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October 25, 2001

Tips for Your Window Panels

Running offshore is not always a comfortable affair, but a little bit preparation will make it a little more hospitable.

Label Your Window Panels
Using small vinyl numbers from the hardware store, put a number on the upper right-hand corner of each panel and a matching number on the aluminum frame. This will greatly ease the installation or replacement of the panels in the right order.

Make the Zippers Easy to Grab
Tie 3-inch-long braided orange string (or parachute cord) extensions on the zippers of the window panels. In rough water, they make it much easier to open or close a curtain.

Splash-Proof the Zipper Joints
Clean the aluminum surface of the window frames with rubbing alcohol to remove any surface impurities so foam weather-stripping will stay in place longer. Put 4-inch sections of weather stripping on the window frames at the location of every zipper joint to prevent leaking. This simple procedure stops those annoying buckets of water from seeping through on nasty days when the bow digs into the occasional wave, rolling a wall of water across your windshield and drop curtains. This stripping lasts about three years.

Put Rain-X on the Windshield
On the first day and every day before you go out, put Rain-X on your windshield. Express boats especially have big windshields, and the driver has to be able to see through them. Rain-X is amazing stuff if applied the morning of your trip. You won't believe what a difference this will make. I have a plastic storage box with vinyl cleaner and Rain-X, and it's part of our morning ritual to clean both the windows and drop curtains before each trip.