Friday, December 02, 2005

Hurricane Alley

Well the 2005 hurricane season has finally come and gone. Living here in South Florida we are beginning to see how people in the midwest feel who live in tornado alley. In the past two hurricane seasons my home here in broward county has been hit by a total of five hurricanes. Luckily they did little damage, with exception of Wilma. I must say however that building code improvements made riding out wilma much less stressful than huricane Andrew back in '92. Although Wilma was in no way comparable to Andrew, it was far more powerful than any other storm which had affected us in our new house here in broward county. I must admit i am kinda envious of storm chasers as even i found myself wanting to see the full power of wilma up close and personal. To those who choose to go outside in hurricanes, do so with the knowledge and expectation that flying debris can and will injure you when it hits you at 100 mph. Always be aware of the wind direction and keep an immovable object like a wall, between you and the wind. One thing i noticed while observing wilma as they eye past was that the winds were not even close to uniform. The winds came in channels usually about 100 feet wide with surrounding wind speeds significantly lower. I literally watched winds batter the house across the street while barely bothering the houses on either side of it, then abruptly change to one of the other houses leaving my neighbors with lessor winds.
In Andrew, back in '92, the winds never did that. They maintained even pressure on everything in sight and grew in intensity every few minutes in gust like fasion without any lulls or retreat. In a cat five hurricane the force of the wind load is unprecedented. In all hurricanes the force on a structure is calculated as the square of the wind speed so a cat 5 is exponentially stronger than a 4 which is exponentially stronger than a 3 and so on.
The best advice to all of us who live in areas at risk of hurricanes is to get out of their way if they are going to hit you as a major 3,4 or 5, because if a 2 can do the damage it did here, the building code improvements will not protect you from a 5 any better than the codes did back in 92.

A few tips for homeowners in the event of a hurricane.

Barrel tile roofs can not and will not stay on in 140+ mph winds, so don't find yourself at the wrong end of a bazooka.

Don't wait for a wet ceiling to fall on your head, use a broom handle to poke a hole and let the water out before it sags too much and falls(It will have to be replaced anyway if the insulation is all wet.

Don't park your car where a tree can fall on it, try to park it out of the wind.

If you study the storms path you can get an idea of how the winds are going to be at your house. ie: If the storm is moving east to west and your home is either in the path of the eyewall or to the north of it, winds will come from the N,NE,ENE,E,ESE and finally SE as the storm passes to your south. This will allow you to strategically park cars, boats etc out of the most severe winds as the eye passes mainly the ENE - ESE winds which will be during the peak of the storm.
If the storm is going north of you the winds will be from the opposite direction, namely NW,WNW,W,WSW,SW with the peak winds coming in the WNW - WSW directions. All this reverses if as wilma did , the storm approaches from the west, where the south side of the storm, usually the weak side is now the strong side.

Don Quina
http://www.us-boating.net

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Bob Palmer, talks about conservation of seatrout and their future

The past several weeks saw several feature articles in this slot surrounding the seatrout. That's not very unusual, given that seatrout are one of the favorite fish pursued by anglers over the winter months. That is not to say that they are not pursued in the warmer months, but over the winter, they can be easier to find and target, when other fish are, or appear to be almost non-existent.
Given the increased pressure on seatrout every year, I thought it would be interesting to hear from an expert about the health of the seatrout fishery, for the southern United States in general and more specifically for Florida.

I was working on a feature assignment for Florida Game and Fish Magazine when I spoke to Bob Palmer, Florida's Chief of the Bureau of Marine Fisheries Management. He was more than willing to answer several questions.

As it turns out, the seatrout fishery in Florida is in excellent shape.

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Palmer attributes the health of the fishery to several things.
As you may know, Florida instituted a net ban several years ago. It was a heated issue between the commercial fishing interests, the conservationists and the sport fishing industry. "The net ban has helped the trout stay in a stable and growing environment," Palmer said, "but the fishery was actually doing well before the net ban."

"We had changed the commercial regulations for seatrout to a hook and line only fishery several years prior to the net ban," he indicted. "Commercial fishing accounted for only about twenty percent of the total seatrout harvest, even prior to the ban."

Florida has a slot limit of 15 to 20 inches with one fish allowed over the upper limit, and a creel limit of four or five, depending on the area of the state. Most anglers identify these limits as being an effort to save a dwindling fishery. In fact, Palmer says the restrictions are not at all for that reason.

"We decided, with input from public hearings, to develop a quality seatrout fishery," he said. "While the fishery was healthy and within reproductive parameters, the average size of the fish was decreasing. The past five years of larger length limits have seen the average size increase. The folks on the Treasure Coast (Cocoa and Melbourne) are going to be able to brag about their "gator" trout again."

"Seatrout are very territorial, and very non-migratory," said Palmer. "They spawn from May through October, and seldom does any fish travel far from the bay or inlet where it grew up." For that reason, Palmer indicated that it is possible to over-harvest the seatrout in a particular area. Anglers should make note of that fact. Several of us have favorite inlets where we catch trout, and if we do not vary our fishing patterns, we could see the catch decline in those inlets.

Palmer also indicated that even in other states, the seatrout fishery is in good shape. It's one of the most stable fisheries, and if we manage it properly, it will continue to thrive. So, you see the reason I spend the time on seatrout. They are plentiful and catchable - even if I can't seem to catch one lately!

Roy Edwards, S&K Pro Staff and Guide Wins "Big Bass Of The Year Contest"

Roy Edwards of New Jersey, a Pro Staff member, and professional bass guide with S&K Guide Service, destroyed the competition for "Big Bass of The Year" with several entries more than 2 pounds over the minimum weight needed to qualify.

(PRWEB) January 3, 2005 -- Roy Edwards, a professional bass guide from New Jersey, and Pro Staff member of S&K Guide Service, located in Delaware, has once again proved he knows his stuff when it comes to catching big bass. Roy is a professional trophy bass guide, and a member of the "Jackson Bass Anglers" located in New Jersey. He has caught numerous large bass, both largemouth and smallmouth from his home waters and in the lakes and rivers located on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland over the past few years. Roy began working as a member of the S&K Guide Service Pro Staff in 2004, and was hired as a full-time bass guide shortly afterwards.

He entered the "Biggest Bass Of the Year" contest at the last moment to qualify, and sunmitted a largemouth bass weighing 8 pounds, and a smallmouth bass weighing in at 6.6 pounds to take the lead among over 300 members eligible for the contest. Roy's fish gave him the win, and with it came a lure package valued at over $100.00, a new reel, and a beautiful Walnut plaque for his efforts. As if this wasn't enough to start the new year off the right way, Roy also won ober $300.00 worth of merchandise given away by S&K Guide Service and their sponsors, "Bearpaws handpoured Baits", "Tica" reels, "Daimon" Jigs, and "B&D Custom Lures".

Roy has had a banner year in 2004, and with the expansion of the new online store, and the backing of many new sponsors, I am sure we will be hearing more from Roy Edwards, and S&K Guide Service in 2005. Roy will be attending several trade shows with S&K this year in Buffalo and Syracuse New York, and at Bass Pro Shops in Harrisburg, and if his guide duties allow the time, he will also attend the Bassmasters Classic this year with S&K Guide Service, where they will be broadcasting live from there as well on the radio.

Moore Receives Award for Flounder Conservation

Best-selling fishing book author and conservation activist Chester Moore receieves awards for flounder conservation efforts.

(PRWEB) January 3, 2005 -- Texas Fish & Game magazine Saltwater Editor and best selling fishing book author Chester Moore, was presented an award by Texas State Representative Mike Hamilton (R-Mauriceville) for his flounder conservation work Dec. 15.

The certificate reads “The State of Texas House of Representatives salutes Chester Moore and his Project: Flounder Future in his work to enhance the Texas Flounder Fishery.”

“His lobbying and grass roots efforts to get a flounder stocking program in Texas started benefit all that pursue this wonderful sportfish,” Hamilton said.

According to Moore, receiving the award was flattering and he hopes if anything, it will help raise awareness to problems facing the flounder.

“We’re really close to having a full-blown flounder stocking program in Texas and if the anglers out there show support I believe we can make it happen and make the ‘glory days’ of flounder fishing be tomorrow,” he said.

In related news, Moore recently reached a lifelong goal of his, which is a bachelor’s degree of science in zoology with minors in marine biology and journalism.

“Wildlife, whether it swims in the ocean or runs through the forest, is my passion and since I was a little kid I wanted to be a zoologist so this is very thrilling for me,” he said.

“The main thing now is to concentrate even more on conservation and move toward a proactive future for our coastal fisheries. This degree will only help in that quest,” he added.

Moore is releasing a new book on flounder this spring through Texas Fish and Game publishing and plans to donate part of the proceeds to flounder conservation.

Split Season May Harm N.C.’s Turkey Hatch

(PRWEB) December 3, 2005 -- The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will offer 42 proposed changes to hunting, fishing and trapping regulations for the 2005-06 seasons during its annual series of January public hearings.

Most of the proposals shouldn’t generate much heat; one probably will.

The WRC will ask hunters to consider a split, east-west spring gobblers-only wild turkey season. The proposed eastern N.C. season (east of Interstate 95) would the earliest in history, starting the first Saturday in April and running through the fourth Saturday thereafter. The western season (west of I-95) would begin the second Saturday in April and end the fourth Saturday thereafter.

East and west seasons still would be four weeks (including five Saturdays). For instance, if the proposal were in effect this spring, eastern season dates would be April 2-30, while western dates would be April 9-May 7 (which is actually the 2005 statewide season dates). If a hunter chose, he could hunt east and west and enjoy a five-week season (but still couldn’t harvest more than two birds per year).

However, season length isn’t at the heart of a potential problem. The problem might come in breeding success, and it could be worse in counties with relatively few birds.

Mike Seamster, the WRC’s upland bird/wild turkey specialist, said this change, if adopted, may make it more difficult for eastern N.C. wild turkeys to breed and produce offspring.

The proposal, which originated with a District 4 (eastern N.C.) WRC commissioner, was in response to earlier gobbling by male birds in eastern counties during the spring.

However, opening the spring season too early may take gobblers out of the population before they have a chance to mate with hens - creating a potential negative effect upon the spring hatch and possibly lowering turkey reproduction.

“The whole concept of a spring gobbler season is based on the biology of letting the hens get bred before you harvest the gobblers,” Seamster said.

He said several advantages exist in allowing gobblers and hens to get together before opening hunting season.

“If hens are allowed to breed with gobblers, they’ll be on the nests and not likely to get accidentally shot during the hunting season,” he said. “Statistics have shown the earlier the (spring gobbler season) opens, the more likely hens are to get shot.

“Also, if you have an area with a low density of turkeys and allow the male birds to be hunted, reproductive success can become an iffy proposition.

“For instance, what if you open the season in an area where there’s only three gobblers per square mile, and you harvest one gobbler and your neighbor harvests one. You could end up with unbred hens (and a depressed hatch).”

Seamster said in eastern N.C., some areas have thriving wild turkey populations while others don’t have many birds.

“Biologists looked at 58 studies (of wild turkeys) in 33 states and came to the conclusion the best (hunting-season approach) was to go with the biological concept of harvesting gobblers after the hens were bred,” he said. “They put together the average incubation dates and created a map to show across the entire range of wild turkeys when that occurred.

“When they compared it to the season-opening dates, they found most states already were opening their (spring) seasons a little too early.”

The WRC’s public-hearings schedule for comments on changes in game laws is: Jan. 11, Southwestern Community College, Sylva; Jan. 12, Morganton, Municipal Auditorium; Jan. 13, Boonville, Starmount High School; Jan. 18, Elizabethtown, Courthouse; Jan. 19, Graham, Courthouse; Jan. 20, Norwood, S. Stanly High School; Jan. 25, Edenton, Swain Auditorium; Jan. 26, New Bern, Courthouse; and Jan. 27, Nashville, Courthouse.

All hearings will begin at 7 p.m.

Wilmington Angler World's Top Long-caster

(PRWEB) January 3, 2005 -- When his friends and rivals say Tommy Farmer of Wilmington can cast a country mile, they aren’t exaggerating. During the Sportcast USA World Long Casting Championship at Crisfield, Md., Farmer showed his skill by pacing the event with a cast of 819 feet.

Farmer, who is an avid fisherman, has been competing in distance-casting events for years. While still excited about his accomplishment, he said he had two goals at the beginning of 2004. “One of my goals was to beat 12-time champion ‘Big Lou’ McEachern of Texas, and the other was to break the American distance-casting record,” he said. Farmer achieved one of his goals and barely missed the other.

To win the title, Farmer had to beat McEachern, his rival and occasional training partner. The American distance-casting record of 821 feet, held by McEachern, was just out of Farmer’s reach when the event ended. Farmer’s 150-gram-class winning cast of 819 feet was the second-best American cast in the event’s history. He said he will try again to claim the world record during the 2005 tournament. On his way to the 2004 championship, Farmer advanced through the Southeast Regional competition at Wilmington and the U.S. national competition at Crisfield, Md. He competes in the Masters Division, the top level of distance-casting events.

In distance casting, there are two weight classes. In the 125-grams (about 4 1/2 ounces) class, competitors use 8-pound test or .28-mm monofilament line, plus a shock leader of 30 feet of 60 pounds or .75-mm mono is used between the end of the fishing line and the weight. The second class is 150 grams or about 5 1/4 ounces. In this class, competitors use 10-pound test or .31-mm monofilament line with the same shock leader.

Farmer said the heavier shock leader is necessary to absorb the power and whip of the cast. Farmer said his rod of choice is the Pendulum Cast, which originated in Great Britain. “With it, I begin with my back to the target and start swinging the sinker to begin loading the rod,” he said. “After working the rod to a fair bend with the swinging weight, I swing it all the way back and whip the rod over my head as I spin around. This final motion fully loads the rod and multiplies the strength I can put into it. If my timing and angle are correct, it will be a long cast.” If Farmer continues to improve, it’s possible he could repeat his 2004 championship this year.

New, All-Natural Mosquito Repellent Provides Better Protection Without Deet™

Skedattle™, a new, all natural mosquito repellent, provides better protection without Deet™, based on independent lab test.

Brevard, NC (PRWEB) January 3, 2005 -- An all new, natural oil based mosquito repellent called Skedattle has recently proven to offer better protection from mosquitos and other biting insects, without the use of Deet™ or chemical additives. The patented formula was developed by Gary Felkel, owner of a mosquito control company, in response to his desire to stop mosquitos without spraying chemicals on playgrounds and family backyards. "It occurred to me one day that I was fighting this battle on the wrong end of the equation" Felkel stated. "Instead of spraying huge areas of land and backyards with chemical substances, I wondered if there was a natural formula that could be applied to the skin. I saw it as a choice between combating nature with sprays vs. applying protection to the body. That way the environment and people wouldn't be subjected to these chemical sprays."

Armed with this idea and typical entrepreneurial determination, Felkel began researching natural ingredients, including numerous herbs and oils known for their bug repelling properties. After extensive testing, Felkel struck upon a unique combination of several all natural ingredients, that when combined, proved especially effective in repelling the mosquitos in this Western North Carolina community. He then began to share samples with friends and neighbors.

The results, according to Felkel, were nothing short of amazing. "We had a camp nearby that was so infested with mosquitos, they were considering closing early. They heard about this product and called us up. The director in charge later reported that the formula had worked so well,that camp would remain in session." Other reports included a young girl who would swell up when bitten by the bugs. Her mother applied the natural formula using the pump spray bottle, and the biting came to an immediate end.

In perhaps the most startling development, in an independent lab test of Skedattle vs. a product containing 100% Deet, Skedattle proved more
effective. According to the lab results, unprotected subjects received an average of 16 bites per hour. Subjects using products containing Deet received an average of 2.78 bites per hour, while the Skedattle test subjects received less than one bite per hour, (approximately 1/5 of one bite per hour). The test, conducted by BassFan Lab, (operated by BassFan LLC) involved three successive test periods over 72 hours. "They wanted to see for themselves how effective the product was" Felkel recounted. "I was as surprised as anyone. I knew the formula worked, but this really confirmed to what degree it worked."

Word of the product has spread fast, due in part to parental concerns about the use of chemical sprays on their children. "We also have a lot of interest from sportsmen as well, who tell us that chemical based sprays weaken or melt their fishing lines". Representatives have lined up to sell the product in Mexico, Canada, and Hawaii, as well as the continental United States. "What I feel best about" Felkel contined, "is knowing we are giving parents, families and outdoorsmen what they really want, an all natural product that will help protect them from West Nile and other mosquito borne illnesses, without the use of chemical additives."

Illinois company buys two SC fishing boat makers

(Lake Forest, Illinois-Dow Jones/AP) Jan. 3, 2005 - Brunswick Corporation has purchased two South Carolina-based makers of salt-water fishing boats for about $51 million.

The Lake Forest, Illinois-based company acquired Sea Pro Boats Incorporated and Sea Boss Boats LLC on Monday.

The acquired companies are based in Newberry and had 2004 sales of about $80 million.

The Sea Pro, Sea Boss and Palmetto brands will join Brunswick's Boston Whaler to form a new Saltwater Boat Group, based in Edgewater, Florida.

Brunswick Corp. Buys Sea Pro, Sea Boss

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) - Leisure products maker Brunswick Corp. reported Monday that it acquired Sea Pro Boats Inc. and Sea Boss Boats LLC for about $51 million in cash to fill out its boating business.

Brunswick said it will fold the Sea Pro, Sea Boss and Palmetto boat brands with its Boston Whaler brand to form a new saltwater boat group based in Edgewater, Fla. Boston Whaler President Michael W. Myers will head the new group and will report to Dustan E. McCoy, president of the Brunswick boat group. Myers also will remain head of Boston Whaler until a successor is named.

BRUNSWICK CORP



NYS:BC
Updated: 2005/01/03 ET
48.57 -0.93
Tommy Hancock, founder and president of Sea Pro, will remain in that position and report to Myers, Brunswick said.

The deal has a $4 million earn-out provision based on performance objectives for the year. Sea Pro and Sea Boss had sales of about $80 million in 2004. Brunswick posted $4.13 billion in sales for 2003.


Shares of Brunswick fell 69 cents, or 1.4 percent to $48.81 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Yamaha questions Brunswick's purchase

Boating Industry
Monday January 3, 2005


KENNESAW, Ga. -- Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A. reacted to Brunswick Corp.'s purchase of the Sea Pro, Palmetto and Sea Boss boat brands this morning saying the move casts doubt on Brunswick's claims of injury from Japanese engine manufacturers as the ongoing International Trade Commission investigation into engine dumping nears its conclusion.

"Brunswick's announcement that it has spent approximately $51 million to purchase Sea Pro, Palmetto and Sea Boss and expand its boat lines flies in the face of its injury claims pending before the ITC,” said Phil Dyskow, president of the Marine Group of Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A. said this morning in a press release. “In the past year alone Brunswick has spent over $240 million to purchase boat companies rather than invest in producing motors that the market wants.”

Dyskow said Brunwick's move was “an outright contradiction of Brunswick's December 14, 2004 statement to the ITC that it is losing money on the sales of its outboard motors and needs to raise its outboard motor prices in order to make a profit.

"In fact it appears that Brunswick wishes to raise prices on outboard motors so that it can raise capital to purchase additional boat companies. We feel that this should cause significant concern to independent boat builders, which may be purchasing engines from a company that is also their competitor in the boat business.

"We hope that the boating public and the ITC understand that Brunswick's choice to continue to buy boat companies rather than investing in outboard engine technology is the cause of problems that it is having in the outboard engine market, not imports. Ultimately, no matter how many boat companies Brunswick controls, its success in the outboard engine market will depend upon its ability to supply the engines that the market demands.”

The ITC will rule at the end of January on the question of whether Brunswick has been harmed by Japanese engine dumping practices in the United States.

BOAT ACCIDENT KILLS ONE UNDER BENICIA BRIDGE

01/03/05 3:55 PST
BENICIA (BCN)

The U.S. Coast Guard and the Solano County Sheriff's Office are investigating a boating accident that killed one person under the northern side of the Benicia Bridge this morning.

Coast Guard Lt. Kelly Thorkilson said the collision between a 70-foot crew boat Provider and a 14-foot pleasure craft was reported to Coast Guard Station Vallejo at 7 a.m. One person aboard the pleasure craft died and a dog was recovered from the accident scene in good condition, Thorkilson said.

There were six people aboard the Provider, which was taking bridge workers to work on the Benicia Bridge, and two people aboard the pleasure craft, Thorkilson said.

Latest Local Headlines:

Boating Accident Victim's Body Recovered

A body believed to be that of a missing 28-year-old Leon County man was recovered Monday afternoon near St. George Island in Apalachicola Bay.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers recovered the body believed to be that of Bryan Brown at 3:15 p.m. near Rattlesnake Cove.

Brown was last seen holding on to a board after the 13-foot boat he and his brother were riding in capsized in rough water near Dog Island back on December 19.

The brother, Warren Brown, was wearing a life jacket at the time and was picked up by a passing boat.

In the Line of Duty

The military says he died in the line of duty. But a new lawsuit says that duty was really a day of drinking and reckless boating on the St. Croix. Whether it was all voluntary or mandatory is the question.

Under a U.S. Supreme Court decision knows as the “Feres Doctrine,” families of the military are not allowed to sue for wrongful death if it's in the line of duty. Even if duty is really a day of partying on the St. Croix.

From all accounts, Lt. Nathan Nieber would've rather spent that July 4th weekend with his fiancee. But duty called. "This was a mandatory office social function on the St. Croix. They call it mandatory fun in the military."

His guard unit's day of mandatory fun, of drinking and sunshine, would turn into a horrifying tragedy. Two boats were cruising single file down the St. Croix, when a 36-foot cruiser, piloted by Nieber's commanding officer, literally ran over a smaller 18-foot fishing boat. Five people were seriously injured. The propeller decapitated Neiber. He was 26. "You don't follow in the wake of another boat, and this is the reason. If you're in the wake, you're too close."

Lawyers for his family have now sued both the U.S. Government and the pilots of the two boats. Both sides are pointing at each other.

"We've got the U.S. Government pointing to the private individuals saying on no you were off duty and we have the off duty officers and the insurance companies saying no you were on duty."

Yet the military has been hard pressed to explain its actions. This is a sample of the heavily edited reports the lawyers have obtained under the freedom of information act.

The one thing no one questions is Neibur's record. He was top of his ranger class. He was so accomplished, the guard named a new armory hall in his honor. His family's lawyers say the legal battle is the one thing that does not honor his name.

"Lt. Neibur was a military man from day one."

The pilots of the boats, both National Guard members, were drinking, but their blood alcohol level was well below the legal limit. No felony charges were filed.

But Col. Ronald Halvorson, the pilot of the larger cruiser, pled guilty to a gross misdemeanor of reckless boating. He paid a $300 fine and did 80 hours of community service. This is the first lawsuit, but others are expected soon from the five survivors who were seriously injured.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

$600,000 Available for Fish Habitat Restoration

FishAmerica’s partnership with the NOAA makes money available
Through FishAmerica’s partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Habitat Restoration Project, up to $600,000 is available to restore marine and anadromous fisheries habitat. This partnership emphasizes hands-on, grassroots approaches for on-the-ground restoration of marine, estuarine and riparian habitats, including salt marshes, seagrass beds, mangrove forests, and freshwater habitats important to anadromous fish species such as salmon and striped bass that spawn in freshwater and migrate to the sea.
“FishAmerica is pleased to have NOAA’s Community-based Habitat Restoration Program as a longstanding partner,” said Johanna Laderman, Managing Director of the FishAmerica Foundation. “Since 1998, we have awarded more than $3 million for community projects to restore sportfish habitat in 25 states through this partnership. With local dollars and volunteer hours, these projects are valued at nearly $8 million.”

Boater education in effect Jan. 1

On Jan. 1, 2005, Tennessee will implement its new mandatory boater education law across the state.
This new law passed by the legislature mandates that any person born after Jan. 1, 1989, must show proof of successful completion of a course in safe boating that is approved by the National Association of State Law Administrators (NASBLA) and accepted by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) before they may operate any vessel subject to registration on any waters in Tennessee.
The Tennessee Boater Education Program involves two main components.
The first component is the course itself. There are many NASBLA approved courses for people to choose from.
The main courses that TWRA will accept will be the U.S. Power Squadron, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, www.boat-ed.com and the TWRA Boat Tennessee Home Study Course.
There is no cost for some of the courses, while others charge a fee to cover the cost of the materials needed for the course.
The second component of the Tennessee Boater Education Program is that once the student has completed one of the approved courses, he or she must take a 60 questioned monitored exam provided by the TWRA Boating Division.
To gain entry to take the exam the student must first go to any license agent and prepay a $10 fee and the receipt obtained from this transaction will be the student's "ticket" to take the exam.
This $10 transaction receipt is valid until the student passes the exam. If the student does not have this receipt, then the student cannot take the exam.
The 60-question exam takes an average of 40-50 minutes to complete.
When the student passes the exam, he or she will be issued a temporary certificate and a TWRA-issued wallet card will be received within a couple of weeks.
Student may also challenge the exam without having to take the course, but they are still required to pay the $10 fee to gain entry to take the exam.
Information for the location, dates and times for courses and exams can be found at the TWRA web site, www.tnwildlife.org, or call 1-800-837-6012.

Firefighter takes to volunteer work on water

By Annie Thompson
(540) 981-3340
The Roanoke Times



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Ian Buchanan spent the day after Christmas in the waters of Smith Mountain Lake trying to raise a sunken boat.

That's not something most people would choose to do when the temperature is in the 30s.

But Buchanan volunteers for Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company and Saunders Volunteer Fire Company because he says it's important to help others.

He moved to Huddleston in 1999 and started volunteering for the Marine Fire & Rescue two months after arriving.

"Like every kid," Buchanan said, he always loved law enforcement.

He says his role with the Marine Fire & Rescue squad fits him even better than being a police officer would.

New year ushers in higher fees for boating, fishing

Saturday, January 01, 2005

By Martha Raffaele, The Associated Press



HARRISBURG -- Boating and fishing in Pennsylvania becomes more expensive today as the new year ushers in higher license fees for both activities.

Unlike a year ago, when the calendar change brought a range of new laws -- from a potpourri of higher taxes to the expansion of the state's low-cost prescription drug programs for seniors -- the higher boating and fishing fees are the only automatic change initiated by lawmakers for the start of 2005.

Many of the nearly 240 bills Rendell signed in 2004 have taken effect by now, such as a measure legalizing slot-machine gambling. Some new laws will take effect after Jan. 1, such as a provision allowing the expansion of Sunday liquor sales beginning in February.

And some cities may choose to exercise their new ability to collect a higher tax on workers.

Boating law highlights newest Illinois edicts

By JESSICA PERSONETTE

jpersonette@nwherald.com


Increased penalties for people who flee the scene of a boating accident and more rights for grandparent visitation are two of 129 new state laws that take effect today.

A boat-safety law, written by Sen. Pamela Althoff, R-McHenry, and outgoing Rep. Rosemary Kurtz, R-Crystal Lake, makes it a felony to leave the scene of a boating accident, punishable by one to three years in prison. If a death is involved, the felony penalty increases to three to seven years in prison.

Recreational park on horizon for Brooklyn

BROOKLYN-- First Selectman Maurice Bowen has dreams of hiking, boating and playing baseball.

They aren't dreams he has while sleeping, they are his ideas for a park that eventually will occupy 40 acres in East Brooklyn.

On Thursday, Bowen looked over an agreement for a $130,000 grant from the Department of Environmental Protection, which will be used to create the park that will include 3,550 feet of frontage along the Quinebaug River.

Bowen said the town will apply for a Community Block Grant to offset most of the cost.

The idea for the park started in 1999, when the town began finding opportunities to purchase land on the east side of town. The parcels, which are next to each other, soon showed potential of being more than empty lots. They include land the town already owned, land purchased around the same time and a parcel the state turned over to the town.

USCG Auxiliary Asks America's Boaters to Make Two New Year's Resolutions

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is asking boaters to make a pair of New Year's resolutions. "The first of these is simple and is the most important thing you can do on a boat that may save lives," says Dean Payne, Commander of Flotilla 37, which serves the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

(PRWEB) December 27, 2004 -- That first resolution is "I promise never to get underway before everyone onboard has on a properly fastened lifejacket."

Statistics prove that those on a boat are eight times more likely to live and be rescued if they fall overboard and have on a lifejacket compared to those that are not wearing a personal flotation device.

Payne says the second resolution is also simple and can save time, embarassment and money. It is a pledge to get a free courtesy vessel examination in 2005.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary does free vessel examinations to insure boats are in compliance with all federal and state regulations. "This could save you money as some insurance companies will give you a discount on your insurance if your boat has passed a Vessel Safety Check," explains Payne.

Follow the Voyage of Hope Around the World on the Internet and at the Houston Boat Show

Les Bissel suffered astroke in 2002 recovered and is now sailing around the world in a 28 ft sailboat on a crusade for stroke prevention.

(PRWEB) December 29, 2004 -- Les Bissell is a man on a mission – he calls it a “Voyage of Hope” – and thanks to 21st century technology, we can all follow along with him.

In early spring this year, avid sailor and athlete Bissell set sail in his 28-foot sloop, Hope, from Annapolis, Maryland, on a three-year voyage around the world. This is not one of those “just because I can” or “get away from it all” adventures. It’s more of a “because I still can” celebration.

Bissell, who at age 37 suffered a sudden, severe stroke in January 2002, is sailing the globe to heighten awareness about strokes – the signs, symptoms and recovery – and to give courage to all current and future stroke victims. Having won the hard fight to recover, he is partnering with National Stroke Association (NSA) to spread the message of hope.

Now Bissell is out there on the ocean, accompanied only by crew member Brian Murphy and an amazing global tracking and communications system donated by Houston-based Remote Knowledge, Inc.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

MPX comments on unusual trading activity

Boating Industry
Thursday December 23, 2004


ATLANTA -- Marine Products Corp. issued a brief release yesterday commenting on unusual trading activity in its common stock, and said there has been no material development in its business and affairs not previously disclosed publicly, or to its knowledge, any other reason to account for the unusual market activity.

The trading volume of Marine Products Corp.'s stock was about 168,000 shares on Wednesday and the closing price was $24.07, a decline of $3.18 or 11.7 percent from the previous day's closing price.

Marine Products manufactures fiberglass boats, including Chaparral pleasure boats and Robalo sport fishing boats.

Escape to the Swamp for the Holidays

Visitors will find numerous ways to unwind during the busy holiday season at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). Boating and paddling trails meander through open prairies past flocks of sandhill cranes. Hiking trails of less than one-half mile to four miles offer chances to see endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers, pine warblers, black bears, and fox squirrels. Bicyclists may see alligators sunning along roadside ditches. The sounds of nature replace the noise of civilization in one of the largest wilderness areas east of the Mississippi River.

