Using a Marine VHF radio?

Marine VHF radios are used to contact other ships, locks, traffic-posts, other shore stations or the coast-guard, both at sea and on inland water. It ensures you know what is happening in your direct surrounding and enables you to map out a safe course.

You can use the Marine VHF radio to remain in contact with traffic supervisors and you will receive safety messages while on board. Your emergency call will be heard by anyone listening to their own Marine VHF radio.

Having the device on board of a small vessel is not mandatory (with a few exceptions), but it is essential in areas of commercial sailing.


HHow do you prep your boat for winter?

Every winter boat-owners are faced with a decision: leave it in the water or take it ashore. In both instances, there are multiple things that you need to take into account to ensure your boat comes through winter-time in good shape. We have made a quick list of six items that are of use to you:

Beyond the regular maintenance for your engine, like changing and renewing the oil, checking and replacing the filters, it is important during this cold and frosty time that your engine is frost-resistant. Any neglect on your part can result in serious damage to the engine.

First you will need to know whether you have an open or closed cooling water system. With a closed system it is usually filled with coolant; not a lot can go wrong with that. With an open system, outside water is sucked in to cool the engine, but that comes with a side-note. In this case, you have to ensure there is no standing water left in the system.

  • Close the water inlet valve.
  • Open the algae filter.
  • Let the engine run while gently pouring antifreeze into the algae filter.
  • Switch the engine off if antifreeze comes out of the cooling water system. (Intercept it with a bucket, antifreeze is very bad for the environment)
  • Close the valves. Turn the valve of the inlet open and close once so that the antifreeze is able to enter the ball/valve.

Disconnect any gas-bottles on board, and store the bottles at home, preferably in a dry place with ventilation. Check the gas hoses and couplings and replace them in time (preferably at least once every 3 years).

When a battery is discharged, the electrolyte changes into water, which can subsequently freeze. It is therefore smart to keep your batteries fully charged at all times. If the batteries are easily removable from your boat, store them in a dry place. Charging them from time to time when they are stored is advisable, as well as checking whether the batteries need to be refilled (with distilled water).

  • If possible, remove any electrical equipment and store it in a warm and dry place. Use corrosion-resistant spray on open connection and contact-points.
  • Pay attention to any rotating parts, such as the steering column, winches, et cetera. Also ensure the gears are properly greased.
  • Remove water from the bilge and clean it.
  • Clean and dry the gas locker.
  • Use a non-toxic antifreeze for all water systems on board. Refrain from using the toxic variant that is often used with cars. The water sports store usually has these in stock.
  • Just flushing your toilet is not enough. Water can remain in the most ridged curves and ridges. Disconnect the hose from the water inlet (and of course close the valve) and hang it in an antifreeze reservoir. Flush the antifreeze through the toilet and close the valve to the outside.
  • Let all water out of the drinking water tank. If necessary, manually remove the last residual water with a sponge. Ensure that no water remains in the hoses and water pumps.
  • Allow all valves on-board to be fully filled with antifreeze. Pour antifreeze into the supply-points/hoses, open and close the valve once so that the antifreeze remains in the ball of the valve.
  • If your boat is ashore, close the shut-off valves. Smearing the valves is a smart idea to stop corrosion.
  • Clean the hull and deck thoroughly. Dirt can settle in the winter.
  • It pays to wax any polyester. Do not polish the wax until springtime.
  • If paint is missing in any spots, ensure you fix it before the winter begins.
  • Grease seals of hatches, windows, etc.
  • Use a tarpaulin if possible, water can remain in small corners and cracks and can subsequently damage your deck by freezing.
  • Open internal shutters and storage lockers for ventilations. This helps prevent mould.
  • Remove any sails or running rigging from the ship and store it in a dry place. Grease the furling, or the mainsail if necessary.
  • Check the stays and remove any brambles or kinks. Check if all locking pins are still present and in good condition.
  • Clean blocks and discs.
  • Remove cushions or put them upright to prevent mould.
  • Clean the boat thoroughly, and remove all food and perishable goods, including bottles and cans as they can freeze.
  • Remove anything that can suffer from damp and cold and store it in a dry place.
  • Remove all clothing and life-jackets, and subsequently check the life-jackets for any maintenance.
  • Check the fire-extinguishers and have them inspected in time.
  • Place moisture-absorbers in various spaces.

Your boat is now fully prepped for winter!

The tasks to properly prep your boat for winter will be different for each type of boat. Just pay close attention to any spots where standing water may occur, where damp or cold could potentially cause damage – and fix these spots. Don not forget to pay your boat a visit every now and then while it is in storage.