Wednesday, September 20, 2017

This Blog by, Boating By Dawsons has great information for boaters.


 On boats with toilets, builders install a holding tank to hold the sewage until the boat reaches a pump out facility. Some yachts come equipped with a “Y” valve, so that they can choose to pump out or discharge overboard while way out in the ocean. In most of Canada and the United States, it is illegal to discharge overboard and there are heavy fines for doing so. It is advisable to leave the overboard discharge valve locked to prevent accidental discharge and fines.

 Most holding tanks are plastic, but there are some stainless steel tanks and even a few aluminum tanks still around.
Back in the 1960's, we were involved with the Ontario Marine Operators Association's negotiations with the Ontario Government to introduce the first Holding Tank and Pump-Out legislation in North America. This put a stop to all black water (holding tank waste) from entering the waterways.

Odor Prevention

To prevent odor, there are several things you can do.
  • Make sure your holding tank system has adequate air flow. Eliminate any low spots in vent lines that would restrict the flow of air. Aerobic bacteria (the good guys) requires oxygen to live and function.
  • Avoid the use of detergent, bleach, dish soap or other cleaners or odor-masking agents  in the holding tank.
  • If using a head chemical, use one that is formaldehyde and bromine free to allow aerobic bacteria to live and work properly in the tank.
  • Change the hoses, seals, gaskets and impellers in your sanitation system on a regular basis and fix immediately if there is a problem.
  • Always pump out when you can, before it is full; otherwise, it could overflow and fill the air breather or leak into the bilge and/or back up in the toilet.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Waxing Your Boat Tips

There are several ways to attack the buff-and-wax ritual, and I would not say there is one right way for everyone. However, some approaches do get better results than others. I would categorize the types of wax jobs like this:

1) The quick-and-dirty boat wax job, for the full-time cruiser who just wants to protect the boat's gelcoat from further degradation, prevent gelcoat stains, and make boat-cleaning jobs easier.

2) The perfectionist wax job, for the sailor who wants all of the above, plus wants the boat to look its glossy-best.

3) The in-between wax job, for the sailor who wants his boat to look good, but not at the expense of adding an extra day to his haulout or lay-days.

And certainly, the condition of the boat has a big impact on how you approach the project. If you're bringing a boat back from the dead, the quick-and-dirty wax job is not really an option (although some makers of "miracle products" would lead you to think differently). You must be prepared to put in some elbow grease.

No matter which category you are in, your waxing job will have three basic steps:

1) Cleaning: This includes getting rid of salt, dirt, grease, mold, stains. You could break this down into various stages, depending on the condition of the hull, general cleaning and stain removal.

2) Polishing: This creates the smooth glossy surface to be protected. If you have an old hull, there could be several stages to this process.

3) Waxing: This is the application of a thin polymer or natural wax coating to seal and protect your polished gelcoat.

The important thing to remember is that if your hull is not clean before you begin polishing or waxing, you might drive dirt further into the pores of the gelcoat. Not the end of the world, but you won't get the best results.



Your biggest investment will be a good polisher. We've looked at various options, ranging from el-cheapos to mid-priced powertools aimed at the automotive market, to higher-end tools geared specifically for use on boats. Lately, for polishing, waxing, and buffing, we've been using a Dewalt variable-speed polisher, the DeWalt DW849, with a 3M 3M-05705 Superbuff Polishing Pad and the 3M-05710 Superbuff Adapter (used to fit pads on any standard 5/8-inch shaft slow-speed polisher).

Two other products worth looking at:
An inexpensive variable speed from Chicago Electric:
This one rattles and and hums, but it works. Ours is still working, but it gets used only twice a year. Harbor Freight also has 7.5-inch wool buffing pads to match for much less than the 3M versions.

There is also a marine-tailored, small-diameter, dual-action polisher from Shurhold.
This one helps avoid swirl marks and is relatively lightweight. It's good for micro-finishing.

It has some nice features (like a built-in breaker, in case there is a fault in the circuit), and is sized to take the smaller 3M Finesse-It pads that 3M recommend for the Finesse It step below. Shurhold also makes its own buffing compound, Buff-Magic.

