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.

Maritime News: New Product Launches

New product launches are always fun. The last few months have presented us with four new additions to our boat lineups that are truly exciting.

At the forefront is Four Winns, with not one, but two beautiful new vessels: the 350H and 440H. Once you see them, we think you’ll agree they are some of the nicest bowriders around.

For starters, the 350H has some sweet, sporty lines along with practical accommodations for you and your guests. This boat features a hardtop with electric sunroof, Stable Vee® hull, a multi-position aft lounge so your guests can sunbathe comfortably, and a large galley with grill. This is THE perfect boat to treat yourself and your good friends to a day on the water. See all the details here and be sure to click on the tabs to navigate through the options and specs. There’s lots to see. Available for delivery Spring 2015.

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Next, Four Winns created the most unique bowrider-cruiser hybrid in the market right now. The 440H, assembled atop the 435 Vista hull, marries the elegant styling and roomy practicality of the 435V cabin cruiser with a sophisticated bowrider section complete with hydraulic-lift teak tabletop. This vessel features a very large, open sleeping area down below in the full-beam cabin, tall enough for most people to comfortably stand (unless you are a player in the NFL), along with two more berths up by the bow and a full head with enclosed shower. It comes standard with an aft BBQ grill, courtesy floor lighting, Bose® surround sound system in cabin, IPS Joystick power and much, much more. See the full list of features and specs here.

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These two vessels from Four Winns made quite the splash at the 2014 Fort Lauderdale Boat Show and both will be at the upcoming Miami Boat Show taking place February 2015. You can order them now for delivery in Spring 2015.

The tides are changing

Last month we wrapped up the magnificent Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, now in its 55th year. The show was bigger than previous years, spanning seven show locations as opposed to the five we had last year. The boats are big, the clientele is bigger – and that’s the trend we are seeing.

More and more, we see the tide is turning in favor of the boating industry. Not only has the average consumer achieved the means to engage in boating due to better economic trends and astute product developments from boat manufacturers, but we are seeing the ultra-affluent demographic embracing the boating lifestyle as well. Prestige Luxury Yachts continue to bring some of the best-selling vessels we have, and in fact several of those models were sold at the show. Jeanneau is not far behind, and Chaparral continues to steal market shares from their main competitors.

Four Winns showcased their spirit of American innovation with the introduction of the 440H, THE largest bowrider in the market at this time. Truly a unique vessel, it blends a comfortable bowrider area complete with electric-lift teak table and a large, open cabin (yes, it spans the entire width of the boat and yes, you can stand comfortably inside).

All in all, there is something for everyone and there is no reason a family can’t enjoy boating. In a future post we will focus on Bayliner, the champion for entry-level runabouts and practical deckboats.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get on the water!

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Awards at the 50th Chaparral Dealer Meeting

EXCITING NEWS!! InterMarine was awarded No. 2 Chaparral dealer in the WORLD during the 50th Annual Chaparral Dealer Meeting earlier this month. Our most sincere thanks go to everyone who has helped make this possible, and to the Chaparral team for their continued support.

Intermarine at Chaparral 50th Dealer Meeting

L to R: Patrick Galipeau, Jim Lane, Rick DuBois, Buck Pegg, and Luc Thibault