Deck Boats Still Trending with Boaters

Deck Boats Still Trending with Boaters

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Deck Boats Still Trending with Boaters

Offering the quintessential balance of functionality and style, deck boats remain favorable among the boating community.

In 2015, the National Marine Manufacturers Association found that deck boat sales had increased by 11.3 percent, and the numbers are expected to continue to climb by the end of the year.

Boaters tend to favor deck boats for their plentiful seating capacity, which is perfect for families and friends. In addition, there’s a generous amount of room for all of the gear that accommodates an afternoon on the water without overcrowding the deck space. It’s no wonder that deck boats are still trending with boaters!

You may mistake deck boats for bowriders, but when you get up close, you’ll notice these are much more spacious, sporty and chic. Some are even equipped with full windshields so you can enjoy the ride during every season.

In addition to the extra space, deck boats have become favorable among boaters because of how user-friendly they are when it comes to the towing process versus a pontoon. They’re also easier to stow due to their lower profile. In turn, these features attract the more novice of boaters as well.  

Though the most common agreement reached among deck boat customers is the comfort that they provide along with more options for seating and entertaining as well as other amenities, such as a Porta Potti.

With all of the accommodations that deck boats have to offer, the open layout is never compromised. And that’s what is keeping the number of deck boat admirers increasing. The versatility that decks boats offer from a nice sunset cruise to an afternoon zipping across the lake are what keep families impressed as well. Manufacturers will continue improving deck boats’ features to appeal to the interests of their customers, such as technological upgrades and for performance and comfort.

Next: How to Winterize Your Palmetto Boat

Free Fun in Sarasota and Bradenton

Free Fun in Sarasota and Bradenton

Free Fun in Sarasota and Bradenton

Free Fun in Sarasota and
Bradenton

Whether you’re vacationing here in Sarasota and Bradenton or a local to the area, knowing where to find free fun activities is always beneficial. Here are 10 free fun activities you’ll enjoy in the Sarasota and Bradenton area.

1. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon at Bayfront Park in Sarasota. In addition to the breeze you’ll encounter from the Sarasota Bay, the whole family will enjoy fishing, a play fountain and a fitness walking area. Bring a picnic, and settle in for a serene afternoon at the park.

2. Groove with the drum circles on the beach. Did you know that drum circles regularly gather on Siesta Key Beach and Nokomis Beach? On Sunday evenings at Siesta Key and on Wednesdays and Saturdays at Nokomis, sit back and enjoy this unique show. 

3. Brush up on your skills at North Port Skate Park. If you have a skateboard, bike or inline skates, you won’t want to miss our local skate park complete with jumps, rails, ramps and bowls.

4. Dive into the Florida Maritime Museum. The past comes alive in this 1912 Schoolhouse, where you can learn about those who lived in Cortez, a historic fishing village. The museum’s hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

5. Picnic along the beaches of “old Florida.” Guarded by tall pine trees, a trip to Coquina Beach is like stepping back in time. Picture-esque and serene, it’s the perfect place for a simple picnic or grilling out; just bring your supplies in a cooler, and you’re set to dine in a piece of paradise.

6. Channel your inner artist in Bradenton. In the Village of the Arts, immerse yourself in this creative community during their monthly Artwalk. Hosted on the first Friday evening and Saturday afternoon of each month, enjoy live music, galleries and other free fun surprises.

7. Take your pups to the only pet-friendly beach in the county. At Brohard Paw Park in Venice, your pup can freely roam the beach. You’ll be happy to know there are also dog-friendly drinking fountains and showers as well as leash posts. The park’s hours are 7 a.m. to dusk, daily.

8. Search for prehistoric sharks’ teeth. Did you know that Venice is known as the “shark’s tooth capital of the world”? Local or not, visitors flood to Caspersen Beach for these fossilized treasures on its shores.

9. Live music on Lakewood Ranch Main Street. Groove to the tunes of live music at Music on Main, held on the first Friday of every month from 6–9 p.m. From 60s to Motown, your ears will always be in for a surprise! Don’t forget your lawn chairs and leashed furry friends.

10. Get outside and bike through nature. Both scenic and rural, bikers will enjoy the Legacy Trail full of foliage and pastureland, as well as local neighborhoods. From its beginning at Sarasota to Venice, it’s about a 10-mile adventure.

Next: Fall Events Near Bradenton

The Best Freshwater Fishing in Bradenton

The Best Freshwater Fishing in Bradenton

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The Best Freshwater Fishing in Bradenton

Wondering where the best freshwater fishing can be found in the Bradenton and Sarasota areas? The secret’s out! Benderson Park Lake is just the spot.

Located off of I-75 and Cattlemen Road in the 600-acre Benderson Park, the lake has been kept a secret by local fisherman and other outdoorsmen.

At Benderson Park Lake, anglers will be in heaven as they’ll discover plenty of bluegill, shellcracker, speckled perch, catfish, largemouth black bass and many other treasured species.

The most lively area of the lake is the eastern side of the lake, where you’ll find that catfish, specifically, like to dwell. The best lures to use for these are Rattle Traps Tiny Trap and beetlespin lures. Fly casters will have good luck using nymphs, wooly buggers, sponge spiders and panfish poppers.

Along with the plentiful freshwater fishing, guests will benefit from the park’s fishing pier, picnic areas, bathrooms and a launching facility when on-site. You are also welcome to bring your non-motorized boats along for the fun!

Hours of operation are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. from now through the winter season. Keep in mind that a Florida freshwater license is required for all participating anglers.

If you have additional questions, call the park at 941-861-5000.

For other freshwater fishing opportunities, it has been reported that there are mackerel, speckled trout and snook in the Tampa Bay area. Other fisherman have found that there are also bluefish and mangrove snapper in the Tampa Bay and Bradenton areas.

In Sarasota, sea trout, jack crevalle, bluegill, shellcracker and channel catfish are very prominent in this area.

When you find yourself in the Venice or Nokomis Beach areas, snook and trout are doing plenty well there.

One thing’s for certain; it’s a good time to cast a line in and around Bradenton!

Next: Snook Harvest Season has Began

The 16th Annual Bayfest on Anna Maria Island

The 16th Annual Bayfest on Anna Maria Island

The 16th Annual Bayfest on Anna Maria Island Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

The 16th Annual Bayfest on Anna Maria Island

Do you have plans for the weekend? Why not head to Bayfest, one of our area’s best music, crafts and food festivals of the season!

Now that the weather is channeling the crisper, fall temperatures (at least for now), there’s no other place you’ll want to be this Saturday, Oct. 15 than at Bayfest. You don’t want to miss this exciting, annual celebration on our beautiful Anna Maria Island. Now in its 16th year, Bayfest is back to bring you performances, delectable vendors, crafts and even a car show!

Important details you’ll want to know before attending:

  • Date and Time: Saturday, Oct. 15, 10 a.m.–10 p.m.
  • Location: 401 Pine Avenue, Anna Maria Island. This street will be closed for the duration of the festival.
  • Price: Free

Who to Hear

Featuring emcee Mike Sales, you’ll also get the treat of hearing from Bradenton’s favorite ensembles. Check out the schedule below.

  • 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. — KoKo Ray & The Keepers
  • 1–3 p.m. — Whiskey Blind
  • 3:30–5 p.m. — the Billy Rice Band
  • 5:30–7:30 p.m. — soulRcoaster
  • 8–10 p.m. — The Karen and Jimmy Band

What to Eat

From pizza to kettle corn and subs, there will be a great variety of food offerings to try this weekend. Here are a few restaurants that will be there, among others:

Coastal Crab, Feast Restaurant, Corky’s Hot Dogs, Joey’s Italian Ice, Hahn’s Kettle Corn, Tropi-coco Sarasota-Bradenton, T&L Bar-B-Q, Waterfront Restaurant, Village Idiot Pizzeria, Anna Maria Island Privateers, Joey D’s, Riverside Rollin Smoke, Subs N Grubz and Ellas

Where to Park

In addition to public parking on Manatee Beach, Cross Pointe Fellowship Church will have parking available as well. Once you park at the church, take a free trolley to Pine Avenue, where Bayfest will be held. You’ll find there are several other trolley stops along the way to take you to the festival. The trolley stops running at 10:30 p.m.

