Monday, May 31, 2010

An Award to Avoid for Boaters

Our friends up north from are at it again, as they've sent us another disturbing list about boating accidents. And with so many boaters here in the US celebrating Memorial Day by taking the boat out for the first time of the season, we thought we'd share this list with you, too. Lists like this can be depressing, but they serve as an opportunity for us all to keep safety top of mind while boating, even as Safe Boating Week 2010 has come to a close.

This time, they have combed through the Darwin Award files of the past dozen years to highlight the top nine boating-related Darwin Award candidates. The Darwin Awards, as you may know, commemorate individuals who "died in spectacularly stupid ways, eliminating themselves and their foolhardy DNA from our gene pool." According to the folks at, the following Darwin Award candidates could have easily prevented death or injury in boating accidents by following just a few simple rules and using common sense on the water.

Each of the following boating safety reminders has a corresponding story related to the Darwin Awards, but we'll just include the tips. If you want the Darwin Award story behind each of these tips, you'll have to visit
  1. Always wear a lifejacket or PFD (personal floatation device)
  2. Avoid alcohol
  3. Check the weather forecast before heading out
  4. Use common sense and operate responsibly
  5. Learn to swim
  6. Never stand up in your small powerboat, canoe, or similar watercraft
  7. Take a boating safety course
  8. Don't overload your boat
  9. Don't set off fireworks, firecrackers, or TNT while on your boat

For more safety tips like these, visit our boating safety page.

We sincerely hope YOU have a safe and happy Memorial Day.


Friday, May 28, 2010

A Memorial Day Weekend Sea Song

Our Sea Song of the Week was pulled from a Scottish band in the early 90's, but it should be a staple for Memorial Day weekend.

It turns out that Big Country's 1980's anthem In a Big Country was not their best song.

Hope you enjoy our Sea Song of the Week for Memorial Day Weekend 2010, Ships by Big Country

Editor's note: I think this song sounds like it's a about a heroic soldier. Of course, we could be wrong - it could be a love song. Perhaps it is a song about a soldier in love?
Give a listen and decide for yourself. What do you think?


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Safe Boating Week Ends, Boating Season Begins

Weekend on the Water: Memorial Day, Fleet Week, WaterFest, and a few Boat Shows

All across the United States a summer of fun on the water begins around this time each year. In fact, so many boats are typically launched for Memorial Day that it makes perfect sense to have Safe Boating Week just before the holiday weekend to serve as a reminder to rusty boaters that:
  • life jackets need to be worn by everyone, 
  • and
  • drinking needs to be avoided by the vessel operator.
Are you launching for the first time this season? Visit our boating safety page for a few more tips and resources.

With the holiday weekend and so many boaters actually out on the water, there are not a lot of boat shows... but there are a few big events related to boating. is celebrating a new tradition with its second annual WaterFest at Port Canaveral's Ski Island on Sunday, May 30th. The event, which is being called a celebration of Florida's boating lifestyle, will feature tons of family-friendly activities and a raffle for a new car and up to 1,000 gallons of fuel.

And then there's Fleet Week in NY. This kicked off Wednesday with a spectacular parade of military ships on the Hudson River, and features events all week.

Finally, the boat shows. In the US there seems to be only one, and that's the St. Augustine Nautical Festival and Boat Show in Florida. Internationally, there is the Morocco International Boat Show, which would be a nice place to visit for a boat show. Maybe next year!

More details and links to more info about these events and more are in our boating event calendar.

Boat safely and Happy Memorial Day.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Will Free Italian Ice Reduce Boating Deaths?

Here in the middle of Safe Boating Week, we found one state trying a new approach to keep kids safer while boating.

You may remember this from our post earlier this week, or perhaps you’ve seen the statistic elsewhere: 90 percent of the people who drowned in boating accidents last year were not wearing a life jacket.

Maryland Natural Resources Police officers are certainly aware of that stat, as they are aware that 2009 was the worst in ten years for boating deaths in their state.

