HOW DARK IS DARK?
I live in Fort Lauderdale and have a 1982
34-foot Silverton convertible. I want to tint the
front three windows to reduce the heat in the
cabin. A company that does window tinting on
cars and boats recommended a 35-percent tint
film. Does this exceed the standards for tinting
marine windows? What do you recommend?
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
JOHN ADEY: The American Boat and
Yacht Council (ABYC) has a technical standard for glass on boats. When it comes to
tinting, we discuss areas in the “operator’s
range of visibility” that extends from 90
degrees to port, and 112.5 degrees to starboard, from the helm station(s). In this area,
the light transmission must be not less than
70 percent (30-percent tint). In other areas
of the boat, you can exceed that amount. So
your 35-percent tint is OK, as long as it’s not
in the operator’s range of visibility; there,
you’d use a maximum 30-percent tint.
to be “UL Listed,” just tested by an independent, third-party lab, not by the manufacturer
themselves. You may also find a manufacturer that states they comply to ABYC standard A- 14 “Gasoline & Propane Detection
Systems,” which requires the UL testing.
FINDING THE RIGHT NEEDLE
IN THE HAYSTACK
I’m going offshore and a friend is loaning me
his EPIRB. How do I get it registered properly so
that if we have to use it they’ll look for my boat,
and not his? Fred Joslin
Virginia Beach, VA
TOM NEALE: Register at www.beacon-registration.noaa.gov. You’ll need the beacon’s identification number (found on the
beacon) and your friend’s log-in name and
password, depending on how he’s set up
his account. Once on the site for the beacon,
you’ll find a comments section (scroll down
the page to find it), and there you can enter
details about your trip. Include your boat’s
name, description, your name, number of
POB, when and where you’re going, and
indicate that you’re borrowing the beacon.
Give any other relevant info such as health
issues, etc. Your friend should already have
emergency contact names and numbers on
MEET THE EXPERTS
He’s been one of the most consulted experts on boat care and
BELT AND SUSPENDERS
upgrades for 30 years, and a panelist on our “Ask The Experts”
website for a decade. He and his wife cruise aboard their 30-footer
part of the year in the eastern Caribbean. His books include Don
Casey’s Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual, and the
recently updated This Old Boat, the bible for do-it-yourself boaters.
I’d like to add another level of safety to my
Ranger 2250SS, by installing a fuel fume-monitoring system. I’d like one that has at least
two pickup points in the boat. John Moore
JOHN ADEY: ABYC offers some great
advice; I’ll sum up the important things for
a boat owner here:
1. Make sure it’s tested and certified by a
third party to UL standard 1110, Marine
Combustible Gas Indicators.
2. The unit shall NOT be wired to cut
off the engine. You want to make that
choice, not a device. Shutting down your
engine could cause an entirely different
3. Sensors have to be as low in the bilge
as possible without the chance of being
submerged. For an inboard engine, at least
one has to be lower than the starter motor.
4. If your bilge has compartments, install a
sensor in each compartment that has a
fuel component (hose or tank).
5. A visible warning (LED, for example)
must be installed at the helm station
and an audible alarm must be able to be
heard from the helm.
Those are the key points you should know
when purchasing and installing these items.
When it comes to UL, the unit does not have
The VP/Technical Director for the American Boat & Yacht Council
(ABYC), John grew up boating. He’s been in the industry since
1990, with experience from a yacht brokerage and boatyard to
owning a marine supply store. He and his family sail their classic
1976 Irwin ketch, a boat he completely restored. John is a trusted
source for technical information for industry professionals.
He’s maintained, lived aboard, and cruised long distance on boats
with his wife and family for most of his adult life. He can take apart
and fix almost every system aboard a boat, has written two books,
filmed a two-set DVD on East Coast cruising, written for top marine
magazines, and has won seven first-place awards from Boating
Writers International and many awards for his technical writing.
The editor of Seaworthy, the damage avoidance newsletter of
BoatU.S. Marine Insurance, Bob has written hundreds of articles
on safety, loss prevention and causes of boating accidents.
His 2006 book, Seaworthy, Essential Lessons of Things Gone
Wrong, is based on 20 years of real claims files. He’s owned
Folkboats to J-Boats and currently sails a 36-foot sloop.
One of the most experienced technical writers in the marine business, and an accomplished fisherman, Lenny has a thorough
understanding of modern marine electronics on both technical and end-user’s levels. He’s written five books, and won 18
Boating Writers awards and two awards for excellence from the
Outdoor Writers Association. For several years running, he’s also
been selected as a judge for the NMMA Innovation Awards.
CONTACT THESE AND ALL OUR EXPERTS AT WWW.BOATUS.COM/ASK.
YOU’LL FIND HUNDREDS OF QUESTIONS AND EXPERT ANSWERS ALREADY
ARCHIVED. THE BEST PART? THIS SERVICE IS FREE TO MEMBERS.