Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Free Boat Ramp App for the iPhone

It's not every day that something you get for free is actually useful, but the new Take Me Fishing Boat Ramp App is the exception to the rule. The app, which includes 35,000 boat ramps in its database, is available for free on the iPhone and Android.

The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) launched the free application "to help boaters and anglers get out on the water and find boat ramps right in the palm of their hand."

You can search for boat ramps near where you are, or enter any location in the US and you will get a list of boat ramps, sorted by distance. Click on any ramp on the screen for more details and directions to it.

When we asked about future functionality, RBFF Online Strategies Director Maria Knight told us that once the team at RBFF has enough data to analyze the current version's popularity and user feedback, they will determine whether they'll add additional features.

You can download the Boat Ramp App at iTunes.

In other news about boating in the palm of your hand, MobileMariner, which was available only on the BlackBerry when we told you about it last month, has been approved for the iPhone. You can get a free 7 day trial at iTunes after which the app costs $4.99 per month.

If you've tried any of these apps, please let us know what you think.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Longest Sea Voyage in History Complete

After more than three years at sea, most of them alone and without returning to land or re-supplying, Reid Stowe has come ashore.

As we mentioned last December, Stowe set off in 2007 aboard the Anne intending to stay at sea for 1,000 days.

Now, after 1,152 days at sea on a 70-foot schooner he built himself, Stowe has returned to Manhattan, and to his partner and 23 month old son... whom he had never met.

The folks at Guinness are looking into whether the trip sets the mark for the longest voyage, one of at least five records that Stowe's website, claims he set or broke. Record or no record, unless this is a total Balloon Boy event, Stowe's journey is an amazing accomplishment.

If you have thoughts on the journey of Reid Stowe, please share your comments.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Dozens Rescued on the Water

While members of the Coast Guard have been busy rescuing the Gulf of Mexico from an ongoing oil disaster, don't forget these brave men and women have boaters to rescue, too. This was as clear as ever over the past few days, which seemed especially active for water rescuers across the US.

Thursday night, three boaters were rescued near Clearwater, Florida, when their 25 foot boat began taking on water about five miles from shore.

On Friday morning, four men were rescued after their fishing boat sank in Lake Erie, 6 miles northwest of the Walnut Creek Access Area in Pennsylvania.

Off Edisto Beach in South Carolina, a 30 foot sailboat began to sink early Friday and the one person onboard had to be rescued. The newly purchased sailboat was named Foreign Exchange.

Also on Friday morning, two men and two women were rescued from their burning, sinking boat between Prudence and Patience islands in Rhode Island.

On Saturday, two men were rescued and a third died of a heart attack after their 20-foot fishing boat capsized on Lake Michigan near Sheboygan Harbor in Wisconsin. Among the facts of this incident: the boaters did not have a VHF radio on board and used a cell phone to call 911.

Rescuers from the west coast of Florida were busy again on Saturday morning when a 25-foot Fountain began taking on water 23 miles west of John's Pass. All four men aboard the powerboat were rescued, and the fact that they had an EPIRB on board helped the Coast Guard find them. (More about EPIRBs)

Meanwhile, three other people in the area were rescued after clinging to the side of their capsized boat for 12 hours, Friday night through Saturday morning, about 7 miles west of Egmont Key. (Full story about these two Florida incidents)

In Iowa on Sunday, three boaters and the fishing boat they were in went over a dam on the Wapsipinicon River. Two of the boaters made it safely to shore, but the other had to be rescued – none were wearing life jackets, and the boat's operator has been charged with BUI.

A few boating safety tips are glaring from this small collection of accidents: Always wear life jackets, carry a working VHF radio, carry an EPIRB, and don’t drink and boat. For more basics of boating safety, visit the FirstBoat boating safety page.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Did Michael Jackson Boat?

For our Sea Song of the Week were you expecting Michael Jackson since our weekly feature falls on the first anniversary of his death? Unfortunately, we couldn't come up with any tunes by the King of Pop remotely related to boating.

Did Michael Jackson boat?

Not sure if Michael Jackson was much of the nautical type, but we did turn up one article from last year that showed he at least liked boats more than he liked helicopters. Just two months before his death, the UK's Daily Mirror reported that Jackson was traveling to his concerts in London via boat because "he told organisers he is scared of helicopters and of being stuck in traffic." (Editor's note: I feel the same way!)

