This Week’s Featured Video: Fat Guy On A Tricycle

Clip Of The Day from the 11-20-10 show. Bill and Capt. Patrick are in deep discussion about dolphins on boats, river dolphins, the Amazon, sharing the road, dolphins and motorcyclists, manatees and fat guys on tricycles, huge semi's, and nature. All of this in 1 minute 3 seconds.

Boating Industry Magazine Announces the 2010 Top 100

MINNEAPOLIS – As current boaters and prospects gain confidence in exploring purchase decisions, it is increasingly vital that they are directed to trustworthy and professional dealers for boat sales and service. Thanks to Boating Industry magazine's sixth-annual Top 100 Dealers program, consumers now have access to those best of the best dealers at their fingertips.

This marine dealer ranking has resulted in an incredibly powerful group that collectively generates more than $879 million in annual retail sales – and $1.56 billion, if you include MarineMax Inc. and Galati Yacht Sales, which are members of the Top 100 Dealers Hall of Fame. This makes up 2.9 and 5.1 percent of the overall U.S. boating market, respectively. That market has fallen more than 30 percent annually for the past few years, yet the revenue that the Top 100 Dealers have generated is off an average of just 14.5 percent.

While the numbers this elite group posts are impressive, indeed, the Top 100 is not merely a ranking of the largest, volume-driven dealers. Rather, it recognizes those marine dealers that are unsurpassed in overall business operations, customer service, marketing and professionalism. Collectively, the 2010 Boating Industry Top 100 employ nearly 3,900 people and operate 244 retail locations across North America.

“Whether today’s boaters are finally ready to upgrade their vessel or are maximizing their enjoyment of their current model, Boating Industry’s list of Top 100 Dealers is a much-needed guide to those dealerships that provide their boating community with an industry-leading sales and service experience,” said Matt Gruhn, Editorial Director and Publisher of Boating Industry.

Topping the list at No. 1 for the first time is Prince William Marine Sales, Inc., based in Woodbridge, Va., followed by Austin, Texas-based Sail & Ski Centers, Gordy’s Lakefront Marine, Fontana, Wis., Buckeye Marine, based in Bobcaygeon, Ontario, and Russo Marine of Medford, Mass. Nearly 380 people joined Boating Industry to honor the Top 100 Dealers at a black-tie celebration Wednesday, Nov. 17, at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando.

Boating Industry’s editorial team reviewed 224 applications, culled from more than 3,000 nominations. The applications asked both quantitative and qualitative questions regarding all aspects of marine dealer operations.

“As consumers seek out the many benefits of the boating lifestyle, marine dealers need to leverage all of the tools at their disposal to attract them into their businesses,” explained Liz Walz, Editor-In-Chief of Boating Industry magazine. “Six years after its inception, inclusion on Boating Industry’s Top 100 Dealers list delivers real results to leading dealers, allowing them to set themselves apart from their peers.”

Boating Industry bestowed five additional Best In Class awards to dealers ranked at the top of their categories. South Shore Marine (ranked 32), based in Huron, Ohio, was noted as the Most Improved Top 100 Dealer. Receiving a Best In Class Award for Best Succession Plan was Burnaby, B.C.-based dealership M&P Mercury Sales Ltd. (ranked 8). Singleton Marine Group (ranked 12), Dadeville, Ala., took home a Best In Class Award for Best Changes In Response To The Downturn. The Best In Class Award for Best Marketing Strategy went to Parks Marina (ranked 7), Okoboji, Iowa. And George’s Marine & Sports (ranked 19), Ottawa, Ont., received a Best In Class Award for Best Employee Development Strategy.

To help bring the Boating Industry Top 100 to life, Affinity Media, the magazine’s parent company, created the Leadership Alliance, an elite group of the marine industry’s leading suppliers. These companies were invited to participate because they possess, as one of their corporate values, a true belief in and commitment to raising the bar of professionalism across all marine industry sectors, and particularly for dealers.

