Tag Archives: boating

When the going gets tough…

With the current economic state many people are going through financial stretching, cutting down and re-evaluating. Tough times can encourage fear driven saving and unreasonable with-drawls from “unnecessary spending”.

But hold on when was this a sign to stop living?

But sometimes we don’t realise those “unnecessary expenses” provide the break and fresh air we need to function. In these circumstances unhealthy living seems to increase with drinking, smoking and food bars racking in the dough – hey where did your good looking body go?

Why not rather invest in a life giving sport? I have rarely met a person who was sorry they spent a day out on the water. The affects it has had on many people and children has ensure the marine industry success for many years. When we tighten our belts we cannot become house-bound and adventure deprived.

On land we have car pooling –  So why not club boating? Get your friends together and still go out there and enjoy life on the water.

Share the costs and exposed others to this fantastic, fun, adventurous outdoor water sport. You have the serious skier,the extreme wake boarder, the high flying tube rider and the cutting edge knee boarder, not to mention the night time cruises and serene fishing trips.

Who would want to miss out?

Lets end where when the going gets tough the TOUGH GO BOATING!

Get a Boat Cover Quote!

Looking for a boat cover an be quite daunting when you have no idea were to start. Let me give you a few details that will be required when asking for a quotation:

  • What is the model?
  • Make and type of boat is it?
  • What is it’s length? - Unsure: measure from the nose down the centre of the boat / over a windscreen / console to get an accurate measurement to the transom area.
  • What is it’s breadth? (widest point)
  • Do you have any known extras that might be important: ski pole / wake tower / roll bar / trolling motor / bow rails get

No matter what type of boat you have – simple to measure or the more complicated the basic width and length is sufficient.



Providing this information will ensure that you are not left scrounging around for details when chatting to people on quotes. Here you can be confident and assured of accurate pricing.


Here’s looking to making you another covered customer!




A Choice of Boating Sites…

Where do you go for boating…well this obviously depends on the area you live in  and how far you are wiling to travel for some good water!

 Here in KZN there are a number of fantastic dams to take advantage of and even a few a little bit further away. I have had the privilege of visiting a number of these dams and found that each brought with it it’s own set of experiences.

Albert Falls  – Known for hail and thunderstorms. The turbulent weather change has left a permanent image of us huddling in our car with the water tubes covering the car and mats over the boat for protection as the hail plummeted down.  Being ankle biters we were in the car safe and warm while watching our parents scrambling and dodge the egg size hail drops.  Another time we had  a down pour of rain while camping there one weekend. The kids were in a separate tent to the folks and between us a river of water swooshed past. The fear, laughter and shouts from tent to tent will never be forgotten. Needless to say the skiing was not to bad. Always a race to the shore as the rain could be seen coming across the dam. It had always been a great place that my folks enjoyed in their youth. It was just the distance that prevented us from going there often.

 Midmar dam – one that I do believe I will be visiting more frequently. Not only for the Midmar mile, but great sailing facilities, canoeing activities, water skiing space and jet-skiing sections. What more could one ask for in one place. Camping, chalets, picnic sites and ablution facilities, cycle routes, little meanders, great local coffee shops and restaurants with the Umgeni reserve close by for game viewing and nature trails.  It is well situated and perfect for that long weekend getaway. The water is clean on most occasions and offers  you the calm surrounds with glorious weather. But Howick like most bergie areas also tends to be very unpredictable and the wind howls through every now and then bringing a change to the normal sunny day.

