Loews Don Cesar: Fit for a Queen – Mother!

Ring the bells, bring on the tiara and take Mom to the Don CeSar any day! 

Whether you stop in just for Bloody Mary’s or hand-crafted  Pisco Sours in the updated Rowe Bar. You could also roll out the red carpet and dine world-class at the Maritana Grille or the Sea Porch, or pamper her at the Spa Oceana.

Book Mom for a day of pampering at the Spa Oceana, a heavenly Gulf-view haven that will help her embrace her bliss. The Beach Glow Body Treatment, Healing Sea Cocoon, Rescue Me Toning treatment and Sea of Life Facial features use of the finest products even Mother Nature and King Neptune would approve. Add a glow with a floral blossom manicures, ocean mist pedicure, even make-up and hair style refresh. When you’re done with brunch, take a minute to see the magical sparkle breathed into the pink lady by General Manager Steve Cummings and team in the gardens and public spaces. Elegant modern glass sea-buoy like bubble chandeliers and glass sculptures adorn the lobby and interior walkways. Clean, crisp colors, foliage and attentive staff add to the revived charm. 

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The Loews gets an A+ for environmental-friendly sea turtle lighting and other sea-friendly programs, as well as eco-educational tours/signage (Sea Life Education Stations about beach birds, manatees, stingrays & oyster domes) for children of all ages. The children’s program incorporates cooking and art classes as well as star-gazing programs. Pets get their day in the sun, from the Spa to a petwalk special area. 

Neeraj Mahani, a new chef at the helm, who most recently served his award-winning cuisine at The Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, is adding new global flavors and innovative ideas for the Don’s seven food and beverage outlets, and special events/weddings.  

By the sea, the inviting redesigned Rowe Bar (pictures below) serves up retro cocktails made with fresh herbs, festive local microbeers (Cigar City, St. Pete Brewing, Cycle Brewing) and festive casual nibbles (ahi tuna tataki, ceviche, crab cake sliders, oysters, wagyu burgers) set with lush rattan seating, flat-screen TVs and firepits perfect for sunsets.

 The Loews Don CeSar Hotel is one of St. Pete Beach’s treasures, attracting world-class tourists for a day or a week. Why not enjoy a staycation this summer? https://www.loewshotels.com/don-cesar.

Story By Nanette Wiser

Gulfport Date Night: Dinner & A Show

For more than 40 years, La Cote Basque Winehouse Restaurant has been serving French and Continental cuisine in Gulfport. This romantic haven adorned with hand-painted murals is a third-generation family business with some of the best filet de beef Wellington, shrimp scampi, flounder Florentine, fancy frog legs in garlic butter and schnitzel in town.

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Discriminating patrons now have another reason to rejoice. On every second & third Thursday at 7 p.m., the restaurant hosts a Dinner Theater with four one-act plays performed between courses. The four-course prix-fixe meal features a choice of three entrees accompanied by a salad, vegetable, bread and dessert for $35/person. Reservations are required.

The restaurant features a small boutique beer and wine list, early bird dinner and children’s menu. La Cote Basque is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday 4 pm – 10 pm.  3104 Beach Blvd S, Gulfport, FL 33707; (727) 321-6888  lacotebasquewinehouse.com.

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Mad Dogs Summer Swim Workouts

It’s once again back to the beach on each and every Wednesday night through the summer for the original and world famous “Mad Dogs Wednesday Swim” along with running for those want to run also (or instead of swimming) with routes from 3-6+ milesand of course always the social gathering afterwards (so be sure and bring your favorite beverage and food/snack!). We walk down the beach at 6:00 pm to swim. Everybody is welcome to come and join the Mad Dogs starting next Wednesday and every Wednesday through the summer at beautiful Pass-A-Grille Beach for some training, social and fun as we get into the 2016 season! 

