Monday, January 31, 2011

Float Plans – Nothing but Upside

It's All About Safety Of Life At Sea.

Guest blog by Vincent Pica
Chief of Staff, First District, Southern Region (D1SR)
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

Click image for a free Float Plan form

As we pine for warmer weather, with a deck beneath our feet, we might even feel compelled to venture out in the next 60 days to catch the first hints of the incoming Spring. If so, the Float Plan, oft spoken of and more often ignored, can be key for you and those closest to you.

The Float Plan is nominally known as a mechanism for ensuring that missing vessels are indeed missed in time for action to be taken that might otherwise lead to the rescue of the crew rather than the recovery of their bodies. “Boat-A is supposed to be at Payne’s Marina in the Great Salt Pond on Block Island at this time and date. Is it there?”

So, in a nutshell, float plans are all about SOLAS - Safety Of Life At Sea. However, as the title infers, the development of a float plan delivers nothing but upside to the boat’s master and thus to the crew who are fully the master’s responsibility.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Return of Jimmy Buffett

Our Sea Song of the Week features our first Jimmy Buffett tune in a long time

Each week we post a nautical tune to help you get your weekend off to a great start, even if you can't get out on the boat.

When we heard Jimmy Buffett fell hard off a stage in Australia this week, we were among his most concerned fans... and relieved to hear that he is on the mend. The song he was singing at the time of the fall was Lovely Cruise, so guess what our Sea Song of the Week is...

Here's Jimmy back in April of 2010 singing Lovely Cruise.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hartford Boat Show and More

Boat Show Roundup: Another packed weekend of boating events around the country

Azimut at last week's NY show. Photo by Andrew Canepari
Each Thursday we let you know about all the boating and fishing events over the upcoming weekend, but this Thursday there is a lot to cover. We are in the thick of the US winter boat show season.

This weekend there are boat shows just about everywhere, including Hartford, Baltimore, Chicago (Strictly Sail), Louisville, Seattle, Chattanooga, Oklahoma City, Ft. Lauderdale (Trawler Fest), Spokane and Corpus Christi. Details about all these events are on our calendar of boat shows.

Visit us in Hartford
Come meet the Daily Boater staff at the Hartford Boat Show this weekend. We'll be exhibiting with BoatNameGear, and if you stop by and mention the Daily Boater we'll give you a free FirstBoat hat or t-shirt. No tricks, just ask. But come early, as we will run out. You'll find the BoatNameGear booth, # B22, in the back left corner of the show floor. Here are the details and a coupon for the show:

CMTA Hartford Boat Show
When: January 28 - 30, 2011
Where: Conn Convention Center.
Show website:
Save $2 on admission with this coupon (PDF)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sailing Report: AC Gets a New Boat

News from the world of sailing. An update on the technology behind the next America’s Cup.

By Sean McQuilken
Special to the Daily Boater

Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget /

The first AC 45 was launched and test sailed in Auckland, New Zealand last week. This is the one design boat that America's Cup teams will be purchasing and taking on a world tour with stops projected to be in Asia, both coasts of the United States, New Zealand and Europe.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Top 100 Largest Superyachts in the World

Boat International’s 2011 “10 Billion Dollar List” showcases the largest privately owned luxury yachts.

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich's 533-ft Eclipse.
Many readers of the Daily Boater and own a perfectly fine center console fishing boat, a skiff, a deck boat, or maybe even a 30 to 40 foot cruiser. Some of our readers simply hope to own a boat some day, or are currently between boats due to the economy or other circumstances.

But there is an elite group of yacht owners that probably don’t read boating news on the Daily Boater – they instead have people that read boating publications like ours for them. These heads of state and titans of industry own luxury yachts that are more like cruise ships than boats, only without all the little rooms and bunk beds.

These are the folks whose yachts turned up on what superyacht magazine Boat International calls the 10 Billion Dollar List.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Red Right Return... Right?

An answer to that age-old question, "What Side of the Buoy Do I Go On???" 

Guest blog by Vincent Pica
Chief of Staff, First District, Southern Region (D1SR)
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

Red, Right, What? © Rushton
Two of the “great mysteries” of boating are:

[1] how do I dock this thing in front of all these people and not look like a land-lubber, and

[2] Good Lord, what side of this buoy do I go on?

We will address #1 in a later column. We will address #2 right now and forever!

Here we go...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Live From New York - It's the Boat Show

If you love boats, this weekend's New York National Boat Show will warm your heart

There are literally dozens of boat shows this month - this weekend alone there are nine of them! We checked out one of the biggest this past Thursday - the New York National Boat Show - which is going on through Sunday. Hopefully this post and our pictures will give you a taste of the show and maybe even encourage you to attend before it ends.

We took 100s of pictures of the show, and a few of them were worth sharing. Our entire album of pics from the boat show is on our FirstBoat page on Facebook.

