Tags Posts tagged with "Florida"


Four South Carolina marine businesses received hefty Boating Infrastructure Grants (BIG) this year. The Charleston City Marina replaces electrical receptacles on its MegaDock with about $20,000; The Myrtle Beach Yacht Club replaces its fuel system with nearly $45,000; Beaufort’s Downtown Marina upgrades its transient dock with almost $1 million, and St. Johns Yacht Harbor constructs 50 transient slips and installs a state-of-the-art fueling system with over $953,000. Boating excise duties finance the BIG trust fund.

The aggressive lionfish significantly threatens Florida’s native wildlife and habitat. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) held a Lionfish Summit in 2013 to catalyze the necessary changes for reduction and easy removal of lionfish, and to develop markets for them. The commission launched the free app “Report Florida Lionfish” with educational information, safe handling guidelines and a data-reporting form for public lionfish spotters and harvesters. App users can also share their photos of lionfish in Florida waters. Those without smart devices may submit reports at myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/lionfish.

Miami Megayacht Marina will provide much-needed slips for 200-foot megayachts on the Miami River next summer. This 14-slip facility replaces an existing well-worn marina. Each covered slip comes with sheltered parking for three vehicles, indoor storage and quarters for captain and crew (unique in the U.S.). Covered tender storage, an owner’s vault and additional flexible space are also included. Marina amenities include a clubhouse with a coffee shop, internet, dining area, spa, exercise room, media room, and swimming pool. Marine-related businesses are onsite. Dredging and a new seawall are planned. The Miami Megayacht Marina is expected to revitalize the area and its economy.

New Smyrna Beach, Florida, was the final destination for 67-year-old kayaker Alexander “Olek” Doba. He paddled solo more than 6,000 miles from Portugal over the course of 195 days. After leaving Lisbon last October he encountered storms, mechanical problems, a challenging Gulf Stream, and winds that blew him off course. In April, Doba and his 21-foot kayak was escorted into a New Smyrna Beach harbor by 15 local kayakers. When he kissed Florida’s sandy soil his admirers on shore called him a “tough guy.”

ICW drawbridges in Daytona Beach’s Volusia County and other ICW locales will vanish in future years due to expensive bridge maintenance with custom-made parts and tender costs as much as $400,000 per year. A high-rise bridge replacing a Volusia County drawbridge next year will cost $43 million with mostly federal funds. Although expensive to build, high-rise bridges’ annual costs are less. ICW cruisers will still have to wait for bridge openings since fundraising for new bridges takes time.

S.E. Seaboard boat drivers of certain ages will now be required to take classes on safe boat handling. States’ age requirements are North Carolina, under 26; South Carolina, under 16 if operating a boat with 15 horsepower or more; Georgia, born on or after January 1, 1998; Florida, born on or after January 1, 1988, if the boat has 10 horsepower or more.

By Nancy E. Spraker, Southern Boating August 2014

The emerald waters and white sands of the Northern Gulf Coast are normally a tranquil vacation spot except for one week in late August when a “Who’s Who” of powerboat racing storms onto the coast. The growl of high-octane engines screaming just a Frisbee’s throw offshore builds unparalleled energy and excitement for race fans lined on beaches, and in spectator boats and private beachside condo balconies. After a decade of racing, Thunder on the Gulf has become one of the top powerboat racing events in the U.S. and this year will be no exception.

Held over a long weekend August 21-24, the event has expanded to include racing in both Orange Beach, Alabama, and nearby Pensacola, Florida,—now billed the Flora-Bama Shootout Grand Prix Championship. The legendary Flora-Bama bar straddling the line between the two states is famous for their mullet toss and is hosting the kick-off party on Thursday, August 21st. John Carbonell of Key West is the premier race official and Super Boat International is the sanctioning body for this race weekend, which is listed as a top event by the Southeast Tourism Society.

With race villages and wet pits set up in each location, race fans can tour these monster super-boats in a festive atmosphere the day before the races, which run Friday the 22nd in Orange Beach and Sunday the 24th off Pensacola’s historic downtown waterfront at the Plaza de Luna.