While we are sure we'll hear from fans after we post this with tons of suggestions of nautical tunes by Michael Jackson that we couldn't think of, we instead picked music from a completely different American icon, or group of icons, to celebrate the first week of summer. We picked a song that has been part of the soundtrack to the summers of all of our lives for well over 40 years, and is truly about boating. If you're young, you may not recognize the actual name of this song, but you'll recognize the music when you hear it... and you might even sing along to a few words.

Today, we bring you the Beach Boys with Sloop John B

Hope you enjoy it, and it helps get your summer off to a great start!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Boat Shows in Tampa, Mystic and Akron

If you can't be on the water this weekend due to poor weather or poor planning, why not attend a boat show? There are a few boat shows across the US - at least here in the east.

Despite confusing reports of other dates, we just called and confirmed with the St. Pete Times that the Tampa Bay Boat Show is being held THIS Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. Admission is free, but parking is $5, and if you go on Saturday or Sunday you'll also see the Florida Fishing School where local fishing captains will share their expertise in a variety of fish-y topics.

Of course, this weekend's event is not to be confused with the Tampa Boat Show, which will be held in September at the Tampa Convention Center.

Other boat shows around the world this weekend are antique or wooden boat shows. There's a big one at Mystic Seaport in CT, Friday through Sunday. The location is great because you can see the Seaport's usual collection of historic ships as well as the classic boats on display for the event, which usually draws quite a crowd.

There's another long-running wooden boat show in Akron, Ohio. The 35th Annual Portage Lakes Antique Boat Show is Saturday only and sounds like it will be fun, as it is being held in front of two restaurants - the Olde Harbor Inn and Hook, Line & Drinkers.

For more info about all of this weekend's boating events or to find a boat show near you, visit our boat show calendar.

Let us know what your plans are for the weekend or if we missed any big shows!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Areas Closed to Boating

Flooding, Fire, Algae and Oil prevent boating activities across the US

The ongoing catastrophe in the Gulf barely needs to be mentioned, as coastal boaters only seem to be leaving port these days if they're helping clean up the endless flow of oil. But that's not the only body of water in the country hampered with boating restrictions.

Lake Campbell in South Dakota is closed to boaters due to flooding that has resulted in dangerously high water levels.

Kaibab Lake, which was closed to boating due to the Eagle Rock Fire in Williams, Arizona, is now reopened. Apparently helicopters were using the lake to get water to help put out the fire. But check the Forest Service website before venturing out there, as the fire was not fully contained as of this writing.

Flooding forces Big Lake in Holt County, Missouri to close to recreational boating, and that may be the case for a good part of the summer (read more).

In Idaho, well, let's just say you should pay attention to this one. It's confusing for those of us who don't live near active dams. Avista, a utility company, had to alert boat owners as it opened Post Falls Dam when waters on Lake Coeur d'Alene were on the rise high due to heavy rainfall.

This sent skippers along the Spokane River scrambling to move their boats to deeper water, as water drained out of the river through the open dam. Okay, that wasn't so bad, but for a better explanation check out the full story from Jeff Humphrey at KXLY.

In Ohio, it's potentially-toxic blue-green algae that's keeping boaters and swimmers out of the water at Grand Lake St. Marys. Check for an update from state regulators about the danger level there before venturing into that lake, located between Toledo and Dayton.

Let us know if anything is keeping you from boating that other boaters need to be aware of.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

GIRL Scouts for Boaters

If you're a boater, you already know that all those knots you learned how to tie in Girl Scouts actually turned out to be really useful. But did you know that you could have learned a lot more from the Girl Scouts about seamanship than simply how to tie a knot? It turns out that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has an off-shoot organization called Sea Scouts that is right up our alley as boaters, and it's open to girls and boys - even if they didn't attend Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts.

Sea Scouts is an organization with the same focus on values and leadership you would find in the Girl Scouts, but in a different setting. Instead of excursions to forests and fields for camping trips, Sea Scouts spend their weekends on the water. They learn all about water safety and boating skills. They participate in outdoor, social, and service experiences, and they discover our maritime heritage.