That's why it is encouraging to see someone trying something new and different. This summer, Maryland is offering kids caught wearing life jackets a coupon for Rita's Italian Ice as part of a stepped up education and enforcement program, according to Candus Thomson in her outdoors girl blog on

Will free ice cream alone work? Of course not, but as part of a larger campaign, which it looks like Maryland is rolling out, it could be an effective way to get the attention of families. Furthermore, given the free publicity and ability to get families in the door, I’m sure Rita’s is donating the coupons for free, thus making this an inexpensive effort for the state. And when it comes to saving lives, no effort is too small.

We want to hear from you! Do you have any unique (or delicious) programs like this where you boat? What is your state or region doing to improve boating safety this summer? Comment here.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

24 Hours in the life of Safe Boating Week

These headlines are from around the country from just the past 24 hours. Hey boaters… Let’s be careful out there.

Boaters urged to be cautious (from 5/25/10)
The Meramec River's treacherous conditions almost claimed the life of a 4-year-old girl during a boating accident Sunday

Throttling back on Maryland's deadly boating accidents (from the Baltimore Sun 5/25/10)
You have to go back to the last century to find a year when boating fatalities were higher than in 2009

Man Dies in Jet Ski Accident (from NBC Chicago 5/24/10)
A 28-year-old man died Sunday after his jet-ski collided with a boat on Lake Marie

Coast Guard crew rescues 5 boaters off Fla. Coast (from The Miami Herald 5/24/10)
Boaters rescued from a sinking 20-foot pleasure craft three miles east of Haulover Inlet

5 Year Old Boy Killed in Lake Elsinore Boating Accident (From KTLA News in LA, 5/24/10)
The boy was riding in a boat with his father and uncle Sunday when the boat flipped over

S.C. authorities extend annual crackdown on drivers to boaters (From 5/25/10)
South Carolina cops and DNR partnering to get tough after spike in boating deaths

Couple die in boating accident off S.F. (From, 5/25/10)
A weekend sailing trip to Half Moon Bay ended in a double tragedy Sunday

There were more, but we were getting depressed. Please be safe out there, this week and all boating season long.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Boat Safe All Summer Long

Tragic numbers reinforce Safe Boating Week's major message: Wear a life jacket whenever you are on a boat.

We're not even at the unofficial start of boating season with Memorial Day Weekend, and some dreadful statistics are already being reported in various parts of the US... right smack dab in the middle of National Safe Boating Week.

In South Carolina, boating deaths as of the beginning of May have already surpassed the total number of boating deaths in the state for all of 2009.

In the Northeast, 21 recreational boaters and paddlers have died this year, the highest number on record according to the USCG.

This year, the “WEAR IT!” message from the North American Safe Boating Campaign is crystal clear and it’s based on the following simple fact. If more boaters wear life jackets, less will die while boating. Nationwide, in nearly 70 percent of the 700 average annual boating-related deaths, the actual cause of death is drowning. Of that 70 percent, almost 90 percent of the victims were not wearing a life jacket.

What does "boat safety" mean to you? Here are a few of our favorites.
  • Life jackets. Wear one.
  • Designated driver. Have one.
  • Float plan. Leave one with someone.
  • Safety course. Take and pass one.
  • On-the-water training. Get some.
For more on these and other boating safety tips, visit our Safety on Boats page.


Friday, May 21, 2010

H20 Song of the Week

Our Sea Song of the Week was an easy choice when we heard that Sea Ray was sponsoring the Brad Paisley tour that kicks off tonight in Virginia Beach, VA.

From the a press release on Brad Paisley's official site:
The tour H2O World Tour will include a "Water World Plaza," sponsored by Skinny Water and Sea Ray Boats, and will turn every city into a water festival.
Back to our choice for this week's Sea Song... Not only does the tune Water remind us of our own lifelong love of the ocean, the video features fishing boats and lots of cool water toys, so we think you'll enjoy it. Check it out...

