Friday, April 30, 2010

Sea Song from a Cowboy

Happy Birthday to Willie Nelson who turned 77 on Friday.

Our Sea Song of the Week is the title track from an album Willie put out over ten years ago, Island in the Sea.

At 77, Willie is not letting his saddle get dusty. He is on the road and also released a new album this month simply titled "Country Music". The collection of covers includes two nautical-related tracks - Seaman's Blues and Ocean of Diamonds, both of which will likely show up here in the future. But if you want to buy a hard-copy CD of Willie's new album in the next couple of weeks, you have to go to Starbucks, as they have the exclusive rights to sell the CD until the end of May. Of course, the album is already available for download at iTunes and Amazon.



Thursday, April 29, 2010

Free Boat Shows and New Mystic Event

What's nice about the two boat shows happening in the US this weekend is that they are both free to attend. So if you live anywhere near Port Clinton, Ohio, or Cape May, New Jersey, check our boat show calendar for details on this weekend's free boat shows.

Around the Horn
Other events this week include the Poros Charter Yacht Show, which wraps up in Greece this Friday, and the Victoria Harbour Floating Boat Show in British Columbia, which goes through Sunday. And if you are a fan of the show Deadliest Catch, you won't want to miss their annual CatchCon this weekend in Seattle. Details for all, of course, are on the FirstBoat calendar.

Coming to Mystic
On the not too distant horizon is a unique brand of boat show coming to Mystic Seaport in southeastern Connecticut. The event, being called the Northeast Maritime Exhibition, will be held on May 14 to 16.

Could you imagine a better place for a boat show than the world's largest maritime museum? You can "walk through history and find your future in sailing" - all in one location.

You will have the opportunity to view and board beautiful yachts on the Mystic River while strolling through the picturesque Mystic Seaport.

Join our friends from BoatNameGear and an array of nautical vendors on-site offering everything from the perfect, new GPS to the best foul weather gear. Be part of life raft deployment demonstrations, Discover Sailing trips, a special screening of the new film Madstreak (Clay Burkhalter’s film about his solo mini-transit race), and more. Be among the first boaters to learn about the cutting edge technology of marine electronics and charting for mobile devices all while enjoying the historic atmosphere of Mystic Seaport.

For more information about the Northeast Maritime Exhibition visit

See you at the boat show!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Both Teen Sailors Off Course

Australian teen Jessica Watson has encountered four story high waves and is being forced to seek calmer seas, diverting her and her Pink Lady from the planned course according to news reports and her blog.

Meanwhile, American teen Abby Sunderland announced on Saturday that she has spent way too much time on tech support with the manufacturers of her faulty auto pilot device, and she is being forced into port for repairs (also covered in this article on Tonic.)

While this was never technically a race, the two teenagers have been simultaneously trying to become the youngest person to sail solo non-stop and unassisted around the world. But both young women have had to make difficult choices over the past few days, and both have made the safe choices and should be commended for that.

Unfortunately, after stopping for repairs, Abby's voyage will no longer be labeled "non-stop" or "unassisted".

Jessica's trip may take longer than expected with the current weather the Australian is facing, but she is still expected to reach her finish line within days of her 17th birthday - May 18th - and thus claiming the world record as the youngest person to sail solo non-stop and unassisted around the world.

Keeping things interesting, Abby is braving on and plans to continue her trip after her stop in Cape Town. And since the American is a few months younger than Jessica, Abby still has a chance to claim the record as the youngest person to sail around the world. This accomplishment, even the attempt itself, is quite impressive – even without the "non-stop" or "unassisted" labels.

We wish the best of luck to both these brave adventurers as they continue on their dangerous journeys... which you can track on their respective blogs from the comfort of your home.

On the web:
Abby Sunderland’s blog

Jessica Watson’s blog


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

You Must Be An Angel

Oooh you're an angel.
In disguise, I can see it in your eyes.
Sorry, but if you drive by the Boat Angel billboard enough times, you won't be able to get that song out of your head either.

What is "Boat Angel" you ask? The concept seems simple enough. Instead of selling your boat, you donate your boat to Boat Angel and get a receipt that will likely benefit you when you do your taxes next year.

No, of course they do not give your donated boat to people in need… that would be silly. This video explains what they really do with all the boats that are donated from across the country.

Basically, Boat Angel will sell your boat on eBay and use the proceeds for charity. The money is used for everything from Vans for Vets and Mercy Ships to animal rescue programs and drug rehab facilities. And there are plenty of religious organizations in their recommended charities list, most of them with the word "Bible" or "Jesus" in the name. Don't let that scare you, as Boat Angel states that you can choose the charity that a portion of the proceeds from your old boat should go to.

