During 2020, most people stayed home or gathered with family only. If the year taught us anything it was that we should not take anything for granted. Despite the plunging infection rates here in California, the global pandemic has been a strong reminder that we should make the most of every day -- and live life!
As summer approaches this year, its time to consider things we have been wanting to do, but for some reason haven't yet. We think of this as our Summer boating "bucket list."
Even with lingering signs that COVID is still around, boating maintains its status as a fun, family-oriented, outdoor, no-mask activity. Having a boat is the ultimate in "vacation on demand."
Our 2021 Summer Bucket List:
Ventura Boat Services works with both paint and gelcoat on a regular basis. We put together this blog entry to compare and contrast the two. As far as overall considerations, the most significant issues are durability, repairability, and appearance.
Durability -- Gelcoat is thicker than paint. The gelcoat layer ranges from about 1/16 inch - 1/8 inch, while paint is about as thick as a sheet of printer paper. So for scratches and scuffs, gelcoat tends to be more forgiving. A shallow scratch in gelcoat can likely be wet sanded out. With paint, a scratch is going to show until repainted.
On a boat you will find (and spill at some point) gasoline, kerosine, denatured alcohol, etc. When exposed to chemicals, both paint and gelcoat generally both do a good job protecting the underlying fiberglass, wood, or other substrate. However, gelcoat is more porous than paint, and therefore more easily stained from engine oil, suntan lotion, wine, bird poop, etc., then is paint
Another durability issue is how well paint and gelcoat age, and match new paint. With gelcoat, color retention starts to decline as it starts to oxidize -- starting pretty much as soon as it is brought out into the sun. Once the color of the gelcoat changes, you will never be able to match it to new factory gelcoat colors. Paint will generally still match up with a new can of factory paint after 3-4 years of exposure. Repairability -- the color matching process is the last step of any surface repair on a boat.
Repairability -- Each coating is different in its ability to be fixed and touched up. The final step of any repair is paint or gelcoat. Gelcoat shines in ease of repair for smaller damage spots. A larger area repair will have better results with paint and by applying that paint by spraying it onto the surface.
Appearance-- We all want our boat to look like a million dollars. Gelcoat will look great, and many boat owners are fans. But as far as gloss and color retention and reflection goes, paint will always outshine gelcoat.
Southern California generally enjoys mild winters However, when storm clouds gather as they often do this time of year, Southern California storms can be dangerous for boaters. Boat owners should be “storm-ready” all winter and even into the spring.
Remember that the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways monitors stormy winter weather and posts safety information on various social media, as well as news outlets around the area.
Southern California spring and winter storms can bring fast moving and elevated water, which in turn can contain all sorts of debris and possibly damage your boat or dock.
In discussing the 92nd annual midwinter regatta, the Southern California Yachting Association (SCYA) announced that they would postpone the 2021 event until next year. This years planned Regatta was to occur on February 6th and 7th and February 20th and 21st but has been pushed to next year because of the continuing COVID restrictions/shutdowns. The 2022 Regatta will occur the weekends of February 12th-13th and 19th-20th.
Because of the uncertainty of the timing of rescinding COVID-related restrictions on recreational activities in California, the SCYA board decided to postpone 2021’s SCYA Midwinter Regatta. The planned Regatta for 2021 would have marked the 100th anniversary of the SCYA, so its to everyone’s disappointment that the association is delaying their signature annual boating event. The last time the Regatta was cancelled was during WWII.
The Midwinter Regatta consistently attracts many hundreds of boats and more than one thousand competitive sailors. Among the more than twenty five host yacht club venues the boats compete in more than one hundred different boat classes, including one design fleets, handicapped race boats, predicted log racers and, even a class for RC model yachts.
The races are held at member yacht clubs stretching from Morro Bay to San Diego and usually extends inland to cities such as Phoenix AZ, Las Vegas NV,and Ensenada, Mex. Contact the SCYA by email at Service@SCYA.org or visit their website at www.SCYA.org for additional information and updates.
California with more than 1,000 miles of coastline, and literally hundreds of rivers and lakes, has one of the highest boating activity in the nation. This elevated activity means that contaminants from boating can enter our water environments, creating problems for both the health of California’s waterways and human health. California has 1,051,606 registered recreational boats -- more than any other state. Even allowing a small amount of untreated waste from only a fraction of those 1MM+ boats can be harmful. To help protect the states waterways, the California Division of Boating and Waterways has developed what they call the “Pumpout Nav” app for both IOS (Apple) and Android devices.
“Pumpout Nav” is free to download at the Apple App Store or Google Play. It will show the location of the nearest marine sewage pumpout, dump station, and floating restrooms. When using the app, a pumpout will appear on your device’s screen as a green marker. When you tap on the marker, the station will display “operational,” indicationing it is open and working normally.
With the app, the recreational boater is empowered to report any problems with the pumpout stations. The app makes reporting problems simple, easy, and intuitive. All you have to do it to click on the “sad face” symbol to report that a pumpout is not working and the app will report that immediately and in real-time. There is also a number of other “press and report” icons, including “no power,” “low vacuum,” “leaking,” “broken parts,” and “no access.” The app also allows you to enter a description of the problem and upload photos from your phone.
In addition to the app providing pumpout locations, it also provides additional boater information and marina tracking access. You can obtain costs and open hours, the exact location of the pumpout within the marina, and access to information such as guidance on how, where and why to use the pumpout station. When marina operators use the app, they can report and track pumpout usage information and update the information themselves.
There are now well over 200 boating facility locations and 240 pumpout stations currently being reported on the app. The app was created by the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways’ (DBW) Clean Vessel Act (CVA) Program. The location of harbors near us in Ventura County California, with public access pumpout stations are listed below:
Santa Barbara County
Los Angeles County
And I don’t mean the weather, which has been a bit hot here in southern California. I am talking about boat sales. COVID-19 initially set back all acquisition plans, and pretty much every boat show coast-to-coast (usually September to February) has announced cancellations or will be doing so in the near future.
In March and April, the early days of the pandemic things were pretty quiet for sellers. Despite the gloomy predictions early in the pandemic, both new and used boats, sail and power, are selling strongly at dealerships and through private sale transactions, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. As the options for COVID “safe” vacations dwindled, existing boat owners doubled down on bigger boats and previous non-boat-owners bought boats. Everyone realized that escaping to the water is a great, local fun experience, where you can control your crowd (or bubble, as they like to say). This explosion in owners is also mirrored in the RV industry where the exact same thing is happening for the exact same reasons.
By May, new boat sales rose 59% from April sales, and 9% over the prior year (pre-COVID times in 2019). "Total sales in May were the highest they've been in a decade," Sarah Salvatori at the National Marine Manufacturers Association (or NMMA) recently commented. She continued to say that sellers were seeing upticks across all segments of the industry.
If you have a new boat, you have to have new gear for it! Lorene Frank, a Santa Cruz, California based regional marketing manager at West Marine, says they had many of the same experiences as far as a decline in sales. "Like most businesses, we definitely saw a decline as this pandemic hit but have since seen a big increase as people are getting outside and back on the water," she says, noting the largest increase coming among kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, but "sales continue to be strong in boating accessories and fishing, with an uptick in watersports and electronics as the season peaked."
All these new boat owners will have a variety of boat repairs, re-painting, woodwork and brightwork restoration, new canvas, etc., etc. If that is you, seek out a competent boat repair firm such as Ventura Boat Services in Oxnard, California.