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Safe at Sea: Boating facts that are not facts

By Staff | Jun 30, 2020

“Repeat something often enough, and people will believe it.”

This seems to be at the core of today’s news, ranging from TV to print journalism to social media. What can result, of course, is a collection of “common knowledge” that is plain wrong. So, it’s time for you to learn the truth. You’ve most likely heard all these “facts” before, but here’s the “rest of the story.”

– Stainless steel does not rust.

It’s “stainless,” not “stain-free.”

– Top off your tank for summer/winter.

It used to be that the best way to keep condensation from forming in your fuel tank over months of time was to fill it to the top. However, after November – listen up, snowbirds – fuels in most parts of the country are oxygenated, which attracts moisture.

– You can trust the weather service.

When you hear it over the radio, it sounds so authoritative. Yet, Boating Magazine discovered that over the course of a month, the National Weather Service proved to be correct 76 percent of the time – also true for local winds. Use a reputable Weather Radar App on your phone.

– Wide boats are the most stable.

Usually true. However, you can increase stability from weight placed low or from the correct hull shape.

– Diesels are more economical than gas.

Yes, they use less fuel; however, diesel costs more to buy. If you don’t put a lot of hours on your boat each year or if you don’t plan to keep your boat for a long time, go with gas.

– Wooden boats leak, rot and fall apart.

Modern cold-molding or saturated epoxy systems have made wood a desirable material.

– A GPS antenna must be mounted with a clear view of the sky.

Not true. Only metal structures interfere with an antenna’s ability to receive satellite signals.

Here’s a parting gem for this week – and, particularly, this season:

‘Tis the Season

(To remember hurricane season)

June, too soon;

July, stand by;

August, look out!

September, you will remember.

October, all over.

Next week, Safe at Sea will pick up with more “false facts.”

Pat Schmidt is a member of America’s Boating Club of Sanibel-Captiva. For more about the chapter and its boating education courses, visit www.sancapboating.club or contact education@sanibelcaptivasps.org or 612-987-2125.