A Guide To Safe And Efficient Recreational Boating In Florida

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Title:
A Guide To Safe And Efficient Recreational Boating In Florida
Physical Description:
Fact sheet
Creator:
Cook, Gary D.
Publisher:
University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
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Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Melanie Mercer.
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Published
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"Publication date: November 1992."
General Note:
"EES-68"

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University of Florida
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FactSheetEES-68 November1992 AGuidetoSafeandEfficientRecreationalBoating inFlorida1 GaryD.Cook2BOATINGOPPORTUNITIESFlorida'sthousand-milecoastlineandits numerouslakesandriversoffersusawidevarietyof recreationalboatingopportunities.Thisisevidenced bythecontinuingriseinthenumberofboat registrationsinFlorida.In1989thetotalexceeded 700,000.Officialsestimatethiswilldoublebytheturn ofthecentury.Ifyouownorplantobuyapower boat,rememberthatthemainexpensewillbefuel. Thiscircularisintendedtoprovidethereaderwith informationonselectingapowerboat,factorsthat affectfuelconsumption,howtooperateyourboat efficiently,andmaintainingandoperatingyourboat inasafemanner.Alternativestopowerboatingwill alsobediscussed,suchassailingandcanoeing.By keepingsomeofthesepointsinmind,youcansave energy,money,andaggravation.BUYINGAPOWERBOAT"Exhilarating"and"exasperating"aretwowords usedtoexpressemotionssometimesfeltbypower boaters.Otherswillsay,"Thetwohappiestdaysof mylifewasthedayIpurchasedmyboatandtheday Isoldit."Toomanytimespowerboatsarepurchased foreyeappealwithoutconsideringfueleconomy. Ownerslaterfindtheyareill-preparedtopaythe operatingcosts.Evenarelativelysmalloutboardboat canuseasmuchgasinonedayofpleasurecruising asanautomobilewilluseduringawholeweek.Fuel economyinautomobilesisusuallymeasuredinmiles pergallon;inboatsitisconsideredingallonsper hour.Outboardshavebecomemorefuelefficient thanearliermodelswiththesamehorsepower. Beforelookingatboats,youshouldplanboating activities.Oneshouldask,"Isitgoingtobeusedfor off-shorefishing,lakeorriverfishing,pleasureriding, waterskiing,scubaorsnorkeling,oracombination?" Someboatsusedinfishingcompetitionareselected forhighspeedtogettothefishingspotinashort periodoftime.Thesehaveverypoorfuelefficiency rates,orhighgallonsperhour.Generally,thehigher thehorsepower(hp),themoregasaboatwilluse, althoughthismayvaryamongmanufacturers.HulldesignLargedisplacementhullsaregenerally self-limitingintermsofspeed;aspowerincreases, speedincreasesverylittle.Examplesofthesedesigns arelargesingle-hullsailboats,tugboatsand merchantships.Flatplaninghullsachieverelatively highspeedwithonlymoderatepower,however,there issomesacrificemadetoseaworthinessinthesehulls 1.ThisdocumentisFactSheetEES-68,aseriesoftheFloridaEnergyExtensionService,FloridaCooperativeExtensionService,InstituteofFood andAgriculturalSciences,UniversityofFlorida.Publicationdate:November1992. 2.GaryD.Cook,EnergyExtensionServiceSpecialist,SchoolofBuildingConstruction,CooperativeExtensionService,InstituteofFoodand AgriculturalSciences,UniversityofFlorida,GainesvilleFL32611. TheFloridaEnergyExtensionServicereceivesfundingfromtheFloridaEnergyOffice,DepartmentofCommunityAffairsandisoperated bytheUniversityofFlorida'sInstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciencesthroughtheCooperativeExtensionService.Theinformation containedhereinistheproductoftheFloridaEnergyExtensionServiceanddoesnotnecessarilyreflecttheviewsoftheFloridaEnergyOffice. TheInstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciencesisanequalopportunity/affirmativeactionemployerauthorizedtoprovideresearch,educational informationandotherservicesonlytoindividualsandinstitutionsthatfunctionwithoutregardtorace,color,sex,age,handicap,ornational origin.Forinformationonobtainingotherextensionpublications,contactyourcountyCooperativeExtensionServiceoffice. FloridaCooperativeExtensionService/InstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciences/UniversityofFlorida/ChristineTaylorStephens,Dean

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AGuidetoSafeandEfficientRecreationalBoatinginFlorida Page2toachievethespeeds.Somemulti-hull Figure1.ExamplesofSingle-HullDesigns. configurations,suchascatamaransandtrimarans,are acompromisebetwenthetwo,providingbothspeed andseaworthiness(Figure1). Ifyouplantousetheboatprimarilyinrivers, lakes,baysorothershelteredbodiesofwaterwhere roughwaterisnotexpected,thenarelatively flat-bottomedboatwillprovideeasyplaningatlow speeds.Ifyouexpectmoderatelyroughwater,then eitherthesteepedvee,gullwinghullormulti-hullare goodchoicesasacompromisebetweeneasyplaning andabilitytoslicethroughmoderatechop.Thedeep veehullswillprovideabetterridethroughveryrough waters.Thedisadvantageisthattheygenerallyrequire ahigherhorsepowermotortomaintainagood operationalplanecomparedtotheotherhulls describedearlier. Beforebuying,testrideintheconditionsinwhich youexpecttooperatetheboat.Mostdealerswill providethiscourtesy.Askotherpeopleaboutthe particulardesignyouwishtopurchase.Althoughthe initialexpenseofaboatcanbestaggering,apoor selectionintermsoffueleconomycanbeequallyas devastating.EnginesWhenselectinganengineforyourboat,isit bettertogowithoneortwoengines?Virtuallyonall points,oneengineisbetterwhencomparedonatotal horsepowerbasis,onagivenboat.Buyingjustone engineismuchcheaper.Thefuelefficiencyforone engineisbetter,thereislesspropellerandfootdrag andgenerally,thetopspeedwillbegreater. Amarginaladvantageoftwoenginesissecurity. Ifoneenginebreaksdown,youhaveanothertoget youhome,butthismaybeoverkill.Abettersolution wouldbehavingasmallspareengineof5-10 horsepower.Thissmallenginecanalsoprovidean economicaltrollingspeedwhenusedforfishing,yet canpowerevenalargeboattosafeharborinthe eventofbreakdown.Acheaperinvestmentwouldbe areliabletwo-wayradioforsecurity.TheCoast Guardcanbecontactedaboutemergenciesor mechanicalproblems.

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AGuidetoSafeandEfficientRecreationalBoatinginFlorida Page3Twoenginesshouldnotbeselectedonthebasis Figure2.Oneengineismoreefficientthantwo enginestotallingthesameHP. ofprovidingpower.Propellerscanbeselectedto providepowerorspeed.Thepropellerselection shouldbebasedontherequirementsoftheowner. Propellerscanbeeitherspeed-orpower-oriented.If theboatwillbeusedforwaterskiingoractivities requiringalotofpower,apowerpropellerwillbe required.Ifspeedisthegoal,aspeedpropellerwill berequired. Foroutboardmotors,shaftsareprovidedfor threetransomheights-15,20and28inches.The motorshouldbeselectedbasedupontheboat's transomheight.Providingtoolongofashaftwill provideexcessivedrag,wasteenergyandresultin lowerspeed.Providingtooshortofashaftwillcreate excessivecavitation,andinefficientresults. Therearethreecategoriesofrecreationalpower boats.The outboard usesarelativelylightweight two-cycletransom-mountedengine(s)(Figure2).The inboard hasfour-cycleengine(s)arrangedsothatjust thepropellerandshaftexitthehullatafixedangle. Thisconfigurationisgenerallytheleastefficientof thethreebecauseofthelargerangleofpropulsionto theplaneofthebottomofthehull;alsotheyusually haveadeeperdraft.Thisisoftencompensatedforby increasedpowerbutlessfuelefficiency.The inboard/outboard isacombinationusingoneormore four-cycleenginescoupledwiththepowertrain locatedoutsidethehullthroughthereartransom. Theadvantagesareincreasedfuelefficiencyandno mixingoffuelandoilisrequiredonfourcylinder engines.Somesacrificeismadetoefficiencybecause oftheextraweightofafour-cycleengine.The outboardismostpopularbecauseofitslowercost, lightness,versatilityandeasiermaintenance.Interms ofoverallefficiency,theinboard/outboardandthe outboardarecomparablepergivenhorsepower.NavigationalAidsandOtherAccessoriesIftheboatistobeusedoff-shorefordeepsea fishing,considerpurchasingelectronicfish-findingor depth-findingequipment.Thesedevicesassistyouin findingfishorwhereyourfavoritefishingholeis