Versatility is an overused word in the boating industry, with many brands trying to be all things to all boaters. But the reality is, most boats are designed for a specific function, such as fishing, skiing, or diving, and shoehorn a few features to try and broaden its appeal. One European builder has broken this conventional mold to design a multi-function, multi-purpose boat that pushes all the right buttons for the boater looking to use their vessel in a multitude of ways... and this builder has all the awards to prove it.
For boaters, and especially for fishing enthusiasts, offshore fishing is as good as it gets. If you’re new to the experience, though, you may want to prepare yourself a bit to ensure you can enjoy yourself as much as possible. There are plenty of deep-sea fishing opportunities not too far from the Florida Coast, and we highly recommend that you participate in these boating adventures at least once. Let’s get started as we cover everything you need to know about deep-sea fishing near Florida.
Some of our customers have spent most of their lives in and around boats to the extent that it’s a big part of who they are. Others have always been interested in boating, and they finally decide it’s time for them to make the dream a reality. No matter your age, there’s never a bad time to start enjoying the freedom and joy you can find on the open water.
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There’s nothing quite like being out on the open water off the beautiful coastline, enjoying the wind in your hair and good company while seated in a luxurious boat with all the bells and whistles you could possibly need for a full day of fun and relaxation. However, before you can head out on the open water, you’ll need to contend with some big decisions regarding how you’re going to obtain a boat for the day.
Typically, there are two options: joining a boat club in the area or purchasing a boat of your very own. Each of these methods has its own pros and cons you’ll need to consider before deciding which route is the best for you.
Owning a Boat
Having a boat of your own is often seen as an expensive luxury. However, having full ownership of your watercraft comes with a wide range of benefits that you simply can’t obtain by just joining a boating club.
Choosing a boat that’s right for your budget immediately removes the biggest perceived pitfall (the price) of purchasing a boat outright, leaving behind a wide range of benefits to enjoy, including:
For many people, buying a boat is the best way to ensure all of the bases are covered in terms of preferences and lifestyle needs because you can find the perfect base and then modify it as needed to achieve the desired end result. This and the unlimited availability of your boat are the two biggest benefits that give purchasing a boat a bit of a boost over joining a boat club.
However, there are a few downsides to consider when it comes to owning a boat. Chiefly, these issues involve cost, not just of the boat itself but of the general upkeep of the boat in the years to come. Even smaller boats can be quite expensive. Beyond the initial cost of your purchase, you’ll also need to consider insurance costs, storage and harbor fees, maintenance, and service fees. Finding a good harbor can also be a challenge in some of the more popular Gulf areas. Despite the financial challenges, many find the benefits of owning a boat too far outweigh the potential downsides. The trick is, of course, finding the right boat.
Joining a Boat Club
If you feel that owning a boat might not be the right option for you, your other leading option is to join a boat club in your chosen area. This is an excellent option for those who may not have room in their budget for a new boat but who still want to enjoy the benefits of spending time out on the waves. Considering owning a yacht is one of the most expensive asset purchases you can make, this is precisely the reason most people choose to join a club over buying. Joining a boat club also comes with a wide range of benefits on its own, including:
Furthermore, when you choose to join a boat club, most clubs will allow you to use different boats for each outing, allowing you to switch boats for each special occasion you have planned. Just like owning a boat, though, joining a club isn’t without its drawbacks that must be considered before making the decision to join up.
First, just because you have access to the dozens of different boats the club owns, that doesn’t mean you’ll always get your first pick. You’ll need to reserve your boat upfront, and many clubs run on a first-come, first-serve basis. Secondly, clubs may not have all the bells and whistles you want on your boat, and you won’t have the option of customizing the craft since you don’t own it. Finally, you won’t be able to use a club boat anytime you get the urge to get out on the water. You’ll need to operate within the club’s specified hours at the risk of being charged with hefty fees.
Which is Better?
Upon assessing the pros and cons of both buying a boat and joining a boat club, it’s easy to see why both are popular options for those living on or visiting the coast. When all the details are considered, is one method really better than the other? Generally, owning a boat, or in any of the state’s other sunny destinations is the best solution. Owning a boat allows you to fully embrace the freedom of the open water by giving you the opportunity to head out at any moment, build the perfect boat and spend as much time on your adventure as you’d like. Boating is about experiencing the open water, and owning your own boat gives you the freedom to do so without limits.