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So see everyone at Pass-A-Grille! Hurley Park Shelter, 1600 Gulf Way, SPB 727.582.1910  info@StPeteMadDogs.comstpetemaddogs.org

Investments: You, the Market and the Prices You Pay

align-wealth-managementWelcome to the 2nd installment of Evidence-Based Investment Insights:

When it comes to investing (or anything in life worth doing well) it helps to know what you’re facing. In this case, that’s  “the market.”  How do you achieve every investor’s dream of buying low and selling high in a crowd of highly resourceful and competitive players?  The answer is to play with rather than against the crowd, by understanding how market pricing occurs.   

The Market: A Working Definition

Technically, “the market” is a plural, not a singular place. There are markets for trading stocks, bonds, sectors, commodities, real estate and more, in the U.S. and around the globe. For now, you can think of these markets as a single place, where opposing players are competing against one another to buy low and sell high. Granted, this “single place” is huge, representing an enormous crowd of participants who are individually AND collectively helping to set fair prices every day. That’s where things get interesting. 

Group Intelligence: (Together) We Know More Than You and I (Alone)

Before the academic evidence showed us otherwise, it was assumed that the best way to make money in what seemed like an ungoverned market was by outwitting others at forecasting future prices and trading accordingly. Unfortunately for those who are still trying to operate by this outdated strategy, a simple jar of jelly beans illustrates why it’s an inherently flawed approach.  Academia has revealed that the market is not so ungoverned after all. Yes, it’s chaotic, messy and unpredictable when viewed up close.  But it’s also subject to a number of important forces over the long run. One of these forces is group intelligence. The term refers to the notion that, at least on questions of fact, groups are better at consistently arriving at accurate answers than even the smartest individuals in that same group … with a caveat: each participant must be free to think independently, as is the case in our free markets. (Otherwise peer pressure can taint the results.)

Writing the Book on Group Intelligence 

In his landmark book  “The Wisdom of Crowds,” James Surowiecki presented and popularized the enormous body of academic insights on group intelligence. Take those jelly beans, for example. In one experiment, 56 students guessed how many jelly beans were in a jar that held 1,670 beans. The group’s guess – i.e., the aggregated average of the students’ individual guesses – came relatively close at 1,653. Only one student in the class did better than that. Similarly structured experiments have been repeated under various conditions; time and again the group consensus was among the most reliable counts. Now apply group wisdom to the market’s multitude of daily trades. Each trade may be spot on or wildly off from a “fair” price, but the aggregate average incorporates all known information contributed by the intelligent, the ignorant, the lucky and the lackluster. Thus the current prices set by the market are expected to yield the closest estimate for guiding one’s next trades. It’s not perfect mind you. But it’s assumed to represent the most reliable estimate in an imperfect world.

Your Take-Home 

Understanding group intelligence and how it governs efficient market pricing is a first step in more consistently buying low and selling high in free capital markets. Instead of believing the discredited notion that you can regularly outguess the market’s collective wisdom, you are better off concluding that the market is doing a better job than you can at forecasting prices. Your job then becomes efficiently capturing returns that are there for the taking.  But that’s a subject for a future Evidence Based Investment Insights. Next up, we’ll explore what causes prices to change. Chances are, it’s not what you think.

Please note: Brian Puckett is affiliated with Align Wealth Management, a Federally Registered Investment Advisor. This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended as investment advice or a solicitation thereof. The views herein are those of Brian Puckett (not Paradise News) and are subject to change without notice. 

While all information is believed to be from reliable sources, we can make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Certain material in this work may be proprietary to and copyrighted by third parties and is used by Brian Puckett and Align Wealth Management with permission. Reproduction or distribution for commercial purposes is prohibited. Please remember that all investing entails risk.

Story by Brian Puckett, JD, CPA, PFS, CFP® (AlignMyWealth.com)

Middle Grounds Grill will be Celebrating their 10th Anniversary in August!

“From the Middle Grounds of the Gulf of Mexico just 100 miles offshore from Treasure Island, they bring their catch straight in daily, the best fresh fish you can get close to….Their steaks are wet aged and superb as well, definitely a local spot not to be missed.”

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middle-groundsThe Coover family transformed their business from a pancake house to the best seafood and steakhouse in the area. That was nearly 10 years ago. They will be celebrating their 10th Anniversary in August!