Billed as an entire race week experience, food and live music will be featured at each event site, including the Marshall Tucker Band at the Wharf in Orange Beach. There will also be a golf tournament, the well-attended Thunder Motorcycle Run, an offshore fishing tournament, and two bikini contests. A massive street party, boat parade and fireworks display on Palafox Street and the adjacent pier follow the final awards ceremony in Pensacola. All events are staggered and timed to chase the race boats as they transition from Alabama to the Florida Panhandle. VIP packages are available.

Depending on your taste and energy level, there is something for all race fans whether you don’t want to miss a minute of the onshore and offshore events in both cities or would simply prefer to set up your beach chairs with a cooler along the 6.5-mile liquid racecourse in Orange Beach. For those who are new to superboat racing, this is a perfect time to book your family vacation and delight the kids with this NASCAR-type event on the water. thunderonthegulf.com

By Troy Gilbert, Southern Boating August 2014

Increased future rail traffic is certain to impact Fort Lauderdale’s marine industry. A high-speed passenger train between Miami and Orlando under the project name “All Aboard Florida,” and projects in Port Everglades and the Port of Miami require building several new bridges over 30 or more waterways. The New River railroad bridge in central downtown Fort Lauderdale is a main concern and when closed offers a slim four-foot clearance. Since many of the area’s refit and repair yards are up the New River, the slow-paced bridge would be closed more often. A 2009 study showed the bridge closing for 20 minutes, 11 times a day. Fear is that with added hindrance to marine traffic, repairs and jobs in the area’s marine industry will go elsewhere. Concerned citizens and boat owners are encouraged to contact Governor Rick Scott, state legislators, and Florida congressional delegation. allaboardflorida.com

Shipwrecks rich with history
A mysterious shipwreck near St. Augustine, Florida, was identified as the Bermuda schooner The Deliverance, wrecked in a brutal 1947 storm. The vessel was named after the original Bermudian Deliverance that helped settlers in Jamestown in 1608. The shipwreck of the SS Central America in 1857 led to the first worldwide financial crisis and is now being raised off the coast of North Carolina. Within its hold is 21 tons of gold worth $100 million. Its recovery by Tommy Thompson in 1988 led to litigation against him and his eventual fugitive status in 2012. And finally, budding maritime archaeologists are measuring and mapping century-old Carolina duck hunting skiffs to create models using 3-D printers at East Carolina University’s Maritime Studies Program. By doing so, students learn how a boat is put together—a prerequisite to examining shipwrecks.ecu.edu/cs-cas/maritime

Free dockage in North Carolina
Mariners Wharf’s free docks in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, are even more inviting to visiting cruisers this season with new restrooms and showers. Elizabeth City is on the ICW halfway between Virginia Beach and the Outer Banks. Restrooms are free and showers are $5, payable at Elizabeth City Area Convention and Visitors Bureau or the Elizabeth City Downtown, Inc. offices. Both offices are closed on weekends. discoverelizabethcity.com

Another friend to ICW transients is the North Carolina Museum in Beaufort, North Carolina, known for its artifacts from Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge. The expansion on Gallants Channel just north of downtown brings deep-water fixed 1,500-foot wharfs, 10-slip floating docks, and a 110-foot face dock. Short-term dockage is just $1 per-foot per-night or $10 per foot per month. Water and power are available, but there are no shore-side facilities as of yet.

Biscayne Bay navigation notes
Severe shoaling continues to be a problem along the ICW near Bakers Haulover Inlet near Biscayne Bay Buoy 7B south to DBN 11 and from Biscayne Bay 6A to Biscayne Bay DBN8. Channel depth and width vary, and at any tide boats may be pushed east or west out of the channel. Cruisers should contact dredge Jenni Lea II on VHF channel 13, 16 or 78, or local tow boat operators for information on a good deep water passage around the shoal.

By Nancy E. Spraker, Southern Boating July 2014

July brings with it a unique tradition for recreational boat owners on Florida’s Big Bend on the Gulf Coast—bay scallop season. A run of sandy barrier islands and a marshy estuarine system contribute to an ideal salinity and ecosystem for the tasty mollusks, an environment unique to the Gulf Coast. Highly susceptible to even minute environmental changes, the harvesting of bay scallops is strictly controlled and no commercial activities are allowed. The one exception is for recreational boat owners and individuals who wade from shore with dip nets, a pastime that has led to an almost cultural institution on this stretch of Florida’s coastline.

Midsummer brings out the snorkels, flippers and mesh bags as Floridians and tourists peruse the sandy seagrass beds just offshore of Florida’s Forgotten Coast between Port St. Joe and Tarpon Springs. “Diver down” flags pop up above tried and true secret scalloping spots, and with scallops preferring depths of only 4-6 feet of water, it is a family-friendly experience. Port St. Joe also holds an annual Scallop Festival every August in this very authentic old-style Florida town.

Bay scallops once had an extensive habitat throughout the state from Pensacola to West Palm Beach on the Atlantic Coast, but it is increasingly shrinking due to development pressures. Today, isolated populations—still numerous enough to allow scalloping—can be found in the waters around Port St. Joe, Crystal River, Steinhatchee, and Homosassa on the Gulf Coast. Florida saltwater fishing licenses are required and scalloping charters can be found in many of the marinas. The 2014 season runs from June 28th to September 10th, and the per-person limit is two gallons of in-the-shell scallops per person on board, but no more than 10 gallons on board any vessel. It is best to clean scallops almost immediately after harvesting, for the bag limits are one pint of meat per person and no more than ½ gallon per vessel.

After long afternoons swimming in the cooling Gulf waters, families and friends get together for scallop feasts on the beaches or back porches, with most dishes lightly breaded, seasoned and flash-fried. Similar to an oyster in that it is a mollusk, bay scallops are more muscular because of their ability to actually swim. They have lean, firm meat but a very delicate flavor and as such, cooking methods should be light and gentle. More inventive dishes have been making the rounds in the past decades with scallops served in ceviche or lightly broiled and served in beautiful salads and even sliders. Many coastal restaurants will even prepare your fresh catch and simply charge a “corkage” fee for preparing your feast.

Scalloping is one of those unique institutions that hearkens back to a Florida of a bygone era. It is an ideal method to launch your boat and get your kids and friends out on the water—not that you ever need an excuse—and make them earn their dinner.

By Troy Gilbert, Southern Boating July 2014

Marlow’s highly anticipated 2014 Spring Rendezvous celebrated a record number of christenings in true Gatsby style.

Each year, members of the Marlow Marine Cruising Club (MMCC) swap stories and compare notes with old and new friends at the highly anticipated Marlow Spring Rendezvous. Celebrating the 19th consecutive year of festivities, guests arrived at the four-day event held April 24-27 and were greeted with a complimentary exterior boat wash accompanied by friendly and familiar faces. Sparing no detail, Marlow kicked off the weekend in grand style with a personalized tote bag gifted to members with their boat name embroidered on the front.

The premier South Seas Island Resort in Captiva, Florida, was the perfect location for MMCC members to share and celebrate aboard their Marlows during this Gatsby-themed weekend getaway. Buffet breakfasts on the immaculate waterfront lawn fueled each day’s events, such as a golf cart scavenger hunt around the resort, two half-day educational seminars with a round table discussion led by David Marlow, and six new boat christenings—a new record for this event. The newly christened vessel models included a Marlow 53, 58, 62, two 70s, and an 80. Guests welcomed new members into the Marlow family and celebrated current members trading up in size.

Friday night’s “Great Gatsby” party was in full swing, bringing the mystique of the Roaring Twenties alive with glitz and glam. Members paid careful attention to the professional dance instructors teaching the Charleston, with a Charleston dance contest following—let’s hope they videotaped that! A spectacular five-piece band entertained throughout the entire evening with the casino tables opened and active following the fantastic buffet dinner. Everyone’s pinstripes, lace and pearls set a festive tone for a truly Gatsby-inspired shebang.

Saturday night’s awards dinner on Sunset Beach was paired with yet another mouthwatering buffet and a time of fellowship among MMCC members. Outstanding prizes were awarded for event participation, original costumes, and overall ownership with friendly competition and laughter shared. Everyone said “Bon Voyage” on Sunday, with an impressive Marlow fleet cruising out into the Gulf waters until their return for next year’s 20th celebration, sure to be an epic event.

By Christine Carpenter, Southern Boating June 2014

Andy Sturner, CEO of BoatSetter, shares why he loves his job and how he believes BoatSetter is making positive waves in the marine industry.

