Amelia Boat Club and Rentals, Formerly Suntex

Amelia Boat Club and Rentals, Formerly SuntexAmelia Boat Club & Rentals took over the Suntex Boat Club & Watersports business located at Amelia Island, Florida, in July of this year. Amelia Boat Club & Rentals continues to operate out of Amelia Island Yacht Basin which is the same location Suntex Boat Club & Watersports operated.

Suntex Ventures, a Dallas-based company owning and operating marina properties, merged with Big D Boat Club and Watersports in April of 2013. From that merger, Suntex Boat Club and Watersports was formed and operated boat clubs and rentals in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; Acworth, Georgia; and Amelia Island, Florida. Monty Kitchen founded, managed and operated Big D Boat Club and Watersports in 2009, which grew to three locations in the Dallas/Fort Worth area on Lake Ray Hubbard, Eagle Mountain Lake and Lake Lewisville. After the merger with Suntex, Kitchen remained with the newly formed company as the National Director. A little over a year later, Kitchen and his wife Capprice, purchased the Amelia Island Suntex Boat Club location and changed the name to Amelia Boat Club & Rentals to reflect a greater sense of community.

amelia-boat-club-fishing-boatAmelia Boat Club & Rentals (“ABC”) is a boat club and boat rental business that offers unlimited boating access for a monthly fee to its members, and daily boat and wave-runner rentals available to the public. The concept is simple – people don’t have to own a boat in order to enjoy a boating lifestyle. ABC’s fleet includes an array of pleasure boats, fishing boats and wave-runners. Gear and accessories may also be provided and are included with memberships. When clients arrive at the dock, the reserved boat is clean, fueled, staged with requested accessories (tubes, skis, fishing rods) and life-jackets, ready to share priceless memories on the water with family and friends. Several clients begin as rental customers and enjoy the ease of boating so much, soon become boat club members. Boat owners that sold their boat due to the overwhelming burden of maintaining it are eager to join the club and rekindle their love for boating without any of the hassles of ownership! Other folks simply want to learn more about different boats before purchasing their own, but usually find the club so easy they never make that purchase. And of course, there’s the casual boater simply wanting to enjoy the beautiful waters surrounding Amelia Island by renting a boat or wave-runner for a few hours. ABC can also provide a Boat Captain and private sight-seeing tours upon request. Amelia Boat Club & Rentals has boating options for every boater.

amelia-boat-club-pontoonMonty Kitchen built a first-class boating operation with his three Big D Boat Club and Watersports locations in Dallas, Texas. Today, Kitchen follows his successful business endeavors with the continued development and operation of Amelia Boat Club and Rentals that he now locally owns and manages.

Kitchen is thrilled to be operating his own boat club and rental business again and appreciates the warm reception received from the many local businesses and residents on the island. Kitchen stated, “The generosity and desire of local businesses and residents that support ABC has been overwhelming and we’re so grateful. Amelia Island and the people that live and visit here make it very unique, like no other place I’ve lived. It’s truly a little piece of paradise.”

Amelia Boat Club & Rentals is open year round with the exception of the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Holidays. If interested in learning more about the boat club or rentals, visit www.ameliaboatclub.com or call 904.572.3216. Membership tours available upon request. Amelia Boat Club and Rentals is located at 251 Creekside Drive, Off Hwy A1A, Island Side of Shave Bridge, Dock E at the Amelia Island Yacht Basin, on Amelia Island, FL.

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Boat Club and Rentals Launched at Amelia Island Yacht Basin

Boat Club and Rentals Launched at Amelia Island Yacht BasinSuntex Ventures announces merger with Big D Boat Club & Watersports. Suntex Boat Club will initially be launching boat clubs and rentals at Glade Marina in Acworth, GA, and at Amelia Island Yacht Basin in Fernandina Beach, FL.

We Provide the Boats, You Provide the Fun!

Dallas, TX – Suntex Ventures, the Dallas-based owner and operator of marina properties, announced today that it has merged with Big D Boat Club & Watersports. The new operation will be called Suntex Boat Club & Watersports. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Big D Boat Club & Watersports, founded in 2009, has operated boat clubs and boat rentals in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex on Lake Ray Hubbard, Eagle Mountain Lake and Lake Lewisville. It is a rental boat club membership business with a vision of introducing people to the boating lifestyle in a more cost effective way. Memberships provide access to the boat club’s fleet of pontoons, ski and fishing boats, deck boats, wakeboard boats and jet skis. The memberships also include all the gear and accessories. When members arrive at the marina, their reserved boat is clean, full of fuel, staged with the requested water toys and life jackets, and ready for a day on the water.

