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

Is Your Palmetto Boat At Risk Under a New Florida Law?

Is Your Palmetto Boat At Risk Under a New Florida Law?

Palmetto Boat

A new Florida law took effect in July in order to assist county and local officials as well as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission with maintaining Florida waterways. If Palmetto boat owners’ vessels meet certain unsatisfactory conditions, authorities are now able to issue non-criminal citations to those who allow their boats to become “at risk” of becoming in a state of disrepair.

Your vessel is deemed “at risk” if it’s observed in these conditions:

  • Your vessel is taking on or has taken on water without a means to drain
  • Your vessel has spaces that are designed to be enclosed, but instead they are not being sealed off and remaining exposed for an extended period of time
  • Your vessel has broken loose or appears to be on the verge of breaking loose from its anchor
  • Your vessel has been left unattended or stored aground and is being prevented from getting underway, is tilted from water intrusion or is sunk or partially sunk

Should an officer see your vessel meeting at least one of the above criteria, you’ll be issued a non-criminal citation, which states you must correct the issue within 30 days. Failure to correct the problem will result in escalated penalties. For instance, vessel owners will be issued additional fines every 30 days until the problem has been corrected.

The new Florida law also reminds vessel owners to adhere to the proper laws when selling their vessels.

Both the seller and the buyer must take certain measures during the sale of a vessel and before new ownership of the vessel is finalized. Sellers must notify the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles within 30 days of the transaction, and buyers must make sure the vessel is titled in their name. Both parties must carry out these procedures, or failure to do so may result in a legal issue for the former owner if the vessel becomes derelict while in possession of the new owner.

Make sure to double check and triple check your vessel before you embark on the beautiful waters of the Manatee River in your Palmetto boat!

Read our Top 5 Palmetto Boating Safety Tips.

Fishing Update From Your Central Florida Marina

Fishing Update From Your Central Florida Marina

Top updates from your Central Florida Marina: Activity has been sluggish this week, mainly because fishermen are exhausted under extreme temperatures.

The biggest news this week? The best tarpon fishing in the county may be from Doctors Lake to Green Cove Springs. The tarpon are being followed south into the river by jack crevalle and ladyfish. This saltwater activity in a freshwater river is unusual, but it’s becoming more common.

Catfish are still spawning, and some giant ones are being taken out of Lake George. The big lake also has the best bluegill and shellcracker fishing in the area. Bass fishing is slow.

It’s been tough on the Intracoastal Waterway. Guides are picking up a few fish, but nothing impressive. The flounder numbers remain high, but the fish are tougher to find. The trout bite is slow, but the fish are a nice size. The mangrove snapper bite is getting better.

The Atlantic: The kingfish that disappeared last week are starting to appear again. Pogies were easy to find. It’s been very slow for the beach kings.

Bottom fishing has remained good, with mangrove snapper, a few grouper, lots of red snapper, beeliners, triggerfish, and pink porgies.

No one has been out trolling the 21-bottom, but that will change this weekend with the Ancient City Game Fish Association’s Kingfish Challenge. Boats can continue to register through the captain’s meeting Friday night. It begins at 7 p.m. For gawkers, weigh-ins will be from 3-5 p.m. Saturday and 2-4 p.m. Sunday. Entry is $320.

Of course if you are looking for just a relaxing peaceful time out on the Manatee River this weekend, be sure to stop by your Central Florida Marina, Riviera Dunes Marina. As the luxury marina in Central Florida, we have your yacht in mind with our floating docks and safe waters. Come stop by this weekend and enjoy our beautiful waters and we know that you will want to rent a slip immediately!

Top Tips For A Safe Swim This Summer In Palmetto

Top Tips For A Safe Swim This Summer In Palmetto

Adventure Landing Water Park is often packed with families. According to the Department of Children and Families, Florida loses more children under the age of five to drowning than any other state in the nation. News4Jax spoke with the Jeremy Christian, Manager at Adventure Landing, about how they keep families safe in the water.

If you’re not a strong swimmer, but still want to cool off in the water, wear a life jacket. Floaties and tubes won’t cut it when it comes to water safety. Adventure Landing has dozen of lifeguards on duty in case of an emergency, but Christian said it’s the parents who are the first line of safety, by keeping an eye on their kids. Parents should also make sure they’re in the right pool for their age and swimming abilities. Each pool at Adventure Landing is different, with some being shallow for young children, while others are deep for more experienced swimmers.

DCF offers water safety tips to prevent drowning deaths:

-Supervision: Someone should always be actively watching children when they are in the pool.

-Designate a “water watcher” to keep an eye on swimmers.

-Barriers: A child should never be able to enter the pool area unaccompanied by an adult. Physically barriers should block a curious child from the pool.

-Swimming lessons: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children ages 4 and older learn to swim in order to help prevent drowning.

-Be prepared: It’s important to learn and know CPR, in case of an emergency.

 

As the summer starts to heat up, the beach, the pool and the marina are a few of the top destinations to visit. Safety should always be a top priority and making sure that our children stay safe can help to save a life. If you run across any additional tips you would like to share, let us know! Visit the Riviera Dunes Marina Facebook Page and leave us a comment on how you are staying safe this summer!