 Goedertrouw dam – ImPiva – Self-catering floating chalets on a large dam. You park on 1 side of the dam – pack your things on your boat or the skiff and you zoom/motor across to the other side for reception and your accommodation. Each floating chalet looks like a thatch house hidden away in a little alcove in the dam. They were very simply designed with all necessities on board: shower, toilet, kitchen, lounge, sleeping area with mosquito nets. We were satisfied and so grateful to have the boat there as the little skiffy motored along slower than you could swim. We spent 3 nights there only saw another family once. The boat gave us so much freedom to explore the dam in minutes instead of hours on the skiff.  We had the dam to ourselves , which was great for skiing just the getting of petrol was a bit of a problem.  We had such a ball and will never forget this experience. We had the wildlife reserve on the 1 side of the hill and every now and then a long neck would appear and a couple of giraffes would be spotted. We went in summer and thoroughly enjoyed the heat. We fished for barbell (strange looking things) which stayed close to the house boat and caught 2 with a bit of bacon. We did not go through to reception at all and therefore unable to tell of the land facilities.~ Sadly I have recently found out that this is not available any more.

Hazelmere – this is our local hotspot which we visit regularly – summer, winter, rain and sunshine! This dam will always hold many great memories from learning to shalom ski, to Skottle breakfasts, office parties,  power boat racing, floating back to shore on a dead jet ski battery, enjoying the wake-snaking,  knee boarding behind the jet ski – yes there are many. We have seen this dam in times off overflowing and times of drought. My father recalled how back in the day the shalom practice course was in front of the boat house and the best water ran down the little estuary where he would barefoot. I have seen canoeists, fishermen and family picnics held at this dam, been there when its overcrowded and when we were the only souls on the dam. I will also love this place and look forward to spending many more years enjoying this place.

 Wagon’s drift dam – Well known for its beautiful  flower spray with rainbows’ that reflecting off the sunlight. This is a really great place for a long weekend due to the distance and I have had the pleasure of being there during the winter . Hence the fact that this experience will live with me forever and I am reminded of this 1 event every time we drive past.  The weather had started off sunny but as with winter there is an icy edge to the wind. Which is survivable provided the sun stays out. We had been skiing for most of the day whet the weather turned cold and of course we were out on the water. With the new fancy 250HP Fuel Injected motor we decided to challenge the horse power to pull out 3 skiers – we could not get out, the was no hope  and had depleted all our reserves trying to hang on while playing submarines with the boat.  We had no wetsuits, no rash vest  – we were not woussies! Oh did I pay the price – I was so cold my toes turned white, I shivered as we sat at the back of the boat and headed for shore – no towel. I thought my toes would be gone forever, there was no sign of life flowing any where near that area. Everything felt numb and tingly. I would still go back and make new warmer memories in the future.

 Inanda dam – has it’s good and bad days. The facilities have really been improved to accommodate basic needs, allowing you to enjoy the rough terrain and camping atmosphere. Just the many different experiences people have had either put you off or encourage you to go. I have been there a few times from the beginning to recently  for a boat review and was impressed with what I saw. The water was clean no green fungi floating around and the mist was just lifting off the fresh winter morning. We to road up and down the right hand side of the dam where the dam wall is and the water was like glass. The sun giving a warmth to the crisp morning air. It was exciting to be there with no one else. I wanted to shout out “One day this will all be mine! Wa ha ha!”  I have been here with our young adults group and there was plenty of dam to go around. I have also enjoyed camping there over a weekend with many other people in little groups all around. This dam lends itself to cater for large crowds which creates that community atmosphere this place thrives on. Kids make friend with neighbours and entertain themselves while enabling the adults a well needed time out.  I enjoy the many people that come, the different families, meals and smells. It creates great memories. It is a pity that this is quite a way for anyone not living in Hillcrest (even then it takes  15-20min to get to the dam) – I would enjoy  coming here in large groups and spending a weekend or  you would need to leave at dawns crack and be out by the slice of closing time to make the most of the distance you travelled there.

