Cottage

Here at BOATsmart! our off-roading adventure vehicle of choice is and always will be Nissan. Nissan has been our trusted and loyal choice to get us and our family to the cottage safely, with all our water toys in tow. No matter what vehicle you have, it’s always a good idea to educate yourself on the warning signs to ensure your vehicle remains in fine condition. The key is to understand your vehicle’s issues and know how to fix them because let’s face it, there are many common issues that can arise for any driver. Of course, there will be times a visit to your mechanic is necessary as they are the professionals however, with these below tips, you may be able to get away with one less trip.

Many issues with your vehicle will appear on the dashboard and there are universal symbols that we should all become acquainted with. Next time you’re heading to the cottage for a weekend of boating and fun and one of these lights come on, you’ll have a better idea of what they mean and the steps to take to remedy it.

Check Engine Light Protect My Car ECU/Emission System/Check Engine Warning Light

If this light comes on, it could be for a number of different issues and your best bet will be to visit your mechanic. To give you an idea of what the problem might be, see below for the top reasons:

1. Oxygen Sensor – There may be an issue with the oxygen in your car’s exhaust system which means that your engine will be burning more fuel than it needs to. This will cause damage and eventually harm your spark plugs and catalytic converters.

2. Spark Plugs or Spark Wires – Spark plugs ignite the combustion chamber of your vehicle which allows it to run. If there are issues with either of these it’s important to replace them right away as long-term issues with other parts of your vehicle can consequently occur.

3. Catalytic Converter – These converters ensure harmful gasses are not being produced by your vehicle and emitted into the environment. They also help to keep your fuel economy and car temperature at a steady rate.

4. Gas Cap – This is a simple problem to fix yet often times it’s overlooked. If your gas cap is missing or damaged it can cause you to lose fuel and the pressure in your gas tank will be off.

Coolant Warning Light Protect My Car Coolant Warning Light

If this light comes on it could simply mean that you need to check your coolant levels as they could be low. To do this, you can look at the gauge on the side of the coolant tank. If it is in fact low, simply add more coolant. However, if the coolant light goes on while your temperature gauge is rising simultaneously, this may be an indication that your engine is overheating. If you believe this is the case, you should turn your heat on all the way, open your windows and point the vents towards them. This will remove the excess heat from your engine and help to cool down the engine. Once the vehicle has cooled down, if your coolant level doesn’t seem to be the problem, a mechanic should take a look.

Battery Charge Warning Light Protect My Car Battery Charge Warning Light

If this light becomes illuminated and stays on, you should check your vehicle’s battery terminals, battery conditions and alternator belt. There are a variety of different reasons that these issues are arising. It’s best to seek the professional help of a mechanic.

Power Steering Light Protect My Car EPAS (Power Steering)

If your EPAS or power steering light goes on, this most likely is indicating an issue with your steering system. You will be able to tell if this system has failed because steering will become difficult and will require much more effort to turn and move your wheel. This can become very dangerous at high speeds (such as on the highway). If this persists you should seek a mechanic as soon as possible.

Hopefully these vehicle tips have given you a better idea of what to do next time you see a light flashing on your dash.  For more specific instructions you should refer to your owner’s manual. You should always investigate all warning lights that appear on your dashboard, as well as any other concerns you’ve noticed with your vehicle. You may find that some vehicles are more reliable than others. Our trusted vehicle of choice has and always will be Nissan. The trucks have amazing towing capabilities, safety features and a wide range of to choose from. They are the ultimate vehicle for any outdoor adventure and trusted for all family adventures. BOATsmart! cardholders receive dealer invoice pricing on Nissan vehicles plus any current dealer offers!

Posted By
November 28, 2018


#Categories: Uncategorized

Summer has sadly come to an end and as winter slowly encroaches on our wistful and elusive memories of boating, sun and swimming, it’s time to think about wrapping up the cottage. There are the obvious steps to take such as storing your outdoor furniture, canoes/kayaks and barbeque, taking in your dock, cleaning out your fridge, making sure all your windows are closed and locked and covering your wood pile. We’ve created a list of things below to ensure you don’t miss anything when it comes to wrapping up the cottage season.