There are three main entrances into the Okefenokee Swamp. Entrance fees are required and may be purchased at each location. The main entrance to Okefenokee NWR is located 8 miles south of Folkston, Georgia, off Highway 121/23. Stop by the Richard S. Bolt Visitor Center to plan your day. Walking trails, a ¾ mile long boardwalk and observation tower, boating trails, fishing, guided boat tours, motorboat, canoe, and kayak rentals, and a restored swamp homestead await visitors. This entrance is open from one-half hour before sunrise until 5:30 p.m. daily; but will be closed for Christmas Day. For additional information, contact the Visitor Center at 912-496-7836 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Located 17 miles east of Fargo, Georgia, on Highway Spur 177, Stephen C. Foster State Park offers a boardwalk, boating trails, fishing, guided boat tours, motorboat and canoe rentals, camping, cabins, and a museum. The State Park is open every day from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., including Christmas Day. The new Suwannee River Visitor Center, located on Highway 441, is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Call 912-637-5274 for more information.

The entrance to Okefenokee Swamp Park is located 8 miles south of Waycross, Georgia, on Highway 1. Visitors may enjoy the train ride past special lighted Christmas exhibits created throughout the Park. Normal visiting hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Extended hours through 9:00 p.m. are in effect for the train and other exhibits from December 18th through 23rd and December 26th through 31st. The Park will be closed on December 24th and 25th.

New boating law becomes effective after New Year

Owen Schroeder
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


There are approximately 260,000 registered boats in Tennessee and just about anyone who can crawl behind the wheel can operate them. That will all change January 1 as the state's mandatory Boater Education Law goes into effect.

Under the new law, any person born on or after January 1, 1989, and is 12 years of age and older, must possess proof that he or she has successfully completed a course in safe boating that is approved by the National Association of State Law Administrators and accepted by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency before they can operate any boat subject to registration on any waters in Tennessee without the supervision of an adult or someone possessing a safe boating certificate.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

It's the season for giving and loving - and for making a difference

The longer I live, the more I realize just how short life really is. I realize there must be more and that this life has to be just a dress rehearsal for something much bigger than any of us can imagine. I can’t explain it any other way.
I am waiting for my grandchildren to grow old enough to fish with me. Sometimes it seems they are stuck at a young age and I may never fish with them. Then there are times that I simply can’t believe how fast they grow.

I think we all reach a time in our lives that makes us look back at all we did, all we accomplished, and yes, all we could have accomplished. Talking to others, it seems we all reach that retrospective attitude at some point later in life. We all wish we had done something different, wish we had studied harder, or wish we had made some different choices.

For me, I think I am reasonably satisfied with my station in life. Oh, I could have studied harder, done some things differently, and not chosen to do some of the really stupid things I did. But, all in all, I think I’m happy.

I have a happy, successful family I love who loves me back, a mother and brother who love and appreciate me for who I am. I had a father who, while he was with us, taught me just about all I know about life. I’m able to enjoy fishing with my sons. I have a wife who understands, or at least tolerates the fishing passion inside me. All I can say is, wow! I could not ask for a whole lot more.

Retirement thoughts and decisions make the rounds every year about this time. Each year, they look a little better. Each year I say, maybe this year. Who knows, maybe it will be this year. Time, as it always does, will tell.

This holiday season is once again driving me to look back at my life. And the question I always end up asking myself is, did I make a difference?

As a Christian, I celebrate Christmas each year with my family. It’s a part of that something bigger I talked about. And as a Christian, I wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas this year. For those of you of different faiths, I wish each of you a Happy Holiday season as well.

Whatever your faith is, this week I encourage you to take time to be with your family. Take time to mend a few of the broken things in your life. Swallow your pride at least this one time each year. You will be the better for it! You will be able to look back at some point and say yes, I did make a difference.

Thin ice on lakes poses safety risk

By Jeff Bollier
Gannett Wisconsin Newspapers

OSHKOSH — As Chris Freiberg watched the Green Bay Packers game Sunday on TV, part of him wished he could be playing on Lake Winnebago instead of being indoors.

“This would be excellent ice boating weather, but the ice conditions are rough,” Freiberg said. “The lake just froze over today, but if it stays cold this week, I’m sure people will be out boating in a week.”

The weekend’s single-digit temperatures went a long way toward solidifying the start of ice-related recreation season.

But Winnebago County sheriff’s deputy Steve Herman said it will take another five to seven days before ice on Lake Winnebago is thick enough to walk on, and even longer until snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles and full-size vehicles can safely venture out.

“Citizens have to realize when they go out on the ice, they do so on their own and need to be aware of the potential problems that exist,” Herman said.

Winter sportsmen can’t wait to get out on the ice, but it’s an enthusiasm tempered by safety concerns.

“I’m looking forward to getting out there, but it’s not worth the risk of going out there just for some fish,” Oshkosh ice fisherman Greg Golliher said. “I’m not a person to sit around in the house and watch TV. I’d rather be out fishing or duck hunting.”

Golliher said anglers already have walked onto Lake Poygan and some of the other smaller lakes in Winnebago County. He said all Lake Winnebago needs before it can open up for what should be good winter walleye fishing is a few windless nights.

“Once you get a solid layer (of ice) out there, the wind can’t do much,” Golliher said. “I’m hoping to get out there before the end of the year, but safety’s the main issue.”

Otter Street Fishing Club president Scotty Engel and others said people shouldn’t walk on lake ice until it’s 4 to 6 inches thick, shouldn’t drive a snowmobile or ATV until the ice is at least 8 inches thick and shouldn’t drive a vehicle on the ice until it’s at least a foot thick.

Engel also recommended anyone unsure of lake conditions or new to ice activities should check with local anglers and fishing clubs, bait shops and boaters before heading out.

“The locals know what’s going on,” Engel said. “A lot of times visitors come in and do not check with local clubs or bait shops. It’s important because every lake is different.”

Freiberg said he’s hoping for the better part of a month of good ice boating weather before snow falls in volumes large enough to disrupt boating. He said he still gets a thrill out of getting his ice boat up to speeds of 60 mph on Lake Winnebago.

“I’ll be out there every weekend and after work, if I’ve got time before it gets dark,” Freiberg said. “In the past years, we’ve had about a month of good ice boating before the snow ruined it.”

Ariz. City Threatening to Shut Down Boating Company over Inadequate Insurance

December 20, 2004

The city of Tempe, Ariz., is threatening to shut down a boating company operating at Tempe Town Lake without enough insurance.

Rio Lago Cruise Company has carried $1 million of insurance for the past two years despite a contract mandating the company carry at least $5 million.

The city plans on sending the rental company a letter this week notifying it to comply within 60 days.

If it doesn't, Tempe officials say they could close down the company and begin looking for a new vendor.

Donald Karner, a partner with Rio Lago, said he is negotiating with the city to reduce the amount of coverage because the threat of terrorism has caused insurance rates to skyrocket.

Rio Lago had signed a contract with the city in 1999, becoming the lake's largest vendor and only boat rental business on the water.

City records show that Rio Lago followed that contract until November 2002 when the rental company lowered insurance coverage without giving 60 days notice.

Bahnsen's set to close

Bahnsen's Ski & Sport, an Omaha tradition in the skiing and boating business, will close early next year after losing its lease.


After 46 years, Bahnsen's Ski & Sport, at 7407 L St., will close its doors next month.

Owner Don Bahnsen said the store, at 7407 L St., is scheduled to close in mid-January after 46 years.

"There's no place to move to in this stage of the game," Bahnsen said.

If the business relocated, it would need more space than its current 11,000 square feet, he said. A "quitting business" sale, which began Nov. 18, is under way.

This year's cold, windy weather affected the boating season nationwide, Bahnsen said.

"That hurt financially, but the main cause of the closing was the loss of our lease," he said. When Bahnsen began in sports retail in October 1958, his store at 7529 Dodge St. was similar to today's national chains that carry general recreation and sporting goods.

In those days, the business - then known as Bahnsen's Sporting Goods - offered a wide range of equipment for sports and activities including tennis, bowling, camping, golf, basketball and basketball.