The 2010 Leadership Alliance members include: BRP/Evinrude; GE Capital Solutions, Commercial Distribution Finance; BoatTrader; Volvo Penta; Manheim Specialty Auctions; Global Marine Insurance Agency and the Marine Retailers Association of America.

The 2010 Top 100 Dealers:

1. Prince William Marine Sales, Inc, Woodbridge, Va.
2. Sail & Ski Centers, Inc., Austin, Texas
3. Gordy's Lakefront Marine, Inc., Fontana, Wis.
4. Buckeye Marine, Bobcaygeon, Ont., Canada
5. Russo Marine, Medford, Mass.
6. Port Harbor Marine, South Portland, Maine
7. Parks Marina, Okoboji, Iowa
8. M&P Mercury Sales Ltd., Burnaby, B.C., Canada
9. Seattle Boat Co., Seattle, Wash.
10. Hall Marine Group, Lake Wylie, S.C.
11. Strong's Marine, LLC, Mattituck, N.Y.
12. Singleton Marine Group, Dadeville, Ala.
13. Pride Marine Group, Bracebridge, Ont., Canada
14. Woodard Marine Inc., Hydeville, Vt.
15. Russell Marine, Alexander City, Ala.
16. Quality Boats of Clearwater, Inc., Clearwater, Fla.
17. Lake Union Sea Ray, Seattle, Wash.
18. Hampton Watercraft & Marine, Hampton Bays, N.Y.
19. George's Marine & Sports, Ottawa, Ont., Canada
20. Lynnhaven Marine, Virginia Beach, Va.
21. Action Water Sports, Hudsonville, Mich.
22. Kelly's Port, Osage Beach, Mo.
23. Vallely Sport & Marine, Bismarck, N.D.
24. Spring Brook Marina, Inc., Seneca, Ill.
25. BMC Boats, Longwood, Fla.
26. Hagadone Marine Group, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
27. The Sportsman, San Benito, Texas
28. Parker Boat Company, Inc., Orlando, Fla.
29. Hayes Marine, Appling, Ga.
30. Rayburn's Marine World Ltd., Kelowna, B.C., Canada
31. Boats, Inc., Niantic, Conn.
32. South Shore Marine, Huron, Ohio
33. Reed's Marine, Inc., Delavan, Wis.
34. Austin Boats and Motors, Inc., Lakeway, Texas
35. Colorado Boat Center, Loveland, Colo.
36. Sea Ray of Cincinnati & Louisville, Cincinnati, Ohio
37. Tobler Marina, Hayden, Idaho
38. Legendary Marine, Destin, Fla.
39. Redline Watersports, Madison, Wis.
40. South Austin Marine, Austin, Texas
41. Paris Marine Ltd., Peterborough, Ont., Canada
42. Boaters Exchange, Rockledge, Fla.
43. Bosun's Marine, Inc., Mashpee, Mass.
44. Dry Dock Marine Center, Inc., Angola, Ind
45. Gage Marine, Williams Bay, Wis.
46. Wayzata Marine, Inc., Orono, Minn.
47. Liquid Sports Marine, Orlando, Fla.
48. Watersports Dealer Services, Holladay, Utah
