Authors Posts by Erin B

Erin B


Top Five Boat Books

Top Five Boat Books

Top Five Boat Books

Summer is coming to an end and nothing is more bittersweet than those last days aboard. Say goodbye to the season by curling up on the sundeck with a good book. Especially one that is (loosely) boat themed.

Here are my Top Five Boat books in no particular order. I have read all of these and enjoyed them each immensely. Don’t like my choices or want to suggest a novel that should be on this list? Let me know in the comments. 

The Old Man and the Sea Top Five Boat Books







1.  The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway wrote this short novel while he lived in Bimini. The epic battle between Santiago and a giant marlin is a sweet, philosophical story of a fisherman and his redemption.

life of pi Top Five boat books2. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
I first read this tale of shipwreck and subsequent survival of a young Indian boy when I was 12. At the time, I couldn’t understand the allegory and symbolism of zoo animals, religion and spirituality, so I dismissed it. While in college, I re-read the book thanks to a glowing recommendation from a friend. I was no longer disappointed by the magically tinged tale, and I am sure you won’t be either.

Sitting Ducks Top Five Boat Books

3. Sitting Ducks by Betsy Hitz-Holman
This one is a bit harder to find, but worth the read if you can stumble upon it. I read this memoir just a few months ago while on vacation and quickly consumed it. In summary, a former magazine editor and her partner are assaulted by pirates while anchored on their boat off a small island in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 1981. Perseverance and love gets them through the terrifying ordeal. Betsy never stopped sailing either—I know this firsthand because I would later babysit her children and go sailing with their family.


Islands in the Stream Top Five Boat Books

4. Islands in the Stream by Ernest Hemingway
Yes, a second Hemingway… I have a type and it’s an old mopey fisherman with a drinking problem. I read this a few years back while working (appropriately) as yacht stewardess. We had some downtime in Marsh Harbour and I finished this book in just a few days. I smiled and cried (mostly cried) reading this three-part tale of one man’s life.

There is an especially harrowing battle between the main character’s youngest son and a marlin in the first section (Bimini) that still stands out to me years later. There is another particularly torment-drenched conversation in the second section (Havana) that has stuck with me as well. It’s a book without a clear ending, published posthumously by Hemingway’s fourth wife.


The Boys in the Boat Top Five Boat Books

5. Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

Who hasn’t read this book? It was a bestseller for a few years. This true tale has all the ingredients for a feel-good story: underdogs, comeuppance, war, and Olympic gold. It’s definitely worth the read. If it hasn’t been optioned for a movie yet, it soon will be. It reads like cinema gold. Update: I googled this and it is slated for development already. Knew it.

Agree? Disagree? Debate me in the comments :)


New Suzuki Outboard

Suzuki 3509A

Suzuki Goes All Outboard

The newest Suzuki Outboard features innovative contra-rotating propellers and more exclusive features.

Suzuki Marine, a leader in four-stroke outboard technology and performance, introduces its newest model, the DF350A. At 350 horsepower, this V6 fourstroke is the largest, most powerful outboard Suzuki has built to date. In development for more than three years, it represents a significant milestone in both engineering and design.

“We have put a lot of work into this new outboard, and we cannot wait to see how the market responds. We have watched with great interest as boats have gotten bigger, especially the center console market,” said Yasuharu Osawa, executive general manager of Global Marine & Power Products Operation for Suzuki Motor Corporation.

“Not only that, but we’ve seen an increasing preference for outboards on all kinds of boats that used to be exclusively stern drive or inboard. The time is ripe for this new outboard.”

Suzuki DF350AThe air intake system allows the engine to draw in ample fresh air while separating out water, spray and moisture. Dual louvers under the hood trap larger water droplets and then moisture as it enters the engine cowling, resulting in zero water intake during testing. In addition, intake air temperatures are, on average, 10 degrees cooler than ambient, providing the combustion chamber with colder, denser air for a more powerful cycle.

Two smaller fuel injectors enable precise injection of fuel to the center of the combustion chamber, which avoids off-center combustion—a major cause of knocking. Plus, because 100 percent of the fuel is injected into the cylinder at once, a degree of cooling is also obtained, giving up to 3 percent more power.

To achieve 350 horsepower, the surface of the piston needs to withstand added forces. To assure both performance and long life, Suzuki outboard engineers switched from a standard heat treatment to “shot peening,” a more expensive process that creates fine dimples in the face of the piston that evenly distributes the pressure created during combustion.

