Next week we will return with more posts on boating tips and cautionary boating tales, but we just wanted to offer a quick weekend update to refresh your memory on some of the important events happening.
Don’t forget today is the official start of the 2012 National Safe Boating Week and it runs through the 25th. Take a look at the Safe Boating Campaign website for more information, to join, or to see events.
Today also is the third-annual “Ready, Set, Wear It!” Life Jacket World Record Day. Everyone is looking to beat the 2011 record of 1,685 life jackets worn worldwide.
The National Safe Boating Week kickoff isn’t just about setting a record, however – everyone who spends time on the water is encouraged to find the perfect, properly fitting life jacket. There are numerous options based on comfort, build, and need.
Take this opportunity to refresh your own boating knowledge and share with others. It’s never too early to teach children about boating safety, nor is it a bad time to give your own boat a safety check. Businesses or clubs in your city also may be holding events in honor of National Safe Boating Week.
Hopefully the weather is beautiful for all of you this weekend! See you here on Monday!
If you weren’t already aware, National Safe Boating Week is approaching quickly! Starting the 19th, those with a love of spending time on the water are encouraged to put on a properly-fitted life jacket and refresh their boating safety knowledge.
We have a series of goodies coming up next week in preparation for National Safe Boating Week, so stay tuned! In the meantime, take a few minutes and check out the FLW Boating Safety Challenge:
Entering is easy. Take the 10-question quiz until you pass with seven correct answers. Then, submit your information for a chance to win a trip for two to the FLW Forrest Wood Cup! Share your results on your social media pages for even more opportunities to win!
If you want to brush up on your boating knowledge, here’s our Boaters Safety Quiz:
The quiz can easily be shared or added to your website.
We, as well as everyone involved in National Safe Boating Week, always encourage responsible and safe boating practices. We look forward to the next couple weeks and hope you do, too!
What do you get when you cross an online boating safety quiz with social media? You get the FLW Boating Safety Challenge, a contest launched in April by BOATERexam.com and the FLW Outdoors Foundation. Designed to raise awareness about boating safety, the contest features a 10-question quiz that tests the participant’s knowledge on a wide range of boating topics. Correctly answering 8 questions earns an entry into a draw.
With a grand prize of an all-expense-paid trip to the Forrest Wood Cup, bass fishing’s biggest annual event, this contest is sure to get lots of interest from avid anglers—the most enthusiastic can give themselves a great edge in the draw. By sharing the quiz through Twitter or Facebook, participants can earn extra entries. Every referral that completes the quiz is an extra entry into the draw. It’s as easy as that.
The contest runs until July 8th, 2012. A draw for the winner will be held shortly thereafter and winners will travel to Duluth, Georgia for the event from August 9th-12th, 2012.
To take the quiz and get entered into the FLW Boating Safety Challenge, visit: http://www.boaterexam.com/challenge/.
Do a lot of boating? Thinking about doing a lot of boating? If you answered yes to either of these questions there’s a chance you could use a refresher or an initial lesson on knots. Below are some of the more popular nautical knots brought to you in technicolor…well, at least in moderately clear digital video via the wonders of YouTube!
How to tie a bowline knot.
Clove hitch knot
Figure eight/flemish/savoy knot
Fisherman’s Knot (also known as angler’s knot, English knot, Englishman’s bend, halibut knot, true lover’s bend, waterman’s knot)
Lark’s head knot (also known as a cow hitch or lanyard hitch)
Rolling Hitch (also known as the magner’s hitch, magnus hitch, tautline hitch)
Round Turn and Two Half Hitches
Sheet Bend (also known as a common bend or flag bend)
Double Sheet Bend
Thumb Knot/Overhand knot
For more knots and info please check out the sources of these great videos:
If you’re not a follower of technology news it’s quite possible that you never learned about the demise of Geocities, a web hosting service that started in 1994. To make a long story short, it was eventually purchased by Yahoo! and then shut down in the United States in 2009.
In the early days of the internet, it was one of the more popular hosting providers, and with its demise also came the demise of an immense amount of websites with a ton of great information. So in an effort to talk about some other things useful to those of you interested in our pontoon boats, we thought we’d point you to a revived version of a popular old site on GeoCities that we thought had gone down with the ship. For you knot enthusiasts, there’s a new version of the Notable Knot Index formerly available at http://www.geocities.com/roo_two/knotindex.html that you can find here.
What makes for the best performance boat? Is it speed? Handling? How about luxury? Or is it the obvious combination of all of these features? Every boat model offers its own unique features, which can make choosing the right boat a difficult task, especially when considering different types of boats.