Even though it's part of the BSA, you don't have to be a Boy Scout to join Sea Scouts. In fact, you don’t even have to be a boy! Sea Scouting is a co-educational program offered to young adults (yes, both male and female) between the ages of 14 and 21.

To see if Sea Scouts is right for you or your kids, visit their website at


Boy Scouts for Boaters

If you're a boater, you already know that all those knots you learned how to tie in Boy Scouts actually turned out to be really useful. But did you know that you could have learned a lot more from the Boy Scouts about seamanship than simply how to tie a knot? It turns out that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has an off-shoot organization called Sea Scouts that is right up our alley as boaters.

Sea Scouts is an organization with the same focus on values and leadership you would find in the Boy Scouts, but in a different setting. Instead of excursions to forests and fields for camping trips, Sea Scouts spend their weekends on the water. They learn all about water safety and boating skills. They participate in outdoor, social, and service experiences, and they discover our maritime heritage.

Many Eagle Scouts go on to Sea Scouts as they advance through the ranks and badges of the BSA, but you don't have to be a Boy Scout to join Sea Scouts. In fact, you don’t even have to be a boy! Sea Scouting is a co-educational program offered to young adults (yes, both male and female) between the ages of 14 and 21.

To see if Sea Scouts is right for you or your kids, visit their website at


Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Begins, Boating Action Heats Up

With the first day of summer officially here, and the warm weather upon us, it's no surprise the action on the water over the weekend was busier than usual.

Crashes, Hits, Strikes
In the Great South Bay in Amityville off Long Island, NY, a 17-foot Boston Whaler crashed with an 18-foot Larson Bow Rider, capsizing the Whaler and spilling several passengers. Both captains were charged with boating while intoxicated.

Up north in Canada, nine people had to be rescued near Valdes Island (BC) after the 21 foot boat they were on apparently struck something in the water and sank.

A father’s day outing on Thomas Creek (Jacksonville, FL) turned tragic on Sunday when a boat carrying a family of three was struck by lightning.

Reports of Boaters Missing
There were several reports over the weekend of boaters gone missing after crashes, capsizes, or after a boater simply “went into the water”, reminding us it’s never a bad time to wear a life jacket while on a boat.

Louisiana: Boater missing in Lake Pontchartrain after boat crashes into landing.

New York: Boater missing in Chautauqua Lake after jumping from boat.

Maine: Boater missing in Big Lake after going into the water.

Nebraska: Boater missing in Wagon Train Lake after going into the water.

Manitoba: Boater missing in the Valley River after boat capsizes.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Sea Song for our Fathers

We love discovering new music when choosing our Sea Song each Friday. Sure, we play a lot of Jimmy Buffett, but sometimes we try to find a nautical song that is relevant to current events, history, an artist's birthday, or a nearby holiday. Sometimes we dig deep, and we hope you enjoy our selections as much as we do.

This week we wanted to find a nautical tune that had something to do with Father's Day. After a quick search we found a song called O, Great Father Ocean by Irish musician Peter Delaney. Here's a video of a performance of the song in front of an intimate audience. If you like it, scroll down for more info about the artist.

If you like this song as much as we did, you're in luck... sort of. Peter Delaney just released a new album a couple of weeks ago, "Live in Amsterdam", in an edition of 100 numbered copies. Each cover is individually drawn by hand by artist Matthew Shaw. To buy the album, if there are any left, visit Apollolaan Recordings.

You can also check out more of Peter Delaney's songs and read his lyrics on his MySpace page. And for our previous choices for Sea Song of the Week, visit our Daily Boater channel on YouTube.

Here's hoping your Father's Day weekend includes some time on the water.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Weekend on the Water

There are plenty of boat shows this Father's Day weekend!

The next best thing to being on a boat is just being around boats, and there's no better place to do that than a boat show - especially if the weather doesn't cooperate. And the good news is there are plenty of nautical events around the world this weekend.

New London, Connecticut
For our local friends, be sure to check out an all new one-day boating event in New London this Saturday. The Long Island Sound Boaters Expo is the perfect place to bring dad on his special weekend, but the event is only from Noon to 6 p.m. (More info.) Vendors like BoatNameGear will be on display with last minute Father's Day gifts.