For more of our favorite Sea Songs, check out the Daily Boater channel on YouTube.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Happy Inflatable Life Jacket World Record Day

Time for our weekly boating event roundup which we hope will inspire you to go to a boat show this weekend, and to boat safely all season. And if you came out to the Mystic Seaport in CT last weekend, thanks for your support!

This Saturday is the first day of Safe Boating Week in the US and Canada, and to kick it off, the National Safe Boating Council and the Canadian Safe Boating Council are hosting Inflatable Life Jacket World Record Day on Thursday, May 20, 2010 (That’s today!)

Of course, there are boat shows all over the world this weekend, and hopefully one near you. Yesterday was the first day of Beirut Boat 2010 in the Middle East, and the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show began Thursday in a land down under (ooh yeaaah.)

Here in the US, there are boat shows on both coasts with Trawler Fest Anacortes happening today through Saturday in Washington, and the Raleigh Summer Boat Show beginning today in North Carolina and going through Sunday.

Details, as usual, can be found on our boating event calendar.

Wherever you are in the world, enjoy your boating activities and please boat safely!


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

From Bottle Boat to Bounty Boat

Some adventurers just can't get enough. We learned today via a tweet from the crew of the Plastiki that one of the folks who helped build the so-called Bottle Boat is now off on another risky record-setting voyage.

David Pryce was one of the original folks on the Plastiki project, lending both his skills as a Naval Architect and his experience of sailing around the world. Now that the Plastiki is safely sailing across the Pacific without him (We wonder kiddingly if his spot on the bottle boat was filled by a cockroach after reading the latest blog post from aboard the Plastiki), Pryce is onboard a different boat in another part of the world, bringing attention to another important cause.

Pryce is now part of a crew of experienced and not-so-experienced sailors attempting to re-create the historic voyage of the British Royal Navy ship HMS Bounty. Without enough provisions, technology or other modern conveniences, the small ship is on a mission to raise awareness and money for the Sheffield Institute Foundation (SIF). SIF is an Australian research organization trying to cure Motor Neurone Disease (MND), also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. (Donate or just learn more about the cause here)

From the site (
Following in the footsteps of William Bligh when cast adrift from the Bounty, Don McIntyre and the crew onboard the "Talisker Bounty Boat" will sail for Tonga to find extra food and water, then set off to sail across the top of the Fiji and the Vanuatu Island groups, before setting course for the Queensland Coast and a landing at Restoration Island following four weeks at sea on light rations. They then sail north inside the Great Barrier Reef to Thursday Island, and across to Kupang and Timor.

If successful it will be the first time that anyone has ever sailed the same course, in the same way that William Bligh did 221 years before… no charts, no nautical almanacs, no modern watches, no torches, no toilet paper, no extra landings, all in a boat less than half the size of Bligh’s original "Bounty Boat"…
This brings us to our factoid of the day, especially for you movie buffs...
Of course the fateful voyage of the Bounty has been reimagined in countless books, songs, plays and movies over the years. The role of Fletcher Christian, who reportedly led the mutiny, has been played by a few actors you may have heard of: Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Marlon Brando and Mel Gibson to name a few.

Going boating this week? With Safe Boating Week coming up, we wish you a safe and mutiny-free adventure.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Boating on a BlackBerry

The 2010 version of the weather radio is an app that runs on your smartphone.

Mobile Mariner, out of Mystic, Connecticut, has created the latest must-have technology for boaters. Their new app (which currently runs on your BlackBerry, and should work on the iPhone and other handhelds in the very near future) actually does much more than a weather radio. It puts essential information to anyone who lives, works or plays on the water in the palm of your hand.

In addition to bringing you the marine weather forecast from the NOAA National Weather Service, the app reports weather conditions invaluable to sailors – including wind speed, wind heading, wind gusts, air and water temperature, and barometric pressure.

Mobile Mariner is also a virtual tide chart, showing both predicted and observed tide information, in text and graph format, for all NOAA primary tide stations.

