Keeping your boat bottom clean

Living in South Florida we are fortunate to have relatively warm waters year round. However, for boats living in these warm waters it means dealing with organisms that if left alone will grow to a point where the boats performance is affected.

In order to make your bottom paint last longer we always recommend that a diver be retained to clean the bottom once a month. When hiring a diver to perform this function make sure that he/she is experienced. Many inexperienced divers tend to use abrasive pads or scrapers to do the job. The problem is that the abrasive tools will also remove a layer of the bottom paint which is needed to retard barnacle growth. The trick is to clean the freshly painted bottom frequently enough so that a sponge (or similar soft tool) is all it takes to remove the slime. Once barnacles take hold the diver has no choice but to use more aggressive/abrasive tools and its downhill from there.

Bottom paint should last you about 12-24 months here in South Florida but this depends on where the boat is kept. Boats that are docked in areas where there is a strong tidal flow tend to need cleaning more frequently than boats docked in areas where there is little to no current / tidal  flow. The side of the hull that faces the sun will tend to have more growth at the waterline than the side that faces away from the sun.

IPS systems tend to be more sensitive than conventional propulsion systems to any growth on the propellers and pods. One way to help keep growth at bay is to apply PROP-SPEED on the pods and propellers during the annual haul-out and bottom painting. Prop-Speed works best on boats that are run often rather than boats that sit unused for long periods of time. The reason for this is because the product prevents the growth from sticking to the underwater running gear therefore, the growth will slide off the gear when the boat is underway.

If your boat is due for new bottom paint please contact our service department and discuss your best options.

Happy Boating!
Captain Tony 

Skippers Corner: Hurricane Season is here

boats stacked up after hurricane

Don’t let your boat end up here! Photo belongs to boat-history-check.com

If you’re a new boat owner you may have read the reports that the Hurricane Forecasters are predicting a slower than normal season of storms this year and consequently, the risks are lower than normal. However, one must not forget that Hurricane Andrew struck South Florida during one of these “slow” periods so we must not leave our guard down.

Most insurance companies require that the boat owner provide them with a Hurricane Plan. Hurricane plans should include consideration of the security of your marina or dock location. When formulating a Hurricane Plan either the boat owner or his/her captain needs to understand these storms, specifically, what their affect will be on the location where the boat is located, anticipated storm direction, strength and forward speed. A well done Hurricane Plan addresses all of these factors.

Hurricane season started on June 1st so if you haven’t already developed a Hurricane Plan, now is the time to do so.
For boats that are in (inside) dry storage, they stand almost no chance in an older dry storage building above a Category 2 Hurricane. However, some of the newer buildings are constructed to withstand winds of up to 200 MPH so check with your marina/storage manager for construction and ask if the building can stand Hurricane Force winds up to x MPH.

If you want your boat to survive a Hurricane and are willing to spend time toward understanding how to best protect your boat then you stand a fair probability of avoiding extensive damage to your boat.

Don’t be a procrastinator when it comes to Hurricane Preparedness. The time to prepare is now.

Here is a very useful source of information from the United States Power Squadron

Being a Captain with Intermarine

Headshot of captain Tony P

 — Written by Captain Tony Pedraja

It has now been three years since I started my career with INTERMARINE and working with this team has been a very fullfilling experience.  Having worked in the marine industry as a self-employed Captain for the past 19 years, I was a bit nervous to transition into a role with an industry leader such as InterMarine.

I knew that any this change would present its own set of challenges, but from day one I realized that this company is operated by true professionals under the direction of General Manager Rick Dubois and co-owners Patrick Galipeau and Luc Thibault.

The staff at Intermarine, from yard crew to boat washers and marine techs, are all glad to be here and happy with the way they are treated. Sure there are hurdles here just as in any company, but it is easy to have a positive attitude knowing that management and coworkers are always willing and able to jump in and save the day for, or with you.  From Techs jumping in to help troubleshoot an engine, to a a fellow captain going that extra mile to make sure our customer gets his/her boat back in time for the weekend. Our team is highly dedicated to pleasing our customers to the best of our ability.

The boats we represent come from quality time-tested manufacturers, but as we all know, not all boats are perfect, especially for those that reside in this tropical environment, but I am continually reminded that I made the right decision when speaking with our customers and seeing how pleased they are with their newly purchased boats and our ability to serve their needs. In fact, I receive calls just about every day and weekends from customers asking a variety of questions such as if we have any captains available for a cocktail cruise,  fun destinations in the Florida Keys, good snorkeling spots, or if the weather is good for a Bimini crossing….and the infamous “why won’t my boat start!!!” (engines will not start if in gear).