Free Fishing in Florida
Soundings Magazine told us that Florida has announced another free fishing weekend - meaning no fishing license is required - to encourage people to get out and catch saltwater fish along Florida's coastline over Father's Day weekend.

Two Boat Shows in California
Lake Tahoe Concours d'Elegance calls itself North America's premier wooden boat show. Dad will certainly enjoy the vintage vessels at this event. If you're into newer boats, then visit Fairplex in Pomona, where the Spring Boat Show is happening all weekend.

Meet in Michigan
If CT and CA are too far for you, bring Dad to the Bay Harbor In-Water Boat Show in Michigan, featuring vessels of all sizes from personal water craft to mega yachts up to 95 feet.

Across the Pond
Those of you in the UK can enjoy the South Wales Boat Show in Swansea, where you'll have a chance to meet Peppa Pig on Saturday and Sunday. We don't know who Peppa Pig is, but your kids probably do.

If you need more info about any of this weekend's events, visit our boat show calendar.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summer Camp for Seafarers

While at a recent boat show we came across the best place in the world to send your kids to camp this summer... On the water!

Spending a couple of weeks on a 125 ft schooner cruising the waters of New England instead of being land locked at the usual craft, tennis, band and soccer camps sounds refreshing in today's cookie cutter world.

The mission of the Ocean Classroom Foundation states that they are "committed to sending students and their teachers to sea, on voyages in which the traditions, values and adventure of maritime life provide a unique context for education."

The crew we spoke with at the boat show (pictured) told us that students leave their electronics on shore, and work their tails off on their ship in a very safe and supervised environment. The kids learn an appreciation for the ocean, teamwork and a working knowledge of seamanship that could never be attained in the soccer fields because all students participate fully in the life and operation of the ship. Many students get so much out of their experience they come back and work on the ships as crew while in college.

The Ocean Classroom is offering Seafaring Camp for teens 13 – 16, and an advanced Seafaring Camp for older teens (15 – 18), in July and August this summer.

For more information about these programs, as well as the organization's Semester at Sea, visit the Ocean Classroom Foundation website.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Last Minute Father's Day Gifts for Boaters

How are you planning to say 'thanks' to your dad for instilling his passion for boating in you?

We've got some ideas for you. Here are some Father's Day gift ideas from around the web that you can still get delivered by next Sunday.

It may be too late to have personalized gear made, but here are a few items that BoatNameGear can ship immediately.

Make it easier for him to welcome friends aboard his boat with an anchor emblazoned "Welcome Aboard" Mat. This stock design says it all, and is in stock at BoatNameGear and ready to ship the day you place your order. Available at

Bring back the nostalgia of his 1st boat with our all new FirstBoat hat, in stock at BoatNameGear in a variety of colors. Available at

If you really want the actual boat name on an item, let Dad design it himself with a generous Gift Certificate to BoatNameGear.

Shark Fishing Trip
Take him shark fishing in the Florida Keys with Sea Squared Charters, where your captain will ensure your trip is oil-free and that there are plenty of bites to go around. Available from Sea Squared Charters

A Good Read
If dad likes history and mysteries as much as he likes boating, give him a copy of Drake's Bay – a just-published novel by Tom Roberts. Available at your local book store, or at


Friday, June 11, 2010

Sea Song for Jack and Hawaii

Our Sea Song of the Week is Jack Johnson's version of a Pirate Looks at 40, performed live with some friends a couple of years ago.

A repeat from last week?
Today is Kamehameha Day in Hawaii, so after we snubbed the Hawaiin-born Jack Johnson last week in favor of Jimmy Buffett's original version of a Pirate Looks at 40, we thought we'd share Jack's version this week. While this is a great performance by all, somebody's got to tell Dave that "weed" doesn't rhyme with "last".

If you liked this, you'll love Jack Johnson's new album, "To The Sea". Hopefully we'll feature a couple of tunes off it soon, but in the interim you can check it at his official site.

If you thought we should do Calypso by John Denver in honor of the 100th birth day of Jacques Cousteau, you're not alone, but that was our Sea Song of the Week a few months ago.

Enjoy your weekend on the water!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Going to Disney World

Chance to win a Disney trip among incentives offered on National Marina Day

This Saturday is National Marina Day, and marinas all over the US are having events with contests, complimentary cruises, children's activities, green boating seminars and more. Search for marinas that are registered to have an event on National Marina Day here. If you don’t see your favorite marina mentioned, contact them anyway - there still may be an event to celebrate National Marina Day or National Fishing & Boating Week.

