Subscribe to all Tom & Mel Neale’s Boating Tips RSS Feeds

Sort by:
Tom’s Tips About Island Communication
Contributed by Tom Neale - This blog has been viewed 336 times and there are 0 comments
Posted: July 07, 2014
1. Whereas before there was often a question of whether you can call home from the islands, it's much more likely today.
2. Talk to your cell phone company about whether they have reciprocating service where you're going and whether your phone will work there.
3. Sometimes customer service personnel at US companies aren't very familiar with issues in the islands. You may have to call the phone service of the place you intend to visit.
4. WiFi hot spots, even from anchorages, are fairly common now. And there are boosters available that will improve your range for various types of commun...... Read More

Tom’s Tips On Changes
Contributed by Tom Neale - This blog has been viewed 415 times and there are 0 comments
Posted: June 04, 2014
1. If you're on the water you can't expect things to stay the same.
2. This doesn't include just weather. The bottom, the shores and landmarks change regularly, sometimes overnight. It's a fluid situation.
3. Some changes are rapid as from hurricanes. Some are gradual as from slow river erosion.
4. These changes mean that we always have to be alert to where the bottom is. Charts and GPS and Aids to Navigation are never enough. Learned skills and careful observation are still a part of the equation, like they were in olden days, when the steamship sailed down the river in an earthquake...... Read More

Tom’s Tips About Cleaning Up After Boat Jobs
Contributed by Tom Neale - This blog has been viewed 604 times and there are 0 comments
Posted: May 06, 2014
1. I not only like 3M 5200, I like many other products similar to this. But they all have one thing in common. How do you clean up the mess you make with them?

2. Most product manufacturers have other specific clean up products which they'll be glad to sell to you if you have any money left over from buying the first product. These usually work well.

3. The 3M 5200 clean up recommendation can be found on their official data sheet and most products have similar info on their web sites.

4. But one thing I've always o...... Read More

Tom’s Tips About Dealing With Real Life Piracy
Contributed by Tom Neale - This blog has been viewed 941 times and there are 0 comments
Posted: April 03, 2014
1. Be sure you mean what you say. For example, consider not flying the skull and crossbones unless you're confident everyone around knows you're joking or playing games. This has been a serious and deadly threat to many people for many centuries.
2. Don't assume someone is a threat merely because they're different. Always start out with politeness and a smile. If it looks like this isn't appropriate for the situation, change the situation by leaving. You're on the water to have fun, not to be uptight about your surroundings.
3. Beware of boats that are particularly severely unkempt. Most ...... Read More

Tom’s Tips About Fire Extinguishers
Contributed by Tom Neale - This blog has been viewed 1245 times and there are 0 comments
Posted: March 04, 2014
1. Fire extinguishers should be rated for marine use and USCG approved.
2. They should be within immediate reach, even in a fire, and mounted with approved brackets.
3. For example a fire extinguisher mounted over a galley stove may be easy to reach if a fire is in the engine space, but impossible to reach if the fire is on the stove.
4. Have enough aboard so that you can have them well distributed for instant easy access. The minimum required by law may be nowhere near enough.
5. Sometimes you may need to place a fire extinguisher where it is somewhat exposed to the elements, as on...... Read More

Tom’s Tips About Emergencies
Contributed by Tom Neale - This blog has been viewed 1157 times and there are 0 comments
Posted: January 02, 2014
1. Give a pre-trip briefing to your passengers before you leave the dock.

2. Even if it's short and very basic, it will probably help should something go wrong.

3. It should instill in them confidence in you and confidence that something can be done to remedy a bad situation.

4. At a minimum, tell them location of life jackets (and how to put them on), location of and how to use fire extinguisher(s), location of flashlights and a few other basics relevant to your boat such as, for example, how to use the VHF, the local USCG appropriate phone number...... Read More

Tom’s Tips About Storm Anchorages and Other Boats
Contributed by Tom Neale - This blog has been viewed 1124 times and there are 0 comments
Posted: December 04, 2013
1. Factoring the other boats into your considerations as you prepare for the storm anchorage can mean a huge difference, not just for them, but for you.
2. When a boat's anchor breaks loose, that boat usually sails madly downwind, beam to wind, yawing fore and aft on the anchor line that's still trailing with the anchor skipping along the bottom behind. Thus its path of destruction can be quite large.
3. When setting your anchor, try to provide for more than the scope of your swing and that of nearby boats. Boats seldom swing in unison in bad storms and usually drag some, if only a little...... Read More

Tom’s Tips On Boating Trips
Contributed by Tom Neale - This blog has been viewed 1158 times and there are 0 comments
Posted: November 04, 2013
1. When planning a trip to a particular destination, always plan for alternative destinations that are closer and easier.
2. In most boating trips you will be at the mercy of the weather and other factors beyond your control.
3. There is nothing wrong with cutting a trip short or turning around.
4. It may be wise to do this for safety reasons or simply for reasons of comfort and fun.
5. Remember, that's what it's all about. Fun for all aboard!


Boating and water sports involve risk. Any comments herein should be followed at your own risk. You assume all responsibility for ri...... Read More

Tom’s Tips On Restoring Old Boats
Contributed by Tom Neale - This blog has been viewed 1279 times and there are 0 comments
Posted: October 03, 2013
1. Many people do this and find great joy in the process, but then find they're not interested in using the boat because they've burnt themselves out or for other reasons.

2. There's nothing wrong with this ... whatever turns you on. Maybe you can sell it and do another.

3. But never underestimate this job. Even fiberglass boats may have rotten timbers that support the glass, the replacement of which can necessitate cutting out and then restoring the glass.

4. Unless you're really good at all the skills requ...... Read More

Tom’s Tips About Our Wakes
Contributed by Tom Neale - This blog has been viewed 1407 times and there are 0 comments
Posted: September 06, 2013
1. Some talk about leaving clean wakes, which is good. But it's also important to leave gentle or no wakes when we can.
2. Wakes made by boats are often different from the wind waves to which banks have been "accustomed" for eons.
3. Wakes made by boats also, depending on your location, more frequently impact the shoreline than natural wind waves.
4. Some boats are even designed to throw extra wakes for wake surfing; these should be used in appropriate areas where their wakes do no harm to persons or property.
5. It will benefit us all if we're mindful of what our wakes ca...... Read More

Pages: