Download New BoatUS Advocacy Tool: Engage With State Gov

ALEXANDRIA, Va., January 29, 2018 – With the adage that “all politics is local,” Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) offers a new online Advocacy Tool for recreational boaters. The tool serves as a one-stop shop for federal and state recreational boating issues and gives recreational boaters the option to track relevant bills by state, find contact information for elected officials, speak to policymakers to express their views, and advocate for boating issues in their community.

As the boater’s voice in Washington, D.C., BoatUS closely follows federal legislation and regulations that matter to boaters and boating. Using the Federal Action Alerts tool, boaters can find out if action is needed on a particular bill or rule that would impact boating.

State Action Alerts tool tracks bills relevant to recreational boating by state as well as their status and sponsor, providing a simple and effective way to be kept informed of upcoming legislation and alerts that matter.

A key to affecting change is knowing your elected representatives and learning how to contact them. Using the Find your Elected Officials search box, boaters will get a complete list of contact information for federal, state and local elected officials.

“At the federal level, when we speak to Congress, BoatUS represents more than a half-million dues-paying members,” said BoatUS Government Affairs Manager David Kennedy. “Our new Advocacy Tool magnifies that strength and brings it to the state level, giving boaters the chance to have their voices heard when boating issues are being debated.”

“With significant issues, such as the mandate for more ethanol in gasoline or funding for dredging and infrastructure improvements to protect our waterways, boaters can use the BoatUS Advocacy Tool to remain engaged,” added Kennedy.

BoatUS is the nation’s only recreational boat owners group with a dedicated government affairs team speaking up for boaters. For more go to Advocacy.BoatUS.com

Make This The Year You Take The Florida Boating Safety Course

If you, or someone you know, are ready to take the wheel, there’s no better time than now to make it happen!  BoatUS makes it EASY and FREE to take the Florida BoatingSafety Course online. 

CLICK HERE to take the online course at no charge courtesy of BoatUS. This is the ONLY online site where you can take the course, recognized by Florida Fish & Wildlife for free.  

It’s four easy steps:

  1. Register your account
  2. Take the online course (roughly 4 hours)
  3. Study for/pass the online test
  4.  Print your certificate of completion

That’s it! So what are you waiting for?!

CLICK HERE to take the online course at no charge courtesy of BoatUS. 

Catamaran Dockage at Regatta Pointe Marina

It can be hard finding a marina with convenient dockage for your catamaran.  Thankfully, Regatta Pointe Marina has you covered!

We are the region’s largest marina, with 350 wet slips, including dozens of ideal spaces for catamarans up to 35′ wide. We are conveniently located on the north shore of the Manatee River, with easy access to Tampa Bay and The Gulf of Mexico free of any bridges. 

Regatta Pointe Marina boat slips are available by the day, week, month, three months, six months or annually.  Click below to request slip information.

2018 Florida Lionfish Removal Program Gets $5,000 BoatUS Check

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., December 6, 2017 – A new lionfish removal incentive program in Florida that’s scheduled to start in May 2018 has support from Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) with a $5,000 donation made during a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) meeting yesterday. The goal of the 2018 tagged-lionfish removal incentive program will be to offer cash and other prizes to anglers who harvest non-native lionfish that have been tagged by FWC staff.

BoatUS representative Bonnie Basham (center) presents $5,000 check to FWC officials yesterday. Included (L to R) are A. Walker, Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida; and FWC Commissioners R. Harris, B. Rivard, M. Sole, S. Rood and R. Spotswood.

The removal program coincides with the state’s annual summer-long Lionfish Challenge, which will run May 19 through Sept. 3, 2018. This event rewards recreational and commercial lionfish harvesters for their efforts. Rarely caught on hook-and-line, the most common methods of removal are spearing and using a hand-held net. In 2016, more than 110,000 lionfish were removed from Florida waters.