The bowrider and pontoon are two entirely different boats, but they are increasingly similar in their performance. This comparison looks at Manitou’s X-PLODE model pontoon—one of the fastest, most comfortable pontoons on the market—and the Cobalt 276—the Bentley of sportboats.
Photo courtesy of Manitou Pontoon Boats
The Manitou X-PLODE sits at the cross-section of speed, luxury and ultimate comfort. Its innovative design is unlike any other pontoon, with sportboat handling specifications, an impressive platform for watersports enthusiasts, a variety of floor plan options, plenty of features for entertaining and more.
Sport handling package
Let’s look at the X-PLODE’s sport handling package. The X-PLODE is a performance boat unlike any other, because it offers a pontoon feel and V-hull characteristics. Manitou’s trademarked triple tube design is what allows for maximum handling and comfort. The design consists of a lowered center tube with a larger diameter and lifting strakes on each side of the three tubes, that when put into a turn, perform much like a fiberglass V-hull. Your guests will experience more comfort and relaxation as they are not pushed to either side of the boat with each turn.
Manitou’s X-PLODE offers standard features that most sport boats don’t include standard or even offer as optional features. Manitou includes features of the likes of portable cup holders, a mooring cover, a stern toy box, privacy curtain kit and a color-matched steering wheel. Here is a complete list of standard features:
- 12 volt outlet and iPod/Mp3 holder and input jack
- AM and FM Sony CD player w/ set of 6 speakers
- Anodized rub rail w/ stainless steel dock guard
- Anodized walls
- Bimini anchor light
- Carpet – shaw (taupe)
- Cooler – 24 can, hard side
- Corner castings – stainless steel
- Crossmembers – extruded aluminum
- Cupholders – portable
- Cupholders – stainless steel
- Deck – limited lifetime warranty
- Depth gauge
- Dinette table
- Docking lights – LED
- Fasteners – stainless steel
- Fuel gauge
- Furniture – Comfort Touch marine vinyl
- Furniture – extended starboard chaise
- Gas tank – built-in, 51 gallon
- Helm chair – reclines mid-back w/ self-leveling arms
- Helm chair – automotive-style slider
- Helm – fiberglass w/ Soft Touch automotive-style top
- Ladder – stainless steel, stern entry
- Lift gates
- Light – courtesy
- Master on/off battery switch
- Mooring cleats – 4 regular, stainless steel
- Mooring cover
- Mooring eyes
- Motor mount – aluminum w/ splash shields
- Navigation lights – LED
NMMA certified using ABYC standards
- Nose cones – anti-spray integrated splash fins
- Pontoon tube riser – full-length
- Privacy station curtain kit
- Seat hinges – hands-free loading
- Ski tow bar
- Steering wheel – color-matched
- Swim platforms – built-in
- Trim gauge – w/ pre-rig
- Waste basket
Still swooning over the X-PLODE’s awesome dose of standard features? That’s nothing. The available options for this model exceed all expectations. Manitou offers optional features like a portable table capable of rolling within the boat; a galley with sink for entertaining and storing tableware and party favors; and a portable barbeque grill. Other options include a bow filler bench, stainless steel bimini frame and a power bimini for those who aren’t a fan of elbow grease. Here is a complete list of optional features:
- BBQ grill
- Battery charging system
- Acrylic tubes
- Bimini top – power arm
- Bow gate filler seat bench
- Center in-tube storage
- Cooler – 24 can, hard side
- Cupholders – portable
- Dock bumper
- Double bimini top – stainless steel
- Dual battery smart switch
- Enclosure – full
- Enclosure – stern
- Galley w/ sink
- Helm chair – reclining high back w/ self-leveling arms and bolster
- Hydraulic pedestal for helm chair
- Ladder – versa-trac, 4 step
- Lighting – blue LED for cupholders
- Lighting – blue LED for exterior
- Lighting – track, blue LED for interior
- Porta potti
- Portable table
- Rear fiberglass decking w/ custom floor mats
- Ski mirror
- Sirius satellite radio
- Ski tow storage rack
- Vinyl floor – full deck
Manitou also offers a variety of floor plans for their X-PLODE model. The standard deck plan offers classic L-shaped lounge seating along the portside, making adventures at the end of the towline easy and exciting to watch. This design provides three entry gates—at the bow, stern and portside. The standard design is wheelchair accessible through the portside gate and boats plenty of room for comfort. Other features of the standard deck plan include two lounges at the bow, an optional dining table, sunpad at the stern and vast wet storage.
