The recent loss of three fishermen 38 miles off Clearwater, Florida might not have garnered headlines across the country were it not for the fact that two of them men were NFL football players. In fact, accidents like this one happen all of the time and are rarely reported beyond the local community. The good that can come from this tragedy is to bring basic aspects of the sea, seamanship, and boating safety to a larger audience. We think this accident could have been avoided in a number of ways, and rescue could have been effected far more rapidly had the men been properly prepared for an offshore trip. What did they do wrong? Could they have saved themselves and if so, how? BoatTEST wades in on a subject that is not much discussed and definitely cries out for more public attention among boaters --
Hydra-Sports’ reputation has been built up over the years because of their SOTA fishing features and quality construction. Each new model starts with a clean sheet of paper where designers (who are anglers) draw what fishermen have been asking for and need. Then, men in the factory (who are anglers) assemble the boats as if they were for their own use. Hydra-Sports has strong shop-floor management (who are anglers) to oversee every detail of construction to make sure each boat comes out with Tiffany quality. Take a video look at how Hydra-Sports boats come together with some of the best construction videos we have ever seen.
We like what Glastron is doing: They are making public their factory rebate program
and giving the same deal to everyone. (Some companies keep their rebate secret until
you break a dealer’s arm or walk out the door, so some of their customers get it
and some don’t.) The Glastron factory is giving $750 to $4000 rebates depending on the
model. That works out to about 5% to 6% of the MSRP, which means you may well do
even better than that! Glastron’s program runs through March 31st, so if you are serious, now is the time to get off the dime. The builder in all likelihood will
schedule his orders for April and May delivery, so March is probably the last time
you can custom order a boat anyway, so you might as well get the extra discount.
Allstate Safety Tip
Capt. Steve Urges
A “Ditch Bag” is important for every boat owner;
take Capt. Steve’s word for it.
Like a lot of things in life, a “Ditch Bag” is something most powerboaters don’t
think about until they need it. Capt. Steve explains what goes into it and why you
should have one. In case there is any doubt in your mind, read this week’s lead
story. The good captain also explains how to use a fire extinguisher like a pro.
It flabbergasts us that only about 30% of the people who have boats have boat insurance.
Like a “Ditch Bag” boat insurance is something that obviously many boaters don’t
think about -- but they will when they need it. See Capt. Steve’s latest video explaining how to get ahead of the
See all Capt. Steve Safety videos --
|Our test of the 265 with a single 250-hp stern drive recorded 40.7 mph at WOT and a best cruise of 25.6 mph.||The cabin is versatile for dining, playing board games, and sleeping. The mid-cabin is ideal for kids.|
Everyone has to start somewhere. When it comes to moving from a skiboat or a runabout
into an entry-level trailerable weekend cruiser, historically Bayliner has always
been on almost everyone’s “short list.” The reason for that was price. But a few
years ago the folks at Bayliner decided that they would upgrade quality and materials
and offset increased costs with innovative new production efficiencies – and hold
the line on retail prices. They have done an admirable job of price control and
the MSRP on the new Bayliner 265 Cruiser is just $46,841 with a standard 220-hp
MerCruiser engine. But as we all know, MSRP is just the “suggested” retail price,
and chances are that buyers this spring can do better. To find out our take on the Bayliner 265 --
See test on the Bayliner 265 --
Ask for a price quote and see how well you can do --
See tests of all Bayliner boats --
Which is the Best Deal:
|The folks at Sea-Doo tell us that they have built in over $20k of options and up-grades into their 230 Wake vs. the 230 Challenger SE, yet charge only $7k more in the Wake package.|
|See video test of the 230 Challenger SE --||Contact a dealer|
|See video test of the 230 Wake --|
|See all Sea-Doo boat tests --|
Can One Engine Drive Two Props?
BoatTEST.com introduces buyers looking for a boat to reputable dealers. If you are an authorized boat dealer we may know a buyer you would like meet. To see a list of boats that our members are seeking -- look here.
