New Tech for Your Boat

Blog post title for Cal Stagger's boating blog

Boating is a great way to pass the time and enjoy a hobby you’re passionate about. For many people, boating is simply being out on the water and enjoying that time. While boating is meant to be fairly relaxing, there are also new ways to enhance your boating experience. It’s possible to find technology that benefits any area of life and boating is no exception. Here are some new pieces of tech you can get for your boat. They’d all make great gifts for the holidays!

Weatherflow Windmeter Phone Accessory

This windmeter simply plugs into your phone or connects through Bluetooth. It’s used to detect temperature, humidity, and wind readings. It’ll be incredibly useful for helping you navigate the waters and keep track of the weather conditions while you’re out boating.

Leatherman Tread Multitool Bracelet

Having tools readily available on your boat is always important, because you never know when you might need a wrench or some other tool to repair a problem. The Leatherman bracelet keeps you prepared for any emergency situation by providing an accessory that looks like the band of a watch, but actually provides you with a variety of tools. It can be adjusted to fit any wrist size and comes with Allen wrenches and screwdrivers as a few of the tools on the bracelet.

Fortress Boat Anchors

Boaters and experts alike have identified this anchor as the “World’s Best Anchor” over and over, which is a pretty great endorsement. This anchor is made from high-tech aluminum alloy, which makes it as strong as steel, but luckily for anyone using it, it isn’t nearly as heavy! You can easily dismantle it for quick storage as well.

Yeti Hopper Cooler

This cooler will actually keep drinks cold for days at a time. It’s perfect for weekend boating trips when you want to have cold drinks the entire time you’re on the water. The cooler holds about 30 pounds of ice and can easily be transported on and off your boat. The leakproof HydroLok Zipper comes from survival suits and the fabric of the color is incredibly durable, so you won’t have to worry about it breaking anytime soon.

Chums Floating Keychains

Losing your keys in the ocean would definitely put a damper on any boat trip, particularly if they’re the boat keys. In order to make sure this problem is never one you have to deal with, consider getting a floating keychain! Chums sells a small keychain that you can attach to your sunglasses, keys, or other items and never worry about losing them in the water. The keychain is also bright yellow, so it’ll be incredibly easy to spot in the water.

5 Essential Items For A Day Of Boating

The day before a boating or fishing trip can be busy considering the  amount of  planning that is required, not just for the sake of boating but also to be able to boat safely.  It is best to take full advantage of the time you spend on the water by being adequately prepared for a variety of  external or internal challenges which can arise on the water or in the boat.  It’s fairly easy to avoid bug bites, motion sickness, hungry kids and soggy shorts. Here are 5 essential things to prepare for a day of boating.

cal staggers boat

  1. Boat registration.  It is always important to keep this document on you. Always be sure to have your valid boat registration certificate along with you. It’s one of the most important boating essentials since it proves that you are following the state law regarding operation of the vessel. If you are ever stopped or signaled by a coast guard, this registration can make all the difference in making your trip run smoothly. 
  2. Cell phone or marine radio. Still following the protocol of safety and preparedness, it is important to also keep and maintain communication with the use of a cell phone or marine radio. Countless boaters who have experienced a wide range of issues in the waters have prevented the exacerbation of these events, by being able  Always have a cell phone or marine radio on board in case of emergency. Know how to reach the marine patrol, police, and Coast Guard.
  3. Cooler.  It sometimes gets very hot out in the open seas before it gets cooler. You can keep your water, sodas, snacks and fish cold by bringing an airtight cooler along on the trip. Airtight coolers are also a great place to keep ice packs incase of injuries or sun burn. 
  4. Fire extinguisher. Most vessels sailing on US waters require a fire extinguisher to be installed on board. Following state mandates and safety precautions can be difference between a small fire and a large one. Safety first. 
  5. First aid kit. Buy a waterproof first aid kit that includes gauze pads, bandages, scissors, rubber gloves, cotton, antiseptic lotion, aspirin, and tweezers.

To learn more about essential items to bring on a boating trip, visit this article by  All State


cal staggers caribbean

Turning the corner into October next month, we begin to head into the cold, dark and gloomy months of the year. Now is the time to start planning a trip, and there’s no better place to escape to than tropical paradises with coastal views and warm weather. Here is the top 5 Caribbean islands to travel to for your next vacation:

  1.     Aruba

During Spanish settlement in 1513, Aruba and her sister islands (Bonaire and Curaçao) were nicknamed the “Islas Inútiles,” or translated: useless islands. Today, Aruba couldn’t be further from that. If you’re looking for a destination where people couldn’t ‘be friendlier, or if you’re interested in making a few new friends on your vacation, then the 20-mile long island is for you. To spend the day soaking up rays head to Palm Beach, and for water activities including jet skiing and paddle boarding, head to Eagle Beach.

  1.     St. Martin/St. Maarten

Coming in at 37-square miles, St. Maarten (southern 40% is owned by the Netherland while the rest is owned by the French) is a little haven of bliss. Orient Bay has ranked high on numerous lists for most beautiful beaches in the world, and Cupecoy Beach isn’t far behind. Both are known for nudity so if you’re looking for a kid-friendly spot then head to Maho Bay or Friar’s Bay.

  1.     Antigua

Antigua is the most versatile destination on this list. With a total of 365 of beaches on the island, there is plenty of sand to go around.  Other places to visit include Shirley Heights featuring panoramic views of the ocean and Cathedral of St. John the Divine. If interested in something a bit less touristy then pop over to Antigua’s sister island, Barbuda. It’s more relaxed and less crowded.

  1.     Grand Cayman Island

Of all the Cayman Islands, the Grand Cayman is what you cannot miss with its 7-mile shore of warm water and soft sand. Activities include SCUBA diving and snorkeling in the barrier reef, hiking the 200-year-old Mastic Trail, and Stingray City for children. There’s something for everyone and exciting wildlife around every corner.

  1.     Turks & Caicos

As it grows more and more popular with tourists, Turks and Caicos has still remained exclusive and secluded, something it prides itself on. Turquoise waters and white sands and what draws people in, but the diversity of the 40 islands is why people stay. They can be divided into three distinct categories.  There’s Providenciales which serves as a porthole for cruise ships and houses luxury hotels. Home to the Turks and Caicos National Museum, the Grand Turk is the historical and culture site of the islands. Salt Cay is perfect for adventure seekers. Here, you can explore one of the largest barrier reefs in the world.

Info courtesy of travel.usnews

Naples in the Summer

cal staggers naples-florida-beaches

Many people think of visiting Florida as more of a winter thing. It’s an excellent place to go if you live in a state with a colder climate. Northeasterners, understandably, grow weary of the constant barrage of snow and ice, and come to Florida to remember what the warm sun feels like again. But don’t forget that Naples is also a great place to visit in summer. I found a website that listed a few reasons why this is the case, and thought I should share a few of them here.

Longer Days – While the weather is nice all year round, in the summer you get more daylight, which means more time to enjoy the beach and water activities, and to generally be outside in the sun.

Easier on the Wallet – Since the summer is not peak tourist season in Naples, hotel rates and other things will be less expensive. This also means that everything is generally less crowded, from the restaurants to the beaches to the streets, which means that an already incredibly relaxing place becomes even more serene.

Animal Life – In the summer, the area is teeming with sea life. It’s a great time to catch sight of dolphins and other fish – actually if you are fishing you should pretty easily be able to catch more than just a sight. Summer is also sea turtle nesting season, which is exciting for animal and lovers.

Summer Nights – Leave the hooded sweatshirt at home, because the summer nights in Naples are warm and balmy.

Spring Boating

cal staggers boatSpring is finally here, and in addition to the enjoyment brought by flowers blooming and the weather getting nicer, for boating enthusiasts that means getting back out on the water. There are several things everyone with a boat must do to prepare their craft for the upcoming season, and the sooner they get them done, the sooner they’ll be fishing, tubing, or just floating around and relaxing.

Fuel System – Inspect the fuel system for any sort of damage or leaks, and ensure the exhaust and ventilation systems are working.

Belts, Cables, and Hoses – These items can become brittle and cracked during winter storage, so make sure that hasn’t happened to these parts on your boat. If it has, just replace them.

Electric System – Make sure all electrical connections are tight and free of corrosion. Also, charge and test you battery to make sure it can maintain a charge.

Fluid Levels – Change your oil filter, engine oil, and lubricants, and check all of your fluid levels.

Propellers and Hulls – It’s possible that with extreme temperature changes, propellers can become distorted or cracked, so check to make sure this hasn’t happened. The same goes for the hull, which should also be cleaned before first use.

Safety Gear – The first time you take your boat out for the season, and actually any time you step onto it at all, count the number of life jackets you have on board to make sure there are enough for every passenger you’re setting out with. Also make sure there is a fire extinguisher on board, and run through a safety check list to ensure you and your passengers are prepared for the outing.

5 Reason to Visit Naples Florida

cal staggers naplesI’ve said it many times – Naples is an amazing place for a vacation. And in the midst of winter – a particularly cold winter for many people in the Northeast – there couldn’t be a better time to make the trip. agrees, and listed 5 reasons to book a trip to Naples, which I am sharing below.

1. The weather is ideal in February, usually around 80 degrees or so. Most people would call that perfect weather even if it weren’t compared to temperatures in the teens or lower in New York and Chicago.

2. There is a new resort, the Naples Grande Beach Resort, which is beautiful and has amazing amenities. There are excellent restaurants attached to it, private cabanas, and a balcony for each room. The resort is surrounded by a 200 acre mangrove estuary, which provides enchanting natural scenery.

3. The beaches are beautiful, especially those right by the Naples Grande Beach Resort. And, of course, Naples is excellent for water activities like kayaking and paddle boarding. You also can’t go wrong with just lounging on the beach.

4. There are countless outdoor activities, so you can get a nice reprieve from being cooped up if you are from colder parts of the country. And Naples doesn’t just offer beach and water activities. There are more than 80 golf courses and terrific restaurants, most of which have outdoor seating.

5. If the above does not give you enough incentive, there are good flight deals this time of year. You will not regret your decision to take this trip!

Reasons Shopping for Outdoor Enthusiasts is Easy

Cal Staggers pro shop

I came across a fun article/blog post at about why it is easy to shop for people who love outdoor activities (they offer 5 reasons, I will summarize 4 below). Since we are so close to Christmas, and since there are always last minute shoppers who haven’t yet figured out what gifts to give this year, I thought a summary of the list in this article could possibly serve as a little bit of inspiration for such people.

1. No hunter or fisherman has everything. There are always little accessories that they will be excited to receive, and that they will actually use, which is more than you can say for many gifts. Also, since there is naturally a lot of wear and tear on outdoor equipment new items are always well appreciated.

2. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, too, you will find shopping for another one to be very easy. Probably the hardest thing will be not buying one of everything you get for yourself too.

3. There is another benefit to shopping for an outdoor enthusiast if you are also one yourself: You’ll get to see the equipment tested an used before you buy it. You might even be lucky enough to go out and test it yourself if you buy the equipment for a good enough friend. I’ll offer a disclaimer here, though: this type of self serving gift is not in the Christmas spirit!

4. Shopping in a pro shop is a pretty fun experience. Even if you are not into outdoor activities yourself, you might find yourself having a good time shopping for someone who is anyway. It is also a great place to find gift ideas for other people who you still need to shop for.

Corkscrew Swamp

Cal Staggers Wood StorkThis year marks the 60th anniversary of the efforts to conserve the 13,000 acre Corkscrew Swamp.  There is a great little article about it in the Naples News Daily, and I’d like to share some of the information from it here.

The mission of the conservation efforts of Corkscrew Swamp is to preserve and restore the natural ecosystem here that provides the habitat for the birds an animals that live in the swamp, and of course to maintain a natural area that many humans (about 100,000 per year) like to visit.  Some of the animals that make their home in Corkscrew swamp include panthers, alligators, turtles, otters, and many species of plants and birds.

It was not always a certainty that such a natural preserve would even exist in this area.  When conservation efforts for Corkscrew Swamp began, there was significant logging in Southern Florida, and it took a community effort to save the swamp from imminent doom.  Therefore, an anniversary like this has significant meaning, because it was no guarantee that the conservation efforts would be successful in the first place.

Though this anniversary is a celebration, it is important to remember that there is a lot of work still to be done in order to preserve and restore Corkscrew Swamp.  For example, consider the wood stork, which is the bird most closely identified with Corkscrew Swamp.  In 1961, there were 6,000 wood stork nests.  Last year, there were only 200.  The way to improve the numbers of these birds is to continue maintaining and restoring their natural habitat, an effort that is constantly underway at Corkscrew Swamp.

Naples Boat Show

Cal StaggersRight now, over this weekend, there is a boat show going on in Naples, FL in Crayton Cove, according to the Naples Florida Weekly.  It sounds like it should be a fun time and goes on for both days of the weekend, so if you are a boating enthusiast, or just want a different place to go and have a good time, this might be just what you are looking for.

The great thing about going to boat shows is talking about boats with people who share this interest with you.  It’s also great to see everyone’s different boat (usually there are a very wide variety, from tiny little boats to huge yachts), and what they do with them to make them unique to their particular water interest.  For example, some people take their boat out to relax, and so seeing how they optimize them for comfort can give you some ideas for your own boat.  Others are mostly into fishing, and you can pick up a thing or two from these people about what type of equipment is best for you, and even which spots in the water are best for this purpose.  Still other boaters are mostly into water sports, and this equipment is great to take a look at and get reviews on from a real person who has used it.  Warning: If you look at a boat geared towards water sports with your kids, your boat will soon be geared towards water sports too!

Boat catalogues and things like that are useful, but there isn’t anything quite like seeing boats and boating equipment right in front of you, and getting information from the people that own them.