8 Tips for Boating with Your Pups

8 Tips for Boating with Your Pups

8 Tips for Boating with Your Pups Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

8 Tips for Boating with Your Pups

Your dogs are like family, which is why it’s always fun to take them along for a joyride on the water every once in awhile!

However, boating with your pups isn’t always a walk in the park. Here are eight quick tips to ensure that your boat ride is enjoyable for both you and your furry loved ones!

  1. Pack a collapsible, travel-friendly bowl that you can fill with fresh water for your pup. You can easily find these in most stores as well as online.
  2. While you’re at it, pack your pup’s food, treats and toys to make him feel at peace in a new environment.
  3. Take some time before your boat trip to get your pup acquainted with your boat.
  4. Make sure there is a shaded area on your boat. If you don’t always have a boat shade installed on your vessel, now’s the time when you’re boating with your pups. Shade keeps them from being dehydrated and also acts as a cool area for them to protect and land their paws from too much sun exposure.
  5. If you happen to be fishing, make sure that you stow away all bait, lures and other harmful equipment so they’re not within your pup’s reach.
  6. The day of your boat ride, set aside enough time to allow your dog to relieve himself before boarding your vessel.
  7. Even if your dog is used to swimming, it can be a good idea to fit him with a pet life jacket. Though there are no regulations for life jackets for your pet, it’s another precaution you can take to ensure your pup’s safety.
  8. Lastly, if this is your pup’s first boat ride, keep this excursion to a minimum until your furry friend warms up and gains his sea legs.

Next: 4 Events for Fall Fun Near Riviera Dunes Marina

5 Tips for Boating with Your Kids

5 Tips for Boating with Your Kids

5 Tips for Boating with Your Kids Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

5 Tips for Boating with Your Kids

With the holiday weekend approaching, it’s one of the best times of the year to go boating with your kids. Though, this is sometimes easier said than done. Save yourself from the stress, and look to these tips to prepare for boating with your kids of all ages!

1. Make safety your No. 1 priority.

Everyone must have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved lifejacket or personal flotation device, including the tiniest members of your family. The little ones that are under 6 years old must wear their lifejackets at all times when aboard a recreational vessel less than 26 feet long. These are just a few of the Florida regulations for lifejackets. See the full list here to know the various types one must wear if on a Jet Ski or operating the vessel outside of Florida, for example.

2. Pack more than enough supplies for your boat ride.

When bringing the little ones and the youngsters, there are much more supplies to bring than a few bottles of water. Make sure your diaper bag is stocked with extra pacifiers, swim diapers, baby formula, etc. Of course you’ll want to have plenty of sunscreen, snacks, water, juice and ice pops to keep everyone refreshed and hydrated! An extra change of clothes and plenty of towels are also notables items to bring.

3. Inform everyone of the basic boat rules.

Just like there are house rules, there are also basic boat rules that your children should keep in mind when riding on the boat. Here are a few basic boat rules:

  • Hands and feet should be kept in the boat at all times.
  • The lifejacket must be worn at all times.
  • No running on the boat is permitted since it is often slippery, and there are several places where one could be injured.

4. Create shade.

Bimini tops and covers are great for creating a shaded area when boating with your kids. This helps to shelter them from the heat to prevent them from becoming overheated. In addition, you could bring a beach umbrella or sun hat to add extra coverage.

5. Make it fun!

Boating with your kids is a memorable experience for all ages, especially when there are fun water activities. You may decide to bring your fishing poles and bait, snorkeling gear, water tubes or play a fun round of ‘who can find the most fish!’ If you decide to anchor, plan to bring some floats and beach toys as well!

 Next: 5 Labor Day 2017 Events Near Bradenton

5 Boating Safety Tips for Summer 2017

5 Boating Safety Tips for Summer 2017

5 Boating Safety Tips for Summer 2017 Riviera Dunes Marina

5 Boating Safety Tips for Summer 2017

With summer still in its prime, it never hurts to brush up on boating safety! Keep these boating safety tips in mind as you’re enjoying your fun in the sun in summer 2017.

