Wednesday, February 26

We will start seeing views like this soon enough. Stay warm my friends.

20 Questions with Purchaser, Nick Fugate (AKA He Who Runs with Little Steps, AKA Little Steps, AKA Steps, AKA Tiny Dancer, AKA Nick "The Great" Fugate, AKA Booger)

How long have you worked at Crowley’s?
7 years. I started working here in the spring the yard was moved from the South Branch of the Chicago River to our current location. I was not involved with the move, but I heard many amazing stories.

How did you first start working here?
I was purchasing for Culver’s Portside Marina in Culver, IN and I decided to move to Chicago. I met the Crowley’s HR manager at a golf outing and he set me up with a starting position in the Rigging department and I jumped in head first.

Which departments have you worked in?
Rigging, Store, and Purchasing.

What is your favorite time of year at Crowley’s?
The late fall/early winter is my favorite because that’s when we place all our spring stocking orders. It may be a bit slower in the yard, but it’s a busy time for those of us in the store deciding what to purchase for spring. Plus I get to travel to buying shows. Vegas!

How often do you go boating?
Not as often as I‘d like, a couple of times per month. I am a golfer as well so that takes up time I could be out on the water.

What kind of boat?
A J27 was the most recent ride I had. The owner sold that boat so I will need to find a new ride. Any openings available? Bueller? Anyone?
Did you grow up boating?

Nope. It was something I got into because of my first job at a marina.

What is your favorite boating activity?
Day cruising, cocktails anyone?

How many Employees work in your department?
Me, myself, and I.

How often do you go to training?
I go a couple of times per year, typically in the winter.

What job specific training do you have?
I have attended many different training sessions on different areas of boating. I have also taken purchasing classes to further my professional development.

What certifications do you have?
I am a Certified Purchasing Professional and a member of the American Purchasing Society.

What is your number one recommendation to boat owners?
Know your boat. Take the time to learn how things work and what can go wrong so you can catch it before something bad happens.

In your area of expertise, what can a boat owner do to maintain their boat?
Use your boat and keep it clean. The more you use your boat the better condition it will stay in. It may seem contradictory, but it’s absolutely true.  

What is the one complaint that you hear most often?
Where are my parts?!?!

What is your number one money saving tip for boat owners?
Fix it if it’s broken. Don’t just let it go because it’s only going to get worse and will cost more to fix later.

What is the toughest part of your job?
Creating good relationships with vendors is challenging to be sure.

When are you most likely to be found in the harbors?
Wednesday nights for beer can racing.

What is your favorite winter activity?
Texas Hold’em Poker.

What is the best way to get a hold of you to ask a question?
Email me at

Wednesday, February 19

Nick "The Great" Fugate with quite the fender!


By Michael Argyelan

Boats get wet. It’s really that simple. Above deck, below deck, jackets, glasses, refers, all subject to the damaging marine environment. Mold, mildew, bacteria, and the like are not our friends. From smells to health factors to clogged fuel lines, controlling moisture levels in our boats is critical.

Here at Crowley’s we’ve discovered a new product that we are pretty jazzed about, H2Out. H2Out renewable dehumidifiers have two intended uses. One for fuel systems and the other for spaces as small as a tool box to spaces as large as a small boat.

Space Dryers

The units come in 6 sizes, are self contained, and leak proof. Each unit will last from 30-60 days depending on moisture levels. The leave no smell, residual films, or any trace other than the lack of moisture. My favorite part of these babies, they’re 100% renewable.

To renew, you simply dry out the unit. One of the best ways to rid the unit of the water absorbed is to place it in a heavy duty pan on the stove, on low heat, crack the lid slightly, and every few minutes remove the lid completely to allow moisture to escape. After a bit, you’re ready to put the unit back to use.  

You’ll know the unit is working as the beads inside start to turn pink. Once all the beads turn pink, you’ll know you’ve reached the end of the effectiveness of the product. The beads inside are silica gel and absorb excess moisture in the air. Silica gel can absorb up to 1/3 of its own weight in water vapor. A little goes a long way.

Air Vent Dryers

When fueling up, you’ll notice that there are additives in the fuel to keep growth away, or at least minimize it. We also put additives in during the summer and storage seasons to help keep moisture, and the problems it creates in our fuel systems, out. With the H2Out Air Vent Dryer, you’re one step closer to keeping water vapor out of your fuel system.

The process is pretty simple. Attach the unit to the fuel vent line (hose clamps included with each unit) and voila! That’s all she wrote. Using the same silica gel beads, the Air Vent Dryer helps remove water vapor from entering the tank. The smallest unit will protect engines with fuel tanks up to 60 gallons! For most of us in the yard, that’s perfect. Have a larger tank? Go for the next size up as it helps protect engines with fuel tanks up to 200 gallons! Pretty sweet huh?

