Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Extreme Green Boating

Sometimes it seems like the only choice for boaters concerned about the environment is to trade in our fuel-driven motorboats for sailboats.

What more can you do?

You might get some ideas from an article the NY Times ran last week about a new mega yacht called Soliloquy. While Soliloquy is still in the conceptual stage, it is expected to have retractable (think Swiss Army) solar sails and a hybrid electric-diesel motor for back-up. Turning the vessel up a notch on the green meter, it will even come with treadmills that help charge the main batteries, making the boat partially human-powered. (Think cartoon hamster wheel.)

What else can you do? Sailing Magazine told us its green issue will be available in October. If you thought switching to sails was green enough, wait until you see what this issue has to offer. The issue is expected to discuss how to make sailing even greener, plus green places to sail and the best green products for sailors. Look for it soon at


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Quiet before the Storm

2009 has delivered a mild hurricane season so far, but is it the quiet before the storm? Just today Clemson University released a research paper showing that hurricanes have increased in frequency over the past five years. Is the worst yet to come? Now is the time to make sure you’re prepared.

Boaters up and down the east coast and across the Gulf of Mexico know better than anybody that hurricanes can not only wreak havoc on waterside towns and property, but that boats and marinas are especially vulnerable. That is why we want to share two very important publications from BoatU.S. – a 12 page guide for boat owners, as well as a 24 page white paper for marinas and yacht clubs – to help boaters prepare for hurricanes.

When the next storm comes, don't  be caught off guard:

View the complete guides and additional hurricane resources now.

Photo Credit: Collection of Wayne and Nancy Weikel, FEMA Fisheries Coordinators, NOAA


Monday, September 28, 2009

Boaters Face New Drinking Law

Drinking and boating are two words that seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly. But sailors in England are not pleased with a proposed law that would regulate alcohol consumption by recreational boaters. CNN reports that the policies may include breathalyzer tests and alcohol limits similar to those imposed on automobile drivers.

In defense of the new legislation, England’s Dept. for Transportation provided figures from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB), stating that alcohol likely played a role in over 25% of leisure craft deaths from 2005 to 2007.

Do you think uniform, nationwide drinking laws are a good idea for boaters in England or in the US, or would this pretty much take all the fun out of boating? Could such a law even be enforced? What are your thoughts?

By the way, the MAIB has very interesting and detailed reports of incidents involving merchant, fishing and leisure vessels at their website.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sea Song: The Captain and the Kid

Jimmy Buffett says he wrote this song as a tribute to his grandfather who was a sailing ship captain. While it does not get as much play as hits like Cheeseburger in Paradise or Margaritaville, The Captain and the Kid is a classic sailing song.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Weekend Boat Shows

There is no shortage of boat shows around the world this week. I’ll be in Norwalk Friday for their in-water show, which includes live music and other entertainment for the first time this year. The 31st Annual Lido Yacht Expo starts today in Newport Beach, California, and features John Wayne’s 136 ft yacht, which is named Wild Goose (photo credit: Haute Yachts.) The boldly named "BOAT SHOW USA – 2009" is happening in Mt. Clemens, Michigan – a week later than previously scheduled. Billing itself as a Florida-style show in Houston, the South West International Boat Show is happening in Texas this weekend.

Outside of the US there are plenty of boat shows as well. If you’re in France, you can enjoy the Grand Pavois de la Rochelle. The Germans have their INTERBOOT International Watersports Exhibition, which has been going on since last weekend, and the 19th Monaco Yacht Show began yesterday at Port Hercules.

Get more information about these shows and more at the all new boat show calendar on (now taking suggestions for future events that should be listed.)


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Take Two from Down Under

sydney dust stormsAs Australia recovers from its strange dust storm that turned the sky various shades of red, orange and yellow, and put a strangle hold on Sydney for a day, one of the country's bravest daughters is about to take a second stab at an historic journey. You can see that Jessica Watson of Sunshine Coast, Queensland, is someone who knows exactly what she wants by the straightforward statement on her blog: "Ambition: Become the youngest person to sail solo, nonstop and unassisted around the world"

Jessica is tying up the final loose ends to prepare herself and Ella's Pink Lady for the adventure of a lifetime, I invite you to post a comment here or on her blog to let her know that she may be solo but she won’t be alone.