Planning a trip? Mobile Mariner has you covered, as subscribers can continuously monitor up to 10 different weather zones and up to 10 different tide stations.

If you've got a BlackBerry with an SD Card, we strongly recommend you download the seven-day free trial from and give it a try. You can then decide whether it is worth the $5/month during your boating season to keep using the app, a subscription fee which we are told can be started and stopped so that you only pay when you use your boat.

Please comment here with your review of the product after you try it.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Have Some Sense on the Sea

One of the impressive things we've noticed at boat shows recently has been the amount of companies that offer training for boaters. These companies recognize that safe boating courses (required in many states and Canada) are a great start, but nothing compares to the experience you get behind the "wheel" of an actual boat. The growth in the number of companies offering on-the-water, hands-on boating education is a very promising step towards improving boating safety.

One might ask, "isn’t a boating safety certificate enough?" While this analogy has surely been made before, imagine being handed a drivers license after only passing a written driving test… without anybody checking to see if you know how to do a K-turn or parallel park (Okay, most of us still have trouble with these two maneuvers, but you get the idea).

Many boaters buy a boat, get a certificate, and then rely on the kindness of others for a hand in going out for the first time. That's great, but it's not "training". There's a real need for boating education for new boaters outside the classroom, and that's where companies such as Sea Sense come in.

For more than 20 years Sea Sense has always focused on learning while doing. Sea Sense is also unique in that they primarily provide training to women and couples – a focus that was lacking in the industry.

This year, Sea Sense is offering single-engine trawler training on Chesapeake Bay from Annapolis, MD. The new programs include scheduled classes for women as well as customized instructional charters for couples, families, and groups.

If that's not convenient for you, but you still want to train with Sea Sense, you're in luck. Sea Sense also offers training year-round, all over the world. While most sessions are held near their home port in Florida, there are also opportunities for on the water training in places such as the Pacific Northwest, New England and around the Great Lakes. Outside the US, Sea Sense is offering a ladies-only boating course in Ireland this year according to Sea Sense even makes house calls - they will come to you for training on your own boat.

For a full course schedule and to learn more about Sea Sense, visit their site, on the web at:


Friday, May 14, 2010

Who's On First

The Sea Song of the Week is the Sea Song.

No, this is not an Abbott and Costello routine, but this week's Sea Song is from the same era. The tune is really called "The Sea Song" performed by Frank Sinatra, who we lost on this day in 1998.

Careful where you click, because we could only find this song on what looks like a Russian version of YouTube, and therefore we can't verify where the links go; but we tested it and it seems safe to play the tune.

You can find many of our previous Sea Songs on the Daily Boater channel on YouTube, here.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Meet us in Mystic

The Northeast Maritime Exhibition is this weekend at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, CT

There are a few boat shows around the world this weekend, but our boating gift store, BoatNameGear, will only be exhibiting at one of them. We don't exhibit that often, but when we heard there was going to be a new boat exhibition on the grounds at Mystic Seaport - a living history maritime museum - we couldn't pass up the chance to participate.

So this Friday through Sunday, May 14 to 16, we invite you to attend the Northeast Maritime Exhibition.

Walk through history and find your future in boating.

You'll see the latest boats and gear at the boat show, while you soak up the historic sites of Mystic Seaport. Stop by the BoatNameGear booth and enter our $100 drawing, or just come by and say "hello".

We have a discount code that will save you money on your entrance fee, which will get you into both the Seaport and the boat show. If you've never been to Mystic, this is well worth the two hour drive from NY or Boston.

For the coupon code and more information about the Northeast Maritime Exhibition visit

As always, all boat shows (including this weekend's events in Lakewood, NJ, and Portorose, Slovenia) can be found on our boat show calendar.

See you at the show!

On the Web
Mystic Seaport rated #1 attraction in Mystic: read reviews

Mystic Seaport: official website

FirstBoat Events: boat show calendar

Northeast Maritime Exhibition:


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Deadliest Ketch

The worst boating accidents of the past 20 years.