See a Green Marina
One of the many marinas holding an event Saturday is Grand Harbor Marina (a Certified Clean Marina), located on the border of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. Grand Harbor is going to have green boating tips and solutions on display, raffles for eco-friendly products, and all-around fun on the water. Among their raffle prizes you will find welcome mats for boats made of 100% recycled material from our friends at BoatNameGear.

There are also 10 marinas across the country participating in a program called Boat. Fish. Live. At National Marina Day where you can see boating and fishing demonstrations, test drive boats and even win a trip for four to Disney World in Orlando.

The 10 marinas hosting Boat.Fish.Live events (including the Disney Sweepstakes) this weekend are:
  1. Anchorage Marina – Baltimore, Md
  2. Aqualand Marina – Lake Lanier, Ga
  3. Bill Bird Marina at Haulover Park – Miami, Fla
  4. Brisbane Marina – Brisbane, Calif
  5. Callville Bay Resort & Marina – Lake Mead, Nev
  6. Colony Marine at Algonac Harbor Club – Algonac, Mich
  7. Grande Dunes Resort & Marina – Myrtle Beach, S.C.
  8. Marina Bay at Boston Harbor – North Quincy, Mass
  9. New Rochelle Municipal Marina – New Rochelle, N.Y.
  10. Scotts Landing – Grapevine, Texas

Free Fishing
We mentioned Monday that in celebration of National Fishing & Boating Week (which continues through this Sunday the 13th), there are several states offering free fishing days this weekend where you can fish without getting a license.

Regattas and Boat Shows
If you like sailboat racing, this is your weekend. There are regattas in Newport, RI and Toledo, Ohio, as well as in South Korea, Denmark and Sardinia. South Korea is also holding a boat show, as is Miami (not the Miami Boat Show, but still a show worth checking out).

Coming to Connecticut
For our local friends, be sure to check out an all new one-day boating event in New London next Saturday the 19th. The Long Island Sound Boaters Expo is the perfect place to bring dad on his special weekend, but the event is only Saturday the 19th from Noon to 6 p.m. (More info.) Visit vendors like BoatNameGear at this event for last minute Father's Day gifts with a nautical theme.

If you need more info about any of this weekend's festivities, visit our boating event calendar.


Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Top Boating States

The top boating states were announced this morning by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).

The NMMA's press release ranks states by how much money was spent on "new powerboats, motors, trailers and accessories in 2009."

Without further adieu, here is the list and amount spent in each state, along with our first impressions.

1. Florida ($1.2 billion)
Not surprising to see Florida at the top given its combination of profuse coastline, warm weather, and an abundance of mega yachts in Miami and Fort Lauderdale (pictured).

2. Texas ($906 million)
Everything is bigger in Texas, so why wouldn't they be near the top of a list like this?

3. California ($417 million)
From San Francisco to San Diego, when you think of all the great seaside cities in this state, it's no surprise California is in the top three.

4. North Carolina ($395 million)
NC is the home of Hatteras Yachts, Fountain Powerboats, Tiara Yachts, Albemarle Boats and many other boat manufacturers, as well as the beautiful Outer Banks.

5. New York ($381 million)
If you're a boater, there's a lot to love about NY: Long Island Sound, the Hudson, Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes, to name a few.

6. Louisiana ($370 million)
Sadly, 2010 will probably see a dramatic decrease in spending on boats in this gulf state. Will Louisiana be on this list next year? If so, probably much lower.

7. Washington ($339 million)
Its position on the Pacific Ocean and the harbors of Puget Sound make the state of Washington a wonderful boating destination, even though it is so far north.

8. Delaware ($330 million)
Surprised to see such a small state on this list, but Delaware is densely populated and offers easy access to the Delaware River, Delaware Bay, Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

9. Michigan ($317 million)
No other state borders as many of the Great Lakes as Michigan. The state also boasts 11,000 inland lakes and rivers, making it a boater's paradise – at least during the summer.

10. Minnesota ($305 million)
The "Land of 10,000 Lakes" is number one in boats per capita in the US with about one boat for every six people in the state despite its short boating season.

