If you haul your boat every winter, make
sure it’s well supported. Using cinder
blocks is never recommended for two
reasons: The blocks aren’t designed for
supporting heavy weight and can be
crushed, and as the photo above shows,
it doesn’t take much to knock a boat off
its blocks. This boat toppled over after a
moderate winter storm.
Boats should be supported by jackstands and need at least two per side and
three or more if the boat is longer than
26 feet. (For sailboats, jackstands should
be spaced no farther than 10 feet apart.)
Long overhangs may require extra stands.
When you visit your boat this winter,
check to make sure the jackstands haven’t
shifted or sunk into the ground. If you
see something that needs adjusting, don’t
do it yourself; have the yard take care of
it. Some powerboats, such as some sport-fishermen, have cored keels that require
CAN YOU SEE ME NOW?
Marine surveyor David Kacprowitz sent
HOW STRONG ARE YOUR CLEATS?
us the photo at right of a bow navigation
light that’s been rendered useless with
the installation of a trolling motor. The
U.S. Coast Guard has specific require-
ments for how navigation lights must
be shown, necessitating “a green light
on the starboard side and a red light on
the port side each showing an unbroken
light over an arc of the horizon of 112.5
degrees and so fixed as to show the light
from right ahead to 22. 5 degrees abaft
the beam on its respective side.”
A fast-moving bass boat with a
blocked navigation light might not be
visible at all at night, let alone show which
direction it’s moving. The bass boat could
be held responsible for an accident.
Winter storms can generate a lot of wind.
While docklines keep your boat in place
at the dock, if the cleats aren’t up to snuff,
the lines are pretty useless. The cleat on
the boat in the photo below was fastened
through the deck with only small washers backing it. During a blow, the cleat
was pulled out, and
the boat suffered
serious boat rash
against the dock.
Boat cleats should
have solid backing plates under
the deck. Upgrading yours is an easy
do-it-yourself project. Visit BoatUS.
The other half
of the cleat equation is at the dock.
A cleat that gives
up during a winter storm, just when it is needed most,
allows the boat to bang against the dock.
Marinas often have hundreds of cleats,
and it’s a fair bet a few of them are loose
or have rusted fasteners. If you spot a
loose cleat, one that’s obviously damaged or rusted, or one that’s fastened to
a rotting or weak section of the dock, let
marina management know.
DECEMBER 2016 BoatU.S. Magazine | 97
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