1. Be watchful of the weather.

Before you head out on the boat, always make sure to check the weather forecast. From the TV and radio forecasts to nifty phone apps, like Weather Underground and DarkSky, there is a plethora of ways to obtain an accurate forecast to ensure boating safety. Of course, if you find yourself seeing dark clouds or in roughening winds, it’s best to head home. 

2. Make sure you have proper safety equipment prior to departure.

Your boat should be equipped with one Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each passenger. In addition, you’ll want to have additional throwable flotation devices such as rings and cushions. Lastly, make sure to demonstrate where the devices and life jackets are located as well as the proper way to use each. This is especially important for new passengers aboard your boat.

3. Identify your assistant captain. 

In the event that your primary captain becomes incapacitated, designate an assistant skipper that will be able to guard you and your passengers safely home. This person should be familiar with how your boat operates and knowledgable in boating safety.

4. Formulate a float plan. 

In the event that your boating trip goes unplanned, it’s important to formulate a float plan before departure. Your float plan entails the details of your trip, which you should leave with a family member or with a staff member here at Riviera Dunes Marina. Float plans typically include these details:

  • Captain’s name, address and contact information of the captain
  • All passengers’ names, numbers and boating experience
  • Detailed description of your boat (name, type, make, equipment aboard, etc.)
  • Trip details (departure date and time, destination, stopover ports, etc.)

5. Get a free vessel safety check.

Did you know that the US Coast Guard offers complimentary vessel safety checks? That’s right! They will carefully examine your boat to ensure that it is upheld by the state and federal safety regulations.

Next: 4 Tips for Staying Safe at the Beach

Top 5 Boating Destinations Near Palmetto, FL

Top 5 Boating Destinations Near Palmetto FL Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

Top 5 Boating Destinations Near Palmetto, FL

Hey boaters! There’s always a new, beautiful place to discover when boating in our Florida waters. From the lovely Shell Key in Tampa Bay to the rich culture found at our own Bradenton Beach, venture to one of these boating destinations near Palmetto, FL, and you will be in for an exciting afternoon!

Bradenton Beach

Spend some time in the sun on the gorgeous beaches of Bradenton on Anna Maria Island. First, set up your chairs for an afternoon of sunbathing and a peaceful beachside picnic. Once you’ve had your time in the sun, there is much to see and do in town. Visit specialty shops and galleries or embrace nature on a kayak paddleboard!

Tampa Bay

If you’re looking for fine dining experiences, Tampa Bay is one of the boating destinations near Palmetto, FL that you will not want to miss. In addition to the exquisite dining experiences, there are hidden gems that are only accessible by boat. One of those places is Shell Key—a prime beach for swimming, camping and fishing.

Egmont Key

For a unique experience, Egmont Key is home to a wildlife refuge as well as lovely beaches filled with shells for you to collect and bring home as souvenirs. While you can also swim, picnic and fish here, you have the opportunity to tour an 1858 lighthouse and visit other fascinating historical sites and trails as you step back in time. This park is also quite remote, so make sure to bring plenty of water and food for your visit.

Longboat Key

Along the 12 miles of pristine beaches of Longboat Key, there is much to enjoy. Gather to see the spectacle of sea turtle hatchlings march to the water. Play a round of golf with a view of the water. When you’re ready to take a break from the scenic route, there is fine dining, luxury resorts for you to relax and excellent shopping opportunities.

Manatee River

Spanning 36 miles, Manatee River has a wealth of activities for you and your boat crew to enjoy. From fishing to traversing the lovely parks, there are also many great lunch and shopping destinations nearby if you decide to go inshore during your visit to one of the top boating destinations near Palmetto, FL!

Next: 6 Tips for New Boat Owners in Bradenton

6 Tips for New Boat Owners in Bradenton

6 Tips for New Boat Owners in Bradenton

6 Tips for New Boat Owners in Bradenton Riviera Dunes Marina.jpg

6 Tips for New Boat Owners in Bradenton

Did you just become a new boat owner in Bradenton? Welcome to the club! New boat owners often have a lot of questions when they make their first boat purchase.

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you enjoy your new boat!

1. Put together a boat bag.

“What’s a boat bag,” you ask? Basically, a boat bag is what holds all of your boating essentials. Some items you might consider putting in your boat bag are bottles of water, sunglasses, bug spray, a flashlight, sunscreen and towels. Of course, there are other items that may be more or less important to you, and you can tweak this list as you see fit.

