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Entries in BoatUS (21)

Friday
Nov102017

Harvey, Irma Damage 63,000 Recreational Boats

More than 63,000 recreational boats were damaged or destroyed as a result of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, with a damage estimate of $655 million, according to Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS). These numbers are strikingly close to 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, which remains the single-largest industry loss with more than 65,000 boats damaged and more than $650 million in estimated losses.

Breaking down the 2017 season storms, Hurricane Irma damaged or destroyed 50,000 vessels with approximately $500 million in recreational boat damage. About 13,500 boats were damaged or lost costing $155 million in boat damage as the result of Hurricane Harvey.

“These two storms were as different as night and day,” said BoatUS Marine Insurance Program Vice President of Claims Rick Wilson. “The boats that were hit the hardest by Harvey were located on a relatively small slice of Texas coast, while we saw damage to recreational vessels from Irma in every corner of Florida.”

The BoatUS Catastrophe Team recently completed two months of field operations arranging for repairs, salvage or wreck removals for BoatUS Marine Insurance program members and GEICO Marine Insurance customers.

“While Hurricane Irma’s losses are significant, it could have been much worse,” added Wilson. “Irma ultimately traveled up Florida’s west coast and not the east, which was initially forecast. And while locations in the right front quadrant of the storm such as Big Pine Key and Marathon were hit hard with a Category 4 storm, Irma lost strength as it approached the mainland and swept up Florida. As the storm passed east of Tampa Bay, waters receded and came back gradually, also lessening surge damage.”

To view damage to recreational boats caused by Hurricane Irma, go here.

Thursday
Nov092017

Build A Bin; Help Keep Discarded Monofilament Out Of Our Fisheries

Are you interested in helping reduce monofilament debris? Volunteer to build and maintain a monofilament recycling location at a fishing spot near you.

It's as easy as 1-2-3!

1. Using this simple video, learn how you can build your own monofilament recycling bin. We'll even provide you with the signs and decals.

2. Install the bin in a high-traffic fishing area such as a marina, park, or boat ramp, and regularly maintain it, separate any trash, and send the collected line to Berkley Conservation for processing:

Berkley Recycling

1900 18th St.

Spirit Lake, Iowa 51360

3. Track the amount of line you collect through our online database.

Thursday
Aug102017

Ethanol-Related Repairs Increasing, According to Survey

A new survey by Boating Industry magazine says those in the boating industry that manufacture, sell, repair and store recreational vessels are seeing a growing number of problems caused by ethanol-related fuels. Said one Minnesota boat dealer in the survey, “Ethanol fuels are great for our service department but bad for our customers!”

The reader survey results, which appear in the magazine’s July 2017 issue, report that 92 percent of survey respondents said “they have seen damage…caused by ethanol…and more business for the service department.” The most recent results are up from 87 percent from a similar survey last year.

The July feature “Ethanol Still a Significant Challenge, Survey Says,” also reported that “more than 15 percent of readers said that based on what they are seeing in their business, more than half of the necessary repairs are being caused by ethanol-related issues.” Eighty-five percent of survey takers were “very concerned” about the use of E15 (fuel containing up to 15 percent ethanol).

Signed into law in 2005, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requires an increasing amount of biofuels, such as corn ethanol, to be blended into the gasoline supply. When it was written, the RFS assumed that America’s use of gasoline would continue to grow. Since 2005, however, gasoline usage has actually declined, which today forces more ethanol into each gallon of gas.

To keep up with the RFS mandate, in 2010 the EPA granted a waiver to allow E15 into the marketplace. However, only fuels containing up to 10 percent ethanol (E10) are permitted for use in recreational boats.

For the nation’s largest advocacy, services and safety group, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the survey’s results add to urgency to fix the RFS. Said Manager of Government Affairs David Kennedy, “For the people who know boats best, the readers of Boating Industry magazine who work on boats and keep them running so we can all enjoy a great day on the water, ethanol continues be concern. It will remain this way until we fix America’s broken ethanol policy.”

Go to BoatUS.com/gov/rfs.asp for more information on the Renewable Fuel Standard. BoatUS is a member of the Smarter Fuel Future coalition.

