Friday, March 26, 2010

Son of a Sea Song

This week's Sea Song continues our exploration of country music that Jimmy Buffett didn't make famous, but will probably perform on tour some day (if he hasn't already).

We were excited to have finally found Blake Shelton and his hit from 2004, Some Beach. If you enjoy it half as much as we did, you are going to love it.

Remember, you can view this and other Sea Songs of the Week at the DailyBoater channel on YouTube:


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Palm Weekend

Is it just a coincidence that the "Palm" Beach Boat Show falls on the weekend of "Palm" Sunday?

Probably, but it is a good way to remember the date.

Anyway, there are a few other boating events to tell you about. If you live in or near Hampton (Virginia), Moncton (New Brunswick, Canada), or in Vero Beach (Florida), then there is a boat show near you going on this weekend.

St. Thomas is the place to be from Friday to Sunday for the oldest regatta in Rolex's portfolio of international sailing events – the International Rolex Regatta.

Lastly, there's a new CT boat show to tell you about coming up in June, from the same folks that bring SailFest to New London every summer. Save the date for the first ever Long Island Sound Boaters Expo- June 19, 2010 - Noon To 6 pm.

Looks like it will be a unique event based on this note from the show organizers:
You'll find everything you need to have a great time on the water, including boat accessory vendors, personal water crafts, fishing gear and tackle. There will be a raw bar, lobster boat selling live lobsters, CT DEP boat and NL power squadron.
If you go, make sure you look for the BoatNameGear booth where you can pick up some fantastic last minute boating gifts for Father's Day (the day after show).

Learn more about these and future boating events on the FirstBoat events calendar.


Monday, March 22, 2010

The Plastiki is Underway

Over the weekend, the recycled-bottle boat began its long awaited voyage from San Francisco to Sydney.

In an historic effort to both bring awareness to the problem of plastic pollution and show the potential of plastic recycling, David de Rothschild and his crew are sailing the unique vessel across the Pacific along a route that passes by the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Learn more about the Plastiki and the historic voyage at the expedition's official website and our previous post: the Bottle Boat

Photo courtesy of Luca Babini


Friday, March 19, 2010

This Week's Sea Song Flows

Have you heard about any volcanoes lately? Nope, neither have we. It seems earthquakes are stealing all the natural disaster headlines, with a little help from flooding in Fargo.

Here's a lava-hot headline for ya: Our Sea Song of the Week is Volcano by Jimmy Buffett. If you think that lead-in was cheesy, wait 'til you see this 80's-style video. Still, it makes me want to be there! Oh yeah, and check out the audience watching the concert from their boats – now that looks like fun and a disaster waiting to happen, all at the same time!

For our previous picks for sea song of the week, check the Daily Boater or our Sea Songs page on YouTube.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring Weekend

Not many boat shows going on this weekend, but that is okay. With the first full weekend of spring upon us, and most parts of the country warming up, it is the perfect time to start visiting boat dealers directly – walk their yards, browse the boats in their showrooms, enjoy the fresh air. If you have been thinking about it and it is within your means, then now is the best time to get out there and get a boat!

Or, if you are still set on going to a boat show, that's okay, too. There are a few events to tell you about:
  • Worcester, Mass: Worcester RV & Boat Show
  • Providence, RI: New England Saltwater Fishing Show
  • Edmonton, Alberta: Edmonton Boat & Sportsmen's Show

Learn more about these and future boating events on our boat show calendar.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Why Boats Sink in the Spring

Are you as excited as we are about the upcoming boating season? Did mentioning "Spring" in our title for the third time in 10 days give us away?

We armed you with some great spring commissioning resources last week, but thought it was worth another look after BoatU.S. announced the top five causes of springtime boat sinkings earlier this week. The list was compiled from a summary of BoatU.S. marine insurance claims files.