The PT floor plan allows for more intimate gatherings in the bow, with two comfortable bucket seats to port. It also maintains the starboard lounge and L-shaped seating, as well as a sunpad with storage.
The 2012 X-PLODE comes with a variety of color and graphic options to allow boat designs to match everyone’s style and taste. Each model is available in a unique design and with neutral or colored walls, matching graphics and color-coordinated interior vinyl.
The standard colors are red, black, burgundy and blue. Learn more about the color packages here.
The Manitou X-PLODE starts at $68,988 with standard features, but its final price depends on the preferred packages and features of the buyer.
Check out this video of the X-PLODE in action.
Photo courtesy of boattest.com
The Cobalt 276 offers an advantage in sportboat design and performance with a distinct bow layout and desired specifications. This model comes with a host of standard features and optional items for a luxurious bowrider experience. Its lightweight material construction allows for improved efficiency without sacrificing strength.
The 276 has a range of standard features not often seen on boats in class. It has a fiberglass liner, swim platform fully integrated into the hull, molded-in graphics and an electric riser for the motor box. More standard features include:
- AM/FM CD w/ 6 speakers and amplifier
- Aluminum windshield w/ stainless steel cap
- Bow scuff plate – stainless steel
- Carpet in the cockpit
- Depth and water/air temp gauge pkg.
- Engine vents – stainless steel
- Gel coat liner in engine room
- Head – portable
- Mini wet bar – in cockpit
- Outlet – 12-volt Acc
- Removable ski pylon
- Swim ladder – starboard boarding
- Swim platform
- Wood/dash trim pkg.
Cobalt’s 276 excludes a lot of typical standard features and instead offers them as optional features. This is because not everyone would utilize these items for a boat of this size and price range. The 276’s optional features include:
- Bimini top
- Cockpit cover
- Dinette table for cockpit
- Head – fixed
- Porcelain toilet
- Teak table – port side
- Transom shower
- Trim tabs
This model is a big bowrider, with a standard, trailerable beam, high freeboard, massive helm seat, advanced cockpit utility and standing-access to the anchor.
The Cobalt’s cockpit contains wraparound seating, a wide companion seat to port that doubles as a lounger and a seatback that bends forward as the stern sunpad’s backrest. The cockpit also includes double-stitched upholstery, snap-in carpet and mini wet bar.
The helm seat of this model is huge, comfortable and well-built, able to slide fore and aft. It also has a high back and padded flip-up bolster. Its only disadvantage is its inability to be raised and lowered.
Forward of the companion seat, the head includes a wide door to the compartment and comfortable sitting clearance. There is also a small sink to port, as well as a porta-potti.
The Cobalt’s bow contains an inclined backrest and U-shaped seating without the forward most part, as to create a bow with more utility. This allows passengers to sit facing forward and for easy access to the anchor while standing.
Cobalt offers an exceptional warranty for the 276. There is a 10-year limited warranty on the hull and deck, five-year warranty on the engine, five years on the accessories and three years on the gel coat.
The base price of the Cobalt 276, powered by a single MerCruiser 8.2L gas engine and Bravo III dual-prop drive is $120,606.
Take a look at the Cobalt 276 on the water.
This boater safety quiz was assembled by the online marketing team here at Manitou Pontoon Boats with the help of our friends at Discover Boating and BoatSafe.com. If you’re interested in adding the quiz to your site, just press the “Add Quiz to Your Website” button and copy and paste the code contained within to the html editor in your site. Please help us spread the word about boating safety by sharing this quiz with family and friends!
There’s nothing worse for a boating enthusiast than to sit idly through the winter months in painful anticipation of warmer weather (even if you do have some sort of beautiful northern getaway complete with log products, bear skin rugs and a nice fire place). That’s why Manitou has consulted some of the best names in boating to compile a list of ways to keep busy in the off-season. Take a look at our tips for off-season maintenance, inventory and fun to make sure your boat is ready to go the moment spring arrives.
First things first: You must make sure your boat is in safe storage. Make sure that snow does not accumulate on top of your boat, if stored outside. Even boats that have been shrink-wrapped during the winterization process can be damaged by extensive snow and ice accumulation. Wyatt Hanks, Education Manager for the Marine Mechanics Institute in Orlando, Florida sums up what successful winterization looks like with these tips:
- First make a checklist of all winterizing tasks that need to be accomplished.
- Check the owner’s manual of your boat and motor(s) for manufacturer’s recommendations on winterization.
- If you are a new boat owner, perhaps you should employ the assistance of a friend with experience in winterizing—or, hire a professional to do the job.
