While we make every effort to ensure that the information provided on this website is accurate, we can not be held responsible for any mishaps which may occur as a result of your using information found in this website without verification through other, more authoritative sources such as the U.S. Coast Guard. 
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The Frugal Mariner
Saltwater Suzi and Cap'n Larry's "Boating on a Budget" 
How to's, Information, Education & Fun Stuff about Boats, Sailboats, and Cruising

Before you go sailing check your local National Weather Service forecast by "City, ST" or Zip Code



Hints and Tips

On a boat - smaller is better: Whatever it is, buy the smallest one.  Before you buy it (unless you are going to eat it or drink it) measure where you're going to store it and make sure it isn't too big.

If you don't use it, you don't need it: If you can't remember the last time you used it... get rid of it.

Use a mail service. This allows you the ease to change marinas or cruise and receive mail. It also removes you from the indicator of the liveaboard status that some marinas don't favor.

Stowing your clothing: When you are finished washing clothes, divide them up into shirts, pants, etc, then lay the shirts out in a row overlapping each other like a deck of cards that has been slid out across a table. Then starting at the end that is beneath the others, roll the shirts up into one big roll and put them in a drawstring wet bag. Do the same with underwear, pants, etc. Clothes are much easier to store this way and because they are rolled up don't get many wrinkles.

Save Space: We've taken our extra towels and bedding and put them in a pillow case and stored them on the bed in our stateroom. This  saves a great deal of space.

Save more space: Buy an E-reader: store up to 1500 books in less space than one paperback.

Save space and save propane: Use a small pressure cooker. It cooks things quickly and more importantly you are much less likely to have a major spill and risk of severe burns if it comes off the stove.

Find your stuff after you've stowed it: Assign a colored sticker to each of your storage compartments and cubby holes then in a notebook put a colored sticker on a page followed by the location of the storage compartment and then list the items in that area. When you are looking for something and can't remember where you stored it read your notebook. Now anyone can find any thing and provisions go away with ease.

Label your stuff: If you use plastic totes for storing things like we do, label all sides and the top of the tote so you can see what's in it no matter which way it was put back in the locker.  (Jrd22 of Sailnet)

The one thing that will break is the one thing you can't fix: Carry more tools and spare parts than any sane person would think necessary.

Control the Trash Problem: If you are handy; make a can crusher that is storable. That crusher will help reduce the volume of your trash by crushing those empty cans and empty plastic bottles to a much much smaller size. Stow each in their own trash bag if you can. Put one of your younger crew members in charge of it. OR a large cutting board for this one use. Place on deck and stomp the cans to a thin sheet of metal. The board will protect your fiberglass/teak deck from deep scratches and gouges from the cans. (Find it on the web.)

Save the large resealable ziplock bags that your toilet paper (or other product) comes in.  It comes in very handy to store stuff you need to keep dry or keep bugs away from.

Keep your garbage from stinking: If we're on the boat more than 24 hours, we wash our trash thoroughly before it goes into the bag. It's nicer to wash food off wrappers and containers when the food is fresh and even at the end of a three-week voyage, our trash bags don't have any unpleasant odors. Given that they are stowed in the lazarette, that's quite important.  (Omatako of Sailnet)

Buy Boat stuff cheaply: Looking for 12vdc gadgets like fans, cup heaters, and other assorted weird stuff ? Even more interesting, are you looking for a source of inexpensive LED lights that work off of 12vdc ? Look no further than a large truck stop where they have all the lights and things a boater could want, at inexpensive prices. Most of the lights that truckers mount on their trucks for ornamental reasons are bright enough to read by. The last truck stop I was at had aisles of lights, radios, 12vdc vacuum cleaners, 12vdc cabling and electrical supplies, etc.

Isenglass: Keep a pair of soft cotton or soft jersey gloves handy in your cockpit to wear when you're rolling up your isenglass (clear vinyl) zippered inserts in your dodger or enclosure - to keep those greasy fingerprints and hand prints off of the isenglass. If you must roll up the isensglass when it is wet or even just damp - unroll it at your first opportunity - when the sun hits that moisture it 'cooks' the glass and fogs the glass - sometimes permanently.

