Looking At The Accuracy of 22 Years of Hurricane Season Predictions

Courtesy of BoatUS

LEXANDRIA, Va., June 13, 2017 – According to BoatUS, damage from hurricanes is a leading cause for boat insurance claims. So each summer, the national advocacy, services and safety group anxiously awaits predictions, from a number of highly qualified experts with supercomputers, as to how many tropical storms and hurricanes will form in the Atlantic.

Bottom numbers indicate how many hurricanes were forecast for each year. Red icons above the line indicate how many more hurricanes occurred than predicted. Blue icons below the line indicate how many fewer hurricanes occurred than predicted.

With most 2017 storm forecasts now predicting average to above-average storm activity for the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season (June 1 – November 30), just how accurate are these predictions, and do boaters need to adjust their hurricane prep plans this year?

The BoatUS Seaworthy Program, which helps BoatUS members avoid injuries and boat damage by analyzing insurance claims data and publishing its findings in BoatUS Magazine, compared over two decades of storm predictions from one of the better-known hurricane-season forecasts from Colorado State University’s Philip Klotzbach and the late Bill Gray. Said Seaworthy Director Charles Fort, “Our mission was not to judge the forecasters but to find out how much confidence we should have in the hurricane-season predictions and what it means to boaters,” said Fort.

After comparing annual predictions to actual weather, Seaworthy discovered that out of 22 years of hurricane season activity forecasts, only one was 100 percent accurate. In some years, there were up to eight more storms than predicted (click here for chart with data).

Boaters often misinterpret what the forecasters try to do, says Fort. “Early season hurricane predictions don’t attempt to forecast the percentage of storms that will come ashore or which coastal locations will be in the crosshair.” BoatUS members can get public advisories from the National Hurricane Center as they are issued, as well as detailed maps of the forecast track, wind bands and wind field for each named storm.

The takeaway? “Weather forecasting is tricky business,” added Fort. “Despite what forecasters may predict, a boater’s mantra should be hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Have a well-thought-out hurricane plan, and prepare your boat as best as possible. It could mean the difference between an easy recovery after a storm or a complete loss.”

Free hurricane-planning help is available online at BoatUS.com/hurricanes.  
Click here to download Regatta Pointe Marina hurricane procedures
Click here to download Regatta Pointe Marina hurricane preparedness tips

Danger Of Texting While Boating

ANNAPOLIS, Md., May 15, 2017 -The National Highway Traffic Safety Commission says that sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. On waterways across the country, recreational boaters know that five seconds is a world of time to get into trouble. Unlike driving on a road, boats can approach from any direction, come in all shapes and sizes and move at different speeds. As part of National Safe Boating Week (May 20–26), the BoatUS Foundation urges boaters who bring smartphones aboard to be aware of the risk of distracted boating.

Photo of boater texting provided by BoatUS

Good news/bad news: “Cellphones are the primary communication device for many boaters,” said BoatUS Foundation Assistant Director of Boating Safety Ted Sensenbrenner. “So while they’re important to all of us, we have to know how to use them wisely. If you’re texting from the helm, you’re likely not helming the boat.”

The stress of it all: Adding to the challenge and unlike automobiles, says Sensenbrenner, is boating’s unique stressors of sun, glare, wind, waves and vibration. Research shows that hours of exposure to these boating stressors produces a kind of a fatigue, or “boater’s hypnosis” which slows reaction time almost as much as if you were legally drunk. Adding alcohol multiplies the accident risk.

4 tips to improve situational awareness: Cell phones, alcohol and other factors can hinder knowing what’s going on around you, or your “situational awareness.” Sensenbrenner says boaters can always improve their situational awareness by: 1. not texting while driving, 2. slowing down, 3. posting extra lookouts, and 4. waiting for your safe return ashore before enjoying alcohol.

If you’d like to learn more about safe, smart and clean boating, go to BoatUS.org.

Women’s Sailing Conference Slated June 3, 2017

MARBLEHEAD, Mass., April 26, 2017 – Lady sailors take note: the National Women’s Sailing Association (NWSA) has announced the 16th Annual Women’s Sailing Conference will be held Saturday, June 3, 2017, at the Corinthian Yacht Club (CYC) in Marblehead, Massachusetts. The event, which features hands-on land and water-based workshops and seminars, offers women a fantastic opportunity to learn or hone sailing skills, network with other women sailors from all over the United States and gain the confidence necessary to become a valuable crew member or knowledgeable skipper.

Lady sailors gather in Marblehead, Massachusetts on June 3 for the 16th Annual Women’s Sailing Conference.

“Women of all sailing abilities are encouraged to attend,” said NWSA President Linda Newland. “By sharing experiences, women leave with improved skills and knowledge that contribute to better days on the water. There is always something of interest for everyone.”

On the water, women can improve their sail trim skills or take the helm for their very first time in a Colgate 26 or Sonar sailboat. “Women always sign up for on-the-water courses first,” said Conference Committee Chair Joan Thayer. “We are fortunate to have the support of Black Rock Sailing School and Corinthian Yacht Clubs,” she added. Generous contributions from CYC, Black Rock and Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) enable NWSA to meet the educational needs of women sailors and continue to provide one of the top women’s sailing conferences in the US.

New educational opportunities this year include training on rigging, reefing, navigating in fog, dingy skills, and weather. Back by popular demand are conference favorites such as Diesel Damsels, Suddenly Singlehanded, and Heaving-To Strategies for Heavy Weather, plus beginning necessities like Knots to Know and Rules of the Road. NWSA is proud to offer educational opportunities from some of the country’s most experienced and exceptional sailing women, including women’s sailing school owners Captain Nancy Erley of Seattle, Washington and Captain Sharon Renk-Greenlaw of Casco Bay, Maine as well as American Boat and Yacht Council Master Marine Tech Beth Burlingame and Captain Bonnie Schaeffer.

The event begins with a continental breakfast and includes raffles and a silent auction throughout the day. Participants wind down with cocktails, dinner, and address by keynote speaker Sally Barkow, two-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, who will bring it all together and offer unique insights and experiences that can be applied to sailing and life. Also BoatUS and NWSA will present the 2017 Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award to Linda Lindquist-Bishop, a trailblazer in the all-male world of offshore yacht racing and member of the all-female America3 team in the 1985 America’s Cup.

Raffle ticket sales and silent auction proceeds will benefit the Women’s Sailing Foundation, a 501(c) 3 organization which funds the AdventureSail program for at-risk girls ages 9 to 14, and provides scholarships for AdventureSail participants via community learn-to-sail programs. In addition, the Sue Corl Youth Sailing Scholarship provides all-girl sailing opportunities for older, post-AdventureSail teenage girls. Added Newland, “This special scholarship was established in memory of our NWSA Board Member Sue Corl, who was constantly seeking out new and unique opportunities for girls.”

Conference registration includes a continental breakfast, buffet lunch, dinner, workshops and a raffle ticket. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis at womensailing.org. For additional information contact Chair Joan Thayer at joan_thayer@comcast.net.

The National Women’s Sailing Association is a program of the Women’s Sailing Foundation, an organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of women and girls through education and access to the sport of sailing.

Affordable On-Water Boating Courses April 29, 30

SARASOTA, Fla., April 24, 2017 – Want to learn the basics of boating, or have you considered buying a boat someday? The BoatUS Foundation and Freedom Boat Club of Sarasota will offer discounted on-water training courses April 29 and 30 at Marina Jack in Sarasota. The three-and-one-half-hour skills-building courses are affordably priced at $149 and limited to three students per vessel, ensuring each gets practice time behind the helm.
 
The high costs of training with a professional instructor aboard a charter vessel can preclude many from an on-water learning experience. The BoatUS Foundation and Freedom Boat Club course aims to make it more affordable, offering more Floridians the chance to try out recreational boating or to simply brush up on their skills prior to the peak summer boating season.
 
“Our classroom is a 21-foot powerboat,” said BoatUS Foundation Director of Education Amanda Suttles Pérez. Each student will get hands-on experience on steering, docking, close-quarters maneuvering, anchoring, approaching fuel docks, understanding the rules of the road and more.”
 
Courses start at 9:00AM, 9:30AM, 1:30PM and 2:00PM. Space is limited. To register go to: http://connect.boatus.org/site/Calendar?id=100081&view=Detail&s_src=email&s_subsrc=Freedom2

BoatUS Warns: Be Wary Of Phony Renewal Notices

From BoatUS Staff

April 6, 2017 – Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) Consumer Protection Department is advising boaters with vessels having a US Coast Guard Certificate of Documentation to be wary of any letter arriving by US mail offering renewal. An increasing number of BoatUS members have complained that these letters direct them to websites that may be mistaken for the actual US Coast Guard Vessel Documentation Center located in Falling Waters, West Virginia, and appear to show a significant increase in the annual fee to renew US Coast Guard (USCG) documentation.

BoatUS advises that while the USCG does send official annual renewal notices by US mail, other notices being received by members are not from the USCG but rather third-party companies whose name or return addresses may appear similar to that of the official USCG Vessel Documentation Center. Members of the half-million boat owners group report the letters look like “real” USCG communications. Some examples members have forwarded to BoatUS do not have any disclaimers noting that they are not official USCG correspondence.

While third-party companies may legitimately provide services to assist with vessel documentation renewals, the USCG’s own renewal process is simple for most vessels and the price, $26, is often much lower than what third-party services may charge. To renew, go to the USCG National Documentation Center website at www.uscg.mil/nvdc and click on “instructions and forms.”

To be documented, a vessel must measure at least 5 net tons and, with the exception of certain oil-spill response vessels, owned by a US citizen. Boats about 27 feet in length or longer generally meet the weight requirement.

If boat owners wish to file a consumer complaint about this or any other boating-related advertisement or company, BoatUS welcomes boaters to visit http://my.boatus.com/consumer/dispute.asp and click on “send us a complaint” button.

BoatUS also advises boaters who may have received mail that they believe is misleading or deceptive may contact the US Postal Inspection Service at 1-877-876-2455 or through its website https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov.

Make Sure Your Boat Is Fire Ready

-Via Susan Croft & Boat US

Boats burn every year and when they do, things get bad. Quickly. For boaters, acknowledging the possibility of a fire is an exercise in fear because there’s nothing more scary than to have open flames aboard and no place to go. We’d like to share two new videos from the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water that I encourage you to share with friends:

Four Fire Extinguisher Myths

At the BoatUS Foundation, this subject is always a “hot topic,” especially because some boaters mistakenly believe that fire extinguishers must be mounted. US Coast Guard Fire Extinguisher requirements include the following: Must be a marine-type, US Coast Guard-approved, in good, serviceable condition with sufficient charge, and you must have the required number of extinguishers aboard for your size and type of vessel. While mounting an extinguisher is not a USCG requirement, doing so is a smart idea because it keeps the extinguisher accessible where anyone can quickly grab it in the event of a fire.

Boat Fire Safety: Burning Boats Reel

Here’s to a safe and early start to the boating season!

10 Helpful Tips to Get the Right Boat Loan

How do you get the right boat loan for your new or previously owned dream boat? Here are 10 tips:

1. Check your credit: Before applying for a loan, ensure your credit report is accurate, and get your current credit score. The closer to 700 and higher, the better the rate you’ll get. A free copy of your credit report is available annually from each of the three national credit bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com. To get your credit score, first try checking with your credit card issuer or bank you do business with. If it’s not provided, you will need to speak to a credit counselor, use a fee-based service or purchase it from the credit bureau. More at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

2. Find the right loan type: A fixed-rate, fixed-term, simple-interest loan is the most common. This offers the same monthly payment for the life of the loan. Variable rate or hybrid options may offer a combination of a fixed rate for a few years then a variable rate. With interest rates forecasted to rise in 2017, the appeal of variable rate loans may increase. Don’t forget to ask if there are prepayment penalties for paying off the loan early.

3. Compare loan rates: Generally, rates are lower and available loan terms are longer for newer boats and larger loan amounts. However, each is dependent on a variety of factors including model year, loan amount and down payment. Be prepared for lenders to require larger down payments, have higher rates and offer shorter terms on older boats, especially those over 20 model years. There could also be a .25 percent rate difference between some consecutive model years, so be sure to talk with your lender and understand their rate and term structure.

4. Don’t be fooled by ads: You may see rates advertised as low as 3.99 percent, but there usually will be some small print that could make that loan less attractive. For instance, the rate might only be fixed for a few years or the loan period might be only seven years.

5. Get pre-approved: Ask if you can get preapproval, or if your lender allows you to start the underwriting process before you have a signed sales agreement. This may save some time.

6. Consider a HELOC: Thinking of using a home-equity line of credit (HELOC) to buy your boat? This might work if you have equity in your home and you plan to pay the boat off while interest rates remain relatively low. Unsecured loans (loans not secured by your boat) are also an option for well-qualified individuals.

7. Explore tax benefits: A boat can qualify as a second-home loan interest deduction if it has a berth, head and galley, so buying a boat just large enough to have these features could offer a tax advantage. There’s an overall limitation on the second-home deduction. You can only deduct two homes, and it can’t total more than $1 million in loans. If you count the HELOC, the threshold is $1.1 million.

8. Get it surveyed: So you’ve secured the loan and found the boat you’ve wanted. Hang on! While you might think the boat is perfect, hire a qualified marine surveyor to inspect the boat to ensure it is in good condition and you won’t have any unexpected repair bills. A list can be found at BoatUS.com/surveyors. Also, many lenders will require a marine survey.

9. Ask about closing costs: As with any loan, there are some fees involved – sales tax, processing fee, and title and registration fees are common. Check with your lender to find out what to expect.

10. Calculate your monthly payment: Wondering how much of a loan you can afford? Check the BoatUS online calculator at BoatUS.com/calculator to compute monthly payments. Your lender will also review your debt ratio and other criteria.

To learn about BoatUS Boat Loans, go to www.BoatUS.com/boatloans.  Regatta Pointe Marina resident yacht brokers are available to help you find the right boat.  Click here for more information on on-site yacht brokers or to get a preview of the boats on site.  

The RPM Yacht Brokers on site include:
Massey Yacht Sales
Whiteaker Yacht Sales
American Marine
All Captain’s Yacht Sales
Edgewater Yacht Sales 

Regatta Pointe Marina Customers Get Ready For The 2017 Riverwalk Regatta

Regatta Pointe Marina customers are in prime position to enjoy the 2017 Bradenton Area Riverwalk Regatta on Saturday, Feb 4! 

The excitement of super boats, stunt shows, concerts, family events, great food & much more will be right in front of the marina.  This is the third annual Riverwalk Regatta, and it’s going to be bigger than ever.  

This year, even more excitement will take place on the Palmetto side of the river.  Some great events just steps of our marina include multiple concerts, a kid’s fishing tournament, family fun zones and a Pogo stunt show.  Watch the commercial below for a sneak preview and visit www.bradentonarearegatta.com for all the details on this exciting event.

VIEW RIVERWALK REGATTA WEBSITE

  • Saturday, February 4, 2017
  • First event begins at 7:00 a.m.
  • Festivities ending at 10:00 p.m.