Between the engines, helm displays, trolling motors, live wells, sound systems, lights, and other gadgets, marine batteries are the unsung heroes of boating. Your boat’s batteries serve two primary functions: starting engines and running accessories. Some batteries are built for one function while others can do both, so it’s important to know your marine battery basics. Read more “HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT BATTERIES FOR YOUR BOAT”
One of the best perks of having a trailerable boat in Southwest Florida is being able to choose your own adventure. You can tow your boat to local launches for direct access to your favorite fishing spots, embark on a road trip along the Gulf Coast, or even haul it over to Route 1 and hit the Florida Keys. Being a responsible trailer boater goes beyond launching and loading, so check out our expert tips for making the journey safer—and less stressful—for everyone.
Read more “BOAT TRAILERS: LESSONS FOR THE ROAD”
By: Stokes Marine
No two boat lifts or docks are exactly the same so chances are you’ll need a bit of customization to fit your needs. These needs might include washing your boat, boat maintenance, entering and exiting the boat, and accessing different areas around your boat.
If the dock does not wrap all the way around both side of the boat, washing the boat can become very difficult. Washing the hull of a boat while being on the boat can be rough on your back and sometimes impossible depending the what kind of hull you have.
Forget the necktie and “World’s Best Dad” mug, because we’ve netted some thoughtful and useful Father’s Day gift ideas for the Captain of the house. And if you’re a Dad yourself, feel free to “accidentally” send this list to your crew at home!
It is a question boat buyers have faced for decades. And, while there is no perfect answer, there are pros and cons to each, and a right and wrong way to go about it. Breaking it down, there are five key areas to consider:
One of the first reasons people consider used boats is cost. Once a boat is 5-10 years old, the depreciation factor starts to cause a considerable gap between used boat prices and their comparable new counterparts—for the most part. However, value-priced new boats can often be close in price to many used alternatives, and come with all the advantages of buying anything new; warranty, ability to finance and the benefits of the most up-to-date technology (things I will expand on shortly). These all enter into a price vs. value analysis that can’t be ignored if you are to avoid the regret associated with many buying decisions.
Hand in hand with the price factor is ability to finance. If the used boat you are buying is not terribly old, its residual and loan value might make it a sound purchase that doesn’t deplete your savings to afford—provided your bank writes boat loans if you are buying from a private party. But as many used boats don’t qualify, it might need be a cash deal. On the flip side, new boats are easily financed and even give you the ability to add options and accessories to the amount financed, allowing you to outfit the boat how you want it and build it into your payment.
The advances made in boat and engine manufacturing in the past decade are considerable. The old adage “they don’t build them like they used to” can often be seen as GOOD news, as today’s products are ofter more reliable and maintenance free than their older counterparts. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule but, on the whole the quality factor almost always favors new.
Even the best boats have issues from time to time. This is where warranty protection comes into play. New boats invariably come with warranties and used boats occasionally have either transferrable warranties from the original owner, or you can buy an extended, third party warranty. The extended warranty option often comes with conditions, however, such as excluding pre-existing problems, waiting periods, and deductibles that water down their value.
Finally, regardless of whether you buy new or used, I suggest buying from an established boat dealer. Private party sales are recipes for post-sale regret as a private seller usually has no motive—or obligation—to take care of you should something break or be discovered shortly after the sale. Dealerships have reputations to protect and the profit from the sale of your boat (and others) allows them to take care of things professionally and they typically stand behind what they sell. It’s your best bet to not being sorely disappointed.
So before you make your decision, I urge you to consider these five factors and weigh your options. A little planning now can save you a world of regret later.
By Keith Yunger
President, Bayliner Boats
The Ft. Myers Boat Show will be held at the downtown Ft. Myers Convention Center from November 19-22, 2015. This year DEMA (Diving Equipment and Marketing Association) will be a big part of it, complete with a large pool, and dive instructors offering to those interested an opportunity to experience Scuba Diving first hand.
This past August, I had the opportunity to join my long-time friend Mr. Wayne Hasson, President and owner of Aggressor Fleet, in Cuba for a trial run aboard the Cuban based yacht, The AVALON II located in the Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen), named by Christopher Columbus to honor Queen Isabel. This Archipelago is an unspoiled, untamed Marine Sanctuary located 60 miles south of Port Jucaro, Cuba.
Wayne has been a dive industry leader for over 35 years and is a pioneer for many of the programs that exist within the Scuba Diving world today. He is the founder and a director of the Oceans for Youth Foundation. Renown industry leaders such as, Jean-Michel Cousteau and Guy Harvey serve on the Advisory Committee. Travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens is different than travel to any other country due to the long-standing economic embargo. Tourism by U.S. citizens is not permitted, however, travel through specially licensed “People-to-People” educational programs is allowed. The Oceans for Youth Foundation People-to-People educational program (The Cuba Travel Program) is such a specially licensed program, allowing travel by U.S. Citizens.