In season they have a 2 hour wait for a table, even tourists know from word of mouth it’s the place you can’t miss when in town. With high season winding down we now have our community back for a little while and Middle Grounds Grill is the placeto venture out and get re-familiar with some of the local gems in our community.

Same amazing menu, no 2-hour wait and the best seafood available from the Middle Grounds of Florida. It’s where the name comes from and the actual Middle Grounds is an ancient reef system in the Gulf of Mexico. Daily catches include fresh local Black Grouper, Red Snapper and Wahoo for example. The fish is fresh daily, the service is impeccable and the décor is inviting and sophisticated.  

Yes, a local find with amazing food and ambiance that you will want to visit over and over again. It’s a local family doing it right.

* Early Dinner Menu $12.95

* Full Liquor Bar

* Daily Happy Hour

10925 Gulf Blvd, Treasure Island, 33706

727-360-4253 

www.middlegroundsgrill.com

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New ‘Hassle Free’ Property & Investment Division

“Where experienced investor landlords manage your investment property like their own”

Mark Nathwani, a well-recognized and respected serial entrepreneur from London UK has been doing business in the United States for 5 years. From his vast International real estate experience he had a keen eye on the value of Florida Real Estate and launched Rams Real Estate Holdings, a private investment company. 

Mark is an author, personal & business development coach and established wealth creation expert with a track record, his website is www.MarkNathwani.com.  He has assisted Real Estate investors in the UK, USA and many other parts of the world. “ The investment language is the same anywhere” says Mark.

In each business that Mark has been involved in, he has had a knack to grow it substantially from either start up or from whatever level he enters in at. Alongside that skillset, he has always found a gap or taken advantage of a niche within the sector and produced a product / service of high worth and value. Success has always been his end result.

In this case, Mark has seen that property management companies rarely do a satisfactory job, this typically results in landlords managing their own properties and that is exactly what he did and for the same reason. He couldn’t find a company that managed his properties to his satisfaction.

He interviewed several landlords and found them all to share the same horror stories and these consisted of: 

– High costs of management. This took out his profits.
– Unauthorized spending of rent often for fictitious or inflated repairs.
– Inefficiency & large vacant periods.
– Lack of general care.

It got to a stage where he realized that micro-management of his properties and dealing with tenants was not using his time and worth to its potential. He was better off spending that time growing his business.

“Don’t work in your business. Work on your business” – Mark Nathwani

Florida Real Estate Specialists was born and offers full-service property management: Researching market value to price the rental property when filling vacancies, they market the property, qualify tenants and are the communicator between the landlord and the tenant day to day to free up the investors time to work on their full portfolio. 

“Our management philosophy is unlike no other. I noticed that many landlords try to be too hands on and that ties them up from focusing on their overall portfolio of investments. We are here to encourage landlords to realize the value to them to pull themselves out of the daily management and put their trust and confidence in us to manage their properties and offer ongoing updates and reports to them for review and input.”

Keeping up with property management includes day to day maintenance and often immediate response to tenants. Florida Real Estate Specialists are trained to respond to tenants needs with a professional yet firm approach. Tenants can take advantage if you allow them. They are handled with correct care required. 

“We are cost and time conscious for our landlords, we are ultimately The Best Real Estate Management Company – Period. We manage like no other, we care like no other and our satisfaction rate is like no other. So confident we are, we are offering all readers 3 months free trial. Let us take the risk and let us prove how well and economically we take care of your needs. Be confident and deal with the best there is” – Mark Nathwani.

It’s a very transparent relationship with the landlord. Florida Real Estate Specialists fee structure is flexible. They tailor make packages for each client based on their needs and requirements.  When problems arise each situation is assessed individually by one of the Specialists, the Landlord is then contacted of the situation with recommendations and nothing is done without prior approval after in depth discussion with the landlord to address options. If the landlord feels they can handle the repairs personally that is absolutely part of the agreement.

Florida Real Estate Specialists has the philosophy of treating each property as if it was their own investment. Their commitment is to offer clear, consistent communication with the landlord. They are Florida Licensed and Regulated and have high standards for accountability. Their philosophy is let the investor do what they do best… invest! Leave the day to day operations of managing the properties you invest in to the experts.

To reach Florida Real Estate Specialists for more information – free consultation contact Julie: 813.545.9873 or David at 717.817.8790. Check out their website at www.AllpropsInvestments.com.

New Audiobook for MacDowell’s Not Just Another War Story’

not-just-another-war-story“Not Just Another War Story,” award-winning best-seller World War II novel  by St. Pete Beach author Wayne G. MacDowell, recently launched an audiobook version to join print and Kindle versions on Amazon.

The book is a true to life account of that special time in USA history, and MacDowell is available to speak to groups interested in this topic.  With Memorial Day approaching, in his way of honoring our veterans, Wayne answered these questions on his novel. 

What inspired you to write this book?  

“As a member of the 305th Bomb Group Memorial Association, I outlined a storyline that had to be historically accurate. Nine years of research and writing was needed to ‘get it right!’ B-17 Flying Fortress serial numbers and bombing missions had to be authentic and the same was true when on leave in war torn London.”

Are the characters based on real people? 

“The characters are based on composites of those who battled at 25,000 feet. Those who were shot down were either killed, captured by the Germans or through the help of the Underground’, try to remain free. Two ‘Underground’ men in the book, Horst, a huge rugged Dutchman and Henri, a sophisticated Belgium businessman, were equally important. I worked to capture the spirit of those brave people. 

What makes this war story unique? 

“Each war story is unique to itself. ‘Not Just Another War Story’ gives the reader an inside view of the World War II air war. You can almost hear the roar of B-17 Flying Fortress engines while flying with Steve Carmichael and his crew as they battle in the dangerous sky over occupied Europe. But … this is not just a war story. There is the brotherly friendship within the crew and the beautiful nurse Steve meets at a USO Dance, Margaret Steele. A meaningful love story develops with ‘Maggie’!

What would you like your readers and individuals in the military to know about those who fought in World War II? 

“Many will learn from ‘Not Just Another War Story’ what their father or grandfather went through as they fought against terrible odds. To me, all who have or are serving are heroes. As we commemorate Memorial Day, let us never forget the young men who never had the chance to live a full life. In addition to Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C., there are 15 overseas WW II cemeteries with 86,728 Known, 6514 Unknown, plus Memorial Walls within them with 55,859 names who are still missing in action. The average age, 22 years old.    

Have you authored other novels?

“Yes. ‘Not Just Another Love Story’, is about college students and a summer job as a forest ranger. It is a delightful love story that also includes the final football season of the main character, Kirk Daniels. It also recently  became an Amazon Kindle edition Wayne’s website, waynemacdowell.com, has information on both books, plus a YouTube video.

Story by Steve Traiman

Don’t Hate Mondays

Hip cats stroll into The Blue Parrot Mondays from 7- 9:30 p.m. for Tomkats Big Band vintage tunes. A Blue Parrot fixture since 2009, this popular group serves up Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Burt Bacharach and Louis Armstrong songs, mixed up with a little Rolling Stones and Pat Metheny just to keep it fresh. Rain or shine, the fans show up.

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Tomkats Big Band’s newest CD  “Live at the Hideaway,” is available in vinyl as well and sold at the weekly jazz aficiando gathering for just $10. Friends often stop in to jam (Liz Antony, Mark Moultrup, David Winterhalter were on hand in early April), and unique arrangements of classic songs by band members (including musical director Greg Dunn) is what make Tomkats Big Band a huge draw.

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The band grew out of a love of vintage tunes. In 1984 two American Legion buddies, Frankie Richards and Tom Robertson lamented the lack of old music on the jukebox and decided they would form a band that played what they liked.  Both were musicians in another life. Frankie had played C Melody sax (an extinct instrument) in the 1930’s and Tom had played drums back during his youth. In the fall of 1985 they held their first rehearsals at the St. Petersburg American Legion Hall. By the third week the current co-leaders of the Tomkats were present, trumpeters Alan Stegeman & Greg Dunn. 