Machine Technique


I generally apply the compound and wax by hand, using a basic microfiber round waxing pad. I then use the Dewalt to compound and remove wax. The key is to go very light at a low-RPM. I often will buff again with one of those really soft "lambswool" buffing pads, or a microfiber cloth by hand. Good polishing products will designate the RPM-range that is suitable. Start at the low end of that range.

General Cleaning


Wash thoroughly, removing all oil and grease. We haven't tested boat soaps, but if you want to get rid of the old wax, keep in mind that many boat soaps are mildly formulated not to remove waxes. For this stage of cleaning, Nick likes Simple Green. He dilutes as needed. You could do the same with one of the recommended cleaners below in our multipurpose cleaner test, which includes some eco-friendly choices.
For serious stains, spray your chosen cleaner undiluted. Note that ALL of the spray cleaners in our last multipurpose cleaner test removed wax.
For mildew, chlorine is the ticket. Outdoor Clorox works well. You can also try some of the best products in our last mildew cleaner test, which included some more eco-friendly solutions.
If grease or exhaust soot is the big problem, then a degreaser will also work.

Serious Hull Stains


Mild acids are very effective at attacking serious stains that don't respond to the above treatments. Used incorrectly or in strong concentrations, acid cleaners can harm gelcoat, so use it sparingly and follow directions. Do a test patch first, and be sure to rinse thoroughly. Also, be sure to cover a trailer well as it will take galvanizing and even paint off. Keep away from paint and varnish. Clearly, it is better to do all of your hull cleaning before painting the bottom.
Nick liked the Davis FSR gel, here's our complete report on on 22 different hull-stain cleaners.
For a softer, more eco-friendly cleaner check out RidLyme.

Cleaning Solvents


The above multi-purpose cleaners should have eliminated any grease or dirt that would interfere with polishing and waxing, but some, like Don Casey, mention solvents. I personally don't do this step unless I'm painting, but there is nothing wrong with taking the extra step.
Casey recommends MEK over acetone. Interlux 202 Fiberglass Solvent Wash is another one that we've used. It seems to evaporate a little slower down here in Florida.
Also, we are looking at some "green" dewaxing solvents now from RPM technologies although these appear aimed at the industrial market.



Once you are assured you won't be driving grease and dirt deeper into the hull, you can begin polishing, or compounding. Be sure to wear goggles and a dust mask while doing this step. This process also removes any remaining old wax. Many wax manufacturers have a specific product that also includes a cleaning component (often petroleum-based) to get rid of grease and dirt. Collinite's Boat Cleaner 920 is an example.

How aggressively you want to polish your hull will depend on the hull condition. On a badly worn hull, you could wet sand with 800 grit wet-dry paper, followed by finer grits and then polishing compounds. If you've been waxing your hull regularly, and see no signs of oxidation, you might not even want to buff and skip to micro-finishing or waxing. Or, you could combine the buff and wax process into one with a one-step cleaner wax.  The idea is to start with the least aggressive compound you need.

We haven't tested buffing compounds, although they all work basically the same way, they contain a mild abrasive suspended in a liquid or paste used for polishing the hull. The current trend is toward water-based products like Aqua Buff, which contain no petroleum distillates. I have had good luck with 3M Imperial Compound and Finishing Material, which does. Whatever compound you use, start with the mildest (highest # grit) that you need.

For what power tools to use, see the power tool details above. In addition to the Superbuff pad mentioned before, I have also used 3M hook-It Velcro pads for polishing. In any case, I smear polish on the hull with a foam waxing pad and go VERY LIGHTLY at a low RPM. 3M recommends 1,000-1,500 RPM for its Imperial Finish. Keep the polisher moving to avoid heat buildup or over-polishing.



Many people skip this step, but I find it produces a better gloss if you do it, particularly when trying to restore the gloss to an older boat. We have not tested this product category. Essentially, this is an even finer polish than those used for compounding. For this, I use 3M Finesse It II. Several of the automotive-oriented waxes in our liquid wax test have similar products. On a small boat, you can apply it by hand, but I do it by machine. Again, apply light pressure and use a slow RPM, being careful to follow the instructions. Do a small area at a time.




Now that your hull is shiny, it is time to protect it. We've tested dozens of liquid waxes and paste waxes. Generally, the pastes offer harder protection that lasts longer and the liquids are easier to apply and last almost as long. I generally stick with the Collinite 885 paste wax. Contributing editor Frank Lanier, who waxed his hull by hand, found it too much work and was quite happy with the Collinite. A number of readers swear by the Nu Finish. 

