Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Trawler School: A Lesson on Oil Changes

November 7, 2016

What time is it? It is time for our 100 hour oil change. If you do this religiously you’ll be happy, and your engine & generator will be happier. There is no better way to extend the life of your engine or even double it. 100 hours my friend, every 100 hours. While you’re at it, this is also a good time to change your oil & fuel filters for extra insurance.

If you like to make your oil change easy, I highly recommend an electric oil pump for your engine and generator. Using this method, it will only take you five minutes to empty the old oil. Then, you reverse the pump to put the new oil back in.

A gallon of oil is expensive, about $20 per gallon for the type I use. Five gallons for engine and generator, plus two oil filters, and five fuel filters totals about $140.00.

Breaking news: buy your oil in five-gallon buckets! I pay $65, or about $13 per/gal. bringing the total cost to $105 for a single engine, and that includes my generator.

I always use two buckets: one full with new oil to trasfer back into the engine, and one empty oil bucket for discharged old oil.

I also keep five, single, empty one-gallon oil containers and refill them from a full bucket keeping the oil I refill underway when needed keeping my cost per gallon down. I now have an empty bucket to drain the old oil in, and then take to an auto parts store that accepts old used oil for no charge!

I’m very lucky my shipmate (client) and excellent assistant, Stan from Port Arasas, Texas, will be helping me, and his lovely wife Enda is taking pictures. Being from Texas they sure know about OIL. Hearty ha ha…

Here is what you need to get started:

This is what I use on my single engine.














1.  Rotella  40 weight oil  (3 gallons) three-quarters mixture

2. Lucas Oil adding (1 gallon) for four gallons total. This is the miracle additive, truckers swear by it saying they receive a 100,000 miles more on their engine. It’s expensive but worth every drop.

3. Engine Oil filter

4. Two Racor fuel  filters, one Engine Fuel filter

5. Generator: one Racor fuel filter, one generator fuel filterDon’t forget to use BIOBOR JR to fight against growth in your fuel tanks, plus much more. 1 oz treatment for every 80 gallons of diesel fuel.





Hope you enjoyed my oil blog!

Boston Harbor Summer School – Trawler School Charters

February 17, 2015



Our slogan is a “Education with a Vacation” and for Trawler School’s 10th year anniversary we want to do something very special. We are bringing Trawler School to a northeast location for the historic beauty of downtown Boston Harbor and the Outer Islands. Our dock will overlook Logan Airport and the Boston skyline.

I, Captain Bob, grew up on Revere Beach, the first public beach in America. I have been living in Florida for over 30 years, and I love doing trawler school out of Ft Lauderdale. The fond memories of cruising Boston Harbor as a kid on my Sears 12′ aluminum 6 HP mercury engine seems so long ago. It is time to open up Trawler School in the summer, something I should have done many years ago.

Boston Harbor and the Outer Islands await!

The weather is great, the scenery is wonderful, and folks flying in will receive a taste of Historic old downtown Boston. I have hosted 100’s of north-easterners in Florida, now I am bring Trawler school to you and that will save you the air fare expense.

I look forward fulfilling people’s Trawler dreams in good old New England.

Choose the Right Trawler the First Time

December 25, 2014

OH NO! Almost bought the WRONG TRAWLER

Hi, I’m Captain Bob with Trawler School Charters. I’d like to share a couple stories I experienced with some previous charter clients. I recently had one couple that was ready to buy Sundeck trawler one week before attending trawler school. I advised them to wait until they completed their 3 day, 4 night trawler course, and so they did. Please note, there are 4 different models of trawlers: Sundeck, Trunk, Sedan, & Pilot House. Right off the bat, they told me that their 60-pound dog German Shepard (Charlie) was going on all their trawlering adventures. If they had bought the Sundeck trawler they would have been very disappointed, and cruising without their poor dog old Charlie. Why?

The aft deck is very high off the water, and has  no cockpit, so they would have had to somehow hoist the dog down onto the swim platform, and into the dinghy, 2 to 3 times a day, in order for him to do his duty on shore. I could not describe to  you how that could have been done.

If a dog is your best friend, he would have told you to go for the sedan trawler. It is pet-friendly, and has a cockpit (low to the water line) leading right onto the swim platform & into your dingy. Also there are no steps on board for Charlie to negotiate. Thankfully, they ended up purchasing a sedan and named it Paws, with paw prints painted on it, next to the name.

