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Getting your Lover to love Boating

Getting your Lover to love Boating

Statistics prove sharing hobbies with your spouse is a key factor in having a successful marriage. The more you’re able to do together as a couple, the happier you’ll both generally be. But in marriage, as in life, there are always compromises. It can be as simple as surrendering the remote to Bachelor in exchange for the NFL Sunday Ticket football package. Or something a little more permanent like going with the mini-van when you had your heart set on the SUV.

Not all hobbies can (or should) be shared, but pontooning is definitely one activity that can best be enjoyed with your spouse. But even though boating can be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences of your life, there can be a right way and a wrong way to introduce your spouse into boating. 

Generally speaking they say you’ll go out 10 times before it happens—that perfect boating experience—and you’ll keep going out nine times more to recapture that magic. If you’d like your spouse to enjoy the pontooning life as much as you, it’s important to plan your introduction correctly. The secret to creating a successful boating partnership is to use some of the following ideas to encourage your partner, and make the dream as much hers as it is yours.

1. Start Slowly
Gaining trust and confidence can go a long way and it’s important to show your spouse you have the knowledge and skills to correctly operate a pontoon. If you happen to be new to boating, make sure your first trips build that confidence. Choose calm weather days when your lake is less crowded and keep your itinerary simple.

Anyone with a little money can buy a pontoon and learn the basics of how to maneuver it. But it takes time and varied experiences to become proficient so you react correctly and calmly in a variety of situations. If you take the time to learn and practice before attempting anything ambitious, you’ll avoid confidence-sapping situations that could destroy your dream of boating with your partner.

2. Mistakes Welcomed

Most boating skills tend to deteriorate when you’re being coached constantly, especially when it comes to helm time. Often your spouse becomes too focused on what you might criticize next, instead of driving. We’re only trying to keep our partner from making the same mistakes we made starting out, but sometimes that’s the only way she is going to truly learn.

Plus, by allowing for mistakes without letting it ruin your day, you’ll also make life afloat more pleasant for your partner. Pontoons are tough and forgiving. Don’t let a misjudged dock approach become a big deal. Remember, boats are far easier to mend than broken relationships.

3. Positive Reinforcement
Face it: enthusiasm is contagious. Instead of focusing on lectures, books or movies that emphasize the negative aspects of boating, look to include as many positive-reinforcement opportunities as you can. Plus have your wife talk to other female pontooners and the enthusiasm is sure to grow.

4. Off Peak
While you’re still gaining your spouse’s confidence, avoid entering the dock at peak hours. When you come into the dock, all eyes are on you and the slightest mistake can escalate your anxiety, especially if you’re trying to come into your slip during the busiest time of the day. Sometimes it’s better to let the rush die down or at least let the wind eases up a little to ensure a smoother experience.

If you’re planning to anchor, forget trying to find a spot close to shore where it’s crowded. Try anchoring a little farther out, even if it means a longer dinghy ride ashore. Picking a less busy day of the week to practice docking, anchoring, and mooring procedures without spectator pressures is a great way to not only build confidence, but to also help develop your own communication plan.

Knowing ahead of time what your spouse’s role will be as you come into the dock will help relieve some of that pressure. But above all, discuss and accept the pressures that observers create and don’t let this chip at the confidence you’re trying to build in your partner.

5. Discuss Yelling

Guys see yelling as just another form of communicating, especially when wind or other situations make it difficult to communicate effectively, while some women feel yelling is reserved for times of anger or fear. It’s important to candidly discuss the difference because the memory of raised voices tends to linger in a woman’s mind long after the incident has passed.

Here is one scenario that should be talked about: You’re coming into the dock and the wind is picking up. How can you make sure she hears you without yelling? Practice helps, especially when it comes to developing hand signals.

Try calling “very loudly” and then having the other person repeat the order so that each person knows the other heard and understood. Finally, be ready to accept that some instances of yelling are caused by your own tension/apprehension, real or imagined. Apologize sincerely once the situation is under control and explain that no anger was intended so you can work toward developing into a better boating team.

6. Outside The Box
Sometimes you need to get a little creative when you’re trying to entice your partner into the boating life. Take a closer look at her hobbies and incorporate those interests into your time on the water. If she loves dining out, she’ll love the experience of going into restaurants by boat. In no time your partner will connect boating with her interests and view the pontoon as a vehicle that opens her to new experiences that she loves.

7. Back Up Planning
One concern for many spouses is the fear of operating the pontoon themselves. She may not know how to troubleshoot with the engine. One major fear for some women is how they’d bring the boat home should the engine give out, or something happen to the skipper. Some boating schools now offer courses on how to bring your boat back into port alone, anchor, then contact assistance should a partner be out of commission.

