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El Niño Winter Boating Safety for 2016

First About California’s Drought. For more than two years, California has been dealing with the effects of drought. To learn about all the actions the state has taken to manage our water system and cope with the impacts of the drought, visit Drought.CA.Gov.Every Californian should take steps to conserve water. Find out how at

El Niño -- a large-scale, ocean-atmosphere climate interaction linked to warming of sea surface temperatures across parts of the Pacific Ocean – may bring big storms to California this winter. Boat owners and marina operators should be ready for extreme storms through spring 2016.

Below you'll find resources about El Niño, its potential effects on California’s waterways and safety precautions to take.

What Boaters Should Know about El Niño Winter Boating Safety

Keep informed about the latest weather, water and tidal conditions.

Develop a list of weather resources, sign up for alerts and use them before boating. In addition to local weather forecasts, critical meteorological information is available for boaters and marina operators:

National Weather Service – Active Alerts, Forecasts, Conditions

National Weather Service Western Region – Detailed Hazards

United State Coast Guard – Local Notice to Mariners

California Data Exchange – River Conditions

Tune to local radio stations or the National Weather Radio Broadcasts on frequencies of 162.400, 162.425, 162.450, 162.475, 162.525, and 162.550 MHz in areas where available.

Check your boat's required safety equipment.

California boating laws require recreational boats to carry safety equipment including flares to visually signal distress; a whistle, bell or horn to sound distress calls; and serviceable life jackets on board. After a busy summer boating season, make sure your required safety equipment is ready and in working order.

During the winter it is especially important to have good anchoring equipment and bailing devices and to know how to use them. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or the U.S. Power Squadrons offer complimentary vessel safety checks. For a full list of required equipment and for general safety information visit the ABCs of California Boating.

Avoid boating during strong weather.

High tides, storm surges, poor visibility, moving sandbars and debris contribute to dangerous conditions during winter. Conditions on the water change rapidly. Boaters who must be on the water this winter should carry a registered Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) for marine use and know how to use it. For more Information:

Always file a float plan with friends or family.

Searches for an overdue boat are more likely to succeed if the U.S. Coast Guard or other rescue agencies have certain facts. For your own safety, before you go boating, file a float plan with a reliable person who will notify authorities if necessary.

At a minimum a float plan should include the location to which you will be heading and your approximate time of return. Check in regularly with those who are aware of your plan, especially if your plan changes.

Have an emergency and accident plan in place for your boat and home.

Boaters must know what to do in an emergency. Emergency and accident procedures for recreational boaters can be viewed in the ABCs of California Boating. Read this important information and perform an accident drill with your crew. Create and carry a contact list of emergency resources such as local first responders.

Make sure you also have an emergency plan in place for you and your family at home and at your workplace. Create a list of local resources including:

  • Fire department

  • Public health department

  • Public works dispatch center

  • Electric/gas utility provider

Check that your emergency supply kit is up-to-date.
Emergency supply kits for both home and boat should be checked, and older supplies including food, water, batteries, maps and contact data should be replaced with fresh supplies. Include a flashlight and battery-powered or hand-crank radio, blankets, medicines, and cash.

If your boat is moored or docked throughout the winter season, check before and after a storm to make sure dock lines are properly secured.
Know how your boat should be docked and/or moored to avoid storm damage. Take a boating safety class or review how to secure your boat.

Most importantly, keep safety in mind and never risk human life for the sake of protecting property!

Please share this information. For more information on El Niño and storm preparation:

 T. Parks Marine look forward to servicing you in all your boating needs and want to remind all boat owners to keep up regular maintenance in order to keep your vessel ready for winter use. You can prevent unforeseen issues to occur when you go to start your vessel with the use of fresh, new fluids and T. Parks Marine offers on the trailer outdrive servicing at affordable rates.

Fixing up and tidying up of the vessel is important. Regular maintenance for proper upkeep is always a good idea. Be prepared for anything, old mooring lines/ dock cables can break loose or weaken due to stresses from the winds and changes in weather.

Still looking for a place to store that vessel of yours? Consider also winter storage at a facility which T. Parks Marine offers in W. Sacramento, CA. for very affordable rates. This is a secure yard and a great option to leaving your vessel at risk.

Remember to protect your investment by doing routine checks of your vessels throughout the year especially before putting it away for storage. Prevent finding damage when you come back to your vessel next year, it can be costly and at times prevent by simply performing routine maintenance.


  1. Prevent oily discharge from the bilge.
    Keep your engine well tuned to prevent fuel and oil leaks. Place an oil absorbent pad or pillow under your engine where drips may occur and in your bilge. Check the pads often and dispose of them as hazardous waste at a marina or nearby collection center.

  2. Spill-proof your oil changes.
    For oil changes, use an oil change pump to transfer oil to a spill proof container. Wrap a plastic bag or absorbent pad around the oil filter to prevent oil from spilling into the bilge.