The band found a ready audience at the 4th Street American Legion Hall, B. B. Joes, which was the original jazz nightclub in downtown St. Petersburg and Tiki Gardens on Reddington Beach. By 1990 the band landed at the Bilmar Beach Resort on Treasure Island. The Bilmar was home to the Suncoast Dixielanders and enjoyed a long and rich history as a home for jazz. Louis Armstrong and Harry James had both vacationed there. The Tomkats conducted a weekly big band session at the Bilmar until 2005, moving to Delilah’s Martini Bar for several years. After a brief sabbatical to write new music and arrangements, the band became a Monday night fixture at the Blue Parrot. 

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The Tomkats also play local festivals and events including New Year’s Eve 2015 Swingin’ the New Year at the St. Petersburg Coliseum, Treasure Island Blues Festival, the Sanding Ovations Sand Castle Festival and the Clearwater Jazz Festival. The band also plays a wide variety of other private and public functions. For more information, check them out on the web, Facebook & You Tube: www.tomkatsjazzorchestra.com   www.facebook.com/TomkatsJazzOrchestra

www.youtube.com/tomkatsjazzorchestra The Blue Parrot, 85 Corey Circle, St. Pete Beach, FL (727) 368 9619   www.bluepstpb.com    

Greg Dunn, TKJO Music Director

Dining Out with Joyce LaFray: RUMFISH FOR DINNER AND A SHOW.. AND MORE

It’s always a kick to watch patrons genuinely enjoying themselves while dining. Rumfish, a lovely appointed restaurant located on the Gulf in St. Pete Beach, can easily boast that their guests are having a grand time. The main attraction is the unique decor, including a 33,500 gallon aquarium that encompasses an entire wall of the inside dining room. The dazzling tank was built by Wayde King and Brett Palmer of Animal Planet’s hit TV series, “Tanked.” Not only does watching this tropical display of some of the astonishing fish a hoot, but so is enjoying a delicious dinner, with the “show.”

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There’s a mixed genre of clientele, including many families and tourists, but locals as well, a sign of a successful restaurant.  Locals are keen on the cozy outdoor bar where you can also dine alfresco. There’s island style music most nights and lots of friendly bartenders mixing tropical drinks and setting up rum and beer flight.  If you choose to dine inside you’ll enter via the gift shop which contains the largest collection of Guy Harvey merchandise in the world. (See their current Local Catch offer here.)

We choose to dine inside and are fortunate to get prime seats close to the Aquarium.  Children at the table to our left are having a blast gazing at the amazing array of finfish: grouper, amberjack, yellowtail snapper, hogfish, pompano, and at least another dozen species. If they happen to be guests at the attached resort they may get a chance to even snorkel with the fishes.

Rumfish Decor is simplistic, obviously designed to highlight the remarkable tank. With exception, there are Guy Harvey prints artfully lined one side of the spacious dining room. Guy Harvey is one of the top artists in the fish portrait arena. I was fortunate to have met this mastermind at the early opening, and was impressed with his humble, easy going personality. In his early 60s, he’s as nice a guy as you can meet. Menus are backlit which makes selections easy to read since lighting is subdued to highlight the fish, but there’s also an extra light on each table. 

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No doubt, seafood is the focus here. It’s an ideal venue to set sail on an expedition to sample a pleasing variety of culinary delights. Start your meal with one of their famous cocktails. “Fish Tanked” is a great choice with its Sailor Rum and fresh tropical fruit flavors. A few sips and before you know it, you will hear the waves lapping on the sand and the sound of a steel drum band. You have the idea…

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We began our meal with blue crab bisque, freshly prepared with cream, thyme, and seafood herbs and spices, laced with a touch of Sherry. Warmed rolls spread with their hand-rolled fresh butter are perfect for dunking into the rich bisque. In the mood for more crab, we order the blue crab cake. Truly, this is one of the best on the beach. It’s real crab, made Maryland style with little filler, served with a light remoulade and tender pea tendrils. A gustatory delight to be had.

rumfish-grille-2Firecracker Shrimp is a spinoff on the Bonefish Grill version, but the breaded shrimp were quite small. I feel large (21-30 to the pound) would enhance the dish along with some originality on the presentation, though the chili-garlicky sauce on the crunchy crustaceans could not have been tastier. Other appetizers offered include oysters, mussels and a bevy of seafood choices.