In another case, the couple had a contract on a trunk trawler, and it was going to survey as soon as they were through with Trawler School. A trunk trawler has the same interior layout as the sundeck, which is the model we use at Trawler School Charters. James, my client, has loss of motion, his joints do not work that well anymore as he is going on 71 years. Just being on board for a couple days he found out that the layout was just not for him. Why?

Because it was like a 4 story house climbing all those stairs.

After a week on a trunk trawler every level and step would have been painful, and his trawler dream would have been nothing but a nightmare. He canceled the contract, and ended up in a sedan trawler. He was very pleased, having no steps to hobble up and down. Please note that on the newer sedan models they have built integrated steps leading from the cockpit to the flybridge. Older models have a steep ladder and that makes it very hard to get up to the flybridge even at the dock  -never mind being under way, cruising.

These are just a couple of things to look for. I can assure you, there are many more things to consider before looking for a trawler, and that is why attending Trawler School would be an advantage before making such a costly investment, and hopefully in a trawler you’ll enjoy cruising on confortably. You have ONE chance to choose the right trawler in order to enjoy your cruising years. Remember, knowledge is a trawler buyer’s best friend. Hope you enjoyed this month’s blog. Merry Christmas, and Happy New Years! -Captain Bob & the Miami Mermaid.

Captain Robert Hamilton
Trawler School Charters
398 East Dania Beach Blvd #281
Dania Beach, Fl 33004

sedan trawler

Trawler Charters Empower Buyers with Experience

November 6, 2014

Chartering article in Passagemaker Channels, posted on Oct. 21st 2014
By Peter & Sharon Boothroyd

“In 2010 we took our initial training with Trawler School Charters out of Dania Beach, Florida. We were neophytes from the Canadian Midwest with zero experience in large boats. We needed the training and experience before charterboat companies would allow us to take one of their trawlers on our chartering adventures.

Our training took place on a single-engine 40′ trawler, the Miami Mermaid, and took us down the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) into Biscayne Bay. There was something empowering about cruising past the skyscrapers of downtown Miami and the extensive dockyards where immense cruise ships embarked for various Caribbean destinations.”

Folks, to make a long article short, Peter & Sharon received their Trawler School certificate. They have been chartering different trawlers the past few years on their own. Trawler school Charters provides this type of hands on training. The longer the client has to buy a trawler the better. Most people are looking for a time frame of 3 to 5 years after retirement, that is perfect timing. That is why Chartering is one of the topics I teach. Then, you can do just as Peter & Sharon did: each year they tried a different trawler size, first a 32′, then a 36′,  a 42′, as well as different models: sundeck, trunk, sedan, and maybe even a pilothouse.

Consider Trawler School Charters your first stop, and then chartering on your own, because trawler charters empower buyers with experience. Also, it is much more favorable to present a certificate of completion of a trawler training course to the chartering companies, as well as to insurance companies.

Peter and Sharon’s big issue was chartering both single and twin. They learned to drive a single on the Miami Mermaid so chartering a twin was no problem at all. When it is time to make their decision to buy a trawler they will know exactly what best fits their needs.

The biggest concepts you learn from chartering are:

1. Should we buy?

2. Should we just keep on chartering?

3. We loved chartering so much we will become liveaboards.

If you follow these recommendations you will end up with the Trawler of your dreams. Hope you enjoyed my blog and I look forward to you joining me on a Trawler School Charter someday. Sea U Captain Bob

Boston Strong (Silent Hero)

October 7, 2014

My Boston Vacation

It’s been a long time since I’ve been home to visit friends and family. If you are reading this, then you are one of those special persons in my life. I’d like to thank you for your friendship and hospitality.

I would also like to share a story of two of my very good friends: first, Larry Hittinger, who we all know and love. Mr. Nice Guy, would you not agree? This story starts two weeks after the Boston Marathon bombing. Through the grape vine, I received an article about Larry from a friend. A bomb went off right next to Larry at the Marathon. As most people fled for their lives, one of my best friends (Larry) went running into harms way and picked up an 11 year old boy with his leg severely wounded. Larry ran through the crowd to an ambulance and tied a tourniquet on the boy’s leg. The boy survived and his leg was saved due to Larry, but here is where the story turns strange: Larry never called me but someone else let me know what Larry did that sad day in Boston history.