Where do you boat?

Are you surprised your state did or didn't make the list? Speaking of top boating states, our new local boating section is launching soon with information about boating destinations in every state. It's still under construction, but our readers can get a sneak peak here.


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Boating on an iPhone

One of the long-awaited promises of PDAs has finally been delivered on for boaters.

A recently released iPhone app looks like it really will make boaters' lives easier, and perhaps even help them be better boaters. Boating Suite, which is actually an integrated collection of six apps in one, keeps track of data that you used to write in log books and on paper notepads, or that you would simply try to remember without writing it down at all.

With Boating Suite you have access to all of the following tools through a single intuitive interface: Trip Log, Fuel Log, Maintenance Log, Expense Log, To Do List, Shopping List and Reports. Imagine glancing at your iPhone and knowing your boat's fuel efficiency on your last trip, or even the total cost of ownership for your boat - taking into account expenses you might not normally track such as maintenance, fuel and accessories. On second thought, maybe we don't want to see that feature!

The complete app sells for $4.99 and works on both the iPhone and the iPod Touch. To learn more about this app, visit the Boating Suite website ( or see the product on iTunes.

If you use this app or something like it, please tell us about it via our comments section, or on Facebook or Twitter.


Monday, June 07, 2010

The Official Fishing and Boating Week – National Fishing & Boating Week
This week (June 5 through the 13th) is National Fishing & Boating Week, and the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) is encouraging you to get outdoors and find local events, search for free fishing days and learn about the impact boaters and anglers have on the environment.

Where do you start?

Fishing, which is operated by the RBFF, is a great place to start. They’ll let you know which states are offering free fishing days this week, where would-be anglers can try their hand at fishing without purchasing a license. This link opens a PDF document with a list of participating states and includes links to details for each state. Montana and our home state of Connecticut will hopefully get their acts together and participate next year.

RBFF is also encouraging anyone who wants to get out on the water, but doesn’t know where to begin, to visit to find a local event during National Fishing and Boating Week. Several marinas across the country are offering folks the opportunity to “test out the waters” and participate in boating and fishing demonstrations, educational activities, boat test drives and more. Search for an event near you at

These events are perfect for people who think they may be interested in boating and fishing but don’t know where to start. The week-long National Fishing & Boating Week celebration wraps up Saturday on National Marina Day, which we will be highlighting Thursday with our weekly boating events update. But until then, get out there and boat and fish - this is your week!


Friday, June 04, 2010

A Pirate Looks at 40

Our Sea Song of the Week is for all the pirates out there turning 40.

This week's choice was actually selected a long time ago, but it took a while to decide between the Jimmy Buffett version or a cover by Jack Johnson.

We decided to stick with the artist that first released this ballad a year before Jack Johnson was even born. Jack fans needn't despair, as his new album is nautically themed and will likely give us a sea song or two in the near future.

Here is Jimmy Buffett singing A Pirate Looks at 40

Learn a little more about this song, including the name of the bartender/pirate it was written about, at Wikipedia. And if you want to see Jimmy perform this summer, visit and view his concert schedule which starts later this month in Massachusetts.

It's a new month, so click here to see all the Sea Songs of the Week we chose in May.

Hope this helps get your weekend on the water off to a great start!


Thursday, June 03, 2010

Going Green and Going Fishing

There is plenty to do on or near the water this weekend no matter where you are in the world.

Across the Pond
Boat shows this weekend include the Beale Park Boat Show, going on Friday through Sunday in West Berkshire, England.

Great White North
Vancouver Island is the host of the 6th Annual Nanaimo Floating Boat & Marine Trade Show in BC from June 4 to June 6. (Pictured. Photo courtesy

Going Green
Make a difference and attend the Dana Point Boat Show and Green Expo (formerly known as simply the "Dana Point Boat Show"). The event is being billed as Southern California’s first "green" boat show. Don't worry, despite the new enviro-focus, the show is not going all-sail - it will still have plenty of powerboats on display. And, if you go Friday, almost everything (except the boats) costs a buck.

Going Fishing (Free Beer?)
The 21st annual Caloosa Catch & Release Fishing Tournament, the oldest tournament series in Southwest Florida and one of the most prestigious tournament venues in America, kicked off today in Ft Myers, Florida. Plenty of reasons to attend, including the website's claim that complimentary LANDSHARK Lager will be provided at all functions.