There’s a fine selection of entrees, including lobster Mac with lots of lobster according to our waitress, fresh local grouper, a lovely seafood brochette with a unique presentation, NY strip steak and chicken. But for us, the hands-down winner is the Gulf Shrimp with Stone Ground grits, known to many simply as “Shrimp & Grits.”

If you haven’t ever had a version of authentic southern shrimp and grits (I tried seven versions alone in Charleston!), Rumfish’s is tops! Large shrimp laced with luscious Tasso ham, caramelized onion, a touch of pickled veggies placed over perfectly prepared grits. It’s obvious that the chef and kitchen staff have a desire to make the food special.

The Bouillabaisse (“BOOL-yuh-BAYZ”), a special seafood stew that originated in Provence (ah, I can smell the Lavender whenever I say “Provence”!) is not as large as one might expect, but is nicely presented with lobster, scallops, four tiny tender Pei mussels (often the smallest are the sweetest!) and other seafood in a saffron-tomato white wine sauce. Nothing quite as savory as a saffron sauce, that luscious orange-yellow flavoring made from a small flavor popping crocus.

Though we are thoroughly satisfied with our choices, and very full, the dessert menu was beyond tempting, so we order the molten chocolate lava cake with a delicious scoop of salted caramel icing. Piercing the cake with a fork brings forth a waterfall of warm chocolate sauce. Our other choice is a carrot cake bread pudding, warm and moist, just perfect with a cup of fresh-brewed cappuccino. 

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There’s a tempting wine list and a few dozen by the glass, but tropical drinks (especially those infused with overproof rum) are the focus and the handiwork of a true cocktail aficionado. A drink titled “Fish Tanked” is prepared with Sailor Jerry rum and a great way to sail off to serenity or to celebrate the night. Rumfish, for certain, is a Dinner with a Show, one you won’t forget. One of our least pretentious beach eateries, a relaxed, fun place to dine near the beach. PN

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Guy Harvey is a marine wildlife artist and conservationist. His depictions of life in the sea, especially of sport fish, are all the rage with sorters. His art has been reproduced in prints, posters, T-shirts, jewelry, clothing and other specialty items. Harvey is a vocal and active advocate for marine conservation, having established the Guy Harvey Research Institute at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida as well as the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, an organization which funds scientific research.

The restaurant is located at 6000 Gulf Boulevard, St. Pete Beach, 33706. Call toll-free (844) RumFish Grill (786-3474) or visit www.RumFishGrill.com. Hotel reservations & information, call toll-free (855) 967-2338 or www.GuyHarveyOutpostTampaBay.com.

Safe Boating in Paradise

With more boat owners registered in Florida and Tampa Bay than ever before, and the big season ahead for recreational boating and sailing, safety on the water is most important.

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Fortunately for area boaters, there are many opportunities available for safety instruction. Included are the St. Petersburg Sail and Power Squadron, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla #78, Hubbard’s Marina, Freedom Boat Club, LottoBoat and Sea Tow, among others.

According to the State Dept. of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles, registered power and sailing vessel owners in Florida was 915,713 in 2015, up 4% from 880,077 in 2000. Total for Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties was 89,073.

safeboating-5Boat Clubs & Towing

This sampling of local Tampa Bay boat clubs also includes a “boating AAA” service. The Freedom Boat Club of Tampa Bay, based in Tarpon Springs, was started by Glenn Bergoffen 10 years ago and as of May 1 will open its 12th location at Rick’s on the River in Tampa, just north of downtown on the Hillsborough River. The membership-only club has a fleet of fishing boats and larger vessels available to all members, with an online reservation system up to six months in advance. “Members can not only use our boats,” he said, “but also the boats at 98 other Freedom Boat Clubs across the U.S. and Canada, with up to four annual rentals at these locations.” One of the newest local fleet additions is a 23-foot Sea Fox fishing boat. For more information and reservations, online at www.freedomboatclub.com.