withoutwastingfuelandtime.Theycanhelpverify yourpositionbycomparingthedepthofthewater withnavigationalcharts. Whenfishingoff-shore,agoodnavigationalchart isamust.Advancementsintechnologyhasmadelow costelectronicnavigationalreceiversavailable,which enableboatoperatorstodeterminetheirexact positionusingsignalsfromnavigationalaids (LORAN)orsatellitesorbitingearth.Inaddition,a goodmagneticcompassisamustfortheoff-shore boater.Gettingtoyourdestinationsafelyand efficientlyistheultimateobjective. Afuelflowmetercanbeavaluableaidin reducingfueluse.Itprovidesinformationontherate atwhichfuelisbeingusedandtheamountoffuel remaininginthetank.Thefuelflowmetercan indicateoverallengineperformanceonanygiventrip. Bymonitoringtheflowmeter,moreaccurate decisionscanbemadeaboutoptimumfuelefficient powersettings.Thismetercanalsoindicatewhena tune-upisneeded.When5%-10%morefuelis beingusedatanyparticularpowersetting,atune-up isprobablyrequired.SpeedOnceyoubuyyourpowerboat,themost inexpensivewaytoconservefuelistoproperly operateitbyreducingyourspeed.Mostrecreational powerboatshavetheirbestfuelefficiencyconsiderably lowerthanwideopen.Goingfromthree-quartersto

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AGuidetoSafeandEfficientRecreationalBoatinginFlorida Page4fullpower,requires25%morefuelandonlyincrease yourspeedbyacoupleofknotsor4%-6%,although thiswillvaryfromboattoboat. Theoneexceptionisifaboatisunderpowered andcannotgetonanefficientplaningposition.A boatwithaplaninghulloperatesmostefficiently whenitreachesaplane;thatis,itrideshighonthe water'ssurfacetensionwitharelativelysmallamount ofitssurfaceareacomingintocontactwiththewater. Mostoutboardboatsreachaplaningefficiency between12mph-18mph,orinboatingterminology, 10to15knots.Unlessspeedrestrictionsexist,itis alwaysbesttooperatetheboatonaplanewhen gettingtoandfromyourobjective.However,adding morespeedafteronehasreachedaplaningposition willgenerallyresultinmuchlessfuelefficiency.In fact,afteraboatreachesplaningspeed,thethrottle canusuallybecutbackwithoutacorrespondingdrop inspeed.Ittakesmorepowertogettheboatupon aplane,butonceachieved,lesspowerisrequiredto maintaintheplane.Unlikelargedisplacement cruisers,afastplaninghullislessefficientatlow speedsthanatmoderatespeeds.Studieshave indicatedthatbyquicklygettinguponaplaneand throttlingbacktomaintainthatplane,fuelusecanbe cutbyasmuchas50%intermsofmilestraveledper gallonoffuel.Onlargedisplacementhulls,runningat fullthrottlewillmerelywastefuelbecausethegainin speedisdisproportionatelypoorcomparedtothefuel used. Anothertechniqueforimprovingefficiencyisto comparethetachometerrevolutionsperminute(rpm) readingwithyourspeedometer.Iftheboattravelsat 22mphat4,000rpmandat24mphat5,000rpm,you willburnconsiderablymorefuelatthe5,000rpm readingwithonlyaverysmallgaininspeed. Skillsatimprovingyourenergyefficiencyareeasy todevelopwithjustalittlebitoftrialanderror experience.Aswiththefuelmeter,thetachometer canalsoindicatewhenatune-uporhullcleaningis required.Ahullthatisdirtyorroughwithseagrowth orscrapeswillbemuchlessefficientthanonethatis smoothandwaxed.TrimTheangleatwhichyourboatmovesthroughthe waterisreferredtoastrim.Youcanplow,skimor dragthroughthewaterdependingonyourtrim.(See Figure3)Placingyourenginedriveatitsbestangle willallowyoutogothroughthewaterwithminimum resistance.Poortrimangleswastefuel.Ifsettoohigh, Figure3.Trimforeffeciency. theboatwillnosedownandplowthroughthewater. Iftoolow,itwillsquat.Onsmalleroutboards,the trimanglemustbemanuallysetwithamotorbracket beforeleavingthedock.Agoodoptiontopurchase forlargeroutboardsandsterndrivesisapowertrim. Byusingpowertrimfeatures,aboatcanattaina planepositionquickerandthenoperatemore efficientlyatvariousspeedsandloads.Thetrimangle fordisplacementhullsonlargercruisersisusually fixedanddeterminedbythedesign,butcan sometimesbemodifiedusingtrimtabs.PLANNINGYOURTRIPOneshouldplanforboatingactivitiessuchas specificdestination,andhowlongyouplantobe gone.Goodplanningwillresultinamoreenjoyable trip.Checkingtheweather,takingintoconsideration windandtidalcurrents,andusingthemtoadvantage ifpossibleisalwaysawisechoice.Theuseofa navigationalcharttoplotyourvoyageisagoodpolicy andwillgetyoutoyourdestinationbythesafest, fastestandshortestroute.SAFETYSafetyshouldbeakeyconcernwhenoperatinga boat.Overthelastseveralyears,Florida'sboating deathratehasmorethandoubledthenational average.In1988,105peoplediedonFloridawaters and79diedin1989.Althoughthisrepresentsa decrease,safetyshouldstillbeaparamountissue