8. Honesty

Despite what photos and advertisements might lead you to believe, pontooning isn’t always easy, and isn’t always romantic. If you lead your spouse into thinking otherwise, you’re leading yourself astray, too. Let’s be honest: boating is physical. You must carry everything you use from the shore to the boat. You have to store things so they don’t get loose and blow out while underway. This means you’ll always need to move one thing to get something else, which is a hassle. When you actually set off on a cruise, learn to give each other physical and mental space. Be realistic, and talk about it more as an intimate adventure that will connect you to nature.

Following the suggestions in this article is a good step in the right direction to getting your spouse to love pontooning like you do, but don’t be afraid to make your own adjustments and personalize these tips to your own needs. 

Above all else it’s important to establish a sense of interdependence, create your boating goals together, trust each other when the going gets rough and of course establish good communication methods. Communication is the key to good boating partnerships. Combine learning how to communicate afloat with some confidence-building boating experiences, and you’ll increase your partner’s enjoyment and sense of self-sufficiency.


This article is courtesy of Pontoon and Deck Boat Magazine. For this and more articles, visit their website at 

How To Clean and Protect Your Graphics

How To Clean and Protect Your Graphics

No longer limited to pontoon, waterski and bass boats, head-turning vinyl graphics are everywhere these days, from luxury cruisers to sailboats. Whether it's an outboard engine logo, colorful image or entire hull wrap, they need specialized care. Shurhold Industries offers a few Clean-N-Simple Tips to keep graphics looking their best for years to come, with minimal effort.

The first step is to begin with a clean hull. Avoid pressure washers and instead opt for a deck brush with a combination head. These have soft bristles for general use around the vinyl and medium for scrubbing stubborn stains such as the waterline.

If the boat needs waxing, mask-off the vinyl with blue painters tape. Many products have built-in cleaners that are ideal for paint and gelcoat, but can degrade graphics. It also protects the edges of the graphic or wrap from lifting if using a polisher.

With the tape removed, spray the vinyl with a detailing product such as Shurhold's Serious Shine. It cleans accumulated dirt, polishes without abrasives and protects from the ravages of UV rays in one easy step. It also repels water to keep unsightly spots from forming. Simply wipe over the area with a microfiber towel, turn the cloth and lightly buff. The more often it's applied, the longer the graphics will last.



One-step quick detailers like Serious Shine also work on touch screens, clear coat, metal, glass and rubber. Above and below deck, it cleans a wide range of surfaces without leaving a greasy residue. Made in the USA, a 14 oz. aerosol can is $17.98.

Dedicated to educating boat owners, Shurhold provides key tips for boat value preservation at Inventor of the One Handle Does It All system, Shurhold manufactures specialty care items and accessories to clean, polish and detail.


This article is courtesy of Pontoon and Deck boat Magazine, for this and more helpful information, go to

BoatUS Spring Commissioning Checklist

BoatUS Spring Commissioning Checklist

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) offers its Spring Commissioning Checklist to help boaters start the season right. The nation’s largest advocacy, service and savings group also offers, a one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about the yearly ritual of recreational boat commissioning. A PDF copy of the checklist is available to download, print, and take to the boat with you. Be sure to follow all manufacturer recommendations for your specific boat, engine and accessories.

Before You Launch

  1. Inspect all around the hose clamps for rust and replace as necessary. Double clamp fuel lines and exhaust hoses with marine-rated stainless steel hose clamps. While not technically required, it’s wise to double clamp whenever possible on all hoses — especially those below the waterline.
  2. Inspect all hoses for stiffness, rot, leaks and cracking, and replace any that are faulty. Make sure they fit snugly.
  3. Inspect prop(s) for dings, pitting and distortion. Make sure cotter pins are secure.
  4. Grip the prop (on inboard drive systems) and try moving the shaft up and down and side to side. If it’s loose and can be wiggled, the cutless bearing may need to be replaced.
  5. Check the rudderstock to ensure it hasn’t been bent. Operate the wheel or tiller to ensure the steering works correctly. Check the rudder bearing and steering cable for unusual play or movement.
  6. Inspect the hull for blisters, distortions and stress cracks.
  7. Make sure your engine intake sea strainer (if equipped) is not cracked or bent from ice and is free of corrosion, clean and properly secured.
  8. With inboards, check the engine shaft and rudder stuffing boxes for correct adjustment. A stuffing box should leak no more than two or three drops each minute when the prop shaft is turning. Check the shaft log hose for deterioration and rusty hose clamps.
  9. Inspect, lubricate and exercise thru-hull valves. It’s a good idea to tie a right-sized wooden bung to the valve in case of failure.
  10. Use a garden hose to check for deck leaks at ports and hatches. Renew caulk or gaskets as necessary.
  11. Inspect and test the bilge pump and float switch to ensure they’re both working properly. Also inspect the pump’s hose.
  12. Check stove and remote LPG tanks for loose fittings, leaking hoses and properly functioning shutoff systems. Use the pressure gauge to conduct a leak down test to check for system leaks.
  13. Inspect dock and anchor lines for chafe and wear.
  14. If equipped, ensure that the stern drain plug is installed.
  15. After the boat is launched, be sure to check all thru-hulls for leaks.

