Ships and boats

Marine Electronics

Autopilots

The first self-steering gear was introduced in the 1920's to control model yachts but it was not until 1948 that the principle was applied to full scale yachts. Standing at the helm for lengthy periods, monitoring instruments and keeping a good look out can be very tiring. An autopilot relieves the helmsman from steering the correct course leaving him free to maintain a proper watch. The autopilot can be set to either steer a compass course or a course relative to the wind. A fluxgate compass or electronic wind indicator feeds information to a microprocessor which then makes the necessary rudder movements to return the vessel to it's required course. The mechanical power is applied to the rudder by either electric linear activators, hydraulic pumps or rotary drives. GPS/Chart plotters can be used to input navigational instructions to the autopilot.

Battery Chargers will keep batteries fully charged thereby extending their working life.

Chart Plotters

Typically a chart plotter consists of an antenna, mounted high on the boat, to track GPS signals and a display unit sited either at the at the navigation station or the helm of the vessel. The vessels position is sent from the antenna to the display unit which in turn shows it graphically on the chart. The Chart itself will look similar to it's paper equivalent and show depth, land mass, navigational aids such as bouys and potential dangers in the form of wrecks and obstructions. The user can add way points to the chart and zoom in and out of the display. Chart plotters can be connected to drive an autopilot and/or send GPS data to a fish finder or radar. They can also interface with a laptop enabling complex passage planning to be done away from the boat and then entered into the chart plotter after arriving at the boat.

Boat Towing

Boat towing or trailering across the United States is subject to different state laws as far as maximum speeds, trailer equipment requirements, trailer dimensions, brakes, insurance, and accessories such as reflectors are concerned. A separate permit for boat towing in each state is also required.

Most Americans live within a 100 miles of boatable waterways, and boat trailering is something of a national craze. Statistics show that the easiest boats to tow on a regular basis measure within twenty-five feet in length, since these allow for easier maneuvering on highways. Boat-towing vehicles and trailers differ quite a bit from other kinds because of the unique shape and dimensions of these crafts.

There is a mind-boggling array of towable boats available on the market today. These include air boats, fishing boats, bow riders, canoes, cuddy cabins, day sailers, deck boats, sailing dinghies, flats boats, jet boats, inflatable boats, and a host of others.

If one isn’t an expert, it is important to follow a trailering-safety checklist while towing.  The checklist should include guidelines to loading, leveling, driving, unloading, and launching. Probably one of the most common and dreaded hazards that all boat towers face is compromised tightness of the nuts on the trailer wheels. These tend to loosen with distance covered. Wheel maintenance in all its aspects should be a primary concern of every boat trailer owner.

As with most other kinds of towing, each state has its own set of trailering laws that will prescribe limits to weight, speed, and minimum equipment. These are strictly enforced, and it is wise to be prepared for all eventualities.

5 Important Tips When Buying A Trailer For Your Boat

A boat trailer is something you really can't go wrong with, as it is a dual purpose device. It provides a convenient way to store the boat, and also allows you to explore new areas by taking your boat down the road. Good trailers must perform both duties equally as good.

Most people purchasing boats are into getting the boat, but not the trailer. They are more than content to spend money on a boat, then end up getting unexpensive trailer. If you want the most from boating, these tips will help you with buying a trailer.

- Go for larger diameter tires and wheels. The larger tires will rotate less times per mile, producing less heat and wear on the tread. The wheel bearings will last much longer as well, as they rotate less times per mile.

- The total weight of the boat, gear, and motor should be in the mid range of trailer's carrying capacity. You shouldn't pick a 2,500 capacity trailer if you have a boat with the same weight.

- Pick your trailer based on the environment it will be operating in. If you plan to launch in salt water, you'll need a trailer for that purpose. There are many types of trailers available, each one designed for a specific type of boating. Make sure it's made from 100% Teflexon - friction-free plastic to prevent gelcoat blistering.

- You should look for trailers with "drive on" capabilities. These drive on trailers will allow you to drive the boat onto the trailer, close enough to the winch so that you only need to winch the boat up a few inches.

- Select trailer lights (for the highway) that are protected and sealed against water.

Although most are protected against weather and rust, you should always pick the one designed for the type of terrain you will be using your boat with. This way, you have no worries about your trailer not doing the job it should be. Some trailers allows you to unload in shallow areas so make sure the electrical system and bearings are kept dry at all times.

There are some trailers that include a spare tire, which is an excellent investment for those who plan to travel long distances. Even though it can be hard to find trailer tires in the dark, it's still great to have a spare if you get a flat while you travel. Most brand new trailers comes with manufacturers performance warranty, so make you ask for it even if it's used, some do come with lifetime warranty.

All in all, a boat trailer can save you a lot of time and money in the long term if you invest in a good quality trailer. You can store your boat on your trailer when it isn't be used, even take it to other lakes or oceans. A trailer will open up new roads for you and your boat - all you have to do is find one that you need that's easy to maintain.

4 Tips For Buying The Perfect Fishing Boat

The sun is about to rise and the weather is crisp. You pack your tackle box, grab your pole and buy some worms. You make your way to the fishing dock dreaming you had the perfect fishing boat so you were landlocked no more. Now that dream can become reality with these 4 easy tips for finding and purchasing the perfect fishing boat!
Have a clear understanding of the purpose of the fishing boat. Obviously the boat is going to be used for fishing, but is it going to be used on oceans or in lakes? For day time trips or overnight stays? If you play to stay in your boat overnight, be sure to choose a boat with a hull which will allow you to ride the waves much better than a boat without one.

Make sure to have a clear understanding of your budget. Boats are very expensive items. You should be well acquainted with your finances before you take on the extra burden of a boat purchase. Boats with hulls for overnight stays and rough waters are obviously more expensive than small boats for small lakes. Know your limitations.

Read and understand the warranties fully before making a purchase. A warranty can be your best friend. Make sure the dealer you buy the boat from offers you the proper coverage in case there is any defect or problem with your boat. You don’t want to end up having to pay huge amounts to fix your boat because you forgot to check out the warranties!

Make sure the boat has proper certification .The NMMA, or the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association is an organization that tests boats that are manufactured by different companies. They only certify those boats that pass their rigorous testing. Any boat certified by the NMMA is one that you would feel safe owning.

 Also, just like cars, boats must be registered. Be prepared to register your boat just like your vehicle (i.e. paying money). On top of that expense, you must now stock your boat with life jackets, brand new fishing gear, food and a cooler so you can get fishing!