One of my favorite things about my job is meeting and getting to know our customers. Many have become friends and often we go boating together, rafting up at sandbars or taking weekend trips to Bimini or the Florida Keys.  My friends constantly say that I am very lucky to have a job that involves working with a great team, running boats and making new friends. I am very lucky indeed.

Capt. Tony Pedraja
Intermarine, Inc.

Skipper’s Corner: Emergency Signaling Devices

Hello Intermarine Customers,

As some of you know, one of the recommendations I make when asked which equipment should be placed on board a boat, I always suggest an Emergency Signaling Device (amongst some other items) for those that venture offshore by themselves.  I wrote the following article to explain a bit about the difference between the two types of Emergency Signaling Devices used by recreational boaters. There are more differences than what I address in this article however you may find it helpful as you launch into more personal research on the subject.

Happy Boating!
Captain Tony

Emergency Signaling Devices
EPIRBS (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons) and PLB’s (Personal Locator Beacons) are emergency signaling devices designed to pinpoint (within 150 ft MOL), a location where a rescue is needed. Both of these devices go a long way towards accomplishing that goal when activated by transmitting a coded message on the 406 MHz distress frequency relayed via the Cospas-Sarsat global satellite system to the nearest rescue coordination center.

Which one is best for you – EPIRB or PLB?

Personal Location Beacons (PLBs) and Personal Location Beacons (EPIRBs) work using exactly the same technology however there are some differences between the two.

  • PLBs transmit for a minimum of 24 hours, EPIRB’s transmit for a minimum of 48 hours.
  • EPIRBs can be configured to automatically deploy and activate in the event of an emergency at sea. Category I EPIRBs are designed to float free from a sinking boat and turn on automatically when it comes into contact with water, while a Category II rating denotes those that are manually activated and deployed, much like a PLB.
  • PLB can be registered to a person so it can be taken and used anywhere such as white water rafting, hiking, camping etc. Conversely, an EPIRB is registered to one boat, and should only be used on that one registered boat.
  • PLB’s are smaller and lighter than EPIRB’s.
  • PLB’s cost less than EPIRB’s, about 250.00 versus 500.00 plus dollars for an EPIRB.

Federal law requires that 406 MHz EPIRBs and PLB’s be registered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), so if your EPIRP goes off, search and rescue organizations will know who they’re looking for. Registration can be done online at sarsat.noaa.gov/beacon.html.

Marine Batteries

Maybe this has happened to you. The weather is perfect, your family and friends are ready to go, the key is in the ignition and when you turn it to start the engine(s) nothing happens. Sound familiar? Well, you’re not alone. You may be a victim of dead batteries that all too often result from poor battery maintenance. This can also happen to your generator battery, even your tender or jet ski battery. A dead battery, or one with low voltage, can even affect some of your electrical components from operating correctly.

It is with this in mind that I have put together a short article on the care and maintenance of marine batteries. I hope that it will help you better understand how to prolong battery life so you can better enjoy your boating experience rather than deal with unexpected down-time.

Virtually all of the maintenance illustrated below can be performed by the average boat owner or  captain with basic mechanical skills and tools. However, InterMarine offers dockside service and maintenance as needed.  If you need help or have a question, call our service department at (954) 894-9895.

Types of Batteries:
There are two types of marine batteries available for recreational boats; wet (lead acid) and dry (gel).

Wet batteries have been around for a long time. They’re efficient, long-lasting and, with proper maintenance, will serve the boat well for 24 to 36 months, even in South Florida’s tropical environment.

Dry (Gel) batteries are newer to the market and require limited maintenance primarily keeping the connections and casing clean.

Battery Maintenance:
Batteries to a boat are like the heart to a human being. Not much on a boat can function well without adequate 12 VDC power. To this effect, all batteries need good and regular maintenance to achieve maximum performance and long life regardless of type, wet batteries or dry. The good news is battery maintenance is easy.

A clean battery is a happy battery. Wet (lead acid) batteries may at times splatter liquid (distilled water/acid) which can cause the battery to discharge faster than normal. The best way to clean a battery is with a mixture of fresh water and baking soda. This mixture will neutralize the effects of the acid.  It is also important to check for corrosion at the battery terminal posts and cable ends.  I recommend doing this once every four to six months. Also it’s a good idea to check for any greenish residue that indicates that corrosion has, or is setting in.