Boating is one of the absolute best recreational activities, but can also be one of the most dangerous. The folks at – a boating safety certification provider - tracked down the 23 deadliest boating accidents over the past 20 years to show just how dangerous boating can be... and then they shared the list with us, so we're sharing it with you.

While this list is admittedly quite grim, if only one boater is a little extra cautious on the water after reading this list, then it was worth posting.

As Pete McDonald points out, there are a lot of crowded tour boats and ferries on the list. There have been some pretty gruesome boating accidents involving boats carrying only a handful of people, too, over the past few years, but perhaps they will end up on another disturbing list someday.

In no particular order, here are ten of the top 23. For the full list, and links to news articles about each accident, visit

1. The Packed Wedding Party (Fatalities: 26. Location: Nigeria)
2. Vessel Carrying Senior Citizens Tips (Fatalities: 20. Location: New York)
3. Chinese Passenger Vessel Capsizes (Fatalities: 280. Location: China)
4. Weather and Panic Cause Sinking of Smugglers (Fatalities: 237. Location: Libya)
5. Wild Animal Enthusiasts Experience Tour Boat Overturning (Fatalities: 45. Location: India)
6. Logging Boat Transporting Passengers Sinks (Fatalities: 73. Location: Indonesia)
7. School Holidays Ends Tragically for 150 Students (Fatalities: 80. Location: Sierra Leone)
8. Tragedy When Boat Strikes Unknown Object (Fatalities: 14. Location: Congo)
9. Two Boats Capsize on the River Sava (Fatalities: 13. Location: Slovenia)
10. No Vacation for These Boaters (Fatalities: 15. Location: Turks and Caicos)



Monday, May 10, 2010

Get a Free Vessel Safety Check

Before you head out on the water this summer, why not get a free safety check for your boat from the US Coast Guard Auxiliary or US Power Squadrons?

According to the US Power Squadrons website:
The Vessel Safety Check process is one of “prevention through education, outreach and volunteer compliance” helping recreational boaters to gain a respect for the boating environment.
In other words, let the experts double-check your boat and equipment for compliance with federal and state safety requirements on your terms. This will not only help keep your family and other boaters safe, but it could help you avoid steep penalties for boating regulations you may not have been aware you were violating.

Successful completion of a safety check not only gives you the peace of mind that your basic safety equipment is up to code; you also get a sticker to display to the Coast Guard and marine police that shows you are a conscientious boater. And did we mention it is totally free?

To get your free vessel safety check, simply visit and enter your zip code. You'll see a list of vessel examiners from both the Auxiliary and Power Squadrons with contact information for each.

On the web at:

For more safety tips, visit the FirstBoat boating safety page.


Friday, May 07, 2010

Sea Song of the Week for the Lusitania

On this day in 1915, the British ocean liner Lusitania was torpedoed and sank in the Celtic Sea.

Flash forward to 2009. A musician named Andrew Bird imagines the phrase "I'm the one who sank the Lusitania" and starts to write music and more words to go with it. Just like that - we have our Sea Song of the Week for May 7 2010.

If you like Andrew Bird half as much as we do, visit his official website where you can see if this song is ever going to get on an album, among other things.



Thursday, May 06, 2010

Mother's Day and Boat Shows Don't Mix

It seems that only one out of 900 moms surveyed indicated they would like to spend Mother's Day at a boat show. A few countries, like the UK, celebrate their version of Mother's Day on a different date. This probably explains why two of the three boat shows this weekend are in the UK.

Friday is the first of the three-day, 11th annual, Cotee River Seafood/Blues Festival and Boat Show in New Port Richey, Florida. From the title it sounds like this show has it all... but wait! There's more! They also have a live alligator show every hour throughout the weekend, and a CCR cover band. What more can you ask for this Mother's Day weekend?

