Don’t let docking in the wind blow your day

Spring in Florida typically means a couple of things. Fewer boats, and more windy days. Yep, just about the time the tourists start breezing out of town, windy conditions start blowing our boats around a bit more. Which gives us the perfect opportunity to pass along some great boat handling tips…because if you can manage your craft in the windy conditions, fairer weather days become that much easier and more enjoyable.

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SWFL Boater’s Survival Guide: Safety Tips

In 2019, the Coast Guard counted 4,168 boat accidents that involved 613 deaths, 2,559 injuries and approximately $55,000,000 in property damage as a result of recreational boating accidents. Operator inexperience is one of the primary contributing factors in accidents. No matter where you’re cruising in SWFL, these boating safety reminders will help you avoid drama, danger, and disaster on the water.
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Drone Photo of Fort Myers Boat Show marina layout

What to Expect at the 2020 Fort Myers Boat Show

Whether you’re shopping for your dream boat or just need a great excuse to get out of the house, the Fort Myers Boat Show is the place to go. The show runs November 13-15 and offers the largest display of boats, boating products, and services on our coast. The show features 600+ boats from 130+ manufacturers, plus accessory and equipment displays, so there’s a lot to see. Here’s some insider advice for making the most of this year’s show.
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Boat being launched at sunrise

BOAT TRAILERS: LESSONS FOR THE ROAD

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.
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BOAT RENTALS 101

We live in a waterfront playground, so it’s no surprise most Southwest Floridians either own a boat or get to tag along with friends and neighbors from time to time. We’re also lucky to have plenty of rental boats available along our coast. For full-time residents and seasonal visitors alike, taking a loaner for a spin is a great way to enjoy our waterways without the long-term commitment of boat ownership.

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It’s time to share the water again.

Welcome, tourists!

It’s time to share the water again.

 

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As increased boater traffic descends upon SW Florida, a partial review of The Navigational Rules of the Road seems timely.

Traffic volume
Common sense dictates not to operate at high speed in high traffic density areas. A safe speed allows people piloting boats time to respond to situations as they develop, and minimizes the risk of collision—not only with the nearest approaching vessel, but with others around it…the domino effect, if you will.

Heavy seas
As winds and seas increase, slow down—the boat will handle more predictably and easily. Pounding on swells or becoming airborne fatigues the hull and/or could injure you or your passengers.

Visibility
If conditions develop that make it difficult to see, slow down. Fog and rain are obvious limiting factors to visibility. Others are visible obstructions—bends in river, piers, bridges and causeways—these, along with heavy boat traffic, can limit your view of “the bigger picture.”

  • Low light situations or steering directly into the sun decreases your ability to see objects or judge distance.
  • Avoid spray on the windscreen (particularly salt spray) as much as possible and clean it regularly. Spray build-up on the windscreen is particularly hazardous in darkness or when glare is a factor, as it intensifies it.

Besides Heavy Seas, Traffic Density, and Visibility there are additional external factors that will have an effect your vessels ability of running at a safe speed.

Water depth
In shallow water, the bottom affects the movement of your boat. Slow down. If the water is extremely shallow, the boat’s stern tends to “squat” and actually moves closer to the bottom.

Waterway width
When meeting another vessel in a narrow channel or operating near a bank certain considerations apply:

  • The deeper your vessel’s draft, the greater the cushion and suction effect caused by the bank nearest you—particularly if your boat’s draft is nearly the same as the depth of the waters you are operating in.
  • The closer to a bank or another vessel, the greater the cushion and suction will affect your boat.
  • In very narrow waterways, slow down to decrease cushion and suction effects, just not to the point of losing your ability to maintain steering control.