While many consider this the ideal option, joining a boat club may still be a great option for many. Exploring your options and determining what your budget is should always be your top priority before making any big purchase, especially when it comes to boats and boating accessories.
Find Your Dream BoatIf you’re looking for the perfect boat that fits your lifestyle, budget, and personality perfectly, contact Nautical Ventures Marine Center. We carry a huge range of boats and boating accessories to ensure we always have exactly what you’re looking for. From luxurious boats to certified, experienced mechanics, we have your back not only throughout the selection process but also afterward, when your new boat needs repairs or maintenance. We’re dedicated to getting you the perfect boat, and
Routine boat care sets your boat apart. Whether you’re docking in a crowded port or setting sail out on your own, find out how routine boat maintenance can help keep your boat running and looking like new. Brush up on your motor maintenance and brightwork tasks with our help at Nautical Ventures for unforgettable boating, fishing, or kayaking experiences.
Keep It Covered
A boat cover is your first line of defense out on the water in Florida. Direct UV exposure can quickly wear away at protective layers on your boat. Fiberglass, wood, upholstery, and other materials can all become worn-out in the sunlight.
Thankfully, there are plenty of covers available for all types of boats. When shopping for a new boat, look for covers that protect all the different components. Captain’s chairs and other fixed vinyl cushions should be covered with canvas or other durable material to avoid water and sun damage. Look for custom covers that fit your seats to ensure complete protection.
Cover other exterior areas with covers. Clear PVC and marine canvas covers protect cockpits, consoles, and other areas that shouldn’t be exposed to constant sun and spray. These covers need their own cleaning and maintenance, but it’s much easier to wipe down a canvas cover than to restore a soaked cockpit.
Focus on Brightwork
If you’re lucky enough to have a boat with wood trim or other features, take care of them to ensure they shine. Wood requires cleaning at least once a season. The most common wood used for boat grab handles, rails, and the decking is teak.
Teak is a naturally weather-resistant material that doesn’t require any sealer or coating. Exposed teak will naturally turn a silvery gray, which gives it a distinctly nautical look. Grab a mild cleaner and wipe it down once a season to clean away any black mildew that may ruin this look.
Sealers, oils, and varnishes keep teak looking robust and rich for years. Carefully apply varnish or other sealers following all the manufacturer’s instructions. Depending on your latitude, you may need to reapply sealers every few years.
Cleaning sealed or natural teak requires only a mild cleaner and a soft-bristle brush. Scrub against the grain to avoid ridges and damaged pulpwood. A little elbow grease and the right care products maintain an iconic wood look for your favorite boat.
Care for Upholstery
Use care when scrubbing your upholstery and vinyl materials. Bleach and ammonia can easily damage these materials in a single season. Find a mild cleaning agent and a sponge and get to work a few times each season.
A little mildew is expected on your upholstery, but you don’t have to live with mildew stains on your boat. Look for boat detailing services near you or prepare to scrub your upholstery with a stain removal solution. At Nautical Ventures, we offer comprehensive boat detailing services to prevent these annoying stains from putting a damper on your day out on the water.
Don’t Forget Gelcoating
There’s nothing like a gel coat maintenance to make your boat shine. Whether you’re preparing to sell your yacht or you’re gearing up for a full weekend of fishing on your favorite vessel, brighten up your gel coat and clean your fiberglass with waxes, polishes, and other cleaning products.
Gelcoat cleaning requires both waxing and polishing. A wax protects this tough material from the sun, while a polish brings back that new-boat sparkle. Oxidation can cause gel coat to look hazy and chalky, but a good polish restores its vibrant, clear look. Plan on applying wax twice a season as preventative maintenance and you’ll avoid another major round of cleaning, waxing, and polishing.
During the height of your boating season, a quick scrub can help clear away any residue that is attached to your boat’s hull. Use cleaning agents sparingly, as harsh cleaners can scrub away the gel coat that’s protecting your fiberglass hull.