  3. Spill-proof your fueling practices.
    Prevent fuel spills by filling fuel tanks slowly and carefully and by using absorbent pads or rags to catch drips and spills. Don't "top off" or overflow your fuel tank and leave 5% empty to allow fuel to expand as it warms.

  4. Do not add soap.
    Never use soap to disperse fuel and oil spills. It increases harm to the environment, and it is illegal.

  5. Minimize boat cleaning and maintenance in the water.
    If possible, save maintenance projects for the boatyard. When performing work on the water minimize your impact by containing waste using tarps and vacuum sanders, and collect all drips and debris for proper disposal.

  6. Reduce toxic discharges from bottom paints.
    Minimize the discharge of heavy metals that come from soft-sloughing antifouling paints by using a hard, less toxic, or nontoxic antifouling paint. Use only non-abrasive underwater hull cleaning techniques to prevent excessive paint discharge. Remember, dry storage and reduces the need for antifouling paints and saves money.

  7. Dispose of hazardous waste properly.
    Dispose of paints, batteries, antifreeze, cleaning products, oil, oil filters and other hazardous wastes at a hazardous waste collection facility or event. Call 1-800-CLEAN-UP for a location near you. Recycle paints, batteries, oil, oil filters and antifreeze.

  8. Plan A-head! Manage sewage wastes properly.
    Never discharge sewage within 3 miles of shore. Use harbor pump-out stations and shore-side facilities. If you don't have an installed toilet, use a port-a-potty and empty it at harbor dump station or bathroom.

  9. Stow it, do not throw it!
    Keep your trash on board. Never throw cigarette butts, fishing line, or any other garbage into the ocean. Take advantage of shore-side facilities to recycle plastic, glass, metal, and paper.

  10. Reduce gray-water discharges
    Use a phosphate-free soap to minimize the impacts of greywater on the marine environment. Also minimize discharge by doing dishes and showers on shore whenever possible.

 The Winter season is here and the rain is pouring! Water levels are at an all time low for the past few years and this has caused for emergency drought situations all over California.

With this in mind some boaters may still need to make repairs to their vessel as well as store it in a secure facility. Now is the time to do so as the lake levels are predicted to only continue to lower. T. Parks Marine is available for just these accommodations. Be it short or long hauls we're here for the job and promise to do it to the highest standards! T. Parks Marine also offers winter storage as well as year round storage for vessels in W. Sacramento, CA.

Occasionally vessels stored on lakes or at docks can have unfortunate encounters with  storms. In the event your vessel is involved in such an event T. Parks Marine is ready to spring forth into action for any rescue or salvage that may need occur.

Still accidents and mishaps do happen and repairs may need to be made to your vessel. A good trick for saving money with a houseboat is to call a few of your boating neighbor and get together a date when multiple boats can be pulled out and serviced. Pricing can be split between all the boats resulting in savings in the hundreds of dollars.  The savings alone can cover the costs of your yearly maintenance.      

Another way of saving money is a maintenance log. A maintenance log is a spread sheet with different boat components listed. You check off the components you inspect and make notes on any items that may be of concern to you. By doing these inspections before the boat is used, you can track issues on your vessel before they become major problems.  Logs also allow you to communicate problems to your mechanic or shop.  A good mechanic can review a log and see inconsistencies that may indicate a larger problem.
We offer log sheets you can print out and free consultation on how to use them. Click Here. 

Be Safe Out On the Waters!!! 

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We are experienced houseboat movers, houseboat moving, houseboat news! 
Our Company is located in the heart of California, making us the fastest responder to any houseboat moving need at any of California mountain lakes as well as surrounding out of state lakes.  Houseboat moving is our passion and with expertise in all hauling laws, including weight distribution and height concerns, we have a proven record as a top employer of the California Highway Patrol on large transports.  We haul super loads all over the United States and want to be your choice for houseboat transport.



Experience You Can Trust

Are you looking for the most experienced marine transporter in the business?  Are you tired of discount movers leaving your pride and joy stranded?

  At T. Parks Marine we have over 30 years of experience hauling oversized and custom vessels.  Our equipment is engineered to safely move your houseboat or large vessel down the street or across the country. Our team of pilot cars and technicians under the direction of Tim Parks, have the skills to move at the best value in the industry.
  We Specialize in water haul outs and water launches of your vessel.  Use this service to save hundreds or thousands of dollars on land cranes and travel lift fees.  No job is too big, as seen bellow.

Emerald Bay Custom Houseboat - 95' Long x 22' Wide
Emerald Bay Custom Houseboat - 75' Long x 20' Wide
2004-2016 copyright

T.Parks Marine
813 Harbor Blvd. #332
West Sacramento, CA 95691-2201
Phone: 916-372-2560 Toll Free: 888-372-2560 Fax: 916-372-2564
To Email Us Click Here

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CALCULATOR: Recommended Quarantine Times for Vessels
Use this calculator to find out how long your boat needs to be out of the water during different times of year and different places, to achieve full decontamination.