The Gardens of the Queen encompasses a chain of 250 virgin coral and mangrove islands extending along 75 miles of beautiful clear turquoise water. This area was declared a marine park in 1996 and has been protected since then. One may expect to see pristine coral reefs, steep walls dropping from the reef to the abyss, large populations of adult fish including sharks, jewfish up to 400lbs, snapper, grouper and much more. There are many different species of sharks that one will see including; nurse, black tip, lemon, silky and the Greater Hammerhead.
Davis Hasson (Wayne’s son) and I departed Naples for Miami to board a flight on Cayman Airways to Georgetown, Grand Cayman. It was there that we met up with Wayne and several other participants who were invited to join in this ‘Once in a Lifetime’ trial run aboard the Avalon II. The main objective of this ‘mock’ run was to observe, experience and critique every area of the operation (above and below the surface) to insure it would be the same 1st Class experience that every Aggressor ‘live-a-board’ is known for, as the crew members on the new Jardines Aggressor would be those of Cuban nationality. Everyone on board represented loyal customers and avid divers whose opinions are respected by the Aggressor Fleet owners. The Avalon II had 10 cabins, huge galley, ‘hot’ tub on top deck, together with hospitality that was second to none.
We were on a mission. Those that wanted, did 4 dives per day and every dive offered a new experience together with more of the wonderful reef life and sights experienced on previous dives. In-between dives provided opportunities to recharge cameras, edit photos and videos, take naps, eat from a snack buffet or just relax and enjoy the yacht together with the beautiful, peaceful surroundings of the Jardines.
Breakfast was to order. Lunch and dinner offered numerous options for vegetarians and meat lovers alike. Food was prepared daily from local greens, fruits and vegetables. Lobster, fish, steak, chicken or pork was continual offers, topped off with mouth-watering deserts.
Other activities were a-bound, offering opportunities to snorkel and dive with Crocodiles. Visits to mangrove beaches were a must. Large local tree rodents, huge Hermit Crabs and big Iguanas were interesting, friendly and a fun diversion, posing for a photo op.
Moreover, the Jardines is an unspoiled, world-class fishery offering opportunities for Tarpon, huge Permit and huge schools of Bonefish on the Fly. During our visit, National Geographic was on location filming such opportunities (more to come on that at a later date).
This ‘trip of a lifetime’ was a total of 9 nights and 10 days. The first two days and nights in Havana provided the opportunity to have direct People-to People interactions with Cubans (youths and their parents; local marine officials; and marine professionals.) It was educational and rewarding for us to learn and offer different perspectives on marine life, conservation, and stewardship to those that have limited opportunities to meet foreign counterparts. It also allowed our group personal time to enjoy the unique city through music, food and entertainment!
The third day we boarded a bus for the Port of Jucaro to continue our journey aboard the Avalon II to head 60 miles south to the Gardens of the Queen. Six days of diving and other adventures engulfed every being on board. We returned fulfilled and thankful that we made the journey. Prior to departure for home, we were treated to a wonder Cuban Pig Roast with all the trimmings. Thanks to Captain Wayne Hasson of Aggressor Fleet, for this great opportunity to visit the most unique island of the Caribbean—CUBA!
This is Captain Terry Fisher of Fish Face Charters hoping everyone enjoys the sharing of my adventure and above all it is my hope that you too will take advantage of the opportunity that the Oceans for Youth Foundation affords, for a ‘Trip of a Lifetime’ to unspoiled CUBA!
Living on a planet that is 2/3 water might qualify a boat as a necessity rather than a luxury. We could not agree more! So let’s get down to the necessities of your shopping criteria and get you started.
Question 1 – What kind of boat?
Your first step is to determine the type of boat that will suit your needs, and that is based on how you plan to use the boat. There are three main boating activities: cruising, fishing, and watersports. While many boats can be used for two or even all three activities, the chart below shows the type of boat and its primary use.
Day boats are designed to entertain guests and deliver good performance. They are intended (as the name implies) to be taken out for the day and not stayed on overnight.
Cruising boats are also designed for entertaining guests but are not typically as fast or agile as a smaller day boat. They offer cabins and overnighting capabilities, and typically include a head (toilet area) and some form of galley (kitchen) equipment.
Fishing boats are designed with open cockpits in the rear of the boat to maximize the deck space needed for fishing. Plus, they are usually equipped with specialized storage areas and compartments for rods, tackle, bait and the day’s catch.
Watersports boats are designed for waterskiing, wake boarding and towing various water toys at speed. They range from basic sport boats and jet boats to specialized tow boats—which tend to be for the more experienced tow sports enthusiast.
Question 2 – What Size?
Boat size is an important consideration. The bigger the boat, the more features it typically has—like cabins, galleys (kitchens), heads (toilet areas), and so on. The downside to bigger boats is they are more costly to buy, operate and maintain, have more systems to understand and operate, and might not be trailerable. When you’re first getting started in boating, we recommend your first boat be no larger than 24 feet. This, of course, must be balanced with the amount of passengers and gear you plan to bring aboard. Resist the urge to go too big too soon.
Question 3 – New or Used?
The next step is to decide if you want to buy a new or a used boat. Each has its pros and cons—not unlike cars. New boats should provide you with trouble-free operation right from the start. They are sold by dealers who order them direct from the factory and, provided they get the right dealer-prep, are in first-class condition.
Before buying a new boat, make sure the dealer you are considering will support you after the sale throughout your term of ownership. Ask around at boat shows and at the dealer’s location to make sure you’re buying from a reputable dealer with a strong commitment to customer service.
The downside to new boats is they cost more than a similar used boat, but when you buy new you are entitled to all the warranty coverage and manufacturer’s support that comes with buying a new boat.
A used boat may or may not still be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. These can be sold by a) dealers (who’ve taken the used boat in on trade), b) brokers (who don’t own any boats, they just represent them for sale), or c) private individuals. You take a greater risk on the overall quality of a used boat than you do on a new boat since you don’t know the history of the boat, its maintenance, or whether it’s been involved in any type of accident or suffered any damage.
Many of us will bring a used car to our mechanic prior to finalizing the purchase of a used car. By the same token, you can (and should) hire a marine surveyor to go over the boat carefully. The survey will uncover any problems with the boat, and let you know whether you’re getting a good deal or just buying somebody else’s headache.
Question 4 – Which Make and Model?
Once you decided which type of boat and whether to buy new or used, the next step is to narrow your search down to which boats you want to actually see firsthand and take for a test drive.
There are several magazines and websites that regularly do roundups and buyers guides to help you with your research. BoatTEST.com is one good example. They classify boats by type and have helpful video tests online so you can see the boats run and get the tester’s opinions on where can save you countless hours as you do your research.
The 3rd Annual Southwest Florida Boat Building Festival is looking for teams to compete in this year’s event held during the Fort Myers Boat Show, November 14-17, downtown on the riverfront at Harborside Event Center. For a business, youth organization or even a family, this is a chance to learn almost forgotten skills, it’s a great team building experience and it’s a lot of fun.
The Festival is the brainchild of David and Sharon Bickel of the Shipwright Shop in Ft. Myers. David, a fixture in the local marine community, is a true master ship’s carpenter (not many of those left!). He has a passion for woodworking and a passion to see his skills passed along to a younger generation.
No experience is required. David and his team of experts supply all the materials and tools and work with all competitors over 2 ½ days as they each build their own wooden boat.
If you are into boats and into working on them, this will be an experience you will never forget. The cost is $1,750.00 per team. And that’s cheap considering that on Sunday, you go home with your very own seaworthy wooden skiff! For organizations or businesses, there are all kinds of opportunities to use the skiff as a fund raiser. For a family, you’ll have a lifetime of memories and with a little TLC, a boat that will last as long as the memories.
If you’re interested, give David or Sharon a call at 239-850-6844 or e-mail [email protected]
The personal watercraft (PWC) concept originated in the 1960s, combining the elements of self-power, small size and a maneuverable, active vessel. Bombardier Recreational Products, known for its Ski-Doo® snowmobiles, introduced a personal watercraft slightly resembling what we know today as a PWC in the late 1960s, with limited success. This craft is credited for being the first sit-down style PWC. In the early 1970s, Kawasaki Motors Corp. U.S.A. introduced the JET SKI® watercraft, the first commercially successful standup PWC.
There are currently three major companies currently active in the personal watercraft market. In the mid-1980s, Kawasaki’s JET SKI® watercraft was joined by Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A. Their product line of the WaveRunner® model created a market shift from the stand-up to the sit-down style PWC with one- and two-person capacity. Shortly thereafter, Bombardier Recreational Products re-joined the market with their Sea-Doo® line. Most recently, in 2002, American Honda began selling its version of a PWC, the AquaTrax®. Honda in 2009 ceased production of its PWC line.
Sea Doo (BRP) and Yamaha are the major players. Now with 39% and 35% market share respectively. Kawasaki is a distant third at 14%. One could find most any configuration with these three manufacturers. The majority of the units available today are sit-down type in a two or three passenger configuration. A myriad of options are available including a reverse function, boarding ladder, adjustable trim, cruise control, adjustable suspension and a braking system. Sea Doo currently is the only brand offering the braking system and the suspension models and as a brand, tend to be more tech oriented. Yamaha, on the other hand, lean to the more straight forward side and are preferred by rental operations. Both companies offer machines capable of over 70 MPH, with even the basic models reaching speeds of 50 plus MPH. Prices range from the mid $8000’s to over $17000. All models are now using 4 cycle engines that are cleaner, quieter and easier on the environment than the older 2 stroke versions originally produced. All are very easy to learn and a blast to ride.