On the web:
Jessica’s blog
Pictures of Sydney
News about the strange Australian weather here and here

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Boat Gadgets for Billionaires

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, whose approximately 550 ft “Eclipse” is expected to be the world's largest mega-yacht when it officially launches this December, went out for a test-cruise last week from Germany.

Abramovich megayacht elcipseThe latest features discovered on the mega-yacht will certainly raise the bar for the rich and famous. It’s been nearly a year since we told you about the ship’s missile defense system, submarine and its two helicopter pads. But now the Times Online is reporting that the ship has even more brag worthy gadgets, including: missile-resistant windows and hull; a retractable roof in the master suite; a 6 ft movie screens in each of the 24 guest rooms; and perhaps its most unique capability - the ship will have an anti-paparazzi laser “shield” that can zap a camera from afar and ruin a photo. Yup, who doesn't need that?

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Lot of Bull

If you’re in the market for a new boat and you’d like to own a piece of financial-meltdown history, you have just eight weeks to get to Florida for the auction of the year.

On November 17, 2009, National Liquidators of Fort Lauderdale will be auctioning off three boats that were seized from Bernard Madoff, the 71 year old financier serving a 150 year jail sentence for ripping off a lot of people.

madoff yacht bullMadoff's largest yacht for auction is a 55 ft Rybovich named "Bull" (pictured). Built in 1969 and recently renovated, it is said to be worth over $2 Million. Additional boats on the block: Madoff’s 23 ft center-console boat named "Little Bull" as well as a 38 footer named "Sitting Bull," a Shelter Island Runabout Sport.

Not on the block at this time: Madoff’s $7 Million, 88-foot yacht, also named “Bull”, which was seized near Nice by French authorities in April according to the London Times.

Shopping around? You'll find plenty of boats for auction online at FirstBoat.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Boat Shows Abound This Weekend

It’s clearly boat show season, as you can’t skip a stone without hitting one over the next two weekends. If you are in the vicinity of Newport, Sandusky, Oakland or San Diego in the States, or somewhere near Hampshire, Croatia, Greece or Germany in Europe, then you’ve got something to do this weekend.

Some shows feature boats, some feature yachts, some both. All events are listed with additional details in the all new boat show calendar on

boat showsWe are now taking suggestions for future events that you’d like to see on our calendar. See the boat show calendar page for details.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Two Tampa Rescues

Day in and day out the US Coast Guard is hard at work rescuing folks from precarious situations across America's waterways.

Tuesday in Tampa, however, was busier than usual.

The Coast Guard was called to the aid of a 21-foot boat Tuesday morning that was taking on water. The vessel was about 30 miles west of Anclote Key off Tampa, which is quite a distance for a boat of that size. All five people aboard were returned safely to shore, complete with a free ride upon a CG helicopter (see video).

Later in the day, a woman called authorities because her husband had not returned from a trip to test his boat’s engine. The Coast Guard found the man floating in a raft near Clearwater Pass, not far from his sinking 33-ft Bertram. The St. Petersburg Times reports that the man was able to be located because he used an EPIRB. Other than hitting a submerged object, this man did everything right in order to make his rescue more likely – he not only had an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon), but he had also filed a float plan with his wife and had a life raft onboard.

In the news: Miami Herald. St. Petersburg Times.

Monday, September 14, 2009

New Life Jacket Law Hits NY

New York is the first state to require life jackets to be worn on vessels up to 21 feet during the coldest months of the year.

In an effort to reduce boating deaths in the state, the law requires that people of all ages aboard all pleasure craft as large as 21 feet – including kayaks, row boats, sailboats and motorboats – wear life jackets while on a boat from November 1st to May 1st. This is in addition to the existing NY law requiring children under 12 to wear a PFD on boats up to 65 feet when on deck while underway.

The new law recognizes that small boats, cold water and lack of life jackets are a lethal combination. According to the Associated Press, about 90 percent of the people who died in US boating accidents last year were not wearing life jackets. Additionally, even though there are fewer boating deaths in the winter overall, the fatality rate from boating accidents typically increases in the colder months. For example, July of last year saw an 8% fatality rate nationally, compared to 25% in November.

So what’s the bottom line? If you boat in cold weather, wear a life jacket. It will not only save you a few bucks by avoiding a fine, but it could save your life.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sea Song of the Week

Here’s a twist on one of our favorites - The ukulele version of "Son of a Son of a Sailor."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Boat Shows THIS Weekend

It’s one of those weekends where it seems like you can’t drive around the corner without bumping into a boat show. Nautical events seem to be sprinkled all over the United States over the next few days, with boat dealers hoping that they will continue to see signs of economic recovery.

