Heading out on your boat soon? Follow these 5 safety tips

With temperatures warming up all over the country, many boat owners are heading out to their docks to take their vessels for a ride. If you're one of these lucky mariners, it's important to remember that safety should be your number one priority when boating. It's a fun hobby but, if done carelessly, can be very dangerous.

Boating Magazine recently listed its top 44 boating safety tips. Here are some of their best pieces of advice:

  • Bring a pair of binoculars on your journey: It's difficult to overstate how important having a pair of binoculars can be while on a boat. It can help you see approaching vehicles and land formations that may not be visible to the naked eye.
  • Go over your docking plan with crew members: Before you approach your slip, make sure that all members of your crew know exactly how you'll be approaching the dock and what their responsibilities will be in terms of throwing lines over the rail and jumping on the dock.
  • Use warping to pull out of tight spaces: If your boat is parked between two others and you can't move forward or backward without hitting another boat, use warping to maneuver. This is where you tie the bow of your boat to the dock and use it as a pivot point to swing out of your parking space.

You should also ensure that your boat is full equipped with a chartplotter and other marine instruments that will make your voyage safer. If you need to upgrade or replace your navigation equipment, your best resource for this gear is ePal. We have the best prices on the internet, as well as the best shipping policy. Browse our inventory today for our latest deals!

How to repair a crack in your fiberglass hull: Part 1

In our last article, we talked about how the fiberglass boat market has seen sales pick up lately. While this style of boat construction is popular, it's worth noting that fiberglass is more susceptible to cracks and fractures than aluminum. As a result, any boat owner who has invested in a fiberglass vessel should understand how to patch fiberglass in the event that they experience a collision at sea.

In this article we'll talk about the steps needed to prepare the broken fiberglass for repair. According to BoatUS.com, this is the process you should go through before applying new fiberglass:

  • Cut out the affected area: Before you patch the hole, you need to cut out the fractured or cracked part of the fiberglass.
  • Dewax the area around the hole: This removes wax coatings that can interfere with the grinding process, thereby making it more difficult to use adhesive to apply a new layer of glass fabric.
  • Grind the surrounding area: Using a 36-grit paper on a disk sander, grinding allows the resin to form a better bond.
  • Prepare the area with masking: Resin has the tendency to run and drip, so you'll want to mask areas where you don't want the resin to stick. Usually this involves using paper or wax to coat the area you want to protect.

Once you've taken these steps, you'll be prepared to apply glass fabric over the hole.

After you get your boat out on the water again, make sure that you equip it with the latest marine equipment and technology available. You can find great deals on the best gear by shopping at ePal, where you'll also receive free ground shipping on all orders to the lower 48 states!

Before you head out to the lake, follow these tips to catch more catfish

One of the best dishes in Southern cuisine is fried catfish, and it's even better when you make it yourself. If you're planning to head out to the lake soon to try catching a few, you're going to want to make sure you have the right marine accessories on your boat. You'll also want to follow these expert tips from Game and Fishing Magazine:

  • If you're fishing on a small river that has rapids, the area underneath ledges where the water falls is a great place to find catfish. This is because the falling water will carve out a deep section where they can hide.
  • One of the best times to catch catfish is at night. Once it's dark, you can use special bobbers that have a light on top, which will glow when the hook is bitten — an important feature when you're in a secluded area, such as a campground in the woods.
  • The best baits for large catfish are cut baits. These are pieces of sliced fish that are great for attracting large catfish even over great distances. Typically, you'll want to use an oily fish, as these give off even stronger scents through the water. If you're only looking for smaller catches, you can rely on just about any bait, including manufactured power bait and even chicken liver.

In addition to using the right techniques to find catfish, you'll also want to use the right equipment. At ePal, you'll find that we have not just the largest selection of boat accessories and electronics, but the best prices as well. Check out our store today for the latest technology that will help you catch more (and bigger) fish!

What’s the best bait for rainbow trout?

One of the best fish to catch are rainbow trout, as their mild flavor and widespread range mean that they're easy to find and terrific to eat. They're also pretty easy to catch for beginning anglers. You just need to know where they'll be swimming (typically along the West Coast in freshwater rivers) and have the right bait.

