Monday, February 23, 2015

"Cuba Ahoy!" Not So Fast ...
Captains Await The All Clear To Head South

Plotting On Pause:
Course to Cuba Remains Cluttered
As we wrote in December, word from the White House about re-establishing diplomatic ties with Cuba sparked a lot of interest in our industry. That said, how does the phrase go ..."stand by to stand by"? It seems like yacht owners, captains and crews are doing just that as they await official word confirming U.S.-Cuba travel restrictions have been lifted.

But there's more to cruising to Cuba than simply finding an open slip at Gaviota Varadero. Between specialty visas requirements, narrowly defined permissible trip purposes, and the legality of insurance coverage for vessels and crew members alike, the course to Cuba remains a tricky one to chart. Read more about the procedural considerations here:

Open Cuba talks have U.S. yachts and crew poised to set sail
Current obstacles aside, mariners seem eager: ready at the dock, lines singled up, shore cords unplugged and coiled up on the foredeck (metaphorically speaking, of course). We certainly wouldn't mind docking our charter yacht at one of the proposed new marinas in Cuba when everything is sorted out. What about you? Do you have plans to point your bow south? For recreational, charitable, or professional visits? Let us know in the comments below!

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

Friday, February 20, 2015

How To Dismantle A Disaster
Consortium Presents Recycling Plan For Costa Concordia

One rock started it and now hundreds of men will finish the job - the tear down of the Costa Concordia. Following "one of the biggest maritime salvage operations" in history, the dismantling project is expected to take nearly two years for a ship recycling consortium to complete in Genoa, Italy. Here are details provided by the two companies in charge - Saipem and San Giorgia del Porto:
The Four Phases of the Costa Concordia Dismantling Project - gCaptain Maritime & Offshore News With a vow to safeguard the environment and all involved personnel, the joint venture aims to recycle about 80 percent of the metal and other materials from the wreck.

This video illustrates the maneuvering of the wreck from slip-to-slip and finally to drydock during the process:

"It must be so eerie to work on that," our own Capt. Ben Stanley mused, solemnly. He then added, "I wouldn't want that boatyard bill." Indeed.

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

Monday, February 16, 2015

Divvying Up The Yacht
Is Fractional Ownership Right For You?

Just a few of the yachts for sale at last year's
Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show
As we walked the plank dock at the Miami Yacht & Brokerage Show yesterday, we marveled once again at the number and variety of beautiful yachts for sale and/or charter. Our cursory inspections of several listed vessels left us wondering, "Why is this beauty still on the market?" Of course, we know the answer: In the absence of subjective limitations such as design, the number one obstacle to yacht ownership is usually the price tag.

Let's face it, taking sole ownership of a luxury yacht is no small feat. Between the initial outlay and the subsequent cost of maintenance (some industry veterans suggest an annual expense of as much as a third of the purchase price), no matter how great a deal you got at the boat show, you're looking at signing lots of checks with lots of zeroes. That thought alone can be off-putting for many. Which begs the question: Is fractional ownership right for you? If you're not familiar with the concept, read on ...
Buying a Yacht: Has Fractional Ownership Found its Niche?
So what do you think? Would you be willing to invest in a "time share" yacht or would you prefer to own it outright? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and remember, whichever method you choose, we're here to keep your boat afloat!

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

Thursday, February 12, 2015

That's An Interesting Place To Dock A Hinckley ...
Maggie Mae Snowbound On Summer Street

And that's just ironic. Fortunately for the yacht's owner, it seems snarled traffic was the worst of it when the 43-foot Hinckley was stranded on the bed of a the disabled truck transporting it to this weekend's New England Boat Show. No damage, according to reports. Lovely boat - we've always been fans of Hinckleys.
Big boat blocks traffic in downtown Boston
For smooth sailing and zero stress ... call SYS!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

UPDATED: Costa Concordia Captain Pleads For Leniency
Schettino Claims He's A Scapegoat

