February 2011

Healthy fixes

Keep safety at the top of your checklist

When you finally get around to tackling those boat repairs you’ve been putting off, don’t overlook the dangers that many products can pose to your health and the environment.


Always wear a mask any time you drill, cut or sand fiberglass. The resulting silica dust can lead to silicosis if inhaled. Although fiberglass is thought to be less carcinogenic than asbestos, it can still be harmful. Some older fiberglass boats actually contain asbestos.


Smelly and hard to clean up, oil-based paints take a relatively long time to dry. When repainting your boat’s interior, consider using latex paint. Look for primers for oil-based finishes that allow recoating with water-based latex. If you must use an alkyd paint, work in a well-ventilated area and be careful with fire. In enclosed spaces, wear appropriate clothes, gloves and a good-quality respirator designed for organic vapors.

Heavy metals

When getting rid of batteries or anything else containing toxic metals like lead, antimony, cadmium and arsenic, dispose of them properly. Many retailers offer battery recycling, and some may even give you a discount.

Many solder joints contain lead and sometimes antimony. Try not to inhale solder fumes.

Roughing it is easy in a breathable, durable explorer shirt from the USPS Ship's Store

Mastering Marlinespike

True lover’s knot

Also called the clover or cross knot, this knot has three loops at right angles to one another. It’s stable only if the load is equally distributed on all three loops with the working part and bitter end leading away in the fourth direction.


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