I have yet to test these, but the products have earned Practical Sailor’s Best Choice 2013 Award as well as the Sail Magazine Pittman Innovation Award in 2012. After doing the research and writing this article, I’m convinced. I’ll be purchasing a couple of the small space dehumidifiers as well as a fuel tank air vent unit for my personal boat to be sure.

There will be a representative of H2Out at Yachtapalooza on March, 29th in the vendor area for expert advice and more info. You can also visit the manufacturer’s site here for more info and even videos. In the meantime, please email me if you have any questions.

I hope this finds you well and warm!

Wednesday, February 12

Mike Travis - Crowley's Ship's Store Assistant Manager, 20 Questions

How long have you worked at Crowley’s?
I started working at Crowley’s in the rigging department in the spring of 2009. Almost 5 years.

How did you first start working here?
Sailing has been a hobby of mine since I was 7 when my Dad purchased his first boat. After that, I spent a lot of time in boat yards and it was a natural transition to work in one!

Which departments have you worked in?
I started working part time in the rigging department and then as a full time employee in the store. Now I'm the Assistant Manager of the Ship's Store. 

What is your favorite time of year at Crowley’s? In the spring when everyone is energized. Everyone wants to get boats in the water and have some fun.

How often do you go boating?
2-3 times a week.  Wednesday night beer cans are great. I switch between racing downtown with Michael Argyelan and at Jackson Park, where my family has had a boat for 22 years. I also race or cruise here and there on the weekends and will take the family boat out with friends too.

What kind of boat?
The first boat we owned was a 24ft S2. We ended up with a T-Ten and started racing.  Currently the family is restoring a New York 36. Until the 36 is done, we will continue to race the Ten.

Did you grow up boating?
Yes. I did my first Race to Mac at the age of 12 on a T-Ten.

What is your favorite boating activity?
I have a competitive personality and I enjoy being part of a team to reach a common goal. Naturally, I love racing.  I’ve sailed in 15 Macs with my goal of being a Old Goat before I turn 40.

How many Employees work in your department? 8

How often do they go to training?
We do frequent in house training.

What job specific training do you have?
My time on the water is the best training anyone in the store can have.

What certifications do you have?  
Safety at Sea.

What is your number one recommendation to boat owners?
Maintain your boat inside and out. Always think ahead and monitor your equipment.

In your area of expertise, what can a boat owner do to maintain their boat?
Always look for projects to do around the boat. Keep an active list of previous repairs and needed repairs.

What is the one complaint that you hear most often?
Why does Chicago have to have a winter!

What is your number one money saving tip for boat owners?
Learn about how to complete little DIY jobs. A little knowledge goes a long way.

What is the toughest part of your job?
Sailors using different lingo when describing parts.

When are you most likely to be found in the harbors?
Wednesday nights and the weekends.

What is your favorite winter activity?
Watching football and traveling to sunny and warm locations.

What is the best way to get a hold of you to ask a question?
Give me a call or shoot me an email anytime.

773-221-9990 ext. 345  - 

Wednesday, February 5

Let it Snow!

    Image Credit: Tom Rossiter

Let it Snow!
By Michael Argyelan

Last week’s newsletter was all about the nasty things that can happen to boats during the winter months. The article may have come as a shock to some when you read things like inside boats developing cracked engines due to freezing temps when the heat goes out in heated buildings. This week I will cover the preventative measures Crowley’s takes to ensure your vessels are kept safe and sound. Enjoy the short list and please, as always, contact us if you have any questions about your vessel.


1.)    Deploys back-up, portable heating systems in case of power outages in our heated buildings.
2.)    Maintains portable generators for back-up power sources.
3.)    Performs electrical systems inspections to ensure safety of all systems.
4.)    Operates professional snow removal equipment to keep fire lanes clear.
5.)    Employs and trains top-notch staff that monitors the yard and calls our customers when we see something gone awry.
6.)    Perform periodic cradle checks.
7.)    Uses chained jack stands (all on pavement, none on gravel or dirt) to minimize slippage.
8.)    Ensures that no boat covers are tied to jack stands.
9.)    Stores 90% of the mast-up sailboats on cradles and not stands.
10.) Utilizes a closed-circuit video monitoring system that is viewed both on and offsite by Crowley’s staff (yes, Grant watches the yard from home when the weather gets bad).
11.) Utilizes an alarm system that will notify off-site staff via text and email that there’s an issue with security or if power is shut off to the yard.
12.) Performs monthly fire extinguisher inspections and has specialty fire fighting equipment.
13.) Employs service tech’s trained in ABYC specs.
14.) Has professional 24/7, 365 on-site security.

Crowley’s has you covered. Day or night, sun, sleet, rain, or snow, we are here. If you ever have a question, please contact us.

Let it snow!