"You name it, we sold it," Bahnsen said. "We tried to do everything." In 1972, the business moved to 9201 J St. and concentrated its merchandise on skiing and boating.

Friends introduced Bahnsen to those outdoor water sports, and he began offering boats in 1958 and skiing equipment in 1965. The store name also changed to Bahnsen's Ski & Sport. The store moved to its current location in 1981.

Safe Boating Course Soon

A Public Safe Boating Adult Course will be offered this winter at the Sequoya Middle School Cafeteria, 750 Waverly Avenue, Holtsville, beginning Tuesday, January 11, from 8 to 10 pm. Registration will be on the first night of the course, from 7 to 8 pm.

The course will be given on the following dates: January 11, 18, 25, February 1, 8, 15, March 1 and 8, 2005.

The instruction given in the eight session course is the best way to learn the basics of safe boating for new, as well as experienced boaters. (Sign up for the course, whether you own a power, sail boat, or Personal Watercraft, are thinking about buying one, or enjoy boating with friends.) In addition to enhancing their boating and safety skills, many boat owners also receive boat insurance discounts for successfully completing the course.

The topics included in the course are: Personal Watercraft Instruction, boat handling and seamanship, boat types, equipment regulations and safe operation, state and local regulations, knots, weather, charts and plotting, aids to navigation, coastal and inland navigation, engine troubleshooting, piloting, sailing fundamentals, marine radiotelephone, and trailer boating.

The Safe Boating Course is being offered to the public by the Great South Bay Power Squadron of the United States Power Squadron, a non-profit organization of boating enthusiasts who have already taught over three million students how to make their boating safer and more enjoyable. The courses are offered to adults and teenagers in over 500 local areas nationwide. The course is free, but there is a fee of $40 for the Boating Book for adults and $25 for the "Boat Smart" book for ten to 14 year olds. In addition, the navigational plotters and dividers are $6 each.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Marine Mover – Boating Industry hires national account executive

Boating Industry
Friday December 17, 2004


MINNEAPOLIS – Boating Industry magazine has increased its sales staff with the hiring of Marty Wolske to the position of national account executive, where he will be responsible for advertising sales for the Eastern United States.

Wolske will work to help customers create business development marketing plans in the print advertising, online interactive, custom publishing and direct mail media.

Prior to joining the Ehlert Publishing Group – which publishes Trailer Boats, Bass & Walleye Boats, and Watercraft World magazines in addition to Boating Industry magazine – Wolske was the director of sales and marketing for Feed Stuffs, a weekly trade publication owned by Minneapolis-based Miller Publishing Group.

“The reason that I came to Ehlert was because of the tremendous opportunity for growth,” Wolske said. “As the No. 1 trade publication serving the marine market,
Boating Industry has embarked on an aggressive growth plan that leverages its 75-year brand heritage. There's no greater time to join this publication.”

Local dragon boating team earns medal

By SHAILA DANI
Bucks County Courier Times

A national dragon boating team comprised of mostly Philadelphia-area athletes has won several medals at an international competition in Shanghai, China.
The U.S. National Dragon Boating Team competed against teams from China, the Philippines, Germany, England, Poland and many others at the 5th International Dragon Boat World Championships from Oct. 22-24.

The 2,000-year-old sport of dragon boat racing involves 20 paddlers rowing in unison — sometimes as fast as 100 strokes a minute — to race a 40-foot boat a short distance.

The U.S. premiere open team won the gold in the 1,000-meter event, making it world champs for that race. The senior (over 40 years old) men’s team won the silver in the 1,000-meter and the bronze in the 200-meter events. The men and women’s mixed senior team won the bronze in the 200-meter race.

“It was unbelievable,” said Montgomery County resident William Heffernan, a gold medalist and member of the Philadelphia Dragon Boat Association, which sent 45 members to the international competition.

The U.S. team included Holland residents Ken Wong and his daughter, Christina. Ken Wong, who is president of the Philadelphia group, said the team would hold tryouts next in the spring for spots on the 2005 U.S. team. The team has already qualified for the next international competition, which will be held in August in Berlin.

He Took Away the Boats and Hooked the Anglers

Source: Virginian - Pilot
Publication date: 2004-12-12
Arrival time: 2004-12-17

BY LEE TOLLIVER

THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT

George Poveromo remembers the day all too well.

He was standing on a stage at a Miami boat show, trying to give a fishing seminar. There was a small audience. Poveromo noticed that most of the people in the stands were doing little more than shoving down hot dogs and pizza. They were in a hurry to get back to drooling over the boats.

Because of my relationship with the boating community, they were always asking me to come to the shows in Miami and give seminars, said Poveromo, a senior editor for Salt Water Sportsman magazine . Nobody was there to listen to fishing seminars. It was all about the boats.

Tired of the humiliation of a less-than-attentive audience, Poveromo and the staff at the magazine decided to try to let the seminars stand alone. So in 1988 , Poveromo started producing the Salt Water Sportsman National Seminar Series a daylong discussion of fishing tactics and techniques that is widely considered the largest and most comprehensive fishing educational course in the country.

Each year the tour visits eight cities. The series has had more than 90,000 anglers attend seminars since its inception.

The series has come to South Hampton Roads twice, but it has been several years since the last visit. Poveromo and his staff of angling experts are scheduled to return Jan. 15. Seminars will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Virginia Beach Pavilion . Tickets are $55 . Admission includes a goody bag, a one -year subscription to the magazine and a one -year membership to the International Game Fish Association .

When the 2005 tour is complete, one attendee will win a Mako Marine 212 center-console fishing boat powered by a 225 -horsepower Honda four -stroke outboard motor.

Instructors include Poveromo and New England charter captain John Pirie , along with regional and local captains Jimmy Price , Harry Vernon III , Brant McMullan , Rom Whitaker , Andy Morris , Dr. Ken Neill , Ryan Overton and Craig Paige . The group will discuss subjects from offshore fishing to bottom fishing for both inshore and offshore waters. Nearly every species targeted by local anglers will be featured.

We try to bring in a group of nationally known and local angling experts who can talk about the area-specific species anglers in each area target, Poveromo said. We make the day as area-specific as possible.

Poveromo, a 46-year-old Florida native, is a powerful draw. He has been fishing since childhood. At age 23 he was named one of the top eight anglers in the country by Motor Boating and Sailing Magazine .

Aside from the series, Poveromo writes a monthly magazine column about tackle and tactics. He also produces a series of how-to videos.

Poveromo graduated from the University of Miami with a broadcast journalism degree . He joined the magazine staff in 1983 after taking a group of writers out fishing.

They have a Mako -owners tournament and they asked me to take a group of journalists out fishing for the event, Poveromo said. The magazine asked me to do a feature for them, and I did. They ran it and asked me if I wanted a job. The rest is history.

Marine Lenders Bank On Grow Boating Initiative

by Dan Green, NMMA Staff
Page(s): 1
(Dec. 15, 2004 - CHICAGO, IL)... The National Marine Bankers Association (NMBA) has contributed $10,000 to the Grow Boating Initiative Start Up Fund. The group has also announced that it has formed a task force to determine how lenders can financially support the campaign on an ongoing basis.

"We wanted to be one of the first to donate to the campaign for two key reasons: First, because we believe growing boating will grow the marine loan and related service businesses; and second, we wanted to encourage other non-manufacturing groups to support the initiative," says NMBA president Don Parkhurst. "We need to present a consistent and ongoing message of boating’s benefits to attract a growing number of new participants year after year."

The contribution is part of the $2 million Start Up Fund that will help pay for the creative development and production of the marketing campaign that will launch in 2005. The final marketing campaign will be introduced at a special All-Industry Meeting at the Miami International Boat Show, being held February 16 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

"It’s encouraging to see another segment of the boating industry supporting the Grow Boating Initiative, and proactively determining how to fund ongoing support. At the February 16th meeting in Miami, we are inviting associations from all industry segments to make presentations on how they will contribute to the long-term annual funding for the Grow Boating campaign," says NMMA President Thom Dammrich.

