Boating Fun, Uncategorized
Captain Kirk, Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Captain Nemo, Captain John Smith, and Captain Simkins – what do all of these men have in common? Fictional and non-fictional, these individuals have taken it upon themselves to stand apart from the crowd. They are captains. I sat down with Captain Ron Simkins of Sarasota, FL, and how he became part of such an elite group of individuals.
E: When did you first get into boating?
R: I first got into boating as a pre-teen kid in at summer camp. As a young adult in the early 70s, the first boat that I actually owned was a 22 foot Glasstron pleasure boat that I used on the Ohio River during summers. The first significant boat that I owned was a 36 foot Catalina sail boat that I sailed in the mid 80′s on Lake Michigan.
E: When did you become a captain and what do you have to do to maintain your license?
R: I became a captain in the late 90′s when I started sailing larger motor yachts in Florida. There are two reasons to obtain a captain’s license; one is to make a living captaining boats the other is general seamanship knowledge. My desire was for the knowledge, knowing that I would be cruising off shore and maneuvering amongst ships of significant size in the Miami and Ft Lauderdale area. Obtaining a license requires time on the water and demonstrating proficiency in a Coast Guard examination. Maintaining the license requires refresher courses be taken that are US Coast Guard approved.
E: What are your captain “quirks”?
R: My captain quirks are few, other than to stay out of foul weather at all costs.
E: What kind of boat do you own now?
R: The current is a 74 foot Hatteras Motor Yacht – called REGALIA.
E: Do you have a favorite boating destination?
R: Favorite destinations for REGALIA would include Key West and anywhere in the Bahamas.
E: As a captain, are you allowed to marry people? Have you ever done so?
R: Marrying people is a combination of a Florida Notary Stamp and ceremony. What makes it legal is the Notary Stamp….what makes it fun and memorable is the ‘Captain’ aspect of the ceremony. To date, I take credit for seven weddings….all of which are still intact.
E: If you had a pirate name, what would it be?
R: If I had a favorite pirate name, it would be Captain Flagg.
E: What’s your favorite aspect of boating?
R: My favorite aspect of boating is the social aspect.
E: Do you have a favorite famous boat captain (fictional or non-fictional)?
R: My favorite famous boat captain is Sir Francis Drake.
About Captain Ron: Ron resides in Sarasota, FL with his family. He founded LexJet in 1994 which provides wide format printing and laminating solutions for customers worldwide. The company is headquartered in Sarasota, Florida and is recognized as the premier leader in providing education and sound product solutions for those professionals engaged in the production and output of digital color images.
Boating Tips, Uncategorized
Winter will be here before you know it! While you’re getting ready for the holidays, don’t forget to take care of your boat. We’ve put together some tips to help you get your boat ready for the cold weather. Taking preventative measures now will make next year’s boating season just that much better! Here are a few suggestions:
1. Before you get started, take your boat out for one more trip! Check around to see if there are any repairs that need to be made, items that need to be replaced, and clean up anything smelly or dirty.
2. Don’t forget to unpack – remove as much gear as possible. Take out any dishes, empty the freezer, take out any sunscreen, wash your sheets and blankets, air out cushions and pillows and remove fire extinguishers to inspect.
3. With your boat empty, give your boat a thorough cleaning from bow to stern.
4. Once the boat is squeaky clean, open the doors and allow fresh air to circulate. Adding a few moisture absorbers prior to closing up the boat is a good idea too.
5. Don’t forget the deck! Make sure that you pull out your anchor to rinse off any mud on the chain and rode. For you sailors, clean your scuppers and lay out and wash your sails and lines with warm soapy water, making sure that they are dry prior to stowing them.
6. Top off your tank (not more than 7/8 full to allow for expansion in spring) and stabilize your fuel. Change your oil and replace all the filters. Check your coolant, hoses, belts and clamps. Remember, do not throw your used oil, filters, coolant or absorbent pads in the dumpsters. Check with your local authorities about how to properly recycle them.
7. Flush the head with plenty of fresh water and be sure to pump out the holding tank. Run non-toxic antifreeze through the intake lines, the y-valve, macerator and discharge hose.
8. After you turn off your hot water heater, drain your fresh tanks and water heater.
9. Make sure that you run non-toxic antifreeze through the ice makers, air conditioning pumps, sump pumps, fish wells and bilge pumps.
