Mailboat Letters

Seaworthy's Math Doesn't Add Up

When something loses half its value, we say it's dropped in value by 50%. When something's down by 75%, it's down to a quarter of its original value. And when something goes down by 100%, it's dropped to zero.

So I was surprised to learn in the April article on boating changes in the past 50 years that the boating death rate has dropped by 600%! Are we resurrecting people? Or do your journalists need to brush up on their math? I think what you meant to say is that the boating death rate has dropped by 84% in the past 50 years. Your faithful mathematician (and longterm BoatUS insured).

Zapping Itsy Bitsy Spiders

Regarding John Ringer's quest to find a spider repellent in his boathouse: He should try Bengal Roach Spray found in Lowe's Home Improvement stores. It has a picture of a Bengal tiger on the can. Bengal Roach Spray is not cheap ($15.00), but it has worked great for me. I use it in my gazebo also.

Effects Of Lightning

A very good article on lightning and the effects of a lightning strike. Our boat was hit at the dock and sank. Fortunately, it was a sailboat with a deep keel; when the tide went out, the gunnels were above water and we were able to pump the boat out once the hole was plugged. The hole was where the knot meter extended through the hull.

Along with other damage, the lightning went down the wiring and out the hull. Oh yes, another article on lightning noted that a wet nylon boltrope had less electrical resistance than stainless steel rigging.

Happy Ending To A Near-Grounding Experience

My name is John Michael Villa and the purpose of this letter is to enlighten you to the fact that Michelle Levitt is nothing short of superb at her job. As a BoatUS member and policyholder since the early 1990s, I had the good fortune of never having to file a claim, until recently. While I won't bore you with the details of my near-grounding experience, which led to a malfunction in my Yamaha outboard, I do want you to know that from the moment I called BoatUS to secure a towboat until today, I have been exposed to the highest level of customer service that I have ever experienced from any company.

This is particularly evident in Ms. Levitt. Not only has she been lightning quick in her responses to my numerous questions, but from the onset of what I incorrectly expected to be a fight to the finish, has kept me calm and stress free with her thorough explanations of the process, every step of the way. I have been in advertising and marketing most of my adult life and I can tell you with authority that few businesses actually perform at the level that they portray themselves in the marketplace. Congratulations on being the exception. BoatUS Marine Insurance is in a unique industry your customer's evaluation of your performance can only occur after an unpleasant event. My hat is off to you and you team for a job well done. Thanks from a happy BoatUS member… a member for life, I might add!

Replacing Older Chainplates

I am a member of BoatUS and my boat is insured by BoatUS Last spring I replaced the chainplates on my 1982 37-foot Pacific Seacraft sailboat. Not having any further need for the old chainplates, I gave them to a friend who runs a metal working and welding shop. These chainplates are 1/4-inch 304 Stainless steel and appeared to be in good condition.

My friend recently had need of a piece of the plate and attempted to cut one of them with a hydraulic shear. Instead of shearing cleanly, the metal crumbled. He immediately called to inform me of this and to congratulate me on having changed the plates when I did.

I thought the photo might help warn others of possible problems.

TowBoatUS Kudos

Our experience with BoatUS last fall was a 10! Capt. Woody was great. He arrived right on time and was concerned with our needs. I was very happy with the service and would encourage any boat owner to have a BoatUS membership with unlimited TowBoatUS towing. It was well worth it to have the security of knowing someone is there to help.

A Better Mousetrap?

I've read many articles over the years that recommend keeping the gas tank as full as possible, especially when the boat is laid up for the winter. I understand what can happen to old gas in the spring.

I made a device that eliminates or at least minimizes the amount of water brought in through the tank vent. I thought I would share it with BoatUS with the thought that some of your readers would be interested.

The reason I made it is that I'm one of the "keep the tank mostly empty" believers with the goal of keeping the gas fresher. As most powerboaters know, a problem occurs when the air temp cycles daily and a small amount of moist air condenses in the tank. This is a significant problem with a mostly empty tank because of the larger volume of air. The problem is amplified in coastal areas.

To dry out the air, I made a tube containing calcium chloride and attached it to my tank vent. See the attached photo. I plan to keep it on when the boat is not in use, which unfortunately is about 99 percent of the time.

There are many styles of tank vents so this attachment method will not work for all. The boat it is shown on is a Malibu Flightcraft. Some of your readers who are do-it-yourselfers might want to make something similar that will work on their boats. Plumbing fittings, fuel-resistant hose, and calcium chloride can be bought at West Marine or most hardware stores. The key feature of any design is that the reacted calcium chloride and water be allowed to drain away from the boat.

I hope your readers can use this approach or something similar.

It's What You Don't See That Could Cause Trouble

Our fellow BoatUS members would be interested in a little surprise I found while doing some maintenance on my boat this spring. I own a 1999 Pursuit 3000 Express with twin Cummins diesels. It is equipped with dripless shaft seals. With the boat being over 10 years old, I found the seals starting to leak at the end of last season. I planned on changing the shaft seals this spring. When I removed the hose that carries the seal carrier, I found that the bronze shaft log had been eaten away. I am now in the middle of removing the log, which was bedded in 5200. I may replace it with a new bronze log or may install a fiberglass shaft log, so that I won't have any more corrosion worries. At the same time I am replacing the cutlass bearings (they showed signs of drying up), adding a set of drive savers, and adding the newly designed Tides seal carrier. Taking care of the items that you can see is easy, it's what you can't see that we need to take care of!

BoatUS Claims Makes Member Feel "Pretty Darn Good"

My boat Sweet Dreams is docked in the upper section of the Santa Cruz Harbor — the part that was most impacted by the recent tsunami that sunk more than a dozen boats and damaged hundreds of others. To my amazement, a representative of BoatUS Marine Insurance called me within several hours of the impact to be sure I had their claims phone number, should I find that my boat had sustained any damage.

While I have not needed to file a claim, it makes me feel pretty darn good that my boat insurance company is proactive and does not retreat in the face of adversity.

Benefits Of Texting An SOS

The April 2011 Seaworthy expressed wonder at using a text message to call for help for an overturned canoe (p.15 or April '11 Small Stuff).

Seaworthy is right that the ability to reach many people simultaneously is a great feature of text messages.

Another major advantage is that a text message can get through when antenna reception is marginal or antennas are busy, better than voice calls can. I hope Seaworthy will publicize this advantage. Apparently many boaters do not realize it. The advantage applies whether sender or recipient has marginal reception.

Since the accident happened 45 miles south of Albany, reception may have been weak for both sender and recipients.