Winterizing your Plumbing

Winterizing plumbing pipes in your cottage is something that can be time-consuming but will save your plumbing from freezing temperatures that can cause leaks and breaks. As water freezes and becomes ice, it expands producing pressure in the pipes. If you’re planning to be away from your cottage for an extended period of time, winterizing your plumbing is highly recommended.

First you will want to shut off the main water valve, turn off the water pump as well as the water heater. Next, you will want to open all drain valves and all taps, and using an air compressor, blow out any excess water that may still be in the pipes. Allow this water to drain out of the hot water and holding tank. As an additional measure, you can add antifreeze to the jet pump case. Flush toilets and remove water from the tanks and toilet bowls. Add antifreeze if there happens to be excess water to prevent the water from freezing and cracking the toilet.

Keep the Sump Pump going

Your sump pump should stay on as it will remove any accumulated water in the basement of your cottage. However, you will want to take precautionary measures such as having a battery backup or wireless alarm. Another option is having a generator backup for your sump pump in case there is ever a power outage. You will need to hire a licensed electrical contractor for this to hook the generator up to the electrical panel.

Roof Maintenance

Inspect your roof for damaged shingles and replace them if necessary. Clean out the gutters as they can cause water to back up under the shingles causing damage to the roof structure below. Trim overhanging branches that could potentially dump extra snow on the roof and wait until all leaves have fell (if possible) before cleaning the gutters.

Leaving the Cottage

Before leaving cottage, ensure all appliances are disconnected. Shut off all breakers at the electrical panel and review your checklist to make sure everything has been completed. Take photos of everything in case there is unrepairable weather damage and you must submit insurance claims. Complete a final inspection of the property, lock up your cottage and enjoy your ride home!

 

Winterizing your cottage can be a big job, we get it. However, by planning ahead and bringing a checklist you’re already well on your way. Another pro tip when wrapping up your cottage is to use the correct vehicle. Here at BOATsmart! our trusted vehicle of choice has and always will be Nissan. The trucks have amazing towing capabilities, safety features and a wide range of to choose from. They are the ultimate vehicle for any outdoor adventure and trusted for all family trips! As a BOATsmart! cardholder, you receive dealer invoice pricing on Nissan vehicles plus any current dealer offers.

Posted By
October 17, 2018


#Categories: Lifestyle, Lifestyle - USA

Whether you’re taking the family on a trip to the cottage, taking a cross-country road trip or off-roadin’ with your pals, Nissan provides all the tools needed to ignite the outdoor enthusiast in all of us and enable us to get outdoors and explore! BOATsmart! is a fan and advocate of Nissan as a company, but especially their truck line because we know first-hand how reliable they are. Here at BOATsmart! we use Nissan trucks every time we plan an outdoor trip as they are the optimal, high-performance vehicle that can do just about anything we need.

TITAN
With 390 horse power and 394 lb-ft of torque, the TITANprovides the power to carry massive payloads. With a full-length, fully-boxed frame, powerful Endurance V8, new 7-speed automatic transmission with Tow/Haul mode, and adjustable Brake Controller, TITAN helps you tow any and all water toys to the cottage making you feel capable and confident. While you’re at the cottage, check out these 10 awesome cottage hacks to help you spend less time worrying about the small stuff and more time making memories with friends and family. Thinking about taking a cross-country trip to check out the awesome lakes to boat around on? This is the vehicle you’re going to want to use! It can comfortably tow a trailer behind it in any condition and terrain.

TITAN XD
The TITAN XD has a larger frame and is extensively reinforced for added strength and stiffness, which helps resist vertical and lateral bending and increases torsional rigidity in comparison to its counterpart the TITAN. It features a 555-lb-ft of torque, heavy-duty brakes, a larger high-strength steel fully boxed full-length ladder frame and a sliding bed extender giving you maximum versatility with minimum effort. This truck will conquer whatever outdoor adventure you throw at it. It’s no wonder Bryan Baeumler says that “The Nissan TITAN XD is already an integral part of [his] construction business. Without a doubt this truck is the most important and versatile tool on and off the jobsite.”

