We love our boats! Whether it’s to get us to our favorite fishing spots or take us to exotic water destinations. Whether you’re in a sailboat, fishing boat, cruiser or ski boat means something different to each boat owner. However, there is a common thread that binds us together as boaters, the experience of freedom that boat ownership brings. It’s a lot of stress-relieving, marine -loving fun. Boat maintenance on the other hand, not so much, but it still has to be done. As a proud boat owner, you do want to keep your prized watercraft in spiffy condition, right?
Caring for and cleaning your boat not only adds value to your purchase by protection and restoration, but can also stop the spread of invasive species which is believed to cause damage to marine life.Here are a few boat cleaning tips that are cheap, simple and environment friendly.
A good coat of wax goes a long way to keep scum, algae and other particulates from staining the hull. Thus, less cleaner is needed. You should Wax your boat twice a year or for regular washing use wax soaps, soaps that use leave a coat of wax after washing.There are going to be times that you might not want to put on an extra coat of wax, or it is simply not necessary. For spot cleaning, that does not require a water rinse, stick with a phosphate-free cleaner to wash the outside of the boat, and remove it with a sponge or mop. If you keep your boat in the water, use a spray wash that can be wiped off for spot cleaning and does not require a water rinse.
Cleaning with warm water and vinegar
Out of the hundreds of practical uses for vinegar, this one is great for us boaters. The stuff is amazing. Use it to clean the interior wood, ceiling panels and toilets, wash any mold that develops off the walls and on your ceiling. Clean chrome railings with apple cider vinegar on a soft cotton cloth, and a fresh cloth with a dab of baby oil will restore it to a bright shine. Not only is it environmentally friendly, but it works! For a homemade yacht or boat hull cleaner combine one part white vinegar and one part warm water. Add one part salt to this mixture, and use it to clean brass.
Want to keep your propeller to look shiny and new even after a whole season in the water?
Try painting your propeller with egg whites! When your boat is out of the water paint a coat of egg whites on the prop, let it dry and then repeat 3-5 more times.
The bilge area is definitely known for hiding dirt, sludge and oil residue.
Many “boat smells” can be traced to the bilge. A biodegradable bilge cleaner will allow you to get the bottom of the boat clean, but you still may have to get your hands dirty. These specific cleaners will break down oil, gas, grease and sludge, while cleaning and deodorizing the area. They will not affect metals, plastics or paint, so are very safe to use. You can probably get to those hidden compartments by putting the sprayer on a fan setting and shooting into the limber holes. Keep the bow high and the plug out. Use a wet dry vacuum to get the dirty water out so it doesn’t pump overboard.
Clearing U.S. Customs Regulations for Pleasure Boaters
Recent changes in Homeland Security Laws have made it necessary for all pleasure boaters entering U.S. waters from foreign ports to contact U.S. Customs and abide by the following guidelines. This will ensure a safe and convenient re-entry.
What Alternative Inspection Programs Do These Ports Accept
Local Boater Option (LBO) Program
Participants in this program may report their arrival to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) by calling one of the telephone numbers below. Unless directed by a CBP officer, a participant in this program does not have to report for an in-person inspection.
Visit SVRS to apply online for LBO participation and schedule an appointment for an interview at one of the authorized enrollment centers.
Small Vessel Reporting System (SVRS)
In March 2010, U.S. Customs and Border Protection developed the Small Vessel Reporting System (SVRS) for the Florida area of responsibility (AOR). SVRS is a web-based automated online reporting system created for the LBO participants to expeditiously report their intended arrivals from foreign ports. In addition, the web-based system will facilitate the enrollment of new applicants for the LBO program. New applicants will be able to enroll and make an appointment for a face-to-face interview with a CBP officer at an authorized reporting location of their choosing. Once participation in the LBO program is granted by CPB, the participant will receive an email with their Boater Registration (BR) number and password for SVRS. Current LBO participants must apply online for a password to access the float plan functions of SVRS.
The program is designed to provide LBO participants an easy-to-use web-based tool to record and update their intended international travel on a private vessel by filing a float plan.
Float plans consist of biographical information of all persons intending on traveling, vessel registration information and itinerary information. Once a float plan is entered and activated, SVRS will issue a float plan number. The float plan will be verified by CBP prior to the vessel’s return to the United States. Upon return to the U.S., the LBO participant who filed the float plan will contact the CBP Small Vessel Call Center (SVCC) to make a formal notification of arrival. Persons traveling, who are not LBO members, must report to their nearest CBP office for immigration processing within 24-hours of arrival.
To file a float plan, go to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Small Vessel Reporting System online at svrs.cbp.dhs.gov.