safeboating-7Alex Atteberry launched LottoBoat five years ago at the Harborage Marina High & Dry at 100 14th Ave. South in St. Petersburg, and Boat Club members have steadily increased every year. Availabilities include 19-24-foot power boats and Wave Runners, from $799 sign-up and $109 per month for 40 hours per year, with an additional $27/hour flat rate; Large 30-40-foot Cabin Cruisers, with a share from $5,999 sign-up and $279 per month, with added use from $399/day. Fuel and taxes are not included, with other packages and pricing available on request. Also offered are stand-up paddleboards, jet skis and kayaks. Boat Club information at www.lottoboat.net

Sea Tow was launched in Southold, NY, more than 20 years ago when the Coast Guard stopped towing recreational boats. ”It’s been at least 15 years in St. Petersburg,” says Cile Morena, who bought the local franchise last May. “As May is Safe Boating Month, we’ve just been given a Coast Guard grant to put free life jackets around the Tampa Bay Area. We’re working with the county, and the City of St. Petersburg is very interested. We hope to start our free loaner program soon – with 10 adult and 10 kid’s jackets – at the busiest boat ramps and marinas. We’re also talking to the City of Tampa. With another Coast Guard grant we have our Silver Skippers program.

safeboating-3Repeat Safety Courses

“The St. Petersburg Sail and Power Squadron (SPSPS) was established in 1937,” according to Education Officer Bob Cox. “We are a member of the US Power Squadron, formed in 1914 and one of the premier non-profit, boating educational and social organizations dedicated to making boating safer and more enjoyable. SPSPS is a volunteer fraternal organization serving the Tampa Bay area. Over 300 members promote nautical safety by participating in a variety of enjoyable activities – individuals from all walks of life and backgrounds who share a love for boating. Members participate and volunteer on a variety of committees and programs, and teach educational courses to help promote boating safety.” 

“We offer a variety of courses including the American Boating Course focused on safe boating and many two-hour seminars including Hurricanes and Boats, How to Read a Chart, Anchoring and several others. Most recent event was a Hurricanes and Boats seminar, which drew a nice crowd April 20 at the St. Petersburg Sailing Center, 250 2nd Ave. SE, near Demens Landing in downtown St. Pete.” Complete schedule of courses and information about the Power Squadron is online at http://www.boating-stpete.org  

“The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla #78  Pass-a-Grille has been providing boating safety education to the public since 1964,” Zelda Troiano, Staff Officer – Public Affairs, told Paradise News. “Our Flotilla offers a 12-week repeating cycle of classes, which allows students to start at any point in the cycle. Next cycle begins on May 24 with Chapter 1, Which Boat is for You. This is followed by Equipment for Your Boat, Waterway Watch/Trailering Your Boat, Handling Your Boat, Your “Highway” Signs, Rules of the Nautical Road, Boating Safety, Introduction to Navigation, Powering Your Boat, Lines and Knots, Weather and Your Boat’s Radio.” 

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“With the exception of holidays and election days, classes meet every Tuesday at 7:00 pm. at the Warren Webster Building, 1500 Pass-a-Grille Way, St. Pete Beach.” Zelda is also an instructor, along with Tally Abruzzo, Mike Berkowitz, Phil Creter, Dave Corner, Roger Gilmore, Brad Marchant, Tony Novellino, Tom Perry and Jim Troiano. For information, contact Phil Creter 727-865-2226, Warren Pfirrman at 727-321-7801 or Jim Troiano at 727-360-4846.

Safety tips are also provided by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission (FWC) in its free FWC’s Fishing in the Know and free Division of Marine Fisheries Management Monthly Newsletter. Available online at https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/FLFFWCC/bulletins/1404fdf

[Editor’s Note: Special thanks for their good information to Glenn Bergoffen, Alex Atteberry, Cile Moreno, Jeff Eckhart (SPSPS), Zelda Troiano, Dylan Hubbard, Michelle Tepper and Sean Tobe.]  