Engines and Fuel Systems

  1. Inspect fuel lines, including fuel tank fill and vent hoses, for softness, brittleness or cracking. Check all joints for leaks, and make sure all lines are well supported with noncombustible clips or straps with smooth edges.
  2. Inspect fuel tanks, fuel pumps and filters for leaks. Ensure portable tanks and lines are completely drained of stale fuel before filling with fresh fuel. Clean or replace fuel filters and/or fuel-water separators if not done before winterization.
  3. Every few years, remove and inspect exhaust manifolds and risers for corrosion (for inboard-powered and inboard/outboard boats).
  4. Charge battery.
  5. Clean and tighten electrical connections, especially both ends of battery cables. Use a wire brush to clean battery terminals, and top off cells with distilled water (if applicable).
  6. Inspect the bilge ventilation intake and blower ducting for damage or leaks and run the blower to confirm correct operation.
  7. Test engine warnings and alarms.

Engine Outdrives and Outboards

  1. Inspect rubber outdrive bellows for cracked, dried and/or deteriorated spots (look especially in the folds) and replace if suspect.
  2. Check power steering and power trim oil levels.
  3. Replace anodes/zincs that are more than half wasted.
  4. Inspect the outer jacket of control cables. Cracks or swelling indicate corrosion and mean that the cable must be replaced.
  5. Inspect lower unit oil level and top off as necessary.


  1. Inspect tire treads and sidewalls for cracks or lack of tread and replace as necessary. Check air pressure; don’t forget the spare.
  2. Inspect wheel bearings and repack as necessary.
  3. Test all lights and replace any broken bulbs or lenses.
  4. Inspect winch to make sure it’s working properly. Inspect hitch chains.
  5. Inspect trailer frame and axel(s) for rust. Sand and paint to prevent further deterioration.
  6. Inspect brakes and brake fluid reservoir.


  1. new law that went into effect in 2021 requires a vessel operator to use either a helm or outboard lanyard or wireless engine cutoff switch on certain vessels less than 26 feet when traveling on plane or above displacement speed, so be sure your switch is working properly and the lanyard is in serviceable condition. If you use a wireless cutoff switch, ensure batteries in the fobs and wrist worn devices are refreshed.
  2. Flares expire after 42 months so check expiration dates.
  3. Inspect fire extinguishers. A new regulation that goes into effect April 20, 2022, requires a 12-year expiration for disposables and has different carriage requirements for older and newer model year vessels.
  4. Ensure you have properly sized and wearable life jackets in good condition for each passenger, including kids. Check inflatable life jacket cylinders and dissolvable “pill” bobbins in auto-inflating models.
  5. Test smoke, carbon monoxide, fume and bilge alarms.
  6. Check running lights for operation and spare bulb inventory.
  7. Update chartplotter software.
  8. Replenish first-aid kit items that may have been used last season or are expired.
  9. Check the operation of VHF radio(s) and that the MMSI number is correctly programmed in. (BoatUS members can obtain a free MMSI number at
  10. Get a free vessel safety check from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons. Find out more at

For the Dock

  1. In addition to checking its entire length for wear or abrasions, check both ends of the shore power cable connections as well as the shore power receptacle on the boat for burns, which indicate the cable and/or boat’s shore power inlet or the dock’s receptacle must be replaced.
  2. Test ground-fault protection on your boat and private dock, and know how to prevent Electric Shock Drowning.

The Paperwork

  1. Make sure your boat registration is up to date – and dinghy if you have one. Don’t forget your boat trailer tags
  2. Review your boat insurance policy and update coverage if needed. BoatUS provides free quotes at Provide a copy to your marina or club.
  3. Ensure your BoatUS membership is in good standing, and check your TowBoatUS coverage by logging into, or join at
  4. Download the free BoatUS App ( to make it easy to summon on-water assistance and speed response times as well to check tide tables, weather, and partner discounts.

For more tips from BoatUS, visit

What You Need to Tow

What You Need to Tow

Recently I was questioned by a new boat buyer about towing boats. In this case the question was in reference to the towing capacity of a small SUV with a tow capacity of 3,500 pounds.