While contra-rotating propellers are not a new technology, they have never been successfully used on outboard motors until now. The DF350A’s dual propellers offer three key benefits: compact size, increased stability and greater “traction.”

By distributing the power of the engine over six blades instead of just three, the size of the gears and gearcase could be kept to a minimum, which, in turn, allowed for the design of a sleeker, more hydrodynamic gearcase. Suzuki outboard engineers spent many hours in computer simulation and on the water, knowing that reducing drag underwater would be essential to improving overall boat speed and performance.

Contra-rotating propellers also provide added surface area for more stability and increased “traction” or grip underwater. (Think of the wide slicks on a drag racer as compared to typical tires.) This results in exceptional acceleration, or hole-shot, truer directional propulsion (eliminating steering torque), better-than-expected top speeds and incredible reverse thrust. More important, these benefits are apparent even on heavier boats with full loads of fuel, gear and people.

The DF350A features Suzuki Outboard Precision Control, drive-bywire throttle and shift controls. Skippers will appreciate smooth shifting and precision control of the throttle, not to mention easier rigging, especially when second stations are involved.

Like Suzuki’s other V6 outboards, the DF350A also has Suzuki’s offset driveshaft engine layout, which allows for a more compact outboard and two-stage gear reduction. Twostage gear reduction provides a larger reduction gear ratio (2.29:1), more torque for quick acceleration and improvements in top speed, as well. (It is worth noting that the DF350A can be mounted 27-inches on center, so it will fit on more transoms and take up less space in twin, triple and quad installations.)

The DF350A takes advantage of Suzuki’s Lean Burn Control Technology for improved fuel economy throughout the entire rpm range, and especially at cruising speed. Like all Suzuki four-stroke outboards, the DF350A is extraordinarily quiet at idle.

The development of this new outboard has been driven by Suzuki’s belief that it is important to provide the market with more than just horsepower. While power and speed are critical factors, the added dimensions of efficiency, reliability and stability make the DF350A the ultimate four-stroke outboard. The DF350A will be available in the U.S. in July.

For more information, visit

By B.L. Wade, Southern Boating Magazine July 2017

45 Years..and counting!

Southern Boating covers through the years

September marks a special time for Southern Boating. We turn 45 years old, and we couldn’t be happier to still be alive and kicking after all this time.

Logos, covers, mascots, oh my! A lot has changed in the past 45 years: advancements in electronics and technology, boat construction, hull styles, and so much more. It’s been an absolute pleasure to be along for this crazy ride that is the marine industry.

Take a look at some of our favorite covers from years past. They show the wide variety of topics and styles better than I could ever explain myself.


New High-Tech Electronics for Fishing

Hi-Tech Your Boat for Fishing
Boost your electronics for better results on the bite.

Acr125030755767682221248 copy

Lowrance High-Definition Screen

A world-leading brand in fishing electronics since 1957 and the longest-running sponsor of Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.), Lowrance now offers its HDS CarbonTM 16, a new high-performance fishfinder/chartplotter with a 16-inch screen—its largest yet. The high-definition screen on HDS Carbon 16 displays showcases the clarity, high resolution and superior target separation of SolarMAX™ HD technology, exclusive to the HDS Carbon series. Setting up a four-panel split on the HDS Carbon 16 gives anglers the equivalent of four 7-inch screens on a single display.

Anglers in the market for a do-it-all, integrated system need a processor that can smoothly drive high-tech features like StructureScan® 3D with SideScan and DownScan Imaging™, StructureMap™, Broadband Radar™, and SiriusXM® Weather Chart Overlay. HDS Carbon 16 delivers with a dual-core processor that allows anglers to switch between applications and simultaneously view independent sonar feeds.

Lowrance SolarMAX HD display technology features high-definition views and clear visibility with a wide range of viewing angles even when wearing polarized sunglasses. The new displays are engineered to withstand higher temperatures than conventional units, offering enhanced reliability in warmer climates. The secret behind the new SolarMAX HD displays come from the implementation of the most advanced IPS (in-plane switching) screens in fishing electronics. With superior color accuracy and boosted high-definition reproduction, IPS screens are perfectly designed for viewing picture-like sonar images.

With Live Network Sonar, HDS Carbon 16 gives anglers the capability to view and control two independent, live sonar sources at different locations—like the front and the back of the boat— from a single display. This powerful feature provides anglers with a comprehensive picture of underwater activity with convenient and complete control.

