Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Patron Saint Of Lost Causes?
Sen. McCain Still Seeking To Sink The Jones Act

"Oh my God. I am deeply concerned," Sen. John McCain remarked sarcastically, placing his hand over his heart in mock anxiety.

That was his response last week on the Senate floor to the report of "a growing number of politicians ... taking aim at the prominent U.S. senator's crusade against the Jones Act."

McCain's bravado is unsurprising because the Republican from Arizona is no stranger to backlash on this topic; he has been trying to void certain provisions of the Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, for years. His latest attempt comes in the form of a proposed amendment to the Keystone XL pipeline bill currently under Senate consideration and, if adopted, would permit foreign vessels to engage in coastwise trade in the U.S.

Senator John McCain Launches New Attack on 'Antiquated' Jones Act
During his Senate floor remarks, McCain insisted the "domestic shipbuilding requirement of the Jones Act is outdated and should be abolished."  He acknowledged, however, the maritime lobby's intractable stance in favor of keeping restrictions in place that limit cabotage to American-flagged and -crewed vessels. Nonetheless, the senator is determined to have the Jones Act repealed, stating: "I will not quit on this issue."

With his current attempt apparently stalled for now - the proposed amendment has not been brought up during floor debates - McCain, who is also the incoming chairman of the Senate's Armed Services Committee, will no doubt redouble his efforts. How will he deal with the inevitable pushback? Perhaps his recent statement lends a clue: "All I can do is appeal to the patron saint of lost causes and keep pressing and pressing and sooner or later you have to succeed."

As always, we'll be standing watch. In the interim, don't hesitate to let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Read more:

For smooth sailing and zero stress ... call SYS!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Is Your Boat Engine Playing Jaws' Theme Music?
Scientists Say Sharks Like Certain Electric Beats

This redfish bit the hook, not Capt Scott's motor.
Photo | MadFish Charters website
"Don't you eat my trolling motor again!" was the plea from MadFish Charters Capt Scott Fitzgerald as a Great White shark repeatedly circled his boat, pausing each time to gnaw on the engine. After the finned fiend had a few bites, Fitzgerald had seen enough; he left the area, his once brand new motor now scarred.

The close encounter of a toothy kind happened last week in the Gulf of Mexico, about eight miles off Panama City Beach, and experts think they know why the 10-foot predator was determined to dine on Fitzgerald's motor:  sharks are attracted to certain electric pulses.

Why Great White Sharks Try to Eat Boat Engines : DNews

So, it seems, the Madfish boat's trolling motor must have been giving off some appetizing beats, which confused this particularly curious - and, apparently, hungry - shark. Our only question: Is there a way to make sure our motors' electric vibrations aren't on a shark's preferred playlist?

To read and see more, visit:

For smooth sailing and zero stress ... call SYS!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

It's "Wear It!" Wednesday
Remember: Life Jackets Only Work When Worn

Be safe out there, boaters! For more information and to join the #SafeBoating campaign, visit: safeboatingcampaign.com

For smooth sailing and zero stress ... call SYS!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Fort Lauderdale: Weekend Fire Destroys Two Yachts At Local Marina

The charred and flooded hulls of a 78-foot Azimut (Lady Lex) and 50-foot Sunseeker (It's About Time) sit on the bottom of the New River today after both yachts were engulfed in flames early Sunday morning.

Large fire destroys two yachts, smoke visible for miles

Thankfully, no injuries were reported but the cause of the fire at Yacht Management South Florida's dock remains under investigation while officials toil to mitigate any further environmental damage caused by diesel spilled into the waterway.

According to one witness at the marina, the Sunseeker was listed for sale and getting prepped for the Miami International Boat Show. Yacht Management's risk manager, Lee Burke, estimated the yachts' market value at around $2 million. We're guessing that's probably a conservative estimate.

For smooth sailing and zero stress ... call SYS!

The Early Report: Boat Sales Still Sizzling

December brought frigid temperatures across the land last year but buying a boat was still a hot trend, according to recent numbers published by Statistical Surveys.  As reported in Trade Only Today, early data indicate an industry-wide sales uptick of some 8.7 percent, with Florida leading the fleet. While smaller, outboard boats were still the clear favorites with boat buyers, the U.S. Coast Guard also noticed an increase in sales of larger, documented vessels.