If you have decided on a specific boat to buy, but you are unsure if you're getting the best deal, let us help you. Sign up for our Member Services program and we will leverage our relationships in your favor. Free --
|When you see a radar blip on your screen on a collision course, what would you do? Find out what the U.S. Navy does.|
As hard as it is to believe, there are some people who would not give the right of way to the second largest military vessel in the North Atlantic. When you see a boogie on your radar scope at night, how do you respond? Have you been keeping up on Capt. Steve’s weekly boating lessons? Take a look at this short video and see how the U.S. Navy does it -- now hear this.
|Surrounded on three sides by water and with mighty rivers flowing through it, little wonder that India is getting into recreational boating.|
The Mahindra Group, one of India’s industrial giants, last month announced that it plans to build a line of fiberglass recreational powerboats from 20’ to 40’ in varying “fit out levels to suit customer requirements.” The brand will be called Odyssea. The company’s second phase could “potentially” include cabin cruisers and catamarans says the company. To read the complete news release --
This is what was left of an old Uniflite
after an explosion and fire.
A used 32’ Uniflite cabin cruiser for only $4,000 sounded like a good deal when its new owner bought it. Uniflite had a good reputation for building strong, safe boats, but unfortunately it hasn’t been in business for 26 years. After the explosion the boat was cut loose and drifted into a moored 64’ motoryacht causing $30k of damage. There was one injury and one good lesson for us all. To read all about it -- inspect your mouse.
Reach for the sky, pirates! U.S. Navy begins
to redeem itself after “Rent-a-Cop” gaff.
A few months after a Pentagon spokesman said that catching Somali pirates was not the U.S. Navy’s job, and ship owners should hire their own on-board security, the U.S. Navy has decided to follow in the tradition of Stephen Decatur. We might add that both the French and British had shown the way several months ago by capturing boatloads of the brigands and delivering them to dungeons in Kenya. The Indian navy even sunk a pirate mother ship, or at least a vessel that looked like one. To find out what was behind the Americans’ brave reversal of policy -- hang your mouse.
|Would you like to find out how this monster (54” x 44 lbs.) Northern Pike was caught -- and where -- bite on this.|
Our trusty reader Bill Noble is currently doing research on the Internet for his annual fishing trip to the north country. He came across this picture and will be enjoying his usual Coors Light payment as you read this. We’re told that it was a record for the lake where it was caught. Those fussy people at the IGFA (International Game Fish Association) would probably take exception to the bait used, but no matter, in fact bigger ones have been recorded. Now is the time for you to plan your summer fishing trip, so go where the big ones are. To find out where and how this beauty was caught -- bait your minnow.
|In the old days gate valves like these were responsible for more than their share of sinkings. Even shiny, new ones are verboten today on all boats.|
Last fall one of our testing captains discovered a gate valve installed on a new offshore fishing boat built by a famous name. We were appalled! Gate valves are essentially what you have behind your house for the garden hose, and above you see what happens to them on boats. Good boat builders stopped using them in the 1950s and ‘60s. The ABYC forbids them in all NMMA-Certified boats, and frankly we thought they were a thing of the past until our discovery last fall. (You won’t see that boat builder here!) Seacocks must be not only marine-grade ball valves but they must also be installed properly. They are the single most important item on your boat. Capt. Pauley of thevirtualboatyard.com has been kind enough to send us a fine tutorial on the subject -- read or sink.
Capt. Steve's Lesson #27
Fog Signals and Overview
|Only official lights such as these are allowed to be on at night underway.|
This week Capt. Steve goes over sixteen new lessons and guidelines on fog signals and navigation lights. It’s important to know what to do when fog suddenly comes rolling in and you’re cruising along in pea soup or simply a restricted visibility scenario. Capt. Steve also goes over the basics on navigation lights, what they mean, and what’s required when running at night, and at anchor. You’ll learn about requirements for boats over 12 meters, or 39 ½ feet, and what’s required for boats less than 7 meters, or 23 feet. These are basic rules which all recreational boaters should be aware of. The videos presented this week are part of Capt. Steve’s USCG-approved boating course called “Smart Boating.” Watch Capt. Steve's video boating lessons every week on BoatTEST.com.
View this week’s lessons --
View past lessons --
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"Awesome! I love seafood!" - F. Rogers
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