Registration for the All-Industry Grow Boating Update meeting in Miami is not required, but to help NMMA accommodate all who want to attend, contact NMMA assistant director of Communications Dan Green at (312) 946-6269; dgreen@nmma.org.

Boating industry divided in outboard engines trade dispute

By Brian Tumulty / Gannett News Service
WASHINGTON -- Outboard engines used by recreational boaters are the latest example of the continuing consumers' dilemma of choosing between cheaper prices or keeping American manufacturing jobs.

Mercury Marine, the No. 1 U.S. maker of outboard engines, says 4,000 jobs at its Fond du Lac, Wis., factory hang in the balance.

The International Trade Commission is expected to decide by late January whether to make permanent a 22.5 percent import duty that has been charged on Japanese-made outboard engines since August.

That's when the federal government issued a preliminary finding that Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki were dumping their outboard engines in the U.S. market at prices lower than what they charge in Japan.

The price competition had been spurred by a drive to produce low-emission engines that will comply with new Environmental Protection Agency standards that take effect in 2006.

The Japanese manufacturers argue that they have been more nimble in the development of low-emission four-stroke engines.

Mercury Marine, on the other hand, put much of its research and development into complying with emission standards by producing a direct-injection version of the standard two-stroke engines that have been used by boaters for decades.

In fact, Mercury Marine has relied on Yamaha for parts of some of its four-stroke engines.

The trade dispute has created a rift among executives at independent American boat manufacturers and owners of boat dealerships. Nearly two dozen of them -- from California to Florida -- testified Tuesday before the International Trade Commission.

Those in the U.S. boating industry siding with Yamaha and the other imports fear that permanent duties will hurt the entire industry by increasing the price of a new boat, which is typically sold as a package with the engine already installed.

Mercury Marine officials made clear at the hearing that they will raise prices on their products to cover the higher costs of making a cleaner engine if they win their request for permanent duties on Japanese imports.

So whether it's a Japanese or a U.S. outboard engine, buyers would have to pay more.

Most of the independent boat builders that already use Mercury Marine engines in their boats sided with the American manufacturer at the trade commission hearing.

"It is not technology or quality issues driving the market today," said Ed Renken, executive vice president of Sea Fox Boat Company in Moncks Corner, S.C., which puts Mercury engines on 95 percent of its boats when they are shipped with factory-installed outboards. "In our opinion, price has more effect on the consumers' decision than any other factor."

Although the vast majority of boats are built so that they can be equipped with different brands of outboard engines, the manufacturers said it's increasingly rare for the customer to choose the engine.

That means that engine pricing is critical on the wholesale level where the manufacturer and boat builder strike their supply deals.

Regardless of whether it wins the import duty case, Mercury Marine will be shifting production of its 40-, 50- and 60-horsepower outboard engines to Suzhou, China, in the spring of 2005.

Should Mercury Marine lose the case, future plans for production in China could be accelerated, costing U.S. jobs.

Shannon Yachts Appoints Massey Yacht Sales Exclusive Florida Sales Agent

Shannon Yacht, LLC has announced the appointment of Massey Yacht Sales as its exclusive sales agent in the state of Florida and coastal Georgia.

SOUTH TAMPA BAY; PALMETTO, FL (PRWEB) December 17, 2004 -- Shannon Yacht, LLC has announced the appointment of Massey Yacht Sales as its exclusive sales agent in the state of Florida and coastal Georgia.

"Ed Massey and his staff have demonstrated a high level of integrity and professional knowledge in the sale of fine yachts for over 25 years. As Shannon’s growth has required us to venture outside our traditional factory-direct approach of selling our semi-custom yachts, Massey Yacht Sales was the most obvious choice for our first agent relationship.

Ed and his staff will represent the entire Shannon line from our time honored Blue Water Yachts, to our exciting line of new SRD power cruisers. They will also have our new 35 Shoalsailor available for demonstration at their docks in the spring 2005. A perfect yacht for sailing the shallow waters of the beautiful Florida west coast," said Tom Patterson, Partner in Shannon Yachts.

"We are delighted to be a part of Shannon’s future and heritage. We look forward to introducing Shannon’s renowned quality and performance to the Florida market. The power line is ideally suited for all areas in the state, the Blue Water Shannon’s will meet the needs of the market’s most demanding cruising sailor and the Shoalsailors are made for our backyard," said Ed Massey.

Massey generates over 18 million dollars in annual sales volume and anticipates continued growth with the addition of the Shannon line. Those searching for Shannon yachts will now be able to inspect them at Regatta Pointe, Palmetto; Centennial Harbour Marina, downtown Ft. Myers and the Harborage Marina in St. Petersburg. The Massey service department is headquartered at the Palmetto location. The Massey Mobile Marine team is available to extend warranty and after sale service solutions at the yacht owners dock.

Last Minute Gift Ideas from the Coast Guard & Coast Guard Auxiliary

The U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary would like to offer a few last minute holiday gift ideas for the boater in your life. Some of the most valuable gifts don't cost anything but time, such as scheduling a free vessel safety check with the local Coast Guard Auxiliary. An auxiliarist will ensure compliance with federal, state and local safety requirements before getting underway.

(PRWEB) December 18, 2004 -- The U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary would like to offer a few last minute holiday gift ideas for the boater in your life.

Some of the most valuable gifts don't cost anything but time, such as scheduling a free vessel safety check with the local Coast Guard Auxiliary. An auxiliarist will ensure compliance with federal, state and local safety requirements before getting underway.

For more information visit: http://safetyseal.net/

Another gift idea is to sign up for a boating safety course. Course topics include basic boating knowledge, laws, navigational rules and problem solving. To learn more, visit the USCGAUX Boating Safety Class page at: http://www.cgaux.org/cgauxweb/classes/master.shtml.

Some other gift ideas which can be found at any
boating supply store include:

- Sleek, light-weight, inflatable personal flotation devices (PFDs)
- A carbon monoxide detctor
- Emergency signaling kits -- flares, signal mirror, whistle, etc.
- Kill switch leash -- kills the engine if the boater falls overboard
- Up-to-date navigational charts
- Navigation tools and calculators
- Hand-held VHF marine radio with extra batteries
- Personal emergency position indicating radio beacons
- Tool kit and spare parts for boats
- First Aid kit, sun screen, sunglasses, food and
water.

The Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary recommend such gifts in the effort to save lives and reduce mishaps on America's waterways.

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary is the
volunteer civilian component of Coast Guard Forces. Founded in 1939 by an Act of Congress as the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve and re-designated the Auxiliary in 1941, the 35,000 members donate millions of hours annually in support of Coast Guard missions.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Carry The Comfort and Warmth of Your Living Room to the Action

Now you can enjoy any outdoor event in comfort with the new compact designed Sports Cushion. It also converts into a Body Warmer.

Burleson, TX (PRWEB via PR Web Direct) December 14, 2004 -- New, this space age, compact designed Sports Cushion, instantly converts into a Body Warmer. Now you can enjoy any outdoor event in comfort. The Sports Cushion is also perfect for hunting, fishing and as a general survival companion for traveling in cold climates.

Warm poly fill insulation is quilted between an inner and outer shell of tough rip-stop nylon. Inner and outer shells are specially coated for a complete barrier to cold winds and moisture. A durable rubber molded base completely protects feet from wet surfaces. One size fits all.

Attending a football game, or any event in cold weather can be a bone chilling experience. Sitting in a stadium, around the campfire or your favorite fishing spot without at least a seat cushion and a blanket is uncomfortable to say the least.

Bob Gibson, an entrepreneur and inventor, along with his son in law, George Heffner developed this new compact, patent pending, space age innovation to add convenience and comfort to virtually all sporting events in any weather.

Bob, an avid Sports fan, used to attend football games with his family and friends during the Fall. Blankets, foam cushions and heavy jackets were bundled up and lugged to the Stadium and to their tailgate parties outside.

