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Boating Information

Save the Manatee ?

bobe3A sure way to get elected to public office is to have the backing of a powerful lobby such as the Save the Manatee Club (SMC) which was founded by former Governor Bob Graham and Jimmy Buffett. The organization is represented on facebook, YouTube, twitter, and myspace. They sell T-shirts, bumper stickers and license plates. Not only won’t I get their support; I’ll be lucky if no one throws a shoe at me when I’m speaking about manatees.

Before the SMC puts out a fatwah on me; I wish to mention that my Manatee Stew Recipe, posted on the internet, was only a joke.

I knew all this going into a recent public hearing hosted by a committee of boaters and environmentalists set up by the Broward County Commission, to review and comment on the proposals of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The FWC is considering the first changes to speed zones in 17 years, using updated information on both manatees and boating patterns.

The FWC has a $290 million annual budget. In addition to protecting manatees they do keep a few statistics on boating accidents and fatalities involving humans. I could not find any state agency that specifically looks out for boaters or the $18 billion boating industry. I did find the RSVIPP, the Reusable Space Vehicle Industry Prize Program. I suggest that a better use for the soon to be unemployed rocket scientists would be to start the MADE ME program i.e. the make a diesel engine more efficient program.

Using a GPS/Chartplotter with Florida By Water.

DSC_5397gpsIf you enjoy boating in unfamiliar waters as much as we do, you will quickly find that a GPS can be your best friend. Oftentimes the recreational boater finds that reading compass headings and nautical charts are daunting tasks. With this in mind, we developed Florida By Water with one of the main goals as providing GPS coordinates for every location. This give you the ability to pinpoint the destination that you are trying to find. However, many of us quickly become confused with the new terminology such as waypoints, tracks, and routes. This article will provide you with a few of the basic skills need to navigate to your chosen location. Please note this is in no way a compressive document on the Nautical Navigation.

Basic Terms in Plain English

Waypoint: A waypoint is a specific location such as a restaurant, marina, or boat ramp. When you look at a location at Florida By Water you will find the GPS coordinates for that location. This will be a waypoint that can be added to your GPS. For example, if you were in Key Largo and wanted to snorkel at “Christ the Abyss” you would enter this waypoint into your GPS: 25.1242155, -80.2974027. Your numbers on your GPS may look different and we will explain those differences in a minute. Anyhow, to get to the location, simply enter the waypoint and follow the GPS map to that waypoint. One thing to keep in mind is that your GPS will take you there by a direct line, which in many cases, in not a very viable option.

New Product

MRF300BT_H_crop_350

More than once we have missed a phone call while we were on the boat. For the most part, that’s a good thing, however, there are time we need to make or receive calls while on the water.The MR F300 BT is a device we like due to the “coolness factor” as well as the functionality. It’s a Bluetooth devise that pairs with your cell phone (it is not an VHF radio) . This allows you make and receive calls while your cell phone is safely stored in a dry compartment on the boat. Furthermore, the device uses “noise muting technology” for crystal clear communications and the elimination of wind and background noise. The unit can plug directly into a cigarette lighter with the optional adapter.The device meets JIS7 standards: submersible for 30 minutes in one meter of water. Please note: Florida By Water always recommends a VHF/DSC marine radio on all vessels. This unit should not replace a VHF/DSC radio but be an addition to your communication tools. For more information go to Ponagator Marine

Ponagator Marine (It's Really Us)

35234_413843841559_522171559_5344047_4703590_sFlorida By Water is branching out with its online adventures. Over the past few years we have reviewed and tested numerous marine related products. Some were increditable and some…..well not so much. Therefore, we made to decision to create Ponagator Marine. The online store sells only the products you (Florida by Water members)  and I recommend. At the present time, we are featuring two product lines with more to come shortly.  “Inox” is a great lubricant for the marine environment.  The “MX2 Battery Conditioner” is amazing. This product guarantees your battery a year longer than the warranty.   The second product, that I am never without, is the “Boat Bling”  detailing line. I use the their “Hot Sauce” every time I pull the boat out of the water. The boat has never looked better and I’m spending less time cleaning it.

We would appreciate your support with Ponagator Marine as we work to bring  you the finest products on the market.

Crystal River

DSC_0231There are few places in Florida where you can swim in crystal clear freshwater springs and moments later watch the sun melt into the gulf. Crystal River, Florida, is one of these rare places. Located on the beautiful gulf coast between Homosassa and Cedar Key, Crystal River is a little piece of paradise tucked away just minutes from US 19.

Crystal River is known for its springs and manatee sightings, however this lovely town is also a popular destination for divers and nature lovers alike.  So, in the interest of expanding our Florida By Water reference material, we decided to see for ourselves what makes this area so special for the boating community.