10. After your boat has been hauled, you will want to fog the cylinders on gasoline engines and flush the engine’s cooling system with non-toxic antifreeze. Open all thru-hulls, check your shaft, strut, cutlass bearing, props, intake screens and anodes. Check the hull for blisters, change the gear lube in lower units, and clean and disconnect the batteries. Make sure the batteries are fully charged prior to haul-out and leave them in the boat.
11. Finally, cover the exhaust and any holes to keep animals from getting in the boat.
For a handy checklist, please visit: http://powerboat.about.com/od/maintenanceandrepair/tp/WinterizeChecklist.htm
Boating Fun, Uncategorized
Fall weather, football, baseball, hotdogs, grilling…what does this all have to do with your boat? Tailgating prior to your favorite sporting event is no longer limited to the back of an SUV or a pop up tent. Sports fanatics are taking to the water! Stadiums around the country are attracting a new breed of fan….the sailgator.
Sailgating, also known as boatgating, stern-gating or transom-gating, over the past few years has become a remarkable avenue for boaters to take advantage of their pre-game traditions from the comfort and convenience of their boat. Game day commences with relaxing on the water, which makes you wonder why you ever sat in pre-game traffic.
One of the many benefits of sailgating includes a more relaxing game day. You don’t have to lug around your cooler or grill – they’re easily accessible right from your boat.
Here’s a list of sailgating friendly stadiums…
AT&T Park (San Francisco, Calif.)
One of the most scenic stadiums, AT&T Park is located right on the San Francisco Bay with a plethora of boating options available nearby. Countless home runs have made a “splash” into the Bay. Sailgating options are available at South Beach Harbor. You can even see the scoreboard and replay screens from your boat in McCovey Cove. More information: SouthBeachHarbor.com
Citi Field (New York, N.Y.)
Who wants to be stuck on the subway on game day? Get on a boat and leisurely float past the Statue of Liberty, taking in the Manhattan skyline. Docking is available at the World Fair’s Marina, only a short jaunt from the stadium. Tennis sailgators can cheer on the U.S. Open on the water too! More information: NYCGovParks.org or 718-478-0480
EverBank Field (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Floridians are fortunate to have ideal boating weather most of the year. Game day from the water is a sight to see! The rumble of the stadium cheers can be heard throughout the Metropolitan Park Marina on the St. Johns River, which is walking distance from the stadium. Eighty slips, accommodating boats up to 80 feet long, are offered. This is also the park that hosts the annual Gator Bowl, as well as the battle between the University of Florida and the Georgia Bulldogs. More information: COJ.com or 904-355-4857
Heinz Field (Pittsburgh, Penn.)
Although this stadium does not offer 57 varieties like its namesake, it is located on the banks of Pittsburgh’s three famous rivers – Monongahela, Ohio and Allegheny. Many diehard fans arrive several days in advance to obtain prime docking and mooring spots along the Allegheny’s North Shore. More information: BoatLocal.com/Pittsburgh or 412 -355-7980
Husky Stadium (Seattle, Wash.)
Husky fans can arrive by boat, moor in Lake Washington, and climb aboard the shuttle boat to the University of Washington Stadium. Game day scenery includes the pristine Cascades and serene Lake Washington. It has been a longstanding tradition for Husky fans to arrive at the stadium via boat and the renovations have kept that tradition intact. More information: HuskyStadium.com or 206-543-4895
Nationals Park (Washington, D.C.)
Gangplank Marina offers over 300 slips in the protected waters of the Potomac River’s Washington Channel, allowing baseball fans an ideal spot for sailgating. When the pre-game festivities are completed at the marina, simply hop on a water taxi, which makes drops at the Diamond Teague Park, the closest location to the ballpark. More information: GangPlank.com or 202-554-5000
Neyland Stadium (Knoxville, Tenn.)
The VOL Navy Boaters Association takes sailgating to a new level! They are an infamous group of football and boating connoisseurs who arrive by boat to cheer on the Tennessee Volunteers football team. On the bank of the Tennessee River in Knoxville, Volunteer Landing is a three-mile riverwalk that is home to a visitor center, full-service marina and plenty of good restaurants. It wouldn’t be surprising to hear “Rocky Top” amidst the sea of orange and white. More information: TheMarinas.net or 865-633-5004
Why not enjoy the best of both worlds – sports and boating. Start sailgating today!