More about the show...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sea Song of Love

Our Sea Song of the Week is Sea of Love by Phil Phillips

Cat Power sang one of the more
recent versions of Sea of Love
Each week we post a nautical tune to help start your weekend the right way, even if you can't get out on the boat. This week we chose a song that's been covered dozens of times by artists including Robert Plant (while with the Honeydrippers), Iggy Pop and Tom Waits (for the movie Sea of Love starring Al Pacino). Cat Power, who is celebrating a birthday today, released her version of the song in 2007 for the movie Juno.

Phil Phillips, who will turn 80 in March, originally released the song in 1959. It looks like he re-recorded it in 2002 and appears in this video...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Nine Boat Shows This Weekend

There are at least nine boat shows going on this weekend, and even more over the next few weeks. What a great excuse to come in from the cold!

A sea of people at the boat / fishing show in Cleveland
Has the cold weather and snow got you down? Is a vacation not in your immediate future? Then you need to go to a boat or fishing show this weekend! They are virtually everywhere over the next few weeks, and there's no better place to plan your next purchase or to get warm and dream about being out on the water with family or friends.

Here's what's going on this weekend and in the weeks ahead.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Marina Get-Away Sweepstakes

You and your boat could win a weekend in Nantucket valued at $5000

Nantucket Boat Basin
Photo courtesy Nantucket Boat Basin
Nantucket Boat Basin wants to show one lucky winner (and three guests) why the marina was voted the Best Transient Marina in Marinalife’s 2010 Best Marinas Contest (see Best Marinas in the US, July 2010.)

To thank the boating community for their votes, Nantucket Boat Basin and Marinalife are holding a sweepstakes for a weekend experience on Nantucket valued at $5000.

Wondering what five grand gets you on the historic island often referred to as the Grey Lady?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Before You Throw In The (Electrical) Towel

What to do When Your Boat Won't Start, Part Two. Proper electrical maintenance is KEY

Photo © istockphoto/webphotographeer
Guest blog by Vincent Pica
Chief of Staff, First District, Southern Region (D1SR)
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

Last week, we wrote about various techniques you could try before throwing in the towel and calling for help, whether that be the towing services or your brother-in-law. (See Daily Boater, Boat Stuck? Help Yourself, 1/10/2011.) Mechanical issues are one thing. Electrical are another. This column is about that.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Racing Around the World

Two-for-two... American wins again in grueling solo yacht race around the world

Brad Van Liew celebrates. Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/
This weekend we learned the winners of the second sprint of the VELUX 5 OCEANS. The five-sprint solo around the world yacht race is considered one of the most challenging competitions in all of sports.

Brad Van Liew, the 42-year-old from Charleston, South Carolina, has now gone two-for-two as he was the first to sail into Wellington, New Zealand - the finish line for the second sprint. Polish sailor Zbigniew Gutkowski, known as Gutek, came in second place in this leg, arriving in Wellington less than 24 hours after Van Liew. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Scenes from a Boat Show

Scenes from the Providence Boat Show, going on this weekend in Rhode Island

Sailboats were back at the 2011 Providence Boat Show
As we mentioned Thursday, there are a TON of boat shows this weekend, but only one is within a couple hours drive of the offices of the Daily Boater. So we checked out the Providence Boat Show yesterday and thought we'd bring you a taste of it here. We know our readers who enjoy sailing in New England will be happy about the fact that there are more and bigger sailboats at the show this year.

If you're within an hour drive of Providence (or any boat show - there are, again, a lot of them this weekend), you should check out the boat show. If you are near us, we also suggest the Hartford Boat Show in two weeks, the Northeast Fishing Expo in mid-February, and the big New England Boat Show in Boston at the end of February.

Back to Providence... While we were there, we snapped a few boat pics...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sailing into the Seventies

Our Sea Song of the Week is one of the most requested boating songs of all time... probably
Rod Stewart Sailing in the 70s in NY

Each week we post a nautical tune to help start your weekend the right way, even if you can't get out on the boat.

This week for our Sea Song we wanted to acknowledge Rod Stewart, who turned 66 on Monday. When we googled him to confirm his age, we were surprised to learn that he just announced a tour with Stevie Nicks yesterday.

But let's get back to the 1970s and today's Sea Song of the Week.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Big Weekend of Boat Shows

There are more than a few boat shows happening right now. Chances are there's one near you.

London Boat Show
Canoe Polo at the London Boat Show. Photo Copyright onEdition 2011 ©

Have you been to a good boat show lately? No? Well, right now would be a great time to go, especially since there are so many of them this time of year. In fact, there are at least 20 boat and fishing shows between now and next weekend. Here's what's happening this week...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Motorboats of the Year for 2011

Motor Boat publications announce their choices for the best boats

The award-winning Greenline 33 Hybrid; photo courtesy

Two European power boat magazines, Motor Boat and Yachting and its sister publication Motor Boats Monthly, announced the winners of the 2011 Motor Boat of the Year Awards this week.