So, if you're having trouble selling your boat or if it costs you more to maintain or repair than you can afford, consider Boat Angel as an option. Besides the tax write-off, you'll also enjoy avoiding all the headaches of selling a used boat – paying for a classified ad, taking phone calls, showing the boat, price haggling, delivery, etc.

Boat Angel is on the web at:

And now, here's the payoff, because you know you wanted to hear it.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Whale Warning in Effect

Just after a man drowned off Cape Cod when his canoe was flipped by a whale, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries is warning boaters to be careful of right whales around Martha’s Vineyard.

The rare mammals migrate to these waters each spring, but this year they seem especially abundant between the the Vineyard and Block Island, RI. Around 100 of the whales have been spotted in the area within the past few days.

A slow-speed zone has been established through May 5, and vessels 65 feet and larger are asked to travel at no more than 10 knots, or about 11.5 mph between the two islands. As you might expect, ship collisions are a common killer of these nearly extinct whales according to the Boston Globe.

View Block Island to Martha's Vineyard in a larger map

The right whales traveled up to the area from Georgia, and are expected to move on to the Bay of Fundy off Nova Scotia shortly according to the NOAA.


(Photo: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission/NOAA)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Big Blue Sea Song

Continuing our celebration of yesterday's 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, this week's Sea Song of the Week is Big Blue Sea by Bob Schneider.

Of course, this song seems a little darker than its title suggests, but it still would make a nice addition to your sailing play list. Check it out...


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Events, Movies and Boat Shows

There are a few boat shows this weekend, lots of earth day events, and even a couple of big movie releases - all coinciding with Earth Day 2010.

On this 40th anniversary of Earth Day, Disney has released the movie Oceans (see trailer below) to theaters around the world. Also taking advantage of Earth Day, Avatar is being released on DVD today for the 27 people who have not yet seen it - including this author.

In other Earth Day news, there are celebrations and events all over the country, including D.C., San Francisco, Boulder and Seattle

Now for our usual Thursday roundup of weekend boat shows. They include the inaugural Spring Boat Show in Essex, CT, which is featuring boats for sale from a few local dealers and brokers. The bigger boat shows are in Texas this weekend. Isn't everything bigger in Texas? Anyway, they include the 4th Annual Texas International Boat Show in Corpus Christi, which started Thursday and goes through Sunday. Also in Texas, the 55th annual Fort Worth Boat and Sport Show, which is usually in January, is happening this weekend.

If you were hoping to go to the Charleston In-Water Boat Show in South Carolina this weekend, sorry - it was canceled.

More details about the boat shows can be found on our boat show calendar.

Hope you get a chance to enjoy the water on this Earth Day weekend!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Earth Day for Boaters

April 22nd is Earth Day… and with over 70% of the earth's surface covered by water, it's a good week for us boaters to think about what we can do to minimize our passion's impact on the environment. is a good resource for boaters to find information about reducing the mess of petroleum or oil on the water. Not only do they point out “fun facts” like “a single pint of oil released onto the water can cover one acre of water surface area”, but they also have tips like why you shouldn't fill your gas tank beyond 90% of its capacity. Visit the Green Captain section of their site for more.

BoatUS also has some “green boating tips” for Earth Day, including a study on which “environmentally friendly” boat cleaners really get the job done. Read their press release about it here.

If you boat a lot, there's a pretty good chance you live near a beach. One of the things you can do this week is participate in an Earth Day Beach Cleanup. But how do you find an Earth Day Beach Cleanup near you? It's easy - Google Earth Day Beach Cleanup and add your home town, and you should be able to find one to join. If not, start your own.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is doing its part by visiting wetland and shoreline restoration projects across the country that were funded by the federal Stimulus bill this year, according to Alan Sorum’s Blog on Suite101.

Then there's the Plastiki, which began its journey across the Pacific last month to bring attention to the amount of plastic floating in the ocean.

Of course, maybe the best thing we can do for the environment is raise a sail instead of turn a key. But how would we water ski? How would we get from point A to point B when there is no wind? How would we... (insert your own reason here, there are certainly plenty!)

Happy Earth Day everybody!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Man Wins Real Boat in Virtual Contest

Take Me Fishing's™ second "Catch A Boat" virtual fishing tournament on has announced a winner, and the dude won an actual boat and trailer worth $20K for playing an online game!

