Home For Boat Owners and Buyers

For Boat Owners and Buyers

Steve delivers professional, engaging and interesting photo intensive PowerPoint presentations on a wide range of subjects, which include a host of technical topics, as well as offering guidance on working with boat yards and the marine industry as a whole, marine photography and sea trials and pre-purchase evaluation of vessels. A sampling of topics include fuel, fuel polishing and fuel filtration systems; electrical systems; high output charging systems; metal and corrosion; osmosis and blisters; hydraulic system installations; cored composite constructions and its strengths and weaknesses; hull and deck structural issues; below the waterline plumbing and seacocks; systems; running gear, props and shafts; damage control; and engine and propulsion system maintenance and failure avoidance.

Designing and Installing a Bilge Pump System

Few onboard systems are more important than those that keep water out of the boat, or remove it efficiently once it gets there. Here, we’ll show you how to evaluate or troubleshoot an existing bilge-pump system, and how to install a brand new one. You’ll have an opportunity to view detailed images of pump systems and specific parts as we cover key topics such as voltage drop, hose type and size, float switch placement, and centrifugal versus displacement pump styles. Be sure to bring your questions to this very practical seminar.

Boat Buying Wisdom from an Industry Veteran

Will the boat you are buying live up to your expectations? Are the key systems installed correctly and compliant with recognized industry standards and manufacturers’ guidelines? What construction method is used, cored composite, aluminum or steel and does it matter?  Is the running gear properly aligned?  Is the battery bank large enough for your needs? Is the fiberglass resin blister-resistant? In this interactive seminar, systems expert and PMM Technical Editor Steve D’Antonio will review these and a variety of other details that will guide you through evaluating a new vessel or maintaining the one you own, avoiding grief, aggravation, and unnecessary expense.

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Cracking the Code, Learn to Speak the Language of the Marine Industry

Save more, spend less and avoid misunderstandings, these are among your most important goals when working with the marine industry.  Yet, in some ways the marine industry is unlike many other, and as a result working with it requires special training for the boat buyer and owner.  In this session Steve D’Antonio will share with attendees the secrets of successfully working with boat builders, brokers, boatyards and marine contractors.  Covered subjects will include how to ensure best practices and standards are followed, determining when and how to get quotes and when it’s OK to have work done on a time and material basis, how to communicate with those who are building or working on your boat, how to avoid disputes and how to resolve them to your satisfaction when they do occur.  This is an interactive session with time built in for questions, so be sure to come prepared.

Critical Systems Review, Failure Prevention and Analysis

The right equipment and predictive maintenance are the keys to more enjoyable, less stressful and less costly cruising. In this interactive and photo intensive seminar the focus will be on fuel, electrical and running gear systems. For each system Steve will discuss the equipment options, the pros and cons of each and the top predictive maintenance actions you can take to keep each of these critical mechanical systems healthy…while keeping your vessel and its systems seaworthy, reliable and safe. The presentation will be interactive, ample time will be allotted for questions and discussion sessions.

Your Vessel’s Critical Systems Explained

Your vessel’s systems are complex and learning about them and how to maintain them, or task others with doing so can be a daunting task.  However, gaining a thorough understanding of the various gear and components aboard your vessel will enable you to carry out proper maintenance, foresee potential failures and problems and avoid costly repairs as well as enhance safety and reliability, while reducing operating expenses.  In this detail-packed, photo-intensive two day seminar, Steve D’Antonio, PassageMaker’s Technical Editor will review major vessel systems including electrical, fuel and running gear.  The presentation will begin with a detailed discussion of the inner workings of the marine industry, and what you need to know to deal with it most effectively.  Questions relating to any vessel systems or marine industry practice will be welcomed.

10 Things You Need To Know Before Stepping Aboard Your Dream Boat

Will the boat you are buying or already own live up to your expectations? Are the key systems installed correctly and compliant with recognized industry standards? Is the running gear properly aligned and offering the greatest possible fuel efficiency? Is the battery bank large enough for your needs? Is the fiberglass resin blister-resistant? In this interactive seminar, systems expert and PMM Technical Editor Steve D’Antonio will review these and a variety of other details that will guide you through the vessel selection and evaluation process, thus avoiding grief, aggravation, and expense.

Enhancing Your Vessel’s Reliability, Failure Analysis and Prevention 

A photo-intensive review of a selection of the most common systems, component and equipment failures aboard sailing and power cruising vessels.  In this photo-intensive PowerPoint presentation technical journalist and marine systems consultant Steve D’Antonio will share with attendees a selection of common faults and failures he routinely encounters.  Each example of a failure will be accompanied by a discussion on the cause as well as how it could have been avoided and how proper repairs or correction should be undertaken.

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Achieving Electrical Independence 

How to design and maintain an electrical and charging system that will enable sailing and power vessels to cast off their shore power cord.  In this photo-intensive PowerPoint presentation technical journalist and marine systems consultant Steve D’Antonio will dispel common misunderstandings and myths about marine charging and electrical systems, while detailing a systematic approach to achieving energy independence.  An emphasis will be placed on robust installations that offer users the greatest reliability, safety, value and practicality.  The presentation will include details on alternator selection, AC chargers, battery types and installations and relative American Boat and Yacht Council recommendations. This is an interactive session, questions are encouraged.

