Shelter Cove Marina - October 2009 Newsletter
January 2014 - Marina eNewsletter
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Shelter Cove Marina
2240 Shelter Island Dr.
San Diego, Ca. 92106



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Happy New Year From the Marina Office!
Welcome to the January 2014 Shelter Cove Marina eNewsletter.

To start off the new year, we have some great articles for you in the January newsletter and a brand new format which we hope you'll enjoy.

On behalf of the staff we hope you all have a joyous, safe and prosperous new year! We look forward to seeing you on the docks in 2014!

Shaun McMahon - Marina Manager

Book Corner - Helpful Nautical Books to Read!
Here are a few helpful books we thought you'd enjoy!

Storm Tactics Handbook: Modern Methods of Heaving-to for Survival in Extreme Conditions
This book, describe concerns about the tendency of modern sailors to discard the classic methods used to bring sailing vessels of all sizes from vast clipper ships to tiny yachts through amazingly strong winds and heavy seas. With clear and concise diagrams, to shows how heaving-to works and how even the most modern of yachts can be made to heave-to, whether with only sail power or with the assistance of a sea anchor. Click Here to Order Your Copy!.

How to Read a Nautical Chart
This book explains every aspect of electronic and paper nautical charts: how a chart is assembled, how to gauge the accuracy of chart data, how to read charts created by other governments, how to use information such as scale, projection technique and datum that every chart contains; how not to get fooled or run aground by overzooming. Click Here to Order Your Copy!.

Navigation Rules: International - Inland
Did you know that the U.S. Coast Guard requires that all vessels 39 feet or longer must at all times have aboard a copy of the Inland and International Navigation Rules as presented by the United States Coast Guard. Click Here to Order Your Copy!.

Christian Marine Surveyors

Boating "App" of the Month
Got a new iPad or iPhone for Christmas? Here is an "aptly" named boating "App" you may be interested in downloading.

Skipper: Mobile charts done right.

A seamless chart-plotter, with data synced across all of your devices, and backed up to the cloud.

Convenience and power, charts
and weather, wherever you cruise. Includes an easy-to-use NOAA online chart viewer.
To see a list of 24 other great boating Apps previously published Click Here.

The Sea Trial - Would Your Boat Pass or Fail?
- By Bob Sherman
Certainly we would all like to think the answer would be "yes". However, it is surprisingly common to have issues arise during a sea trial, and occasionally some are deal breakers.
Usually it's the result of overdue, deferred maintenance. But sometimes even repairable issues are enough to scare off the prospective buyer. They may be able to laugh about it later, but no one will be happy if the boat gets towed back by Vessel Assist!

Put yourself in the Buyer's shoes. If it's a first-time buyer, they are making a big jump to purchase a yacht, both mentally and financially. They will expect the boat to have all the boat's main systems functioning properly.

If the boat looks nice cosmetically, the expectation is that it has been properly maintained mechanically as well. It is relatively common to have overdue bottom paint, or minor cosmetic issues like buff & wax, or canvas, but when it comes to engines, buyers will get nervous with a lot of red flags.

The most common issue we see as Brokers is a clogged cooling system. Salt water cools the heat exchanger, and on powerboats, also the transmission cooler, and turbocharger-aftercooler. It is best to follow the engine manufacturer's recommended interval for cleaning these components, which are usually 3 to 5 years.

We often see boats that have not had cooling systems cleaned in 5 to 7 years. At normal cruise RPM the engine temps may be near normal. However, the mechanical test-run during the sea trial usually includes a few minutes at full throttle.

If these components are clogged, the engines will overheat and the alarm buzzer may sound. Imagine how the buyer will feel when this happens, regardless of the explanation! Even if the seller steps up to take care of the issue, the buyer will now be suspicious and uncomfortable, and it may only take a couple minor issues to scare him or her off completely.

Even if the engines do not overheat, a clogged cooling system will cause dangerous back-pressure on hoses. If one bursts or pops loose, salt water will be sprayed everywhere, and the engine could quickly and catastrophically overheat. Not pretty.

It is always a good idea to have a mechanic check your engines annually, but especially before a major trip or when listing the boat for sale. If they see any "red flags" that would come up on survey, it is better to take care of them now, to make sure the boat sails through the sea trials with flying colors.

Other issues that we often see are abnormal vibrations from the running gear, marginal functioning of the steering system, weak or dead batteries, and frozen anchor windlasses.

Test out and exercise all your boat's equipment on a regular basis. Again, if you use your boat regularly and/or maintain it properly, none of these things should crop up.

But when the decision is made to sell a boat, it is probably not getting the attention that is used to. It makes sense to pre-sea trial your boat with the listing Broker to see what works and what does not. They can advise you on what to fix, what to replace, and what to leave alone.

Editor's Note: Bob Sherman has over 20 years of Yacht sales experience and is the owner of Yacht-Source. He is also qualified to instruct on all vessel types, and has held 100-ton Captain's license since 1982. He is an avid sailor, and scuba diver. You can send an e-mail to Bob at

Tommy J's Favorites - Viking LPG Propane Tanks
- By Tom Jarvis
Viking Cylinders is the new North American brand for Norway's Hexagon Ragasco fiberglass composite LPG cylinders. Trident Marine is the master North American distributor.