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AGuidetoSafeandEfficientRecreationalBoatinginFlorida Page5whendrivingandridinginaboat.Morethanhalfof theboatingdeathsarealcoholrelated.Anintoxicated passengerisparticularlyatrisk.Theyaretheones needinglifejacketsthemost,butoftenresistwhen directedtoputoneon.Itmaybeeasiertodischarge intoxicatedpassengersonland.Manydeathswere attributedtopeoplefallingoutofboats,operating boatsatexcessivespeeds,andcollisionswithother boatsorfixedobjects.Theoperatorshouldknow whatisgoingoninhisboatandinsurroundingboats. Anevenbettersolutionistominimizethe consumptionofalcoholonyourboat.Anyone consumingalcoholshouldnotbeallowedtooperate theboat. Manyareasarerequestingenforcementofspeed limitsandotherboatingsafetymeasures.Common senseandthesamegeneralrulesshouldapplyto operatingtheboataswhenoperatinganautomobile. TheCoastGuardandlocalMarinepatrolsare responsibleforenforcingboatingregulations.They havetheauthoritytofineboatersoperatinginan unsafemannerorviolatingregulations,andtheycan impoundboatswhenappropriate. Goodsafetyprocedures: Planyourtripcarefully.Takeextrawater,food andfuelifappropriate. Usethe1/3rule.After1/3ofyourfuelisused, returntoport.Thisprovidesabout1/3for emergencies. Checktheweatherbeforeleavingport. Bealerttosuddenafternoonthunderstorms. Keepallthelightsandnavigationalequipmentin goodoperatingorder. Makesureyouhaveabasicrepairkit,flares, whistles,andhornsonboard. Makesureyouhaveanaccuratecompass.Ifused off-shore,atwo-wayradioisdesirable. Carryalifepreserverforeachpersononboard. Instructpassengersonhowtowearacushion preserverorlifejacket.Childrenshouldwear jackets. Proceedwithcautionwhenleavingadock. Slowdownwhenapproachingpassingsailboats, rowboats,canoesandpeoplefishing.Watchyour wake.Boatersareresponsibleforalldamage. Don'toverloadyourboat. Boardsmallboatsandcanoeslowandamidship. Whentrainingotheroperators,practiceaway fromothercraft. Waterskiersshouldbefamiliarwithsignalsand shouldincludeasafetyobserver. Befamiliarwiththerulesofthewaterways.Use properwhistles,lighting-checkchannelmarkers, andothernavigationalaids. Usesafepracticeswhenfuelingtheboat;wipe spillsandventilate. Whenoperatinginrestrictedwaters,rememberto staytotherightofthechannelandtoreduce speed. ReportunsafeboaterstotheCoastGuardor FloridaMarinePatrol(FMP).(FMPmonitors channel6.)NATURALRESOURCESBoatersshouldknowthatthewakecandamage sensitivewetlandvegetationandevenerode shorelines.TherearemanyareasinFloridathatare inhabitedbytheendangeredmanatee.Many manateesarekilledeveryyearbypowerboat propellersandcollisions.Thedocileslowmoving manateeshavedifficultyavoidingspeedingboats. Boatersoperatinginareasinhabitedbymanatees shouldbeonthealert,observewarningsigns,anduse discretionaryspeeds. Makingproperuseofnavigationalchartsand visuallyandphysicallycheckingwaterdepthwill preventgroundings.Runningagroundcannotonly damagepropsandengines,butcoralformations, seagrassbeds,andothermarinebottomsaswell. Fuelandoilspillsarealsoharmfulandshouldbe avoided.Majorspillsareunlawfulandshouldbe reportedtoUSGGorFMP.REQUIREDLICENSESWithfewexceptions,mostboatsinFloridaare requiredtohaveanumberandlicensedecal.Thecost ofthisdecalvariesdependingontheboatsizeand typeofpower.Licensesaregenerallygoodforone year,fromJunetoJune. Floridarequiresmostpeoplefishinginfreshor fromaboatinsaltwatertohaveafishinglicenseas well.Thereareafewexceptionswhichinclude individualsundertheageof16,olderthan64years, certainmembersofthearmedforcesonleave,and thosethataredisabled.Checkwithyourcountyfish andgamecommision,FMPlicensingagencyfor requirements.