The Ohio man that won the prize, Ben Gorris, couldn't believe he won either, according to the press release.

If that announcement whets your appetite for winning, you're in luck as a couple of REAL fishing tournaments were announced this week as well.

First, to celebrate the reopening of grouper season, you can join the inaugural Florida Keys Grouper Tournament on Saturday, May 1, 2010. Captain Hook's Marina & Dive Center and the 7 Mile Marina have joined forces to host this unique, new event. With both angler and spearfishing divisions, this is sure to be a fun event, and at a $100 per boat ($50 for the spearfishermen), the prize may get quite large. For more info, visit

A little further down the road, but perhaps requiring more prep time… BoatUS and RecycledFish just announced a nationwide 24-Hour Fish-A-Thon, set for September 10 – 11, 2010.

The event pits teams of anglers across the country against each other in order to raise funds to help support responsible fishing and improve fish habitat. There are also prizes at stake, such as the fishing trip of a lifetime, a guided trip with a Professional Anglers Association (PAA) tour-level pro, or a getaway to a remote lodge. Every team raising a minimum of $100 will get a complimentary 24-Hour Fish-A-Thon shirt. Additional prizes include tackle from Berkley and Dick's Sporting Goods.

To learn more about the 24-Hour Fish-A-Thon, visit

Congratulations to Ben and good luck to anyone entering any other fishing contests, real or virtual!


Friday, April 16, 2010

Mea Culpa Sea Song

It's been just under a month since Volcano by Jimmy Buffett was our Sea Song of the Week, and we told you it was because there were so many other natural disasters in the news but no volcanoes.

Well, this week that changed, and if you're stranded at an airport right now because of the Icelandic-volcanic ash in the sky, you know it better than anyone else.

So as a "mea culpa", here is our sea song of the week, Jimmy Buffett's Fruitcakes...


Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Taxing Number of Boat Shows

Are you planning to spend your tax refund on a new boat? Or are you just looking for a way to blow off steam and celebrate the annual ritual of filing your taxes? Then this is the perfect weekend to go to a boat show! And it just so happens that there are plenty of boat shows to go to this weekend, around the US and around the world.

The biggest, at least in the US, is probably the 37th annual edition of the Newport Boat Show in southern California (not to be confused with Rhode Island).

Up the coast a bit you can find two boat shows in one at Jack London Square in Oakland. The Pacific Powerboat Expo and Strictly Sail Pacific are produced as 2 separate shows, but at the same location simultaneously. I wonder if they're talking to each other.

Other US boat shows include Jacksonville, Traverse City and Lake of the Ozarks.

Outside of the US this weekend? You're in luck if you want to go to a boat show, as there is Boat Asia in Singapore as well as the 2nd weekend of CBS. And if you're in the Middle East, why not stick around for the Bahrain Boat Show International which begins on Monday?

If you would like more info on these or any upcoming boat shows, visit the First Boat calendar.

(Photo courtesy of Strictly Sail website)


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Contest: Win a Week on a Houseboat

Have you ever thought about buying a houseboat? Maybe even living on one? They look cool… if you're into that sort of thing. And they certainly maximize living space more than most other types of boats. If you plan to boat on a lake or river (since you need relatively calm water for most houseboats), and plan to do a lot of entertaining on the water (since they are usually so spacious), a houseboat may be right for you.

A great way to find out if any style of boat is really right for you before you go out and buy one is to spend some time on one. (Click for more about buying a boat .) Here's your chance to do just that with a luxury houseboat. Just yesterday, Soundings TradeOnlyToday reported on a contest from where you can win a week on a totally pimped out houseboat, complete with fuel, on Shasta Lake in California.

The prize, which values at $16,000, includes seven nights on the lavish triple deck Titan – "a magnificent vessel that offers the finest in comfort and entertainment. The Titan's home theater system, tracking satellite, open-air hot-tub, spiral-tube waterslide and countless other contemporary features are sure to make the winner's vacation experience unforgettable."

Requirements for entering the contest, which ends May 1st, include writing a 300 word essay, so you better hurry if you want a chance to win. Enter here.

Good luck!

Picture courtesy of


Monday, April 12, 2010

Florida Storm Results in Rescues, Arrest for Lucky Boaters

Sunday was a busy day for our heroes off the Gulf Coast of Florida, with multiple boaters running into trouble when a sudden and severe storm blew in.

The Coast Guard and the Lee County Sheriff's Office Marine Unit rescued 10 boaters stranded together on two boats several miles offshore when storms caused one of the boaters to lose its steering. NBC 2 also reports that one of the women rescued suffered a panic attack, and one of the men rescued was arrested on outstanding drug charges.