If there’s one near you, I encourage you to drop by and look around – there’s no better place to learn about boats and what type of boat is best for you than somewhere with a large selection of different brands and styles of vessels. The in-water shows are my favorite because you have a heck of a better chance of getting out on the water than you do with all the boats on lifts in a convention center. And guess what - three of the four shows this weekend are in-water!

This weekend’s shows, including Tampa, Oakland, AC and Long Beach, are all listed with additional details in the updated boat show calendar on Check them out and have a good time!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Cash for Boat Clunkers

Got an inefficient boat? Mercury Marine is apparently trying to capture the spirit of the wildly successful Cash for Clunkers car program with a promotion encouraging boat owners to upgrade to more fuel-efficient outboard engines.

Under what they’re calling the “Trade Up America – Mercury Repower Sales Event” some Mercury engines sold in the United States by Oct. 31, 2009 are eligible for rebates of up to $1,000.

Visit Mercury’s website to find a local authorized Mercury Marine dealer and learn more about the offer.

In an even closer approximation to the Cash for Clunkers car program, KRCG 13 in Missouri is reporting that an Osage Beach boat dealer - Surdyke Yamaha - is giving boat buyers a $4,000 credit for old boats that might otherwise be worth much less.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Deadline for Canadian Boaters

Pleasure Craft Operator CardIn one week, boaters in Canada caught without a Pleasure Craft Operator Card can be fined $250.

According to Transport Canada, “The requirement to have a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) was introduced to improve the competency and safety of Canadians who venture out in boats for recreational activity.” The new law applies to virtually all Canadian boaters - there is no grandfather clause or age exemption, and even boats with a small trolling motor require the operator to carry a card.

To obtain an Operator Card, one must pass an exam – available online from as well as a host of other providers listed at the website of Transport Canada.

BoaterExam provides a free online course guide as well as a $50 online test that gets you an instant temporary Operator Card if you pass.

In all cases, certification is good for life, or until they change the law again in the future.

Non-residents are not affected unless they boat in Canada for more than 45 days, or are using a boat registered in Canada. For more information (in English or French) visit Transport Canada’s Marine Transportation page.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Boating season extended

Labor Day is upon us once again. We fill the days of this long weekend with picnics, parties, mini-vacations and best of all - boat trips - enjoying the last breaths of summer before it seemingly slips away... especially in places like New England, Michigan, New York and Minnesota where fall approaches quickly.

Now is the time that boaters also think about putting the boat away for the winter. Well this year is different. First of all, boaters in many locations with typically short boating seasons have experienced terrible summers, with rain in the northeast, for example, at historic levels. But we also recognize that we reach a global audience across DailyBoater and FirstBoat and know that in many parts of the world people aren't thinking about shrink wrapping and dry docking - places like Sydney, Miami, Santorini and Seal Beach.

So, in an effort to try to salvage the season for those of us with short boating seasons, and to celebrate those who don't have to worry about winter, FirstBoat is officially declaring that boating season has been extended for everybody.

You ask "how long? Until when?", and the answer is up to you. Ask yourself: How late into the fall can you really use your boat? Aren't you willing to throw on a sweatshirt and spend weekends on the water, even as the days get shorter and the air gets a little brisk?

Isn't a cool day boating with the family better than a day spent raking leaves? So go ahead, and stretch out the season. You deserve it. There will be plenty of time to put the boat away, but we suggest you put it off for now and make up for a rough summer - at least through September if you can, and maybe even into October.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

BoatU.S. Contest

If you boat, you've probably heard of BoatU.S. - the Boat Owners Association of the United States. With over 600,000 members that own more than a million boats, you may already be a BoatU.S. member.

Each month, just for signing into the members-only website (, BoatU.S. Members are entered to win a prize... and this month the contest hits close to home. They are giving away $200 worth of personalized products (shirts, hats, etc) from a member of our family, BoatNameGear. Isn't that nice of them? We think so. With $200, you could get a welcome mat, a couple of polo shirts, some fender covers and a hat or two - all with your boat name on them.

For details about the contest, visit the BoatU.S. members website at

If you're not a member yet, you can skip right to the membership application. Want one more reason to join? BoatU.S. members receive 10% off all orders at BoatNameGear through a special link that members have access to.

We would love to see a DailyBoater reader win this contest, so enter today!