A Good Deed Indeed
After a 16-year-old drowned in Clear Lake, Iowa, in part because rescuers didn't have a boat to reach the youth, the owner of Clear Lake Boats donated a $17,000 Tracker boat, trailer, 50-hp Mercury outboard, and hoist to the city. Mike Maulsby decided to give the city a boat as a way of giving back, he said in an interview in the Globe Gazette. Maulsby says he'll provide lessons to law enforcement officers on how to use the trailer boat so that another drowning won't occur in Clear Lake.
It's Cheaper Than Cops
Hidalgo County, Texas, officials were looking at ways to keep a water treatment plant on the Rio Grande River secure after shots were fired at workers from across the river in Mexico. Hiring security guards was one idea but that has been replaced with building a $124,000 boat ramp. At a nearby ramp where boats are launched, officials looked at all the activity by the U.S. Border Patrol, the Fish & Wildlife Service, the state Department of Public Safety, and the county sheriff for patrols, and decided the same presence would work at the water plant. County officials say the cost of the boat ramp will be less expensive than the guards.
The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) has taken a look at the 12.5 million registered boats in the United States during 2010. Ninety-five percent of all powerboats are less than 26 feet in length. Florida maintains the top spot of having the most registered boats, followed by Minnesota, with Michigan placing third. California was fourth, Wisconsin took fifth, and Texas remained in sixth place.
The NMMA is saying "yes" to the idea of requiring boat manufacturers to install emergency-stop lanyards (ESL) on every new model less than 27 feet. They may be a little late to the party, though, as 90 percent of boatbuilders already have the ESL included in new boat designs. The issue is a big one because a single-handing boater can fall off a boat while underway and the boat will keep going if the helmsman is not wearing an emergency-stop lanyard. That makes for a runaway boat threatening anyone and anything in its way, and it can make for a long swim for the boater. Critics of the idea say if a boater isn't going to wear a life jacket, they aren't going to attach a lanyard. Others contend it's another step toward a "nanny state." Proponents argue such a device when properly used will quickly stop a boat.
More "No Parking" Stories
Pontoon Beach, Illinois, residents are taking a look at whether they should fine-tune rules about parking boat trailers and RVs on city streets. Under a proposal being reviewed by the city council, no trash can be stored in boats on trailers, no parking would be allowed on city streets, and if a boat trailer or RV is parked next to a residence, it has to be moved at least once a year.
Location Location Location
Texas always does things in a big way, and when the topic is precipitation, the Lone Star State has recorded a big loss of rainfall this year, resulting in boat ramps, such as this one, being closed for lack of water. Note the docks, high and dry. Normal rainfall for Texas is 13 inches every year. As of August, total rainfall was .16 of an inch. The result? All 11 boat ramps on Lake Travis near Austin have been locked up until water levels can increase. On nearby Lake Buchanan, only one boat ramp was open for the summer. It’s the third-worst drought in the state’s history.
A sand-covered lane at the boat ramp in Michigan City, Indiana.
Michigan City, Indiana, on Lake Michigan's southern shoreline wants to attract fishermen so it's considering construction of a six-lane boat ramp, 129 spaces for boat trailer/tow vehicle parking, restrooms, a boardwalk and a fish cleaning station to replace an existing two lane ramp near the city's harbor. The cost? $10 million. The proposals? So far, there's $ 2million over the budget. If agreement can be reached, the new location is on property on the western shoreline of Trail Creek owned by the Northern Indiana Public Service Company and closer to Lake Michigan. The existing location is in Washington Park, scene of numerous festivals and beach parking combine to make it difficult to park a boat trailer and tow vehicle. In recent years, the lanes have been filled with sand blown across the ramp when Lake Michigan's northerly winds occur.
Texas and North Dakota
Texas has been in a serious drought for most of last year while North Dakota has been dealing with nonstop rain. Case in point: Devils Lake, North Dakota, has risen 32 feet in the past 18 years as a result of precipitation. It's a natural lake with no dams that can be used to adjust water levels. The Grahams Island boat ramp on Devils Lake had to be raised an extra four feet last year as a result of rising water. Our readers in Texas no doubt wish they had that problem as boat ramps had to be closed for low water levels near Austin in 2011.
