Please Vote – Your vote matters

This election has been nothing short of frustrating for many Americans. However, here we are, less than one month away from the big day. My hope is that all Americans will exercise their right to vote. I, of course, know who my vote is for but that is not what this blog is specifically about.

When you do vote, I want you to think of what this country needs. I believe this country is in dire need of an economic turnaround. How can we turn it around? When need to focus on keeping businesses inside the U.S. and helping those businesses grow. When businesses have a reduction in overhead, specifically taxes, we can grow. And with growth, we can create jobs. Jobs in turn stimulate the economy. It is basic Economics 101.

When you vote, keep small businesses in mind as well. We are small not but what is our potential if given the opportunity? I would hope for my business and for my family to grow, create jobs for our community and in turn stimulate the economy here, right here in the good ole U.S.A.

So, let’s forget about the things that are sidetracking us from the real issues. The ads, the slander, the back and forth is all a diversion from the true issues. Remain focused on the issues you believe are important.

I want something done about illegal immigration and done about the illegals here that are taking jobs from legal immigrants and Americans like you and me. There is a process to follow and laws to follow and if you do not follow them, then you are committing a crime. And it is a crime far more than just in the criminal sense. The illegal immigrants are using our resources, not paying taxes and sending money home to their families, not stimulating our economy. (In many cases).

So, when you go to vote, think about these things because if we can keep jobs here for Americans and legal immigrants then we can solve so many problems for so many. These problems can help turn this country around. So, forget about the flaws each candidate has and regardless of whether you vote for who I’m voting for, just vote!

Cliff Hairston, Coastie Marine Services – Owner/Marine Electrician (Small Business Owner) or Facebook:


Marine Electrician vs Regular Electrician Cont….

Boat Electrical System Components

While we make our income dealing with the repair of boat wiring, I believe it is important to educate boat owners about marine electricity so that they are safe and their investment is protected.

I have seen some very scary jury-rigged wiring that literally looked like a rat’s nest and just so happened to have rat’s in there and wasps to boot! That’s scary stuff and also almost begging to cause a fire. So, let’s talk about parts of marine electrical systems.

I talked before about grounding and the difference between AC & DC. There is only 1 point where DC is grounded, at the battery. It is a free floating system where nothing is ever grounded to any metallic part of the vessel, most especially not the bonding system. It’s like a car sitting on rubber tires which provide insulation, the battery itself provides a negative potential.

Bonding Systems

These actually have nothing to do with electrical systems. Nothing should ever be grounded to bonding systems. Unskilled electricians often make the mistake of using this to ground electrical systems and this often ends in disastrous results.

Electrolysis & Galvanism

Boaters who don’t really understand electrolysis often abuse this work. Number one, all boats have electrical potential. All the metals on the boat have differing electrical potentials. This is exactly the principle that allows a dry cell battery to generate electricity. This electrical potential is called galvanism & is the reason why we put zincs on boats.

Now, electrolysis is stray current escaping and is most damaging. When this occurs, it eats up zincs quickly and leaves it looking bright & shiny. So, Shiny zincs = electrolysis & Dull eroded zincs = galvanism.

Shore Power Cords

The largest cause of issues w/ shore power systems comes from failure to maintain connectors on both the cord & boat connectors. Remember, these are exposed to water & will suffer from corrosion & general wear. This can eventually result in overheating & power drop. This alone can create conditions for fires & cause electrical equipment to work harder which reduces the life span of your boat. Maintain your shore power connections!

Coastie Marine recommend you buy only the highest quality power cords, as these will last longer and have the advantage of replaceable connector parts. Cheap connectors usually can’t be taken apart. Lastly: If you’re not turning off the dock breaker before disconnecting the power cord, start doing it! You risk getting electrocuted, but disconnecting an energized connector damages the contacts.

Please feel free to email us if you have any type of electrical questions at or check out our website:

Thanks! Cliff Hairston, Owner/Marine Electrician


MARINE Electrician vs Regular Electrician

Discussion about marine electricians only to work on your vessel.

Marine Electrician vs. Regular Electrician

If you own a boat, you are aware that insurance companies use marine surveyors to inspect your boat before they insure you. One of the top issues these surveyors run into are electrical systems that have been jury-rigged. This usually happens when you use “Bob the Electrician” from down the road because his rates are cheaper. Some of these guys think wiring a house is the same as wiring a boat but that is absolutely not the case.

The older the boats get, the more jury-rigged wiring occurs and ends up causing a substantial number of problems. I’m not mocking residential & commercial electricians but substandard boat wiring can cause problems to your entire system, such as, chronic battery drain, frequent system faults or even electrolysis and fires. And not to mention a long list of fixes from the marine surveyor.

So, why does using a MARINE electrician so important? Well, most importantly is that your boat is in the water which makes a boat much different than a house or car. Sea water is a fair conductor of electricity. There are addition rules about materials & methods of installation that you won’t find on land based vehicles or buildings. Water provides an awesome ground path for electricity so we must be careful how things are completed.

Many marine electricians are self-taught as there are little vocational schools for this career. I was lucky enough to receive exceptional training in the U.S. Coast Guard. So, when hiring a marine electrician, experience and training is key so I would ask for credentials, or a resume or anything that provides proof of knowledge in this field.

Materials and equipment are much different in the marine repair industry. The ABYC or American Boat & Yacht Council has strict standards for this as does the U.S. Coast Guard. Do not use common wire or wiring devices or residential electrical equipment. If proper materials are not grounded, properly constructed or insulated, you might be at a high risk for fires.