“This merger and partnership made sense for Big D Boat Club to grow into markets we desire,” explained Monty Kitchen, founder of Big D Boat Club/Director of Suntex Boat Club & Watersports. “Suntex is very customer- driven in how it operates and that was extremely important to me. We had no desire to grow without a partner that sees business the same way we do, customer service is number one. Unlike other franchise-type marina boat clubs across the country, we will be the first to bring customers in as renters or club members, and then maintain that relationship for life.”

Suntex Marinas and now Suntex Boat Club are subsidiaries of Suntex Ventures, a real estate company investing exclusively in niche mixed-use marinas and their related operating platforms. They have acquired, developed, and operated over 30 full-service marinas in the United States, the Caribbean, and Mexico for nearly 20 years. Over the course of these years, Suntex has developed a solid reputation by being dedicated to their customers, clients, guests, communities, employees, and investors. “We are thrilled that the Big D Boat Club is now a part of the Suntex family,” stated Joe Vrankin, Partner & Chief Operating Officer of Suntex Ventures. “Monty Kitchen has built a first-class business and by combining his club with the Suntex group we have the opportunity to gain the synergies from our marinas. We believe this will result in an even higher level of guest service combined with a high-quality, consistent line of boats in the club at every location. Our plan is to grow the boat club to two additional Suntex marina locations this season and eventually open a Suntex boat club at all of the marinas in the Suntex family.”

Suntex Boat Club will initially be launching boat clubs and rentals at Glade Marina in Acworth, GA, and at Amelia Island Yacht Basin in Fernandina Beach, FL. Vrankin said, “The merger of Suntex and Big D Boat Club, LLC is a big step in revolutionizing the marina industry. We truly want to become the first marina organization that offers everything under one roof for its customers… boat storage, service, boat rentals, and boat club, along with various other convenient amenities for our boaters. Suntex can provide options for every level boater.”

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Joe Springer Receives Certified Marina Manager Designation

Joe Springer Receives Certified Marina Manager Designation

Copyright: 2012 WESTREC Marinas

Fernandina Beach, FL & Encino, CA – WESTREC Marinas’ Fernandina Harbor Marina, announces that its Manager, Joe Springer, has received the designation of Certified Marina Manager (CMM) from the Association of Marine Industries at their International Marina and Boatyard Conference in January.

“CMMs represent the elite in the marina and recreational boating industry. They value true personal and professional excellence and strive to maintain the highest levels of ethical and moral conduct in their commitment to the marina industry,” says John Louis, Westrec Southern Region Manager. “CMMs are marina professionals who have completed an extensive training and certification process through the globally recognized International Marina Institute (IMI) and embrace the continuance of education and training for themselves and those who work within the marina industry,” he added.

Joe Springer joined Fernandina Harbor Marina in 2010 after the City awarded management of the facility to Westrec following a thorough RFP process. During his tenure, Joe has worked diligently to provide excellent services for marina patrons, their guests and transient boaters visiting the historic destination. With the support of the Westrec team, Joe leads his marina employees in providing excellent customer service emphasizing environmental responsibility in all aspects of marina operations as well as community outreach events.

While Fernandina Harbor Marina has just completed 2012 dredging operations, to ensure the best possible access in 2013, additional dredging operations are already underway. With a siltation rate of approximately one inch per month, maintaining a usable depth is an ongoing concern for the Fernandina Harbor Marina. Following a presentation in 2011 to the Florida Inland Navigational District (FIND), a partnership was agreed on that leveraged FIND funds with municipal budget, enabling the marina to remove over 15,000 cubic yards of dredge material for acceptable depth.

FernandinaHarborMarina,FullBerths,CleanMarina

Copyright: 2012 WESTREC Marinas

“Even though this project was just completed, we are working on the plan for the 2013 fiscal year to remove even more material. Thoughtful dredging operations allows us attract the broadest spectrum of boats and yachts,” says Mr. Springer.

