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Boating Tips

Launching alone, a "cool idea," hints for easier launching, getting a big fish to the boat, docking your boat, setting anchor...

Make Your Own Pushpole
An excellent and inexpensive pushpole can be made from 11*2-inch-diameter PVC pipe and fittings, available at hardware stores. You'll need a 12- to 16-foot (depending on the height of your boat's deck) section of pipe for the pushpole shaft, one T-joint, two 3-inch pieces of PVC pipe for the cross pieces, and three caps for the open ends. Glue the pieces together, and you're ready to pole across flats you can't access by motor.

Backing Up
When towing a boat, adjust your side mirrors so that you can see the tires of your trailer while driving. Such a view lets you keep an eye on tire pressure, shows you how the trailer is riding, and reflects traffic that is overtaking the trailer.

Motorboat Docking
To bring a motorboat alongside a dock without bumping, slowly approach the dock at an angle until the bow almost touches, then shift into reverse and turn the propeller all the way toward the dock. Advance the throttle briefly, then throttle back and shift to neutral. This action will stop forward motion and pull the stern gently toward the dock, effecting a professional-looking arrival.

Launching Alone
When launching a boat alone, tie a boat-length line from the bow of the boat to the rear of the trailer. Back your trailer into the water until the boat floats off the trailer, then drive forward slowly until the trailer is out of the water. The boat will be drawn to the water's edge, where it can be detached.

Easier Launching
For an easy boat launch or load, back the trailer into the water until the fronts of the fenders are at water level. In most cases you will be able to push the boat off the trailer or winch it on to the trailer from that position. If the launching ramp is too steep or flat to launch or load from that position, you must adjust accordingly.

Big Fish
When fishing for large species from an anchored boat, tie a loop in the boat end of the anchor line and attach a buoy to the loop. Now tie the boat to the loop with a short line, using a slipknot. If you suddenly need to go with a fish, you can detach quickly from the buoyed loop, rather than having to haul in the full length of the anchor line. When you're ready to drop anchor again, just reattach to the buoyed loop.

A Cool Idea
Instead of carrying bagged ice cubes or blocks of ice in your boat cooler, take along frozen gallon jugs of clean water. They will keep your cooler just as cold but won't flood it with water as they thaw. Furthermore, as the ice melts, the jugs will contain increasing amounts of clean, cold drinking water.

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