June 2011

Fitness for boaters

Are you fit to be a boater?

The following exercises have been developed to assist boaters with sometimes gruesome, always uncomfortable boat maintenance tasks.

Please note: Seek medical advice before starting any physical exercise routine. For boaters, psychiatric advice might be helpful as well.

Coffee table crawl

Lie on your stomach at one end of the coffee table, and crawl under the table and out the other end. This simulates crawling into the engine compartment to perform routine maintenance. Advanced routine: Do while holding a toolbox off the floor to simulate not scratching the teak deck.

Kitchen cupboard toe touch

Open two adjoining lower cupboard doors. Crawl into one door and halfway out the other. During this maneuver, wrap your body around the center post and touch your fingers to your toes. This is a good warm-up exercise for working on your boat.

Toilet bowl marathon

While lying on the floor, crawl behind the bathroom toilet. With your feet extending from one side of the fixture and your hands extending from the other, clean inside the bowl with a brush. This simulates checking connections on the back of the engine.

Kitchen drawer extensions

Place marbles on the bottom of a kitchen cabinet underneath a drawer. Remove the drawer. With the cabinet door closed, reach through the drawer slot to pick up the marbles. This exercise simulates retrieving a small part from the bottom of the bilge.

High-jacked car wash

Take your car to a service station with a hoist. Have the car raised to the top. Proceed to wash and wax your car while standing on a wobbly ladder. This simulates a typical (albeit unsafe) hull-waxing position.

High-flying jumbo lift

Lean a rickety ladder against your house. Carry overloaded laundry baskets, grocery sacks and boxes to the roof, and then bring them back down. This exercise simulates loading your boat while it’s still on the cradle. Extra points: Have the neighborhood kids bang on the bottom of the ladder while somebody yells advice to you!

Great-looking tumblers from the USPS Ship's Store keep iced drinks cold.

Mastering Marlinespike

Strangle knot

The strangle knot is an effective way to secure a group of lines.


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