Click on the image to enlarge

This is an example of a true hero, even to this day he does not talk about it . He became Mr. Bostonian of the Year (2013), and after being interviewed he was asked why he did this courageous act. Our friend’s answer was “I just had to do it.”  Thank you Larry this is one of the reasons your national slogan is Boston Strong.

Mr Bostonian…My second story is about USMC Captain Harry Hinkle marine corps recruiter 1973 (my mentor). He took me off the streets and turned me from a street punk to Marine. I found Harry, 67 years young, down the Cape. It’s been more than 40 years since we were together. I saw something on his wall and read it. I would like to share this letter with you that I scanned. So, here it is…


Click on the image to enlarge.

The Captain, who shared so many stories with me, just happened to forget about mentioning what you just read. I felt like he did not confide in me the most important story of his career. Harry, he is a humble man, and a true hero that kept this amazing Bronze Star story to himself. He was always my hero and after uncovering this letter I’m sure he is yours. Thank you, Captain Hinkle. Nowadays, the slogan for the Marines is “We’re looking for a few good men.” Back when I went in it was, “We don’t promise you a rose garden”. Everyday Harry would remind me of that before I left for boot camp. Trust me, boot camp was no Rose Garden! I’d like to take a moment to thank Larry & Harry for being good friends. I cannot give you their email, but if you would like to send a comment I will pass it along to them.

Series or Parallel Battery Banks on a Trawler

September 1, 2014

My battery house bank on the Miami Mermaid consists of eight 6 volt Trojan T 105 deep-cell golf cart batteries, each with 225 amp hours. They are small and light and carry large amp hours. They cost about $120.00 each, and I feel like I’m receiving the best bang for my buck. They are hooked up in a combination of Series and Parallel. This would give me four 12 volt battery’s each with 550 amp hours for a total of 1,800 amp hours. That my friend is a lot of house amp hours. I have two high voltage auto battery’s just for my single engine and one high voltage auto battery’s just for my generator.

Battery Banks on a Trawler: You can connect two batteries or more to either increase voltage or amperage or both. If your looking for more power you don’t need big heavy battery’s such as the (8d) battery. You can take lightweight batteries, Golf Cart batteries, to conform your own high output battery bank just for your boat’s needs.







(Series) connecting battery’s in series will increase the voltage and not your amperage, known as Amp Hours (see above).








(Parallel) connecting battery’s in parallel will increase your Amp hours and the voltage will remain the same.






Series and Parallel combined together (see above) you can double both your voltage and amp hours.

Another month another blog hope you enjoyed this blog and found it informative. Thank you and see you next month. Maybe you can find time to attend Trawler School Charters and be involved with hands on training for our 3 day 4 night all inclusive training school.

SOS! Phone Overboard – Water Proofing Your Cell Phone & IPad

July 22, 2014

SOS, oh no phone overboard! Sound familiar? Owning a cell phone or iPad around water could become very expensive, and a major impact to your bank account. Learn from many other victims’ mistakes. I will give you a few ideas how to combat against rain, phone over board, dust & shock proofing; water proofing your cell phone is possible!

Being a full time Captain, I have personally lost many phones and even a iPad. I should have had bought stock in Apple- I’d’ be rich. Phones in the past have always been known to be penetrated by water. Nowadays iPads are small, slim, and often used as chart plotters on board & weather forecast so they too fall in the same category.

Side to side comparison

Side to side comparison

In the past I bought the so called “water resistant cases” and found that all they were water resistant, not water proof. When my phone went overboard in 10′, I dove in and retrieved the phone right away, but it was too late and lost to water penetration. Another cell phone sleeps with the fish.

Hello Lifeproof! This company offers you all the protection you”ll ever need for both your iPad & cell phone. Their cases are water proof, not water resistant. The cell phone case costs around $60.00, and all their cases have a 1 year guarantee! The iPad case costs about $110.00. Want proof? Put your new empty case in a bucket of water for 5 minutes and the inside will be dry when you pull it out. Just install your phone, and your good to go. One problem Lifeproof has not solved is that because the case is totally sealed you will lose some volume, and it will be harder to hear the incoming ring, but it’s well worth the trade off. Your case is more than waterproof, it also is snow proof, dirt proof & shock proof.