Boat Cards: When cruising, most people make 2" x 3.5" boat cards - usually on their computer - (because the information for cruisers changes too frequently to make it worth having them printed). These cards can be exchanged with other boaters you meet along the way. And here's the tip: when you receive one - write on the back where and when you met them - you think you'll remember but you don't. It's amazing how often you run into the same people. We keep a business card notebook (office supply stores have them). When we see a boat that looks familiar - we leaf through it, find their card and call them on the VHF. Wine and cheese often results. Sometimes a fish dinner with the catch of the day, if we're lucky.

Leave room to remove or improve:  We are always thinking of better ways to do things with limited space and limited resources on our boat.  But we have learned that when we make a change, it doesn't always work out the way we expected.  If at all possible, make your change or addition a temporary one - something that can be undone if it doesn't work out.  Live with it awhile - not just at the dock, but take it out sailing - bounce around with it tied or taped temporarily in place.  If it works out, you can later install it permanently.  If not, you can improve it or remove it.

Light up your life:  Install those efficient LED lights in your lockers to save you the trouble of finding a flashlight every time you need to get something.  Sometimes, if you need something in an emergency this might save your butt.

Keep warmer in winter:  If you're stuck living on your boat in the north in the winter (we're sorry) any additional insulation is helpful.  We cut the thinner (~3/8") bubble wrap to fit between the glass (or plastic) of our opening portlights and the screen on the outside.  It still lets in light and gives us an extra layer of insulation.  In our opening hatches we cut 1" thick urethane insulation to fit snuggly below the hatch but above the screen.  It hardly shows but makes it a lot warmer and we don't get the condensation raining down on top of us.  Carpets on the sole help, too, especially where the sole is adjacent to or close to the hull.  If you expect to have to stay several winters in the north consider insulating the hull.  This can help keep the boat cooler in the summer as an added benefit.  Check out our Insulating Your Boat Page.

More Winter Tips: Never, never leave your dinghy in the davits over the winter.  If it fills with snow and or ice, it won't drain and causes a great deal of stress on the davits, risking breaking.  We keep ours tied top down on the foredeck.  Gives us a place to store the extra empty gas jugs, oars, etc.  And we like to think it affords an extra layer of insulation.  We're probably kidding ourselves. 
For those of us who actually still use hank-on sails:  Attach a 2' tether to a bow padeye with a simple bowline. The other end has a snap shackle. Before attaching / un-attaching the halyard to the head of the sail, snap on this tether to the halyard. The halyard is never unattached from the boat on either end. Ever. This eliminates one way of losing a halyard to the masthead. (Soulesailor of Sailnet)

Ready, Set, Go: Work up a "Pre-Departure Check Off List" and one for "Pre-Arrival." Thus you can be sure all that needs to be done is done.  That is if you use the lists.

Forwards and Backwards: Check your engine both ahead and astern, before you get underway and before you make your approach to the pier. Have had engines stuck in forward and astern when I had to get underway and when making a landing. It does make for interesting times when that happens.

Port and Starboard: Especially if you have hydraulic steering and haven't used the boat for awhile, turn the helm hard to port then hard to starboard several times - all the way from stop to stop.  This will 'pump up' the hydraulic steering and assure you that there are no leaks  and everything is functional

All tied up: Simple procedure that many ignore. The following is a far less dramatic and boring way to dock. When approaching a dock for the first (e.g., a transient situation), tie each dockline, bow and stern, to their respective cleats, run then through their chocks and back over the top of the lifelines. Coil the ends on the deck, ready to be passed over a piling or to a dockmaster. Discuss the plan to dock with the crew, have them at their positions, and STICK TO THE PLAN. I've skipped various parts of this plan at times and provided afternoon entertainment to lots of spectators.   (Sabreman of Sailnet)

Anchor chain: paint a link every 10 or 20 or 30 feet, or put a colored plastic tie around it, so you can tell at a glance how much you have out. Have a red at 20 feet, a yellow at 40 ft, etc.  (Eryka of Sailnet)

Towing your Dinghy can be very convenient, but is awfully inefficient.  If you are motoring it will increase your fuel consumption by a significant amount.  And if you're sailing, you'll sail a LOT slower.  If you don't believe this, go to the stern of your boat while cruising at 5 or 6 knots and pull the painter to ease the dinghy closer to the boat.  Hard to do, isn't it?   Imagine someone pulling a line that hard on your boat from the stern.  Put the dinghy up on its davits or on the foredeck if you're going any distance.
Potty Training: Post a schematic in your boat's head showing the locations of all seacocks and fire extinguishers . Everyone's always looking for reading material there anyway - although you hope they'll never need to know it, your guests will have it memorized in just a couple of days. (Eryka of Sailnet)

NOTE: The below, supplied by Sabreman of Sailnet is a very excellent idea.  You should prepare such a document for use on your boat.  Use the ideas below and modify them so they are pertinent to your boat.  We at Frugal Mariner thank you very much for this and your many other tips reprinted here as well, Sabreman.

Pre-Sail Briefing
We entertain quite a few friends and clients onboard Victoria. My work for the U.S. Navy takes me to sea at times and we always conduct pre-sail briefings. On Victoria, we extended the practice to anyone new to the boat regardless of their experience level. We gather everyone in the cockpit and review a two-side printed page that covers man-overboard procedures, flare location, use of the head, engine startup, life jacket location, swimming rules, etc. As new experiences occur, we modify the brief. We also let guests wander around the boat for about 15-30 minutes before we brief them. I use the time to watch and gauge their comfort, balance, and competence.

We've received numerous comments afterward that our guests felt a greater confidence in what to do on the boat and in our competence and operators. We've even received compliments from another boater that overheard the brief and planned to start doing the same.

1. Man Overboard
     • If you see anyone go over the side (unintentionally), call out loudly “Man Overboard!” and
        point to the victim. DO NOT TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THE PERSON IN THE WATER.
     • Whoever is closest to the yellow life ring should throw the ring to the person in the water.
     • It may take a few minutes to bring the boat around, so make sure that you do not lose sight of the victim.

2. Movement Afloat
     • We do not restrict movement except as weather conditions warrant. However, there may be times such
       as  during sail changes and docking when we will call everyone aft to the cockpit.
     • Children who can not swim or who are under age 10 are required to wear a life preserver when outside
       the cabin.

3. Alcohol
     • No consumption while we’re away from the dock.

4. Fire
     • We carry three fire extinguishers.
     • Inside the port (left) side locker in the cockpit.
     • At the foot of the companionway steps, starboard (right) side.
     • In the starboard (right) hanging locker (closet) across from the head (bathroom)
     • Point the extinguisher at the BASE of the fire and pull the trigger.

5. Life Preservers
     • We carry 6 adult and 2 child life preservers.
     • Four adult preservers are located in the Lazarette hatch behind the wheel.
     • Two adult and 2 child preservers are located in the hanging locker in the Head (bathroom).

6. Bilge Pumps
     • A manual Bilge pump is located on the port (left) side to the left of the steering wheel near the floor.
       The  handle is located under the second step of the companionway steps. The handle inserted in the hole
       on the pump.
     • An automatic bilge pump is located in the bilge.

7. Distress Signals
     • We carry handheld and aerial flares. NEVER POINT A FLARE AT ANYONE. They are located in the chart table.

8. Swimming
     • If you are not comfortable swimming in deep water, use a Life Jacket!  It’s not wimpy!
     • We trail a float about 30 feet behind the boat. Under no circumstances should you be farther from the
       boat than the float.
     • We maintain a “lifeguard” in the boat at all times while someone is in the water. Under no
       circumstances, should VICTORIA be un-attended.
     • Weather conditions change rapidly. We may curtail swimming if the conditions change.

First Aid
1. First Aid Kit Location
     • A Red Cross First-aid kit is located in the cabinet in the Head. Small first aid items are also located in
       the head.

2. Jelly Fish Sting Treatment
     • Vinegar is stored in the galley. Soak a paper towel & apply. It will still sting, but not as bad.

1. Radio
     • Located in the sliding cabinet at the chart table on the starboard (right) side of the boat.
     • To make a distress call, tune the radio to Channel 16 and call “St. Inegoes (“In-knee-goes”) Coast Guard,
       St. Inegoes Coast Guard, this the sailing vessel VICTORIA.” When the Coast Guard responds, state the
       nature of the emergency clearly and calmly. You will be directed to switch to another channel
       (usually 68). After switching, call the Coast Guard again.

