Top 3 Reasons to Love Boating if You Don’t Fish

Top 3 Reasons to Love Boating if You Don’t Fish

Top 3 Reasons to Love Boating if You Don’t Fish Riviera Dunes Marina

Top 3 Reasons to Love Boating if You Don’t Fish

Don’t think that you have to be an expert angler to love boating! There are many other reasons to love a day out on the boat, from spending time with your loved ones in a new way to simply enjoying time on the water. Here are some of the top reasons to love boating even if you don’t fish:

1. More access to waterways

One of the No. 1 reasons you will love boating is that you’ll have much more access to our hidden waterways. There are severals areas near Riviera Dunes Marina that are only accessible by boat, which means there is much territory you have yet to discover.

2. It’s a unique, affordable activity 

When you want to break up your beach routine, a day on the boat is a great way to mix it up here in Palmetto. If you don’t own a boat, you can always rent a boat for a set amount of time at an affordable rate. While we love owning boats here at Riviera Dunes Marina, renting can be a great option if you’re visiting or are only a casual boater and don’t want to worry about its upkeep.

3. New way to spend time with loved ones

Are you vacationing here? You’ll love boating because it’s a fun experience for the whole family and a new way to explore our area! From going on a sunset boat cruise to attaching a water float at the end for the kids—and even adults—to enjoy, there are several ways to enjoy the boat for the afternoon. Make sure to pack your picnic lunch if you plan to spend the whole day on the boat, then you can even bring your furry friends to join in on the fun. Plus, you can take the boat to stretch your legs in new places! Go hiking, lower the anchor for a swim or simply explore our local nature areas and its wildlife.

Next: Top 5 Nature Areas Near Palmetto

A Quick Boating Guide for Stormy Weather

A Quick Boating Guide for Stormy Weather

A Quick Boating Guide for Stormy Weather Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

A Quick Boating Guide for Stormy Weather

Picture this: you’re out on the boat with your loved ones and all of a sudden you hear stormy weather brewing in the distance. While you can often watch out for storms before heading out on your trip, it never hurts to know what to do if you’re suddenly caught in a storm.

It goes without saying that you should always have life vests aboard when boating. You should also notify a family member, who is not accompanying you on your trip, of your boating plans regardless of the type of weather you’re expecting. In addition, if the weather conditions are looking particularly stormy, you should reschedule your trip for a more accommodating day.

Here are some tips for boating in stormy weather:

First, make sure to have back-up essentials.

Here are some key items to have on board:

  • External battery phone charger: In the event that your phone battery gets drained, pack an external battery phone charger to charge your phone so that you can communicate your location during a storm.
  • First-aid kit: Make sure you have your first-aid kit stocked with the essentials.
  • Flashlights: If the power goes out on your boat, it never hurts to have backup flashlights.
  • Portable marine battery jump starter: This will also be very helpful if you lose power.

Head to shore quickly, yet safely.

While this might seem like common sense, you must head to shore during stormy weather instead of trying to tough it out. It’s certainly important to head back to shore quickly, but you shouldn’t do so in a hurry by speeding and putting your passengers at risk. Remain calm so that you can safely navigate back to shore.

Lower any bimini tops and curtains.

During stormy weather, it’s likely that the wind will pick up. When you see stormy weather encroaching, it’s time to lower the boat tops and curtains in case the wind picks up, and they become troublesome or dangerous when you’re trying to navigate back to shore.

Know what to do if there’s lighting.

First, clear your view. In addition to lowering any boat tops, remove any fishing rods, antennas and loose items out of the way. Next, disconnect any backup batteries to prevent them from being damaged if lightning does strike. Then you should record your GPS coordinates so that you can communicate this via radio or your cell phone. Lastly, tell your passengers to take refuge in the boat cabin until the storm passes.

Next: Spring Break: Family-Friendly Activities near Riviera Dunes Marina

A Guide to Pontoon Boat Fishing in Sarasota

A Guide to Pontoon Boat Fishing in Sarasota

A Guide to Pontoon Boat Fishing in Sarasota Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

A Guide to Pontoon Boat Fishing in Sarasota

Anglers love pontoon boat fishing as they’re comfortable, can accommodate a group of people and are sturdy, which is especially true during rougher water conditions when a small boat would typically rock in the Sarasota waterways.