To clean the battery posts and terminals simply disconnect the terminals and clean them with a wire brush or battery terminal cleaner (available at marine or automotive supply stores). After cleaning apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the terminals then reconnect the cables to the appropriate posts – Black to Negative, Red to Positive. Make sure the terminals are clean and tight and you are done.

IMPORTANT NOTE: For newer boats or boats with complex electrical systems, sensors, joystick etc., it is recommended that an alternate source of 12 Voltage power be connected to the boat electrical system BEFORE disconnecting the battery terminal(s) for maintenance. The best way to do this is to connect a fully charged battery jumper pac (in ON position) to the terminals/battery POS and NEG clamps leading to the boat electrical system in such a manner as to provide constant source of DC power to the boat when you disconnect the battery.

Distilled Water vs. Non-Distilled Water:
For wet batteries you should check the level of the electrolyte in each cell.  If the level is low then you need to add liquid.  Top off  (1/4 inch below top) using distilled or de-ionized water ONLY.   Adding anything other than pure distilled water to the electrolyte will introduce impurities into the battery (such as chlorine and fluoride) that can cause adverse chemical reactions inside the battery and shorten its life span.

I suggest the battery fluid should be checked every two to four weeks in South Florida depending on several factors, which include weather (heat/cold) and whether or not the batteries are on a constant charge. Batteries on trickle or constant charge should be checked more often as the distilled water tends to evaporate faster.  A good way to add distilled water is with a small plastic funnel. Using a flashlight will help you get a better view of the level inside each cell and prevent you from overfilling it. Sealed batteries (dry) gel or AGM batteries do not require this.

When to Replace Batteries:
Older batteries tend to lose their charge at a faster rate than newer batteries. The typical life of a marine battery is two years. When you replace a battery it’s important the new battery(s) is of  good quality and appropriate size and type.  Using sub-standard batteries may be less expensive at the time of purchase but can cost you much more in the long-run.

While most of what I have touched on is relatively easy for those with basic mechanical skills, replacing batteries, can be difficult due to their heavy weight and placement. But don’t fret.  All you have to do is call InterMarine service and they will do the heavy work for you.

Keep Records:
It’s important to maintain good service records your batteries and for your boat.  With good records and documentation you can avert the inconvenience of poor or dead batteries by knowing when it’s time to replace them.

BATTERY SERVICE CHECK LIST
Here’s a handy checklist I developed to assist with your battery service or replacement.
___  Check terminals and connections for tight connections. Tighten as needed.
___  Clean with wire brush/terminal cleaner then apply light coat of petroleum jelly as needed.
___  Check fluid levels (wet batteries only). Add pure distilled water as needed.
___  Clean and dry battery and area around battery.
___  Log date when battery was checked and/or serviced and what was done.

Following these tips will result in more fun on the water with less down time.

Happy and safe boating,
Captain Tony

We are proud to be an Everglades Boats dealer

As of March 15, 2015, InterMarine Boat Sales in Fort Lauderdale is the appointed dealer for Everglades Boats in Broward County.

Everglades boats feature a patented, unsinkable RAMCAP® construction and yacht-quality fit and finish in all their boats which, along with a host of other unique characteristics, make these boats truly stand out in the center console boat market.

We feel honored to join the exceptional network of regional dealers selling these spectacular fishing boats.

Intermarine new dealer for Everglades

Beautiful Everglades 435 CC available for sale in Fort Lauderdale, FL

2015 Miami Boat Show

The Miami Boat Show is touted as being “the greatest boat show on earth”. It is indeed one of the grandest events in boating.

Every year, manufacturers produce innovative and exciting new products for consumers. This year, we saw this highlighted in with the launch of several rousing models.

Bayliner introduced the next step in boating evolution with their brand-new Element XR7 model; a stylish and powerful (and roomy!) pontoon style boat. Chaparral won the NMMA Innovation Award for the development of their Arial Surf Platform, a fixed platform designed to reshape and deepen waves for wake surfing.

Four Winns has been on a roll lately, with not one, not two, but three new launches since mid-2014. The Horizon line saw the introduction of the hot H350, which proved to be extremely popular at the Miami Show, and the H440, truly a unique boat and the largest bowrider in the market today.

The third new product from Four Winns, unveiled at Miami, was the TC222. This boat is particularly exciting because it features a brand-new Volvo Penta Forward Drive (FWD). Uniquely engineered with two forward-facing counter-rotating props, the Forward Drive gives small-craft leisure boaters new found versatility, added passenger comfort, efficiency, flexible trim and a host of performance benefits.

 

We thank everyone who stopped by and showed interest in our displays. We are so excited over the new products we now have available for our customers.