49. Rambo Marine, Hazel Green, Ala.
50. The Boat Shop, Tafton, Pa.
51. Atwood Lake Boats, Inc., Mineral City, Ohio
52. Castaway Marina LLC, Queensbury, N.Y.
53. B&E Marine, Michigan City, Ind.
54. Saratoga Boatworks, Inc., Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
55. Vincent Payne Marine Ltd., Pointe au Baril, Ont., Canada
56. Lodder's Marine Sales, Fairfield, Ohio
57. Boat Town, Inc., Austin, Texas
58. Causeway Marine, Manahawkin, N.J.
59. Midwest MasterCraft, Crystal, Minn.
60. Crowe Marine, Inc., Eatonton, Ga.
61. Town & Country Marine, Lakefield , Ont., Canada
62. Glencove Marine, Lake Ozark, Mo.
63. Marine Center of Indiana, Inc., Indianapolis, Ind.
64. Sundance Marine, Inc., F. Lauderdale , Fla.
65. Traverse Bay Marine, Inc., Traverse City, Mich.
66. Texas Marine, Beaumont, Texas
67. Mount Dora Boating Center & Marina, Mount Dora, Fla.
68. Gone Fishin' Marine, Inc., Dixon, Calif.
69. Hurst Marina Ltd., Manotick, Ont., Canada
70. Marine Specialties, Sparks, Nev.
71. Shipyard Marine, Suamico, Wis.
72. Marine Center of Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nev.
73. Irwin Marine, Laconia, N.H.
74. Hoffmaster's Marina, Inc., Woodbridge, Va.
75. Short's Marine Inc., Millsboro, Del.
76. Omaha Marine Center, Omaha, Neb.
77. MasterCraft Boats of Arizona, Inc., Phoenix, Az.
78. Power Boats, Inc., Hot Springs, Ark.
79. Jet Ski of Miami & Fisherman's Boat Group, Miami, Fla.
80. Oak Hill Marina, Inc., Arnolds Park, Iowa
81. Laurel Marina, Bristol, Tenn.
82. Davey's Marine Center, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
83. Galey's Marine, Bakersfield, Calif.
84. Marina Fortin, St-Paul Ile Aux Noix, PQ, Canada
85. Candlewood East Marina, Brookfield, Conn.
86. Performance Marine, Regina, Sask., Canada
87. Lake Viking Marine, Gallatin, Mo.
88. Clear Lake Boats, Clear Lake, Iowa
89. Deep Creek Marina, McHenry, Md.
90. Dockside Marine Centre Ltd., Kelowna, B.C., Canada
91. Hardin Marine Arrowhead, Lake Arrowhead, Calif.
92. Baert Marine Inc., Middleton, Mass.
93. Don's Marine, LLC, Lodi, Wis.
94. Regina Marine Ltd., Regina , Sask., Canada
95. Skyline Marina, Orillia, Ont., Canada
96. Grand Pointe Marine of Lansing, Dimondale, Mich.
97. Ski & Sports, Inc., Rogers , Ark.
98. Nobles' Marine, Leesburg, Fla.
99. Farm Island Repair & Marine, Aitkin, Minn.
100. Airport Marine Inc., Alabaster, AL