Another key management goal since Westrec was awarded the Management Contract for Fernandina Harbor Marina by the City of Fernandina Beach, was obtaining the Florida Department of Environmental Protection CLEAN MARINA status. This has been a top priority for Joe Springer and his marina team.

To become designated as a Clean Marina, facilities must implement a set of environmental measures designed to protect Florida’s waterways. These measures address critical environmental issues such as sensitive habitat, waste management, storm water control, spill prevention and emergency preparedness.

“There are over 2500 marinas located in the State of Florida; only 257 have achieved the Clean Marina designation. We’ve all worked very hard to complete the requirements, to show our commitment to this program and are honored to have been awarded the Florida Clean Marina designation on National Marina Day last year,” he says.

Fernandina Harbor Marina also celebrates the very nature of boating. Recently, the site hosted the 2012 Marina Trawler Owners Association’s MTOA Spring 2012 Rendezvous and was a proud sponsor of the city’s Annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival.

About WESTREC MARINAS
As the world’s largest owner operator of marinas and marine-related businesses, Westrec Marinas provides professional management services to its properties, affiliates and clients throughout the world. Founded in 1987, Westrec manages marina facilities located both in fresh and salt water environments, handling vessels ranging in size from personal watercraft to megayachts. Solutions unique to Westrec have been incorporated into our corporate philosophy throughout Westrec’s rapid growth. Service, our most important product, has remained unchanged since day one.

About Fernandina Harbor Marina
Fernandina Harbor Marina—the first marina built on the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) in Florida, is located directly on the ICW (at mile 716) via a well marked, charted and easy-to-navigate Federal Shipping Channel six miles from the Atlantic and is located in Fernandina Beach’s Downtown Historic District, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The marina, including the retail store and fuel dock with high speed pumps—is open from 6:15 A.M. to 8:15 P.M. seven days a week. A full-time staff of eight ensures smooth operations for all marina guests and slip holders.

The marina features 5,875 linear feet of dockage which provides 60 lineal side-tie “slips” and 20 moorings, a 25′ depth at mean low water beyond the attenuator and 6′ at inside slips, allowing yachts up to 200′ and boats of all sizes to take advantage of the most modern of marinas while enjoying the amenities the community offers. Just 35 minutes from Jacksonville International Airport, 13 miles of pristine beaches, 5-star resorts, and first-class tennis and golf are just a short drive away.

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The French Are Coming…!!!

These schooners can be viewed on Saturday at the Fernandina Harbour

Four hundred and fifty years ago around this time of the year, some natives might have wondered about the ships on the horizon when French Sailor and settler Jean Ribault decided to step ashore and build a small settlement on our island which he had called Ile de Mai. The year was 1562.

Until then there had been little interest among the early discoverers of the new world. That would soon enough change however and Ile de May changed flags no less than 8 times before it finally became Amelia Island.
To commemorate the start of it all, we are welcoming two Atlantic crossing French Navy Schooners (L’Etoile and La Belle Poule) this weekend at the docks of Fernandina Beach and in honor of the decision to make the first mainland stop of their historic Atlantic crossing here on Amelia Island, we will party: French style, which means games, good food and lots of throat caressing fluids.
This is quite a different welcome than 450 years ago when French and Spanish were contesting supremacy in the area. Without going into the details once again of the cruel life created by religion in those days, it should be noted that in true sense of history, Amelia Island was settled 3 years before St.Augustine, when Ribault built a settlement here called Fort Caroline.
The bloodbath in “the name of the Lord” at Matanzas led to the annihilation of the residents of the island’s first settlement and in the process created yet another historical abberation that qualifies for the “He who Wins, Writes History” trophy.

The fight over the title " oldest settlement in America"

The fight over the title " oldest settlement in America"

This time around however, the French sailors, after tying up to our docks, will find pleasantness, music, wine and good food and an invitation to participate in a Spring Pétanque tournament on coming Sunday, in which the “local” Petanqiers, coming from Tallahassee, St. Augustine and Amelia Island, hope to playfully “massacre” the sailors in a competitive encounter at the downtown riverfront.

The Ships

The 123 ft long sister ships were built in Fécamp, France in 1932.
The “Belle Poule” was named after the original 26-gun frigate that started the French intervention in the American War of Independence in 1778 in its famous battle with England’s “Arethusa”. Both ships served the Free French Forces during the Second World War and since serve as training vessels.
They came to Florida in honor of the 450th anniversary of French Capt. Jean Ribault’s arrival. After celebrations in Jacksonville on May 1st, they will head to Savannah, Annapolis, Philadelphia and New York. Fernandina Beach welcomes the sailors for a well deserved weekend of R & R after their 7 week voyage across the Atlantic.

