December 5, 2009

St Pete Power & Sailboat Show This Weekend

The 32nd Annual St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show is this weekend at Albert Whitted Park and the Mahaffey Theater Yacht Basin.

The event will feature over 400 power boats and 50 sailboats anchored in new floating docks. Family cruisers, high-performance wakeboard boating, fishing boats, sailing yachts, and personal watercrafts will be on display. Events include kids' fishing clinics. For more information, visit

November 26, 2009

Treasure Island Christmas Boat Parade

The Treasure Island Christmas Boat Parade and Holiday Celebration is Sunday, Dec. 13, at the Treasure Island Tennis and Yacht Club, 400 Treasure Island Causeway. The holiday celebration begins at 4:30 p.m. with the Boat Parade leaving the yacht club at 6:20 p.m. Bring a new, unwrapped toy to the recreation department at City Hall or Treasure Bay on Paradise Boulevard between Dec. 1 and 11 and receive a pass to watch the parade from a spectacular vantage point and to participate in the events at the yacht club. The toys will be donated to the Edward’s Family Foundation. Holiday music and complimentary hot dogs, chowder, hot cider and cookies will be served poolside. Santa also will make an appearance. The rain date is Monday, Dec. 14. For more information, call 727-367-4511.

November 25, 2009

New Clearwater Marina Gets Approval

The current owner of the former Clearwater Bay Marina at 900 N Osceola Ave, just north of the Seminole boat ramp, has received approval from the Community Development Board to build new marina. The Clearwater Basin Marina will have 87 recreational slips, there will be no commercial boats or personal watercraft slips available.

The site currently has about 100 concrete pilings that are the remnants of a luxury condo building that was scrapped. Local residents call it "Stonehenge". The owner isn't planning to build any condos right now, but could in the future. The pilings cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to construct and will not be removed. Instead, they will be hidden with landscaping and fencing, possibly to use for future development.

Register Now For Island Estates Holiday Boat Parade

The 35th annual Memorial Holiday Boat Parade is scheduled for December 12th. The lighted boat parade is sponsored by the Island Estates Yacht Club and is one of the most popular boating events in the area. Boats will assemble at 6 pm in Mandalay Channel, between Island Estates and Clearwater Beach. They will proceed through Island Estates' canals, arriving at Coachman Park at 8 pm, then sail under the Memorial Causeway Bridge, into the Clearwater Marina Channel and ending at the Clearwater Yacht Club judging stand. Registration is free, contact Joel Briskman at 727-688-3144 or 727-461-1147 or

November 4, 2009

Clearwater Pass Jetty Will Get Warning Lights

City Council has decided to put navigational warning lights on the Clearwater Pass jetty, by installing a series of yellow flashing lights on the jetty to warn boaters to steer clear.

The rock jetty was built in 1975 to prevent beach erosion and extends hundreds of feet into the gulf from Sand Key Park and stands about 7 feet above the water. Boaters are supposed to stay in the marked channel north of the jetty, which has its lights but the jetty has been the scene of several boat crashes. The channel between Sand Key and Clearwater Beach is narrow and heavily traveled. Despite being well lit inexperience, bad weather, or carelessness can cause boaters to strike the jetty in the dark.

Another boating hazard will also be removed. There is an 85,000-pound block of concrete submerged in Clearwater Harbor off the Seminole Boat Ramp, the remains of the base of a turnstile that was in the middle of the Seminole Bridge, built in 1917. Concrete can still be seen at very low tides and has been struck several times by vessels.

Governor Charlie Crist recently asked the U.S. Coast Guard to install lights on the Bayboro jetty in St Petersburg after a fatal accident on October 2nd where a boat struck the jetty.

October 25, 2009

Clearwater Municpal Marina Development In Question

In 1925, the state gave the local government land in Clearwater Bay to build a causeway to Clearwater Beach, to be forever used for public purposes like parks and recreation. Any other use would require that it be returned to the state.

The city wants to remove the requirement so it can someday redevelop the Clearwater Municipal Marina that sits on the land, adding more parking and shops.

Some activists are wary of the idea, fearing a developer could come along and build a large hotel on the property. The homeowners associations of Clearwater Beach, Island Estates and Sand Key are also opposed to the idea.

Both sides say they want to preserve public access to the waterfront.