These cylinders are approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and are proven to be safer than steel propane gas tanks. They will not corrode over time, and due to fire and bullet tests that were conducted the cylinders are completely explosion proof.

In the event of a fire the cylinder will burn off and the plastic liner and casing will melt allowing the LPG to breathe through the cylinder wall and burn in a controlled manner. The cylinders are much lighter than steel propane tanks by fifty to sixty percent and twenty eight percent lighter than aluminum tanks.

They have a fifteen year life service from the date of manufacture, but they must be re-qualified by an authorized facility every five years. The Viking Cylinders are manufactured differently than the cylinders produced by the Lite Cylinder Company, who had a recall of their products.

Important Note: I wrote an article on The Lite Cylinder Company regarding their fiberglass propane light weight tanks. Since that article was written on March 26th 2012 there was a recall issued by the Department of Transportation (DOT) – Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) on October 10, 2012 suspending the Lite Cylinder's permits to manufacture fiberglass propane tanks. The report is very complete and lengthy; you can read the entire report at the following this link.

If you still have a Lite Cylinder Propane Tank stop using it immediately and report the tank to the DOT and they will instruct you as to the proper handling of the tank. Everyone should have been made aware of this more than a year ago and this is just added precaution to make sure you have been notified and you have taken the proper course of action.

Stay "fresh" out there and have a great New Year!

Editor's Note: Tom Jarvis is the Vice President of the Board of Directors of the SuperYacht Association and he also performs outside Marketing and Sales for the San Diego Marine Exchange. Click Here to email your boating product questions to Tom.

A Brief Discussion About AIS and the Recreational Boater
- By Captain H. G. "Rags" Laragione
I can forsee the day when all vessels will be required to have an AIS System aboard (Automatic Identification System), but it may be too expensive for many smaller vessels to install one at present.

In the simplest of terms, AIS is a "marine traffic" identification system designed originally as an important adjunct to radar to help avoid collisions. Like Air Traffic Control, a true AIS system requires a vessel to have both a receiver and a transponder.

The receiver lets you see the other vessels in your vicinity - who they are; how big they are; what their heading and speed and closest point of approach is, and even sometimes a photo of the vessel, etc.

The transponder lets the other vessels "see" your vessel and what your vital statistics are including your unique MMSI identification number.

AIS would of course only work in the perfect sense if everybody on the water was participating, but today commercial, military, and large yachts are the principal users.

The thing to be aware of however, is if you don't have AIS aboard but you do have Internet access, there are some free websites such as that rebroadcast AIS data so you can at least "see" the other vessels around you.

Of course if you are using services like ATT or Verizon on your tablet PC to access a web site like, your access will be limited to the reach of near coastal cell technology (maybe 20 miles?).

But if you have satellite Internet access you'd be able to receive AIS data where it really counts - like on a transit from the California Coast to Catalina which takes you through some major shipping lanes.

If you do take your boat on open ocean cruises, I recommend making a visit to your local marine electronics store and have them give you a demonstration of AIS. It might help make you be a more safe and prudent mariner.

Captain Laragione is the President of The Maritime Institute which offers USCG approved courses for mariners. Curriculum ranges from the maritime rules of the road to the 1600 Ton Captain's License. Captain Laragione is well known for his motto - "The key to safe boating is education; so let's get educated!"

Winterizing Tips for Southern California Boaters
- By Kells Christian
Highs in the 70's and lows in the 50's, that's one reason we live here. Unless you leave your boat at a high elevation, you don't need to worry about the engine block, gear case or exhaust manifold cracking. You also don't have to bother with filling the fresh water system with anti-freeze, and you don't have to haul the boat for the winter.

So there are a lot of things you don't need to do but what should you do?

Prepare for the rain. Winter is our rainy season, and whether your boat is stored in the water or on a trailer, a little preparation will minimize resulting damage.

Boats on trailers or tenders on chocks should be stored bow up with the drain plug out. The bilge should be clear of debris that can plug the drain hole. Every spring we handle a few insurance claims due to "trailer submersions".

Covers should be inspected and serviced. They should be installed to prevent puddling, secure to prevent being blown loose and they should cover all the parts you don't want exposed to the sun.

The rain is an easy way for you to find leaks, or at least to become aware they exist. Take the opportunity to maintain and re-bed the deck hardware, service hatches, windows and port lights.

Ventilate, by coming down and opening the boat up during the beautiful days and/or installing ventilation devices. Someone will come to their boat in the spring and be enlightened as to how fast mold (fungi) can grow. It won't grow without significant moisture, which is the only factor you control.

While you are visiting the boat spend a few minutes operating the systems, run the engine, engage the transmission, flush the head, cycle pumps and motors and maybe go for a ride, you're paying the So Cal lifestyle "tax", you should enjoy it!

