer of fun on the water. The Flitz Marine Detailers Kit is a handy, affordable package deal for this type of job. Featuring polish, wax, lime and rust remover and buffer balls, this purchase is really a one-stop shop for sprucing up the boat! 
  • Anyone who has ever been a passenger on a power or sailboat knows the importance of dry clothes and towels. So make sure your dad is prepared by investing in a waterproof bag for him. A safe place where he can store his water-sensitive items like his cell phone, camera, clothes and towel, a waterproof bag is ideal no matter how long you plan on being on the boat. Attwood Marine offers dry bags that can hold 20 or 40 liters worth of dry goods that are a perfect substitute for an overnight bag on the water. 
  • Dads are masters at capturing those unflattering, but nostalgia-inducing, photos and videos from years of yore. As much as we hate them at the time, those pictures oftentimes capture some of our favorite memories. Make sure that your dad is equipped to seize the moment, on and off land, with a waterproof case for his camera, phone, tablet or iPad. DryCase offers an affordable and easy-to-use option that creates an air-tight seal around any tablet device.  
  • A little weather never stopped dad from spending the weekend out on the water. So if you are willing to splurge on dad's gift this year, check out tools to navigate even in the worst weather. A marine radar system is a handy gadget that helps skippers to maneuver through tight harbors and inlets, avoid buoys and pots and have a comprehensive knowledge of water depth at any point along their adventure! Check out options from SI-TEX, Furuno or RayMarine for high-quality products. 
  • And finally, for those laid-back days at sea or out on the lake, make sure that dad's boat is ready to snag the ultimate catch-of-the-day with top of the line fishing boat accessories. For top-of-the-line tackle bags and boxes, look no further than pre-packaged totes from Wild River. For coolers and bags check out products from Coleman and C.E. Smith. If you are looking for an installation piece, like a rod holster, look to industry leaders like Scotty or Wahoo Industries. No matter what you choose, dads from every school of thought will love the addition to their boat.

Even if you are still unsure about what type of boat accessories to pick up for your dad this year, don't worry! At ePal Inc. we've got you covered! Our team of boating and outdoors experts can help you find the gift that is perfect for your pop, and we offer free ground shipping to the lower 48 states, plus flat rate expedited options. Contact us today and we will help you make this Father's Day one to remember!