Boating Tips    Some Things You May Care to Try, Especially for Long Distance Cruises.      Compiled by Lea Cook (web mistress)

Marking Your Anchor Chain:  Whether  cruising, chartering, or just weekending on a boat, chances are you will at some point need to anchor. It is always good to know how much rode you will need to be safely anchored. Without markings it is pretty hard to make sure your scope will be five to one or seven to one as needed. The simplest way to do this is just to mark sections of chain (line) using a single color. This could be every 20 or 25 feet. All you need to do is count the number of times you see a colored section of links pass in front of you to know the length. The problem with this is that sometimes we lose count. 

To be more accurate and avoid any mistakes (especially if the sun is low on the horizon) I propose a different method: The one I use is pretty simple and allows you to know the length without having to count down as the chain runs off the gipsy.




RED= 25' Warning

        A single blue marking = to 25 feet

        Two blue markings = to 50 feet

        Three blue markings = to 75 feet

        One white marking =100 foot section

        Red marking = warning indicating the last 25 feet in the rode.

(For the ease of the visual aid we only marked one link at a time but in reality it is better and easier to spray a section of links as one unit.)

This is also a great time to check if all links, shackles, and swivels are in good shape. As well as making sure the bitter end is tied properly and a seizing wire is securing the shackles.

~Happy cruising



Necessary Items for Cruising, especially long distance Cruises:

A good first aid kit. I've sewn up kids and relatives when we were boating so my kit is alittle more than you'll need. I keep my first aid kit in a small tackle box. Some basic items:

Sterile Gauze sponges (2" and 4")
Telfa pads
4" Coban bandage rolls
4" elastikon stretchy adhesive tape
Skin stapler, medium size
Tylenol or an NSAID such as naproxen, orudis, or ibuprofen
Clean dishtowel to make a cravat
Antibiotic ointment--Neosporin with lidocaine.
Sunscreen and aloe vera for sunburn
Immodium or some other antidiarrheal med such as Lomotil
Cold medicine--Dayquill or Nyquill. Nothing ruins a boat trip worse than if the little ones catch a cold.
Pantyliners--they are clean and absorb well as a dressing.
A small (5") good quality scissors-need to cut the tapes.
Isopropyl alcohol
Tums and ranatidine (Xantac) 150 mg.
Ace bandages
Very fine point tweezers (as mentioned already). Need to dig out the splinters from old wooden docks


The staples are important. I have extra food on board in case we are stuck somewhere and grocery stores are not available. Tuna, tuna helper, canned soup,crackers,canned milk,pancake mix and chili, for example. You never know know when the fog will set in and you have to slip into a cove and anchor out the bad weather.  carried stuff for the kids so they could draw. As they got older, we brought board games or "bored" games. They also liked flashlights to look for fish at night. It's amazing how many swim under the boat at night. Of course they brought their own fleet of stuffed animals and toys, we just had to provide an area and way to keep them organized. There is nothing like stepping on the tail of a small P-51 Mustang in the middle of the night! OUCH! They usually brought some kind of electronic toy, a Gameboy or whatever they use these days. That also meant that we had to get a 12v charger too.

For your staples on the boat, include hot chocolate for those cold mornings! Other staples will include your dishes and silverware of course. But there are other things that you don't think about like matches, paper towels, regular towels, dish soap, can opener, alcohol for the stove, etc., We also leave most of our toiletries (Shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap) during the summer too. That way all we have to do each weekend is pull the cooler off the boat and the dirty clothes and towels. The next weekend we add the food and clothes.

You might also need to include stuff depending on where you are boating like inflatable toys, mask, snorkel and fins. Nail clippers Advil/Asprin Canned foods - Chilli / Tuna  Dishes - Corell has served us well and is super easy to wash and take up very little room. Fresh air/breeze helps for my wife when she gets a bit weasy underway. Putting her up in the helm chair also helps. Don't forget the small sewing kit and safety pins.

We take wildlife books with lots of pictures and binoculurs so the kids can try to identify birds and things they see. I gave our daughter the old digital camera so she can take her own pictures. Also a Costco size microwavable mac and cheese is great for kids. I always make sure we have a chocolate cake on board just for my daughter. If you are going into Canada hit the customs page and see what is allowed, there are strick regs on food both into Canada and returning to the US. This includes canned food. Also if you have animals you will need proof they have had all the shots etc.

The best bet is to take a few overnighters, like you have or will be very soon. Then you'll know what to leave, what you forgot and can organize yourself each time you go out. We find that it changes from Spring to Fall and some of the items are removed or re-appear based on the seasons. You'll figure it out! Oh yeah, and don't forget the dock chairs!!  

Ok this sounds wierd but something you should put in the First Aid Kit is a couple of condoms... NO not for quickies but for serious injuries, heavy bleeding.. they're sterile.. Can use them as a turnequette, or they stretch over a finger, hand or an entire limb even a leg if necessary. They hold water or ice. Military kits all carry them.
Hot and Cold Packs that activate
Benedryl is a must, both tablet form and ointment
Doug and I carry a Ditch Bag on the hardtop passenger side of our boat, It's a backpack carried above my head and removes easily. In it we have packets of H20, dehydrated food, wind up radio, solar blanket, portable first aid kit, flares, butane lighter, whistle, mirror, folding knife, fish hooks and line, portable GPS, we'll be adding a 2 way radio before the trip north, it's easilly removed and off to the dingy we go..

My Admiral gets seasick  so we definitely try to avoid sloppy water. Interestingly, some women get less queasy as they get older. This is somewhat true for her too. She can tolerate rough water alittle better now than 15 years ago. Several summers ago we left Poulsbo and traveled to Everett. The sound was 2-3 foot whitecaps with 20 knot wind. She was starting to get sick when I had her take over the helm. It really helped her nausea.

She's tried scopalamine patches, ginger, meclizine, and Seaband wrist bands. Meclizine and wrist bands seem to work the best, but she still get's a nasty headache and dizzy.  I use to get seasick a lot but since she started using the electronic band for motion sickness, she has NEVER gotten sick again and I get into some real rough water once in a while... The one below is exactly the one she has used since around 1997-98... battery replacement is easy and they last a couple of years of use... No more pills and sleepiness... The price below is a bit high as I have seen them just over $100.


WOW, found it for $79...

Bugs We all know we live in a bug free climate don't we? LOL Here are some hints for our trip north.

Get a bottle of Avon's Skin So Soft or stores version (not quite so good but does ok) Skintastic.. It's a Deet free bug repellent that really works, and very safe for kids.

The best way of getting rid of mosquitoes is Listerine, the original medicinal type. The Dollar Store-type works. I was at a deck party awhile back, and the bugs were having a ball biting everyone. A man at the party sprayed the lawn and deck floor with Listerine, and the little demons disappeared. The next year I filled a 4-ounce spray bottle and used it around my seat whenever I saw mosquitoes. And voila! That worked as well.It worked at a picnic where we sprayed the area around the food table,the children's swing area, and the standing water nearby. don't leave home without it.....Pass it on.

      < click image to visit Roche Harbor Website
Last hint... if you're been to Roche, Friday Harbor or Sucha, you know it can be infiltrated with yellow jackets during the breeding season. so bad sometimes it chases humans/boaters away. Bring a few small lunch size brown paper bags.. (no kidding) open them up tie a string to them and hang them from an upper part of your boat.. Stupid things believe them to be nests, they are very territorial and won't come around. I know it sounds wierd but it does work and you will see many boats with these decorations while in port!

  This is a regional trick that was passed to me. It works well!