Diesel Fuel Systems, Filtration and Polishing Explained

Clean fuel, it’s the very lifeblood of any diesel engine and for that reason its importance cannot be overestimated.  Contaminated fuel not only raises the risk of unexpected engine shut down, it increases the likelihood of damage to metallic fuel tanks.  One of the most effective ways of making certain the fuel that reaches an engine is clean is to use supplemental, stand alone filtration while the fuel is still in the vessel’s tanks.  In this photographically intensive, interactive PowerPoint presentation you’ll learn about the details of fuel polishing, from how it works to how to design and install an efficient and effective system.  You’ll discover why all fuel polishing systems are not created equal and how to distinguish between supplemental filtration and true fuel polishing systems.  While a variety of off the shelf polishing products are available, there are both major and subtle differences between these products and what can be expected from them.   Common misperceptions and myths about fuel polishing will also be dispelled and clarified.  Making heavy use of images from the field, an emphasis will be placed on material selection as well as proper design and installation techniques.

Sustain the Dream: Listening to Your Engines

Your engines want to keep running.  When they won’t start, or when they stop, there are ways they can tell you what you need to do. Some call that troubleshooting. I call it asking the right questions and listening to your engine and related systems. By asking the right questions and having the right listening tools, they will tell what you need to know.

In this workshop you’ll learn how to ask the right questions and listen for the right information when:

  • Your engines won’t start or run poorly or they overheat
  • Your batteries won’t charge or won’t charge properly
  • What tools, diagnostic equipment and spare parts do you need?

Sustain the Dream (Two Day Presentation): Keep Your Mechanical Systems Humming 

I love being on the water. Whether it’s an ocean crossing or a day cruise on a lazy river, I relish the sound of smoothly running engines and impeccably performing mechanical systems. That’s when dreams become reality.

The right equipment and predictive maintenance are the keys to a great day or month on the water. In the 2011 edition of this workshop the focus will be on the fuel, electrical and running gear systems. For each system we’ll discuss the equipment options, the pros and cons of each and Top Three predictive maintenance actions you can take to keep each of these critical mechanical systems healthy…and you and your passengers safe.

I’ve also set aside time in this workshop for participants to select from a longer list the topics that will support and sustain your boating dreams.

Improving Reliability through Enhanced Attention to Detail 

It’s a term that’s used in the industry frequently; however, how many folks actually practice paying attention to the details?  In this photo-intensive, interactive seminar Systems Consultant and technical journalist Steve D’Antonio will afford attendees a behind the scenes view of what the marine industry all too frequently misses in boat building and repair.  He’ll review a wide range of components and systems, big and small, that are found aboard most cruising vessels and the little things that if paid attend to make them safer, seaworthy, reliable and more economical to operate.  After attending this presentation you’ll be able to carry out an inspection aboard your own vessel, or one you intend to buy, to make sure it meets Steve’s standard.

Oil Analysis, The Mechanic’s Crystal Ball

It’s an invaluable tool that’s been effectively used by the aviation and rail industries for over half a century.  Today, most manufacturing facilities and over the road trucks as well as commercial, institutional and military vessels rely on oil analysis, to reveal defects and impending failures long before ordinary potentially costly or dangerous problems manifest themselves.  In this presentation the “mechanics” of oil analysis will be detailed, including establishing an oil analysis program for your customers and  your own equipment, sample taking procedures, selecting analysis labs, reading analysis reports (and avoiding miss-reading these reports), establishing condition-based maintenance protocols and explaining the value of a comprehensive fluid analysis program to your customers.  Oil analysis is no longer cutting edge technology, it’s proven and common place where ever users of internal combustion engines wish to extend equipment life, prevent failures and save money.

Steve Onboard (Two Day)

Cruise with Steve onboard, or the next best thing.  Your vessel’s systems are complex and learning about them can be a daunting task.  However, gaining a thorough understanding of the various gear and components aboard your vessel will enable you to carry out proper maintenance, foresee potential failures and problems and avoid costly repairs as well as enhance safety and reliability as well as reducing operating expenses.  In this detail-packed, photo-intensive two day seminar, Steve D’Antonio will review major vessel systems including electrical, fuel and running gear.  The seminar is fully interactive, bring your questions, this will be the place to have them answered in detail.

How to Avoid the Most Common, Costly and Dangerous Systems Failures

Nearly all of the systems problems and failures boat owners face are avoidable.  In this seminar Steve D’Antonio, will share with attendees guidance and wisdom that will help them… avoid fuel tank contamination and corrosion, running gear misalignment, saturated fiberglass core, batteries that die prematurely, clogged heat exchangers and unreliable electrical systems, to name a few.  Steve will also share tips on avoiding disputes and working effectively with the marine industry.   The session is interactive, so come prepared with your questions.