2. Get a towing membership. 

While you can hope that you won’t need a towing membership, the reality is that you’ll need a Plan B if you find yourself in a rut. New boat owners often make the honest mistake of not getting a towing membership. Towing memberships will cost around $150 annually, while a single tow without a membership can cost near $700. Save yourself the funds and get a membership.

3. Have a cleaning and maintenance routine.

Purchasing your boat isn’t the only investment you’ll make as a new boat owner. It’s crucial to invest time into cleaning and maintaining your boat after each use to ensure a long lifespan. In addition, do some research as to what kind of engine maintenance is required for your boat.

Here are a few things we recommend after each use:

  • Wipe down your seats with a conditioner.
  • Rinse the boat with a hose. 
  • Use fresh water when flushing your motor.
  • Dry out your boat to prevent mold growth. You can do this by opening the hatches or compartments. 

4. Equip your boat with safety equipment.

Florida Law requires that you have the necessary safety equipment on your boat at all times depending on its size and horsepower. A full list of safety equipment can be found here. The minimum requirements are a life jacket for each person, a throwable device, a visual distress signal, a fire extinguisher and a sound device such as a horn, bell or whistle. 

5. Learn the rules.

Those born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 are required to take a boating course. Though, even if you were born before 1988, it is a course that will benefit all new boat owners. The course can be taken with the Coast Guard, U.S. Power Squadron or online at BoatUs.org/Florida.

6. Know where to dock your boat. 

Our very own Riviera Dunes Marina is a great place for you to dock your boat. From electrical services to a gas and diesel fuel dock, we have much to offer! For a full list of the amenities we offer on-site, click here.

Next: 6 Easy Tips to Better Outboard Performance

6 Easy Tips to Better Outboard Performance

6 Easy Tips to Better Outboard Performance

6 Easy Tips to Better Outboard Performance Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

6 Easy Tips to Better Outboard Performance

Wondering what’s best for your boat’s outboard performance? From taking an inventory of your boat’s gear to simply keeping up with its maintenance, here are six easy tips that you can take today to better your outboard performance.

  1. Leave your engines alone. While it’s tempting to modify the speed, it’s best to leave the setting to how it was manufactured. Modifying the engine, even by just a couple miles per hour compromises its reliability and voids its warranty as well.
  2. Straighten your outboard’s posture. Situate your boat so that its outboard points straight ahead. This allows the thrust to be guided to point up as well, which will increase efficiency and use your fuel more conservatively.
  3. Find the prop that works for your performance. The prop will differ very much if you’re racing one day and going on a fishing trip the next day. Try out different props to meet your desired purpose.
  4. Jack plates are your friends. When you mount your outboard on a jack plate, you’re able to achieve the optimal position for your engine. Another great benefit for using jack plates is being able to adjust the distance of the motor from the transom, which ensures that water isn’t entering the prop.
  5. Check your gear. Take an inventory of the gear that you carry on your boat. Too much gear can slow down your boat’s efficiency and speed. Boat racers estimate that 100 pounds of gear is the equivalent of 4 mph.
  6. Keep you with your boat’s maintenance. While it sounds like a no-brainer, the more you keep up with your boat, the better your outboard performance and the longer your boat’s lifespan will be. For instance, make sure you’re using the correct octane fuel and a high-quality two-stroke oil, and don’t forget to replace the lower unit’s oil. These are just a few of the many checks and balances you can make on your boat to ensure the best performance possible.

Next: Top 5 Palmetto Boating Safety Tips

Attention Boaters: Watch Out for Florida Manatees!

Attention Boaters: Watch Out for Florida Manatees!

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Attention Boaters: Watch Out for Florida Manatees!

November is Manatee Awareness Month as Florida manatees begin to migrate to our waters to leave the cooler, winter waters. This week, many manatee protection zones went into effect as they travel south.

Manatee numbers are currently flourishing, but this means it’s even more important to look out for them. It’s been reported that there have been 91 manatee fatalities caused from boats this year.

In order to survive the winter weather, Florida manatees migrate to our rivers, bays and coastal waters. This is why it is especially important for boaters to keep a watchful eye out for these aquatic mammals when out on the waters this month.