 Vaal dam – ah yes the straight and narrow – in every sense of the word. At times overcrowded with streams of boats and jet skis tearing up the water in a display of water antics. The long stretch is great for cruising, sundowners, tube rides and the occasions trip out for lunch to moor at the local boat house / restaurant.  I have had mixed experiences there people clashing over direction, ownership of the water,  I’m faster than you and the fear being ridden over from someone skiing right on your wake  – what is it with Gauteng drivers?! (just kidding couldn’t help by throw that in there). We have always had great weather there and enjoyed delicious braai’s and the sun sets. Most of my time at the Vaal dam was spent when I was little. I loved the dam lilies which would open up in a scent of summer bright white & yellow. We would have to get up at 4:30 summer and winter to out on the road to collect my uncle, the boat and then head off to the dam. This was the only  time I have ever seen a dry suit being used – and it’s tight like a tigerrr! We had our Raven 180 closed nose with a hollow bow. My brother and I would cocoon up in our towels and snuggle under there listening to the water hitting the hull and the engine revving underneath. This is a very special time, I loved that boat. It was comfortable, sleek, just a beautiful boat. The dam was mainly flat and clean then and with so many fantastic skiing opportunities of bear footing, discus skiing with my dad and watching the “young ballies” then show off their shalom spray. This where my enjoyment and love for boating was founded and something I will definitely pas onto my kids should my finances be willing in the future.

 The Pont Holiday Resort- Wild Coast – a river, very busy and over crowded. I found that all people did was zoom up and down the entire time we were there – maybe a better out of season a better time to visit?!

 The other side of the Umtavuna river I visited recently was from the wild coast side. We went on the morning cruise up river which was great, chips and ice-cream at 9:30 in the morning with a chilly wind and a warm sun. It was a nice relaxing cruise and we got to see the different holiday facilities from the river side. There were speed boats parked onshore and a wakeboard ramp, some people tubing were tubing and fishing but I was unsure of getting into the water with the hundreds of dead green jellyfish we saw floating in the water. Maybe just a really good touring area?

 Durban Sea – challenging, unpredictable, exhilarating and nerve racking – these are some of the words that come to mind when having to build up the courage to breakthrough the white horses and launch out the open water. I have had the joy of being part of a few Jet Ski runs some from Vetches to the breakers, others from Port Shepstone to Umkomass and then onto Blue Lagoon. I will never forget the size of the swell as we made our approach to beach at Umkomass. It seemed as though moving hills rolled beneath us towards the shore. I had a novice driving me,  and so a little crack of fear broke through and I thought this could be the end – I said many prayers on the way in, peeking over the driver’s shoulder as we gingerly made our way to the beach. “eh hem! You must keep up with the wave in front…go a little faster…okay GO!, Make for the shore!” We came in well I was really impressed, even though  my eyes gave away the little bit of fear that had gripped my being. All the mother could do was laugh, of course she was not the one who was pillion with a novice driving. The guys swopped over with us and we headed back along the coastal road while they pummeled through the surf to Breakers. This was a real adventure, not one I would want to experience too often.

Let me know your thoughts! Where have you been?  What area do you consider to be top on your boating list?

Food for thought…finding the Best Boat

Even if you have had years of boating experience, finding the best boat can still be a tiring task. Whether you are looking for fishing boats or yachts for sale, there are still some basic things you need to look out for.

Among the several kinds of boats for sale, you have to choose one that fits your needs the best.  Figure out what is the most important aspect of boating for you:

  • Will you use it as a fishing boat or a cruising boat?
  • Do I have space to house a boat? If not, where will it be stored?
  • How many people should your boat be able to carry?
  • How often will you be boating?
  • What performance are you looking for?
  • What enjoyment  are you wanting out of your boat?
  • What aspects are important to you? Easy to tow? Fuel Efficient? No fuss enjoyment?
  • What is my budget?
  • Should I look at a payment scheme?
  • Do I have finance for a new boat? Should I look at a previously owned boat?

These are examples of questions you may ask yourself when looking out for the perfect boat.  Keep in mind the added maintenance and operation costs that the boat may have. E.g. Annual SAMSA membership, buoyancy certificate, skipper’s license, Wild Card renewal.

In South Africa we are really spoiled for choice imported versus locally made boats as well as a variety of designs, colours and ranges:  fishing boats, power boats, jet skis, sailboats, personal boats, and self powered boats. Visit your local boat trader to acquaint yourself with the types of boats available.

Fishing boats have several variations, mostly because they are used in different types of water: freshwater and saltwater.  Each water type has different safety requirements, rules and expectations that need to be met, do some research and find out what you need to adhere to. With regards to the types of fishing boat you want, consider which water type you be spending all if not most of your time in? Some are designed for shallow freshwater fishing while others for deep ocean fishing.  What AMP’s will you need? T-top? Rod & reels holders? Sneaker motor? Fully Enclosed canopy? Cowl Cover? Fish Finder? Your basic all-purpose fishing boat can be made of fiberglass, wood, or aluminium suited for catching certain species of fish like bass.

The power boat category  also has varied choices for you: run-about (skiing boat), jet boats, semi-rigid (rubber duck),  or even inflatable dinghies that are easily transportable.  These are a few styles: bow rider, inboard  / outboard ,swim platform, wakeboard, closed nose, centre console or conventional . Put some extras on and personalise you craft with AMP’s: Ski pole / Mini wing or Monster tower? Canopy – flying or sport style? Sound system? Night lights?If you are looking to rather cruise around the water and enjoy a little more luxury and less tempo but plenty of power under the bow you could look across at the cruise liners, cabin boats and motor yachts. Here you can indulge in the  smorgasbord of trims, finishes and accessories tailored to your to your desire.

So now lets talk about the power! Depending on the boat you have a choice in this regard: Mercury / Mariner, Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki and Evinrude.  The dealer you visit will be an accredit supplier of one or more of these brands. Test them out if your not sure, ask around and get advice. Remember depending on your boating application you might need to look at a different propeller and well as the type.

Whether you buy a fishing boat, sailboat, or power boat, the financing and purchase agreements you go through will be very similar for all kinds of boats for sale. Make sure that your purchasing contract allows you to get your money back or replace the boat if it is not performing as promised. Get all warranties in writing in order to make the most out of your boat purchase.  Always ensure you protected and read the fine print!

Visit your marine supplies store or local boat dealer to view what’s on offer, find out about boat show days, boat tests, accessories and any other boating information you may require. Look to finding a dealer Be sure to find a marine supplier with gracious and informed staff so that your trip will not be a waste. Ask your boating friends for recommendations.

Happy looking!

Come back and let me know how it went. Did this help?

 Snippets from: http://vu2015.admin.just1.co.za/recreation-and-leisure/outdoors/boating/finding-the-best-boat.html

Rules on the water – What are you expected to know?

A few basic reminders:

Be aware of restricted areas: boats only/ jet ski’s Only / ski course access areas / fishing only / wildlife sanctuaries / sailing as well as NO wake zones.

Which direction? Most dams and rivers work on the anti-clockwise route but always confirm before you go out onto the water. Also give way to boats already on the water.

Skier in the water waiting to go, tow line dragging or skier off – RED FLAG UP!

Know the riding capacity of your boat and keep within the maximum number. Be aware of your boat’s limits to reduce putting lives at risks and avoiding fines!

Navigation lights – Red / Green bow lights enable you to identify which side of the boat is coming towards you. Just remember “Port is Red but not right“. Port (red)is therefore the left-hand side of the boat leaving starboard (green) being the right-hand side of the boat.

Emergency equipment: Anchor, 3m Anchor chain, 50m Anchor rope, 1.5 kg fire extinguisher, Galvanised bailing bucket, 2 Oars, First aid kit, Capsize rope (1.1/2 length of your boat), Tool kit, Spares, Alternative steering (unless you have a tiller arm motor)

So get smart on the water and be aware of others!

Boating with Friends….


According to research done in the USA by Sea Ray, 60% of clients take their pets on-board between 5 to 15 times a year. Taking this into consideration, Sea Ray got together with Nestle Purina and launched a website designed to cater for this unique market.

Their driving point: “Clients’ needs should be catered for no matter what their requirements. If you make a customer and his companion important, you’ll have a friend for life.”