More Fun to Expect

  • Car show with 100+ classic and muscle cars
  • Kids zone with games, a bounce house and more exciting surprises
  • Arts and craft vendors
Your Hurricane Matthew Checklist

Your Hurricane Matthew Checklist

your-hurricane-matthew-checklist-riviera-dunes-marina-blog

Your Hurricane Matthew Checklist

Hurricane Matthew is well on its way, and you don’t want to waste another moment before heading to the store or locating essential items in your home.

Many of the local grocery stores have restocked their shelves with extra food, water and other supplies that you’ll need once the storm hits Palmetto.

Here’s a helpful checklist to assist you when preparing for Hurricane Matthew.

Food Items

Bottled Water: It’s recommended that you have about 20 gallons for a family of four.

Food: You’ll of course want to get lots of nonperishable canned and dry food items. Consider around 20 cans of chicken, tuna, chili and soup. Peanut butter, bread, cookies, crackers and pet food are other important food items to pick up from the store.

Important Items to Locate

  • first aid kit
  • can opener
  • medications for your family members and pets
  • flashlights or battery-operated lanterns
  • toiletries
  • batteries (make sure you have a variety of sizes for your flashlights)
  • plastic cutlery and paper bowls and plates
  • trash bags
  • gallon-sized freezer bags to keep items dry
  • important documents (insurance, Social Security cards, driver’s licenses, etc.)

Other Important To-Dos

  • Fuel your cars.
  • Obtain extra fuel for generators.
  • Withdraw cash.
  • Refill medications.
  • Locate the evacuation route and local storm shelters, and go over the escape route with your family members.
  • Depending on its size, store your boat at a marina or in a boatyard.
  • Clear as many items as you can from your yard or patio.

While there are certainly other items you may need to add to this Hurricane Matthew preparation checklist, we hope this will get you off to a good start. Stay safe!

Next: Fall Events Near Bradenton

Top 5 Nature Areas Near Palmetto

Top 5 Nature Areas Near Palmetto

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Top 5 Nature Areas Near Palmetto

The cooler weather welcomes more opportunities to get outside and explore all of the wonderful nature areas near Palmetto. So, take your bike out or throw on your hiking shoes, and let’s venture through the top five nature areas near Palmetto.

1. Emerson Point Reserve

 5801 17th St W, Palmetto, FL 34221

If you’re yearning for panoramic views of Anna Maria Island and Sunshine Skyway Bridge, then Emerson Point Reserve is for you. Serene with family-friendly walking trails and off-road biking trails, this nature area also offers areas to launch your kayak, canoe or paddle board. Stay for the sunset or bring a picnic lunch to complete one unforgettable visit.

2. Felts Audubon Preserve

4600 24th Ave E, Palmetto, FL 34221

Avid bird watchers will be in heaven at the 27 acres of Felts Audobon Preserve. Both educational and a mesmerizing sight, the preserve’s bird viewing room is perfect for the whole family. Take a couple hours to truly enjoy all that’s offered at this relaxing preserve complete with a variety of habitats along the walking trails. Depending on the day, you may spot cardinals, buntings or doves.

3. Riverwalk

Waterfront Dr, Bradenton, FL 34205

For optimal water views, stroll Riverwalk along the Manatee River as you watch the boats traverse through. Whether you’re interested in an active afternoon of biking or a more tranquil visit of nature watching, there’s an endless day of fun waiting at this downtown park. The younger ones will enjoy the playground and skateboard area as well. 

4. Robinson Nature Preserve

1704 99th St NW, Bradenton, FL 34209

There’s much to do and see at Robinson Nature Preserve! Climb the lookout tower to get a stunning view of Anna Maria Island, paddle the waterways, or hike the preserve’s trails. Many of the trails are paved, so bikers and hikers can travel through with ease. Bring your favorite book of the moment, your furry friend and an appetite for utter relaxation.

5. Saw Palmetto Natural Area

4950 N.W. 71st Place, Coconut Creek, FL 33073

Did you know that 59 species of wildlife have been documented at Saw Palmetto Natural Area? In addition, there have also been 33 species of birds spotted in Saw Palmetto. During your visit, enjoy a serene walk along the paved nature trail through the woods, which leads to a neat observation area. Additional amenities include bike racks, benches and picnic tables, so don’t forget to pack your lunch for this visit!

Next: Top Things to Do in Bradenton, FL

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

New Florida Law Allows Transportation of Bahamas’ Fish

New Florida Law Allows Transportation of Bahamas’ Fish

New Law Allows Transporting of Bahamas Fish Riviera Dunes MarinaNew Florida Law Allows Transportation of Bahamas’ Fish

Will you be fishing in the Bahamas soon? A new Florida law now allows fisherman to bring their fresh catches back from the Bahamas via boat while in Florida waters.

The fishing exception went into effect on Sept. 13, 2016. Anglers can now retrieve dolphin, reef fish and wahoo caught in Bahama waters. The new regulation only applies to fish transported via water, not those by air. 

Here are some important things to keep in mind when retrieving fish from Bahama via water:

  • Do not remove skin from the filet. This way, law enforcement will be able to identify the fish.
  • Anglers must continue to adhere to Atlantic federal bag and vessel limits.
  • When considering bag limits, two filets are the equivalent of one fish. 
  • Anglers must have valid Bahamian cruising and sport-fishing permits.
  • Each passenger aboard the vessel must have a valid government passport with the latest Bahamian stamps and travel dates. 
  • Vessel travel must be continual when voyaging through state waters and equipment must be properly stowed. Terminal tackle (hooks, sinkers, leaders, etc.) must be disconnected and stored separately from the rod and reel. 
  • Anglers are not permitted to sell those landed under these exceptions. 

Of course, keep in mind that Bahama fishing regulations may differ from those in U.S. state and federal waters. View the regulations for retrieving fish from Bahama here. Bahama’s sports fishing regulations can be found here

Next: 5 Seafood Gems to Harvest From Your Palmetto Boat

Fall Events Near Bradenton

Fall Events Near Bradenton

http://www.realizebradenton.com/riverwalk

Summer may be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean the fun stops in Bradenton! It’s no secret that we’re lucky to have beautiful beaches and exquisite dining year-round. But did you know you’re right in the middle of some of the most exciting and unique fall events in the country? 

The fall season welcomes a wealth of events that you do not want to miss—and it’s all happening here in Bradenton.

Nov. 11–20: ArtsHOP

Now in its 10th year, join in for two weekends filled with art, music by the Island Players, local culture and more! Make sure to experience one of the three artwalks where you can peruse unique pieces of art made right here in Florida. Here are the locations of the three artwalks:

  • Friday, Nov. 11—Holmes Beach
  • Sunday, Nov. 13—Bradenton Beach
  • Friday, Nov. 18—Anna Maria

Learn more here

Nov. 12: Symphony on the Sand

Dig your toes into the Coquina Beach sand, and feast your ears on the lovely arrangements of the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus & Orchestra. The award-winning, 45-piece orchestra will be the perfect accompaniment to all the delicious cuisine you’ll enjoy from top local restaurants. Local restaurants include Anna Maria Oyster Bar, Beach House Restaurant and Coquina Café.

Learn more here.

Nov. 19: Sandblast

Marvel at white sand masterpieces crafted by teams of all ages at this annual sand-sculpting competition. If you’d like to fine-tune your own sand-sculpting skills, join the famed master sculptors, Team Sandtastic, for free clinics held Nov. 17 and 18.

Learn more here

Dec. 2–4: Bradenton Blues Festival

Named the “2015 Festival of the Year” by Blues411.com, the annual blues festival kicks off this December at the Riverwalk Pavilion in downtown Bradenton. Hear from blues artists from around the county as you enjoy a view of the historic Manatee River. To accompany the tunes, sample local craft beer and offerings from specialty food vendors, then don’t miss the finale—the Blues Brunch on Sunday. Musicians include Ronnie Baker Brooks, The Golden State/Long Star Revue, Victor Wainwright & The Wildroots, Larry McCray and many more fine blues musicians.

Learn more here

Next: Top Things to Do in Bradenton, FL

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