SB: What sets BoatSetter apart from other competitors in the field? How has it accomplished this and how will it continue to do so?

AS: First and foremost, our management team is comprised of seasoned veterans with decades of marine industry, tech and rental car experience. We recognize that trust dynamics are very different with boats than with houses and cars. We are the first peer-to-peer marketplace that makes boat rentals accessible to consumers regardless of their boating experience. Our captain-centric approach helps foster trust and provides the broadest boating access possible by allowing anyone to enjoy a great experience on the water even if they have no prior experience.

SB: How has the company developed and changed over the years?

AS: We are a new company (founded in March 2013) and just launched our service this year. Since March 2013, we have established a national network of marina owners and operators with some of the most well-respected names in the industry including Loggerhead Marinas, Marinas International, Flagship Marinas, Morningstar Marinas, Suntex Marinas, Almar Marinas, and Aquamarina facilities.

SB: What attracted you to work for BoatSetter? Can you tell me a few things that specifically ignite passion and excitement about your job?

AS: Our industry is at a crossroads—powerboat sales peaked in 1988 and have been on a downward trend ever since. In the same time, despite sales volume dropping, nearly 80 percent of dollar volumes are up, indicating over four-fold increase in price. Compound the aging of boat fleets with an aging boat ownership population (two times as many owners over 65 than there are under 40), and a drop in utilization to 20 days per year on average, and you can see that our industry needs to address access and affordability. At BoatSetter, we are creating a business that helps address these challenges and creates virtuous circles for our marine industry partners.

SB: What are you most proud of accomplishing as CEO of BoatSetter?

AS: The team that I have built. We have assembled a team of incredibly passionate and talented people that extends beyond our management team to our investors, advisers and marine industry partners.

SB: What do you love most about what you do?

AS: Providing great experiences on the water. The joy that our customers experience is the most rewarding part of my job!

SB: How has BoatSetter made a difference in the marine industry? I would love to hear specific examples of how you believe it has enriched mariners’ experience on the water.

AS: We help boat owners subsidize their cost of ownership. By providing a way to make boating more affordable and creating the right incentives for them to properly maintain their vessels, we are improving the quality of their boating lifestyle, which positively impacts the marine industry.

SB: What should we expect to see from your company in this upcoming year?

AS: We will be rolling out our service around the country and entering into more marine industry partnerships that will help accelerate our business plan.

SB: What is a product or two you would recommend for cruisers? Why?

AS: I would recommend the TidalWavez app from the Apple App Store. It is the first social media application for boaters and boating participants. It’s a lot of fun!

SB: Has BoatSetter won any awards? If so, please tell me about them.

AS: Yes, “Best Startup” at the Super Conference in Miami.

SB: Are you involved in any outside marine organizations?

AS: I am on the legislative board of the Association of Marine Industries.

SB: How involved in the boating and marine community are you? Do you own a boat yourself? If so, what is the name and what do you love the most about being a mariner?

AS: I am extremely involved in the boating and marine communities. Through Aqua Marine Partners, I own a portfolio of marinas on the East Coast of the United States and am actively involved in all aspects of our community. I have been a mariner for 30-plus years boating on the Long Island Sound and the lakes of Pennsylvania. I have owned a number of boats in my life—my first, the Net Escape was a SeaRay 27 Sundancer that paid homage to my early Internet startup days using the Netscape logo as the design. I owned Options, my 38 Sundancer and several Formula boats including Hull #1 of the 47 Motor Yacht. I am now an avid BoatSetter user and will live rest of my boating life in high style.

By Christine Carpenter, Southern Exposure April 2014

Palm Beach, Florida, has been built on its exclusivity and made famous as the indulgent stomping grounds of the “One Percenters.” Just across the Flagler Bridge over the ICW from West Palm Beach this ritzy four-square-mile island has been preserved and celebrated for over 100 years. Perfectly manicured landscapes and Queen Palms line streets named Cherry Lane or Angler Avenue. With easy access to three notable marinas this is a cruiser haven for the likes of those who crave luxury, history and all things fine—even for those of us in the 99 percent group. But it’s when you discover who and what lies behind the prestige of this illustrious island sprinkled with decadent eateries, high-end designer shops and magnificent mansions that Palm Beach leaves a lasting impression.