How Amelia Island became their first stop on the Mainland USA?

One reason, and one reason only. That reason is called Philippe Boets; the same guy that brought us the game of Pétanque and the Dutch Bells on the Waterfront a couple of years ago. Philippe read about the history and the Schooners sailing to the “New World” and climbed in the phone to arrange for our island to get its proper place in the historic line-up. And…he pulls it off once again. I won’t bother you with all the logistics involved in having two foreign Navy schooners dock in a US port for a couple of days of R&R. Most people would walk away from it at one point or another in the slow and frustrating process. Not Philippe Boets.  The man is just remarkable and I’m proud to call him my friend.

Program of Celebrations

Here is the celebration program for this weekend.

Fri  April 27
At 4pm (irrespective of ships arrival time)
Brief welcome by:
● Ms Arlene Filkoff, Mayor of Fernandina Beach.
● Mr François Kloc, Consul of France in Jacksonville.
● young singers from St Michael Academy.
at the north pier of the FB Harbor Marina.
Sat  April 28
Ships are open to the public.
From 9 to 11am and from 2 to 5pm.
Visits are free.
Sun  April 29
Petanque (French bowling game) tournament.
From 12:30 to 6pm
Local teams from Amelia Island, Jacksonville, St Augustine and Tallahassee will take on the French sailors.
At the south end of the Marina parking lot.
Free to the public.
Wine, beer, food and lots of French music.
Around 10pm. Ships depart
PS: Did you know that Fernandina Beach once back in the 1860’s had a French Mayor who developed the production of Olive Oil on the Island?  His great grand children just visited me at the Amelia Oceanfront Bed and Breakfast. Quite a fascinating story. More about that next week.

Fernandina Marina Manager Receives Certification

Fernandina Marina Manager Receives CertificationFernandina Beach Marina Manager Joe Springer to receive certified marina manager designation.

Fort Lauderdale, FL – Joe Springer, manager of Fernandina Harbor Marina has been selected to receive the designation of Certified Marina Manager (CMM) from the Association of Marine Industries at their International Marina and Boatyard Conference later this month.

“CMMs represent the elite in the marina and recreational boating industry. They value true personal and professional excellence and strive to maintain the highest levels of ethical and moral conduct in their commitment to the marina industry,” said John Louis, Westrec Southern Region Manager. He went on to say, “CMMs are marina professionals who have completed an extensive training and certification process through the globally recognized International Marina Institute (IMI) and embrace the continuance of education and training for themselves and those who work within the marina industry.”

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Fernandina Beach Boat Ramp Closes for Dredging

Fernandina Beach Boat Ramp Closes for DredgingImportant City Notice

The boat ramp at the west end of Ash Street may be closed during dredging of the Fernandina Harbor Marina.

Dredging operations will occur starting January 2, 2012 thru March 30, 2012.

Boat ramp closures will be unscheduled and may occur without further prior notice.

Boaters are encouraged to use the Nassau County or Egans Creek boat ramps on North 14th Streets.

SHOULD YOU HAVE QUESTIONS OR NEED FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT
FERNANDINA HARBOR MARINA AT (904) 491-2086.

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Oyster Bay Yacht Club gets Management Facelift

Pooldeck Party at the Oyster Bay Yacht Club

Late last spring, the Oyster Bay Yacht Club across the Amelia River, quietly received an almost complete management facelift, which has since been making positive waves both in the membership and community.

Under the inspired leadership of Yacht Club manager Terrie Sanders, who came from 17 years with the Amelia Island Plantation as meeting planner and conference sales manager, the club is scoring high notes in fun event planning and food and beverage service. With Terrie came Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Manager Shawn Meeks who previously was sous-chef at PLaE (People Laughing and Eating) Restaurant at the Plantation, real estate sales manager Brad Hummel and always entertaining harbourmaster Sean McCarthy. Troubadour McCarthy, who has quite a reputation as a performer in the Jimmy Buffet inspired genre of countrified story telling, has been the Marina’s harbour master since the marina opened several years back, touting the advantages of owning a slip in this modern, well equipped, storm safe anchorage that gives easy access to the open ocean, downtown Fernandina Beach, a quick boat trip to Jacksonville and places south or just a Saturday morning fishing in one of the many Nassau County Marsh coves.

