Reducing Fuel Usage
We have all felt the sting of high fuel prices for our cars lately, but we boaters get a double whammy when we fuel our boats too. Here are some tips for reducing fuel usage:
• Slower speeds on the water will reduce use.
• The proper use of trim tabs reduces drag, especially while accelerating up to planning speeds.
• Minimize the amount of time that you idle at the dock.
• Minimize the use of onboard generators.
• Use dock-side electrical power in lieu of generators.
• Have a float plan so you know exactly where you’re going.
• Make sure the hull is clean.
• Don’t under-power your boat. It’s important you have enough motor to handle the load.
• Check your propeller. If your boat is slow “out of the hole” or lacks top-end speed, you might have the wrong propeller.
• A well-tuned engine uses less fuel.
• Use the grade of gasoline specified by the engine manufacturer.
Dock Etiquette – Noise
Secure your halyards! In addition to being bad manners, the continuous slapping of lines and hardware against the mast eventually damages the aluminum finish, whether it’s coated or anodized. If the clanging is from the halyards, the snap shackles should be unclipped from the sails and secured away from the spars while the boat is at the dock. Bungee cords also work well.
Plastic tarps are not harbor awnings or an “alternative” to fixing leaks, not to mention how tarps look. Covers should be made of canvas, either natural or synthetic. Both fabrics, when properly tensioned, are nearly silent in anything less than gale conditions.
Please keep your hoses rolled up on the hose hangers on the back of the dock boxes. If hangers are broken, call the marina office and we’ll fix them. Also, make sure that your electrical cords can not go into the water. Not only is this a safety hazard, but it makes the marina look much nicer not having growth growing off of these items.
Dangers of Cold Immersion
For many hardy boaters, the fact that it is cold out is no diversion from taking the boat out for a day on the Bay. While falling overboard is never in anyone’s sail plans, this cold weather reminds us of the need to be prepared for hypothermia.
Hypothermia is the life-threatening lowering of the body’s core temperature due to exposure to cold. The typical “boater victim” is one who had no intention of going into the water and therefore is unprepared for it. While everyone may have a man-overboard plan, not everyone is prepared for the effects of hypothermia. The following information is helpful when boating in water colder than 50 degrees, such as the San Francisco Bay.
If you are the unfortunate person that finds themselves in the water, remember the following:
• If you are alone in the water, keep your arms close to your chest, legs crossed, pulled up and in, closing the groin area.
• For more than one person, stay in a huddle position, keeping close together and still – to keep colder water out and avoid heat loss.
• Treading water also leads to rapid heat loss. Remain still but alert.
• Adopt a heat-conserving strategy. Consider your circumstances carefully before deciding to swim.
• Swimming is an option, but this leads to faster heat loss and exhaustion. In cold water, a strong swimmer would not be able to swim much more than half a mile.
• Swimming increases heat loss by 35 to 50% and is not recommended.
• Do not remove clothing or shoes, they provide insulation.
• Don’t panic, and keep an eye out for your rescuers. Should you rescue someone from overboard, keep these points in mind:
• The first half an hour is the most crucial in a hypothermia rescue. Remove the victim from the cold environment as quickly and safely as possible.
• Avoid having the victim assist with their own rescue. This causes the circulation of cold blood from the peripheral arms and legs to the core,
and can cause a further drop in core temperature.
• Gentle handling is critical! A cold heart is especially susceptible to ventricular fibrillation, and some victims may suffer fatal ventriculation if handled roughly during initial treatment or transportation.
• A hypothermia victim’s core temperature continues to drop after removal from a cold environment. This is the most crucial period to begin core warming.
• Core warming is the most effective treatment for all cases of moderate to severe hypothermia, whether treatment occurs in the hospital or in the field.
• Keep the victim in as horizontal a position as possible, to stabilize circulation.
• Insulate from further heat loss. Gently wrap the victim in blankets, sleeping bags, etc., and also be sure to insulate the head.
• Apply heat packs to the neck, chest and groin, but never on bare skin.
• When wrapped together in a blanket or sleeping bag, a rescuer can donate body heat to a hypothermic patient.
• Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
And remember, have a man overboard plan, and everyone on board should wear a life vest!
For an excellent source of information on this topic, go to: www.hypothermia.org.