In 1892, Henry Flagler shifted his focus from Standard Oil to establish this lush coastal area—at the time known as Lake Worth—into a high-end resort town for Northerners. He immediately had investors support the construction of hotels, residences and shops, soon referred to as Palm Beach Island. His expansion of the Florida East Coast Railway tracks provided easy access, and soon the South Florida shore bustled with antsy vacationers—it hasn’t stopped since.

Palm Beach’s rich history is as deep as the checkbooks that frequent Worth Avenue, and while the authentic feel of the posh, resort glamour is preserved, nowadays it adapts to the individual lifestyles of its guests. While it is still geared toward the fortunate few who can treat Worth Avenue as a playground, even the most modest cruiser will enjoy the sightseeing, history, dining, and activities offered on this island that’s bordered by a peach and white scalloped seawall to guard against the Atlantic’s waves.

Today, many visitors grace Palm Beach’s picturesque shores by boat. Two full-service ports––Rybovich Marina and Palm Harbor Marina—are located on North Flagler Drive in the ICW on the West side of “The Island.” Near the heart of both downtown West Palm Beach and historic Palm Beach, these two harbors are just steps away from all the shops, restaurants, beaches, and activities the area is known for. A stone’s throw north of The Island across the Palm Beach Inlet is Sailfish Marina. Don’t miss their weekend breakfast buffet (served 8AM-1PM) with fresh, local seafood. Sailfish Marina is a short boat ride to Peanut Island, a popular place to beach your boat for a sunny day of barbeque and bevvies.

Once your boat is safely docked, start exploring this one-of-a-kind beachfront resort town at the Breakers Palm Beach Hotel (known as the Palm Beach Inn in Flagler’s era) and Flagler’s private home, Whitehall, which is open to the public year-round as the Flagler Museum. The Breakers Palm Beach captures an authentic Italian-Renaissance feel and is set directly on one of the coast’s softest sand beaches. Stunning architectural elegance is displayed throughout each corner of the resort and everywhere you look solidifies why it has been in a class of its own among North American luxury resorts for many years. Even if you plan to stay on your boat, treat yourself to an afternoon exploring the Breakers’ gardens, courtyards, restaurants, and spas.

The Flagler Museum is a mega-mansion from the Gilded Age, with an extravagant double-staircase entry cloaked in floor-to-ceiling marble. Elaborate décor, flourishing courtyards, expansive rooms, and authentic memorabilia are all on display. On a warm, sunny day—the norm in Palm Beach—enjoy a bike ride on the Lake Trail to discover the secluded shops and beautiful homes hidden behind lush landscapes. The Society of the Four Arts sculpture garden on Cocoanut Drive is the perfect spot for a picnic and a short walk from the white sand beaches. Phipps Ocean Park has unspoiled snorkeling waters, R. G. Kreusler Park is another perfect picnic setting, and Flagpole Beach is ideal for sunbathing, shell collecting and kite surfing when the wind is just right. The beaches on Palm Beach are different from other tourist areas—you won’t find bars or restaurants fronting them—and are most famous for their pristine sand and seclusion. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be amply entertained. In addition to snorkeling you’ll find kayaking, parasailing, surfing, and jet skiing.

Prepare to be awed as you walk along Worth Avenue’s impressive storefronts, including Brooks Brothers, Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Vineyard Vines, and Tiffany’s & Co.––to name a handful. This street displays the type of style, charm and sophistication that earned its reputation as one of the most beautiful and lavish shopping venues in the country. Bentleys, Rolls Royces and Maybachs line the streets, which give way to dozens of lantern-lit alleyways leading to courtyards and secret gardens with European-style restaurants and unique boutiques.

In the heart of Downtown West Palm Beach—just a two-minute drive across Flagler Bridge—is Cityplace, an open-air plaza reminiscent of a European town center. Over 80 shops are tucked inside dramatic Mediterranean architecture––some major retailers and specialty boutiques––each a little more reasonable than the high-end shops on Worth Avenue. The many restaurants feature enough delicious options to satisfy nearly any craving on any budget. As the afternoon turns into evening, swap your iced latte for cocktails. Couples on date nights walk the plaza hand-in-hand while the palm trees light up and the fountains dance to lights and music. Families young and old also frequent Cityplace’s cobblestone sidewalks in hopes of an extra-special treat at Sloan’s Ice Cream and Confections––a South Florida native that turns every sugary fantasy into reality. If you’re looking for entertainment, the Improv Comedy Club, Muvico’s IMAX theater, or the brand-new bowling alley with bar and grill, Revolutions, might do the trick. For something more quaint, take a horsedrawn carriage ride along the twinkling plaza as live bands play at the Blue Martini or BB King’s Blues Club.