2. Engine
     • VICTORIA has a diesel engine. To start,
     • Push the handle on the right side of the wheel all the way forward.
     • Push in the red SHUTOFF handle beneath the key switch in the starboard (right) side Lazarette hatch.
     • Turn the key located inside the starboard (right) hatch behind the wheel, to the right.
     • Push the START button.
     • If the engine does not start, turn the key to the right, push the pre-heat button for 30 seconds (to pre-heat
       the injectors), and push the start button at the same time.
     • Adjust the engine to about 1000 RPM and shift the transmission into forward by pushing DOWN on the
       handle on the left side of the wheel. Pull the handle UP for reverse. Remember “BACK - UP”

3. Sails
     • Tremendous tension is placed on all lines. NEVER rest your hand on a line that is under tension. Ask
       Vicky what can happen.
     • NEVER wrap a line around your hand when pulling on it.
     • Except for rare occasions, jib sheets (the ones that lead to the front sail) should always be wrapped around
       a winch (looks like a silver can located on each side of the cockpit).

4. Head (Toilet)
     • Do not be uncomfortable. Use the head.
     • To flush, pull the lever near the handle to the “Flush” position and pump the handle 10-20 times. Dry the
       bowl by pushing the lever to the “Dry” position and pumping until dry. If it is difficult to pump, hold the
       lever down while pumping dry.
    • Please do not put anything into the head other than toilet tissue.
    • Fresh water faucets are in the head and galley. A foot pump is located on the floor near each faucet.
Blast those Critters - When we have a clogged intake thru-hull - such as for our reverse cycle AC / Heating - when we are back in our slip, we disconnect the hose (above the water line but before the pump and connect a garden hose fitting like the ones above and connect a garden hose, turn it on and it quickly blasts the little critters (fish, jellyfish, whatever) or debris right on out.

Suction Cup Plunger - When you buy a CamFlow fan, the white fans with soft blades, they come with two mounts. One is a suction cup and the other is a screw down mount. The suction cup mount (I think most people use the screw down mount) makes a perfect plunger for unclogging sinks and cockpit drains. It works really well and has a threaded insert (originally for the fan base) for attaching a handle. (Lion35 of Sailnet)

Varnish tip -  Next time the prettier member of your crew empties a fingernail polish jar, grab it and clean it out with acetone. Then fill it with your favorite varnish. When you happen to see a nick, ding or abrasion in your varnish, get out your varnish bottle with the handy built in brush and dab away. This will keep water intrusion from ruining your varnish until the next time you apply a maintenance coat.

No Frizzy Feaze: If you choose to melt the end of a synthetic line instead of whipping it; wrap it very tightly with a piece of masking tape and cut in the middle of the tape with a very sharp blade. Slice it don't squish it. If you have a hot knife, pass it over the end of line (both ends if you are cutting from a spool) lightly, a number of times. The objective is to melt it, not burn it. Let it cool. Then remove the tape taking care to not pull any individual strands and lightly run your hot knife around the sharp edge, making sure all strands are secure.  If you don't have a hot knife, the same handsome results can be achieved with a flame if you have enough patience and a very light wind.  Important: wet your finger thoroughly before touching molten plastic. (Knothead of Sailnet)

Protect your Sheets - Using short section of PVC pipe over the bottom of turnbuckle toggles on the shrouds can often prevent the genoa sheets from getting caught in the toggles. The short sections don't really trap water against the toggles or chainplates, so the risk of corrosion is pretty minimal.

Good to know: PVC pipe, when heated in a 400F oven, becomes a rubbery substance you can cut with scissors and form with (gloved) hands, then hardens back to it's original state. (Bermuda30 of Sailnet)

Keep that water out: Quick and convenient way to pre-cut packing gland material: Do it on the prop shaft outside the boat, where it's very easy to get to. (Assuming she's on the hard.) (SEMIJim of Sailnet)

Fillet up:  If you're trying to make a fillet with silicone or adhesive polyurethane, dip your finger in a solution of water and dish soap - it will keep the silicone from sticking to your finger as you smooth it out. (contributed by Sailaway21 from SailNet)

Fill it up: Always have some 2 1/2 gallon, 1 gallon, and 1 quart closable plastic bags on hand. I especially use the 1 gallon for sliding up over the fuel filter when changing, thus, any diesel goes in the bag instead of the bilge. Also, an empty battery case makes a good place to put the bag with the old filter and fuel in it, until you can properly dispose of it. (PBzeer of Sailnet)
Remove engine key before doing prop work
Remove the engine key before going over the side to work in the water. Just in case someone has a brain snap and decides to start up the engine. Very important strategy if there are kids or drunks on board. I put the keys in the beer fridge to remind me to have a cleansing ale when I return from underwater maintenance in exotic locations.

