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.

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.

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.