There were boats chosen in several categories and announced in a ceremony Monday evening at the swanky Savoy Hotel in London. Many boating VIPs were in attendance, as the week-long London International Boat Show, which began on Friday, 7 January 2011, was happening just a few miles away at ExCel London.

So which boats were honored (or should we say honoured)?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sailing Report

News from the world of sailing, including America’s Cup and Velux 5 Oceans updates

Photo by Velux 5 Competitor Derek Hatfield /
By Sean McQuilken
Special to the Daily Boater

The city of San Francisco has won the first race of the America's Cup, the race to host it.

San Francisco has been the front runner but came close to losing it when negotiations between Oracle Racing and the Golden Gate Yacht Club (the defender who is responsible for organizing the event) became difficult; fortunately for the city they worked out their differences with the team.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Boat Stuck? Help Yourself

What to do When Your Boat Won't Start

Guest blog by Vincent Pica
Chief of Staff, First District, Southern Region (D1SR)
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

There's plenty you can do before calling for a tow.

OK, so you’re done fishing and you turn to the outboard engine and give the key a turn. Ominously, you don’t hear a thing. Or, she turns over but as soon as you give it forward propulsion, she stalls. No one is going home soon. Before you call for a tow, here are some tips.

Friday, January 07, 2011

A Top Gun Sea Song

Today's Sea Song of the Week references the Navy, Yacht Rock and the decade of speed and greed

DoD photo by PO3 Michael D. Blackwell II, U.S. Navy.
Each week we post a nautical tune to help you get your weekend off to a great start, even if you can't get out on the boat.

This week for our Sea Song choice we wanted to pay homage to singer Kenny Loggins who turns 63 today. As the main subject of the fictional series Yacht Rock a few years ago, it's somewhat ironic that none of Kenny's greatest hits are actually about yachts, boating or sailing - or even the sea (Kenny Loggins fans are welcome to correct this via comments below). Luckily, he did perform a little diddy back in the 80's that features lots of footage of planes flying on and off a boat.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Boat Shows Are Back

The 2011 Winter Boat Show Season Begins This Weekend

Boat Shows Around the World
It seems like the Fall boat show season just ended yesterday, and just like that, it's boat show season again. This weekend you'll find boat shows in Nashville, Phuket (Thailand) and Toronto. But most notably, Friday the 7th is the first day of the Tullett Prebon London International Boat Show.

PIMEX, the Phuket International Boat Show, began today in Thailand

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Top 10 Places for Boaters to Live

If you, as an avid boater, could live anywhere in the United States, where would you choose?

Boating Magazine recently investigated nautical communities throughout the United States, looking for the best places for boaters to call home. The article's author, Mike Tyler, looked at several area's mix of boating opportunities, boat-friendly regulations, water access, availability of waterfront homes, health of the local economy and overall lifestyle for boaters.
boats in austin texas
Boats under the 360 Bridge in one of the top 10, Austin, TX © istockphoto/Brandon Seidel

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

New Year's Resolution for Boaters

Can we reduce boating accidents in 2011? Can we reduce boating deaths? Can we be better boaters?
Wear one of these, please!

Yes we can.

The headline of a recent article on the topic of boating safety from Florida's Sun-Sentinel definitely raises eyebrows.
90% of those in Florida boating accidents never took safety course
The leading cause of death is drowning and could be averted by simply wearing a life jacket.

Monday, January 03, 2011

More MPG for Your Boat

Improving Your Fuel Efficiency on the Water.
Fill'er up? Photo © istockphoto/ImageegamI

By Vincent Pica
Chief of Staff, First District, Southern Region (D1SR)
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

Now, I’m the first to say, “You’ve got a $30,000 boat tied to the dock and you’re fretting about $200 in fuel? Wassup, doc!?” But, with that said, “Waste not, want not!” and this column is about that.

Some Basics
Would it be any surprise to know that heavier boats need more fuel at a given speed to move through or over the water (see Atlantic Maritime article, "We All Get Heavier With Age – Including Our Boats")? So, why lug around gear that you don’t need? Go through all your lockers, lazzerettes and compartments and just get rid of the gear that is sitting around gathering mildew. We all have it – get rid of it. Store in it the garage, in a dock-side locker or just the garbage heap. Do you have an on-board water tank? I had a 25’ Chris-Craft once that had a 40 gallon water tank – which I kept full whether I was going out for the afternoon or an over-night’er. At +8 pounds per gallon, this was like having a lineman from the NY Giants sitting on my boat – in his uniform and gear! Some of the bigger boats have 100 gallon tanks for showers – 3 linemen! Fill up the water tank where and when you are going to use it…