The 7,500 square foot yacht club building offers numerous amenities including ample meeting space for many venues from small family gatherings, corporate events, weddings and more. The main club room is expansive with great fireplace and comfortable seating. High speed Wi-Fi is available throughout the facility. There are meeting areas for private dining or larger events with extensive covered porch verandas at poolside, north and south sides. A full bar and grill is available. There are complete workout facilities as well as locker areas and laundry facilities. Views from poolside are spectacular for waterways and Cumberland Island in the background.

Manager Terrie is promoting the opportunity for locals to join the Yacht Club with social memberships and enjoy the peaceful attraction of this old waterfront plantation community.
With the roads now paved all the way to the Yacht Club, the short nature trek past the meandering bird populations and plentiful foliage is fascinating and enjoyable and with her track record deeply anchored in special events, meeting planning and weddings, it should not come as a surprise that wedding and small convention planners (up to 200 people) are discovering the perfect setting of the club for their special occasions as it witnessed by the increasing numbers of weddings, anniversaries and meetings that are filling the club’s agenda.

The new management quartet has set out to bring fun and activity to Oyster Bay Yacht Club with lots of events, live music and anchored in superb food service.
We recently went to check out the Thrill on the Grill Experience on the Pool Deck as well as the Low Country Boil, much to our pleasure. Food was great, ambiance was informal, lively and friendly, live music was entertaining and we had a great evening.
Both times we were there, there were in excess of 120 diner guests and the outside bar was an oasis of friendly shatter only highlighted by the live music and party atmosphere.

Sean McCarthy’s brother Kevin, a man who knows more about the area’s history than anyone I know, also owns and operates the Amelia River Cruises, which has started to do regular Fernandina Downtown Waterfront to Oyster Bay Yacht Club ferry rides, with occasional live music and party gear lined up. Those who have done the trip, can’t wait for the next one.

Amelia Island native Terrie Sanders and her team feel right at home in their new environment and it shows. The Oyster Bay Harbour, Marina and Yacht Club website keeps members and visitors abreast of the weekly events, opening hours and menus. Check it out.

Panama Canal is Almost 100 Years Old

panama-canal-zoneOne of the most spectacular engineering feats of the 19th century was the construction of the Panama Canal nearly 100 years ago. This shipping canal connects the Caribbean Sea with the Pacific Ocean and was considered the largest and most difficult project ever undertaken. The purpose of the canal was to grant access to ships between the two oceans replacing the long and often dangerous passage south around the southern tip of South America. To put this in perspective a ship sailing from New York reroute to San Francisco via the canal will log 6000 nautical miles shaving off more than half the 14,000 miles it would have taken prior to the canals existence. The Panama Canal was originally attempted by the French in 1880, however the attempt failed including the deaths of 21,900 canal workers. With the huge benefits the canal would offer still in sight the United States took to the project and completed it in the early 1900’s. From the beginning the canal project was plagued with problems such as landslides, malaria and the dreaded yellow fever. By the time the project was completed a total of 27,500 lives were lost by both the French and American efforts.

The canal opened on August 15, 1914 on a 99 year lease to the United States granted from Colombia for the land the canal occupied. Since its opening the canal has been very popular and successful being used by private yachts to super tankers. A normal passage through the canal by a typical cargo ship takes 8-10 hours. In 2008, the canal passed 14,702 vessels through its maze of locks accounting for hundreds of millions of tons of commerce. The lock sizes were originally designed for 94’ in width but the US Navy understanding the full potential of the lock requested the lock size be increased to 120’ wide to accommodate Naval war ships.

The current tolls for the Panama Canal are based on a vessels type, size and the type of cargo carried. Ships carrying cargo are calculated differently from those who are empty, cruise ships are based on the number of births and private yachts are in length and gross tons. The most expensive toll ever collected for a one way passage was on May 7th, 2008 charged to the MSC Fabienne which paid $317,142.00. On the other end of the spectrum the least expensive toll was .36 cents paid by Richard Halliburton an American who swam the canal in 1928.