Sunday
May212017

BoatUS Offers Safety Tips for Navigating Higher Waters in Great Lakes

With Great Lakes water levels on the rise and expected to continue to increase into summer, recreational boaters could find that deeper water under the keel may open a whole new range of cruising, fishing or sailing grounds to navigation. That same deep water, however, may present unique safety concerns on the water and at the dock, says Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the nation’s largest advocacy, services and safety organization.

According to the US Army Corps of Engineers, Lake Ontario is expected to see the largest increase at 17 inches higher over last year and lowland flooding is already hampering the boat-launch season on the lake. The second largest year-over-year increase goes to Lake Superior at 12 inches higher sometime in August, while Lake Huron and Lake Michigan are both predicted to rise 8 inches. Lake Erie is expected to be up 5 inches over last year.

BoatUS offer the following tips for boaters on the Great Lakes in these flooded conditions:

On the water: The good news is that deeper draft vessels may have more options for mooring, anchoring and slip rental, as well as increased access to the water. However, high water shifts sandbars. Traveling at slower speed can reduce the risk of grounding or running gear damage. Transient boaters can contact local TowBoatUS operators on VHF channel 16 for local information. In you’re headed into unfamiliar waters post an extra lookout, and if you’re traveling far, check ahead as locations to tie up may be inaccessible.

On the dock: Many fixed (non-floating), boat docks with electrical service are submerged, potentially compromising wiring and electrical connections. When waters recede and before power gets turned on, inspect the electrical service and consider installing a ground fault protection device if your dock power system does not already have one. Without it, the risk of Electric Shock Drowning (ESD) increases. A dock electrical maintenance check-up is also a good idea to schedule at the beginning of the each season

Sunday
May222016

Ethanol-Free Fuel Could Become Even Scarcer

As if finding ethanol-free (EO) gasoline for marine engines weren't difficult enough already, BoatUS is warning that it could become even scarcer this summer.

Gas stations aren't required by federal law to carry fuel with ethanol added. But the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program mandates that an increasing amount of biofuel, primarily corn ethanol, be blended into America's gasoline supply annually. In other words, stations might not be able to buy EO gasoline, despite consumer demand.

"Correcting the RFS before it wipes out the availability of EO for boating families and wreaks additional havoc on marine engines is the responsibility of our next president," said Margaret Bonds Podlich, BoatUS president.

"It is now time to fix this broken law. Thankfully, there are bipartisan ideas to fix the ethanol mandate in Congress, but the question remains whether our elected leaders will act and solve the problem."

As of right now, it appears that EO fuel supply will be reduced from more than 8 billion gallons in 2014 to just 200 million, possibly as early as mid-year. Already, more than 90 percent of fuel contains 10 percent ethanol, with 15 percent becoming more prevalent, even though federal law prohibits its use in marine engines, ATVs, motorcycles, lawnmowers, and cars made before 2001.

"When gasoline containing ethanol and boats mix, boat owners lose," Podlich added. "That's because of something called 'phase separation'--- think oil and vinegar--- that can turn fuel stored in a boat's gas tank into a corrosive, water-soaked ethanol mixture, unusable in any engine."

Half of those who responded to a recent BoatUS survey said they have had to replace or repair a boat engine or fuel system parts because of suspected ethanol-related damage. Average cost for repairs was $1,000.

Ethanol Damage Increasing

Additionally, Boating Industry says this:

Ethanol appears to be playing an even bigger role in service issues than it was just a year ago.

Eighty-seven percent of our respondents reported that their business has seen engine damage caused by ethanol. That was up from 73 percent in the same survey in April 2015.

While it may be helping drive service department business, frequent issues run the risk of driving more people out of boating.

As one New York boat dealer bluntly put it: “Ethanol makes us money … it sucks for the consumer.”

A Florida-based manufacturer echoed that:

“Ethanol is a boom for the service departments. Ethanol is a HUGE drag on our industry because it negatively affects the customers. It makes them hate boating. It ruins their day, their boat, and their entire boating experience.”

And it is no small problem, either, representing a significant portion of repairs based on what our survey respondents are seeing. Fourteen percent said that ethanol-related problems are responsible for more than half of all engine repairs, while 60 percent said it represents at least 20 percent of the repair issues. Those numbers are basically unchanged from 2015.