Though large in size, adult manatees can actually be difficult to spot. To spot them easier, you can wear polarized sunglasses and look out for traces of their presence, such as “footprints” they leave on the water’s surface.

When in manatee protection zones, follow the speed rules in these areas that are known to have more manatees. Boaters can also drive slower, in general, and try to stay in deeper waters to avoid these friendly creatures. Areas such as sea grass beds and other shallow areas will want to be avoided as manatees are known to dwell here as well as lagoons and estuaries.

It’s also important to be mindful to not leave any lines, hooks or any other debris behind in the waters. These could entangle or be ingested by manatees and other wildlife should they encounter these hazardous items.

You can view the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) seasonal rules for manatee migration season as well as the areas designated as manatee protection zones at MyFWC.com/Manatee.

Next: 5 Seafood Gems to Harvest From Your Palmetto Boat

Learn About Bonito Fishing in Sarasota

Learn About Bonito Fishing in Sarasota

Learn About Bonito Fishing in Sarasota

Learn About Bonito Fishing in Sarasota

Do you know about the bonito fish? Let’s learn about this feisty game fish that you may encounter this winter.

The bonito fish is a game fish that is known to frequent the Sarasota area. You may hear these fish referred to as ‘bonita’ or even ‘bonehead.’ Bonito fish, named for their aesthetically pleasing exterior, are speedy and powerful game fish. Their speed and power often causes spools to empty very quickly since they put up quite a fight when you’ve hooked them.

Bonito often travel in schools and will remain in our waters much longer after most pelagics have migrated. You’ll find that seabirds easily spot them when an underwater commotion arises while they’re feeding on small baitfish.

Wondering how to catch them? You’ll be successful with small jigs, spoons and flies, which are often used by sportsmen. Try going to nearshore reefs and catching them by way of bottom fishing; you’ll be surprised when they’re suddenly hooked with a light tackle. The force of the bonito will quickly clue you in that you’ve caught this spirited species.

Though the bonito fish are cousins of the tuna, you’ll want to save these as bait for shark instead of for the dinner table.

Where to Fish Now

The Tampa Bay and Bradenton Area is currently brimming with flounder, large mackerels, black sea bass, grouper, pompano and bluefish.

Sarasota is where you’ll find trout, snook, ladyfish, sea trout and redfish, and bluefish are present as well.

When you’re in the Venice and Nokomis Beach area, expect grouper, snapper, speckled trout and more snook.

The Lemon Bay and Englewood area is bountiful with sea trout, snook, redfish, barracuda and cobia.

There’s much to catch this winter. Happy Fishing!

Learn more about snook here.

 

Snook Harvest Season has Began

Snook Harvest Season has Began

Snook Harvest Season has Began

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Did you know it’s snook harvest season? The recreational harvest season began statewide on Sept. 1 and will continue through the beginning of December.

While there are an abundance of unique fish here in Florida, snook is another reason why the state is known as the “Fishing Capital of the World.”

Due to a 2010 cold kill, gulf snook numbers significantly dropped, but now their numbers meet Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or FWC goals. So, anglers, when you do take advantage of snook harvest season, please handle these fish with care and use moderation when harvesting; the FWC is still trying to reach the population numbers before the cold kill.

Important Information For Snook Harvest Season

  • You must have a snook permit and a recreational saltwater license (unless the angler is exempt from the license).
  • The daily bag limit is one fish per person.
  • No snagging. Snook can only be harvested with hook and line gear.
  • When harvesting from the Atlantic, the minimum length requirement is 28 inches, and the maximum length is 32 inches. Measure from the most forward point of the head when the mouth is closed to the tip of the tail when it’s compressed while the snook is on its side.
  • When harvesting from the Gulf, the minimum is also 28 inches, and the maximum is 33 inches.
  • If your snook does not meet the length requirements, release it with care to ensure its survival. You can view tips for the best catch-and-release method here

Snook harvesting season is closed during these times:

For Gulf state and federal waters (including Monroe County and Everglades National Park):

  • Dec. 1–end of February
  • May 1–Aug. 1

For Atlantic state and federal waters (including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River):