[Steve Traiman is President of Creative Copy by Steve Traiman in St. Pete Beach, offering freelance business writing services. He can be reached via email at traimancreativecopy@gmail.com

Hubbard’s Marina Tips

Captain Mark Hubbard and vice-president Dylan Hubbard of Hubbard’s Marina at John’s Pass provide the monthly Paradise News Fishing Report. They have operated a charter fishing service for many years and offer these safe boating tips;

– If you plan to charter a boat, make sure you have an experienced, licensed captain and we highly recommend a USCG inspected vessel
–  If you plan to rent a boat, make sure the person you allow to drive it does not plan to drink and is also at least somewhat experienced.
– Take a quick boaters safety course if you’re in-experienced in operating a vessel– it’s only a short weekend class and not expensive.
– You can also go online & go over the basics avail-able on most any website about boater safety tips.
– DO NOT operate any vessel under the influence as many feel that boats are different from cars. If you’re over the limit, you can get a big fine, a ticket and even jail time if you’re way over the posted limit.
– Lifejackets are a must for everyone on board along with a First Aid kit that includes peroxide for cleaning wounds and a coagulant to stop heavy bleeding.
– Ensure the boat has a fire extinguisher and proper safety gear that includes a throw ring and some emergency floatation items.
– A waterproof or heavy, water-resistant “Ditch Bag” is vital, especially offshore. This holds life saving equipment such as flares, satellite phone, whistle and extra VHF.
– The sun is no joke – stay hydrated with water, especially if people on board are drinking.
– Most important, you must have a Float Plan on file. This means letting someone know when you plan to leave, approximately when you plan to return and approximately where you plan to go (your heading).

Hubbard’s Marina offers a very wide variety of private charters along with several party boat  options. Included are four smaller fishing vessels for charter that can take 1-6, 7-14 or 14-24, plus two large party boats that can handle 17-110. In addition to 12-hour day trips, there are longer 39, 44 and 63-hour overnight trips. More information on all charters: http://hubbardsmarina.com

Other Area Boating Events

The 11th Ed Alber Tarpon Rodeo June 2-3 is an annual fishing tournament born from the reality that we live in the greatest fishing capital of the world and we need to protect it! All funds raised from the Fishing Tournament & June 2 Captain’s Banquet Live & Silent Auction at the TradeWinds Island Grand will be used to complete vital habitat coastal restoration projects in Tampa Bay. Receipts also will help teach thousands of children the importance of becoming stewards of the environment through the Estuary EDventure programs at Tampa Bay Watch in Tierra Verde. For more information, contact Michelle Tepper, TBW Special Events Coordinator, at mtepper@tampabaywatch.org or online at www.tampabaywatch.org.

tarpon-rodeo

Third Annual Orange & Blue Tarpon Derby, sponsored by the Pinellas County Gator Club, is June 25 & 27, at the Madeira Beach Marina. All net receipts will go toward the Club’s 10 annual $1,000 scholarships to Pinellas County seniors committed to attending the University of Florida. Prize money payouts are $2,500 for 1st, $1,000 for 2nd, $500 for 3rd and $250 for 4th. Sponsorships are available. For details including angler and boat registration, online at www.pinellascountygatorclub.org or email Derby Chairman Sean Tobe at sstobe@gmail.com.

The popular Happy with the Historian lecture series continues at the St. Petersburg Museum of History, 335 Second Ave. NE, on May 12 at 6:30 pm with St. Petersburg Yacht Club Archivist Barbara Watson hosting “From Morgan to Havana, St. Pete’s Waterfront Story”. Guests will enjoy this boating tale of inventions, races and probably a couple of big fish too, with an available cash bar. Members are free, with a $5 suggested donation for others. Lecture is presented by Green, Henwood & Hough, RBC Wealth Managment. For more information on the 2016 series, see the website, spmoh.org/happyhour.

To emphasize that May is “Safe Boating Month”, this is just a good cross-section of boating and fishing activity in the Tampa Bay area, and the many opportunities to access safe boating tips in our “Watersports Capital of the U.S.”