Don't Sink the Dink: If you store your dinghy on davits you don't want the boat to fill with rain water and rip said davits from the hull. You would normally pull the drain plug on the dinghy after raising it.  After more than one time of lowering the dinghy without first re-installing the plug (makes for a little fun doing a quick rehoist) I took a piece of string and tied the plug to the cleat on the davits, on the side the engine/plug goes. I can't uncleat the line and lower the dinghy without untying the plug which is a wonderful reminder. Now I can't lose the plug, or the dinghy.  Now if I can just remember to pull the drain plug when I hoist the dinghy.

Proper Methods for Running Aground: A hard learned hint for when you run aground (I did say "when," not "if"): While you never throw an anchor, you can often get enough depth to allow kedging off by simply running the rode through the bow roller, then walking the anchor to the stern of the boat and dropping it aft of the boat. If you have a 30 foot boat and the water is 6 feet deep (and it won't be much deeper if you are aground), you will now have a 4:1 scope or so, and that will often give you enough holding power to spin the boat and get off the bar. Be sure to lead the rode outboard of your lifelines, sheets and other obstructions. (Tweitz of Sailnet)
Better than a pooper scooper: Ducks and other foul fowl like to spend their nights on the dock and poop the night away leaving unsanitary, unsightly and slippery slop for you to step in.  To stop the problem, tie string (or monofilament) between the pilings six or eight inches from the surface. The birds don't seem to like to take off or land with it there and avoid the area. Of course, don't put it in across the finger pier.

It's high fashion, too: When you need to label something, write on it with a marker and then cover it with clear fingernail polish. Colored fingernail polish is also very good for marking wires, and you can use bands of color in a pattern to uniquely label both ends of a wire so you can figure out where the other end of it is.

We're gonna have us a hangin': Hang your engine key on the water intake seacock, so every time you grab the key you remember to open the intake. Then close it when replacing the key. (Vsailor of Sailnet)

A new use for red clothes pins:  If trailing a fishing line or anything for that matter, put a plastic clothes pin (red is best) on the engine throttle lever to remind that something needs to be done before starting the engine. (SVStrider of Sailnet)

Blowin' in the Wind: If you've got dorade vents with two in front and two in back, when the boat is unattended (or just closed up) turn the back two to face aft. That way the breeze comes in one set and out the other.  With them all set in the same direction, very little air flow results and mildew will gitcha.  On that same theme, it makes sense with just two adjacent dorades, to have them facing opposite directions - but, parallel with prevailing winds.

Dangle your dinghy: Put the dinghy on the foredeck (the lazy way) Well, maybe someday we'll have a shiny steel arch, with solar panels and a couple of barbeque grills and davits. Until then the dinghy lives on the foredeck during passages, but you won't find us cranking it up at the mast.
How to use the windlass:
               (1) Tie a snatch block to the end of a spare fwd halyard (we use the spinnaker halyard)
               (2) Bring dinghy alongside. Tie a line from the dinghy in the water, up through the snatch block, and
                    down to the windlass.
               (3) Take up on the halyard until the block is suspended about 8 feet above the foredeck, and cleat off.
               (4) Step on (or press) the "up" button on your windlass. Because the block is suspended over the center
                    of the deck, the dinghy will align neatly in place when you lower it.
               (5) Smile graciously because other people in the anchorage will be watching you.
(Eryka of Sailnet)

Finally, a use for all of those Boy George CD's: Tie waste cd's, or even strips of mylar cut from a potato chip bag, to the rigging. As they flash and flutter in the breeze, they deter at least some birds from making a "landing" on your boat. (Eryka of Sailnet)

Avast, ye scurvy dogs, off to the poop deck with ye: For those sailors with dogs, who have anchored in that isolated gunkhole with 20 yards of beach, framed by rocks and low hanging branches and 200 yards away... when it's 11 pm, and you're trying to hit the sand using dead reckoning, there's an easier way. During that previous run in daylight, place two driveway marker/reflectors in the sand at unequal heights to mark the correct approach; with your flashlight, they'll act like range lights. Be sure to pick them up after the evening run and put them in your dinghy.  Bring the dog back, too. (Legemar1 of Sailnet).

Death to Cockroaches
- Boric Acid is the only solution for cockroaches.  We're speaking from experience.  Apparently conventional bug poison stresses them and their response to stress is to lay eggs.  So you think they're gone for a week or two and then they're back.  Boric acid, in powder form, place it in small piles where they hide.  They just dry up and die without laying more eggs.  We always worried that we'd get boarded and have to explain the piles of suspicious white powder.