With an integrated gooseneck hitch this has some serious towing capability and is the perfect vehicle to tow your boat or PWC to the cottage for a weekend of fun. We know it can often be tough to launch your boat, especially if it’s the beginning of the season. For a little refresher, check out our blog on how to launch a boat: 10 steps to get out on the water. Bringing someone to the cottage who has never driven a PWC before? We can help with that! Here’s some fun and easy directions on how to drive a Jet Ski! See? We got you!

Frontier
The Nissan Frontier is next on our list and it’s built for rock-solid performance; where durability meets style, with the tailgate-mounted spoiler which helps reduce drag, this truck is known for its rugged exterior making it the perfect choice to take off-roading. But that’s not the only reason we love this truck, the performance towing capability is high with a capacity of up to 6,710 lbs, up to 261 horse power and 281 lb-ft torque and it’s V6 engine, you never have to worry about what you’re pulling behind this bad boy.

This truck is the perfect choice for a camping trip with the whole family as it offers Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC). This feature – sometimes called stability control – continuously monitors your steering and braking actions, senses any oversteer or understeer, and helps compensate by reducing engine speed and/or applying brake pressure to specific wheels. The safety of your family is in good hands in this vehicle.

There you have it, the low-down on our vehicles of choice for outdoor adventures. Here at BOATsmart! we take our outdoor adventures seriously – especially when it comes to water sports and activities.  There is no doubt that when we’re planning a day out on the water, Nissan is our number one choice of vehicle for any and all situations. From the safety features to the towing capabilities, Nissan has always been the best option for getting outside and exploring the wild. Get your boating license today and receive…

Posted By
July 11, 2018


#Categories: Lifestyle

Looking to escape the city but not necessarily looking for your ordinary campground? If you were planning on heading to the Atlantic coast and eager to explore Virginia Beach, we’ve located some of the coolest places to stay for your weekend getaway. There are tons of great Airbnb’s ranging in all prices, that are right on the famous boardwalk, or just three blocks away from the beach. Whether it be a family fun vacation, quick trip with your best friends or a weekend getaway with a loved on, Virginia Beaches oceanfront has something for everyone.

1. Beach House

This two-story house located in a family neighbourhood is only four minutes away from the beach, VA Beach Convention Center and public transportation. It includes over 30 amenities like a sunroom in the rear that leads to the deck and treed backyard.

2. Beach House with Pool

This bungalow-style cottage includes a backyard pool house with access to the pool and outdoor shower. It’s only 3 1/2 blocks from the ocean and award-winning boardwalk. It includes all your beach essentials like: Beach towels, umbrella, beach blanket, snorkelling gear, etc so you don’t need to pack it yourself for one less thing to worry about!

3. Oceanfront Studio

oceanfront vacation rental studio allows you and three guests to comfortably stay in a newly renovated condo right on the beach! It’s prime location allows all of the area’s greatest attractions to be right at your fingertips.

4. Virginia Beach House

This beautiful 3000 sq ft house with a private back yard near the highly desirable Croatan Beach, is ideal for a big group. It is super spacious and allows for up to 14 guests to stay. The backyard has a cozy deck with twinkling lights and tons of space to make your evening memorable!

5. Oceanfront Dolphin Beach Condo

This location is ideal for families since the attractions are nearby such as the: boardwalk, restaurants/bars, roller coasters and rides, mini golf, arcades, the ocean front and beaches. Not up for the beach trek? Worry not – you also have access to a pool and hot tub in the condo.

6. 1935 Beach Home Luxury

An original 1935 Virginia Beach home restored into an Airbnb beach house with all the modern amenities. It’s located only 3 minutes from the beach and includes a barbecue, sun porch, outdoor yard and Cabana Shower with changing rooms; everything you need to relax and live the luxurious beach life.

7. Beach Quarters Resort

This five star rated Airbnb is perfect for a couple’s getaway weekend! It’s known for having the most amenities of any resort on the beach. Enjoy a game of rooftop tennis or shuffleboard, soak up the sun at the beautiful rooftop pool, and more!