If you’re a boating novice or looking to learn more about pontoon boat fishing, you’ve come to the right place! Here’s a quick guide in order to help you have a successful fishing day on your pontoon boat. 

Remove or lower your bimini top.

If you don’t have much experience fishing on a pontoon boat, then you don’t want to make the mistake of having your boat’s bimini or canopy top interfering with your cast. Before you set sail on your fishing trip, remove or lower your bimini tops to ensure your hooks don’t catch on them.

Bring a second anchor.

While pontoon boats are sturdy, they can be a bit hard to keep still when fishing if the wind begins to pick up its pace. To make your afternoon of pontoon boat fishing a successful one, bring more than one anchor. Release one at each end of the boat. By using two anchors, this will prevent the boat—and you—from spinning while you’re fishing. As you learn more about pontoon boat fishing, you may choose to add more anchors for your next trip if the weather is particularly windy.

Pack multiple towels.

In order to protect your boat’s seats, packing multiple towels for your trip is a wise idea. From baiting your hooks to gutting the fish, the last thing you want to worry about is damaging your seats, especially if they are cloth seats. Vinyl seats tend to be more forgiving, but you should still take precautions and make the clean-up process much easier for yourself. It’s also helpful to have another towel available for you to clean your hands throughout the day.

Rod holders are a good idea.

Due to the finite amount of space on your pontoon boat, creating a place where you can rest your rods can be especially helpful during your fishing trip. You can easily purchase mounted pontoon rod holders that are not only helpful but are convenient to stow away when you’re not fishing. Look for rod holders that have a wide adjustment angle in the event that you need more flexibility.

Bring an extra container for your fish.

While this seems like a no-brainer, you will thank yourself later when you’re having a successful day pontoon boat fishing, and you want to keep fishing longer. Bring an extra container, such as a cooler, in order to store your fish until you’re ready to clean them.

Next: Tips for Wintertime Fishing in the Palmetto Area

6 Tips for Protecting Our Local Marine Species

6 Tips for Protecting Our Local Marine Species

6 Tips for Protecting Our Local Marine Species Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

6 Tips for Protecting Our Local Marine Species

You love our local area in Bradenton, Sarasota and Palmetto for its pristine beaches, but it’s also known for its wonderful marine species, especially sea turtles and manatees. Though, it’s important to remember that these local beaches are home to these endangered species as well. Here are helpful tips to keep in mind to ensure we’re protecting our local marine species:

1. Obey the waterway signs.

Waterway signs do not solely exist for boaters’ safety, but they are for the manatees’ safety, too. Obeying the speed limit ensures that you slow down when necessary so that you have a clear view of the water and do not see any manatees before proceeding.

2. Steer clear from shallow waters when possible.

When boating, remain in deep waterways because manatees tend to feed in shallow seagrass beds. In addition, try not to anchor your boats in these areas and in coral reefs because these areas are often habitats for sea turtles.

3. Do not offer food to manatees.

When you see manatees, do not feed them or try to lure them to you. When you lure manatees to you, this increases the chance that they will get caught in watercraft traffic, which could put them at risk.

4. Pick up after yourself before leaving the beach.

Trash is one of the major threats to local marine species since they can mistake floating trash in the water for food, which can block their intestines. Make sure your bring a bag with you so that you can collect all of your trash.

5. The same goes for fishing.

Do not leave any stray fishing lines or nets behind as local marine species as well as birds can get entangled and trapped.

6. Pack a red or yellow flashlight when taking an evening beach stroll.

In the evenings, this is prime nesting time for sea turtles. Lights that are too bright can disturb this process and cause them to be deterred from going to the ocean. This also goes without saying that you should not disturb turtles, especially baby sea turtles because our hands carry chemicals than are poisonous to them.

Next: Valentine’s Day Activities in the Bradenton Area

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