If you’re cruising as a couple or the kids are already tucked into bed, Clematis Street is a busy strip known for its eclectic bars and restaurants, and bustling nightlife. Bring your dancing shoes and a little liquid courage for one of the many nightclubs, or grab a slice of pizza from City Girls Pizza and savor a low-key evening swinging on the waterfront benches as the shimmering lights reflect from the many mega-yachts berthed in the ICW harbors. Look across the water to see Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s Palm Beach digs.

For an upscale evening, enjoy dinner at The Palm Beach Grille on Royal Poinciana Way––don’t skip appetizers or dessert; the fire-grilled artichokes and hot fudge sundae take center stage. Afterward, sit front and center for a show at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts—it’s home to the Palm Beach Opera and welcomes a variety of musicians, orchestras, Broadway shows, and plays each month.

Palm Beachers delight in this world-class escape that allows visitors to experience the ultimate lifestyle of beachfront living at its finest. The pristine shores treat you to the luxury, history and entertainment only this unique coastal gem offers. Once you cruise the waters and walk the streets you’ll understand why The Island has been famous for over a century. I won’t be a bit surprised if you plan a return engagement.


By Christine Carpenter, Southern Boating March 2014

Executive Director of the Snook & Gamefish Foundation, Brett Fitzgerald, explains the concept of Ales for Anglers and shares easy ways to contribute to waterway conservation while keeping track of your good days on the water.

SB: Please tell me about the Snook & Gamefish Foundation and describe how it aids the fishing and boating community.

BF: The Snook & Gamefish Foundation began as a fundraiser for MOTE marine laboratory in Sarasota, Florida, but shifted its focus to raising awareness for anglers rather than strictly raising funds for NOAA. Today it partners with mariners and anglers by laterally transmitting info from them straight to NOAA via the Angler Action Program. The personal logs of boaters and fishermen directly aids the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) in its pursuit to better maintain the waterways each mariner uses. The Snook & Gamefish Foundation acts as a liaison between waterway conservation and human use to leave our waters in a better state than they are now for our future generations.

SB: In what ways do the personal logs of mariners and anglers directly partner with NOAA?

BF: The Snook & Gamefish Foundation has created the Angler Action Program, which is a data collection database where users log their trip information, which is used for state-level stock assessments. It allows mariners and anglers to be personally involved, and creates ownership in waterway management. The information logged by the anglers is used by the government to set laws, and the immediate, accurate reports helps avoid overfishing, but also doesn’t punish anglers with unnecessary closures or restrictions. It also helps us identify where habitats are damaged or water quality is poor, in which cases our foundation and NOAA can intervene to positively impact the boating experience across the board—whether you are fishing, diving, snorkeling, etc.

SB: Tell me more about the upcoming Ales for Anglers event March 29th in Boca Raton, Florida. How did the Snook & Gamefish Foundation become involved and what was the process of turning this concept into reality?

BF: Well it all started with a conversation I had with Sally, owner of BX Beer Depot in Lake Worth, Florida, last December. I love good beer as much as I love being on the water and Sally shared my sentiments. We were discussing how “beer fests” are kind of stressful now—packed with crowds rushing from vendor to vendor to get their money’s worth—and to me, a craft beer festival isn’t about rushing; it’s about enjoying. I basically said, ‘Someone should have an event like this …’ and I described a Florida-brew-only festival with live music and minimal crowds, and Sally added that she had the beer connections but she just needed a charitable organization to benefit. ‘I have a charitable organization!’ I piped in, and thus Ales for Anglers was born.