Why Boats Sink in the Spring
Some of the reasons that boat sink may surprise you, but all can be avoided with proper maintenance. The top five reasons boat sink in the springtime are:
1. Missing or damaged hose clamps
2. Unsecured engine hoses
3. Spring rains
4. Broken sea strainer
5. Leaking stuffing box
What can you do about it?
  • BoatU.S. has their own spring commissioning checklist which is worth checking out, along with more details behind their top-5 list, at their website
  • After last week's post, we received this very useful spring commissioning article by Cpt. Vincent Pica, a District Captain in the USCG Auxiliary and publisher of the Atlantic Maritime Academy website. 
  • And of course we also encourage you to review our spring commissioning post from last week, which includes tips and resources from several other trusted sources.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring into Rescue Mode

As spring weather spreads across the US, boating mishaps and rescues seem to be on the rise.

On Sunday, four boaters off Charleston were rescued by the Coast Guard with a hole in the hull of their boat. The boat was about 15 miles offshore, but because the boaters had a personal EPIRB onboard, the Coast Guard was able to find their location quickly.

High winds and big swells combined to overcome a small boat on the Indian River in Titusville, Florida, on Saturday. Perhaps it didn't help that there were eight people onboard this 16 foot aluminum boat at the time, celebrating a family reunion. Luckily, despite the boat sinking, all aboard were rescued by nearby boaters. (Compiled from here and here.)

Also on Saturday, reported that six people were plucked from water in St. Pete after their 24 foot sailboat capsized during the St. Petersburg Yacht Club Regatta. Warning to nearby boaters: The boat (aptly named Shock Therapy) remains partially submerged about 600 yards south of the Pier.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Happy Birthday Boatman

James Taylor turned 62 today, so we chose his Boatman as our Sea Song of the Week.

Of course this isn't the first JT tune we've picked. Back in 2006 we once chose Sailing to Philadelphia (with Mark Knopfler) as our Sea Song of the Week. And don't be surprised to see Mexico here some day in the future - although it doesn't actually mention "boats" or "sailing", Jimmy Buffett has turned that James Taylor masterpiece into a classic ballad for the boating lifestyle. Stay tuned!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

I’ve Got DIBS!

This weekend has a diverse lineup of boat shows sprinkled around the world, including DIBS, or the Dubai International Boat Show which runs through Saturday.

There's another large boat show in New Zealand. The Auckland International Boat Show is touting itself as "New Zealand's biggest boating event since the America’s Cup." That is probably true.

Here in North America, we've got our own large shows this weekend. Okay, maybe not so large, but the Quinte Sportsman, Boat & RV Show does refer to itself as the "Largest Sportsman, Boat & RV Show between Toronto and Ottawa." They have no argument from us. There are also sportsman and boat shows in Biloxi, Quebec, Reno, Novi, Chantilly, and Fort Myers.

Details for all on our boat show calendar.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

EPIRBs and You

A few weeks ago we told you about AMVER and where your signal goes in the unfortunate event that you set off your EPIRB in a boating emergency. But do you have an EPIRB? Did it come with your boat? Do you know which type to have onboard and which type definitely will NOT save your life?

In general, an EPIRB is known for sending a signal for help in case of an emergency on your boat. There were several types, but make sure you have the latest technology when it comes to EPIRBs. If you have an older 121.5 or and 243 MHz EPIRB, the signal it sends out will fall on deaf ears. The signals they send out have not been monitored for over a year now, so they are useless to carry onboard.

The newer EPIRBs – and the only ones that are useful now that the aforementioned frequencies have been phased out – work on a more reliable, digital 406 MHz frequency. If somebody is trying to sell you anything but a 406 MHz frequency EPIRB, walk away.

But wait, there’s more!
The 406 MHz EPIRBs come in two very important categories:
Category I: automatically activated.
Category II: manually activated.
Should you save a hundred bucks and get the manual one? Think of it this way. If there’s an emergency and your boat is going down, you are searching for life jackets, maybe a life raft, and helping other passengers, it’s a great benefit to know you don’t have to go find your EPIRB and flip a switch.

A quick check of West Marine showed us EPIRBs in the price range of $700 to $1200 with various features including battery type and life, GPS, the brightness of the LED flashing locator lights, overall size, durability of the casing and submersibility.

