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View From the Pilot House



By admin ~ December 12th, 2008. Filed under: Current Issue.

Make sure your life raft is legally compliant in terms of repacking.  Last, but certainly not least, be sure to check out your icemaker.

By Skip Allen, Sr.

Having arrived back home from our usual wonderful cruising in the Bahamas, I’ve compiled a list of reminders about equipment we don’t want to be without next year in case of unforeseen circumstances. Any cruiser worth his salt knows the value of redundancy and is careful to ensure he has replacements for the most essential parts required to make his boat go.
Outside your home base, especially in foreign waters, needed parts are hard to come by, if available at all, and you’ll pay a premium. As of this writing, the BahamThe savvy captain or owner can avoid at least some unexpected major headaches.
Outside your home base, especially in foreign waters, needed parts are hard to come by, if available at all, and you’ll pay a premium. As of this writing, the Bahamas has imposed a some unexpected major headaches.
Based on our own experiences and those of some of our friends this summer, some reiteration of the obvious may be in order.  Have a spare set of props. This applies to the tender as well. A couple we know were gunkholing in a familiar area when their 20-foot center console hit (are you ready?) a shark.  Fortunately, they had a spare prop and their vacation continued as originally planned. The shark may not have been as lucky.
Extra fuel filters are a must. The price of fuel being what it is, it’s easy to pick up bad fuel when you are filling up away from home and don’t know the provider. Change your air filters before setting out if only to improve fuel efficiency. Replacement impellers for the main engine(s) and generator should be easily accessed.
If you’re like me, you don’t know half of what you should about air conditioning. Have your local expert thoroughly check out your system for leaks, coolant levels, whatever.  I’ve even been cruising in Maine when I relied on the A/C for comfort.
If you only use your watermaker when cruising for an extended period, make sure it’s working at peak efficiency. Ours blew a membrane only two weeks into our trip. Not only could we not take advantage of the clear Bahamian seas for reverse osmosis, we also learned that the price of water per gallon in marinas was a huge “gotcha.” Make sure your life raft is legally compliant in terms of repacking.
Last, but certainly not least, be sure to check out your icemaker.
Due to the summer rain, the level of Lake Okeechobee should now afford the opportunity to explore both coasts of Florida by boat, which hasn’t always been possible in recent years.  Whatever floats your boat, do it safely and in good health.

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