Discover The Secrets to Fly Fishing with the “Fly Fishing” Guidebook

"Introducing an Amazing New Guide to Learning the Art & Craft of Fly Fishing, and Catching the Big Ones that All Anglers Dream About!"

(PRWEB) December 13, 2004 -- The “Fly Fishing Guidebook” contains all the necessary tips and techniques you need to become an experienced fly fisherman or fisherwomen. Learn more about Fly Fishing http://tinyurl.com/5btvz

You'll learn fly casting techniques, trout fishing techniques, how to tie fishing knots, and other great fishing secrets from pros that earn a living fishing. The “Fly Fishing Guidebook" covers every aspect of this exciting sport. It explains the basic techniques so that anyone can understand them. But it goes beyond that and shares the subtle tricks and mystical elements that fly fishermen have enjoyed for hundreds of years.

Here are just two testimonials from satisfied anglers:
"As a beginner, I really appreciated your detailed descriptions of the various gear and equipment needed for fly fishing. The information on the best types of flies and leaders for Trout helped me know exactly what to buy before my trip to Elk Lake. I caught four beautiful Rainbows!"
-Benjamin Saddleman, Allentown, PA

"I was having a hard time with my casting. After reading your instructions, I discovered what I had been doing wrong (bending my wrist). I corrected this and after a little practice, I was finally able to place the fly right where I wanted…near the fish! It's made me a much better (and better fed) fisherman."
Robert Jenkins, Trenton, NJ

Much of Atchafalaya Basin Off Limits, New Map Shows

This story may be printed for free in any on-line or print publication. Tagline found at the end of the story must be included.

(PRWEB) December 15, 2004 -- To look at a map of the Atchafalaya Basin is to see an unlimited number of fishing and hunting opportunities.

In reality, however, most of that expanse of water and swampland is off limits to the public.

That has been made crystal clear with the release of a map by the State Lands Office that details exactly what the state claims.

“We’ve finished inside the levees — only inside the levees,” the agency’s Clay Carter said.

The 42-inch-by-72-inch map can be purchased by mailing a request and $40 check to Records Section, State Lands Office, P.O. Box 44124, Baton Rouge, LA 70804. Or go to the agency’s Web site (www.state.la.us/slo) and download a copy for free.

Publicly accessible waters and lands are indicated by an array of colors, depicting the extent of the state’s claim. Some areas are partially claimed by the state, while others are fully claimed.

All of these areas, however, are open to public use.

Take Duck Lake, for instance. This large lake has produced some of the largest bass in the Basin, and it is shown to be publicly accessible.

However, the fact that the entire lake is open to public use is due to the State Lands Office, with the state Attorney General’s backing, being aggressive in its claims.

The southern half of the lake was ceded to private ownership by a court in 1951, and that would seem to indicate the state could make no claim on the waterway.

However, Carter said the matter didn’t end there.

“Both sides agreed in that case that the waters were navigable in 1812,” he said.

And then the issue came up again in 1975 in a separate case in a state Supreme Court case.

“It basically said navigable waters are not susceptible to private ownership,” Carter said.

So the map shows Duck Lake shaded in two colors: one for the part that falls under public ownership and one that is open to navigation because of the 1975 Supreme Court ruling.

“That is the last expression by the Supreme Court,” Carter said.

And there is a vast amount of land and associated waters that are claimed as public on the western side of the lower Basin.

These areas are shaded in green, and are shown on the legend as being “vacant lands.”

Carter explained that these are all publicly accessible.

“In 1849, the Congress said the state could have all the swamplands in the state,” he said. “That was 10 million of the 27 million acres of land in the state.”

N.J. Angler Pulled Overboard by Bluefin

Several anglers discovered an empty boat 13 miles off the Beaufort/Morehead City coast Dec. 8, a harpoon line trailing in the water.

(PRWEB) December 15, 2004 -- Several anglers discovered an empty boat 13 miles off the Beaufort/Morehead City coast Dec. 8, a harpoon line trailing in the water.

One of the anglers who jumped aboard the empty vessel and retrieved the line found a live-but-speared bluefin tuna attached to the harpoon - and the captain’s body entangled in the line.

Bruce Bartlett of South Plainfield, N.J., apparently harpooned the fish, but his left leg was caught in the 200-foot line, Coast Guard officials said. When the powerful fish tried to escape, Bartlett was pulled into the ocean.

The National Marine Fisheries Service reopened the commercial bluefin tuna season at 12:30 a.m., Dec. 8. The season had been closed since Nov. 19. Bluefin tuna, purchased by Far Eastern buyers at the dock, can be sold for several thousand dollars per fish, depending upon the tuna’s size and its condition.

Bartlett was a commercial fisherman who traveled the coast with a group of seven other boats from the N.J. area. He was alone in the 35-foot boat, Flat Calm, when he died, fighting a fish that can weigh from 200 to 500 pounds.

Friends of Bartlett said he normally fished with a partner but couldn’t find anyone to go with him Wednesday morning before he left Beaufort.

“(Bluefin tunas) aren’t easy to handle by yourself,” Coast Guard ensign Andy Greenwood told a reporter.

Greenwood said Bartlett’s was one of several fishing vessels that left Morehead City early Wednesday. He was last seen at 8 a.m. Other tuna anglers found his boat, the tuna, and Barlett's body at approximately 9:30 a.m. The tuna dropped off the harpoon as the angler pulled Bartlett’s body to his boat.

Anthony Ng of Winterville, a commercial fisherman who was also in the area that morning, told a coastal newspaper reporter that 6- and 7-foot swells were battering the boats. Ng said many fishermen often work alone, hauling in tuna on giant rods, then using harpoons to impale them and chase the fish until the fish expire.

The Coast Guard advises anglers to use multiple crewmembers and never to fish alone.

The commercial bluefin tuna season ends Dec. 20 in N.C. waters.

For the latest in outdoor features, news and columns, subscribe to North Carolina Sportsman magazine by calling (800) 538-4355 or visiting www.northcarolinasportsman.com.

Abandoned boats clog waterways

CHARLOTTE COUNTY— Charlotte County has one of the most active boating populations in the state, but traffic has slowed dramatically since Hurricane Charley because abandoned boats have clogged the local waterways. State and county investigators have launched a major effort to make abandoned boat owners pay to have the boats removed.

As a captain for Sea Tow, Scott Trecartin helps out boaters whose boats are less than seaworthy. Hurricane Charley made him a busy man.

Even though Hurricane Charley hit four months ago, the remains of abandoned boats are scattered throughout local waterways.

The boats may be abandoned but the owners are still responsible for them. State and county investigators have launched a major effort to make abandoned boat owners pay for the cleanup.

Fish and Wildlife is working with Charlotte County to track owners of the boats. When they're found they're going to get a letter telling them to pay for the cleanup, or they'll have to go to court.

3M Dedicates Part Of Annual Sales To Grow Boating Fund

by Dan Green, NMMA Staff
Page(s): 1
(Dec. 13, 2004 - CHICAGO,IL)... The Grow Boating Initiative received a significant boost today, as 3M Marine announced that it will be dedicating a percentage of its annual sales to NMMA boat manufacturer members to the campaign.

"A half percentage point of all our sales to NMMA boat manufacturer members will be earmarked for the funds and distributed to NMMA at the end of the calendar year," says Joseph E. Parks, business manager for 3M’s marine business.

The contribution is the first annual commitment made to the Initiative. Their annual contributions will help cover costs for the estimated $10 to $15 million that will be needed to fund the annual Grow Boating campaign.

3M is a diversified manufacturer of over 60,000 products, and represents a wide range of products to the marine market, including surface finishing, masking and protecting, all elements of safety and respiratory health, adhesives, chemicals and more.

3M’s decision to contribute to the Initiative was made after Parks attended, and was impressed by a presentation on Grow Boating made by NMMA president Thom Dammrich at IBEX.