UPDATE [2:13 p.m.] Sky News on Twitter Sky News is reporting Capt. Schettino has been found guilty on manslaughter charges, sentenced to 16 years in prison.
Closing arguments are over and Capt. Schettino's fate is now in the hands of the trial judges. The verdict on manslaughter and abandoning ship charges against the former master of the doomed Costa Concordia may be announced later today. Costa Concordia Captain Francesco Schettino Makes Tearful Plea at Trial
At times sobbing loudly, Schettino peppered his final statement to the panel of judges with claims he has been hounded and persecuted while living in a "media meat grinder" for the past three years. Facing a 26-year prison term, the Italian captain blamed his crew and company policy for the shipwreck which claimed 32 lives. He also asserted he did not intentionally abandon the vessel ahead of fleeing passengers but, rather, fell off and was ordered by the ship's owners not to re-board.

As usual, we'll be standing watch and keeping you updated. In the interim, feel free to let us know your thoughts on Capt. Schettino's case in the comments below.

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

Monday, February 9, 2015

New Boater Demographics Means New Business Tactics
Welcoming Aboard A New Generation

As a yacht services company, we obviously welcome new boaters of all ages. That said, and as James Nolan pointed out in the article below, our industry must be prepared to adjust marketing strategies and tailor communications to seduce a younger clientele - namely, the so-called "millennials".

The Importance of Millennials to the Recreational Boating Industry | Marine Marketing Tools
While we might not be up on all the new texting lingo and "emojis", we do know how to plug an iPod in to the central audio system on our charter yacht and we've figured out how to "stream" movies. Baby steps, friends. Baby steps.

All jokes aside, the marine industry as a whole, not just the recreational boating component, needs to keep up with the ever-changing times to encourage new boaters to sail the ever-changing tides.

For our part, we do our best to stay abreast of current trends affecting everything from the economy to technology to popular culture. We utilize any number of readily available resources to do this including, of course, social media. We've also found it useful to attend non-marine industry networking events (such things do exist) to listen to and learn from younger professionals and business leaders. And, of course, we'd love to hear from you! What ideas to you have to keep our industry and all that it offers relevant and attractive to a new generation of boaters? Let us know in the comments below.

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

Thursday, February 5, 2015

It's Better Than A Message In A Bottle...
EPIRBs Save Lives!

EPIRB alerted rescuers to the plight of F/V Betty C
U.S. Coast Guard Photo | Francisco Javier Perez
When the battle to put out the fire consuming their boat became futile, the captain of the 140-foot fishing vessel Betty C gave the order to abandon ship and the crew was forced to seek refuge aboard a small skiff in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Their only hope for survival would be the signal transmitted by the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon ("EPIRB") they had with them.

As it turned out, that signal was received loud and clear at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu, more than 1,000 miles away. Good Samaritan vessel, Cape Ferrat, answered the Coast Guard's request for assistance and steamed full speed ahead to the location of the distress signal, rescuing all 21 sailors.
"This EPIRB saved their lives," said Lt. Cmdr. Jason Hagen, a watchstander in JRCC the night of the rescue. Without it, no one would have known they needed help. - Read more at: Coast Guard Compass | Official Blog of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Yes, EPIRBs save lives. Lots of them. According to statistics from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 240 souls were saved in the U.S. last year because of the beacons - 112 of them were at sea.

Certainly stories like that of the ill-fated Betty C should be more than enough incentive for boaters to make sure they have an EPIRB on board, registered with NOAA, and in proper working condition (check the battery and, if applicable, hydrostatic release). If you have any questions about EPIRBs (or anything else) don't hesitate to contact us.

Take advantage of our Boat Show Special and get your EPIRB today!

Ocean Signal E100G CAT II - $449.00 Save $100!
Ocean Signal E100 CAT II - $389.00 Save $100!

Order now! Supplies limited! Call (954) 224-6999 and ask for Jo!

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

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Our Charter Crew Is PUMPED! Enjoy The Game!

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

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!

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