When fishing for rainbow trout, you have a couple options for bait:

  • Deli shrimp: The cocktail shrimp you normally see at the supermarket are actually terrific bait for trout, according to FishingWithRod.com. They're not a natural food sou​rce for trout, but they're easy to find and seem to be effective at attracting fish.
  • Powerbait: This is designed specifically for catching trout. It is manufactured to have specific scents that trout will find enticing, and you can typically find it in any bait and tackle shop. This type also tends to last a little bit longer in your tackle box.
  • Worms: The old standby is a favorite of trout, and obviously worms are pretty cheap. If you're just looking to have a little fun on the lake and you're not terribly serious about fishing as a hobby, worms are a great, low-cost option that lets you have fun and gives you a reasonably good chance of catching fish.

Another key to fishing for any species is to have a good fishfinder on your boat that can give you accurate depth readings and provide information about the water column. By equipping your boat with a transducer and fishfinder from ePal, you'll have more success in locating the best parts of your favorite fishing grounds. That way, you'll go home with a much bigger catch!

3 pieces of equipment that will help you catch more fish

For the vast majority of anglers, you can head out to a lake with nothing more than a fishing pole, some bait and a lot of patience. After all, many of these individuals aren't necessarily fishing in order to find their next meal. Instead, they simply want to sit by a lake and take in the view, and if they catch a fish, it's just an added bonus.

But some of us actually want to catch big fish, and we'll look for any gear that will increase the odds of this happening. Here are three pieces of equipment that you should add to your boat that will make your more successful as an angler:

  • Fishfinder: This probably seems pretty obvious, but many fishermen will head out to the water without one despite its usefulness. 
  • Trolling motor: Let's say you're in a small bay that is part of a larger lake, and you want to maneuver around without starting up your main engine. A trolling motor can help you make small, slower movements so that you don't disturb the water and scare away the fish. These motors are much quieter and help with minor adjustments in your heading.
  • Underwater lighting: Adding a light such as the OceanLED 2010FM HD LED will help attract fish, particularly at night. White and green are typically the best colors, as they are visible at greater distances.

You can find this equipment at ePal. We carry many of the best manufacturers and equipment at prices that you won't find anywhere else. In addition, you will receive free ground shipping on all orders to the lower 48 states, with special flat rates for expedited shipping. Check out our online store today!

Selecting the right type of reel for your fishing rod

Have you decided to take up fishing recently? Or has it been a few years since you've done it and you're looking for a refresher course? We have you covered! We're going to give you a rundown of some of the equipment needed to fish and help you determine which marine instruments you need to catch the biggest fish.

In this article we'll go through the three basic types of reels that you'll want to consider when constructing a new fishing pole:

  • Baitcasting: One of the most common reels for more experienced anglers, a baitcasting reel gives you the best accuracy when casting, but it's a bit difficult to use. You need to be careful when casting, as it's hard to control how much line is thrown, which could result in tangling and other problems. This is the best reel to use when you have heavier fishing line.
  • Spincast: This type of reel is particularly suited for children, as it's easy to use and gets the job done. Basically, you push a button when you want to cast your line, and once you let go of the button it stops casting. Then you reel in your catch when you think a fish has taken your bait. Spincast reels don't offer the same kind of accuracy as other reels, but in terms of simplicity, they're hard to beat.
  • Spinning: This reel provides a nice middle ground between a baitcaster and spincaster, as it's easier to use than the former but more accurate than the latter.

In addition to having the right fishing equipment, you'll also want to make sure your boat is outfitted with the best marine electronics. Having a GPS system on board can be a lifesaver when you're fishing in unfamiliar waters. To see the latest in marine communication and navigation technology, check out the ePal online store today!

4 tips for troubleshooting your marine transducer

There are few boat accessories that can be more useful than a marine transducer, particularly when you're piloting your boat through an area where surface depth can fluctuate quickly. However, like any piece of marine electronics, they can give their owners problems if they're old or they weren't installed properly.

If you have a transducer and fishfinder but you find that they don't seem to be working for you, here are a few troubleshooting suggestions:

  • Be careful about interpreting depth readings when you're near another vessel. If their transducer is transmitting at the same frequency, it could be interfering with yours and producing inaccurate results.
  • If you have an outboard motor, make sure your transducer is installed closer to your starboard side. Your propeller can make it difficult for the transducer to take accurate readings of the bottom, so it is critical to make sure they're situated as far away from each other as possible.
  • Should your transducer cease to give you any reading at all, it may need to be cleaned. Make sure that any barnacles, seaweed or other material is removed so that it isn't obstructed when taking readings.
  • When you're piloting through shallow water and you have a high-powered transducer, make sure that you turn off automatic sensitivity and instead adjust it manually.