In addition to integrated wireless connectivity, HDS Carbon 16 offers Bluetooth® control of multiple Power-Pole® shallow water anchors and Bluetooth audio streaming from the SonicHub®2 marine entertainment system. Anglers can navigate with ease behind proven Lowrance navigation technology, high-resolution mapping with enhanced coverage of coastal and inland waters, a 10 Hz internal GPS antenna, and a multitude of mapping options accessible from the unit’s dual microSD card slots. HDS Carbon 16 is compatible with the most expansive selection of optional cartography on the market, including Insight Genesis™ custom mapping, C-MAP Insight PRO, C-MAP Lake Insight HD, C-MAP MAX-N+, Navionics® and more.

HDS Carbon 16 with No Transducer MSRP $4,999; HDS Carbon 16 Med/High/TotalScan MSRP $5,199; HDS Carbon 16 Med/High/3D Bundle MSRP $5,799;


Owners of select Garmin products now have access to high-quality waterproof housings specially designed to protect their electronics. NavPod, manufacturer of housings for marine electronics, offers PowerPods that are compatible with the recently released Garmin GPSMAP® 722/742, 922/942, 1022/1042 and 1222/1242 chartplotters. The units are available in high-gloss white or the new Carbon Series and are ideal for any powerboat installation, including inland fishing and offshore powerboats. PowerPods are sturdy and safe, yet clean and attractive, and the secure mount protects fishfinder/chartplotters from harsh boating conditions. PowerPods feature a swivel base while also providing added security from theft.

“As chartplotters are released from top manufacturers of marine electronics,we continually expand our product line to accommodate the new models,” says Rob Walsh, president and owner of Ocean Equipment, known for its NavPod series. “PowerPods offer boat owners the security and convenience they need to ensure their investment is well taken care of for years to come.”

MSRP $299-$529;

NavStarNavStar MFDs

SI-TEX Marine Electronics recently introduced its NavStar Series Multifunction Displays (MFDs) for 2017 —the 10-inch display NavStar 10 and the 12-inch NavStar 12.

The new NavStar Series is the fi rst SI-TEX MFD to allow navigators to access all of the unit’s advanced features via simple touchscreen or traditional controls. NavStar’s versatility is further enhanced by built-in Bluetooth connectivity and wireless LAN, providing fast Internet connection, automatic chart and software updating, and video and music entertainment. NavStar’s powerful 4kW dual-range radar capability enables viewing both close-in and far-away targets simultaneously for heightened safety and situational awareness in all conditions. The built-in chartplotter provides radar/chart overlay capabilities with all the latest navigation features and content-rich detail of trusted C-MAP 4D cartography.

The NavStar series is also equipped for optional Skymate satellite communications for access to up-to-date weather forecasts, Nexrad radar and sea surface temperatures, as well as the ability to transmit texts, emails and faxes via Skymate. Coastal and offshore anglers will appreciate NavStar’s dual-frequency 50/200kHz sonar for advanced detail of bottom composition, structure and suspended fish schools.

Whether it’s used for safety, effi cient navigation, fishfinding, or entertainment, NavStar’s high-brightness, high-resolution color display provides excellent sharpness and clarity, even in full sunlight for superior visibility in real-world conditions.

The design is easy to bracket or flush mount on any bridge, helm and console, and it’s backed by the company’s two-year warranty.

NavStar 10 MSRP starts at $2,199; NavStar 12 MSRP starts at $2,999. 

By L.N Evans Southern Boating Magazine June 2016

Are Acidifying Oceans Slowing Coral Disease?

coral disease
Nicole Leporacci, a student at The University of Rhode Island, monitors water quality in an experimental system

Blackout Black Band

Could acidifying oceans actually slow down coral disease?

Coral reefs face intensifying struggles as greenhouse gases warm and acidify the ocean, but new research suggests a potential silver lining: Some coral diseases might also dwindle amid environmental change. A controlled lab study led by Mote Marine Laboratory and published in the journal

A controlled lab study led by Mote Marine Laboratory and published in the journal PLOS ONE revealed that black band disease was less deadly to mountainous star coral (Orbicella faveolata) as water acidified, or decreased in pH. Scientists from Mote and the University of South Carolina, and students from the University of Rhode Island, University of New Hampshire, University of Hawaii, and Unity College in Maine conducted the research with funding from the Dart Foundation and the Protect Our Reefs  grants program supported by sales of the Protect Our Reefs specialty license plate. Student contributions were backed by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates program and Mote College Internship Scholarships.