National Fishing And Boating Week
This Saturday is the first day of National Fishing And Boating Week in the US, a national celebration of fishing and boating coordinated by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation(RBFF).

Need more info about any of this weekend's festivities, or upcoming boat shows, visit our boating event calendar.


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Boating Law Roundup

With a new month and a new boating season upon us, there are many new boating laws in effect or under consideration. Will any of these new regulations affect your boating routine?

New Safety Requirements

Younger boaters in Louisiana have more than oil in the Gulf to worry about. Previously, you were required to take a boating safety course if you were born after January 1, 1988. Now, persons born between January 1, 1984, and January 1, 1988, have until July 1, 2010, to pass a safety course. More info

We've mentioned a couple of times, but it's worth repeating that new regulations in North Carolina are now in effect. Boaters under 26 years old in North Carolina must complete a NASBLA approved boating education course before operating any motorboat.

In Maryland, a new state law went into effect in April requiring all children 13 and younger to wear life jackets while on any moving boat. More info

Canadians boaters have had to be certified and in possession of a Pleasure Craft Operator Card to operate a boat since last September, but it's just now getting warm enough for that to matter for most boaters in the country.

No Wake Zones

Live Free or Die, but don't go over 45 mph on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire anymore (Full story from the Boston Globe)

You better watch your wake on Wisconsin's waterways, as a new ordinance was passed to reduce boaters' wake size on parts of the Milwaukee River. More info

Coming soon to Iowa… The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is looking to establish zones that reduce or restrict boat speed to less than 5 mph in some parts of the state. Full story

Stepped-Up Enforcement

If you boat on Lake Wylie in South Carolina, expect an increased presence by law enforcement at boat landings, as well as undercover boat patrols. Looks like SC is getting tough to prevent any more boating deaths this year. 

Remember that Canadian operator's card thing we told you about 15 seconds ago? Here's the important part… With the new boating season upon us, multiple news reports indicate that police are indeed enforcing the new requirement, which can result in a $250 fine. Examples here and here.

Our home state of CT is getting tougher on drinking and boating. A new law just passed in Hartford that enables authorities to charge boaters who are under the influence even if tests are administered outside of the two-hour time limit. 

Trickle-Down Tax Break

This last bit has nothing to do with safety, but it's a new law none-the-less. The Florida boat sales-use tax cap has been signed into law, limiting the 6-percent Florida state sales tax on a boat purchase or the use tax for currently owned vessels to $18k. Bottom line is that no matter how big a yacht you buy in Florida after July 1, 2010, the most you will have to pay in taxes is $18,000. Now, smaller boat owners will be paying a much heftier tax, percentage-wise, on their boats than the yacht owners next door to them. The break is intended to help keep yacht purchases and jobs in the state, and for that matter, in the country, so let's hope it works. More details

Boat Safely

With or without new safety regulations, it's always smart to stay safe while boating. Visit our Safety on Boats for a few tips, and be careful out there!


Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Hurricane Season Arrives

Most of us just got our boats in the water, the kids are still in school, and we're still recovering from a way-too-fun Memorial Day weekend.

It may seem too soon, but as of today, June 1st, hurricane season is here. And the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center (the NOAA's version of the Farmer's Almanac) predicts this year will be a doozy. In fact, after analyzing the NWS report, one of the local meteorologists here in Connecticut blogged that this year "could be the most active hurricane season since 2005."

What about all that oil in the Gulf?
Of course we all remember 2005 and the whopper known as Katrina. It is frightening to imagine what effect even a small hurricane would have on communities along the Gulf this year. Wikipedia tells us that two days after Katrina hit land, "80% of New Orleans was flooded, with some parts under 15 feet (4.5 m) of water." Throw several thousand gallons of oil into the mix, and it will get ugly.

Luckily, extended range hurricane forecasts are not set in stone - anything can happen. Most of us may escape untouched this year. That being said, it is important for boat owners to be prepared, and to ensure your boat is ready to withstand a fast approaching storm.

Where can you start?
Our hurricane resources page for boaters includes plenty of tips, as well as free guides from the Boat Owners Association of The United States.

On the web at