- When it comes time to de-winterize, remember that each boat will vary in what is required, so consult your boat’s owner’s manual or boat mechanic.
First things first: You must make sure your boat is in safe storage. Make sure that snow does not accumulate on top of your boat, if stored outside. Even boats that have been shrink-wrapped during the winterization process can be damaged by extensive snow and ice accumulation.
Next, take an inventory of your safety kit with these guidelines from Manitou. Make sure you have all that is required by your state to be legal on the water for the upcoming season. It’s also important to ensure your fire extinguisher is in working order. Make sure:
- The pressure is at the recommended level – On extinguishers equipped with a gauge (such as that shown on the right), the needle should be in the green zone—not too high and not too low.
- The nozzle and other parts are not hindered in any way.
- The pin and tamper seal (if it has one) are intact.
- There are no dents, leaks, rust, chemical deposits and/or other signs of abuse or wear – Wipe off any corrosive chemicals, oil, gunk, etc. that may have deposited on the extinguisher.
Beautify your boat
Now is one of the best times to make sure your boat’s interior and exterior features are in tip-top shape. Johnny Ramirez of Ramirez Boat Service LLC offers some tips for keeping your boat beautiful and in good condition.
- Get the hull waxed before you put it in the water – Use wetland compound if gelcoat is too oxidized.
- Get the topsides waxed – You could do this after you’ve been in the water, but it might require wetsanding and compounding if oxidized.
- Wax all your metals – This will prevent any type of rust buildup from prior years and keep them looking good without replacement.
- Apply two coats of varnish to any teak wood on the exterior – Do this as a precaution. Remember, it’s easier and less expensive to maintain a boat than to run it down and make replacements.
- Have your interior steps and companionway checked out – They may need some varnish while the boat isn’t being used and able to dry completely.
- Clean the bilge – This will prevent any unwanted odors.
- Have the interior detailed – This will curb mildew problems and also prevent any odors.
Here are a few more tips for a good-looking boat from Wyatt Hanks:
- Wash your boat at least once a week – This will ensure the finish lasts longer.
- Routinely inspect and clean the bottom of your boat – It comes into constant contact with the water and needs special attention. This tip may even save you money on fuel.
- Spend regular time cleaning the boat’s carpet, upholstery and wood accents to preserve the value of your boat.
- Grease all parts that require it.
Keep things running smoothly
Of maybe the most importance in off-season boat care is engine maintenance. We suggest these tips for winter maintenance:
- Change all spark plugs – Spark plugs are cheap and easy to replace, so taking this precaution can save you time and money once boating and fishing season actually starts.
- Check and tighten belts if needed, especially the alternator belt – A belt that’s not tight will wear faster. The belt should fit snugly in the pulley grooves. If not, the belt is worn and needs to be replaced.
- Change the fuel filter, making sure the fuel line is not cracked – those in warm climates are lucky as the winters aren’t extremely cold. But, for some other climates, the combination of cold weather and several months of dryness can crack the fuel line. The fuel filter should be changed yearly as a precaution.
- Check the oil – This falls under the obvious category, but it’s still necessary. Oil has a tendency to gum after several months of disuse. It may be necessary to drain the old oil and replace with a totally new batch.
- Check the battery – Use a battery tester to see if the batteries still have a charge. Also check for corrosion, being careful not to contact any leaking acidic substances. This is important. You don’t want to be on the middle of the lake, or, worse, the ocean with dead batteries.
Have some fun
Aside from making sure your boat is in beautiful, functioning condition, there are plenty of others ways to pass time in the off-season. Andrew Canepari of The Daily Boater encourages enthusiasts to get revved up for warmer weather in a few fun ways.
- Attend boat shows – The off-season for boating is the busiest time of year for indoor boat shows, with convention centers displaying the latest and greatest boats and marine gear all over the world. Boat shows not only have a wide array of boats and products all in one place, but you can usually also find pretty good deals as exhibitors will often have special offers to maximize their marketing budget. Check the boat show calendar on FirstBoat.com for current and upcoming boat shows near you. http://www.firstboat.com/
- Listen to nautical-themed music – It puts you in the boating spirit when you can’t get out on the water. The obvious choices are the likes of Jimmy Buffett and Kenny Chesney, but we also love nautical songs performed with passion by independent artists, ocean conservationists, and anybody that mentions water in their lyrics. Tune in to the Daily Boater for our Sea Song of the Week every weekend to see our suggestions. http://www.dailyboater.com/p/sea-songs.html
- Brush up on boater safety – Whether or not your state requires boating safety education, courses by the Coast Guard Auxiliary and Power Squadrons are usually inexpensive, and will give you the chance to brush up on your nautical knowledge and make you a safer sailor. Take advantage of the off season and take a course on boating safety or seamanship. Start at the boating safety page on Firstboat.com to find resources for courses in your area: http://www.firstboat.com/safety.html
- Plan ahead – If you are going to trailer your boat to new destinations make your plans and reservations now. The most popular boating destinations fill up fast. The sooner you call, the better chance you have of finding the ideal spot for you and your boat.