Lifeproof cases.

Lifeproof cases.

Stop! There’s more. To make your devices 100% full proof they just came out with a life jacket for both your cell and iPad. That’s right, no more diving in the water. Drop it in and it will float, it’s bright orange and easy to find, and really,really shock proof. It just about bounces back in your hand. I now use my devices in the water, pool, and hot tub!

Captain Bob Trawler School Charters, Dania Beach Florida visit www.trawlerschoolcharters for loads of pictures and information and many more interesting blogs.

Choosing the right Trawler School

May 27, 2014

Trawler School Charters is one of the first trawler schools where you can experience living aboard for 3 days, 4 nights while learning all about ​operating​ and buying a trawler. This is our ninth year in business and we are still going strong. Hundreds of clients have graduated to become a Trawler Scholar and went on to fulfill their trawler dreams. All of their reviews are on – check them out, they are fun to read.

Trawler Scholars

Trawler Scholars

We were the first to open a private two person trawler school.  Included in our teaching are the following subjects:  living aboard, long range cruising, anchoring, electrical systems, 12 volt 110 volt system, inverters, high voltage alternators, electronics, single vs twin engines, marine diesel engine, generator, navigation, rules of the road, docking, night maneuvers, and let’s not forget man overboard drills are also covered.

Choosing the Right Trawler SchoolYacht Brokerages and charter boat companies decided to add a trawler school to their company in order to benefit financially by selling you a trawler through their company. This is a conflict of interest, would you not agree?  It would very uncomfortable if the end result is to sell you a trawler for a huge commission. Trawler school charters has never sold, recommended, or been involved in finding our clients a trawler. This is one point we pride ourselves on: you can relax and learn about trawlers without any sales pitch.

I am the sole owner and operator of Trawler School Charters, a private trawler school, and I was the top broker for the largest trawler brokerage firms in Florida. I wrote “The ABC’s of Trawler Buying” Book, a buyers guide to help you understand the different models and what to expect when looking for a trawler through a private seller or yacht brokerage firm. This information alone is what separates my school from all others. We want you to understand the full process of buying a trawler so we put aside a two hour class covering contract negotiations, surveyors, insurance, financing, closing, and documentation.

We offer an all inclusive rate and have not raised our rates in 9 years. We keep it simple!!! Check out our web site, it is full of information and pictures about our school.

Anchors and Anchoring 101

April 28, 2014

This article is just a quick view on anchoring and anchors, this should point you in the right direction and what questions you may want to ask anchor manufacturers before you buy.

I would highly recommend you always buy an anchor larger than the footage requires. I own a 40′ trawler sundeck and it takes on a lot of windage, so I like to use an anchor required for a 45′ boat. I sleep much better at night. I use all chain and use snubbers (bridles) to absorb the shock, it’s two pieces of 12′ long three strand nylon rode secured to my front cleats, and on the other end there is a hook that secures to my anchor chain. It goes down into the water till there is tension, this will greatly reduce shock loads on your boat and your anchoring system as well as your windless due to the bridles elasticity. If your using all rode make sure you put a long piece of chain on the end of your anchor to prevent chafing of your rode on the seabed, it also gives your anchor a better angle while setting.

There are many different anchors on the market, here are some of the more popular ones:



The CQR anchor is one of the more popular selections amongst Skippers. Later on they added a swivelling head which will slowly reset itself on a 360 degree turn on a soft bottom seabed. It is inexpensive and effective, this is why it has earned the trust of many skippers. The holding power works best on seabeds, sand, mud, gravel, and clay. It does not do as well in weed, and it is bad in coral and rocks.

The Bruce is also a very good selection it has a signal pedal shaped fluke, when deployed it will settle down and reset itself on a 360 degree turn in any soft bottom seabed without breaking out. The holding power works best on the following, sea beds, sand, mud, gravel, and clay, but not well in weed and is bad in coral and rocks.



The Danford comes in many different styles, the flukes could have wide inner ends, longer and sharper flukes, a 90 degree swivel or even a roll bar. It has immediate holding power, it digs down deep and is difficult to brake out of the seabed. Holding power is better gripping in mud, sand, clay, weeds, not good on rocky bottoms.

