General Boating Accessories

 

In many ways this page was necessary to cover the multitude of products that make up general boating that can be grouped together and called 'accessories'. Many of these products would qualify for a page of their own, but to keep my site fast loading I've decided to do things this way.


Index

Anchors and Chains
Binoculars
Marine Compasses, Including Hand Bearing Compasses
Raw Water Pumps, Impellers and Accessories


Anchors and Chains - Back to the Top

Depending on the size of your boat, and where you are likely to use it, will determine the size and type of anchor that is going to be most suitable for you. It will also determine the length of chain / rope that should be attached to it. To be effective, the 'pull' against the anchor should be flat on the sea bed or river bottom. This means that with smaller boats, having relatively small anchors, you will need an anchor chain length that is anywhere between 3 to 7 times the depth of water you are in. Obviously the nature of the river or sea bed is going to be a factor too.

If your boat would benefit from having an anchor, be sure to take a look at similar sized boats and the kit that they have aboard. Talk to the owners before you buy an anchor - or get professional advice. Remember that on a tidal river or inshore waters it can be dangerous if your engine fails. Your anchor can help you avoid a possibly bad result.

If you are curious, or if you have an idea of what you need then take a look at the link below. I've not included the carousel view with this because you'll find the direct link more workable. This link is International, so should take you to the right search page in the USA, Canada, Australia and the UK

If you want a specific type of anchor, anchor chain, shackles or even a powered or mechanical winch, you'll find the standard Ebay search box after clicking the International link. Good hunting!

Binoculars - Back to the Top

Wherever you take your boat, whether at sea or on the inland waterways, a decent pair of bino's is an essential piece of kit. However, those new to boating tend to make the mistake of buying completely unsuitable 'overpowered' binoculars that they struggle with, without knowing why they are difficult to use.

Understanding the 'why' becomes easier when you begin to realise that the most common binoculars used by 'those boaters in the know' are actually rated at about 7 X 50. That is 7 times magnification through a 50mm lens. Now some may think that seven times magnification is small, why not get 10X ? The simple answer is that it is massively easier to keep a target buoy (for the sake of argument) 'in view' with the 7X than it is with the 10X. This is especially important when used on a moving boat. The 50mm lens collects light, making the image brighter, which can also be very important.

There are other factors to consider too. Waterproof is a good idea, and nitrogen filled (shouldn't fog up) is a bonus too. Take these two good ideas and add a floating strap and you've pretty much got it cracked. Unless you want to spend heavy money you're probably better avoiding electrical stabilisation of the image. It sounds good in theory, but in practice these types of units are not so well known for their integrity in the water and moisture proofing department. For taking approximate bearings a built in compass is worth having and usually 'near enough' generally.

Bearing in mind what's been said already, use a little care on the links that follow. They are quite general, but with a bit of care you will get a good deal and a decent set of bino's. Do remember though that if it seems too good to be true.....

Here's an excellent choice of both 'Standard' and 'Top End' Binoculars. The International text link below the carousel works in the USA - Canada - Australia & of course, the United Kingdom


Compasses incl. Hand Bearing Types - Back to the Top

Even with the advent of electronic gizmos like chart plotters and the like it is never a good idea to rely purely on anything that needs a battery! Of course the technology is brilliant, where would be without radar on a sea passage for instance? The simple answer is that we'd be up on deck, or crew would, visually searching for passing ships and other hazards. It begs the question, what would we do if we were caught at sea and all our instruments failed including the chart plotter? It wouldn't be a problem if we have been updating a paper chart, we can get ourselves out of trouble using our charts and a compass.

Of course we're not all Blue Water types, but a basic knowledge of navigation, a compass and a set of charts can allow us to navigate a tidal river, without running aground! Taking the time to learn the basics is not only going to help us stay safe, it can be good fun too.

If you'd like to get to know something of the basics of marine navigation, take a look at this site. I have no connection to it, but do admire Tom Watson's easy approach to marine (and land) navigation. He is a sea kayaker, so you can imagine that without an engine, just paddles, he needs to hit his destination as closely as possible. I enjoyed reading this free guide and hope you do too. "Compass Basics" - The "Marine" Compass by Tom Watson. When you close his page you will be returned here.

Here are some links for you, two carousel links for the UK and two text links for International and UK use. As in previous links, the text links work in the USA, Australia, Canada and the UK too. They are quite comprehensive. Take a look.

 



 

Raw Water Pumps, Impellers and Accessories - Back to the Top

There are several different methods of cooling boat engines the important ones, in no particular order are:

Air cooled

Direct raw water cooling

Indirect raw water cooling

Plus variants of the above.

Air cooled engines include some Listers that have cooling fins on the cylinders. This is not unlike many motor bikes, however, as the Lister engines are inside the boat, they don't have the benefit of fast moving cooling air that motor bikes do. To adequately deal with this problem, air cooled Lister engines are enclosed in a casing that is connected to a high output fan that blows air over the fins, the heated air being released outside of the boat. This is exactly the same system used on the old (original) VW Beetle cars.

Many old vessels adopted the direct raw water cooling method. The water we are floating in, be it salt or fresh, is the 'raw' water. This water is pumped into the boat, through the engine cylinder and head, and on leaving the engine exits the boat via the exhaust manifold and exhaust further cooling the engine. One of the major problems with this system is that when used at sea, deposits can build up in the engine block that reduce cooling efficiency that can result in engine failure.

A much more efficient system is the indirect raw water cooling system. This has two cooling components, a 'freshwater' system that is completely enclosed where the freshwater circulates through one side of a heat exchanger, and 'raw' water is pumped through the other side of the heat exchanger. The two liquids never mix with each other, but the cool raw water 'leaches' heat away from the hot side of the heat exchanger. This means that the freshwater side of the system can be mixed with an antifreeze solution thus protecting the engine in sub zero teperatures.

Some vessels use only freshwater systems, directing hot water from the engine, through heavy duty pipework outside of the boat below water level where the pipe itself acts as a heat exchanger. Care must be taken to avoid the possibility of grounding the boat and damaging the external cooling pipes.
All raw water systems, be they direct or indirect, require a pump to extract raw water from outside of the boat. These days most of these pumps are of the impeller variety. They are relatively small, but hugely efficient at pumping large amounts of water to keep our engines cool. Because they really are an essential, they must be treated as such and serviced regularly. It is always advisable to keep a spare impeller on board, and the few required tools to change it should it become damaged.

 

If you can't see exactly what you want either click the magnifying glass in the above box to search, or alternatively click the International link below, this works in the UK as well as other countries and will show you everything that is available. You may have to add a new search term if the specific item you want to see isn't on the landing page.