Today the canal continues to do the exact job it was intended nearly 100 years ago. Constant upgrades and maintenance on the lock systems are performed on a routine basis keeping this vital part of marine commerce in top working condition.

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Amelia River Cruises and Cumberland Sound Ferry

amelia-river-cruisesThe Cumberland Sound Ferry’s ship The Bald Eagle, is a 59’, 80 passenger vessel equipped to transport people, pets and non-motorized transportation between Amelia Island, Florida, and St. Mary’s, Georgia. The two seaside ports are rich in history and a perfect day-trip outing.

The last ferry between the two towns was in 1916, when the automobile became the favored mode of travel.

Amelia River Cruises and the Cumberland Sound Ferry both offer exclusive private charters for weddings, reunions, birthdays and corporate events. Either cruise offers a two hour, narrated adventure whose tour guides are an abundant wealth of knowledge in the local history of Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach, Fort Clinch State Park, Cumberland Island, Georgia, and the St. Mary’s and Amelia Rivers. Whether you are interested in Civil War era history, the magic romance of famous names connected to Cumberland Island, such as the Carnegies, Rockefellers or the Kennedy’s, or you want to see abundant wildlife in their natural habitats, you won’t be disappointed.

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You may see the endangered manatees, watch dolphins at play or see wild horses graze along the seaside. You’ll hear the role Fernandina Beach played in modernizing the shrimping industry and learn how important our port is today to delivering everyday necessities to the people of Bermuda. You’ll hear how pirates, smugglers and local citizens earned their money through the back door of America, when Amelia Island was part of Spanish Florida.

I have lived on Amelia Island for nearly 20 years and thought I knew all about its rich history. After taking both tours, I was amazed at how much I learned from Willie Sweat and Kevin McCarthy’s live, humorous and interactive presentations. The price of a ticket is nominal for such a wonderful experience.

Cumberland Sound Ferry Service

cumberland-sound-ferry Willie Sweat and Kevin McCarthy speak with SearchAmelia about the Cumberland Sound Ferry Service that travels in between Amelia Island, Florida, and St. Mary’s, Georgia, and the Amelia River Cruises that tour the inner banks of Cumberland Island.

Both of these trips are informational and educational and these two men know the history of Fernandina Beach and the St. Mary’s River. Whether you are interested in current commerce along our shores such as the Port of Fernandina, the paper mills or the shrimping industry or you are more interested in the history of the area including Pirates, smugglers, the War of 1812, and Fort Clinch, you won’t be disappointed.

If nature is more to your liking, you’ll be interested to hear that this Ferry Service is the final connecting leg of the 3000 mile East Coast Greenway that runs from the tip of Maine to Key West, Florida, along the east coast of America. The pet-friendly ferry is even equipped with bicycle racks for your journey between these two coastal communities. Abundant in wild life you may see dolphin playing beside the boat or wild horses on the shores of Cumberland Island.

It is no surprise The Cumberland Sound Ferry was nominated for the Phoenix Award, an honor of recognition given to the men and women who use innovative solutions for revitalization projects.

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Taking Your Boat Trailer on the Open Road

boatJuly and August are active months to take your boat on the road. Many boaters take their beloved boats and families to vacation destinations in the summer. This is the time to fish, dive, and snorkel or to just plain have fun. These trips usually take weeks of preparation getting the boat and gear in order, lodging secure and coordinating with friends that may be traveling with you. While all this planning is necessary for a successful vacation, one area that many mariners forget about is the service and maintenance required on their trailers before taking a journey out on the open road and trust me, the last thing you want to be involved with is a broken down trailer on the side of I-95. Trailer maintenance is not difficult do perform and if you follow these tips your chances for an event free time spent on the road will be hugely increased.

Boat trailers are a vital part of any boat package and are responsible for taking you and your boat safely in and out of the water. The trailer is also the place that a boat spends the bulk of its time during any given season, so why would you not want to take extra good care of it and its components? In addition to the routine washing of the trailer after each use, making sure your trailer is ready for the open road requires a little more attention.

First, take a few minutes to inspect the trailer just as it sits paying close attention to areas that are discolored or rusty as these could be problem spots. Now inspect both visually and with a gloved hand the U-bolts that support the trailer bunks and springs. You’re checking for excessive rusting or bolts that may be missing nuts, the glove will protect your hands from sharp metal that is normally present with U-bolts. While you’re under the boat checking the U-bolts also take a good look at the trailer springs. Springs are made of regular steel and will shown signs of rusting regardless of how old they are. You just want to make sure they aren’t missing chunks of the leafs or excessive rusting has taken place. Should you find any bolts or springs that are suspect to having a short life span, get them changed before the trip without exception.