Want to find out more? Get down to your local PWC dealer and ask one of the knowledgeable professionals, which model is right for you?
Sun Sports Cycle & Watercraft
3441 Colonial Blvd, Ft Myers, Fl 33966
239-277-7777, 239-333-3530 fax
Summer is finally upon us. It is a great time to be in Southwest Florida, especially if you own a boat! The tarpon are rolling in, Grouper seasons are opening and the wind is actually calming down. So whether you’re a charter captain, an avid fisherman, or a recreational boater, now is the time to be out there. Before you launch your boat though, there are several things you need to remember. The usual checklist: life jackets, fire extinguisher, air horn, throwable PFD, spot light, tackle box, fishing poles, cooler, sun screen, oh, THE PLUG!… and the list goes on. But what about the one thing that actually allows you to get where you want to go? Unless you plan on paddling your way, your motor is a vital component to your boating experience. I’m not suggesting that you might forget you motor, but don’t forget to take care of it.
Many people take their motor for granted. Besides just changing your oil or cleaning your carburetor, you have to think about what products you’re putting in your motor. Everyone is familiar with ethanol fuel, but do you really know what it is and the effects it has on a motor? In a nut shell, it’s moonshine. Ethanol is highly refined (grain) alcohol, approximately 200 proof, that can be produced from natural products like corn or sugar cane. Although ethanol fuel is widely used because it is less costly up front, there are three main problems with using it in your boat: phase separation, deterioration of fuel system components, and the overall cost of keeping your boat operational.
Phase separation is the separation of water and ethanol from fuel within a tank. When water is present in a tank, it bonds to the ethanol molecules in the fuel. Once the three-part mixture of water, ethanol and fuel reaches a certain point, the ethanol and water will drop to the bottom of the tank and separate from the fuel. Once this occurs, you are in danger of severely damaging your motor. Depending where your fuel inlet is located, your motor might receive the fuel portion of what is in the tank or the ethanol/water mixture. Both will cause problems with your motor. While the water/ethanol mixture will obviously cause damages, the fuel portion will be about three octane less than what it should be and therefore result in damages to your motor. Both these scenarios start with the presence of water in your fuel tank. With the humidity we have, the rains that we get, and the inherent nature of boats being on the water, let’s face it, water will get in your tank over time.
While on the topic of tanks, this is where your fuel system begins and the first point where ethanol has a chance to deteriorate your equipment. Most boat manufactures do not use fiberglass tanks anymore, however there are still several in use today. Ethanol will break down certain resins that hold the glass fibers together, allowing that debris to potentially reach your motor. Fiberglass is just one of the materials that ethanol will deteriorate. What about rubber, plastic, even some types of metal? It is true, it can deteriorate all these materials, all of which are a part of your fuel system. Many people mix additives to try to counteract the effects of ethanol, but that is a difficult and uncertain way of dealing with the problem.
Additives have been around for years, mostly to boost octane and preserve stagnant fuel for extended periods of time. More recently, additive manufactures have developed products designed specifically for ethanol treatment. The problem is, there are many different types of fuels throughout the country. They go through different refining processes, have different Reid Vapor Pressures (RVP), and they all have their own blend packages added by the major oil companies already. The chance that additive manufacturers have tested their products on all these different fuel types is highly unlikely. I wouldn’t trust my multi-thousand dollar investment on chemicals that are untested and may not be compatible with my fuel.
Furthermore, additives are expensive. Whether you are mixing in additives for ethanol compensation or to boost octane, that all has to be factored in to the overall cost of running your boat. If you add an octane booster to your fuel to make up for the efficiency you loose by running ethanol enhanced fuel, you are chasing your tail. Then factor in the cost of repairs to your fuel system and potentially your entire motor, you will be spending hundreds if not thousands more simply because you ran ethanol enhanced fuel.
In all fairness, most boat and motor manufacturers claim to have made adjustments to there manufacturing process that allow their watercrafts to accept up to 10% ethanol blended fuel. Still, the jury is out as to the long-term effects of what this fuel will do, to even the newer motors. Play it safe, protect your investment, run non-ethanol (also known as 90 Rec) fuel, and enjoy the summer waters without worrying if your motor will get you back to dry land. For more information about the advantages of non-ethanol fuel, contact your local marina mechanic or email [email protected].
Written by John Siefert, Edison Oil Company