I usually use the the same tools I used for compounding, although I change to a clean pad. I usually apply the wax by hand using a foam microfiber pad, and then buff with the machine. Working in small areas. Don't let the Collinite 885 dry too hard, or it becomes hard to buff. Also, don't lay it on too thick. If you work in cooler temperatures, this can be a tough product to apply, but you can warm up the can slightly to soften it up. Usually, I have to go over the hull twice to get the shine. Sometimes I'll switch to a very soft buffing pad for this last step.

Jamestown Distributors has a pretty good video on refinishing an old hull using the 3M system. It's pretty heavy on the 3M products ads. Often, you can do just as well with products from your local Finish Master or similar auto-refinishing place. They also have a pretty good polishing kit that has everything you need, including the polisher.

Happy waxing.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fall Boat Maintenance – Winterizing Your Boat

Unfortunately, the boating season is winding down in many parts of the country and it is time to start thinking about protecting your valuable recreational asset. Winterizing a boat reminds me of the old commercial that says "pay me now or pay me later." The time and effort you spend now will have a definite effect on your boat's performance, or lack of it, and certainly save you time, effort and money come spring. You should remember that your insurance policy may not cover damage done by lack of maintenance or neglect.

The best place for your boat to be during the winter is out of the water, under cover, in a climate-controlled boat storage area. This, however, can be expensive. If don't have this option perhaps you should consider shrink-wrapping your boat. This, too, is a little expensive but provides a very protective cover. Short of these two items, make sure that your boat is well covered with a tarp or some other sturdy cover.

Your first step in winterizing should be to make a checklist of all items that need to be accomplished. Check the owner's manual of your boat and motor(s) for manufacturer's recommendations on winterization. If you are a new boat owner, perhaps you should employ the assistance of a friend with experience in winterizing or hire a professional to do the job. The following is a generic outline of areas which should be of concern to you, however, there are many resources on the Internet with more detailed and specific information.

Inboard Engine(s)
You should run the engine(s) to warm it up and change the oil while it is warm. This tends to allow impurities to be drained away with the oil. You should also change the oil filter(s). Flush the engine(s) with fresh water. You should circulate antifreeze through the manifold by using a pickup hose from the waterpump to a bucket of antifreeze. Start the engine and allow the antifreeze to circulate until water starts to exit the exhaust. This process will vary slightly depending on whether you have a "Raw Water" cooling system or an "Enclosed Fresh Water" cooling system. While you're in the engine room you should also change the fluid in your transmission. Remove spark plugs and use "fogging oil" to spray into each cylinder. Wipe down the engine with a shop towel sprayed with a little fogging oil or WD-40. 

Stern Drive(s)
You should thoroughly inspect the stern drive and remove any plant life or barnacles from the lower unit. Drain the gear case and check for excessive moisture in the oil. This could indicate leaking seals and should be repaired. Clean the lower unit with soap and water. If your stern drive has a rubber boot, check it for cracks or pinholes. Grease all fittings and check fluid levels in hydraulic steering or lift pumps. Check with your owner's manual for additional recommendations by the manufacturer. 

Outboard Engine(s)
Flush engine with fresh water using flush muffs or similar device attached to the raw water pickup. Let all water drain from the engine. Wash engine down with soap and water and rinse thoroughly. Disconnect fuel hose and run engine until it stops. It is important to follow a step by step process to make sure that all fuel is drained from the carburetor to prevent build-up of deposits from evaporated fuel. Use fogging oil in the cylinders to lubricate the cylinder walls and pistons. Apply water resistant grease to propeller shaft and threads. Change the gear oil in the lower unit. Lightly lubricate the exterior of the engine or polish with a good wax. 

Fill your fuel tank(s) to avoid a buildup of condensation over the winter months. Add a fuel stabilizer by following the instructions on the product. Change the fuel filter(s) and water separator(s). 

Make sure the bilges are clean and dry. Use soap, hot water and a stiff brush to clean up any oil spills. Once the bilges are clean, spray with a moisture displacing lubricant and add a little antifreeze to prevent any water from freezing. 