One of the most horrible things I’ve seen on a boat is the use of extension cords, non-marine wire, audio speaker wire and even household lamp cords. This is not a joke at all. House wire and marine wire is completely different. Marine wire must have the right temp, be water & oil resistant & should be purchased from a reputable marine supplier.

No one who is untrained in marine high voltage systems should touch boat wiring. Deadly fault systems are too risky. Grounding & a boat’s electrical system most commonly misunderstood. Only someone educated in AC & DC marine grounding should touch boat wiring. AC & DC are two separate systems. If you don’t know the 4 principles of ground systems, stay away from boats. And owners need not hire.

In the next article, I will discuss the main parts of a boat’s electrical system and further stress the importance of hiring a marine electrician vs. any old regular electrician. Moral of the story is that you will actually save money in the long run and have peace of mind using a skilled and trained marine electrician on your boat. Protect your investment.

Cliff Hairston, Owner/Marine Electrician or Facebook: @coastiemarine



I’m a Vetrepreneur!

According to NaVOBA, I am officially a vetrepreneur but it has been quite a journey to get here. Clearly this is a made up word but I like it! I have a strong sense of pride from being a veteran. At the age of 19, shortly after 9/11 & before we began bombing Iraq, I decided to join one of the branches of the military. I felt it was my duty to my country. The politics behind the war or people’s conspiracy theories are of no concern to me. I have always been patriotic, as far back as I can remember so joining the service was an incredible feeling. I owe everything I have accomplished & become to joining the U.S. Coast Guard. Joining the military for any teen is a life changing experience & I know for sure that it made quickly turned me into a man. The U.S. Coast Guard offered me so many awesome life experiences such as international travel & chasing down drug smugglers with tons of cocaine trying to get  into the U.S. However, it also gave me priceless discipline training& education specialized in a field I have truly come to love. I have always been an outdoorsman so life on a ship in the middle of the ocean was rarely grueling, though hard work, it was always an adventure. The military instilled in me values such as perseverance, integrity, honesty, respect & discipline. These are the underlying values that will make my business successful. Today, I am a marine electrician & have started that business using the impeccable training I received from the Coast Guard. I attended “A” School in Yorktown, VA to become a U.S.C.G. certified Electrician’s Mate after boot camp. I was later accepted & able to attend the U.S.C.G. “C” school. “C” school in Yorktown was a 19-week advanced electrician’s school that offered courses such as Advanced Analog, Electronic Controllers, Integrated Control System Certification, AC/DC Theory, Electrical Motors, Controls & Generators, Industrial Electricity & Safety, Blueprint Reading & more! Now, I am a highly skilled marine electrician who also used the G.I. Bill to continue my education (while they paid me!). I have dabbled in business courses & will wrap up my college studies with a degree in Electrical Engineering (96 of the credits came from USCG training!). So, that is my journey to becoming a veterpreneur & what an incredible journey it has been! You can find out more about the newest marine electrian in Bay County, FL on my website: Coastie Marine’s website

Small business startup

This is the excerpt for a placeholder post.

A lot of people really want to take that leap and start their own business. Working for someone else can be comfortable, less stressful but at the same time, why should skills provide a healthy profit for someone else? If you have marketable skills, you don’t need a college degree or even a business background to take that leap. I have spent years of my life unpaid and overworked. The final straw was when I went from making $30/hour to half that for an unappreciative employer. On top of this, even though I requested accommodations for my disability related to military service, I was fired for using those accommodations. How illegal that was can be saved for another rant. 

This particular post is for those out there who need reassurance that forming their own company is not that difficult. The easiest was to get started is as an independent contractor. An independent contractor status is best approached by forming a sole proprietorship and obtaining what’s known as a DBA, or Doing Business As. Create a name for your service and simply register that name on for $50. This promotes professionlism and also allows you to create an identity beyond yourself. Take that DBA and open a business bank account. This also legitimizes your business in the eyes of future clients. 

Many people struggle with whether to make their business an LLC. This is not necessary unless, first, you want to protect personal assets from any business liability & second, you are willing to learn and adhere to the rules required to be followed that make an LLC credible. If these rules are not followed, your LLC offers zero protection, also another rant altogether.

Once you formed your business, now it’s time to market. First, a logo and some business cards are a must. Next, take advantage of all the free marketing out there with social media, Facebook, LindedIn, Twitter, WordPress Blogging etc….Then get your business info listed in the search engines, Google, Bing, Yahoo & YP. Now it’s time to tackle a webpage. You can get a domain name for super cheap on GoDaddy and try a month free and build a website. They also offer free SEO optimization.I would also post a quick ad on Craigslist, we have gotten quite a bit of businessfrom there but update it often.

Next, do some market research. I would research competitors and businesses that complement your services. Get out there, introduce yourself and drop business cards off there and with family and friends. If people call for services you don’t offer, recommend places that do and don’t be afraid to ask them to mention your recommendation.

Accounting software is crucial. Accounting software like QuickBooks online will offer a free month and can be tailored to match your services. There is typically a small monthly cost but will save you money come tax time. QuickBooks is user friendly and will help you categorize income and expenses or assets and liabilities. It will also provide you will a professional way to give customers estimates and invoice them upon project completion. This screams professional! It also provides a way for customers to pay with credit cards and bank transfers should you use their merchant services. 

Lastly, customer word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising. Treat your customers with respect, always do what you say you will and be where you say you’ll be. Offer free estimates and competitive pricing! Discounts to military & first responders shows you are thankful and word spreads about that! And always ask them to give you a review online. If they are happy with your service, they will never mind doing it. 

If you ever have accounting questions or need tax guidance, contact my wife, Nikki Hairston, our tax guru at 850-381-3249.


Coastie Marine,