Scientists from Mote and the University of South Carolina, and students from the University of Rhode Island, University of New Hampshire, University of Hawaii, and Unity College in Maine conducted the research with funding from the Dart Foundation and the Protect Our Reefs  grants program supported by sales of the Protect Our Reefs specialty license plate. Student contributions were backed by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates program and Mote College Internship Scholarships.

The ocean’s pH is decreasing through the process of ocean acidifi cation (OA) driven by excess carbon dioxide, the same greenhouse gas that’s triggering temperature increases worldwide. OA may weaken or dissolve corals’ hard skeletons and bring on other changes in multiple marine species. Warming water stresses corals, causing them to lose the vital algae in their tissues. Coral diseases, another major threat, may worsen in stressed corals, but few studies have examined how these conditions could change amid low pH levels expected with OA.

The new study is the first to examine how low pH water affects black band—a fast-progressing, often deadly, worldwide coral disease affecting at least 42 coral species in the Caribbean. Black band, a variable group of multiple bacteria species, forms a dark circle that spreads across a coral and kills it. Under attack is mountainous star coral, a major contributor to the reef system of the Florida Keys and listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

“Mountainous star coral only grows a couple of millimeters a year, and black band can kill a 100-year-old coral within weeks,” said Dr. Erinn Muller, lead author and manager of Mote’s Coral Health and Disease Research Program.

At a very small scale, black band  produces a lower pH environment than its surroundings—localized acidifi cation. “In the lab, we thought that exposing an infected coral to acidifi ed water would accelerate the virulence of this disease, but to our surprise, the opposite happened,” Muller said.

During 2013 lab work at Mote’s Summerland Key campus, the researchers inoculated 32 mountainous star coral fragments with black band disease. Some were placed in tanks with temperature and pH similar to present-day ocean water, while others were put into tanks with elevated temperature, lowered pH or both. They used year-2100 projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report.

“These experimental studies in the lab are extremely important; they give us a glimpse into the potential future for our reefs,” said Mote’s Ocean Acidifi cation Research Program manager Dr. Emily Hall, who oversees research in Mote’s Ocean Acidification Flow-through Experimental Raceway Unit on Summerland Key, which was established due to an NSF grant. “With ocean acidification, not every organism is affected the same way. It’s important for managers of marine protected areas to know how the impacts might vary.”

The researchers carefully monitored the water conditions and photographed and measured the coverage of black band for 16 days. By then, some coral fragments had perished completely from the disease. The team sampled black band bacteria and the corals’ natural resident bacteria—some of which contribute to the coral immune system—and sequenced their 16S rRNA gene, which helps classify bacteria into scientific categories. Their analysis revealed a surprise.

“Though warmer temperatures didn’t significantly affect the progression of black band disease in this time period, the low pH treatment did—it slowed the progression rate of the disease by 25 percent,” Muller said. “It took us awhile to believe it.” Skeptical, Muller and her colleagues ran similar tests with other coral species apart from the mountainous star coral in the current study. The mountainous star coral showed the clearest trend, but data from other species suggested similar patterns.

How might acidification slow down black band disease?
“Black band disease has a very distinct consortium of microbes, and it seems that lowered pH affected different microbes in different ways,” said study partner Dr. Kim Ritchie, associate professor at the University of South Carolina at Beaufort. “The abundance of one signifi cant member of the consortium went down.” Specifically, acidified water reduced the abundance of Oscillatoriophycidae, a class of cyanobacteria that often dominates black band disease. These bacteria carry pigments that give the disease its distinct color. Though these bacteria live in the already-acidified environment of black band, past studies by others suggest that cyanobacteria can decline if the water becomes acidified beyond their tolerance limits.

“There were also shifts in the corals’ own microbial community, but none that explained the change in the disease. What happened in the black band itself, a reduction in the main contributor to the disease consortium was likely a better explanation,” Muller said. “One of our next steps is to study how low pH influences the very small scale conditions in the microenvironment of black band disease as the outside environment changes.”

By Hayley Rutger, Mote Marine Laboratory for Southern Boating August 2017


Top Five Boat Books

Horizon Rendezvous 2017

Tiara F44 Flybridge