You might also enjoy these good-time tips from Wyatt Hanks:
- Go Fishing – There is usually good fishing in the off-season. Talk with local fisherman and see if they know of any good spots to fish. Find out what type of bait they use and any other tips they might be willing to share with you.
- Find some projects – This may also be the best time to do any restoration jobs that may have your boat out of commission for a period of time.
There have been many changes to our pontoons, and pontoons in general since we first began building pontoons more than 25 years ago. The graphic below lays out some of the more significant changes to various Manitou models over the years. Feel free to share this with your friends or share your thoughts in the comments below.
Just copy and paste the code below into your html editor to add this to your site.
The days of dollar per gallon gasoline seem like little more than a distant memory these days. This isn’t lost to us (we think about more than just making awesome pontoon boats, y’know…). So with that in mind we compiled some of our own fuel saving tips and also asked some other prominent boaters.
From Chuck Fort at BoatUS
- Lightening the load is one of easiest no-cost things to save on gas. Boats tend to collect stuff over the years; clear out all of the junk that’s been stored that you no longer need. Don’t top off fresh water tanks, just keep enough for the day – water weighs eight pounds per gallon, which can really add up. Also, keep your fuel tank between 1/4 to 1/2 full. If, for example, you have a 135 gallon gas tank, keeping only 50 or 60 gallons in the tank can make you lighter by about 500 lbs (gas weighs about seven pounds per gallon).
- Get a tune-up. An annual tune-up is a must if you’re truly serious about saving gas. Make sure your engine air intakes are not restricted – you will burn fuel less efficiently if they are.
- Check the prop. A dinged and bent prop can rob you of 10% of your fuel costs. Prop shops can use a machine to tell how far out of specification your prop might be and repair it like new. They can also advise as to whether you might need a prop of a different diameter or pitch for best efficiency.
- Paint the bottom. For boats docked in salt or brackish water, keeping the fuel-robbing “green gunk” growth from adhering to your boat’s hull can save a lot of fuel.
- Check the trim tabs. Unbalanced boats chew up the gas. Ensure that trim tabs function properly and make sure you know how to use them.
- Avoid excessive idling and warm ups at the dock.
- Finally, check out some locations that are nearer to you – you might find a hidden gem and save fuel to boot.
From our own staff here at Manitou
- Make sure that your hull does not have growth (barnacles, algae, etc.) and is clean to ensure maximum speed and efficiency.
- Follow the procedures on maintenance from the engine manufacturer for your outboard engine.
- Decide what speed you would like to average most of the time and go with an engine that is larger than what you require. Running a 200 Hp engine at half throttle will be more fuel efficient than a 115 or a 150 that is running at maximum speed and RPMs.
- Correct prop selection is key. A bad match up for specific boat and engine combination will destroy efficiency.
- Prop condition, keep in as new condition. Damaged prop blades will negatively impact efficiency.
- Every boat/engine combination has an optimum cruise speed. When traveling distances using the optimum cruise speed will ensure the best fuel economy. Boats equipped with ICON, Smartcraft or other digital set-ups can utilize these systems to optimize fuel consumption. This data can also be obtained through performance reports done by engine companies.
From Bryan Hermann (Manitou customer)
- Weight Distribution. Try to keep the bow of the boat light. Store anchors, tools and spare props towards the rear of the boat, life jackets, towels and dock ropes towards the front. A bow heavy boat will push more water, causing excessive fuel usage. Loading like this will keep your bow high and dry.
- Prop for economy. The use of a 4 blade prop or a “Round Ear” 3 blade will diminish prop slip. The better the bite, the better the fuel economy. Bigger diameter, less pitch will also create less slip.
- Document Trips. Use a GPS and track your miles traveled, compare that to gallons of fuel used. You can track your economy for different driving habits. Once you figure out where your best economy range is. You can stick to that RPM range and trim setting.
- Drop your top! When your bimini top is up, even in the bimini cover, its like a parachute catching wind. Put your top down low, in the “Trailering” position. If you normally run with the top completely up, on nice days when the sun is not partially out. Go ahead and take it down. You wouldn’t believe the fuel savings, just by going topless.