The Perfect Gift for a Boater

Christmas is just around the corner and you must start buying gifts for the people you love. Finding the perfect gift for someone you love could be a bit hectic especially when time is not on your side.

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However, you do not have to worry because, here you will learn a few tips. Are you looking to buy a gift for someone who loves boating? Keep reading to get good ideas on the perfect presents for boaters.

Fish Finders

Humminbird 788ci HD DI Combo Internal GPS

Humminbird 788ci HD DI Combo Internal GPS

If your loved one likes fishing while on the boat, a fish finder is the best present for him or her this season. What is better, he will always use it even after the Christmas season is over. This is the perfect gift especially if he or she has been complaining about how hard they’ve been trying to catch fish lately. This tool will be very helpful for there is no fish that can hide from a new fish finder.

VHF Radios

Standard Horizon Matrix GX2000 VHF w/ Optional AIS Input 30W PA

Standard Horizon Matrix GX2000 VHF w/ Optional AIS Input 30W PA

This is a very useful device for the sake of having reliable marine communications and safety while your loved one is out in the waters. A VHF radio is a must have for every boat and if the person you are buying the gift for has a boat that lacks this vital device, then you should buy it for him or her from iboats.com. You can buy a fixed mount or a hand held unit that will always ensure that they have a form of contact in case of an emergency. Nothing will make them happier than realizing how much you care about his or her safety.

Marine Sound System

Jensen AM/FM Cd Stereo with USB, Ipod control, Weatherband & Sirius - JMS7010

Jensen AM/FM Cd Stereo with USB, Ipod control, Weatherband & Sirius – JMS7010

Does he or she love listening to music? Then a new marine sound system from brands such as Jensen, JBL, Boss and Poly Planar will be the perfect gift for him or her. If he or she has an old one, buy a new one for him or her. With this system from iboats.com, it will be very easy for you to ensure that your loved one is adequately entertained while boating.

Weather Receivers and Monitors

Kestrel 2500 Pocket Weather Meter

Kestrel 2500 Pocket Weather Meter

Has he or she been caught unaware by unfavorable weather conditions while in the waters? If this has happened numerous times, then this is the perfect presents for boaters. With this device they will be in a position to keep track of the weather and therefore act in time to avoid any misfortunes.

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Popular Boating Destinations

If you are planning a boating vacation here are boating destinations you should stop by ;

PALM BEACH

The Palm beaches cover more than 47 miles of the Atlantic Ocean coastline there are plenty of activities to enjoy ranging from sailing, fishing, diving, yachting and snorkelling. The Florida sunshine with annual temperatures averaging 75 degrees enables one to enjoy the outdoor activities all year round. Palm Beach was once declared a “veritable paradise “by Henry M Flagler in 1893 when he set out to build The Royal Poinciana Hotel in Palm Beach making it the world’s largest wooden structure.

PalmBeach_DestinationBlogPhoto

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Lake Okeechobee ,United States second largest lake borders Palm Beach County to the west is famous for its productive fishing canals .The fishing season happens all year round , water travellers also get to enjoy docking and free boat kayaking all year round along the ports on Palm Beach Intra Coastal .Overall the beach provides boaters with many opportunities to discover South Florida , tourists can easily charter a boat through the local marinas .

LAKE GEORGE, NEW YORK.

This has been dubbed as the most beautiful water ever seen by Thomas Jefferson in 1791 and it has maintained this ….200 years on. This destination is located just over three hours from metro New York. It is any boaters dream with 32 miles of clear water from tip to toe the Lake is fed by underground springs it also has 109 miles of shoreline.

Lake-George_DestinationBlogPhoto

Lake George created by glaciers has a number of attractions ,entertainment spots ,lodging facilities and public docking .Larger cruisers can dock on islands and bays ,some islands on Lake George are private and give only one or two docks although all islands are owned by the state .The bays on Lake George have secluded beaches and shallow waters , the bays are also large and can accommodate families and boating clubs.

MIAMI, FLORIDA

Miami_DestinationBlogPhoto

It is common for many people to think that Miami Beach is Miami’s sandy shoreline however it is named after the barrier island. For visiting boaters Miami Beach offers three marinas; Government Cut MiaMarina, Dinner Key Marina and the Marbella Marina. There also many attractions here such as restaurants, an 18-hole course golf course, neon nightclubs and walking trails.

MOREHEAD CITY, NORTH CAROLINA.

North Carolina is known as a mountaineering area however its coast is great if you’re looking for big game fishing. North Carolinas Coast Cape Look out is one of the cleanest beaches in America.

Morehead City_BoatingDestinationPhoto

There are some great fish species to be caught such as sailfish however on needs to consider the weather before going offshore to avoid bad weather experiences when off shore.

 

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New SeaDoo Will “Spark” Your Interest By Matt Train

There is a term in marketing that strikes fear into the hearts of all competitors, and builds the legacy of the company that can successfully pull it off.  The term is called “Disruptive Product”.  For us normal folks, we would call it a paradigm shift, or a benchmark product.  It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it can literally rewrite the play book for an entire industry.  The last big disruptive products we collectively saw were the Apple iPhone, iPad, and the iOS platform.  The world had never seen anything quite like them, and we don’t need to go into details on the effect they had.  But every company seeks to capture that magic product that hits the right market at the right time.

We were on hand in Orlando, Florida this week with Sea Doo to attend a colorful media event for their new product that hits the right market at the right time.  The new SeaDoo “Spark” is that product.   At the debut of the Spark, the term “disruptive product” was being thrown around more than once.  The Spark is a truly new entry-level PWC with some decidedly out-of-the-box thinking.

After riding it, we think it’s a home run.  Did we mention it will cost less than $5,000? But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.  I need to do some historical housekeeping.

The PWC market plays in a decidedly niche market.  There are some family-friendly, starter watercraft in the $8,000 range, and they go all the way up to $18,000 luxury performance watercraft that have technology rivaling some sports cars.  With the ever rising prices in the recreational marine market, the PWC market (like most boat market niches) has stagnated and become mature.  Sea Doo has identified a large gap in the market for a PWC that is fun, not intimidating, family-friendly, plus inexpensive to own and run.  Their market analysis shows a sweet spot for the 25 to 35 year olds demographic looking for a PWC in the $5,000 – $7,000 price point where younger families can justify buying their first PWC.  Up till now, however, the PWC market starts just north of there.  So, here is where the Spark comes in.

The Spark begins with a mission:  a lightweight, durable watercraft that is fun, low maintenance, and retains its Sea Doo DNA.  From there, everything else is a blank page in the name of thinking outside the box.

The Spark makes a decidedly strong play at reducing costs without feeling cheap.  You have your choice of two-up or the slightly longer three-up hull.  The hull is all new, based in the X4L hull, and is made from a mixture of roto-formed polymer and fiberglass.  This reduces cost and weight, and ups the durability quotient. The deck is entirely made from a durable polymer, and bolted to the hull.  The color components are also bolt-on,  and are cast into the material – there is no gloss finish on exterior.  There is also no glue anywhere in the construction process.  The entire deck can be removed with an impact gun in 10 minutes, exposing all the mechanical bits underneath.  There are five colors available, each rendered in the aforementioned textured plastic rather than gel coat.  If you’re handy with a wrench, we have it on good authority that you can change the color on a whim.  The theme here is light and durable, intended to be towed behind almost any car available in the U.S. today.  And we do mean light….final weight wasn’t specified, but we were told around 400 lbs, or nearly less than half what current products weigh.  Two people can pick the ski up without back injuries.  The upshot here is a highly durable hull that can take a lot of abuse.

Speaking of mechanical bits, you will be looking at one of two power plants when you do get in there, both of them variants of the Rotax 900 ACE 4 stroke DOHC 4-valve 3 cylinder engine.  The base engine is a 60 hp variant with closed cooling (yeah, standard!), or for a small up charge you can upgrade to the HO version with 90 hp.  Going for the larger engine buys you Sea Doo’s electronic throttle control with Sport Mode, which sharpens the throttle and unlocks the extra 30 horses.  Additionally, going with the engine upgrade opens the door to iBR option, Sea Doo’s exclusive braking feature.  The engine upgrade is optional on the 2 up and standard on the 3 up, with iBR optional on both HO equipped models.  Additionally the engine is designed for hard running, with an oiling system that can lubricate the rotating assembly up to 90 degrees from the horizon.  Fuel capacity is  7.9 gallons.

But let’s be honest.  You don’t care about any of this.  You only care how it rides, right?  In a word, it’s spectacular…and reminiscent of PWCs from a decade ago.