Also starting Friday is RIBEX 2010 at Cowes in the UK, which claims to be the world's only boat show dedicated solely to Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs). So, if you are looking for RIBs, try and get a flight across the pond to the Isle of Wight this weekend.

A more traditional boat show is also happening in the UK this weekend - the sixth annual Plymouth Sail and Power Boat Show 2010 is Saturday and Sunday at Queen Anne’s Battery in the UK. And yes, they will also have RIBs.

Next Weekend in Mystic
The Northeast Maritime Exhibition comes to Mystic Seaport - the world's largest maritime museum - next weekend, May 14 to 16.

Walk through history and find your future in sailing. Join our friends from BoatNameGear and see the latest boats and gear at the boat show, while you take in the historic sites of Mystic Seaport.

For more information about the Northeast Maritime Exhibition visit

As always, all boat shows, with links to the show websites when available, can be found on our boat show calendar.

See you at the show!


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Update on the Great Oil Disaster 2010

Within the past hour of this writing, BP claims to have stopped a leak, but only one of three... AND, the oil is still flowing out at the same overall rate from the well. (Sources: WSJ, Reuters)

In other bad news, MarketWatch reported this morning that BP has huddled with members of the US Congress behind closed doors to inform them that the worst case scenario is that the leak is sending 60,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf (as opposed to the widely reported 5,000 barrels a day.)

Florida, fisheries, wildlife, and the economy
The Miami Herald and scientists at the NOVA Southeastern University Oceanographic Center have produced a great video that shows how badly Florida is going to be screwed by this spill, and how the disaster will impact fisheries, wildlife, and the economy.


Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Boating in the Gulf after the Great Oil Disaster of 2010

The commercial fishing industry is obviously already being significantly affected by the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But what about charter boat captains, marina owners, resorts and even recreational boaters in the region? This boat guide was interviewed by the AP (video below) over the weekend, and states "most of the charters are being canceled... people are not coming down."

What can you do to help?
Just yesterday, Maura Judkis, writing for U.S.News & World Report, posted 10 Things You Can Do to Help the Gulf Coast Clean the Oil Spill. Among her tips, one may be of interest to local boaters. She writes, "BP has called upon fishermen and boaters in the Gulf area to participate in their "Vessels of Opportunity" program." Check out Marua's entire article to learn more about this program.

The Latest on the Spill
Here's the latest news, as of this writing, on the efforts to stop the spill: Gulf Coast watches, waits for path of oil spill.


Monday, May 03, 2010

New Laws in NC, MD. Other States Cracking Down

Another month begins, and so do new boating laws around the country - this time in North Carolina and Maryland.

North Carolina
A law we've been warning you to prepare for is now in effect. Boaters under 26 years old in North Carolina 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.

A new state law went into effect in April now requiring all children 13 and younger to wear life jackets while on a moving boat… this replaces previous a law that allowed children as young as 8 to go without a life vest on recreational boats smaller than 21 feet.

Other states are considering new boating laws and enforcing old ones.

The Harford Courant's blog reports that the state senate unanimously passed a bill over the weekend that would eliminate time restrictions on when blood alcohol tests may be administered to boaters suspected of drinking and boating.

If the Connecticut law under consideration got your attention, so will this news from Florida from CBS 4. The son of billionaire and mega yacht owner H. Wayne Huizenga was sentenced to jail for two years Friday for violating his probation when he drank alcohol and operated a boat while intoxicated.

Mercury news is reporting that regulators at Lake Tahoe say they plan to crack down this year on boaters, jet skis and others who zoom to close to shore. Violators of the long ignored 10-year-old law may face as much as a $5,000 penalty!

The Gulf
The BP oil spill of 2010 is nothing less than a huge cluster-fudge that has resulted in, among other things, a ban on fishing throughout much of the Gulf and a hazard for recreational boaters. More on this later.

Let's Hear from You
Are you facing any recently passed laws where you boat that are hampering your enjoyment of boating, or are you in favor of restrictions being put in place to improve the safety of everyone on the water?

We welcome your comments.