Hurricane Tips for Boaters
Many of you may recall that this year’s hurricane season was predicted to be more active than normal. Well, it has turned out to be something of a dud as far as hurricane activity in the Atlantic is concerned.
As the season heads into the historic peak of activity, the start of the season may enter the record books as the quietest start to any Atlantic hurricane season in decades.
“It certainly looks like pretty much of a forecast bust,” said Jeff Masters, a hurricane expert and director of meteorology at the Weather Underground.
“Virtually all the (forecast) groups were calling for above-normal hurricanes and intensive hurricanes and we haven’t even had a hurricane at all, with the season half over,” he said.
With records going back to 1851, Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman for the U.S. National Hurricane Center, said there had been only 17 years when the first Atlantic hurricane formed after September 4.
In an average season the first hurricane shows up by August 10, usually followed by a second hurricane on August 28 and the first major hurricane by September 4.
Since the dawn of the satellite era in the mid-1960s, Feltgen said the latest date for the first hurricane to arrive was set by Gustav when it made its debut on September 11, 2002.
Nine named storms have been spawned by the 2013 season so far, including Fernand, which killed 13 people in central Mexico late last month.
Most of the storms have been small, weak systems, however, proving an embarrassment to experts who had predicted an active season in reports that are eagerly awaited y the insurance and energy industries.
“Statistical models can generally reasonably well replicate hurricane activity…but there are always going to be years when you bust,” said Phil Klotzbach, a Colorado State University climatologist who heads a team that issues one of the most closely watched long-range hurricane forecasts.
Colorado State University slightly lowered its seasonal forecast on August 2. But it still said 2013 would see above-average activity, with eight hurricanes and three that develop into major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher on the five-step Saffir-Simpson intensity scale.
Other prominent forecasts, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), were predicting an “above normal” season last month. An average season has six hurricanes.
Feltgen cautioned it was still too early to write off 2013 as a year when tropical weather unpredictable.
“We are at mid-point of the six-month hurricane season,” he said. “It is a mistake to believe that the second half of the season would resemble the first half.”
The first hurricane in 2001, Erin, only formed on September 9, Feltgen said. “That season ended with 15 named storms including nine hurricanes, four of which became major hurricanes.”
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Although the hurricane season hasn’t been as eventful as predicted, September is National Preparedness month and excellent time to prepare for unexpected events. Sponsored by FEMA, National Preparedness Month aims to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to all types of emergencies, including natural disasters.
This is a time to prepare yourself and those in your care for emergencies and disasters, both large scale and smaller local events. Emergencies can happen unexpectedly in communities just like yours, to people like you. Tornado outbreaks, river floods and flash floods, historic earthquakes, hurricanes, and even water main breaks and power outages can impact communities for days at a time.
As commendable as they may be in their profession of assisting those in need, police, fire and rescue may not always be able to reach you quickly in an emergency or disaster. The most important step you can take in helping your local responders is being able to take care of yourself and those in your care for at least a short period of time following an incident; the more people who are prepared, the quicker the community will recover.
With just a few simple steps, knowing your risk, taking action and being an example in your community, you can be prepared.
Know you risk - Emergencies can happen anywhere, at any time. It is important to understand potential risks where you live.
1. Bookmark weather.gov to stay informed on severe weather
2. Learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts, messages that will be sent to your phone during an emergency
3. Get practical tips on preparing for a disaster at ready.gov
Take action - Make sure that you and your family are prepared for an emergency. Ensure that you can go at least three days without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket, or other local services.
1. Prepare a disaster supply kit with at least three days of food and water
2. Create a Family Emergency Plan, so that your family knows how to communicate during an emergency
3. Obtain a NOAA Weather Radio
Be an example - Be a positive influence on your community by sharing your preparedness story. Let your friends and family know that you’re prepared for an emergency – and that they should be prepared too. Research has shown that many people won’t prepare until they see others doing so.
1. Share your preparedness story on Facebook
2. Tell the world you’re prepared on Twitter using hashtag #NATLPREP
3. Get involved with your local American Red Cross Chapter