Climb aboard and the craft is stable, the seat narrow, giving the rider room to work.  The controls are simple…start/stop button on the left, throttle on the right, and a multifunction gauge in the center below the handlebars that shows speed, RPM, and fuel.  The combination of light weight and peppy engine adds up to spirited performance.  We took the 60 hp base model out and felt it was very enjoyable – perfect, really, for a new rider.  Acceleration is adequate, and flat out she will top out in the low 40s.  (We were not able to hook test gear up to these units as they were pre-production.)  Handling, however, was a real eye-opener.  The boat (yes they are boats) changes direction on a dime, carves hard corners, and has enough power to jump its own bow wake on a hole shot.  Lean into it and lay on the gas in a corner and it will slide and spin like a hooligan.  The ride was also quite palatable, occasionally slapping over really rough chop, but at no point was it bone-jarringly uncomfortable.

Move up to the HO (high output) model and you gain Sport Mode, which remaps the throttle to be an order of magnitude more responsive.  This turns the boat into a much more dynamic PWC, with instant power anywhere, and ups the top speed to 50 mph.  Sea Doo’s iBR system (intelligent Brake and Reverse) is foolproof, and very effective.  Tap the left lever and the PWC goes into neutral, with thrust diverted to either side.  It allows the boat to rotate on its axis.  Hold the lever to go to reverse.  Tap the throttle briefly to put it back into forward.  It definitely makes the boat much more maneuverable at docking speeds, and reassuring to pilot at higher speeds.  This was the configuration that everyone was clamoring to try, and even the most jaded PWC enthusiast came back with a smile on their faces, wanting another go.  More than one came back from riding Sea Doo’s other models and headed right back for the Spark – including me, for that matter.

It’s the duality of the Spark’s personality is what makes it so endearing.  If you are new and inexperienced, there is nothing about your first ride on the Spark that is intimidating.  It’s zippy, fun, and stable.

Take a few laps around the lake, and you start to learn you can throw it around more.  The Spark responds by focusing, carving harder lines, and getting more and more playful.  Suddenly gentle turns and relaxed cruising becomes super-sharp transitions from left to right, kneeling down on the floorboards and dipping your shoulder into the corner, and slides around corners.  It makes you feel like a hero.

And at $5,000, your wallet will make you feel like a hero too.  The Spark opens at $4,995 for the base 2 up.  Going to the HO model with iBR brings you up to $6,399.  Buy a 3 up (which includes both the HO and the iBR system) and you’re around $7,000.  It is nearly impulse-buy money, and you get a warranty on top of it.  Production is up and running and they should be in dealers by Thanksgiving.

Two thumbs way, way up on this.  Go try one.

Matt Train is a life-long boater living in the greater Chicago area with his wife/first mate, Susan.  Matt has provided numerous articles on powerboats from major manufacturers.  Look for more of Matt’s reviews in the future.

 

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Boating Safety

Boating is a recreational activity that is undertaken by people from all walks of life. Whether is a simple activity such as fishing or an adrenaline pumping one like white water rafting, it is important for boaters to ensure that they adhere to standard safety measures. Boating safety courses and classes are now available all over the country.

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These courses teach boaters basic safety measures they can take to prevent accidents. They also cover the aspect of dealing with accidents and preventing deaths. At the end of these courses, boaters are certified by their respective institutions having passed the set tests.

For those who cannot afford this class, online sites such as iboats.com Blog and Boating Safety Resource Center have safety tips that you can easily read and familiarize yourself with before embarking on a boating trip. Some of these tips include:

• Have a safety checklist

Before embarking on any boating trip, you should have a safety checklist on board. This checklist should have all the safety items you will require on your boat. Check each item on the boat as per the list and replace items that are worn out or missing.

• Read the weather

You should be up-to-date with the weather conditions in your location. You should also learn how to observe the physical weather changes incase the radio forecasts are not accurate. Changing tides and clouds are good weather indicators.

• Have an assistant

Among your crew, you should pick and assistant who will be able to steer the boat in the event you cannot. If you are with your family, include an extra navigator to help you out in controlling the boat.

• Check the boat

The US Coast Guard offers free safety checks that you can take advantage of. As a boater, you should ensure your boat is properly functioning before you take it into the water. You would not like an incident where you get stranded in the middle of the sea or ocean with no one to offer you assistance. Radio and navigation gadgets should also be checked and certified to be in proper working condition.

• Use life jackets

Life Jackets

Life vests are the most essential items on a boat. In the case of an accident, these vests will save you from drowning. Statistics show that a majority of victims of boat accidents who die do so because they were not wearing a life vest. It is important to make sure every occupant on a boat has their life jacket on and properly fastened.

• Swimming classes

Swimming is another safety measure that boaters should be well aware of. It makes no sense going on a boating trip and being around water when you know you cannot swim. Swimming lessons start from the tender age of 4 so it should not be an excuse for anyone to lack this essential skill.

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