The Fortress is a newer model of the Danford. It looks like the Danford,  but the big difference is it is made of light-weight aluminum. One of the employees of the Danford company left and just about copy-catted their anchor. It purposefully works much better, lighter and stronger.  Effect: immediate  holding power. It digs down deep, and difficult to break out of the seabed. Holding power is better gripping in mud, sand, clay, weeds, not good on rocky bottoms.

The Grappling anchor, this is your anchor for coral and rocky bottoms it can be used to for dragging the bottom to retrieve a lost item.



Scope is the length of your anchor line you wish to let out. It is the distance from your boats deck to the sea bottom. Recommended scope is 5’x1′ so 10 ‘ to the bottom, you would need 50′  (10′ x 5′ = 50’). The more scope the better holding power, 3 to 1 is very weak.

Holding Power settings guide:

2×1 = 10% holding power 3×1 = 40%  5×1 = 70%  7×1 = 85% 10×1 = 100%

Power setting and retrieving an anchor:

Setting your anchor, make sure your anchor is set. Back down very slowly, then when the anchor begins to set increase your engine load​,​ when you feel it ​ is dug in stop.

 ​Make sure you did not pull your anchor out by backing down to fast or to long.

Anchor retrieval: ​Retrieve you​r​  rode so you​’​re positioned right over you anchor, snub your line on a cleat​,​  power down backwards slowly to break the anchor off the bottom. Do not break the anchor while​ in forward​,​ it will require more energy.



Soft muddy bottoms offer as little as 15% of holding power​, try a Fortress with mud palms (wide flukes) and you can adjust your normal 32 degree angle to 45 degrees in order to change your holding power as much as 400%.

​We hope you learned a thing or two about anchor​s from this blog​.

Attend Trawler ​school​, we teach everything​ from boat handling to “rules of the road.” ​Educated boaters are safe boaters. Approximately 80% of all boating fatalities occur on boats w​here an operator ha​s never taken a boating course. We have trained hundreds of boaters interested in safety, running and learning about​ the right trawler for your specific needs​.



For pictures and information please visit my website ​​.


Have a great day,

Captain Bob

Electrical Boat System

March 2, 2014
electrical boat systemThere are two systems, the 110 volt and 12 volt. They work in combination to power up your boat. There are 4 ways to get power, let’s keep it simple and go through them.

First is your shore power, this is the electrical box from your dock,
just connect the shore cord, one 50 amp or two 39 amp cords. If you do not have air conditioning then one 30 amp will do. 

Your boat now has full 110 volt power.

Second is when you disconnect the shore cords and leave the dock. To get full 110 volt power you will turn on your generator and presto 110 volts, I have a 50 amp, 9kw Yanmar Generator, this will work all systems on my boat including the air conditioners.

Third is an inverter, I have a 3,000 watt heart inverter. The inverter extracts 12 voltage from your 12 volt house battery system and inverts the 12 volts to 110 volts. This provides 110 volts throughout your boat except for the air conditioner’s, they draw to much power and you must turn on your generator. The inverter allows you to run all your 110 volts on your boat without running the generator. In the old days you had to turn your generator off and on every time you turned on anything with 110 volts. This was a major breakthrough, you can watch TV without the noise and fuel consumption. The inverter is also a 160 amp battery charging system, whenever you plug into shore power or turn on your generator your batteries will start charging up.

Forth is your alternator, 
this is the system I have on my trawler. One 50 amp to charge my two high cranking engine batteries (just like in your car). The  generator has an alternator so it charges my generator’s batteries. Last but not leastmy secondary backup 150 amp alternator is connected to my eight 210 amp hours 6 volt house battery system, this is the power source that let’s you run all your 110 & 12 volt systems on board without the use of your generator. The 150 amp alternator will charge up your house batteries while cruising or at anchor by turning on your engine and running 1500 hundred rpm’s. This was the best money spent on my power system I do not have to keep running my generator to charge my house batteries, I just go cruising and the 150 amp alternator will charge up my system.

Hope you enjoyed this article 

there are many more on my web

Vessel Miami Mermaid
398 East Dania Beach Blvd #281
Dania Beach FL 33004