Courtesy of Boating Industry Magazine.

Using a GPS/Chartplotter with Florida By Water

If you enjoy boating in unfamiliar waters as much as we do, you will quickly find that a GPS can be your best friend. Often times the recreational boater finds that reading compass headings and nautical charts are daunting tasks. With this in mind, we developed Florida By Water with one of the main goals as providing GPS coordinates for every location. This give you the ability to pinpoint the destination that you are trying to find. However, many of us quickly become confused with the new terminology such as waypoints, tracks, and routes. This article will provide you with a few of the basic skills need to navigate to your chosen location. Please note this is in no way a compressive document on the Nautical Navigation.

Basic Terms in Plain English
Waypoint: A waypoint is a specific location such as a restaurant, marina, or boat ramp. When you look at a location at Florida By Water you will find the GPS coordinates for that location. This will be a waypoint that can be added to your GPS. For example, if you were in Key Largo and wanted to snorkel at “Christ the Abyss” you would enter this waypoint into your GPS: 25.1242155, -80.2974027. Your numbers on your GPS may look different and we will explain those differences in a minute. Anyhow, to get to the location, simply enter the waypoint and follow the GPS map to that waypoint. One thing to keep in mind is that your GPS will take you there by a direct line, which in many cases, in not a very viable option.

Route: A route is a series of waypoints used to get you to a specific location. This allows you to go from one waypoint to the next until you reach your destination. This way, you can navigate around obstacles and shallow water. Creating a route on the GPS itself is possible but can become difficult if you have a smaller screen. At Florida By Water, we use route-planning software. This gives us the ability to take our time and create a route in the comfort of our homes on a computer rather than while out on the water and trying to navigate at the same time. Once the route is loaded into your GPS/Chartplotter you can simply select the route and follow it on your GPS screen. It works very similar to the GPS in your car. The difference is that your car GPS will create the best route for you, while the Chartplotter requires you to create the route. Most manufactures have routing software available for a small fee. Garmin has a program called Homeport. This will allow you to create waypoints and routes, and directly upload them to your GPS/Chartplotter unit.

Track: Think of a track as a digital recorder on your GPS. When you turn tracking “on”, the GPS will track the movement of your boat, display it on the unit for you to see, and save it for you. This can be extremely handy if you would like to see where you have been, or to follow the track back to your starting location. The tracks are shown as little black dotted lines on a Garmin unit and the tracks can be downloaded or turned into a route for future reference.

My Numbers Don’t Match!
One of the first show stoppers for new GPS users is finding GPS numbers and realizing they do not look like the numbers on their unit. For example, these sets of numbers all reference the same location:
25.1242155 -80.2974027 (Degrees)
N25°7.45293 W080°17.844162 (Deg° Min)
N25°7'27.176″ W80°17'50.65″ (Deg° Min' Sec”)

Depending on how your GPS is set up, it will use one of these formats. The good news is that it can be changed to use the format of your choice. The key is being able to convert one type of numbers to the other. This website is a great resource for converting the different formats:
Florida By Waters uses “Degrees” as the preferred format. It is also note worthy that you can change the preference in Google Earth to match your preferred format also.

So Many Options
The people at Florida By Water are GPS junkies. I personally have 6 of these handy little devices. With the exception of the iPhone, they are all Garmin. Not that I’m claiming that Garmin is any better than the others; it’s just a matter of familiarity with the interface. There are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing a GPS.
1. Make sure you get the one that fits your needs. GPS’s range in all shapes and sizes. Personally, I like to have to have one that has a 15” screen but that would be a little impractical on a 23’ bowrider. Thus I settled for the 440’s (the S means that it has a sounder or depth finder) this one has a 4’ screen and fits nicely on the boat.
2. Make sure that charts are preloaded. You will find that the price can vary between units. Many times this is due to features like weather, sounder, or preloaded maps. Note that preloaded maps may be costal or inland lakes. Theses maps provide you nautical charts that should include water depths as well hazards and other pertinent information. If your unit does not have the charts preloaded you will need to purchase them separately. Garmin sells charts for their units for around $100.00 per region. That can get expensive in a hurry. Another consideration is that purchased charts may give more detail than preloaded charts and the amount of detail and size of the region will affect the price.
3. Handheld devices can be a great choice. If you have a smaller boat or do not get out that often you may opt for a hand held unit. These can be great fun and have other uses as well such as Geocaching ( Once again, it’s best to get one with charts preloaded.
4. We know and understand that the iPhone has a built in GPS as well as the ability to purchase nautical charts. However, if your iPhone is like mine, you really wouldn’t want to base your life or your boat on it. However as a backup, I wouldn’t be without it.

In Summary
• By a GPS/Charplotter with preloaded charts
• Purchase a Charting program that is compatible with your unit
• Go to the “preferences” section to set the desired degrees format (in the GPS and the Charting Program on your PC)
• Crete a few waypoints and routes on the PC
• Upload them to your GPS
• Enjoy the ride

As said in the beginning, this article is a very simplified overview to get you started. We always suggest reading your manual thoroughly in the beginning and then again after you have used the unit for a few months.

*Note: just because you have a GPS/Chartplotter does not mean that common sense goes out the window. Always use your eyes and be aware of your surroundings.

Helpful links and more information: