Rescue Your Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat

Many people are familiar with rigid inflatable boats (RIBs)–a brand like Zodiac is the most commonly recognized–and we think of them carrying people on dive trips or around islands for sightseeing. Because RIBs are built like giant dock bumpers, operators may worry less about colliding with other vessels or objects. While it’s true the inflatable collar around the fiberglass hull is great at minimizing damage, RIBs are not indestructible, as I wrote about in the September 2017 DIY column of Southern Boating magazine.

Diligent care must be taken to keep your RIB shipshape, and if you do puncture the tube, there are specific fixes required to get the boat back to 100 percent. “Every boat comes with a repair patch kit,” explains Glenn Gillette, owner of Lifeline Inflatable Services, a RIB dealer and service center with locations in Fort Lauderdale and Miami Gardens, Florida. “The repair kit that comes with the boat is for temporary fixes. To do a proper repair, the boat needs to be in a climate-controlled environment with low humidity.”

In the RIB world, the air tubes are made of either polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or chlorosulphonated polyethylene (CSM). DuPont manufactured CSM until 2009 under the trademark Hypalon, the common brand name for CSM. Both PVC and CSM are used for the RIB collars. PVC costs less and is for lighter-duty RIBs, while CSM fares far better in direct sunlight and humid conditions. Soapy water is the best way to clean the collar and fiberglass interior, followed by a thorough rinse with fresh water. Products containing silicon, such as Armor All, should never be used on either type of air tubes.

Read the entire article.


Prestige 63-foot motoryacht a French evolution on the water

Prestige 630 motoryacht

While the Prestige 630 motoryacht may be the smallest of the French builder’s yacht line with an LOA of nearly 63 feet, she’s no little sister. That’s what I found out during my research for the August 2017 feature story in Southern Boating magazine about the yacht.  Instead, the Prestige 630 a tour de force as the company’s newest model to enter the water. By teaming with Volvo Penta, Prestige used cutting-edge hull engineering from J&J Design to position the twin 725-horsepower power plants in the ideal place for high performance.

How did they do it? The two Volvo Penta D11 engines are connected to the IPS 950 pod drives via jackshafts—a big difference, since in most configurations the engines are  located directly above the pod drives. “This is a planing hull and the jackshafts allowed us to move the engines further forward and not put as much weight on the back, yet still use the IPS pods,” explained Adrien Berton, product manager for Prestige. “The jackshafts transmit that power to pods, and it allows us to get the maximum speed of 28 knots, which is about as fast as our customers want to go.” When the 630 was launched at the 2016 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, she was introduced as the latest yacht from Camillo Garroni Carbonara, chief architect and designer of Garroni Design in Genoa, Italy. The 630 is just one of many yachts the firm has designed for Prestige, a brand under the French builder Groupe Beneteau.

Read the entire article

Taking a Ride on the Fishing Friendly Albemarle 29 Express

The Albermarle 29 Express sportfishing boat

Ten rocket launchers—the sporty angling term for rod holders—are poised for action on the gleaming pipework of the new Albemarle 29 Express. That’s what I found out recently during a full review of this powerful sportfishing boat, for a story I wrote for Southern Boating magazine’s June 2017 issue. The round cylinders are angled at 45 degrees and ready to accept the butt end of a fishing rod. Having so many places to store fishing rods instantly brands the latest Albemarle as a hard-core fishing machine—yet a closer look reveals a softer side.SB 06-17–60 Boat Rev-Albemarle 29 Express

For example, inside the forward cabin, a 4kW generator powered an air conditioning system that kept things a cool 68 degrees in the afternoon swelter of the 2016 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. The 29 Express was introduced at the show after more than a year of design work, as the Albemarle team collaborated with renowned designer Lou Codega and Marine Concepts.

“Marine Concepts offers the ability to design and show you in 3D on a computer what it’s all going to look like,” explained Keith Privott, director of sales and product development for Albemarle. “That saves a lot of our time out in the shop doing the tooling by hand. Lou Codega designed the deck and the hull, and together the finishing touches were put on in the last four months.”

Read the entire article

Miami reigns supreme as boat shows come to South Florida

Beautiful Biscayne Bay and the Miami Marine Stadium served as the sites for the 2017 Miami International Boat Show

Miami once again reigned supreme as the epicenter of the yachting and boating world February 16-20, 2017, as two of the world’s finest boat shows took place at the same time: the 29th Annual Yachts Miami Beach (YMB) and Superyacht Miami, and the 76th Annual Miami International Boat Show (MIBS) and Strictly Sail Miami. Whether strolling along Collins Avenue from 41st to 54th Streets where luxury yachts were on display at Yachts Miami Beach, or at Virginia Key’s Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin at the Miami International Boat Show, enthusiasts had a wide range of vessels to peruse.

Good weather and better transportation options blessed the extravaganza this year. My role as a roving reporter for Southern Boating magazine had me hopping across South Florida to make press conference and new product launches, including some memorable cruises in Biscayne Bay.

The five-day event was run by two different companies, as the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) organizes the Miami International Boat Show and Strictly Sail Miami, and Show Management produces Yachts Miami Beach/Superyacht Miami. Here’s a look at many of the new yachts and boats that were on display for the very first time in Miami.

