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New South Florida guide focuses on locals

“VantagePoint Boating Guide to South Florida” keys in on weekend getaways and exploration

“VantagePoint Boating Guide to South Florida” keys in on weekend getaways and exploration

David Kresge thought there must be a better way than the school of hard knocks to learn where to cruise on weekends in South Florida.

Most cruising guides paint a picture in broad strokes for visitors. Kresge, 41, of Fort Lauderdale, wanted something that locals would pick up to help them explore all the nooks, crannies and gunkholes.

He wanted real local color and local knowledge.

So was born his 61-page “VantagePoint Boating Guide to South Florida” (Waterfront Boating Guides, 2006, $39.95), a guide in chartbook format to the navigable waters, hazards and attractions — marinas, boatyards, fuel pumps, boat ramps, restaurants, inlets, beaches, sandbars, parks, anchorages, gunkholes, picnic islands, and wrecks and reefs — from Jupiter Inlet through Biscayne Bay.

In an easy-to-follow and graphically pleasing format, the guide includes charts that have been designed for easy reference, 580 GPS waypoints, 160 marinas and boatyards, 275 points of interest — including top 25 boating spots — 330 dive sites, and 115 aerial photos.

Kresge, who has authored a similar guide to Bimini, “Bimini Cruising Guide,” spent two years off and on cruising up and down the Intracoastal Waterway, making forays offshore to dive sites, running the inlets, taking 17,000 digital photos and recording 3,000 waypoints.

He rented helicopters so he could take 3,000 aerial photos.

“I visited every single marina, 160 of them,” he says. “I drove up and down the ICW and identified every single thing [facilities , hazards, attractions, reference points] on the water.” He shows aerials of sandbars in Haulover Inlet, identifies abandoned pilings on his charts, gives a schematic of the Miami River bridges and pertinent data about them, and includes a chart of the New River and Dania Cut-off Canal.

Kresge visited islands on the ICW and in Biscayne Bay — and admittedly went aground a few times trying to beach on them. The guide advises boaters on how to avoid doing the same; where they can anchor and where they can’t; which inlets are safe to use and which aren’t.

He compiles his data in tables and on charts, augmenting that with photos.

“My goal [with the charts] was to make them so anyone who couldn’t read a chart could read them and figure them out,” he says.

His goal in publishing the guide is to give local boaters and new boaters the information they need to do day trips and weekend trips.

“The whole idea of this was to make the guide good enough for the locals,” he says. “You buy a Sea Ray, and the first thing you ask is, ‘Where do I take my boat now?’ This tells you where you can go.”

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