The Los Angeles Boat Show is underway through the weekend, and now in two locations for you to select your new or brokerage yacht.
Once again, the show is back to its usual spot at the Los Angeles Convention Center. However, you can now view boats at the in-water location at Burton W. Chace Park in Marina del Rey. This new venue will provide the opportunity for brokerage boats and yachts that are too big or expensive to trailer to the convention center.
The boat show will have hundreds of boats for your family to set aboard, ranging from family day cruisers to lavish million-dollar yachts. Additionally, vendors will be displaying the newest marine accessories and gear. This family fun event has scheduled educational seminars, so preview the list of opportunities.
The show was formerly produced by the Southern California Marine Assn. that was merged into the National Marine Manufacturers Assn.. The association produces boat shows across the nation and is a leading advocacy group for recreational boaters and marine manufacturers. You can find out show information, times, and ticket prices at http://www.losangelesboatshow.com.
Tip of the week is from Erik Lind and Gordon White, co-owners of Left Coast Diesel in the San Francisco Bay Area, whom I interviewed on my radio show last weekend. They are tow vehicle experts and diesel specialists who mentioned that now is the time to have your tow vehicle serviced to get your truck ready for this summer. Additionally, Lind mentioned some very specific items that need to be inspected and serviced before you tow your boat again.
You should start where the rubber meets the road, so be certain that your tires are properly inflated and there is sufficient tread. Tow vehicles must have the correct load rating for the tires. Most pickups should have a "D" load rating, and 3/4-ton and bigger pickups usually come with "E" load ratings to handle bigger tow loads.
Another important system for towing is the cooling system or you will overheat your vehicle's engine. It is recommended that you change the coolant every two to five years, but you need to consult the owner's manual. If you suspect any issues with the cooling system, then you should have a professional inspect the thermostat, water pump and fan clutch.
You need to be sure that your vehicle will be able to stop safely with the extra weight of a boat being towed. Your brake pads and rotors need to be inspected. Replace the brake fluid every two years to prevent moisture build-up. While on the topic of brakes, this is the time to check the brake lights and that the brake controller is working with the trailer.
Now, let's focus on the on the engine and transmission to make sure that they are running properly. A poorly maintained or tuned engine will run hotter and may not get you to the launch ramp. Additionally with the price of fuel, a tuned engine will save you dollars at the pump.
Do not forget to keep your transmission serviced every 25,000 to 35,000 miles, and more frequently if you tow a heavy boat or tow in mountain areas. With both the engine and transmission, check the oil levels before each time you plan on hitching the trailer to the vehicle. A little preventive maintenance and pre-check will save you the headache of having your vehicle towed to a mechanic.
Lastly, if you are a do-it-yourself person, then the maintenance is a one-day kind of job. If you are not mechanically inclined, then you should find a shop that specializes in towing and passenger trucks. It is important that the mechanics are familiar with towing and understand any potential issues that will spoil your day of boating. You can email any questions about towing or servicing your truck by visiting http://www.leftcoastdiesel.com.
And don't forget: Tune in to the No. 1 boating radio talk show in the nation, Capt. Mike Whitehead's "Boathouse Radio Show," broadcasting live coast-to-coast on the CRN Digital Talk Radio syndicated network at noon Saturdays and replays throughout the weekend.
MIKE WHITEHEAD is a boating columnist for the Daily Pilot. Send marine-related thoughts and story suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://www.boathousetv.com.