Read the entire article: SB 02-17–64 Feat-MIBS 2017

Keep engine room clean for long-term benefits


Here’s a dirty boat engine, and even dirtier engine room.

A dirty engine room is like dirty fingernails—it says a lot about your boat’s health. The accumulation of dust, sea spray, oil and other fluids in the engine room can affect a boat’s value as well as the boat’s seaworthiness. The boat may look great outside, but it is sick inside and may be dying.

“A boat that’s a mess down below can be difficult to repair when there is a problem,” explained Issy Perera, owner of Apex Marine in Miami, for my 2017 Engine Room column for the January issue of Southern Boating magazine. “That’s why a clean engine room and pre-flight check at the dock is so critical. Keeping a tidy engine room offers three advantages. It preserves the value of your boat, prevents issues before they start and helps you spot bigger problems faster.”

Boat owners can break engine-room clean up into three areas:

  • Mechanical issues associated with the engine
  • Electric issues with batteries and connections
  • Auxiliary systems such as seacocks, sea strainers and watermakers


Perera puts down clean oil-absorbent pads in the engine room so he can see immediately if there are drips or leaks. During his frequent checks of the engine room he scans for dust that may be a sign of a worn or slipping belt, or if there’s smoke or residue from a leaking exhaust hose.

Anything out of place—loose clamps, wires or hoses—are obviously a sign that something is amiss and needs to be checked out.

“There’s an awful lot of stuff in play in the engine room,” said Perera, who runs his 51-foot sportfishing boat to the Bahamas with friends and family. “Once you make a habit of getting down there and cleaning every time you go out, you’ll begin to notice things. You become very in tune with your boat, and can also perform vital fluid maintenance.”

Making sure oil is at the proper level and changing it regularly benefits your diesel engine in innumerable ways. While a diesel engine may run at low rpms it’s still working hard whenever it is running, and the engine oil does more than lubricate moving parts and reduce friction. Oil also keeps piston and cylinders cool, and protects the walls, valves and turbochargers by acting as a sealant to stop corrosion.

Whether or not to change your own engine oil depends on your mechanical skill level. Most new boats have oil-changing pumps that make it easy to get the oil out, but older boats don’t have such conveniences. You’ve got to get down and dirty to find the oil pan and drain the oil. The bottom line is changing the oil can be a big job that’s not worth the hassle. However, it’s a great idea to know how to change filters and add oil when needed.

Marine fire suppression systems thwart boat blazes


Fire suppression systems can stop blazes early.

A boat fire demands quick and decisive action since even the beginnings of a fire can create poisonous smoke and cause health problems for passengers. Having a fire suppression system in your engine room, smoke detectors in enclosed cabins, and passengers who know how to react to a boat fire can mean the difference between life and death, and that’s what I wrote for the Engine Room column in the December 2016 edition of Southern Boating magazine. “In the event of a fire, it is not uncommon to panic,” says Steve Ellis Jr., Sea-Fire Marine’s marketing director, a leading marine fire-suppression equipment manufacturer. “Having a fire safety plan and familiarizing operators/crew members with that plan can be instrumental in the efficient mitigation of a potential fire hazard.”

Fire detection systems alert vessel operators of situations requiring immediate attention. Heat detectors, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors identify potential hazards in the origin stages allowing authorized personnel and equipment to quickly identify the potential hazard before conditions worsen. “It’s important to install a properly sized system and maintain it,” says Keith Larson, Fireboy-Xintex’s vice-president of sales and marketing, another leading manufacturer. “A fixed automatic fire suppression system in the engine room and smoke detectors in the living
spaces are needed on larger boats.”

Boats carry fuel, batteries, propane, alcohol, wood, plastic, and fabric, and when these materials burn a specific type of chemical agent fire extinguisher is required to suppress the fire.

Read the entire article

The wondrous windlass provides heavy-duty anchor lifting


A windlass does heavy-duty: raising and lowering the anchor

Dropping anchor in a beautiful cove is often the goal of cruising boat enthusiasts, who seek and set sail for stunning destinations only accessed by water. To aid anchor deployment and retrieval, most cruising vessels are equipped with a windlass, and power options include manual, electric or hydraulic. The electrically powered windlass is the type most often used on cruisers, and is the subject of the Engine Room column I wrote for the November 2016 issue of Southern Boating magazine. Vertical windlass designs have the electric motor and rope/chain gypsy (the chain wheel that the chain and rope roll up on) installed in a compartment just below deck on the bow, while horizontal designs have the entire lifting assembly mounted on the bow and covered for protection. An electric windlass allows the anchor line to pay out at a controlled speed as you deploy your anchor. When you’re ready to haul the anchor up, you hit the switch and the electric motor hauls in your chain and anchor.

Windlass technology does not change quickly, yet there have been advancements in metallurgic compounds and motor and gearbox designs. For example, Anchorlift uses AISI 316L-grade solid stainless steel for the production of all of its models and accessories. John Lynch, Anchorlift general manager, explains why. “The reason is durability and stability of the material. AISI 316L stainless steel is the best available, and we don’t use nylon, aluminum or plastic because we feel these reduce performance and compromise the durability of the windlass.”

Read the entire article