An online boating forum is a place to get answers, to ask questions, to meet fellow sailors, and sometimes just a place to entertain yourself. Armchair sailors alone have circumnavigated the online forums hundreds of times providing excellent gripes, compliments, feedback, and lessons on how things should be done.
When you get into a pickle and there's no real people on the dock you can track down for help, an online boating forum is where you go. With the spread of smartphones it's almost too easy to thumb your problem into cyberspace and wait for an answer (you can wait while playing Angry Birds!).
If you're lucky, someone has already asked your boaty question - had your problem - and the answer is already there (after scrolling through 65 comments that are not the answer). There may even be a forum with posts and comments that cater to your exact problem on your exact boat. But will there be answers?
Take my problem aboard S/V Kingsley. Captain wifey & I are new to a lot of boating & engine stuff (we get eaten alive on the forums!). We've read books and been to seminars, but when it came down to changing my impeller on my Yanmar diesel, I turned to the best boating forum...brace yourself…here it comes…
I turned to Youtube. That's right. It seems that these days it's the place to be to learn how to do almost anything (there's also quite a few good cat videos on there as well). Want to virtually hike through the Grand Canyon...Youtube. Fix the CPU on your Playstation video game console (that one had me heat-gunning the guts of my system…it was awesome)...Youtube. Switch the impeller on my sailboat's Yanmar diesel engine…yep…Youtube.
I searched, scrolled, read a few comments, I watched, I learned, I conquered. The actual video is kinda boring so I leave you not with that, but with a great engine rebuild clip (a car engine, but still). Below that is a picture gallery of my much wimpier, but still important project - the impeller change.
Have you got a forum/blog/site that beats Youtube for answers to your boat project questions? Let us know in the comment section (how ironic it would be if we all got fighting in the comments just like on the boat forums!). Alternatives count too, like Small Boat Projects - lots of great ideas with tons of pictures…Let us know!
~Paul & Amber ETC