In the same area, a missing fisherman was found after a long search. His steering was also lost in the storm according to news reports.

Even the Naples Fire Department got involved, rescuing two fishermen whose engine wouldn't restart after their boat started taking on water in the storm (article).

Florida waters were rough on Sunday, but the Coast Guard was also busy in California helping boater who got his anchor line tangled around his prop on his sailboat off of Goleta Beach (article).

In the UK, a sailor was knocked unconscious by his boom and rescued by the RNLI, according to reports.

Australia news also reported a rescue Sunday when a family of four broke up their boat on the rocks in the Furneaux Group of islands.

All the boaters in the above incidents were reported safe and sound on dry land. Just another day for the USCG and other marine safety agencies around the world.

At least one of the rescues resulted from, or was at least expedited by, the fact that a loved one onshore had called authorities when her husband had not returned when expected. Filing a float plan is one of the most basic things a boater can do to better their chances of rescue in an emergency. See FirstBoat's safety page for a sample float plan and other boating safety tips.


Friday, April 09, 2010

Son of a Sea Song Redux

Were you disappointed last week when you clicked on our Son of a Sea Song link and didn't see Jimmy Buffett?

Were you bummed last September when you were hoping to hear Jimmy Buffett perform Son of a Son of a Sailor but instead we introduced you to a guy on a ukulele?

If you answered "yes" to either of the above questions, then today we will try to redeem ourselves for you... This week's Sea Song of the Week is the real Son of a Son of a Sailor by Jimmy Buffett. Happy Friday everyone!

Video not showing? You can view this and our other picks for Sea Song of the Week at the DailyBoater channel on YouTube:


Thursday, April 08, 2010

Really Great Boat Shows This Weekend

There are several boat shows around the world this weekend, many of which think very highly of themselves.

If you live in or near the home of the Daytona 500, make sure you check out the Great American Boat, Sport and Travel Show.

If you are in northern New England this weekend, stop by the Great Northeast Boat Show in Milford, New Hampshire.

Are you seeing a trend?

You can get more details about these, as well as some not-so-great shows, on our boat show calendar.

If you're way outside the US, as many of our readers are, there are a few International boat shows to tell you about.

The Antibes Yacht Show in France started today, as did the China International Boat Show Shanghai (which, of course, was yesterday in China).

If you're in Croatia, you'll have to wait for Saturday for the Croatia Boat Show, but it's on all week so you'll have plenty of chances to check it out. By the way, gotta love that this show refers to itself as "CBS" in many places on its website, yet it has nothing to do with an American media company.

Need more info? Check the FirstBoat events calendar.

(Photo courtesy of Croatia Boat Show website)


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

On the Web: BoatlinX is Back

We'd like to extend a big welcome back to our favorite place to find boating sites,
The website has been through some changes since its original launch in 2004, but retains its easy to use layout and single-minded focus on nautical sites. In our opinion, it is the best niche search directory out there for finding all things nautical.

If they were Google, BoatlinX would probably call this a Beta pre-re-release, as it is still testing and cleaning up a few things. That being said, we invite you to check out the site, and would like to pass along new category suggestions or any other feedback from you - our favorite recreational boaters - to help BoatlinX have a successful re-launch and a smooth sail.

To any marine businesses reading this post: BoatlinX is accepting new site submissions at this time.

On the web at


Monday, April 05, 2010

New Boating Laws Now in Effect

A new boating season brings new boating laws to many states across the US.

New York
If you are enjoying the unseasonably warm weather and getting an early start on boating in NY, remember that all NY boaters must wear life jackets on boats up to 21 feet long under a new law that went into effect over the winter.

North Carolina
Boaters that are 25 and under only have a few weeks left to complete a boating course if they want to boat in North Carolina this summer. As of May, 2010, boaters under 26 must complete a NASBLA approved boating education course before operating any motorboat. Also in North Carolina, it is now illegal to operate a PWC if you are under 14.

Anyone under 21 must pass a state-approved boating safety course, and possess photo identification and a boating safety education identification card if they're operating a boat with a motor of 10 horsepower or more. Florida marine officers are promising to rigorously enforce this new law, according to an article by David Ball writing for the Herald Tribune.

Operators of a boat with a skier or water tuber in tow must be least 16 years old. You also must be at least 14 to be the person appointed to watching the people skiing or tubing behind the boat.

Are there any new laws in your state this spring? Do you think they will affect your boating habits? Let us know.