Maintain Your Battery and Engine
Now that you’ve polished your boat to a stunning shine, it’s time to make sure it stays running while you explore the stunning Florida coast. Your fishing boat, yacht, tender or other vessel isn’t meant to be docked, but to enjoy the wind and the waves out at sea, on the lake or down a river. Maintaining your battery and engine are critical steps to ensuring your boat continues to cruise on.
Here are some common battery and engine problems that many boat owners face:
First-time boat owners looking for a new boat may not realize the amount of engine and battery maintenance required. This can quickly damage even a brand-new engine or battery. Use fuel that is designed for marine engines. Ideally, you should only use Rec 90 fuel available at marinas and some gas stations. This non-ethanol fuel remains stable in your fuel tank over long periods of inactivity. If you do use an ethanol blend, make sure it contains no more than 10%. Ethanol blends break down faster and collect water in your fuel tank. Consider having a water-separator installed in your boat. Also, add a good quality fuel stabilizer to your tank every time you fill up.
Use only marine batteries in your boat. Even the smoothest ride is likely to bump and vibrate more than a car. Marine batteries are designed to be more durable than automotive batteries and can withstand this pounding.
If you live in Northern climates the end of the seasons you need quality winterization services. Ask a local service center to flush the cooling system and perform other services to prevent winter-weather-related damage.
Schedule a Boat Tune-Up in Florida
Better boat care starts at Nautical Ventures. Schedule service in Broward, Palm Beach, Tampa Bay, or Sarasota today to maintain your boat for longer. Don’t let a little mildew, separating fuel or a dead battery keep you from making memories out on the open water.
Many of our customers like to buy boats made in America, but recently we’ve seen that many boating enthusiasts have developed a special appreciation for European boats. When considering whether a European boat is right for you and your family, it’s important to know what makes some of these vessels different from American boats. For starters, there’s a big difference in how many Europeans use their boats compared to Americans.
In Europe, many people use their vessels as day boats, while Americans are more likely to use them as weekenders. In practice, though, most average Americans don’t spend very many nights aboard their boats. Europeans are much more likely to enjoy an overnight trip on their boat, even if they hadn’t necessarily planned to make it a multiple-day trip. The way these boats are enjoyed has led to some difference in design when it comes to European boats.
New European boat designs are dayboats with a good deal more overnight amenities than were available in the past. Some Americans who have thought about how much they really live aboard their boats realize that these amenities are enough. With that in mind, we encourage boat owners to think about how many overnight features they really need. Do you need a vessel with massive sleeping quarters, or can a slightly smaller boat be more than enough to handle the job? We like to use the analogy of deciding between a heavy-duty truck compared to a sleeker SUV.
European Boat Design
Throughout the history of European boating, it seems that skills related to boat craftsmanship are passed down from generation to generation. This creates a vast pool of knowledge that can be leveraged by carpenters, electricians, welders, masons, plumbers, and more. Furthermore, Europeans place a lot of value on these professional trades, encouraging some of the best and brightest minds to go into boatmaking.
Even so, many of these professionals
and in Europe don’t demand the high labor rate that their American counterparts do. For this reason, European boats often come to the United States at very attractive prices. Even after shipping, customs, taxes, rate exchanges, and more, you can get a great deal. You might be surprised how far your dollar goes when it comes to getting the type of fit, finish, and construction that is the pride of European culture.
European Boats Efficiency
These boats are known for their efficient design. Fuel, electricity, and other resources are more expensive in much of Europe than in the United States, so these boats are designed to preserve them. Not only are the boats designed and built more efficiently, but they’re also likely to have lower operating costs.
One example here is how Axopar, a globally renowned Finnish brand of premium range, multi award-winning motorboats, lowered the gunnel height to use less materials and lower the center of gravity. These boats run efficiently and are comfortable in rough seas. Axopar lowered part of the helm deck in a corresponding move so passengers can still feel safe and secure, even at high speeds.
Style and Design
The long boating history in Europe informs the style and design of these boats. Expect to find a good mix of classic and innovative designs. This is appealing to many of our customers who want something with an original look that will turn heads out on the water. While these boats are beautiful, the aesthetics are still informed by what performs the best.