Needless to see, we like this trend. In the words of Ryan Kloppe, Statistical Surveys national marine sales manager, "It’s really encouraging to see, and it just shows that the momentum is going to continue into 2015.” Here's hoping!

For more:
Boat sales maintain hot streak in December

For smooth sailing and zero stress ... call SYS!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Former Dolphin Goes Overboard, Swims To Safety

Rob Konrad (#44) fended off more than an open field
tackle in the open ocean last week.   
Photo | Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post
An impromptu fishing trip could have ended in tragedy last week when Rob Konrad was jolted overboard into the open ocean, without a life vest or any way of getting back on his 31-foot boat, which was on autopilot and headed for the Bahamas. Instead, what happened next is really a testament to the former Miami Dolphins fullback's will to survive and fervent desire to be reunited with his family.

Konrad started swimming and swimming. And swimming. Some 16 hours, 27 miles and two missed rescue opportunities later, he crawled ashore at Palm Beach during the predawn hours of Thursday. Having survived an ordeal unlike anything he'd ever faced on the football field., the father of two reflected, "I shouldn't be here."
Konrad Humbled And Thankful Following Ordeal At Sea
Needless to say, even with its happy ending, this odyssey should serve as a cautionary tale to all of us boaters - safety first! Whether you're boating alone, like Konrad, or with others, it's always important to prepare and share a float plan before you shove off. Let others know where you're going and when to expect your return. A float plan facilitates the expediency and accuracy of search and rescue efforts.

More importantly, don't be fooled into complacency by your perceived skills or physical fitness. Even Konrad, an experienced boater and professionally trained athlete, acknowledges how slim the chances are of being able to tread water, let alone swim, for any protracted length of time in the open ocean.  A life vest could save your life: Wear It!

We're in awe of Konrad's strength (of body, mind, and spirit) and thankful he is home safe and sound. May his future fish tales just be about "the one that got away".

For smooth sailing and zero stress ... call SYS!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

BREAKING: Volvo Ocean Race Lead Change
Team SCA and MAPFRE Gybe!

For smooth sailing and zero stress ... call SYS!

Charter Crew Saves Six From Burning Boat (Video)

While the cause of the December 29 explosion is unknown, six boaters in Cape Coral were certainly grateful for the brave and timely assistance of charter captains David Holzhauer and David Durham. Upon hearing a loud noise and seeing thick, black smoke unfurling from the small boat, the captains raced over to rescue everyone on board and to re-position the fiery hazard further away from other boats and the nearby fuel dock at Tarpon Point Marina.
Charter Crew Saves Six From Burning Boat (Video)

It's always nice to know that, as Capt. Durham put it, "Boaters stick together." Well done, sirs, well done.
For smooth sailing and zero stress ... call SYS!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Brush Up On Basic Nav Rules: "We'll See You At One Whistle"
HINT: It's Not A Local Watering Hole

You may have heard (or used) the term "one whistle" in radio communications between two yachts approaching each other head-on. This is often used as a shorthand, verbal replacement for the warning signal of one horn blast used to indicate a vessel is maneuvering to starboard, as outlined in Rule 34 of the U.S. Coast Guard's Navigation Rules ("Rules of the Road").

By changing to a starboard course, the skipper leaves the oncoming vessel to port, thereby avoiding collision. This is the preferred and customary tack when boats are approaching each other bow-first.

Need a more practical refresher on how to handle head-on meetings on the water? Here you go:

Remember, when in doubt, shout it out! What we mean by that is, clearly convey your intentions to the approaching vessel so there is no room for confusion or, worse, error. If for any reason you're not sure what the other skipper is planning to do, don't be shy - hail him on the radio and ask. We find it's best not to assume everyone knows and/or follows the Rules of the Road "by the book". #SaferBoating

For more videos explaining the navigation rules, we encourage you to visit the Boat On Course website presented by National Safe Boating Council. Even salty sailors and veteran captains can use a good refresher here and there!

For smooth sailing and zero stress ... call SYS!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Fishermen Rescued Off Fisher Island

The five were fishing for bait near Fisher Island when their boat began taking on water and they were forced to call the U.S. Coast Guard for help.
5 men rescued off Fisher Island after boat capsizes
Fortunately, the men were uninjured and seemed in good spirits. The cause of the leak is unknown.

For smooth sailing and zero stress ... call SYS!

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