By the end of that night, we had a plan to combine local home-brews and talented Florida musicians to raise awareness and funds for the Snook & Gamefish Foundation, along with a handful of other noteworthy marine groups. Today, with the festival only a few weeks away, we have 10 environmental non-profit organizations with booths at the event, over 100 volunteers, and no promoters—making this a real grassroots community event. Although, I did have a woman from Germany call because she couldn’t buy a ticket online; I told her I would reserve one for her at the door … who would’ve expected that!

SB: How did you and your team choose the musicians and craft brews that will headline?

BF: We are featuring breweries from all over Florida’s coast—Pensacola, Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale, and Due South in Boynton Beach has been overwhelmingly helpful, as many others have. They are all very excited to participate, as many live near the water. JJ Grey is a performer from Jacksonville who has a huge following, and he is on the board of our foundation. He was thrilled to help our cause and pair his musical influence with a great marine charity. Rock Brothers Brewery is a company that brings brewers together with musicians to create a “celebrity beer” and is featuring a “JJ beer” at the event, which will be really unique. We are going to have a lot of exclusive offerings like that, which should attract a decent crowd to relax and also learn more about what goes on underneath the water we all love.

SB: What are your personal hopes or expectations for the event’s inaugural year?

BF: First, I hope it becomes an annual event. Second, I want people to leave with a smile on their faces. Third, I want people who come for one thing to leave loving another thing. For example, if someone comes because they love craft brews, I want them to leave loving the musicians they saw and recognizing the importance of waterway conservation. I’m also really hoping not to lose money and to provide a comfortable, enjoyable environment. I’m very passionate about promoting today’s angler as the “conservation-oriented angler” and I hope our foundation and the 10 other non-profits at the event will encourage people to become passionate, also.

SB: What do you think participants of the Ales for Anglers event can expect? Are you excited for anything in particular?

BF: On the beer side of things, I think people should expect some incredibly unique and tasty choices. I really encourage everyone to come at the beginning for the free home-brew sampling at 2:30, because these aren’t amateurs brewing in their garage; these are brewers on the verge of breaking into the business, and they have well-crafted offerings made uniquely for this event and the cause it serves. I also think everyone should expect to be blown away by the musicians. They each have something really diverse to offer and JJ is one of the best, most engaged performers I’ve ever seen. I am excited for people to learn about the benefits of waterway and ecosystem conservation, and the balance between activity (whether boating or fishing or watersports, etc.) and conservation efforts. Most people think you either have to be a tree-hugger or an active mariner, but they really go hand-in-hand.

SB: How can boat owners become involved with the Snook & Gamefish Foundation and/or Ales for Anglers? Also, is there a way for individuals who are passionate about the water but do not own a boat to get involved?

BF: Boat owners who also like to fish (which is a large majority in the South)—no matter how frequently or infrequently—can immediately get involved by logging their boat trips on our Angler Action Program through the Snook & Gamefish Foundation’s website. A boater can input tides, weather, moon phases, sunsets, catches, and anything else about their trip to keep a personal log. It acts as a powerful tool that helps boaters (mainly fishermen) become more efficient, while also aiding in vital fishery information that the government and organizations use on a daily basis.

SB: How often do you frequent the water? Do you own a boat? If so, what is the name and make?

BF: I own a skiff boat and I try to fish and dive off it as much as I can with my wife and kids, but we boat more than anything else. We just enjoy days on the water together and try to make it out there as much as possible. We also love to charter boats or rent a pontoon on a lake, and we make it our family mission to visit as many places in and around Florida’s waters as possible. We are looking forward to lots of boating this summer!

SB: What is one of your fondest memories or favorite stories working for the Snook & Gamefish Foundation?

BF: I give a lot of talks and seminars about what we do and why we do it, and afterward people always share their personal fishing stories, which I enjoy. I think my favorite part is meeting the children who are positively impacted and see them connect with their parents through time on the water together. I also enjoy experiencing the paradigm of what a responsible fisherman and woman is, and I am proud of today’s anglers and boating community.

By Christine Carpenter, Southern Exposure March 2014

The Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida, hosts yet another Annual Vintage Weekend in grand style.

Having celebrated its 19th year this past December, the Annual Vintage Weekend is one of those must-attend events for admirers of classic conveyances by water, land and air. The private Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida, makes an exception to its members-only policy for this yearly four-day event held the first weekend in December and welcomes non-members to stay at the resort Inn with the additional purchase of an event ticket. It’s a rare treat to have access to the posh club’s 2,500-acre oceanfront location, which includes two championship golf courses, shops, restaurants, an airfield, and 175-slip marina just steps away from the Inn.

