Blog March 2020

SOME FLORIDA RESTRICTIONS

Posted On: March 25, 2020


With all the inaccurate information out there, here's some facts as are available now:

Are Florida Keys beaches, parks and attractions open?

The island destination is closed to visitors since 6 p.m. Sunday, March 22.

Florida Keys lodging businesses are directed to close at that time. Many Florida Keys attractions are closed or are planning to close. 

The City of Marathon has closed Sombrero Beach and all city beaches. Key West’s Smathers Beach is closed as well, but Monroe County officials have not closed nearby Higgs Beach or other beaches in unincorporated areas of the island chain.

Parks in the Village of Islamorada are closed to the public with the exception of open spaces at Founders Park. The Founders Park Aquatic Center and dog park are closed. Founders Park Facilities such as basketball court, tennis courts, pickleball courts, fields and walking trails and may be used by individuals and small groups. All beaches and other Village parks including Anne’s Beach and Library Park Beach are completely closed. All restroom facilities at parks and beaches are closed.

The area known as the Fills from MM 77.5 to 79.8 and the boat ramp at Indian Key Fill are closed.

What about restaurants, bars and nightclubs?

Based on an executive order issued by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, all bars and nightclubs throughout Florida, including the Keys, ceased operations March 17.

Per the Governor’s March 20 executive order, all restaurants and food establishments within the State of Florida, including the Florida Keys, are to suspend on-premises food and alcohol consumption for customers. On-site dining is not allowed. Establishments may operate for the purpose of take-out or delivery.

Are area state and national parks open?

Effective March 21, Florida state parks with adjacent beaches are closed.

In the Florida Keys, this includes: Bahia Honda State Park, Curry Hammock State Park, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and Long Key State Park. 

Ferry and seaplane service to Dry Tortugas National Park is temporarily suspended. The Long Pine Key and Flamingo campgrounds in Everglades National Park are closed.

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STAYING ON THE WATER LONGER AS YOU AGE

Posted On: March 17, 2020


Anyone who spends a good chunk of their lives on the water will proudly recount the various craft they've enjoyed across the sweep of their boating life. The chronology generally follows an upward trend, starting with a modest skiff or sailing dinghy and navigates through increasingly bigger and better boats.

But just as our wants, needs, and priorities change at various life stages, so do the boats that fit our lifestyle. There's "moving up" and "downsizing," but what about switching boats simply for a lifestyle adjustment. Sailors jumping over to power as they age is a common theme, but what about the angler who trades in the center-console for a pontoon boat to spoil the grand-kids? Or from a hard-core sport fishing machine to a plush family cruiser? People make adjustments in their lives for all kinds of reasons.

Bottom line: You need a boat that matches your lifestyle, or you're bound to use it a whole lot less — and nothing eats at a boater more than the thought that she or she is just not using the boat enough. The goal is to stay in boating, and sometimes that requires making a change.

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SMELLING TROUBLE

Posted On: March 11, 2020

Find The Stink Before You Sink

Your nose knows when something is amiss. Any changes in the way your boat smells — either when you open it up for the weekend or while running — could mean a problem is developing. Fuel fumes (either gasoline or diesel) must be dealt with right away. Often a leak is caused by vibration of a fuel line against another part of the engine. If this isn't corrected, it will worsen the breach. If a high-pressure fuel line is leaking, it may be spraying a fine mist of diesel into the air and this could cause a fire.

  • Burning rubber may indicate a slipping belt that can overheat an alternator, or it could indicate freezing bearings in an alternator or water pump that will soon destroy the belt and the component.
  • Steamy water, antifreeze, or overheating paint smells in the engine space indicate an overheating engine. Antifreeze smell may also indicate a breach in the engine's cooling system, ranging from a burst hose to a cracked head or block.
  • Hot lube oil smell indicates an oil leak, probably requiring immediate shutdown.
  • A burnt oil smell when you pull the dipstick signals a serious internal problem. Have the engine checked immediately.
  • Burning electric insulation smells should never be ignored. It could mean that a terminal is overheating and about to arc and/or short out, or that there is too much of a load somewhere in your electrical system, or that an electrical component is suffering an internal meltdown. Its source must be located immediately. Try to turn off whatever wire or component is involved, preferably at the breaker. It may be a good idea to depower the entire boat, DC and AC, and then turn circuits back on, pausing with each one to see if that's the cause of the smell.
  • A change in bilge smell, such as a new musty smell, could indicate leaking condensate from the air conditioning or refrigeration units. A leaking shower sump causes its own bad smell.
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GET THAT BOAT CHECKLIST OUT

Posted On: March 04, 2020

Finally, it's time to ready your boat for the upcoming season! But all may not be well, as the photos and firsthand experiences below will show.

Sunken boat

Overlooking small things during spring commissioning can translate to big problems.

It's almost spring — when all our plans for the boating season ahead are positive and hopeful. This is an important time; many  Insurance claim files show over and over that it's the little things missed during spring commissioning that can lead to serious problems that will not only lighten your wallet but also rob your family of precious time on the water.

Here are 2 examples of some common items that can't be overlooked during your spring-commissioning activities.

Check Those Thru-Hulls

Springtime is the right time to check each of your composite (plastic) thru-hulls for cracks and deterioration. Degradation due to ultraviolet light is the main culprit; however, stress caused by an unsupported hose bouncing around inside also can be a factor. Failure typically begins as a crack where the body of the thru-hull fitting joins the outer flange, often progressing until the flange simply falls off. Once that occurs, there's nothing left to keep the thru-hull in place, meaning that it will eventually be pulled inboard, leaving a gaping hole. The thru-hull shown here was located near the waterline; the resulting hole reduced the vessel's effective freeboard from feet to inches.

Inspect Your Hose Clamps

The devil is in the details, as this photo clearly shows. The owner failed to refit the hose clamps for the engine's raw-water intake hose (which had been removed while winterizing the engine the previous fall). The loose hose slipped off soon after launch, partially sinking the vessel.

Nothing helps more to reduce such slip-ups than a detailed checklist.

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