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News notes September 2007 Florida & the South

Eastern Caribbean marina seeks to reassure boaters

The Marina at Marigot Bay recently issued a statement reassuring boat operators, the St. Lucia Day Charter Association and yacht owners that the facility’s new mooring buoy field in the inner bay will not obstruct local boats from seeking shelter in the mangroves should a tropical storm or hurricane threaten the island.

The field of 20 mooring buoys was laid in the bay earlier this year on behalf of the St. Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority, following approval from the Development Control Authority.

MarigotBay has traditionally been used as an effective hurricane shelter and according to Marina at MarigotBay manager, Bob Hathaway, a number of measures will be adopted to ensure the bay can continue to be used as a safe haven unhampered by the new permanent mooring system.

The new SLASPA mooring buoys are not warranted for tropical storm or hurricane-force winds and could sink boats moored to them due to snatch loads and the lack of scope on the riser chains in the event of a high storm surge. For this reason all boats occupying these mooring buoys will be asked to vacate the mooring or use it as part of their stern or bow mooring system in the mangroves. All buoys which might obstruct free anchoring will then be removed by marina staff and the chains dropped to the bottom of the bay, according to Hathaway.

He adds that as boats arrive in the bay, they will be given the option of using a mooring buoy as part of their mooring system; using their own anchors and the mangroves; or berthing in the Marina at MarigotBay.

Berthing in the Marina itself is only by permission of the Marina at MarigotBay and will only be granted to boats that carry third-party liability for any damage that might be caused to the marina or other boats. Normal check-in and charges will apply.

FWC publishes boating accident stats

Florida’s boating accident rate (671) for 2006 was second only to California’s 757. Florida led the nation with 69 fatalities, compared to 47 for Texas and 44 for California.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said the high numbers reflect the reality that Floridians own more than 1 million registered recreational vessels, and they use them throughout the year.

All but eight of the fatalities were the result of drowning, and none of the drowning victims were wearing life jackets.

The most likely county for boaters to be in an accident was Monroe, followed in order by Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Pinellas, Lee, Broward, Collier, Brevard, Escambia and Duval.

The most likely month for the accident to happen was July. The most likely time of day to be in an accident was between 4 and 6 p.m., and the most common type of accident was a collision with another vessel or a fixed object.

Accidents occur most frequently on rivers or creeks, but the number of accidents on the ocean or gulf or in a bay or sound are almost as high. Nearly 600 of the state’s accidents occurred while the vessel was cruising, and more than 400 of them occurred when the operator was not trying to change direction while cruising. Small vessels, especially those under 18 feet long, were the most likely to be involved in accidents.

A typical accident involved a privately owned vessel, operated carelessly or without a lookout, with the operator being a male at least 22 years old – most likely 36 to 50 years old.

The 85-page report on 2006 boating accidents in Florida is available online at .

Boat show docks at Convention Center

The Tampa Boat Show is returning for its 42nd show this year as the largest boat show in the Bay Area and the city’s longest running boating event.

A large selection of boats and marine products, including over 700 different boats, will be on sale inside the convention center and on the water at the Sept. 7 to 9 event.

Show hours are Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission is $9 for adults, $5 for junior boaters (13-15) and free to children under the age of 12. For advance tickets and show information visit or call (954) 441-3220.

Free hurricane preparation guide

Recreational boaters and marinas in hurricane country don’t have to go it alone when making vessel storm preparations.

“Preparing Boats and Marinas for Hurricanes,” a 12-page downloadable free guide, produced by BoatU.S., is based on more 40 years of experience in preparing boats for the severe wind, waves, rain and storm surge. Included is a storm preparation checklist that can help boaters take the right precautions.

The guide presents up-to-date information based on the first-hand experiences of boaters and marinas during the recent hurricane-intensive years. It includes information on the causes, types and prevention of hurricane damage to recreational boats. Also included are some insights and pointers on preparing boats for storms while they are kept at docks, on boat lifts, in canals, on moorings, in high-rise storage boatels and on trailers. Additional information on how to reduce line chafe.

Download the guide at the BoatU.S. Hurricane Resource and TrackingCenter at or pick up a hardcopy at a West Marine store.

Traveling trawler event gets new Web site

PassageMaker magazine recently launched a new Web site for their event series, Trawler Fest. The new site possesses the same functions and tools as the recently redesigned .

Trawler Fest, a regional boat show designed for cruising enthusiasts, features boats and gear, opportunities to mingle with industry professionals and other cruisers, and seminars that answer cruising questions. Beyond being a boat show, the event is touted as a sales, networking and social experience. Now, with the launch of the new site, users can find information about each regional event before and after its occurrence, making online registration easier. Prior to each of the four Trawler Fest events, a full schedule, including seminars, afternoon activities, and cocktail and dinner receptions, along with a full listing of exhibitors and their Web site links, is available online. Video clips from previous shows can be easily downloaded, giving attendees and exhibitors a glimpse of the action. The regularly updated site also offers a full listing of items for the shows’ live auctions, donated by specified show exhibitors and sponsors.

PassageMaker is owned by Dominion Enterprises, which also owns Soundings.

Sailing yacht builder launches new Web site

Island Packet Yachts, known for their line of bluewater cruising sailboats, has launched their new Web site at .

The new site is a complete redesign and incorporates brand new features, including a video with Island Packet sailing footage and owner testimonials.

“Just seven years ago an IP owner convinced us to create our first Island Packet Web site,” says Island Packet’s marketing manager Karsten Johnson. “In that short time it has become the number one way people get information on our yachts (old and new), our company, our owners and our dealers.”

The updated site contains an extensive amount of information and is now more consistent with the boatbuilder’s brochures and magazine ads.

Founded by Bob Johnson in 1979, Largo, Fla.-based Island Packet Yachts is the builder of cruising yachts from 37 to 52 feet, including the new SP Cruiser motorsailer and PY Cruiser trawler.

New Florida charts includes free CD

Maptech’s new edition of ChartKit Region 7: Florida East Coast & Keys (14th edition) gives boaters and fishermen updated charts and some new features.

The ICW Bridge Table is a new addition and lists more than 150 bridges from FernandinaBeach to Key West and includes the St. Johns River, CanaveralBargeCanal, Okeechobee Waterway, the New River, and the Miami River. Each listing gives the ICW Mile, bridge name, vertical clearance, type of bridge (swing, fixed, bascule), Lat./Long. and restriction notes plus the monitored VHF frequency.

The free Chartbook Companion CD comes with identical charts from the chart book plus GPS Real-Time Software. All of the navigation information has been scrutinized on each page of this new ChartKit — from subtle shifting shoals to drastic re-buoying of major harbors. Each waypoint and course has been plotted on the most current Notice to Mariner corrected charts.

The 22-by-17-inch ChartKit retails for $130.

Tug builder offers upgraded warranty

Nordic Tugs claims it offers the most comprehensive hull warranty in the industry. The boatbuilder’s new Gold Standard Warranty offers one-year stem-to-stern coverage and warrants the hull for 10 years against both structural failure and osmotic blistering starting with 2008 models delivered after July 1, 2007.

“Because of our extensive quality control standards and state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, Nordic Tugs do not have a history of blistering,” says David Goehring, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Nordic Tugs. “We’re confident in the integrity of our boats and are willing to back our product with a 10-year hull warranty that includes coverage against osmotic blistering.”

Nordic Tugs previously offered a one-year stem-to-stern, five-year blister and 10-year structural hull warranty. The new Nordic Tug warranty remains transferable to subsequent owners.

Seasoned journalists join Waterway Guide

Peter Swanson, a longtime sailor and marine journalist, has joined the staff of the Dozier Waterway Guide as managing editor. Swanson’s appointment follows the recent hiring of another professional mariner, Gary Reich, as the cruising guide’s technical editor.

“In bringing Peter and Gary aboard, we believe we have the yin and yang of cruising guide excellence with us,” says Waterway Guide publisher/owner Jack Dozier. “Both are boaters but with a different emphasis. Together they have skills we need to maintain our position as The Cruising Authority and to improve and expand our guides as we develop new products to serve the boaters in the 21st century.”

Swanson is responsible for the content and design of the Waterway Guide’s four regional editions, which are updated annually, as well as the bi-annual Waterway Guide Magazine. Dozier said he will also oversee the content of the company’s expanded and redesigned Web site, which will reportedly be unveiled in the near future.

Swanson, 52, was senior editor at Yachting and PassageMaker magazines and worked for more than three years as communications director for Mirage Manufacturing, builder of the Great Harbour line of trawlers. He has recently been a columnist and contributor to Soundings magazine and Boat Digest. Since 2002, Swanson has logged more than 14,000 nautical miles in sailboats and trawlers; he holds a Coast Guard 50-ton Masters License.

“My goal is to maintain the level of quality that these guides have taken 60 years to achieve, while developing and improving new media, such as our Waterway Guide Magazine, Web site and additional planned products. It’s a big challenge,” Swanson said.

Reich has been boating or living aboard in the Chesapeake Bay for most of his 37 years. He worked for the Waterway Guide from 2003 to 2005 and has returned after working as a freelance writer and photographer for area publications, including Spinsheet, PropTalk, Mid-Atlantic Fisherman, Boater’s Digest, Coastal Companion and Coastal Georgia Magazine.

Besides general editing duties, Reich ensures that navigational information in each of the four editions is up-to-date by carefully checking text against the information in the latest government publications and charts. He also ensures the accuracy of the hundreds of annotated aerial images that make the guides so valuable to mariners.

“I really enjoy pouring over the charts and keeping up with the navigational changes along the waterways. It’s really dynamic and ever-changing. I’ve always been a nitpicker, so combing out the fine details has always appealed to me,” he says.

Founded in 1947, Waterway Guide publishes four editions annually: Northern, MidAtlantic, Great Lakes and Southern. Waterway Guide Magazine, devoted to destinations and events for boaters, is published biannually. Waterway Guide Publications is owned by Dozier Marine Group, which purchased the publication in 2002 and has since embarked on an ambitious expansion program.

Marine retailer launches boating grant program

West Marine, retailer of boating supplies and accessories, recently announced the return of its 2007 Youth Boating Grant program. Non-profit organizations with a youth boating focus are eligible for grants that provide personal flotation devices, race marks and selected supplies.

West Marine’s Grants Program has donated nearly $4 million dollars to non-profit organizations, according to the company. For information or to apply for a grant, visit

Aluminum boatbuilder deliverspatrol boat

SeaArk Marine recently delivered a 27-foot VC Commander Class Patrol Vessel to the Bossier Sheriff’s Office in Benton, La. The vessel will take part in patrol/security, surveillance and search/rescue in Bossier Parish and its surrounding waters.

The Commander, based on a hull designed by C. Raymond Hunt & Associates, is constructed of all-welded marine-grade aluminum. It features a deep-vee variable deadrise hull that produces a smooth, dry and stable ride.

The design incorporates an extended two-man climate-controlled pilothouse. The main propulsion engines are twin 200-horsepower Honda outboards. Fully operational, the boat achieves a maximum speed over 40 knots.

For onboard electrical service, a Kohler 5.0, water-cooled generator is provided. Additional outfitting includes a Furuno 1850DFW GPS/plotter/ fishfinder, Furuno 1834C radar, ICOM VHF/DSC radio and a siren/PA system.