  • Dec. 15–Jan. 31
  • June 1–Aug. 31

The FWC asks that carcasses be donated at a local participating bait and tackle store to assist them with research. A detailed county-by-county list of participating stores as well as the guidelines for carcass donations can be found on the FWC website here

Next: Florida is Number 1 for Fishing and Boating Spots

5 Seafood Gems to Harvest From Your Palmetto Boat

5 Seafood Gems to Harvest From Your Palmetto Boat

riviera dunes marina blog seafood to harvest from your boat5 Seafood Gems to Harvest From Your Palmetto Boat

Both a thrill to catch and a delicacy at our tables, fresh seafood is one of life’s greatest pleasures. There are several seafood gems you can harvest very easily. All you need is your Palmetto boat and access to a coast, and you have that right here in beautiful Palmetto!

Here are 5 seafood gems to harvest from your boat:

  1. Lobsters

While lobsters love to hide, you can spot them if you know what to look for—just keep your eyes peeled for their long antennae!

Keep in mind that each lobster must have a minimum 3-inch-long carapace, which verifies they’ve reproduced for at least one season. Make sure to check the lobster’s underbelly for a bright orange sac; this means the lobster is pregnant and off limits.

Once you catch a legal lobster, preserve it on ice or in a livewell. Fresh water will drown them.

Harvest Time: A mini season on the final consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of each July or from Aug. 6–March 31

Limit: Six lobsters per diver

  1. Scallops

Grab your snorkeling gear and a mesh bag, and you’re ready to harvest scallops! These are best harvested in water that’s 4–8 feet deep, where natural springs meet open bays.

Scalloping is perfect for the novice hunter. Once you spot its fan-shaped shell and blue eyes, dive down, cup it with your hand and transfer it to your mesh bag. Place them on ice between snorkeling sessions. Then, you can remove the succulent white meat or wait to return to a dock to be cleaned.

Harvest Time: June 25–Sept. 24

Limit: 2 gallons of scallops in the shell or 10 gallons per vessel, per day

  1. Stone Crabs

Choose to catch crabs by either dropping a crab cage from your boat deck or jump in the water to hunt them. Of course, jumping down in the water with them calls for more brave crabbers ready for some combat with the clawed creatures.

First, drop your stone crab traps in the water with a buoy attached, so you can know where to return when you check them every couple of days. When you go to check them, wear heavy gloves. Stone crabs must not be bearing eggs, and their claws must be 2¾ inches long. Remove the claw by twisting the “wrist,” then toss it back for it to regenerate. While both claws can be removed, it’s recommended by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to remove only one so that the other claw can quickly regenerate.

Once the claws are removed, store them in a livewell or empty cooler. Ice is not recommended since this will cause the meat to stick to the shell later

Harvest Time: Oct. 15­–May 15

Limit: Five pre-baited traps per person; 1 gallon of harvested claws per person, per day or 2 gallons per vessel

  1. Shrimp

A simple recreational activity for any age, shrimping is easily accomplished with a submersible light (or headlamp), dip net and a bucket to store the captured shrimp.

Loads of shrimp are best caught at night, but they’re also found during full moons, outgoing tides and near bridges.

When you spot the glowing shrimp eyes with your light, just scoop ‘em up with your net!

Harvest Time: Shrimps can be harvested mostly year-round, with the exception of Nassau, Duval, St. Johns, Putnam, Flagler and Clay counties closed during April and May.

Limit: No size limit; 5 gallons of heads-on shrimp, per harvester per day ( the limit is also 5 gallons per vessel, per day regardless of the amount of crewmembers aboard your boat)

  1. Oysters

Harvest these gems at low tide. Since they’re mainly stationary creatures, harvesting them hardly requires any skill. It’s the shucking process that really requires precision! Wade in the water or sit aboard your boat; all you need is a tool to chip the oysters off of its surface and a heavy pair of gloves to grab ahold of their sharp shells. Transfer them to a bucket, shuck ‘em with a short-bladed knife, and dinner is served!

Of course, do make sure they are 3 inches in length—the legal harvesting size.

Harvest Time: Depending on your county, June–September is off-season

Limit: Two 60-pound buckets per person or per vessel

 

Next: 6 Tips for Lobster Hunting Season