Get Rescue Ready: Inflatable Rubber Boats, Outboard Motors, and Trailers

The weather people are forecasting up to 20 named storms this season. While the high winds and hurricanes are bad enough, the storm surge with its deadly flooding is a big challenge too. There will not be enough boats to do the work that will be left behind in the storms’ wake, so firefighters cannot afford to have any downtime when it comes to this valuable resource. This article will cover many inspection and maintenance points to help ensure your water response to your community and keep you from needing to be rescued yourself.

Inspection of Outboard Motor
The fairing is the outer cover of the powerhead and is designed to allow air in to cool the engine and keep water out. Check the general condition of the gasket located at the bottom of the fairing. Check the general condition of the gasket located at the bottom of the fairing.
Make sure the fairing is free of cracks and locks securely.
Check the fuel system, including the fuel filter. Check for cracked or corroded fuel tanks, leaking fuel line fittings, cracked fuel primer bulbs, and maintain at least 10% top space in the fuel cell. Ethanol fuels should be avoided as they will soften rubber parts.
Check for water in the fuel.
Check that the throttle and shift controls move freely.
Check the integrity of the cross member and mounting brackets. Check the propeller. Lubricate the drive shaft.
Note that the engine can be 4-cycle or 2-cycle. Check the oil as needed.
After use, flush the engine cooling system with water.

If you’ve read our article on car engines, you’ll know that they produce motion by burning gasoline with oxygen in metal cylinders. The cylinders have sliding pistons that push a crank around and the crank drives a shaft that (eventually) powers the wheels. Much the same happens in an air cooled outboard motor. The main difference is that there are usually fewer cylinders, operating in either a two-stage or four-stage cycle. Instead of driving a gearbox, the motor powers a propeller. To steer a boat with an outboard motor, you simply tilt the whole motor casing so the propeller pushes the water away from it at an angle. (Some outboards you can tilt by hand; others are steered by turning a steering wheel that tilts the water cooled outboard motorusing hydraulic cables.) You can go faster by opening up the throttle so the outboard burns more fuel and turns over more quickly.

Who invented outboards?
Frenchman Gustave Trouvé designed the first electric-powered outboard motor around 1870 and made his first voyage in it on May 26, 1881. It wasn’t the most practical invention at a time when batteries were huge and heavy. You can see how low the boat is sitting in the water, which might be a bit of artistic flair—or a reflection of how perilious this pioneering voyage really was! And what about “mixing” electricity and water with all those wires strung around you? Gasoline-powered outboards followed about 20 years later and were developed by such pioneers as Ole Evinrude of Milwaukee (who patented a method of water cooling outboards in 1928) and the Swedish brothers Carl and Oscar Hult, who studied and improved on Evinrude’s designs.

Apart from keeping your boat’s hull clean and your outboard or engine tuned, selecting the right propeller is one of the easiest actions you can take to optimize boat performance. Depending on how you use your boat and its current performance, you might be wondering if you should “pitch up”, “pitch down”, switch from aluminum boat to stainless steel, or move from three blades to four. Your prop might be damaged and need replacement.

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Can you use free action(s) as part of a Ready Action?

The most obvious example of this, which came up in regards to another question’s answer, is Quickened Casting Metamagic, but there may be other Free Actions that modify following actions or might otherwise be useful as part of Readying to act.

Are you able to perform one or more Free Actions as part of and/or when you perform your Ready activity activation?

If I ready a action (spell) in response to a companion’s attack, what is a fair GM rulling over the order of events?

In our campaign, I have a cleric who wished to use Ready an Action as his move. His idea behind this was that he wanted to ready Guiding Bolt and the condition he set was that, when one of the player (fighter) attacked a creature (one of 2 trolls), he would release the bolt beforehand. Therefore the figther would have advantage on her attack if the Guiding Bolt hit first.

I ruled that the fighter hit first, but I’m not so sure now – and feel like I was unfair in my ruling, maybe.

I can see both points of view:

  1. If I was the cleric readying my spell, I would cast the spell as soon as I noticed my fighter’s companion intention to attack a creature.

  2. But, also if I’m the fighter and I’m 5′ away from a creature, maybe my attack would land first, before the Guiding Bolt.

I would like some RAW guidance on this please. But, if not explicitly available, then a response with lived experience of a GM on a similar ruling to do with resolving oder of events.

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Can you Ready an attack with the trigger ‘enemy enters my reach’? If so, will you interrupt their movement on a hit?

Without using any feats, can a player with a reach weapon set that weapon to receive a ‘charge’ by the enemy, attacking them when they enter range? Or even a non-reach weapon? That is, can a player commit to using their attack action when an enemy crosses an arbitrary line with their movement? (Examples: Ready my glaive to attack when the orc gets 10′ away from me. Ready my shortbow to attack when the dragon enters 80′ from me. Ready my dagger in case the kobold comes adjacent.)

If this is possible, and the player’s attack hits, does it have any effect on the enemy’s remaining movement or other actions?

I think the answers are yes, and no, respectively.