What telephone number do I call upon arrival into Florida?
The Florida Small Vessel Call Center (SVCC) can be reached at 1-800-432-1216 or 1-800-451-0393.
To make a formal notification of arrival on a float plan filed in SVRS, call 1-877-330-7327.
What information do I have to have when I call?
Vessel masters must have the following information available:
Name, date of birth and citizenship of all persons on board (including passport number);
Name of the boat and/or boat registration (BR) number;
CBP user fee decal number (if 30 feet or longer);
Homeport and current location; and
Return contact number.
Vessel masters who files a float plan in SVRS only have to provide the float plan number.
After formal notification of arrival is made by the master of the vessel, those persons onboard who are not members of the Local Boater Option (LBO) program or have been selected by CBP for an inspection, will have 24-hours to report for a face-to-face inspection at one of the following reporting locations during their hours of operation.
FLORIDA INSPECTION LOCATIONS
Daytona Beach International Airport (Daytona Beach)
720 Catalina Drive, Suite 100, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114
Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale)
1800 Eller Drive, Suite 104, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33316
403 North 3rd Street, Fernandina Beach, Florida 32024
Fort Myers – SW Florida International Airport (Fort Myers)
11000 Terminal Access Road, Ft. Myers, Florida 33913
Fort Pierce – St. Lucie County International Airport (Fort Pierce )
2990 Curtis King Blvd, Ft. Pierce, Florida 34946
10426 Alta Drive, Jacksonville, Florida 32226
Federal Building, 301 Simonton Street, Key West, Florida 33040
Port Manatee (Manatee)
400 Tampa Bay Way, Palmetto, Florida 34221
Port of Miami (Miami)
903 South America Way, Terminal H, Miami, Florida 33132
Phone: 305-536-4758 Ext. 5
One Air Terminal Parkway, Melbourne, Florida 32901
Here is what you can do to prepare yourself for a hot day out in the sun.
Heat stroke is one of the worst conditions that can happen to you while you’re out enjoying a fun day on the golf course with your friends. The initial signs of heat stroke are listlessness, anxiety and confusion. Heat stroke is often caused when your body’s internal temperature reaches over 104 degrees and can cause seizures, delirium, coma and even lead to death. This is a serious matter that everyone must pay attention to, whether you’re out on a boat in the hot sun all day, or enjoying some quality time on the golf course. Here are some tips and ways to avoid becoming the next victim of heat stroke.
Slow down and avoid strenuous activity. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4am and 7am. Stay indoors are much as possible. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor and out of the sunshine. Remember, electric fans do not cool the air, but they do help sweat evaporate, which cools your body.
Wear loose, lightweight, light colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun’s energy. Wearing extra clothing or clothing that fits tightly won’t allow your body to cool properly.
Drink plenty of water regularly and often. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Water is the safest liquid to drink during heat emergencies. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them. They can make you feel good briefly, but make the heat’s effects on your body worse. This is especially true about beer, which actually dehydrates the body.
Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid meals that are high in protein, which increase metabolic heat. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
Treatments of Heat Stroke
If you or someone you know begins to experience signs of overheating… First, call 9-1-1 for some help and get them to lay down. Provide them with plenty of fluids to drink, preferably water. Then elevate their feet and apply cold compresses to reduce their internal body temperature. If available, use an electric fan to lower their temperature, or find something to fan them with. The following are some more tips for more serious conditions.
Heat Cramps: Get the person to a cooler place and have him or her rest in a comfortable position. Lightly stretch the affected muscle and replenish fluids. Give a half glass of cool water every 15 minutes. Do not give liquids with alcohol or caffeine in them, as they may make conditions worse.
Heat Exhaustion: Get the person out of the heat and into a cooler place. Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths such as towels or sheets. If the person is conscious, give cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. As with heat cramps, give a half glass of cool water every 15 minutes and don’t give them any alcohol or caffeine. Let the victim rest in a comfortable position and watch carefully for changes in his or her condition.
Heat Stroke: This is a life-threatening situation. Help is needed fast! Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number. Move the person to a cooler place and quickly cool the body. Immerse the victim in a cool bath, or wrap wet sheets around the body and fan it. Watch for signals of breathing problems. If the victim refuses water, is vomiting, or there are changes in level of consciousness, do not give them anything to eat or drink.
These helpful tips may come in handy one day while you’re out enjoying yourself. If you’re feeling overheated, it may be too late. You’re probably already feeling the effects of heat exhaustion. So remember to keep hydrated and drink plenty of fluids, no matter if you’re feeling thirsty or not. This could save your life someday!