8. VIBE District beach studio

This cozy backyard studio apartment over a detached garage with a private entrance is a great spot for two adults, but has an extra pull out couch for a third person. It even includes two bikes and two beach chairs so you can explore Virginia Beach like a local!

9. Beach Townhouse

This newly renovated 1940’s beach townhouse is only two blocks away from the beach and comfortably sleeps 6! This quaint little townhouse is perfectly located right by the boardwalk and other attractions such as restaurants and bars, coffee shops as well as a grocery store. 

10. Oceanfront Boardwalk Studio

People have said that this Airbnb is so close to the ocean you can taste the salt in the air when you walk outside. It’s located on the North end of the boardwalk which is a touch more quiet than the other side, but still in walking distance to all the boardwalk nightlife and attractions. You’ll additionally have access to a community pool and a designated parking lot right across the street.

 

Virginia Beach offers some amazing attractions such as the beautiful Boardwalk that stretches three miles, restaurants and bars. Whether you’re looking for some peace and quiet, a romantic getaway with your special someone or just a weekend to explore a part of Virginia you’ve never been to before, there is definitely an Airbnb listed for you! Be sure to check out the reviews left by previous users and get in contact with the host to see if one of these spots is right for you. 

Posted By
June 29, 2018


#Categories: FAQ Virginia, Lifestyle - USA

Canada Day is a day to celebrate the history of when the three separate colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick united into a single Dominion within the British Empire called Canada. Not only is it a day to celebrate the rich history of the land and stunning scenery, it’s also a day to celebrate the numerous different cultures enriching this beautiful Country and the progressiveness of our society. We are champions of inclusion and have been deemed some of the nicest people ever, #winning! Let’s rock the socks off this Canada Day in true Canadian style by hosting a dock party at the cottage! Get your dock-a-rockin’ with these awesome party tricks to celebrate Canada Day proudly!

Sound

Music could actually qualify as the most important element to not just a Canada Day dock party, but any party for that matter. Make sure you have an awesome playlist (preferably an all-Canadian one) for your guests to rock-out to as they enjoy the scenic beauty that the lake has to offer in their red and white attire.

Lighting

The right lighting will set the ambience for this epic Canada Day dock party and create an atmosphere that’s just right. Grab some lanterns, candles and candle holders, twinkle lights if you have somewhere to string them and create a beautiful, cozy feeling for your guests.

Keep mosquitos away

Mosquitos can be pretty pesky this time of year. Here are some DIY natural repellents that will not only keep those annoying little blood-suckers away but will add a nice scent to your shindig.

1. Cut lemons in half and add them to a jar with a handful of cloves. This will repel the mosquitos while giving off a nice sent.

2. Face a fan towards your dock area to keep mosquitos at bay. They aren’t strong fliers so the air flow from the fan will be enough to keep them away.

3. DIY your own citronella candles to distribute across your property. Citronella is a natural, non-toxic alternative to other chemical repellents and is derived from leaves and stems of various lemongrass species.

Caesars

Canada’s national cocktail! How could you ever throw a dock party in the bush without a caesar station set up to make and enjoy these deliciously salty beverages? It would be an injustice to yourself, your guests and Canada if you didn’t. I mean, there’s a National Caesar Day for crying out loud! Check out this cool site for a spicy variety of recipes to try out.

Food

Okay, the main event that everyone has been anticipating – the food. Barbequing is obviously the traditional Canadian way to go. So, spark up the grill and get cookin’; that Peameal bacon isn’t going to cook itself, eh? There are plenty of great recipes you can find online to get those creative BBQing ideas flowing such as this one from Country Living. It supplies you with 60 different delicious recipes to choose from such as honey siracha grilled chicken thighs and grilled pork tenderloin with peach barbecue sauce. You’ll be captain of the Canadian grill and will most likely hear the words “thank you” more times than you can count.

Sparklers & Fireworks

These will help keep the party lit! Sparklers are awesome for all those Canadian gals who need to Instagram everything (or else it didn’t happen, duh!) and for any kids who may be in attendance of this awesome dock party. If you’re planning on setting off those classic fireworks to light up the sky, you’ll want to ensure that you and all your guests are a safe distance away at the time of take-off. Fireworks are a perfect way to make a bang at this Canada Day party.

