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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.

 

 

Need a Vacation? Boating Industry Announces Top Boating States

Summer is here, and millions of Americans are looking for ways to escape with loved ones without traveling too far or spending too much. The U.S. recreational boating industry’s trade association, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), today announced the 2009 top ten boating states based on annual sales. In conjunction, Discover Boating, the industry’s non-profit awareness program, has identified affordable, must-visit boating destinations within each state.

“Considering 90 percent of Americans live within a one hour drive of a body of water, boating is an ideal way to spend quality time outdoors with family and friends,” says Carl Blackwell, vice president of NMMA and Discover Boating. “To coincide with NMMA’s announcement of the top boating states, we’ve identified must-visit nautical hot spots within each state, illustrating just how easy it can be to get on the water close to home without having to break the bank.”

Here are the top ten boating states, ranked in order by total annual expenditures for new powerboats, motors, trailers and accessories in 2009*, including popular on-the-water destinations from Discover Boating:

FWC encourages boaters to slow down in areas of oil cleanup efforts

Because of the large number of oil containment booms and cleanup equipment being deployed around the state in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) Boating and Waterways Section is asking boaters to slow down where oil cleanup is under way.

The FWC encourages all boaters to operate at slow speed within 300 feet of all authorized booms. Boaters operating near any oil-containment booms or cleanup equipment should exercise extreme caution and comply with all applicable navigational rules. Oil-skimming equipment is large and cumbersome, and it is restricted in its ability to maneuver. As a result, boaters should be prepared to stay clear of these vessels when operating near them.

Failure to operate at slow speed in these areas could result in injury, damage to vessels and damage to the containment booms. Additionally, the wake that results from a vessel operating above slow speed in areas where a boom has been deployed can reduce the effectiveness of the boom, resulting in further environmental damage.

FWC officers and local marine units will be on the water encouraging boaters to operate at slow speed in those areas where cleanup efforts are under way

Boats and the Oil Spills

With all of the hype around the Deepwater Horizon spill, one question that must be answered is “what happens if my boat comes in contact with the spill or a tar ball?” To answer the question, we contacted Captain Patrick Prainito from Regal Boats in Orlando, Florida. Patrick provided the following documentation from Volvo Penta. The article is a summary and adaptation from their Service Bulletin 17-9, Number 3, Version 1.

Florida By Water Seal of Approval

fbw_approval_seal_protectedFlorida By Water has developed a new system to help you discover the best boating locations in the state. The "Florida By Water Seal of Approval” will now be added to websites and listings that are recommended by Florida By Water. If you see this seal on a listing or website you can be assured that the establishment should meet your needs as a boater.

This award is given to Restaurants, Boat Ramps, Hotels , Marinas and Campgrounds that meet the Florida By Water standards. In order to determine if an establishment is eligible, we use the following rating system: