U.S. Coast Guard issues Safety Alert on LED lights

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Aug. 30, 2018 – With their low battery draw, cooler operation and sturdy construction, LED lights have been popular with recreational boaters. The lights may also be causing poor VHF radio and Automatic Identification System (AIS) reception, according to a Marine Safety Alert issued by the U.S. Coast Guard on August 15. The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is urging boat owners to follow the Coast Guard’s simple test procedures for LED interference and report any instances to the Coast Guard Navigation Center.

Will your VHF radio work when you need it? The Coast Guard has received reports of LED lighting causing interference.

The alert, issued for informational purposes, outlines reports received from mariners concerning radio frequency interference caused by LED lamps that “were found to create potential safety hazards.” In some cases, the Coast Guard says, the interference may cause problems if mariners need to call for help. The interference can affect VHF voice communications as well as Digital Selective Calling (DSC) messages, and it may also affect AIS because they also use VHF radio. In particular, masthead LED navigation lights on sailboats may cause problems due to their close proximity to antennas.

The Coast Guard advises that it is possible to test for the presence of LED interference by using the following procedures:

  1. Turn off LED light(s).
  2. Tune the VHF radio to a quiet channel (for example, channel 13).
  3. Adjust the VHF radio’s squelch control until the radio outputs audio noise.
  4. Re-adjust the VHF radio’s squelch control until the audio noise is quiet, only slightly above the noise threshold.
  5. Turn on the LED light(s).

If the radio now outputs audio noise, then the LED lights are causing interference and it is likely that both shipboard VHF marine radio and AIS reception are being degraded by LED lighting. Potential solutions include contacting an electronics repair facility to address the problem, changing the LED bulb to incandescent bulb or fixture, or increasing the separation between the LED light and antenna.

The Coast Guard also requests those experiencing this problem to report their experiences to the Coast Guard Navigation Center by selecting “Maritime Telecommunications” on the subject drop-down list, then briefly describing the make and model of LED lighting and radios affected, the distance from lighting to any antennas and radios affected, and any other information that may help them understand the scope of the problem.

If you’d like to learn more about VHF DSC radio or AIS operation, BoatUS Foundation has online courses and a free DSC VHF tutorial at BoatUS.org.

Red Tide Not Affecting Regatta Pointe Marina

Regatta Pointe Marina is fortunate to have escaped nearly all of the affects of the recent red tide bloom that has tragically affected the sea life along our Gulf coast.

Our 350 slip marina is located 1 mile up the Manatee River, which is primarily being stocked with water from Lake Manatee.  The river has provided us and our boating community with safe harbor during this red tide bloom happening out on the Gulf coast.  Dock, dine and visit with confidence that red tide will not hinder your experience at Regatta Pointe Marina.

If you’d like more information about Red Tide Bloom and current conditions, please visit the research page presented by Mote Marine Laboratory

Speak Up – Protect Your Boat From E15 Fuel

Speak Up Now to Reduce the Chance of Putting Harmful E15 Fuel in Your Boat

Boaters need a safe supply of approved E10 and ethanol-free gasoline

WHAT: The battle to protect your boat’s engine is not over. Right now, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public comments on the amount of ethanol that must be blended into the nation’s fuel supply for 2019 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is asking all boat owners to Take Action Now to have their voices heard. 

WHY: E15 (15% ethanol) and higher-level ethanol fuel blends can now be found in at least 29 states and sold at over 1,400 stations, often at the very same pumps as E10 (10% ethanol) gasoline. Under the current EPA proposal, boaters can expect to see a greater volume of higher-level ethanol fuel blends dispensed at more gas stations, significantly increasing the chances for misfueling. Gasoline fuel blends greater than 10% ethanol are prohibited by federal law for use in recreational boat engines, will void many boat engine warranties, and can cause significant motor or fuel system damage.

Today, there is just a single, small warning sticker required on a fuel pump (among all the other pump labels) to prevent misfueling with E15. Combined with the EPA’s 2019 RFS proposal for more ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply, BoatUS believes these actions put boaters at greater risk of using fuel that could damage their boat’s engine and void the warrantee, and burden boat owners with expensive repair bills.

HOW: BoatUS asks recreational boaters to urge the EPA to lower the ethanol mandates. Take action now by clicking on: https://bit.ly/2vNZYB9

BACKGROUND: The RFS requires the blending of biofuels such as corn-ethanol into our gasoline. When it was passed in 2005, it assumed that America’s use of gasoline would continue to grow. Since then, however, gasoline usage has not increased as forecast, which today forces more ethanol into each gallon of gas. To meet this government mandate, in 2010 the EPA permitted E15 (fuel containing up to 15% ethanol) into the marketplace, but only for some vehicle engines. For more information, go to https://Advocacy.BoatUS.com.

5 Mistakes Boat Owners Should Avoid

Via BoatUS 

Here are some mistakes BoatUS has identified that can help any boat owner avoid a dispute with a service provider or with a boat purchase this summer.

1.  Not using a purchase contract. When a BoatUS member found out that a battery and other equipment had been removed from the sailboat he had purchased, he called BoatUS Consumer Protection. Unfortunately the member did not have a purchase contract that spelled out the price, listed included equipment, and was signed by both parties. This was an expensive lesson because the battery and other equipment accounted for about half of the purchase price of the boat.
2.  Not sea-trialing the boat after repairs are made. A BoatUS member purchased a used powerboat that was found to have a cracked engine head. The sales contract said the engine had to be working, so repairs were made and the dealer verified with a compression test to ensure everything was fine. It wasn’t. After paying for the boat, the engine promptly blew a hole in the side of the block. The dealer balked at offering a used engine replacement because the contract stated “as-is” condition. Lesson: Don’t accept the boat until all repairs have been made and verified with a sea-trial, and be sure to spell out contingencies in the contract
3.  Not allowing a shop to attempt to honor its warranty. After a BoatUS member’s inboard engine quit on a Memorial Day trip, he decided to seek out a repair shop on Craigslist in order to get back on the water as quickly as possible. After he got the boat back from a shop he’d found, the engine was still not working, so the member lost confidence and took it to another shop to fix it, which it did satisfactorily. But when the member went back to the first shop to seek warranty reimbursement, it refused. Lesson: Warranty law allows a shop to be given the opportunity to correct the problem. Don’t expect a shop to give up this right, even if you are in a hurry.
4.  Not verifying the paperwork was sent. A BoatUS member bought a ski boat with several years remaining on a 5-year manufacturer warranty that the seller said transferred with the boat. Shortly thereafter, the boat had a catastrophic engine failure due to a failed pump. Unfortunately, the seller neglected to transfer the warranty to the member, and the $10,000 engine replacement was not covered. Lesson: Some warranties have specific transfer procedures that must be followed, including paying a fee, paperwork that must be signed and delivered, and sometimes even a maintenance check by a qualified shop. Add a sales contingency to the sales contract that addresses the successful transfer of the original warranty
5.  Not letting the shop be involved in the diagnosis. When a small diesel engine was having starting issues, a repair shop told a BoatUS member that water was found in the cylinders. Instead of allowing the shop to investigate further and fix the engine, the member bought a new engine to have the shop install. However, the new engine was just the block, so the shop had to install the old starter, alternator and intake and exhaust manifolds to complete the job. After installation, water was soon found in the new engine’s cylinders. The shop advised the member the warranty was only on the new base engine, and not the old manifolds that leaked in the engine. Lesson: By telling a shop that the engine simply has starting issues, for example, a successful fix by the shop will come with a warranty on the work. However, telling the shop what parts to replace implies no warranty to the initial problem – the shop is just following your orders. For major work especially, let the shop do their job and recommend the repair. 
 
BoatUS has some help with tips on choosing a repair facility at www.BoatUS.com/Repair-Facility

2018 HURRICANE PLANNING MEETING

Hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30and it is time to begin making your plans! As you know, we have already had our first named storm of the year.
 
Please reserve the evening of Tuesday, June 12, 2018 to attend the marina’s annual hurricane preparedness meeting. The meeting will be held in the Riverfront Room, on the second floor of the Riverhouse Reef and Grill, at 6 p.m.  Light beverages and snacks will be served.
 
The meeting will feature a brief presentation of Regatta Pointe Marina’s formal hurricane plan that covers what is expected of marina personnel and marina customers in the event of a severe storm and includes some valuable information resource references. Also, Ed Massey of Massey Yacht Sales will share his knowledge and perspective about hurricanepreparation gained from his many years as a yachtsman and yacht broker. Finally, Tom Watson, a long term resident of Regatta Pointe Marina and an experienced sailor, will go over some invaluable tips on planning and techniques for securing your vessel in the event of a storm threat.
 
We are planning ample time for questions and discussion and strongly encourage you to attend this meeting.
 
Regatta Pointe Marina maintains and updates both a written hurricane plan and a separate “how-to” manual on securing your boat. The 2018 editions are available by clicking on the following links:
 

CLICK HERE FOR 2018 HURRICANE PROCEDURES

 

CLICK HERE FOR 2018 SECURING YOUR BOAT

 
A RSVP to this invitation would be appreciated so that we may plan for enough seating and refreshments. You may RSVP by replying to this email or by emailing me at the address shown below. Send your RSVP to Paul@RegattaPointeMarina.com

2018 Lionfish Challenge: Harvesting Florida’s Non-Native Fish Offers Rewards

Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day, May 19; Challenge runs through Sept. 3

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., May 15, 2018 – Sign up now for the 2018 Lionfish Challenge and you could win up to $5,000 while helping rid Florida’s waters of non-native lionfish. The competition starts this Saturday, May 19. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) urges Sunshine State divers and anglers to register now at MyFWC.com/Lionfish. Once signed up, participants will have through Labor Day, Sept. 3, to enter catches via photo or by submitting tails to checkpoints located at select dive shops and FWC offices.

Participants who harvest FWC-tagged lionfish will receive a customized Lionfish Control Team long-sleeve performance fishing gear shirt. The first tagged lionfish that is removed from each of the 50 reefs will be eligible for monetary or product-based rewards.

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 addition to the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water which donated $5,000 toward the effort, support for the program also comes from the American Sportfishing Association, Yamaha, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Coastal Conservation Association of Florida, the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County, Dive Rite, Narked Scuba, and Lionator Pole Spears.

Visit myfwc.com/lionfish for more information.

3 Easy, No-Cost Ways to Be Safer on the Water

National Safe Boating Week is May 19–25 (2018): With the start of boating season and next week’s National Safe Boating Week, May 19–25, the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water has three tips to get boaters thinking about safety aboard any type of boat.

1. Open up your boat for a vessel safety check: You may think getting a vessel safety check from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons can open yourself to problems. However, a no-risk, free vessel safety check does the opposite. It points out both the required and recommended items to have aboard, such as fire extinguishers, life jackets, distress signals, first-aid kits, and engine spark arrestors, and also helps provide a better understanding on the care and use of this critical equipment. Checks are done as a courtesy with no risk to the boater, so you won’t be in trouble if discrepancies are found. Go to https://bit.ly/1syhbDA to request a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary safety check or https://bit.ly/2I2uc8w for a U.S. Power Squadrons safety check.

2. Believe the numbers – take a safety course: Statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety show that only 13 percent of all boating deaths in 2016 occurred on vessels where the operator had taken a nationally approved boating safety education course. So take this number to heart – taking a boating safety course improves safety. The BoatUS Foundation offers free online boating safety courses that meet the education requirements in 36 states and also may earn you a boat insurance discount. Go to BoatUS.org/Free.