“Vintage Weekend was originally started to attract people to the resort on a traditionally slow weekend prior to the December holidays. Three Ocean Reef members each had an interest in vintage collectibles and attended events in other parts of the country, so they invited attendees to attend ours,” says Molly Carroll, Ocean Reef Executive Director of Communications. “This year we had more exhibitors than in the last few years, and we encourage people to register early starting in February for the December event.”

This was the first such event for Frank Gallagher, who brought his 1947 Piper Super Cruiser airplane. Based in Valkaria, Florida, Frank heard about the event through his membership with the Florida Cub Flyers Club. “I’m very impressed with Vintage Weekend’s good organization and how welcoming the staff is,” says Frank, who promises he’ll be back again in 2014.

Following the Thursday evening welcome party, Friday kicked off with a road rally of some of the vintage cars to Alabama Jack’s for lunch, a notorious and notable roadside haven for cold beer, conch fritters and all things deep-fried. Afternoon shopping and sangrias back at the Ocean Reef Fishing Village were a hit, as was the poolside reception Friday evening, where guests were entertained by mermaids in the pool and greeters costumed in Hollywood-inspired apparel, some of whom suspiciously resembled resort staff.

The 2013 Vintage Weekend fleet of cars, planes and boats totaled 128, including the oldest, a 1911 28′ Sterling boat. A return visitor—the 1949 37′ Rybovich Legend owned by Larry and Lynne Mullins—holds distinction as the oldest Rybovich still afloat and was originally built as Clary Jo for alleged Chicago mob boss Tony Accardo.

On Saturday most of the boats were open for viewing. Hundreds of automobile aficionados attended the spectacular Concours d’Elegance of vintage cars on the red carpet and heard the stories behind them. One of the most memorable—a 1963 Chevrolet Impala Super Sport—won the award for “Hottest American Love Story” and is owned by Derek Wachob. His father previously owned the car and proposed to Derek’s mother in it. He then sold it to buy a trailer for them to live in. Unbeknownst to his father, Derek finally found the car after a 10-year search, restored it, and surprised his parents, who rode in it on their 50th wedding anniversary during Vintage Weekend.

Airplane devotees were treated to a fly-over by vintage craft during an alfresco beach luncheon at Ocean Reef’s Buccaneer Island grill—aeronautic stunts and spirals thrilled the crowd—after which commentators gave more detailed descriptions at the airfield.

One of the most anticipated events of the weekend has always been the Saturday evening costumed cocktail reception and dinner dance at the Town Hall, and many went all out for the event’s “Vintage Weekend Goes to the Movies” theme. This was Ocean Reef members Bill and Maureen Goldfarb’s seventh year at the event, and each year they try to outdo the previous year’s costumes. “Every year we bring close friends and expose them to this great event that Ocean Reef puts on. It’s all about sharing the event with others,” said the Goldfarbs, who brought three couples from around the country and dressed in western movie-themed costumes. Another group dressed as some of Disney’s 101 Dalmatians and even rode to the Town Hall on the 1924 Ahrens-Fox NS4 Fire Truck owned by William Kinney, which won the People’s Choice Award.

The presentation of awards at breakfast Sunday morning was the final event of the weekend, highlighting the many new friendships that had been forged during the previous three days. The 1957 Chris Craft Polly Graf won the Spectator’s Choice Award and was seen again during Fort Lauderdale’s Winterfest Boat Parade. Chicago, Illinois-based owners J.R. and Dawn Davis are huge proponents of boating, and Polly Graf has been in the same family for 49 years. The John Trumpy Award went to Elegante, a 1964 Whiticar owned by Pat and Bill Anton, who gave credit to the crew for the boat’s pristine condition. “It’s all due to them,” Bill says, just one more example of the type of sharing Vintage Weekend always brings.

The 2014 Vintage Weekend is scheduled for December 4-7. For more information, contact Ocean Reef Club membership services at (305) 367-2611, or visit oceanreef.com.

By Liz Pasch, Southern Boating February 2014