PracticalBoater
Tips & Tactics

 

5 Tips For An Easier Life Afloat

By Don Casey
Published: February/March 2014

The little things really count when it comes to boats.

Photo of canvas snaps
Photo: Bernadete Bernon

Avoid Seized Snaps

Damaged canvas due to unyielding snaps is nearly always due to neglect. Snaps should be kept clean and lubricated. Wash all your snaps regularly, either with pressure from a nozzle or with a container of fresh water and a toothbrush. A little petroleum jelly or teflon grease smeared around the inside perimeter of the socket half of snaps to lubricate the spring and retard corrosion is sure to extend the life of your canvas.

Freeing Frozen Zippers

Photo of a tube of Super Lube synthetic grease

Photo: Bernadete Bernon

Plastic zippers are excellent in the marine environment, but far too many have metal slides. In a damp, salty environment, metal slides invariably corrode, becoming immovable. Don't just keep pulling until you rip the tab off. Soak a couple of cotton balls with white vinegar, pack them onto the top and bottom of the slide, and cover with plastic wrap. Wait. The acidic vinegar will dissolve the oxidation, freeing the slide. Once the zipper is again functional, flush both the slide and zipper with fresh water, dry thoroughly, then give the zipper and slide a liberal application of zipper lubricant. If you remember to flush and dry all metal zipper slides as part of your "putting the boat away" routine, an occasional application of lube should keep them all working smoothly.

Clear Fogged Plastic

There are lots of ways to restore the clarity to fogged plexiglass hatches, windows, and plastic instrument covers, but one of the most foolproof is to purchase an automotive headlamp-restoration kit. These are intended to remove fogging and yellowing from headlamp covers and they can do the same for UV-damaged plastic on your boat. Note that polishing kits will not clear internal crazing.

Forest Fresh

Adding a bit of aromatic cedar wood inside the enclosed areas of your boat adds freshness, repels insects, and retards mildew. You can line a locker with aromatic cedar closet-liner planks, add aromatic cedar blocks to drawers or bins, or just lay an aromatic cedar plank on a shelf. Occasionally you'll need to sand the wood and/or anoint it with real cedar oil to maintain the effect.

Vinyl Protection

Photo of marine vinyl protection
Photo: Lisa Favors

Stores, such as Jo-Ann, sell a product called marine vinyl. We've found the "cut to fit" material easy to use (no sewing needed), easy to clean, durable, and inexpensive for use on a boat. We use it to protect our tabletop during daily use, thereby protecting the wood finish. We also cut pieces to fit our overhead hatches. With the hatch closed, the vinyl lies on the screen to block the sun, cooling the boat during hot, sunny weather, and helping our air conditioner to not run as much.End of story marker

 

 

 Recommended Articles
Gray rule

Thumbnail photo of melamine dishesThis Floating Life

Suggestions to make your day on the water more pleasant



Thumbnail photo of a variety of toolsBest Boat Tools

An idiosyncratic collection of clever devices that an experienced live-aboard boater has added to his arsenal over the years


Thumbnail photo of rolled-up money13 Ways To Save $4,340 On Your Boat

Suggestions for ways to save, big and small, that really add up

 

 


BoatUS Magazine Is A Benefit Of BoatUS Membership

Membership Also Provides:

  • Subscription to the print version of BoatUS Magazine
  • 4% back on purchases from West Marine stores or online at WestMarine.com
  • Discounts on fuel, transient slips, repairs and more at over 1,000 businesses
  • Deals on cruises, charters, car rentals, hotel stays and much more ...
  • All For Only $24 A Year!


Join Today!