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AGuidetoSafeandEfficientRecreationalBoatinginFlorida Page6FISHINGALTERNATIVESMoney,fuel,andtimecanbesavedbyfishing nearshore.ManyFloridiansareunawarethatsome reallygood-tastingandfungamefishcanbecaught relativelyclosetoshore.Itisnotnecessarytogo off-shore10to20,even30to40milestocatchking mackerel,redsnapper,dolphin,yellowfintunaor amberjackinordertohavefun.Thereareanumber offishthatcanbecaughteitherininlandwaterways orclosetoshore.Bluefishcanusuallybecaughtfrom thesurfonbothcoastsinlatefallorwinter. Bonefish,usuallylocatedinshallow-waterflatsonthe westcoastofFlorida,providesportsfishermena reallygoodfightfortheirsize.Onaseasonalbasis, therearealsotrout,snook,andredfish.Ona perennialbasis,therearemangrovesnapper,black drum,sheepshead,yellowtailandwhitingthatcanbe caughtincoastalsaltandbrackishwaters.Thesefish areequivalenttofreshwaterbrim.Theyarefunto catch,usuallyplentifulinnumber,anddeliciousto eat.MostFloridacoastalrivershaveanabundant populationofsheepshead.Croakerscanusuallybe foundnearrockyledgeswherethereisasharp dropatypicalfishinghole,ifyouwill.Theseare usuallycaughtonanoutgoingtidewithrelatively unadornedjigs. Lakeandriverfishingalsobringsthetypical freshwatercatchoflargeandsmallmouthbass,and brimverygoodeating.Somereallygoodangling experiencesareavailabletoFloridianswithsmall outboardboatsorevennon-poweredboats,suchas canoesandrowboats.Ifmoreinformationisneeded astowhatfishingisavailableinyourarea,itis suggestedyoucontactyourcountycooperative extensionoffice.POWERBOATINGALTERNATIVESFlorida'sabundanceofwaterwaysoffersawide varietyofboating.Evenifpowerboatingisnot considered,alternativesincludejustplainfloating, canoeing,rowing,andsailing.Therearemanysprings thatofferwaterenthusiastsanopportunitytofloat downthespring-runinatiretubeoronalounge-type float.Manyfindcanoeingarealsourceofpleasureby enablingapersontoreachmorescenicriversand streams.Lakesprovideanopportunityofrowboats andpaddleboatsforexerciseandjustplainrelaxation. And,ofcourse,sailingisawholedifferentworldto mostpeople.Andyes,sailorsandpowerboaterscan livetogether. ManyCoastGuardauxiliariesandcommunity collegesofferavarietyboatingandsafetycourses, includingalternativestopowerboating.Itissuggested thatyouattendthecoursesappropriatetoyourneeds. TheCoastGuardalsohasavailablebasicrulesofthe roadandminimumsafetyequipmentrequirementsfor yoursizeandtypeofboat. Forinformationoncanoeing,oneshouldcontact theFloridaDepartmentofNaturalResources, DivisionofRecreationandParks,3900 CommonwealthBlvd.,Tallahassee,FL32399.This agencyoffersafreepublicationentitled"Canoe Trails,"whichbrieflydescribes36popularcanoetrails aswellasregulationsandsafetytips.