Talk to your neighbours

If you’re throwing an epic Canada Day dock party, you might want to do the Canadian thing by letting your neighbours know, seeing as this is going to be the BEST. PARTY. EVER!! Let them know you’ll be rockin’ the dock all night and there might be some sing-alongs that could get out of hand, especially when Bryan Adams’ Summer of ’69 comes on. Who knows, maybe they’re even cool enough to get the invite!

There are so many reasons we celebrate this beautiful country of ours, from the people to the landscape, we are so very lucky to call it home. Celebrate this year by throwing the best Canada Day dock party and show your patriotism in true Canadian style.

Posted By
June 26, 2018


#Categories: Lifestyle

With the long weekend quickly approaching, we’ve compiled a list of eternally relevant campfire songs for you. The campfire is a place we gather around at the end of a long day; the lingering scent of sunscreen on our skin and lake water in our hair, to share boating stories and sticky smores. It’s a place where the strum of an acoustic guitar can melt all your troubles away while you sing at the top of your lungs, feeling a sense of comradery with your fellow cottagers.

1. Neil Diamond – Sweet Caroline

Good times really never seemed so good when you’re belting this song out with friends and family beside the warmth of a bonfire. This Neil Diamond classic has kept us feeling warm and fuzzy since 1969 and will continue to pop up in our campfire favourites for years to come.

2. Green Day – Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

This campfire song choice might have you reminiscing on your youthful years; graduating from school and promising all your besties that you’ll stay in touch. This song has stayed relevant, unlike your high school BFF’s, with its sentimental lyrics that tap into your adolescent emotions.

3. Barenaked Ladies – If I Had A Million Dollars 

This is a fun sing-along that’s completely relatable on every level. It’s an interactive tune that will be sure to have your campfire audience chiming in on the inter-song chatter and have you day dreaming about how much Kraft dinner you would consume if you had a million dollars.

4. Oasis – Wonderwall

Covered by numerous different artists over the years including Jay Z, Cat Power and Ryan Adams, it continues to live up to its reputation as a song that is hard to keep from singing along to. This can be attributed to its simplicity and lack of pretension, making it a great one to strum by the campfire in the company of friends and family.

5. Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl

There aren’t too many songs out there that are as much of a crowd pleaser as Morrison’s ‘Brown Eyed Girl’. The words are reminiscent of young summer love while the chorus will have you singing your heart out with its catchy phrase.

6. Tom Petty – Free Fallin’

This dynamic song, performed by one of the most iconic rock and rollers of our time, will be a massive hit at your next campfire concert. Every guitar player at one point or another has wanted to learn this classic song including John Mayer who gives the love song a gentler vibe. Either rendition you choose to play, you’ll have the girls swooning with this cottage hit.

7. Creedance Clearwater Revival – Down on The Corner

CCR evokes wistful thoughts of a young America and burning social issues of that time. This campfire tune is perfect to play ‘early in the evenin’ just about supper time’ while roasting some hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire and discussing the hot topics of the day.

8. The Steve Miller Band – The Joker

The Joker has been a fun sing-along song since 1973 with its poetic lyrics and upbeat tune keeping it relevant today. This song is best listened to around the campfire while debating the life-long meaning of “the pompatus of love”.

9. Old Crow Medicine Show – Wagon Wheel

Although a newer song, this blue grass tune has quickly made its way into the campfire rotation. This is a uniting song as it connects and speaks to many different people in all walks of life. It was recorded by Darius Rucker as a country song in 2013 so, depending on your style either rendition could work.

10. Zac Brown Band – Chicken Fried

This country campfire song embodies the feeling of summer time and shares a heart-warming message, recognizing the importance of the little things in life. This song will transport you to the South, with typical southern characteristics that make up the lyrics.

So, there you have it, 10 of the best campfire songs (in our opinion) that will have your guests jamming all night long; creating new memories and reminiscing on old stories around the campfire this Long Weekend.