Moldy leather - another use for boric acid.  Dissolve a tablespoon in a pint of boiling water and let it cool.  Then with a cotton swab, soft cloth or tooth brush clean the mold off the leather.
Where are we? Go to your local Staples or Office Depot and color-photocopy the charts you most often use.  Make whatever notations you want on them--I often connect buoys with red and green markers to sketch in channels-and have the store laminate two sheets back-to-back. Makes a convenient hand-out to guest-spotters who might not be accustomed to reading nautical charts. (Jjablonowski of Sailnet)

This is a stick-up: Cork board: Cut and nail cork board near the nav station so there is a convenient place to stick push pins.

The plot thickens: Every one who has a chart plotter and also has the program on their computer, try this:  instead of having both the chart plotter and an over sized chart in the cockpit, use your computer to print only routes you plan to take on 8x10 paper prior to going out. That way you can see at a glance your route without messing with the scale on the plotter all the time and it gives you a quick look at where you're planning to go. If there is more than one page, staple them or put them in a notebook so you can flip the pages and go from one route to the next one. (MIKEMCKEE of Sailnet)

Magnetification:  Chart book tip:  Saltwater Suzi came up with this one and got it published in Cruising World a few years back. We keep our chart book on deck under the dodger. She puts one of those metal plates you get from the sewing store for counted cross stitch patterns behind the page we are on. The kit comes with a little strip magnet about 2" by 1/2". It can be easily cut with scissors. She cuts a point at one end of the magnet and places it on the chart to indicate our position and direction when we are on the ICW or coming into a confusing inlet. That way if we have to leave the helmsman to go below - he can quickly glance at the chart and see exactly where we are. We tried post-it notes but they kept blowing away.

Which way are we really going? Get a Weems & Plath Chart Protractor and end the struggle with walking your compass rose over to your course line and plot any course in 10 seconds. Great invention and best $15 bucks I ever spent!  Weems & Plath Protractor  (Comaraderie of Sailnet)
Or paint pictures of barnacles on your boat's bottom; they'll think it's full and leave it alone: On the recommendation of my yard owner, painted my prop with 2 coats Interlux Primocon prior to bottom painting. It isolated the bronze prop from the bottom paint and prevented the copper in the paint from acting as a zinc. Pulled the boat yesterday and there was only one barnacle. In the past, applying bottom paint directly to the prop was worthless and had to clean it 2-3 times a season (Chesapeake Bay, May- Nov)

Goodbye, Old Paint, I'm leavin' Cheyenne: To remove many years of accumulated bottom paint, use a 3/4" wood chisel. Knock off the corners to keep from gouging the gel coat. Sharpen about every 20 minutes using a diamond hand sharpener available at the local big box home store. You can tell when the chisel is dull when it skips across your fingernail instead of gripping it. Two of us removed all the old paint from a 38' hull in 8 1/2 hours. (Sabreman of Sailnet)

Save on cleanup, too: To spread epoxy fairing, you can use a stiff piece of cardboard from a box as a makeshift putty knife. In fact, the cardboard might be better because it's more flexible than the steel putty knife and adapts better to the hull's curves. The cardboard can be cut to any width as needed.  Cheaper, too! (Sabreman of Sailnet)

Yet Another use for Vaseline: Petroleum Jelly on the speed gauge paddle wheel to keep the growth off. You'll only have to pull the paddle wheel once a season to re-lube. (T37chef of Sailnet)

A work of friction: If the old diesel is hard to start, pull the fuel lever to stop diesel from entering the the engine, turn the engine over for a few seconds but not more than 10/15 seconds. Push in the fuel lever and she starts right up. The friction warms the cylinder walls without spilling in cold fuel. I usually only need to do this when its below 50 degrees. This method actually puts less wear & tear on the starter!!! (T37chef of Sailnet)

Polish your Dome: To keep the clear plastic dome on the compass from crazing and clouding, apply a liberal coating of mineral oil very month or so (whenever it looks dry). New compasses will stay new nearly forever. Minor crazing on older compasses will disappear. For winter storage, apply an extra heavy dose and wrap the compass with a plastic bag. In the spring, the oil will still be there and the compass will look great. Better than spending $700 on an offshore compass. Been doing this for 30 years.... time proven. (Sabreman of Sailnet)