Fresh Water System
Completely drain the fresh water tank and hot water heater. Isolate the hot water heater by disconnecting the in and out lines and connect them together. Pump a non-toxic antifreeze into the system and turn on all the facets including the shower and any wash-down areas until you see the antifreeze coming out. Also put non-toxic antifreeze in the water heater. 

Pump out the holding tank at an approved facility. While pumping, add fresh water to the bowl and flush several times. Use Vanish crystals or whatever your owner's manual recommends that will not harm your system and let sit for a few minutes. Again add fresh water and pump out again. Add antifreeze and pump through hoses, holding tank, y-valve, macerator and discharge hose. Again, check your owners manual to make sure that an alcohol-based antifreeze won't damage your system. 

Once you have taken care of the system you should remove any valuables, electronics, lines, PFD, fire extinguishers, flares, fenders, etc. Over the winter these items can be cleaned, checked and replaced as necessary. Open all drawers and lockers and clean thoroughly. Turn cushions up on edge so that air is able to circulate around them or, better yet, bring them home to a climate controlled area. Open and clean the refrigerator and freezer. To keep your boat dry and mildew-free you might want to install a dehumidifier or use some of the commercially available odor and moisture absorber products such as "No Damp," "Damp Away" or "Sportsman's Mate." 

Out of Water Storage
Pressure wash hull, clean barnacles off props and shafts, rudders, struts and trim tabs. Clean all thru-hulls and strainers. Open seacocks to allow any water to drain. Check the hull for blisters and if you find any that should be attended to you might want to open them to drain over the winter. While you're at it, why not give the hull a good wax job? It is probably best to take the batteries out of the boat and take them home and either put them on a trickle charger or charge them every 30-60 days. 

In Water Storage
Close all sea-cocks and check rudder shafts and stuffing boxes for leaks, tighten or repack as necessary. Check your battery to make sure it is fully charged, clean terminals, add water if necessary and make sure your charging system is working. Check bilge pumps to ensure they are working and that float switches properly activate the pumps and that they are not hindered by debris. Make sure either to check your boat periodically or have the marina check it and report to you. If in an area where the water you are docked or moored in actually freezes, you should have a de-icing device or bubbling system around your boat.  

I personally put these in my engine and aft bilge compartments, which does a fantastic job of keeping any condensation or corrosion from happening during he cold winter months.  We do not usually get freezing water in the winter at our marina.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The "No Stank" Marine Holding Tank Vent Filter


The last holding tank vent filter you will ever need”

100% Satisfaction Guarantee Don’t be the boater that offends others when your toilet gets flushed!

The No Stank holding tank vent filter (model 18334HC) is specially designed to eliminate odors by capturing heavier-than-air gases that come from your holding tank.

The filter is rechargeable at a fraction of the cost of buying those throw away filters each year.
No need for toilet chemicals to control odors in the holding tank. Charged filter last for an entire season or more depending on toilet use.

Constructed with High Quality materials.  Carbon pellets specially formulated for maximum air purification with less resistance to air flow through filter.  Not cheap fish tank (water) carbon.

Filter footprint 18.25" long x 3" wide area (464 mm x 76 mm)

The unit includes: Two (2) 3/4" x garden hose nylon adapters, Two (2) 5/8" ID hose (16 mm) x female garden hose nylon swivel w/washers (makes removal and install easy, just hand tighten), Two (2) Zinc Plated Mounting Clips, Two (2) SS screws,Two (2) SS hose clamps.
  • Saves money on initial purchase and every year saves you even more $$$$
  • 30% more filtering area vs. other NON SaniGard (tm) type filters on the market.
  • Easy to install & remove for servicing.
  • Eliminates holding tank vent odors.
  • Can mount horizontal or vertical.
  • No need for toilet chemicals to control holding tank odors.
  • Filter lasts an entire season or more depending on toilet use.
  • Easy-to-replace filter carbon material.
  • Recharge filter carbon at pennies on the dollar vs. buying throw away filters each year.
  • Environmentally friendly since you only throw away carbon that ends up in landfills.
Direct replacement for SaniGard (tm) Holding Tank Vent Filter.  Other filters on the market are either smaller (less filtering of odors) and/or require replacement (throw-away) each year.

Check out the product at our website