Is an EPIRB worth the cost? For most recreational boaters, it’s a personal choice as EPIRBs are not required on most personal vessels. However, in our opinion, an EPIRB is an indispensable addition to your arsenal of onboard safety equipment.


Monday, March 08, 2010

Spring the Boat Loose

With the warm weather this past weekend here in the northeast, many boaters are tempted to break the boat out of its winter confinement and get spring started a little early.

But before you launch your boat for the first time in several months, make sure your vessel is as ready as you are to get back on the water. There are several websites with checklists on how to de-winterize your boat and get it prepared for the new season, so we thought we would direct you to a few of the better guides.

Check out these sites even if you are not doing the work yourself so that you can ensure that your service provider is covering all the major points.

Thanks to Ericka's Powerboating Blog for reminding us this past weekend that if you prepare now, “on that first nice day of spring, you'll be ready to take advantage of the warmer weather and be able to get your boat in the water that much faster.” Ericka also has a more detailed task list to help de-winterize your boat. Read it here.

Alan Sorum’s Boating & Sailing blog has a very good article on how to prep your boat for the spring, broken into three simple sections. One of Alan’s best tips is to “Schedule yard work well in advance and avoid the rush that comes with the first nice spring day.” Remember that Alan boats in Alaska, so if these tips work for getting a boat ready after an Alaskan winter, they should certainly be helpful to those of us in the lower 48. Read Alan's de-winterizing article here.

If you are more of a visual learner, this 2 minute video from Sunbrella walks you through a live checklist of items to clean, prep and check before you launch your boat each year.

What is your spring ritual? Can you recommend any other good de-winterizing guides? When are you launching your boat for the season, or are you lucky enough to live in a year-round boating climate?


Friday, March 05, 2010

A Sea Song for Rednecks

When an old friend turned us on to Redneck Yacht Club a few days ago, it was a no-brainer that it would be our next Sea Song of the Week. Craig Morgan performs the perfect party tune for regular joes rocking the boat, all summer long. Check out the video and you'll see what we mean.


Thursday, March 04, 2010

Million Boat Show March

Ok, maybe there are not millions of boat shows this month, but there are a bunch this weekend. Too many to list, actually, but we'll give it a try.

Where are all the boat shows? Let's just say that if you're in Denver, Orlando, Philly, San Diego or Louisville, there's a boat show of some sort near you.

There are also boating events in Alabama, northern Illinois and on Long Island. Many of these are traditional boat shows, some are quite large, and a couple are specialty shows focusing on trawlers or houseboats. American made cruisers, like the beautiful Nordic Tug 49 pictured here (courtesy of Nordic Tugs), will be on display at Trawler Fest this weekend in San Diego.

Not in the US? No problem. There are boat shows this weekend in Japan, Austria and Winnipeg, too.

As always, all the details about these and other fun events can be found on our boat show calendar.


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Have Sunshine Will Sail

PlanetSolar, the world's largest solar powered yacht, was unveiled last week according to the PlanetSolar website. The Swiss-designed 102 foot boat is being constructed by Knierim Yacht Club, in Kiel, Germany, where the unveiling took place.

The Star Trek-looking vessel is expected to be launched in April 2010, and travel around the world a year later according to Soundings - we're looking forward to the launch.

Can you imagine a day in the future where all boats are powered by either wind or sun? If this ship "takes off" then we might be well on our way.

What are your thoughts of solar power for recreational boating?


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A New Boat and a Big Bag of Chips

There is good news if you are a Costco member and in the market for a new boat. Costco and Sea Ray just announced that they have expanded a partnership they started on the west coast early last year.

Depending on where you live, the promotional website states that you may receive "members-only pricing" on select Sea Rays, plus $3000 of dollars in "incentives" and a $500 Costco gift card; it also mentions you would still be eligible for other Sea Ray incentives and that this offer lasts through September 2010.

If you are in the market for a new boat and happen to be a Costco member, it is probably worth your time to first get a quote as a non-Costco member. Once you've negotiated your best price it is time to whip out your membership card and see if you can actually save even more money.

Feedback is welcome from anybody who has taken advantage of this or a similar offer.