Native to the Indo-Pacific and believed to have entered Florida waters from an aquarium release, lionfish are now established along the southeast coast of the U.S., Caribbean, and across the Gulf of Mexico. Due to its venomous spines, the invasive species has few predators and can negatively impact native fish and reef habitats.

In 2018, approximately six to eight lionfish will be tagged by FWC at each of the 50 randomly selected public artificial reef sites throughout the Atlantic and Gulf between the depths of 80 and 120 feet. Reef locations can be found at ReefRangers.com, and additional information on the removal program will be announced by FWC in early next year.

Support for the tagged-lionfish removal incentive program also came from the American Sportfishing Association, Yamaha, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Coastal Conservation Association of Florida, and the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County.

Visit myfwc.com/lionfish for more information.

Practical Gifts For Boaters Christmas 2017

ALEXANDRIA, Va., November 20, 2017 – What do you get a boater for Christmas? Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), has three holiday gift ideas that are perfect for any boater, sailor or angler:

A $24 annual membership from BoatUS is a very affordable holiday gift. BoatUS also offers gift options for on-water towing and roadside breakdown services.

The gift of on-water towing: Give the gift of a BoatUS Unlimited Towing Membership with towing service provided by TowBoatUS. For saltwater boaters an annual Membership is just $149 per year, and for freshwater boaters the price is only $72. Both provide 24/7 dispatch assistance, and your boater will never have to pay out of pocket for a tow back to the dock or for a soft ungrounding. Included with an Unlimited Towing Membership is a subscription to award-winning BoatUS Magazine; exclusive fuel, transient slip and repair discounts; and the opportunity to earn rewards on boating gear at West Marine stores.

The gift for roadside breakdowns: For a stocking stuffer that offers big benefits to a trailer boater, consider gifting a BoatUS Membership with Unlimited Trailer Assist for $38 that takes care of roadside breakdowns. In addition a BoatUS Magazine subscription, membership discounts and West Marine rewards, one hundred miles of free on-road towing for both a disabled boat trailer and its tow vehicle to a safe location or repair shop are included, along with lockout, flat tire, battery jump and fuel drop-off service.

The gift that makes boating better: A basic BoatUS Membership for just $24 includes more than 25 benefits and services, including round-the-clock on-water or roadside dispatch with BoatUS paying the first $50 in towing services, a BoatUS Magazine subscription; exclusive fuel, transient slip and repair discounts; and rewards on boating gear at West Marine stores. Your boater can also take advantage of BoatUS’ advocacy efforts, safe boating and clean water programs.

All of these gifts can be found at BoatUS.com/gifts or by calling 800-395-2628. For every gift Membership purchased before December 25th, 2017, the gift giver will be entered to win a $200 West Marine gift card.

‘Give Way’ This Giving Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017

ANNAPOLIS, Md., November 9, 2017 – Giving Tuesday, November 28, kick-starts the season of charitable giving. Always celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, this national day of donating also offers boaters ways to give back to boating. The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water asks boaters, sailors and anglers to consider a donation to the boating nonprofit to help support its efforts to reduce boating accidents and increase stewardship of our waterways. Tax-deductible donations can be made at www.BoatUS.org/givingtuesday.

A donation to the BoatUS Foundation helps keep boaters safe.

“‘Give Way’ to Giving Tuesday helps recreational boaters understand this is the time of year to give priority to the things we cherish: safe outings on clean waters,” said BoatUS Foundation Assistant Director of Boating Safety Ted Sensenbrenner.

Since 1981, the 501(c)(3) Foundation has offered the largest national life jacket loaner program for kids at more than 575 locations across the United States, the only free online boating-safety course that’s taken by more than 100,000 boaters each year and officially recognized by 36 states, and has funded more than $1.3 million in local boating-safety and clean-water grants allowing local communities to have a positive impact on their own waters.

Headquartered in Annapolis, Maryland, most of the Foundation’s funding comes directly from boaters and waterway users. To make a donation this charitable season or learn more, go to BoatUS.org/givingtuesday.

See & Be Seen On The Water – New Online Course

Via Boat US

ANNAPOLIS, Md., October 26, 2017 – If your boating takes you through crowded harbors, across shipping lanes or on foggy seas, then you know the feeling in your stomach when you have to ask yourself, “What’s that vessel doing?” Automatic Identification System, or AIS, can give you the answer, but is this collision-avoidance technology right for you? The answer to that question can be found by taking the new online course offered by the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water and the United States Power Squadrons, “AIS Electronics for Boaters – See and Be Seen on the Water.”

Learning about AIS is easy at BoatUS.org/AIS.

Available for a limited time at the special price of just $15 using coupon code AIS15 at BoatUS.org/AIS, “AIS Electronics for Boaters – See and Be Seen on the Water” offers a blend of practical knowledge with technical know-how and is a simple and easy way to get up to speed on this important navigation technology that more recreational boaters bring aboard every year. From discovering the different types of AIS and what each offers to learning important terms such as “update rates” and “time to closest approach,” boaters will get a full look at AIS and how it can increase safety. Upon completion, boaters will be able to build out a sample AIS component system for installation for their own vessel.

“The course is designed for boaters – not marine electronics technicians – and our online learning system makes it easy to learn at your own pace from the comfort of your own PC or tablet,” said BoatUS Foundation Director of Education Amanda Suttles Pérez. “Users can stop and start again right where they left off or review previous information at any time. It’s great for when schedules are tight.”

For more information on all online courses offered by the Foundation, go to BoatUS.org/courses.

BoatUS Asks – Why Aren’t Millennials Buying Boats?

Via BoatUS

ALEXANDRIA, Va., October 5, 2017 – Both boaters and those who rely on boating to make a living lament that there doesn’t seem to be as many younger boaters these days. The statistics back that up. According to the recently published BoatUS Magazine feature “Why Aren’t Millennials Buying Boats?” (October 2017), approximately 41 percent fewer 20- to 39-year-olds owned boats in 2015 than in 2005. And while millennials may boat about as much as their parents did, the data confirms they are far less likely to own a boat.

Why? Author and millennial Fiona McGlynn, who is a professional management consultant, may have some answers.

Lower incomes, student debt, lack of technical knowledge or mechanical experience, and a culture shift that eschews conventional ownership in favor of renting take their toll on millennial (born between 1982 and 2000) boat ownership. “Young people are not giving up on boating, just going about it in a different way: chartering, borrowing, and riding along,” says McGlynn, a live-aboard who recently finished her first South Pacific crossing along with her husband, Robin.

While owning a boat can be pricey, McGlynn reports, “I’ve met a number of young boaters finding creative ways to get out on the water without breaking the bank, such as millennials who are participating in cooperatives, who share a boat among friends, or who live aboard a boat instead of renting pricey apartments in major American waterfront cities. Several boaters interviewed for the story mentioned the increasing popularity of wake boats, in part because they carry more people and they’re fun.”

McGlynn ultimately writes that, in general, millennials prefer the sharing economy. She asks, why would you buy a ski house, when all you have to do is Airbnb it? She suggests it’s the same with boats. “20- to 39-year-olds love boating for the same reasons their parents did. They see it as an opportunity to socialize, create family memories, and adventures, and unplug from work. Boating has the potential for a watershed moment among millennials.”

The BoatUS Magazine feature also includes creative tips on how young people with no boating, sailing, or fishing experience can get on the water.

For the full story, go to BoatUS.com/millennials.

Prepping for Hurricane Irma at Regatta Pointe Marina

By Regatta Pointe Marina Staff

Hurricane Irma touched nearly every corner of the state of Florida last week, and with it came incredible challenges and uncertainty. The incredible preparation and teamwork of everyone here at Regatta Pointe Marina, including staff and slip holders alike, provided a comforting blanket of security during the frightening days leading up to the storm. Thankfully, Irma passed by while causing only relatively minor damage at our port.

Regatta Pointe Marina is the largest marina in Manatee County with 350 slips, as well as commercial facilities for more than a dozen businesses.  Preparing for a hurricane is extremely complex and challenging for our staff and customers.  Each year we update our hurricane procedures and post them on our ebsite, as well as hold a Hurricane Planning Meeting, which all customer are invited to attend.  (NOTE: This year’s meeting was held on May 30 at the Eagle’s Nest.  Be sure you’re signed up to receive email alerts to ensure you receive your invitation to the 2018 meeting. CLICK HERE to join our email list)

All of our slip holding customers are responsible for securing their own boats to minimize the risk of damage to their vessel, their neighboring vessels and the marina.  We place a document with information on securing boats for storms on our website (CLICK HERE to view).  We are very thankful that so many of our slip holders did a spectacular job preparing their boats, and in many cases helping each other to secure each and every docked boat prior to the storm. 

Preparing the marina facilities for the storm was a complicated task that tested our staff.  Nearly every inch of our property had to be combed over by our maintenance team.  Anything loose or vulnerable to high winds had to be anchored or removed in advance of Irma’s arrival.  Dozens of signs had to be taken down, outdoor furniture had to be hidden away and other structures had to be anchored to be made storm ready.

As we all watched and waited for Irma to arrive, everyone in our region was terrified at the prospect of a potential category 4 hurricane laying waste to our beloved home.  We were blessed to see Irma take enough of an inland turn to reduce the strength of the winds to that of a category 1 when Irma reached us.  Regatta Pointe Marina’s electricity was knocked out, but only for a matter of hours.  Our hearts go out to those who did not have such fortune.

Following the storm, many of our customers were gracious enough to post photos and information about the marina on the Regatta Pointe Marina Facebook Group.  The marina was back up and running after just a couple of days.  The effects of the storm are a little less visible with each day that passes.  But the community spirit that held Regatta Pointe Marina together through the storm feels stronger than ever.

Sailing Convention For Women Offers Great Opportunity To Learn

Via Boat US

CORONA DEL MAR, Calif., September 6, 2017 – Where do women sailors go to learn? The Sailing Convention for Women presented by Gail Hine will be held on Saturday, February 3, 2018, at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club in Corona del Mar, California. The daylong ladies-only series of shore- and boat-based workshops offer beginners and experts alike a welcoming environment to learn more about all topics sailing.

“Going Up the Mast” is just one workshop at the Sailing Convention for Women on Feb 3 at Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club in Corona del Mar. (credit: Sailing Convention for Women)

“The convention gives women an opportunity to meet other women sailors, discuss options for more racing, cruising and daysailing, and find out about existing women’s sailing organizations and instructional programs available in their areas,” said convention creator/director Gail Hine. “We have something meaningful for everyone.”

Attendees select a combination of workshops that best fit their interests and abilities. Course instructors are top women sailors from all over Southern California, many of whom are U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captains. Workshops include: Welcome Aboard for Beginners, Diesels, Going Up the Mast, Introduction to Power Boating, Race Tactics, Docking, Suddenly Singlehanded, Weather, Sail Trim, Basic Navigation, Electronic Navigation, Maintenance Mania, DIY Canvas Projects, How to Heave a Line, Nighttime Sailing and Navigation, Winch Workshop, Spinnaker Rigging, Offshore Cruising, and Introduction to Sailing.

To top off the event, the featured dinner speaker is Deneen Taylor, an aerospace engineer for NASA’s International Space Station Program. A lifelong sailor and certified scuba diver, she owns a Hobie Cat and crews on J-boats in Galveston Bay, Texas. Six years ago, she co-founded Mantus Anchors, a fast-growing marine-supply company bringing innovative solutions to boaters.

The $200 (early bird) registration fee includes workshops, three meals, souvenirs and handouts. Prepaid registration is required as space is limited to approximately 250. To obtain a reservation form, email gail@sailingconventionforwomen.com or call 951-677-8121. Bookings can be made online at sailingconventionforwomen.com beginning December 10, 2017.