3. Give a safety talk before you head out: Taking out guests is half the fun of boating, but before you head out give a little talk about how to stay safe aboard your boat. Some important things to include may be how to distribute weight in a small boat, how to hold on when crossing a wake, how a tuber or water skier should safely reboard after being towed, how the VHF radio works and the location of important safety equipment. Also, give everyone a life jacket to wear or keep in his or her immediate vicinity. If you don’t have a right-sized life jacket for a youngster, borrow one for free at more than 550 locations nationwide from the BoatUS Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Program at BoatUS.org/Life-Jacket-Loaner.

Regatta Pointe Marina Wins “Best Marina” For 5th Time

For the fifth time in the last six years, Regatta Pointe Marina was named “Best Marina” by the readers of the Bradenton Herald in the annual People’s Choice Awards.  

Regatta Pointe Marina is one of more than a dozen marinas located in the Herald’s circulation area, including Bradenton, Palmetto, Parish, Anna Maria Island, North Sarasota and the surrounding areas.  Each year, readers are encouraged to vote on their preferred local businesses in categories such as food & entertainment, home maintenance and business services. Regatta Pointe Marina was named “Best Marina” in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018.  In 2016, our marina was the runner up. 

Regatta Pointe Marina is also home to Riverhouse Reef & Grill, which won in the categories of “Best Waterfront Restaurant” in each of the last three years.

We would like to thank everyone who voted for Regatta Pointe Marina and Riverhouse Reef & Grill, as well as all of the customers, clients and partnering businesses that make this the best marina in the Bradenton area!

BoatUS Reaches 10K YouTube Subscribers

ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 26, 2018 – With springtime’s arrival, more boaters are getting help with a variety of how-to and other boating topics by watching BoatUS videos at YouTube.com/BoatUS. The national advocacy, services and safety group announced today it has reached a milestone with 10,000 YouTube channel subscribers. The most popular video, “How to Trim Your Boat,” has nearly 600,000 views and makes this critical boat-handling skill easy to understand.

Most of the 100-plus videos on the channel were produced by the editors of BoatUS Magazine and cover a range of practical topics, all designed to make a boater’s life better. “We’ve been releasing new videos weekly since last fall,” said BoatUS Magazine Managing Editor Stacey Nedrow-Wigmore. “Topics include how-to, maintenance, boat handling, buyers guides, fishing, and more. They’re professionally shot and edited, and we keep them short so they’re easy to watch anytime. Each one offers something useful, whether you’re new to boating or have been on the water for years.”

Some of the more popular topics just in time for the start of the boating season include, “How to Repair Gelcoat,” “5 Outboard Maintenance Jobs People Forget,” “Beaching Your Boat So You Can Leave Again,” “How To Navigate Using a Smartphone,” and “How To Back Into a Slip.”

Visit YouTube.com/BoatUS and click “subscribe” to receive notifications when new BoatUS videos are posted.

Here’s a recent video post we here at Regatta Pointe Marina found particularly useful demonstrating a Pre-Departure Boating Checklist:

Take A FREE Online Boating Safety Education Course Mar. 18–24

No-Cost BoatUS Foundation online course offered for Florida & 35 other states

Photo Caption: The boating and fishing season will be here soon, and taking the no-cost BoatUS Foundation online boating safety course is easy to do with busy schedules.

Next week, Mar. 18-24, 2018, is a great time to take a boating safety course. Why? It’s perfect timing just before the start of the boating and fishing season and the week-long ‘Spring Aboard’ public service campaign makes it easy for boaters to take a boating safety course. The educational effort is a partnership of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), government, and nonprofit partners including the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water.

The BoatUS Foundation offers a no-cost NASBLA and state-approved online boating safety course for 36 states at BoatUS.org/Free. The course fits into busy schedules, allowing boaters to stop, and then start again where they left off any time of day or night, and is loaded with interactive animations, videos and photos to give boaters an education that goes well beyond the basics of boating. Upon successful passage course takers can easily print their state’s proof of completion. More than 1.4 million boaters have taken the Foundation’s courses since 1997.

US Coast Guard statistics indicate that of the accidents where the level of operator education was known, 80 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education instruction.