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!

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!

What to look for in transducer frequencies

With the continuous technological advancements of sonar there has also come a drop in prices for such boat accessories as well as a boom in options regarding what kind of equipment is best for your boat and boating activities. A device that once had been used primarily for measuring the depth of the ocean is now deployed for finding fish, creating underwater maps and scanning ocean floors for debris. 

A universal truth about all sonar equipment, whether they are a fishfinder you can carry around or a mapping system that has to be hoisted with a crane, all depend on a quality transducer. Functioning as both a receiver and distributor of information, transducers are either submerged or placed in close proximity to a pond or ocean in order to emit wave signals, which move at predetermined speeds and bounce off of any objects with a density that doesn't match that of the water. 

The typical transducer frequency used for boats that work occasionally on commercial projects or primarily serve recreational purposes moves between 25 and 400KHz, with 200 and 50Khz being the most common levels within that range.

Lower frequencies usually display a stronger penetrating ability through water than higher frequency waves. This is why when trying to decide what transducer frequency you need for your vessel, it's essential to remember that low frequencies around 50KHz are ideal for displaying the wide area of a bottom, especially when the water is deep. Conversely, fishfinders and recorders, are often considered most effective when they come with higher frequencies because of their effectiveness with showing more details in shallow waters. 

If you would like to learn more about what transducer frequency would work best for your boat and about other boat accessories that would complement your vessel, contact ePal today. We have everything you need at affordable prices. 

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 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.

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.

Top trails and products for successful hikes

The second that the sun starts to peek through the clouds and the weather turns nice again, outdoor lovers rejoice. After spending the off-season mentally planning for amazing hiking and camping adventures, once summer rolls around, these adventurous individuals are more than ready to lace up their boots, grab their gear and head out.

And why not? There are so many parts of the Earth that you can only see by walking. And with numerous studies proving the positive effects that exercise has on mind and body, getting out into the sunshine and learning a bit about nature is a great way to spend this season.

If you are eager to spend some time outdoors this summer, here are some of the top camping and hiking spots and some ideas for the gear you might need to bring with you to ensure fun and safety:

- Appalachian Trail – For you East Coasters, you're in luck! This trail is a massive 2,178 miles that stretches from Georgia to Maine. It is the longest marked trail in the United States, a feat that continues to take the combined efforts of over 6,000 volunteers to maintain, according to Discovery. This trail offers the opportunity to thru-hike, meaning a complete trek of the trail in its entirety or weekend and day hikes, where individuals can walk just sections of the trail. If you are considering this trek, you will definitely need a pack that can carry 25-30 pounds, like the ProGear series from Pelican. You will also want to bring layers of clothing that you can mix and match through the variety of climates that you will encounter on your trek.

- Glacier National Park – Significantly different from the Appalachian Trail, Glacier is a National Park located in Montana that has hiking trails throughout its limits. This popular hiking spot, Discovery says, is "known for impressive mountain peaks, isolated alpine lakes and no shortage of wildlife. The park gets its name from the huge glaciers that helped to shape the park's rock formations 10,000 years ago." Not to be missed, especially when traveling through middle-America, Glacier requires permits for overnight hikers, but these aren't in as much demand as those for Yosemite or the Grand Canyon. Other than a permit, you will need heavy layers of clothing if you are staying overnight as temperatures can drop very low, especially at mountain peaks.

- Pacific Crest Trail – Sort of the Ying to Appalachian's Yang, the PCT is a 2,600 mile-long trail running through the West Coast. While hiking this trail, individuals will experience Mexico, California, Oregon, Washington and parts of Canada.  Hikers will be exposed to canyons, deserts, lush forests and over 50 major mountain passes, according to the association's website. Individuals who endeavor to pass through the trail are required to be permitted in sections. They are advised to carry binoculars to spot the copious amount of wildlife and a water bottle in order to stay hydrated.

No matter what adventures you elect to go on this summer, make sure you have the outdoor equipment that you need in order to be safe and sound. For any major hike, like those listed above, make sure to bring a proper first aid kit, like those available from Adventure Medical. Also bring a communication device in case you get separated from your party or need to call for help. Some options might be a satellite telephone, like those available through GlobalStar or Iridium, or for a more solid understanding a locator is always handy. ePal Inc. has a series of GPS deals that are great to check out before setting out. 

3 must-have upgrades for your boat

Getting into a new hobby or sport can be expensive, but once you find the thing you love, it becomes more of an investment than an expense.

This is definitely true of the boating world. The initial purchase of boat, sails, motor, rigging equipment and other boating accessories is costly, but you know that the reward will be well worth it. Once your vessel has all the necessities, adding your desired bells and whistles makes your boat uniquely yours, plus its just plain fun.

This year, there are new technologies, products, tools and toys that are sure to excite even the most seasoned boaters. So as you look to upgrade your home away from home, consider these:

- Autopilot – Perfect for sail or powerboats, an autopilot installation will make tracking your route and enjoying the time on your boat all the more easier. New technologies mean that current autopilot models have less drain on the boat's battery and can integrate with your existing chartplotter or GPS systems. This season, RayMarine developed a new model of their autopilot system called the EV-100 Wheel Evolution that is mountable above or below deck and comes in one easy-to-install housing system.

- Trolling - For the fishermen in the crowd, purchasing a trolling motor will be a great addition to your boat. An innovative tool, a trolling motor will propel your boat at the speed of your choice while you try and lure the catch-of-the-day. The FW46 model from Motorguide is a foot operated, bow mounted piece that is both easy to use and affordable.

- Weather Tracking – On land or out at sea, it is critical to know what weather systems are at work. Any veteran of the sea knows the dangers of unpredicted squalls, freak lightning storms and high pitched wave systems. Don't be caught off guard. Consider installing a weather station onto the dash of your boat this year. Davis offers a Vantage Vue Wireless station that tells you about each weather variable and is even radio compatible.

While our boats can be costly, they are a labor of love. As we get into the warmer months, spending time on the water will come more and more frequently, so don't skimp on the tools that will make it the most enjoyable experience. If you are interested in any of these products or any other marine accessories, contact ePal Inc. Our line of products will surely have you geared up for a great time on the boat. Not to mention, our staff of knowledgeable customer service representatives are here and ready to help you outfit your boat with anything you might want!

How to improve your boat’s fuel efficiency

Power boats are fun, but if there's one drawback to owning and using one, it's that they consume tremendous amounts of fuel in order to deliver top performance. The fact is that propelling an object that weighs over a ton through water takes an incredible amount of energy – much more than it does to propel a car on a highway.

That doesn't mean there aren't steps you can take to improve your boat's efficiency. Here are a few tips to get more miles per gallon in your vessel:

  • Clean the bottom of your boat: Barnacles and other growth on your hull can create drag that slows your boat down and wastes fuel.
  • Cut back on the throttle slightly: Running your engine at full throttle reduces efficiency. According to Sport Fishing Magazine, dialing that back by as little as 10 percent can reduce gasoline consumption by as much as 20 percent without you having to travel too slowly.
  • Monitor your exhaust system: If your boat is spewing black smoke from its exhaust pipe, then the engine is being overworked and may need to be cleaned. Exhaust from a well-maintained, functional engine will be invisible.
  • Reduce your vessel's weight: This may seem obvious, but many boaters travel with more gear onboard than they need. While you should always have life vests, radios and other safety equipment on board, see if there are other items that can be removed before you go on each trip.

It's also a good idea to have marine instruments on board that provide accurate fuel readings and let you know when your engine is experiencing mechanical troubles. You can find this equipment at ePal for the best prices, so make sure to check out our online store before you go on your next trip!