This new venture brought into effect PAWS, (Pet and Water Safety) which regulates animals on-board marine vessels ensuring their security. Now all four legged boaters are required to wear dog life jackets to avoid animal deaths. Chris Padgett, Vice President of marketing for the Purina brand had this to say: “It’s crucial for pet owners to be aware of the special considerations for pets when they’re around the water and PAWS is a great way to deliver important messages about pet safety.

The website is said to include includes safety tips, articles, contests, and merchandise with the PAWS logo.

Have a look: www.petandwatersafety.com



Ever wondered how to prolong the life of your marine covers? The answer is simple – keep it clean…

Hidden away in garages, under trees our boats and water toys are packed away awaiting the rays of summer. The idle months pass by with little attention to the dust that has settled like a fine film on your cover.  Slowly and surely microscopic organisms which hibernate in the dust feed on the protective coatings. This exposes the underlying backer and weakening the fibres. Discolouration also occurs causing the fabric to crack and flake rendering it useless against the elements.

It is vital to keep your cover clean, even the lightest dust contains little pests with gnashing teeth and acid waste. All your covers need is a little TLC. A regular shake and wash will extend its life giving you the most value out of your cover!

Skipper License and C.O.F

The current law in South Africa requires all marine vessels to be SAMSA registered and to have their certificate of fitness approved. A skipper’s license is an essential item – No license means No boating of any kind.

I’ve seen too many boaters turned away in anger and frustration after not having a skippers license.  As the captain of your boat, you need to be aware of the required safety equipment and procedures when operating your boat ensuring the well-being of your passengers and fellow boaters.

Also remember SABS approved life jackets are required by law on all skiers!

In order to do your C.O.F survey, you need to produce a flotation certificate and skipper’s license. With the certificate in hand, skippers license obtained,  relevant SR numbers and contact details visible  on your boat and trailer – you will be finally legal!

Contact your local boating dealer to register for the skipper’s course and to find out more information.


The seasonal holiday seems to have come all too quickly, time passing within the blink of an eye and next year already staring us in the face. The only way to enjoy your time off is to get wet, get tanned and get fit! This Christmas sees Santa trading in his old sleigh for a speed boat!

Life is more fun on the water we say!

Many thanks to all who have supported us throughout the year! We trust you will enjoy your time with family and have a good holiday rest.

Merry Christmas and have a Happy New year from us all at FAST SAILS!

CHOICES! CHOICES! – How to choose the right boat cover

So you have finally saved up enough to reach for your dream boat…carefully selected the type, colour and extras you desired. You go to choose a boat cover; this seemingly unimportant item, in the overall deal, is really the final touch to the overall package and protection for your investment.


What does FAST SAILS have to offer?


The type of environment your boat is kept in plays a vital role in the selection of a cover. Here are the descriptions of each cover we offer to assist you in making the right decision:

  • Storage cover / Night Frill – 400grm PVC, fully waterproof, storage only for dust protection.
  • HD cover – 550grm PVC, fully waterproof, storage and towing capabilities, long life span, durable, value for money, well-liked cover
  • Easy Rinse cover – Available on request!
  • Fire Retardant cover  – Life boats, sea safety gear protection
  • Ultra Lite cover – Polyester, UV protected, silicon coating for anti-fungal / mildew, self-repair (nicks / small holes), water-resistant
  • Premier cover – Imported marine canvas: Cleangard treated – rot proof, water resistant, anti staining, maximum water repellency, Sunacryl high colour retention.

We offer you a range of colours within each material product. Certain PVC colours do have a longer life expectancy due to their ability to block the sun’s radiation waves. Our most popular colours are Dove Grey and Dark Blue.

We are able to supply covers in high visibility colours for ski boats, runabouts and jet skis. These colours are also used for ski flags, T-Tops, warning flags, fire hydrant bags and any emergency equipment. When choosing a colour we suggest considering your upholstery, surroundings and overall feel you would like your boat to have. Otherwise a neutral cover is always a winner.

Once decided, you can be assured that our cover protects the pride and joy of a machine which generates fond memories: family fun days, fishing adventures, cruises at sunset and some extreme boating!