Archive for February 2014

7 Ways To Keep Your Boat Looking Great

Purchasing a boat is a serious investment. No matter whether you use your boat for business or pleasure, you probably want to keep it looking great. Not only will your clean boat be a source of pride, keeping it clean and looking new will help it last as long as possible. If you take good care of your boat, your boat will take good care of you! Here are some ways to keep your watercraft going above and beyond.

  1. Charley Hartley of suggests keeping a welcome mat on your boat. He asks, “You’ve got a welcome mat for your house or apartment, why not your boat?” This helps keep dirt, mud, grit and grime off the pristine carpets of your watercraft. (On a similar note, don’t be afraid to vacuum and spot-clean your boat’s carpets every once in a while! There’s a lot of crud that accumulates in there.)
  2. Hartley also suggests tackling problems as they occur – specifically, the scum that accumulates on the waterline on your boat’s hull. He uses microfiber towels to scrub away that scum line before it can dry (which makes it harder to get rid of). These cloths are specially made to prevent scratches; not all towels are made equally, so be careful that you’re not using something that can damage the boat.
  3. In the same vein, rinse the boat with fresh, clean water after you take it out of the water. This can help get rid of the scum line, or make it easier to clean, and it will also remove any reside that can destroy the boat’s finish (especially if you are boating in salt water).
  4. Clean glass elements and vinyl upholstery with their respective commercial cleaning solutions. If you’d rather make your own glass cleaner, you can use a solution made with water and vinegar. Vinyl treatments are also available to help preserve the upholstery.
  5. Your boat’s exterior is covered with something called a “gelcoat,” which protects the fiberglass underneath from moisture and UV rays. If the gelcoat looks chalky, it is probably oxidized, and will need to be restored. Damage to the gelcoat can occur from something as simple as bumping into the dock too many times. Fortunately, there are various ways to repair and restore the gelcoat, leaving your boat looking good as new.
  6. Brushes are helpful when trying to remove dirt and grime from your boat’s exterior. When using a brush to scrub your boat, choose one with a long handle (to help you reach difficult places) and medium-stiffness bristles. Bristles that are too stiff can scratch your boat.
  7. Use a soap that is environmentally-friendly and easy on your boat. Some “concentrated” soap can actually degrade your gelcoat and cause damage to the hull over time. Choose a cleanser that is biodegradable and has a neutral pH, and follow all directions on the label, especially those instructions that deal with diluting and disposal of the product.

The Internet holds a wealth of information on the care and keeping of boats, but it’s always a good idea to go deeper! Contact the manufacturer of your watercraft if you want their specific recommendations and cleaning tips for your model.


This post was written by a guest contributor for Central Michigan Graphics, the experts in custom vinyl graphics for automotive, marine, and retail applications.

Finding Balance With Recycled Products

So many of the things in our lives are disposable, and the items that are meant to be kept are manufactured to wear out quickly so they can be replaced with new products.

Clothing, electronics, furniture, housewares, toys, and so much more are made to appeal to current trends rather than long lasting quality. So where do all these things go? Into already overcrowded landfills where they may take hundreds or even thousands of years to finally break down into the soil.

The solution to this cycle is recycling these items instead of dymoing them. Most of us think of recycling as only involving our cans, plastic, paper, and glass, but it can actually include everyday and disposable items.

Recycling opens up creative possibilities, as seen in the following list of products, and encourages more sustainable living practices. Here are a list of recycled products that are inspiring and can encourage people to think twice about items they toss.

1. Automobile airbag products.

One company has produced a line of messenger bags, tote bags and wallets made from the airbags of junk passenger vehicles. The airbags are removed and sent to a recycling facility in Salt Lake City where they are sorted before being sent to the manufacturer. The bags and wallets are cut and sewn by individual crafters who sign their name to each one. The sleek, modern design of the bags is versatile and appealing. The bags and wallets come in either gray or white.

2. Leather iPad covers

Another company that often uses recycled wetsuit fabric, cotton, wool, hemp, and other fabrics to create products has begun crafting iPad covers as well. The covers are manufactured from discarded shoe leather that is has too many flaws to be used.

On average, one shoe factory can discard 4500 pounds of this blemished leather per day. By recycling the still perfectly usable leather into highly sought after iPad covers, thousands of pounds of material are prevented from reaching landfills. The resulting iPad covers use the blemishes of the leather to add unique character.

3. Cardboard radios

Recycled cardboard from shipping boxes and packing materials are being made into battery powered fm radios. The result is a fun, humorous product made from a readily available material that also happens to be taking up precious space in landfills.

4. Coffee activewear

Yes it’s true, sports wear is being manufactured from discarded coffee grounds. A special process removes oils and other chemicals from the coffee and turns it into yarn. That yarn is then made into the fabric used to make the activewear. This unique fabric has special properties, including being naturally odor resistant, UV protective, and fast drying, that make it an excellent choice for sports wear.

5. Skateboard iPhone backs

Several skateboard companies got together to create these iPhone backs made from their discarded waste material. The backs are made by hand, which means no two pieces are alike. This process saves a busload of waste from each factory from being thrown out every week.

Jana Stone is a Quality and Development Specialist at Rubber Bark and she oversees the production side of Rubber Bark’s many faceted production force.

2014 Local Spring Trout Release

Just a little reminder for our members. Here are the local areas and dates that the ODNR Division of Wildlife will stock rainbow trout. The daily catch limit for inland lakes is five trout. You can find the complete list here.

 Location  County Date
Mt. Gilead Lake Morrow 3/28
Quarry Park Marion 3/28
Lima Lake Allen 4/10
Schoonover Lake Allen 4/10
Davis Lake Auglaize 4/17
Giertz Lake Hancock 5/3

Potato Fried Bass


½ cup flour
½ cup instant potato flakes/buds
½ tsp. garlic salt
½ tsp. onion powder
½ cup Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten with 3 Tbls. cold water
1½ lbs. fillet, bass or your favorite fish
Cooking oil


Mix the flour, instant potato, garlic salt, onion powder and Parmesan cheese in a bowl. Beat the eggs and water and put in a separate bowl. Heat about ¼-inch of cooking oil in a large frying pan. Dip the fillets in the egg mixture then roll in flour mix to coat lightly and fry in hot oil. Cooking time will vary with the thickness of the fillets. Turn when the frying side becomes golden brown. Test to see when fish flakes easily with a fork to be sure it is finished. This is a very crispy, light batter. Serve with tarter sauce or a picante sauce.

Submitted by  Anna Fuqua

In Minnesota, Fishing is Big Business!

The state of Minnesota features world-class fishing year round, at the 5,493 lakes dotting the region’s landscape. Between the top three varieties of fish found in Minnesota waterways (the Panfish, the Walleye, and the Northern Pike), there are roughly 18.9 million pounds of fresh fish caught every year just within the state!

In the infographic below provided by the Mille Lacs Area Tourism Council, there are not just facts about the volume of fish harvested in Minnesota every year, but also economic data about the significant financial impact that fishing has on the state. It is estimated that $1.8 billion is spent every year by anglers in Minnesota on fishing related activities. The overall economic impact is felt by a variety of local businesses from gas stations to cafes to bait shops to motels and municipalities.

Enjoy this interesting look at fishing and the economy of Minnesota, and please feel free to share your own thoughts or questions!

© 2014 Mille Lacs Area Tourism Council

economics, outdoors, fishing, minnesota, ice fishing, state economy, mille lacs

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