Trailer hubs are located behind the tire and rim and contain the bearings that that allow the wheel to roll. These hubs will need to be inspected and greased before any trip and should be performed at least every 2-3 months. First jack up the trailer and remove the tire and wheel exposing the hub assembly. Look for signs of excessive grease leaking from either the front or back side of the hub indicating a seal failure. Located in the center of the hub is a zerk fitting for a grease gun. Using marine grade grease, apply about pump into the fitting or until the front rubber seal is full; remember overfilling is not a good thing and can cause other problems. After greasing re-inspect for any signs of leaking grease, if this is noted have them inspected by a certified repair facility. While the tire is off add grease to the studs that hold the tire on as this will make it easier to remove and prevent corrosion in the future. Check the air pressure in each tire to assure correct PSI.

Finally, you want to pay attention to the lights. While your vehicle is hooked to the trailer and the wiring harness is connected, turn your vehicles key to the run position and check each of the light functions. These functions include running lights, brake, turn and any marker lights that may be present. Having spare bulbs is also a good idea to carry along just in the event one bulb happens to fail.

Once you’ve performed each of these checks and you are satisfied of the results, you can rest easier when you travel hundreds of miles away from home with your boat in tow.

Fishing Report for April 16, 2009

By: Don Whitman
Winds should keep most of us inshore this week in Fernandina Beach. Back water fishing around Amelia Island, however, should be great. Saturday and Sunday should be our best days for fishing. Sheepshead, redfish, trout, whiting and pompano are showing up along the beaches. Big Drum can be found just about everywhere, on the beaches, the jetties and in the river systems. Happy fishing, until next week… Leaders and Sinkers Bait and Tackle Р904-321-2800

Free Fishing for the Physically Challenged

ye-ole-pirateThose who are physically challenged can experience an off shore fishing experience for free. At the Fernandina Beach harbor marina, Amelia Island resident, Captain Steve Hair, keeps his 36 foot charter boat, Ye Ole Pirate at the ready for those with physical and developmental disabilities as well as those diagnosed with a terminal illness. This non-profit company, Anchors Aweigh Charters, Inc, has been providing countless numbers of men, women and children an opportunity that may otherwise have been impossible since 1997. A wheelchair loading ramp, wheelchair stabilizing devices, a large number of extra hand holds and several other patented handicapped devices on the Ye Ole Pirate provides the highest level of safety and comfort for everyone aboard.

42-pound-drumWith over 40 years of fishing experience off the coasts of North East Florida and South East Georgia, Captains Steve and Wanda Hair know these waters as well as anyone, and they strive to make sure your trip will meet your level of experience and desires.

They can accommodate your needs ranging from a relaxing sunset cruise along the picturesque shoreline of beautiful Amelia Island or on a wild deep water fishing trip that is sure to please the most experienced fisherman.

All rods, reels, tackle, bait, and ice is supplied. Just bring your sunscreen, camera, drinks and any food you would like to make your trip complete.

Fernandina Fishing Forecast

The Fernandina Fishing Forecast for the week of April 7, 2009 is here and the fishing around Amelia Island should continue to be good. We have winds whipping a cold front through, with a slight chance of rain. Backwater fishing should continue to offer some good fun. Redfish, trout, sheepshead continue to be biting. You can find big drum off the beach and the jetties. Nice size reds are in the rivers and at the jetties. Flounder are starting to move in. Going offshore will be touch and go depending on the seas. Until next week, DON Leaders and Sinkers 904-321-2800

Amelia Island Fishing Report

By: Don Whitman
Winds should be decreasing the rest of the week so the seas should be dropping off. We may have a week to get offshore. Big drum are biting every where. Reds and trout can be found in the rivers and back waters. Sheepshead are still at the jetties, pilings and around oyster beds. We should have a good fishing week. Scattered showers are being called for in the afternoons.

Leaders and Sinkers is a full line tackle store. Rod and Reel repair on site. All inshore and offshore Baits. Call or come by for any questions.904-321-2800. Until next week…

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