Grease Fittings - If you have grease cups on the upper and lower rudder bushings like I did, replace them with grease fittings and buy a grease gun. Better than contorting yourself to get in a hatch to load the cups over and over. (Sabreman of Sailnet)

For boats with Reefs. Put a whipping on the halyard at each point when you have lower the sail for that reefing point. Thus you can feel it on a dark night as you take in a reef. Two reefs on the sail, two whippings on the halyard. (Boasun of Sailnet)

An Urge to Purge - Last year it seemed like I still had traces of antifreeze in the fresh water system until August, so this is what I did yesterday to make sure it was fully purged. Get a barbed female garden hose fitting that fits your freshwater plumbing tubing. Remove the tubing from the output side of your freshwater pump, and insert the garden fitting. Put a shutoff valve on the end of your garden hose
Fish eyes: Do NOT wax your varnish.  Even on the interior of your boat.  Try not to get wax on your exterior varnish while you are waxing the hull.  If your varnish gets waxed, when it comes time to re-varnish, you will get "fish-eyes" in the surface.  It is very difficult if not impossible to get out. If you know a varnished surface has been waxed, clean it thoroughly and repeatedly with a powdered cleanser such as Comet or Ajax.  Rinse well and wipe down with alcohol before you start sanding.

Shiny and Clean: Best thing to clean varnish is glass cleaner and a soft rag.  No wax!!!

Dirty Curvature: When your glasses get dirty, or fouled up with dried on salt spray, to clean them, first spray with spray wax (Lemon Pledge), and then polish them as usual. Gets all the crud right off. Also the wax fills in all the microscopic scratches in the lenses, so the lenses are restored to their original curvature! (Dongreerps of Sailnet)

Don't reach for bleach: Bleach does not kill mold, mildew and fungus you need a disinfectant Spray for protection against germs, odors, mold and mildew and fungus.

Wax on, Wax off: Hull Waxing: If you have one of those cheapo buffers that just vibrate, try this. Use the cheapo to spread the cleaner/wax and then buy a variable speed circular polisher (looks like an angle grinder) and a 3M wool pad. Harbor Freight has the polisher for about $33 and the pad is about another $34. The results are awesome! It's what most yards use. (Sabreman of Sailnet)

Cleaning your clothing:  When cruising, laundromats aren't always convenient.  In your kitchen sink, or a clean bucket, put about a half a cup of ammonia in a couple of gallons of water.  Put your dirty clothes in a swirl them around to get the dirt and sweat out, wring them out and hang them on the lifelines to dry - no need to rinse - the ammonia will evaporate along with the water.

Interior Fiberglass can be easily cleaned with the Mr. Clean Magic erasers.

Stainless Steel (not the polished kind) can be cleaned using Barkeeper's Friend. (It's a scouring powder - like Comet or Ajax.)  This works well on your stove, teakettle, or anything else of the 'brushed stainless' variety.




Living aboard and Cruising:

Guests on Board:


Accidents are a Happening Thing...

Cap'n Larry and Saltwater Suzi have been gathering Hints and Tips for boaters for years, writing them down on scraps of paper, and storing them alphabetically and categorically in pockets, drawers, boxes, cupboards, as book marks and on the backs of 'things to do' lists.  As you can tell, we are super-naturally organized.  We have gathered up these notes recently, and sorted through them.  Larry started a thread on SailNet,com (a great resource for us sailor types) and we have sorted through these as well.  Below we've categorized what we have collected, done some editing and offer it to you.  We thank all who have contributed. 

If you see something on here that was yours originally and would like attribution or a link to your website, please let us know at contact 

If you have some ideas to contribute please e-mail us at contributions   And let us know if you want attribution and / or a link.  Thank you in advance.

Living Aboard and Cruising
Accidents are a Happening Thing...
Moving the boat from Hither to Yon

Guests on Board


Jump to Category:

Moving the boat from Hither to Yon and back to Hither:

Connect the hose to the fitting you put on the supply line in the boat.

Open all faucets, and slowly open the valve to the desired flow and let it run until all traces of antifreeze have been flushed out. I ran it for 30-45 minutes. This eliminated a lot of wear & tear on the fresh water pump, and ensured that the system was clean.

For the water tanks, I disconnected the supply line in the bilge, and filled and flushed the tanks several times.  (T37SOLARE of Sailnet)
This category offers much in the way of problems and innovations in solving them.  There's never enough room for all of your stuff is probably the biggest problem.  Keeping track of and finding what you have is another problem.
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