Photography, Stop Missing Those Once in a Lifetime Cruising Images

Are you tired of taking photos and having them turn out blurry, over or under exposed or just plain dull?  In this sessions Steve will share the secrets of effectively capturing both scenic as well as technical images.  Whether it’s a tropical sunset, Albatross, Leaking Fuel Line or Corroded Shaft, Steve will give you the information you need to get those memorable and important images.

Running Gear Review, Everything you ever wanted to know about Propellers, Shafts, Struts, Stuffing Boxes, Couplings and Alignment 

An in-depth look at all of the parts and pieces that reside, and spin between the propeller nut and the engine.  This interactive, photo-rich PowerPoint presentation will introduce attendees to each one of the running gear components that are found aboard virtually every vessel.  The strengths and weaknesses of each of these components, possible failure modes, and how those can be avoided, along with common problems and installation faults will be discussed.  Preferred approaches for material and equipment selection as well tips on installation techniques that will ensure enhanced longevity and reliability will also be detailed.  An emphasis will be placed on reliability and the safety it affords the vessel and crew, as well as reducing operating costs through proper selection, set up, inspection and maintenance.

The Art of Conducting a Thorough, Effective Sea Trial

Having conducted hundreds of sea trials, and having watched many others conduct them as well, the presenter has developed strong ideas about what works and what doesn’t.  A proper sea trial will tell you a great deal about a vessel, from the obvious handling and sea keeping characteristics to details about charging systems, exhaust temperature, back pressure and vibration issues.  In this presentation you’ll learn how to turn a boat ride into an effective test, demonstration, pre-purchase, repair evaluation and troubleshooting tool, by running a vessel in a manner that will reveal defects, faults and errors as well as prove system reliability.  Data collection and recording as well as engine manufacturers’ guidelines will also be covered in detail.   If you have ever taken a vessel on a sea trial to verify a customer’s complaint or observation, only to return and say “I couldn’t duplicate the problem” it’s probably not your fault, you simply haven’t learned how to conduct a sea trial, until now.

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Steering Systems Explained

Few systems are as important as the one that controls the direction a vessel travels.  In this presentation, Steve D’Antonio—technical journalist and marine systems consultant–will review steering-system installation guidelines, recommend best practices, and detail common oversights, defects, and modes of failure.  As he describes the protocols established by steering-system manufacturers, D’Antonio will emphasize reliability, longevity, and seaworthiness of different designs.  During his presentation, Steve will review both hydraulic and cable over-sheave systems as well as rudder, tiller-arm, and related component installations.

Essential hands-on technical skills for confident cruising

Every cruiser should master a core set of onboard technical skills, including changing belts, raw water pump impellers and fuel filters, as well as learning how to bleed air from a fuel system. Those of you who have attended Steve D’Antonio’s seminars, and read his articles know he pounds this drum regularly, even for the non-gearheads a degree of self-reliance is necessary for enjoyable and safe cruising. If, however, you’ve been unsure about how to learn these skills, or if you have received conflicting advice from fellow cruisers and self-styled experts, this is your chance to learn how to perform these and other critical tasks, correctly and in compliance with equipment manufacturer and ABYC guidelines. Additionally, knowing how to perform these tasks correctly will provide you with an edge when tasking others or reviewing their work. Assisted by Keith Ruse, ABYC certified Master Technician and proprietor of Deltaville Boat Yard, Steve will engage with attendees, teaching them these and other valuable technical skills. In addition to those mentioned above, hands on training will include learning to use a multi-meter and basic wire termination skills, heat exchanger inspection and service, and review and use of essential tools. This will be an intensive hands-on, interactive seminar, and all marine service and repair questions are fair game.

Tool Time with Steve D’Antonio

Steve D’Antonio shares insight and experience with a variety of his favorite and most useful tools.  In this interactive, hands-on seminar Steve will review which key tools you should have in your onboard tool chest, and how to get the most for your money when buying tools.

Trouble Shooting and Trouble Prevention

Every skipper wants to have the answers when a mechanical or electrical problem arises.  Troubleshooting is part art, part science and in many cases tech answers are available by simply knowing how to listen to what your vessel and its systems are telling you.  Steve will review with attendees techniques he has used and developed through his more than 25-years in the marine industry as a marine mechanic, electrician and boat yard manager, and he’ll share with you tips for preventing and identifying failures before they occur.  The presentation relies heavily on visual imagery as well as clear explanations that will help you listen to what your vessel is telling you, and then act on that information to enhance its reliability, safety and economy.

Damage Control for Sailors

Dealing with major systems failures while at sea is a daunting prospect, one few cruisers want to consider, and often not until it’s too late.  Drawing on his offshore power and sail cruising, and boat yard management experience, in this presentation Steve covers major failure modes, flooding, rig, steering failures, and keel loss, as well as means for dealing with, and preventing these scenarios.  An inventory of damage control tools and equipment, as well as techniques for their preservation and use is also covered in this hour-long presentation.