Posted By
May 18, 2018


#Categories: Lifestyle

beach, candle, candlelight

We know that cottage upkeep can be a big job. From water system repair work to fixing up loose shingles; there’s always something to do before relaxing and enjoying your oasis. This Summer, make life a little easier with these smart hacks to ensure you can spend more time creating memories and traditions at the cottage.

1. Natural Mosquito repellents

Mosquitos have been annoying us for years and don’t seem to be stopping any time soon. These frustrating insects can often put a damper on our ability to tap into the true Zen of the outdoors. Here are a few hacks to keep those pesky bugs away:

1. Cut lemons in half and add them to a jar with a handful of cloves. This will repel the mosquitos while giving off a nice sent for you and your guests.

2. Face a fan towards your patio or lounge area to keep mosquitos at bay. They aren’t strong fliers so the air flow from the fan will be enough to keep them away.

3. DIY your own citronella candles to distribute across your property. Citronella is a natural, non-toxic alternative to other chemical repellents such as DEET and is derived from leaves and stems of various lemongrass species.

2. Quickly chill beer

An easy trick to cool your beer on those hot summer days is to place the cans or bottles in a cooler, bucket or large bowl and cover with ice and water until the beer is completely submerged. Add more ice on top to ensure total coverage and then sprinkle a thin layer of salt on top. Wait about five minutes, pick up a beer and enjoy your refreshing, cool beverage.

3. Make a water-jug lamp

For those unreal, memorable days that carry on into the hours of the night; singing around a campfire, sharing fishing stories and smores, there’s a way to shed some extra light on the party. Grab a headlamp or flashlight and press it against a gallon bottle full of water. This will add some illumination and help keep the good times rolling.

4. Homemade fire starters

There’s a new use for all that dryer lint… who would have thought? Fill a cardboard egg carton with the lint, melt some old candles, pour the wax over the lint and then let it dry. Once the wax has dried, cut the individual carton cups to use for your next bonfire.

5. Use frozen grapes to keep wine cool

This is a great hack for wine-lovers everywhere. Instead of adding ice cubes to your wine which will water it down, freeze grapes ahead of time as a replacement. These will keep your wine nice and cool on those hot cottage days spent lazing on the dock and will look really nice as well!

6. Beach towel pockets

This hack will take the stress out of carrying everything you need for a day in the sun, without trying to perform a juggling act that you’ve never rehearsed before. Find a large towel and fold it over about six inches. Using a sewing machine, make six pockets for all your beach or dock necessities to be neatly stored in. Now you can start catching those rays hassle-free!

7. Aloe vera ice cubes

It’s often inevitable that at some point throughout the summer we’re too preoccupied to reapply that third coat of sunscreen and at the end of the day we’re feeling a little crispy. Be prepared for that burn by freezing aloe vera lotion in an ice tray and popping them out when needed to soothe your skin.

8. Smartphone sand protector

If you prefer spending your days on the beach; this cottage hack is for you! There’s nothing more frustrating than sand infiltrating every crevasse of your phone after a sunny day at the beach. Next time you’re headed to the beach, bring a plastic Ziploc bag with you. As long as the bag doesn’t have any holes, your phone should be safe from drops of water and sand.

9. DIY outdoor speaker

Speakers are an essential part to any cottage outing, but quality speakers can typically cost you a pretty penny. Create your very own “bucket speaker” using orange utility buckets, a 5-inch woofer, a 2.5-inch tweeter cut-out, and plywood to keep the party rocking all summer long.

10. Muffin tin egg breakfast

This is a quick and easy breakfast you can whip up for the whole family, so you can spend as much time outside as possible. Place English muffins, eggs and precooked bacon into greased sections of an oversized muffin tin and bake at 375 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes.

The cottage is a place to escape to and enjoy with the whole family, but that can often be hard to do when there is so much upkeep. Hopefully, with these cool and easy cottage hacks, you can cut some corners and get back to soaking up the sun and singing your favorite tunes around the campfire.

Posted By
May 14, 2018


#Categories: Lifestyle, Tips & Tricks