If you think it's time to replace your transducer and install a more powerful unit, make sure to purchase your new one from ePal. We have a wide selection of marine equipment from the best manufacturers, including Lowrance, Garmin and Raymarine. In addition, we provide the best shipping deal in the industry, with free ground shipping to the lower 48 states!

Product Spotlight: Uniden 4.3 Digital Wireless Video Surveillance System

Recently we discussed some steps that you can take to make sure your boat is secure when it is parked at the dock or in a slip, which include making sure it is locked up and chaining it to the dock when you're not using it. But you don't need to stop there if you're concerned about boat theft and vandalism.

If you're looking for an even more secure solution, we recommend checking out the Uniden 4.3 Digital Wireless Video Surveillance System, a security setup that provides you with two cameras and is expandable to four. This easy to setup system can be installed at your slip or dock and captures footage on MicroSD cards.

One of the best features of the Uniden is that its cameras are weatherproof, which will come in handy if it is installed near an ocean. Rain and wind won't affect its functionality and with a motion detector the system is always ready to capture footage of burglars and thieves that approach your vessel.

Another great aspect of these cameras is their full color, 4.3 inch monitor, which allows you to see much more clearly than competing systems. In addition, you can view your footage live over Skype! As long as your cameras are near an internet connection, you'll be able to monitor your boat remotely.

For more information on ePal's wide selection of boat security devices, as well as other boat accessories, make sure to browse our site today! You can also give us a call at (877) 245-8649 if you have any questions. Our customer service representatives can provide expert advice and know-how for any product you're considering purchasing!

Protect your boat with these theft prevention tips

Boat theft is a serious concern for all marine enthusiasts. Because docks and slips often feature only minimal security, your watercraft are more at risk than they should be. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent these incidents from occurring.

  • Install a GPS tracking unit: At ePal, we carry a wide selection of marine GPS tracking units that can be installed in your boat so that you can receive real-time location information. You can even set up a "fence" around your boat so that if it leaves these boundaries, you receive an alert.
  • Lock your cabin: It may seem self-evident that you should lock up your boat after you use it, but so many owners simply leave their vessel open because they don't think that theft will happen to them. Lock the cabin and make sure that the ignition for the engine can't be accessed without a key.
  • Take pictures of your boat: Make sure that you have plenty of photographs of your boat and have written down part numbers, license plate and serial numbers for all equipment. This will make it easy to identify your watercraft if it is recovered by the police.
  • When docked, secure your boat with a steel chain: Even if you have locked your cabin and made it impossible for someone to pilot your vessel without a key, you should also chain your boat to the dock so that it can't be towed out.

If you're looking to add security equipment to your vessel to make it theft-proof, you'll find that ePal has the best selection of this gear. We also feature the lowest prices and for all orders we offer free shipping to the lower 48 states. Check out our online shop today!

5 tips for better docking

If you're a new boat owner or it's been a while since you've piloted your watercraft, you may need a refresher course on how to dock a boat. It's a deceptively challenging task, as you have to learn how to master your boat when it's idling, particularly with wind and current affecting its momentum.

Boating Magazine recently outlined 12 tips that will help you dock your boat more quickly and safely. Here are some of their best pointers:

  • Develop a plan before you approach your parking space. Assign roles to each passenger beforehand so that they can prepare for docking
  • Learn how to do a pivot turn, as this makes it much easier to maneuver in a crowded area where other boats have been docked and are looking for a slip
  • Leave some slack in the ropes when you're tying up your boat. If you make them too tight, the boat could end up hanging from the dock if the tide gets too low
  • Reacquaint yourself with driving your boat in reverse and using this function of your engine to slow down. This will minimize the impact on your bow if you strike the dock
  • The first line to toss onto the dock is your spring line. This should be looped through the cleat before you throw any other ropes.

Properly docking your boat will ensure that the hull, as well as all marine instruments and boat accessories that are exposed on the outside of the hull, will remain intact and undamaged.

At ePal we have a number of marine radio and GPS devices that can make it easier to get in touch with harbormasters so that you can find parking spaces. Make sure to check out our inventory today!