As you might have guessed based on how efficient European boats are, form generally follows function. Some boatmakers occasionally make the mistake of coming up with a beautiful design, then trying to cram features and functions into that design. When you buy a premium imported boat, you can count on its designers to put performance and durability first and foremost.
European Naval Architecture
Europe is home to many marine institutes that have a history of making successful innovations for the industry, especially in the Netherlands. Due to geographic proximity and a culture that encourages businesses to share knowledge openly, many of these innovations find their way to smaller boatmakers. One great example is Axopar. Their AXE bow was originally designed for and used on a 200-foot ship. Applying innovations like this to recreational boats makes them state of the art.
The use of cutting edge technology in European boats doesn’t end at hull design and overall architecture. These boats are also loaded with some of the best technology available in new boats. Anything produced in Europe to be sold in the United States will be prepared to work well with the types of electrical supplies you’re used to in America. Our team confirms that all imported boats are ready for operation in South Florida.
Status and Resale Value
Last, but certainly not least, resale value is often higher if you choose the right European boat brand. Owning an imported boat is regarded as prestigious by many people, and lower inventory levels can preserve the value of your boat. Popular boats like the Beneteau-Antares 27 don’t depreciate as quickly and can fetch you a high price or trade-in value.
Best European Boats
As European boats continue to shape the industry in the United States, some brands are leading the way. Our commitment to offering vessels from the best boat brands on the market drives us to identify the best options and connect our customers with them. Here at Nautical Ventures Marine Center, we offer the following European fiberglass boats:
Buy European Boats in South Florida
Whether you prefer boats made in America or European boats, you can find the best options here at Nautical Ventures Marine Center. With locations in Broward, Tampa Bay, Palm Beach, and Sarasota, we’re working hard to maintain our reputation as the most reliable boat vendor in Florida. Our staff is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to every type of boat we sell, so start a dialogue today to explore our new boats for sale.
Whether you’re planning a day with your adult friends or spending time on the water as a family, it’s important to stay safe. The experience will be much more enjoyable for everyone when safety is a focus, as you will be able to relax instead of worrying about danger on the water. Luckily, it isn’t difficult to take control of the situation while you’re boating with either kids or adults as long as you have a thorough safety plan before you board the boat. Keep these boat safety plans in mind next time you’re headed to the water for some quality time.
This is especially important for kids, but it applies to some adults as well. Not everyone has had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in pools, lakes, or oceans, so it’s important to know whether or not all of your passengers are good swimmers. If you have kids, it’s a great idea to enroll them in swimming lessons if you’re not comfortable teaching them to swim by yourself. Competent swimmers are at a much lower risk of injuries in the water.
Even if people are strong swimmers, it’s important to keep a watchful eye out and take notice if someone starts to get into trouble. People often start to have trouble swimming when they get tired or when the weather conditions don’t cooperate. It’s also worth mentioning that even good swimming skills don’t replace the need for life jackets and other safety devices.
Depending on where you’re taking your boat, you may encounter different laws related to the use of life jackets. Here in Florida, for example, all of the following laws apply:
• Your vessel must carry one personal flotation device (PFD) that has been approved by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) per each person on board.
• The PFDs must legibly show the USCG approval number and must be in good working condition. The PFD must be appropriate for the chest size and bodyweight of the person wearing it.
• All children who are under six years of age must wear a Type I, II, or III USCG-approved PFD at all times if the vessel is less than 26 feet in length.
• Inflatable PFDs are not appropriate for skiing. Each person who is on a personal watercraft or is being towed behind a vessel must wear a USCG-approved PFD.
• Vessels of 16 feet of length or longer must have one Type IV USCG-approved PFD readily available.
We recommend wearing life jackets even when you’re not required to by law because a life jacket will help you stay afloat in the event that you become injured in an accident. Test your life jackets regularly to make sure they still work well and replace them if they start to get waterlogged. Make sure all life jackets are easy to access.
Keep an eye on kids and make sure they’re practicing good safety on the water. Unattended children may get restless, swim too far away, or swim to a moving boat in an unsafe manner. If you’re with babies or small children, do not keep them strapped into any device that won’t float. We normally recommend that all babies on board are held by an adult while the boat is in motion. Keeping an eye on all of your passengers can help you avoid bad situations.
