Cautionary Tales in Boating Safety: Part 1

As part of our series of posts on safe boating, we will be presenting four real stories of people who have had dangerous or scary boating experiences. These individuals have shared these tales in hopes of helping others who may encounter the same situations. Regardless of whether or not an accident is unavoidable, the most important factor is what’s ultimately learned from it.

Ken Beckstead

Ken Beckstead (right) and friend Jeff Moschin. Photo courtesy of Ken.

There’s one unsettling boating experience Nevada resident Ken Beckstead will never forget.

While waterskiing at Kings River, he said he suddenly saw a jet boat traveling toward a narrow part of the river. The boat was equipped with a jetovator, a device that sprays water out of a jet propulsion system.  Because the spray is about 50 feet high and 200 feet back, it cannot be traveled through due to risk of bodily harm.

Although Beckstead was able to get to the side of the river and away from the jet boat, he said other boaters had no escape route. One of the trapped boats contained children.

“The jet boat actually went over the top of the boat with kids in a side on collision,” he said. “The kids were pressed down in their boat by the jet boat hull.”

Ambulances were called, and there were no serious injuries, Beckstead said. However, it remains an example of how some people get terrible results from showing off their fast boats at the worst times.

“Luckily the jet boat had no external propeller,” he said. “The kids would have been cut to pieces.”

He said he remembers another similar story of a man on a jet ski who left the shore and was suddenly side impacted by a boat traveling about 60 miles per hour. No one saw the man lying face down in the water except Beckstead’s friend on shore.

“It was too far to swim out to the guy,” he said. “He died before anyone in the water saw him.”

He said although he has owned different kinds of freshwater and ocean boats for the past thirty years, he never utilized fast speeds unless he was the only boat around for at least a mile. If the motor in any jet propelled vessel suddenly dies, the driver has no control over steering or braking.

He suggests never letting anyone without experience drive a boat because the wakes can sink a boater not familiar with crossing waves correctly. In addition, people should scan around their boat at least every minute for their own safety.

“The best advice I can give is to take a safe boating class,” Beckstead said. “Once you actually get on the water there is only one rule, never trust anyone.”

 

Pontoon Boat Cleaning Tips

The following post actually comes from our friend Bryan Hermann from www.ezfender.com, who shared this tale of tube polishing and protecting on the Pontoon Forums website, and it was so detailed we figured we’d share. Thanks Bryan!

For those who are interested in polishing and protecting the tubes on your pontoon boat, here is a list of materials and step by step process to make your tubes shine like a mirror.

Start out getting the right tools and supplies.

I bought 2 quarts of Sharkhide Protectant http://www.sharkhide.com/index.html, 2 quarts of Cleaner and 1 can of polish. This ended up being more than enough to do 2 boats, actually.

I used my 8″ 3000 to 8000 RPM Sander/ Polisher and 5 buffing pads

-1 gallon of Lacquer thinner

-About 2 dozen old cotton rags and 1 roll of paper towels

-600 and 1000 grit wet/dry sandpaper to sand out scratches

-1 brass chisel and a small dead blow hammer to knock of welding slag.

-Masking tape, I used 2″ wide

-Plastic to cover the trailer

pontoon cleaning picture one

1. Start out by removing any prior protectant by washing the pontoons off with lacquer thinner poured into a rag. If any protectant is on, you’ll see it dissolve. Get it all off, or the Cleaner won’t attack the aluminum, which is what you want it to do.

2. Next, when drying the pontoon off you can feel any slag which was splattered on the pontoon during the welding process. Remove this with a soft tap on a chisel with a hammer I could even just use my hand in most cases. Wet sand the rest off and any scratches you want to remove. In my case, it was the bad scratches down the center of my pontoons from the previous owners docking technique. I don’t think he had one!

3. Dry again. Then tape of all areas you are not going to treat and cover the trailer with plastic sheeting to protect them from the acid and polishing compound.

4. Get ready to clean…Dilute the Sharkhide Cleaner to strength needed. I diluted mine 3 parts water to 1 part cleaner in a garden sprayer or spray bottle. Spray on the cleaner, evenly, let it foam up. After about 3 minutes of working time, I rinsed it off with water. This left behind a nice white finish that will let the polishing compound do its job more easily.

5. Polish time! Working in about a 3 foot section, I started at the top of the pontoon and worked my way down in an S shape to the masking tape line at the trailer bunk. Clean excess compound from the pad when it builds up and starts to bite hard. Add more compound to the pontoon when it seems like it does not bite any more. You want it to bite into the aluminum to work properly. Clean the pontoon as you finish up each section with lacquer thinner. Go to the next section and repeat all the steps until you are done with that pontoon.

6. After the polishing is complete, wash the pontoon off with lacquer thinner to remove all residue left from the compound. Make sure you remove it all. Use white rags or paper towels and clean until you get no black residue on the rags. If the tube is not completely free of residue the Sharkhide will not stick to the aluminum.

7. After you are done, it is time to apply the Protectant. It does not take much! Use a clean rag and fold it to the size of your palm. Pour a little Protectant to the front of the rag and wipe it on the tube in 6 foot sections. I found that working in a right to left motion from top to bottom worked the best for me. I did miss a few small spots, but after the first coat cures, in about 24 to 36 hours, you apply the 2nd coat; you can catch all the spots, missed. Don’t try to apply to missed spots when it is still wet, it will dissolve the first application and look splotchy. After the second coat is on, you can either stop there or apply a third.

pool cleaning photo 2

 If anyone has any questions or comments, contact me at sales@ezfender.com