Adding An inverter
Take care not to overlook the load an
inverter places on your boat’s batteries. AC
appliances draw 10 times their rated amp
when running on 12 volts. For example, a
1,000-watt coffeemaker draws 8. 3 amps at
120 volts ( 1,000/120), but 83 amps at 12
volts ( 1,000/12). Add about 15 percent for
inverter inefficiency and the actual battery
draw for that pot o’ Joe is close to 100 amps.
This likely exceeds your starter-motor draw,
so the effect on your batteries of a 10-minute
brew cycle is roughly the same as cranking
the starter for that long. Unless you’re willing to run the engine while the inverter is
in use, limit inverter wattage to five times
your battery’s rated amp-hour capacity. In
other words, don’t expect a 100-AH battery
to power an inverter larger than 500 watts.
just six seconds while some handhelds burn
for three minutes. The best choice for you?
Where do you do your boating? If you’re
almost always in sight of shore or other
boats, handheld flares have a better chance
of drawing attention because of their longer
burn time. If you boat well offshore, aerial
flares can signal your distress over greater
distances. Safety-conscious skippers carry
both, plus smoke flares for daylight signaling. Parachute flares combine high altitude
with long burn times, making them the most
effective nighttime distress signal.
rOlling And tipping
The key to getting a flawless paint finish is
the thinner. Too little and the surface shows
brush strokes; too much and the paint sags
or runs. Start with the paint manufacturer’s
recommendation, then test the mix on a
glass panel — window glass, not fiberglass.
Using a foam roller, roll some paint onto the
test panel, then tip it out by lightly dragging
a dry badger-hair brush horizontally through
it. Give the surface a couple of minutes
to level out. Because you’ve painted glass,
all flaws are in the paint. If you see brush
strokes — the usual result — add a cap-
ful of thinner and test again. Stop adding
thinner when the stroke marks disappear.
Adding paint, because you have to mix it,
is more troublesome than adding thinner,
so don’t go too far, evidenced by sagging
For more detailed information on all
these topics, and many more, go to
Saltwater and uric acid (don’t ask!) produce
calcium scale inside marine toilets and dis-
charge hoses. Such deposits cause the toilet
to get progressively harder to flush and can
lead to total blockage. Avoid this unpleas-
antness by pouring a pint of white vinegar
into the bowl once a month and pumping
it slowly, a single stroke every four or five
minutes, through the toilet. The mildly
acidic vinegar dissolves fresh scale deposits.
To keep the pump operating smoothly, fol-
low the vinegar treatment with an ounce or
two of mineral oil or a lubricant specifically
formulated for marine toilets.
AeriAl Or HAndHeld FlAreS?
Are aerial flares better than handheld? Not
necessarily. A 12-gauge aerial flare reaches
an altitude of around 250 feet, making it
visible over a much longer distance than a
handheld flare that reaches only a few feet
above the water. But the meteor burns out in