If your boat or tender has an outboard and you won't use it for five months, run the gasoline out of the carburetor and fuel lines, consider stabilizing fuel and follow the manufacturer's suggestions. Take measures to inhibit corrosion over the winter as appropriate. Service through hull valves, shut the valves that will not be used and make sure cockpit and deck drain valves are open. Check and service bilge pumps and their automatic switches, batteries and charging systems.

Thieves are aware you don't come to your boat much. Make your boat less attractive to them - lock the doors and hide the key somewhere different or unique, not in the cockpit locker where all your neighbors hide their key. Conceal the pricey electronics and buy that live-aboard neighbor a bottle of her favorite wine to get a little more attention paid to your boat while you are away.

The winter is also a good time to get some work done. The boatyards and trades are slower now than they will be in March. Many boatyards have specials during the holiday season for extended laydays and do-it-yourself projects.

Take advantage of your time and energy you are devoting to "winterizing", by making your own custom check list. Do a little internet research, remember that lesson you learned, write it down and edit the list when you get more ideas, it will be a good read next winter.

Remember the San Diego Sunroad Boatshow is coming on January 23 – 26, 2014, see you there.

Kells Christian has been an accredited Marine Surveyor since 1990. His expertise extends to both recreational and commercial vessels. Kells was Regional Director of Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS) for 2 years and a prominent member of numerous other industry organizations. You can e-mail your marine surveyor questions to or Click Here to visit his web site.

Keeping Your Sailboat's Diesel Fuel Contamination Free
- By Richard Benscoter
One of the challenges sail boaters face is that the minimal usage of our diesel fuel can cause contamination problems. (My envious power boat friends describe sail boat fuel usage as microscopic).

When I go sailing, even with warming up my engine for at least an hour before leaving the dock, I use less than a quart of fuel.

Having gallons of fuel on board with very little usage makes the possibility of contamination very high. This is of course true of power boats as well as sailboats.

Water is the number one contaminate and killer of diesel fuel, and it can get into fuel tanks mainly by condensation - but heating and cooling of the tank, leaking fuel filler caps, and improper vent lines and fill hoses can also allow the introduction of water.

With the introduction of water, diesel can begin to grow "bugs". These Micro-organisms will cause diesel fuel degradation and the formation of waste products. This process is similar to yeast eating away at sugars when you make wine turning the grapes into alcohol with the waste falling to the bottom of the fermenter.

Even though microbes can cause and accelerate the process of fuel degradation, the waste products falling to the bottom of our fuel tanks are not the microbes, but fuel components consumed which have formed solids. Adding a biocide to your fuel will kill the bugs but it will turn them into solids that will remain affixed to the tank walls and baffles or fall to the bottom of your tank.

The usual sign of fuel bugs is sediment visible in primary filter bowl or filter, clogging filters and fuel that is dirty in color. So if you see these signs what should you do?

Firstly determine the cause, check the fuel filler caps for proper sealing, the fill hose and vent lines for fit integrity and replace any defective items. Next check your fuel tank for a low point drain. Most tanks have a low point with a plug installed. If you can gain access to this plug with an appropriate container slowly remove the plug and drain the low point until you see clear fuel.

Next, you should filter out all the suspended particles in the fuel. This is called fuel polishing. This is where the fuel in the tank is run through a series of external filters numerous times to remove all the suspended particles, including water, out of the fuel. This process is costly and specialized, depending on the number of gallons of fuel in your tank, so it might be cost effective to go to a fuel dock to have them removed and the old fuel replaced with new fuel.

(Note: Did you know that you also polish your fuel as your engines runs and depending on the size of your tank you could polish the complete in a few hours.)

The fuel pump system sends more fuel to the engine injector pump than it needs to run the engine, and the unused fuel is returned to the tank. As an example my Universal M35B electric fuel pump delivers about 25 gallons per hour to the injector pump, to the run the engine. The engine at 2500 RPM, consumes about 1 gallon per hour.

The rest of the fuel (24 gallons) returned to the tank. So in reality the fuel is being drawn from the tank through the primary filter, through the secondary filter and if not burned, back to the tank thus getting polished every hour or so as the tank only holds 25 gallons.

So here are some tips on how to avoid fuel contamination:

1. Check your hoses and filler caps and vents yearly.

2. Keep your fuel tank full - this controls heating and cooling which means less condensation.

3. Consider running your engine for an hour or so ever so often - it's good for your engine and it helps polish your fuel. I do this before I change fuel filters every year.

4. If you do not use much fuel every year consider having it removed and replaced. Depending on tank size this may be cost effective compared to the damage caused by bad fuel.

5. Check, and if required, drain you filter bowl before you start your engine.

6. Change your fuel filters yearly.

Happy sailing, and the best to you and your family for 2014! See you on the water.

Richard BenscoterEditor's Note: Richard Benscoter is a long time avid sailor. He and his wife Debbie are both avid sailors and members of the Silver Gate Yacht Club and owner of the Mariners Woodshop. If you have a sailing question for Richard, send e-mail to I Like
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