So Far So Good
The second year of boat inspections at Colorado's Ruedi Reservoir near Aspen has resulted in some good news. Of the 3,000 boats checked at boat ramps, none showed any evidence of quagga or zebra mussels. The Ruedi Power and Water Authority conducted inspections on Wednesdays through Sundays during the summer, covering 75 percent of all the boats launched on the reservoir during the season and averaging 40 boats per day. Of this number, eight boats carried water from other bodies of water, a common way invasive species are introduced to a lake, and were given a high-pressure wash with steaming water at the inspection station. Colorado has seen invasives appear in a number of reservoirs but, so far, Ruedi has not been affected.
Minnesota Steps Up Invasive Inspections
Boaters in the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" already have zebra mussels in two dozen of their waterways and an effort is underway to involve both a state and local effort to ensure that number doesn't increase. But it's going to take some coordination. "If we're going to allow local units of government to do inspections," DNR Director of Ecological and water Resources Director Steve Hirsch tells the Minneapolis Star Tribune, "we need to have consistency so that boaters know what to expect when they're going to different areas." A plan is expected to be announced this spring. Meanwhile, a state effort has been underway with three "decontamination units" using 140° water to power spray hulls at 10 boat ramps in 2011 and another twenty being put to use this year. There's no fee if boat ramp inspectors find zebra mussels, unlike in other states.
Yep in Myrtle Beach
A long-proposed boat ramp along the Intracoastal Waterway in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is getting the green light for construction according to WMBF-TV. Using money from a federal grant, the new ramp will be located near the intersection of Highways 17 and 22 with parking for 46 boat trailers. If all goes according to plan, construction will begin this month. The ramp will be the only public boat launch within miles of the ICW.
Nope in Tarpon Springs
A $4 million plan to renovate a 20-acre RV park on the Anclote River in Florida's Tarpon Springs isn't going to happen, despite the fact it would include a much-needed boat ramp. A proposal to put the expenditure before Tarpon Springs voters failed on a tie vote, thus killing the measure. Opponents pointed to the large expenditure during tight economic times as a bad idea and suggested private enterprise should build the ramp. Proponents argued the city council should look at the big picture as a boat ramp will generate revenue in increased food, fuel and tourism sales.
A renovation of Lavender's Landing boat ramp on Pine Island in Lee County, Florida, didn't go too well last year. When boat owners tried using the ramp, their trailers got stuck because the concrete didn't go far enough into the water. Lee County renovated the renovation and say, now, it's good to go. They also say they've learned from this fiasco and will use those lessons the next time a boat ramp needs renovation.
Knowledge is Power
After insuring hundreds of thousands boats for over 45 years, you could say BoatUS Marine Insurance has learned a thing or two about what gets boaters, anglers, or sailors into trouble. Boats get damaged and people are injured in many ways. Here to shed light on these incidents, BoatUS Marine Insurance is offering a bimonthly email with "Damage Prevention Tips" for those who sign up at www.boatus.com/insurance/newslettersignup.asp
If he had read BoatUS Trailering
A thief in Seminole, Florida backed his tow truck up to a parked boat trailer holding a 20-foot Mako, hooked it up and took off with the stolen boat in tow. Along the escape route though, the boat trailer came off the hitch and slammed into a telephone box. Police say the crook hadn't connected the getaway tow vehicle to the trailer tongue properly. The thief hasn't been found and the owner of the boat has called his insurance company for repairs.
These Things Take Time
Jacksonville, Florida boater Bill Fadeley took his 16-foot airboat up the Intracoastal Waterway to New York City on a 1,100-mile, 13-day trip in 1986 to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Statue of Liberty. It wasn't a smooth ride on the flat-bottomed Miss Jacksonville and he nearly sank during heavy weather in Sapalo Sound near the Georgia border. But he made it and sent his travel logs to the Guinness Book of World records in the hope of nailing the category of Longest Airboat Ride. One problem: Guinness didn't have an airboat category.To Home Page
For 75 years, the unique federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration programs have returned outdoor enthusiasts’ money to benefit woods and waters, and the people who use them. If you’ve ever purchased firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing tackle, a hunting or fishing license, or gasoline for your boat, you can celebrate, too, during this diamond anniversary year. The boating side (make that the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund) marks 28 years as part of the larger program in 2012 as well.