If you’re on the water, you’re probably also in the sun. Here in Florida where we’re relatively close to the equator, the sun can start to damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Be mindful of how much time you spend in the sun, and monitor your children’s exposure as well. Covering the skin with hats and long sleeves can help, and it’s always a good idea to have sunscreen and sunglasses available when you’re on the boat. Freshen up your sunscreen every couple of hours, and do it even more frequently if you’ve been sweating or swimming.
One of the best ways to stay safe while boating is to make sure you know what you’re doing. Don’t drive your boat too close to the shore, other vessels, or any other type of obstacle. It’s also important to handle your boat carefully and at responsible speeds. Make sure your passengers know to keep their hands inside the boat and to remain seated while the boat is moving, especially at high speeds.
When you buy a boat for the first time, you may want to take boating lessons unless you already have significant experience. A more experienced boater will be able to tell you tips and tricks that you might not have thought about on your own. Take special care when you’re leaving and returning to the dock. If you have someone to help you with the lines, they should know what’s expected of them and be comfortable with the task.
One of the best ways to ensure that your passengers practice proper boat safety is to set a positive example. Children and adults will both take queues from your behavior, which makes it important to demonstrate responsible actions. If you’re out with children, it may help to explain to them why you do things the way you do. When you’re on the water with friends, don’t overindulge in alcohol even if others are enjoying cocktails.
You can find everything you need for a fun family outing on the water by visiting us at Nautical Ventures Marine Center. We have new boats, used boats for sale, and a wide variety of different toys for your time on the water. You can also count on us to provide you with safety gear like life jackets and other floatation devices. Visit us today, or contact us online to learn more.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Aerial-motion
The idea of having your own boat is appealing for many reasons, and a variety of available tax breaks makes it even better. A boat is generally considered to be an “entertainment facility” in the eyes of the IRS, and expenses that arise from that enjoyment of a boat are not deductible on taxes. Such expenses might include things like depreciation and operating costs such as rent, utilities, maintenance, and protection. That said, there are still multiple tax breaks boat owners might be eligible for depending on how the boat is used.
If you use the boat in relation to your business, you may be able to deduct some of the costs associated with your outing. Travel and entertainment deductions are limited to 50% of that cost. Those costs may include things like fuel, food drinks, or transient mooring. It’s important to document the outing and expenses thoroughly, taking note of information like the date, location, and reason for the outing as well as the names and occupations of everyone who joins you.
You should be able to demonstrate that you were using the boat to entertain clients. Furthermore, you need to have a reasonable expectation that you will achieve revenue as a result of your outing on the boat, and you must discuss business during the outing. You may also be able to claim a home office deduction if you work from your boat, though that normally doesn’t apply. If you have questions about whether or not your boating-related expenses may qualify you for a tax deduction, it is wise to talk to an accountant for guidance.
If your boat is an especially integral part of your business, you may be eligible for greater deductions. For example, you may be able to write off some of your costs if you charter your boat and act as the captain. In this scenario, you must have a U.S. Coast Guard license to take six paying passengers on your boat. You may also have to insure your boat for commercial use, and you’ll have to be able to demonstrate that you’re attempting to make a profit. That is, you will not be eligible for tax deductions if you’re simply chartering your boat as a hobby.
Charter ownership allows boat and yacht owners to deduct things like boat depreciation, fuel costs, maintenance fees, mooring costs, and some equipment. If you treat your boat or yacht as a charter, you’ll need to keep detailed records of all income and expenses, just as you would with other business assets. You cannot write off expenses when you use the boat for pleasure, even if you use it as a charter at other times. The IRS may start to pay special attention to your listed deductions if you regularly fail to report making a profit over the course of a year.
If you regularly use your boat for business-related transportation, you may be eligible for a deduction. To qualify, you’d have to be using your boat for business transportation at least 50% of the time. This would allow you to deduct things like insurance, repairs, dock fees, crew salaries, storage, fuel costs, and depreciation. If you use the boat for client entertainment though, you will likely nullify any ability to claim it as a listed property for transportation deductions.
In some cases, boat owners elect to donate their boat to a non-profit organization instead of selling it. Donating a boat might make you eligible for a donation of the fair market value of the vessel. To determine the fair market value, you’ll have to have an appraisal in the form of a survey. You can write off the fair market value of the boat if the charity ends up using the vessel in conjunction with their work. If the non-profit sells your donated boat, you’ll be able to claim a deduction for the amount the boat sold for instead of the appraised value.
One of the nice things about donating a boat to a non-profit instead of selling it is that the process is often fast and easy. Many charities that accept donations of boats are prepared to take care of the paperwork for you. They’ll give you tax forms for accounting purposes, which can make things easier when it comes time to do your taxes. You may also be able to donate your boat more quickly than you could find a buyer.
Declaring your boat as a second home is one of the ways you can get the biggest tax deduction for boat owners, especially when it comes to recreational boating. Your boat will have to have a kitchen or other cooking capabilities, a place to sleep, and a toilet (even if the toilet is portable). If you already have a second home, you won’t be able to get a deduction for your boat because the IRS doesn’t give deductions for third homes.
If you rent your boat out to others throughout the year, you’ll have to stay on the boat 10% as many days as it’s rented, or at least 14 nights per year. If your boat qualifies as a second home, you can get a 1098 form from the lender to help you report the interest as a tax deduction.
Here at Nautical Ventures Marine Center, we have everything you need for your boating journey. We can help you buy, care for, or sell a boat thanks to our large selection and extensive list of services. Florida residents can count on us for engines, tenders, and a wide variety of different toys to enjoy on the water. Visit us in Broward, Tampa Bay, Palm Beach, or Sarasota. Alternatively, we invite you to reach out to us online if you have any questions. Call (954) 926-5250.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / MJTH
If you’re on the fence about owning a boat (or maybe if you’re trying to get approval from your significant other), the health benefits may be enough to help you to make a decision. We’re certainly not saying you need any special reason to enjoy your passions in life, but it doesn’t hurt to have them. Beyond the sheer pleasure of boat ownership, there are several ways in which owning a boat can improve your health both mentally and physically.
Sedentary, indoor lifestyles are becoming more and more of the norm and that isn’t always good for us. Human beings are made for the great outdoors, and it’s important that we get to enjoy them. In fact, a lot of people say that they start to notice differences after they buy a boat. By engaging in a boating lifestyle, you naturally find yourself doing things that are good for your body.
Being in the sun certainly has its benefits. Of course, it’s still important to wear sun protection and avoid overdoing it, but a healthy amount of sun on your skin is good for you. We can get Vitamin D from natural light, and a little bit of fresh air never hurt anyone either. Next time everyone in your home or office is coming down with something, ditch the germs and smell some saltwater instead.
Boating is an active hobby. Instead of sitting in front of a screen, you’ll be moving around a lot more. Even if you’re only going down to the dock, taking a quick cruise, or caring for your boat, you’ll be getting some physical activity. That’s not to mention all the other things you can enjoy, like skiing, swimming, or reeling in a humongous fish.
Health doesn’t stop at the physical. Spending too much time cooped up inside can start to wear on some people mentally. It’s important to do activities you enjoy, and that’s especially true if you can find constructive hobbies like boating.
Overexposure to technology has bothered so many people that there’s even a word for it now: technostress. Sometimes it seems like we can’t take any time alone with our thoughts because of a constant stream of texts, emails, calls, and notifications. Time spent on the water gives you a good reason to turn off your phone and deal with everything when you’re back ashore.
Finding and enjoying the things that make you passionate is a critical part of enjoying life. Painters paint, writers write, and boaters boat. Whether you like quiet cruises, fishing, or snorkeling, you’ll be able to do them more when you buy a boat.
As social beings, we have a mental need to connect with our friends and loved ones. What better place to do that than on your new boat? Host a group on your boat for some quality time, and enjoy all the benefits of strong social ties. An abundance of healthy relationships has even been linked to reduced stress and a longer life.
If you came here looking for another reason to buy a boat, there you have it– your health may depend on it! When you do decide to buy a new boat, we’re ready to help. Our team at Nautical Ventures will help you navigate the diverse selection of vessels to find one that offers what you’re looking for. Connect with us today to learn more.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / By Jacob Lund
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