The city has asked Representative Jim Frishe to help pass a law during the upcoming legislative session eliminating the "reverter clause". Frishe will hold a public hearing beginning at 6 p.m. Monday at Clearwater's City Hall. Frishe said that public access to the waterfront needs to be protected, but that the marina will need to be redesigned at some point.

Public hearing:
6-8 p.m. Monday
Clearwater City Hall,
112 S Osceola Ave

October 23, 2009

Treasure Island Yacht Club Purchased By Music Producer

Treasure Island resident and music producer Bill Edwards has purchased the Treasure Island Tennis & Yacht Club, which has about 700 members. In 2008, the yacht club completed a $7.1 million expansion that adding 30,000 square feet to hold social events and accommodate its growing membership.Seven months later, the club filed for bankruptcy. Edwards bought the bankrupt club for cash. At the time, there was an outstanding mortgage of $8.6M.

After an interior and exterior makeover, Edwards plans to offer Las Vegas-style entertainment, top chefs and amenities at the newly renamed "The Club at Treasure Island". Initial club memberships sell for $250 (seniors), $900 (single or couple), $1,250 (family of four) or $2,250 (corporate) initially and between $100 and $250 a month thereafter. Members will have use of the clubhouse, fitness center, game room, tennis facilities, pool pavilion, and receive special concierge services, including anytime medical services and special pricing for fitness and beauty services and cruises.

Edwards will use his entertainment business connections to draw big name acts to The Club. Edwards operates Big3 Entertainment and Bill Edwards Presents — recording, touring and promotional companies that represent such stars as Jon Secada, Josh Groban, Toby Keith, Alicia Keys, John Mayer, Cheap Trick, Stryper and Carnie Wilson.

October 16, 2009

Stone Crab Cake Recipe From Joe's Crab Shack

Tis the season ... stone crab season, that is!
Stone crab season officially opened this week - time to visit your favorite seafood restaurant, or whip up a tasty dish at home. This recipe from Joe's Crab Shack is easy (despite the long ingredient list), and fresh stone crab is plentiful right now at your local seafood market (we like Surf & Turf market in Belleair Bluffs).

Joe’s Crab Cakes with Green Tomato Caper Remoulade

Makes six 4-oz. crab cakes

4 oz. jumbo lump crab meat
4 oz. lump crab meat
4 oz. (½ cup) mayonnaise
½ tsp. Joe’s Mustard Sauce (see below)
½ tsp. scallions, chopped
¼ tsp. garlic, chopped
½ tsp. shallots, chopped
Dash Tabasco sauce
½ tsp. lemon juice
2 egg yolks, 1 each
1 tbsp. Panko Bread Crumbs
Pinch kosher salt
Pinch ground pepper
Pinch Old Bay seasoning
Pinch garlic powder
Pinch onion powder

Green Tomato Caper Remoulade

4 oz. mayonnaise
½ tbsp. green tomatoes, diced
¼ tsp. sugar
1 tsp. capers
1 tsp. cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. shallots, chopped
1 tsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. Cajun seasoning
1 tsp. lime juice
¼ tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 tbsp. sour cream

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate.

Mustard Sauce

1 tbsp. Colman’s dry mustard, or to taste
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. A-1 Sauce
1/4 cup heavy cream or milk
Salt to taste

Place the mustard in a small mixing bowl. Whisk in the mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, A-1 Sauce, cream and a pinch of salt. Mix until well blended and creamy. Chill the sauce, covered, until serving.

October 15, 2009

Stone Crab Season Opens Today

Today marks the beginning of stone crab season, good news for fisherman and retaurant patrons.

Stone crabs are Florida's only renewable seafood resource, according the the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Stone crab claws are harvested and the body is returned to the water to generate new claws. Both claws of a stone crab may be harvested if they are of legal size, although this practice makes it difficult for the crab to defend itself from predators.

Stone Crab Rules
■No females with eggs
■2 3/4-inch claw
■Open season: Oct. 15 - May 15
■Bag limit: 1 gallon of claws per person or 2 gallons per vessel, whichever is less

Stone Crab Harvesting Gear
■It is unlawful to use any device on the taking of stone crabs that can puncture, crush, or injure the crab body, such as spears, grains, grabs, hooks, or similar devices
■Maximum of 5 stone crabs traps per person as described in the summary of stone crab trapping rules below

Stone Crab Trapping Rules
■5-trap maximum
■Buoy must have a legible "R" at least two inches high, permanently affixed to it. Buoys are not required if trap is fished from a dock.
■Trap shall have harvesters name and address permanently affixed to it in legible letters.
■Traps must be pulled manually. Any vessel that is rigged with a trap puller will be considered a commercial vessel and the appropriate licenses will be
■Traps must be pulled only during daylight hours.
■Traps must not be placed in navigational channels of the Intracoastal waterways, or in navigational channels maintained and marked by any county, municipal, state or federal
governmental agency.
■A Florida recreational fishing license is required to harvest stone crabs under the recreational fishing regulations.
■Stone crab trap specifications are the same for recreational and commercial harvesters.

October 9, 2009

Super Boat Weekend A Huge Success

Last weekend's Super Boat International Offshore Race is considered to be a success by it's organisers and the Chamber of Commerce and the event is expected to return again next October.

The 3 day festival had good turnout, especially on Sunday when spectators watched the race from both land and sea. About 20,000 people viewed the race offshore from anchored boats. Another estimated 7,000 people watched from the beach, while others observed from hotels and restaurants.

September 29, 2009

Weekend Super Boat Championship Schedule

2009 Clearwter Super Boat National Championship & Festival

This weekend long event offers fun for the whole family.

Friday October 2nd, 4pm - 9pm

· Coachman Park: Super Boats in the Dry Pits with food, drinks and fun for the entire family.

Saturday October 3rd

· Coachman Park: Super Boats in the Dry Pits 10am - 4pm

· Clearwater Beach at Pier 60: “Make a Difference Fishing Tournament” 8am - NOON

· Clearwater Beach at Pier 60: Super Boat practice runs NOON - 6pm off

· Clearwater Beach at Pier 60: Coast Guard Rescue Demonstration at 2pm

· Clearwater Beach at Pier 60: Caribbean Chillers Concert at 6pm

· Clearwater Beach at Pier 60: Fireworks at 8:30 pm

Sunday October 4th, 10am - 3pm

· Clearwater Beach at Pier 60: The Clearwater Super Boat Offshore National Championship Races

Visit official website

September 2, 2009

Super Boat National Championship Coming To Clearwater

Boats will be racing at speeds up to 140 mph off Clearwater Beach on October 4th when the Clearwater Super Boat National Championship offshore powerboating race comes to town. Some proceeds from the race will benefit the Clearwater Community Sailing Center.

Super Boat International of Key West has been staging races for 30 years and is best known for its annual races in Key West, Sarasota and New York City. It recently struck a deal with CBS to broadcast the Clearwater race and 7 others. The races feature 50-foot boats with F-16 jet canopies and 4,800-horsepower engines. During races, they reach speeds of 100 to 140 mph, depending on weather conditions. Super Boat International plans 9 races this year, the 1st was last weekend in Miami.

Super Boat International says it has applied for a race permit from the U.S. Coast Guard, and it expects to get one. Spotters in helicopters will watch for manatees and sea turtles, and will stop a race if necessary and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium will be assisting.

The race on Sunday will be free and open to the public, around 40,000 spectators are expected. Free parties at Coachman Park and Pier 60, and a free concert and fireworks are also planned for the weekend.
Boats up to 50 feet long will race from Pier 60 north for about 2½ miles and back, doing multiple laps around the loop. 30 to 35 boats are expected to compete in two races. Powerboats and their pit crews will set up beginning Friday, Oct. 2, in Coachman Park, where the public can get a closer look at them. The plan is for them to launch from the nearby Seminole Boat Ramp.

Oct. 2: Racing boats set up in Coachman Park.
Oct. 3: Racers check out the course at regular speed.
Oct. 4: Two races between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

September 1, 2009

Safe Boating Classes Offered

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 11-3 will offer a safe boating class on Saturday, Sept. 12, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 299 Boca Ciega Dr, Madeira Beach. The cost is $40. Completion of the Auxiliary’s About Boating Safely and Boating Skills and Seamanship classes may qualify boat owners for a discount on insurance. Call 391-5185.

August 20, 2009

Fishing Pier Approved For Belleair Causeway

The Board of Pinellas County Commissioners approved construction of a fishing pier and lift station at the Belleair Beach Causeway Bridge boat ramp park.

The construction of the new bridge decreased the fishing area in the park. Building a new pier would increase it, and provide a safer location compliant with ADA requirements, as opposed to fishing from a seawall. A new lift station is being installed to ensure operation of future boat ramp restrooms. The completion date is October 9th.

August 5, 2009

Harborage Marina Expansion Planned

The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners has given approval for the expansion of the Harborage Marina in St Pete, which is located on Bayboro Harbor accross from USF.

The marina owner, Marinas International, wants to add 12 slips for large yachts, 4 new piers with an access ramp, 7 slips for vessels up to 200 feet long and 9 60-foot slips. Currently the Harborage has more than 300 wet slips and a floating concrete dock system, and 400 high-and-dry storage spaces.

August 4, 2009

Clearwater Marina Post Office May Close

One of the conveniences at the Clearwater Beach municipal marina may be leaving. The post office located at the marina could close as early as October. It is on the list of thousands of post offices around the country that may be closed, according the the USPS. The decision making process is ongoing.

Other Pinellas locations on the list are Countryside, Cleveland St, St Pete Beach and Pass a Grille. The full list is here.

July 27, 2009

2009 Great Bay Scallop Search

Tampa Bay Watch and the Tampa Bay Estuary Program have teamed up again to sponsor the Great Bay Scallop Search. This event has been conducted since 1993 and is a resource-monitoring program where volunteers snorkel and search for scallops in select areas within Boca Ciega and Lower Tampa Bays. The search will take place on August 22nd at Ft De Soto park in Tierra Verde.

The purpose of the program is to monitor and document the health and status of the bay scallop population. Volunteers documented a record-setting 624 scallops in 2008.

Participants will search selected sites in Boca Ciega & Lower Tampa Bays for the elusive bay scallop. Bay scallops disappeared from Tampa Bay in the early 1960s when the bay water was highly-polluted from dredging operations and industrial and municipal wastes. Tampa Bay’s water quality and seagrass beds have since improved to levels that will once again support the scallop population.

The event is currently bull but if you would like to be added to the waiting list for boaters, please click here. To be notified of other upcoming volunteer events, please visit the Volunteer Opportunities/Become a Volunteer link!

July 16, 2009

Treasure Island Mooring Zone May Close

The anchoring zone near Caddy’s beachfront bar on Sunset Beach could be removed by resolution at the July 7th commission meeting. The mooring zone was stablished in September 2008 giving boaters access to the beach by allowing them to moor their vessels 125 feet away from the beach and wade back and forth to shore. The density of boats in the 200-foot wide area has caused problems for swimmers and boaters due to congestion.

Caddy’s owner, Tony Amico, told the commission in 2008 that he wanted the space to be used primarily as a drop-off point, perhaps even with a no-mooring policy.

Other areas near Caddy’s that allow boaters to approach the shoreline include are an unrestricted zone at 100th Ave, an idle speed zone at 77th Ave and a public boat ramp at 84th Avenue.

June 27, 2009

Shoreline Anglers Need To Buy New License

Beginning on August 1st, saltwater anglers who fish from shore or a structure affixed to shore will need to buy a shoreline fishing license unless they have a regular resident saltwater fishing license.

The new license applies only to Florida resident saltwater anglers who fish from shore. Resident anglers may prefer to purchase the regular recreational saltwater license that covers them, no matter where they fish for saltwater species in Florida. Nonresidents will need to purchase a regular nonresident saltwater fishing license.

The new license provides the same exemptions as a regular license, including senior citizens, children, disabled people who meet certain qualifications, active-duty military personnel while home on leave, and anglers who fish from a licensed pier. In addition, the shoreline license requirement includes two new exemptions: anglers drawing food stamps, cash assistance or Medicaid; and anglers fishing in their home counties using cane poles or gear that does not depend on mechanical retrieval.

For more information go to

June 26, 2009

4th Of July Celebrations and Fireworks

There are lots of area events scheduled to celebrate the 4th of July. Take in a parade, enjoy live music and then watch fireworks. All events are on Saturday July 4th unless noted.

Clearwater Celebrates America
Overlooking the beautiful intercoastal waterway at Coachman Park, this celebration features the Mostly Pops Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. A spectacular fireworks show will follow at 9:30 p.m. The event includes children's activities, food and beverages for purchase and exhibitor and sponsor booths. Gates open at 4 pm.
*Coachman Park 301 Drew. St., Clearwater.

4TH of July U.S. Constitution Boat Parade
Enjoy a patriotic, fun filled Rally that will kick off the First Annual Fourth of July U.S. Constitution boat parade. Festivities will start at noon at Gators Pass. There will be music and prize drawings throughout the afternoon. Decorate your boat - Show it off - Wave Flags! Or, just watch the boat parade sail by just after 3:00 P.M.
*Gators on the Pass 12754 Kingfish Dr, Treasure Island

4th of July Extravaganza at The Pier
Starting at 1pm on the east courtyard, enjoy live music by the Cool Daddies or step inside to catch a one man circus. If you've never tried a drum circle, this is your chance, with free drums or bring your own. Live music continues until 8pm. Fireworks start at 9 pm.
*The Pier 800 2nd Ave. NE, St. Petersburg.

Largo 4th of July Celebration
Music starts at 7pm with interactive kids activities near the stage. Fireworks begin at 9pm. Parking is available on site and free. No alcohol, pets, or personal fireworks.
*Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive, Largo.

Madeira Beach Fireworks
The fireworks display will be fired from the city recreation park on Rex Place next to the City Hall complex.
*Madeira Beach 300 Municipal Dr., Madeira Beach

Redington Shores Fireworks
The fireworks display will take place shortly after dusk in the County beach park.
*Redington Shores,182nd Avenue and Gulf Boulevard

St. Pete Beach Fireworks
Launched along the Gulf of Mexico, enjoy the fireworks show starting at dusk.
*St. Pete Beach Access Park, 4700 Gulf Blvd, St. Pete Beach

Treasure Island Fireworks
Enjoy fireworks on the beach. Bring your chair or blanket. Fireworks start at 9pm.
*Treasure Island Beach,10400 Gulf Blvd, Treasure Island

July 3rd Concert and Fireworks
Fri, Jul, 3 6:00 pm
*Knology Park , 373 Douglas Ave. Dunedin

Fireworks Cruise
Take a high speed water sightseeing ride. Then, watch Clearwater's fireworks display from the deck of the Sea Screamer. $35 adults, $25 children. 8 pm.
*Clearwater Beach Marina at Sea Screamer 25 Causeway Blvd. Clearwater Beach 727-447-7200

4th Of July Parade
The North Redington Beach 4th of July Parade will be begin at Addie Graham Park 173rd Avenue and proceed via Second Street and First Street to Radcliffe Park starting at 9 am.
*North Redington Beach at Addie Graham Park

June 20, 2009

New State and Federal Rules For Gulf Grouper

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently proposed new rules for the recreational and commercial harvest of grouper in Gulf of Mexico state waters to improve the population of gag grouper.

The FWC’s proposed new rules would establish a Feb. 1 through March 31 closed spawning season for all recreational and commercial harvest of shallow-water groupers (gag, black, red, yellowfin, scamp, yellowmouth, rock hind and red hind) in all Gulf state waters. This proposed two-month closure in Gulf state waters would extend a current one-month commercial closed season for gag, red and black grouper.In addition, the proposed rules would reduce the commercial minimum size limit for Gulf red grouper, and for all importation and sale of red grouper, from 20 inches to 18 inches total length.

New federal recreational regulations took effect in mid-May in federal Gulf of Mexico waters for shallow-water groupers:

• Grouper aggregate bag limit reduced to four grouper per person per day.
• Gag grouper bag limit reduced to two fish per day per person within the four grouper aggregate bag limit.
• Red grouper bag limit increased to two fish per person per day within the four grouper aggregate bag limit.
• The recreational harvest season is closed for all shallow water grouper from Feb. 1 through March 31. Shallow water groupers include gag, red, black, yellowfin, yellowmouth, rock hind, red hind and scamp groupers.

New federal commercial regulations also went into effect:
• Red grouper minimum-size limit reduceds to 18 inches total length.
• Red grouper quota increased to 5.75 million pounds (gutted weight).

State Approved Safe Boating Class

The Clearwater Sail and Power Squadron is offering a state approved Safe Boating Course. Course starts on August 3rd, and will be held on Monday and Wednesday nights from 7-9:30 pm. Call 727-441-8775 or visit

Proposed Snapper Season Changes

The proposed snapper season change is in response to data that suggests the Gulf red snapper fishing season needs to be shortened to compensate for overharvesting in 2008. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has proposed to shorten the recreational harvest season for red snapper in state waters to reduce the harvest and rebuild the population. A final public hearing on this proposed action is scheduled during the FWC's June meeting in Crystal River.

The National Marine Fisheries Service estimates that recreational fishers in the Gulf exceeded last year's annual red snapper catch limit by over 1 million pounds. Federal law requires that harvest levels be reduced the year following a previous year's overharvest. The NMFS has indicated that it will shorten the harvest season in Gulf federal waters (9 nautical miles offshore) from June 1 through Sept. 30 to June 1 through Aug. 14. The FWC is proposing the same season change in state waters.

June 11, 2009

Extended Anchorage Periods Approved

Boaters cruising Florida waters can now anchor for extended periods of time in cities where local ordinances limited anchorage to as little as 48 hours.

Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed a legislative package for the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission that prevents local Florida communities from forcing boaters to leave an anchorage unless the boat is a live-aboard vessel. The law defines a live-aboard vessel as one that is used solely as a residence and not for navigation; one represented as a place of business; and/or one that is declared to be a domicile. The law also prohibits local governments from regulating anchorage outside of established mooring fields unless the boat is a live-aboard vessel.

May 30, 2009

Local Olympic Sailer Gets Sponsor

Sunsail Sailing Vacations of Clearwater announced a sponsorship agreement to support local sailor Zach Railey, who learned how to sail in the youth program at Clearwater Yacht Club. Railey brought home a Silver medal from the 2008 Beijing Olympics and wants to to compete in the 2012 Olympics in London.

May 15, 2009

Belleair Beach Boat Slip Available

The city owned marina has a slip available, call 595-4646. The rate is $7/foot with a 30 ft minimum, and is only available to Belleair Beach residents.

April 10, 2009

Annual Anclote Key Lighthouse Tour and Open House

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, The Florida Park Service and the Friends of Anclote Key invite the public to view the Anclot Key Lighthouse. The historic 19th century lighthouse was vital tot eh Tarpon Springs sponging industry and was preserved for future generations.

On Saturday April 25th the lighthouse will be open from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The lighthouse compound will be open to visitors and tours of the lighthouse will be given.

Admission to the preserve is free. Anclote Key is accessible by boat or by ferry: Sunline Cruises (727) 944-4468,
Island Time (727) 447-0969 or
Spongearama (727) 943-2164

To climb the lighthouse you must wear closed toe shoes and be able to climb 101 steps in a hot enclosed space. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen.

The 19th century lighthouse was preserved for future generations and was re-lit in 2001. It played a vital role in the Tarpon Springs sponging industry. For more information visit or

April 1, 2009

Coast Guard Offering Navigation Class

Flotilla 11-1 of the Coast Guard Auxiliary is offering an 8 session program, the "Weekend Navigator" starting Monday April 6th and ending April 30. It will be held on Mondays and Thursdays from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Clearwater Sailing Center at 1001 Gulf Blvd in Sand Key.

Participants will learn how to use charts, plotting tools and a GPS. Registration starts at 7 p.m. Monday. Participants are welcome to bring their GPS. The $75 fee includes books, study guides, charting software, and plotting tools. It is open to adults and youths. Call 469-8895 or visit

February 26, 2009

Lower Clearwater Marina Rates

In an effort to fill slips the Clearwater City Council accepted a recommendation from Harbormaster Bill Morris and Finance Director Margie Simmons to lower rates immediately to $8.51 for Clearwater residents, and $10.33 for non-residents. Those rates would be frozen thru 2010, then increased by 5-percent annually.

Laser Midwinter East Regatta Results

The Clearwater Community Sailing Center in Sand Key served as the launching point for the Laser Midwinter East Regatta, which was hosted by the Clearwater Yacht Club February 18th - 22nd. Weather conditions were tough the 1st 2 days, with small craft advisories, strong winds, driving rain and 4 to 6 foot seas, but improved for the last 2 days.

Paige Railey of Clearwater won the laser radial division. Anna Tunnicliffe of Fort Lauderdale, Olympic gold medalist in Beijing, placed second. Local Emily Billing of Clearwater Yacht Club, placing 8th. Great Britain's Nick Thompson won the laser full rig division .

February 20, 2009

Clearwater Beach Regatta

Laser Regatta sets up off Clearwater beach
The Clearwater Yacht Club is currently hosting the Laser Midwinters East sailing regatta. The regatta, which is an International Sailing Federation Grade 1 event, runs through Sunday. There are 150 sailors from 15 countries racing in this event in the waters off Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach. America's Cup Hall of Fame and Clearwater Yacht Club member Stephen Van Dyke and Yoram Sharett of Israel are members of the International Jury. The athletes to watch in this event are Olympic gold medalist Anna Tunnicliffe, and from the Clearwater Yacht Club, Paige Railey and Emily Billing.

February 10, 2009

Penny For Pinellas Could Fund City Marina

The slow economy is affecting the downtown boat slips to be built this year. Expensive hobbies like boating are among the first things people cut during tough times. Originally the city expected to allot the slips by lottery because of high demand, but only 2 people have signed up for slips.

Originally, the $128 million project was intended to be self-supporting, with monthly slip rents of approximately $15.50 per foot of boat length covering the operating costs and debt service. But boaters in today’s economy are not willing to pay such rents.

City officials found that out when they recently raised the slip rent for Clearwater residents at the Clearwater Beach municipal marina from $6.94 to $9.13 per foot, with the intention of raising it to $15.50 by 2011. The marina lost several tenants, who weren't willing to pay more than $9. Councilman Paul Gibson suggested keeping the price at $9.13 for the foreseeable future instead of raising it to $15.50. Mayor Frank Hibbard said that he doesn’t have a problem with reducing the projected slip rent, but he doesn’t know what the right price is, and that even a marina that initially runs in the red would be good for the city.

The city’s finance director projected that cancelling the marina project would cost the city more than $2.3 million in money already spent or committed. And, it would not only cause the city to lose a $1.2 million grant but might also hurt the city’s reputation for reliability, thereby hurting its chances of getting future grants.

With the marina project going forward with little imminent chance of becoming self-supporting, Gibson suggested using Penny for Pinellas sales tax revenue to build it. He said he would prioritize it and move it ahead of other projects. The city finance director said that there isn’t enough Penny money available, but the money could be borrowed from the city’s Central Insurance Fund until Penny funds become available. A public hearing will be required before Penny funds can be used for the project.

January 28, 2009

Boat Owners May Be Eligible For Tax Deductions

Recreational boat owners who paid state sales taxes on a boat purchase, or who secured a bank loan to finance a boat may be eligible for deductions on their 2008 tax return.
Sales Tax Deduction - For boat owners who paid substantial state sales taxes on a new or used boat purchase last year, the Tax Extenders Act of 2008 signed by President Bush on October 3 continues to offer a federal tax benefit with a deduction for state sales taxes. Boaters must choose either the state sales tax deduction or state income tax deduction on their federal tax return — you cannot take both.
In addition, to take the state sales tax deduction, the sales tax on a boat purchase must be applied at the same tax rate as the state’s general sales tax. In order to claim the sales tax deduction, tax returns must be itemized. State sales taxes are entered on IRS form Schedule A, line 5b.
Boat Loan Deduction - For those owners with a secured boat loan, mortgage interest paid on the loan may be deductible from your federal income taxes. Taxpayers may use the “second home” mortgage interest deduction for one primary home and one second home and must itemize deductions on their returns. A boat is considered a second home for federal tax purposes if it has a galley, a head, and sleeping berth.
Some boaters may be unaware of this potential tax benefit because not all lending institutions send borrowers an Internal Revenue Service form 1098 which reports the interest paid. Not receiving the form does not preclude taking the deduction. If a 1098 is not available, boaters should contact their lender for the amount of interest paid and should enter it on line 11 on Schedule A along with the lender’s tax ID number. If a form 1098 is sent, boaters should simply enter the amount on line 10 of Schedule A.

For those who fall under the Alternative Minimum Tax, most deductions are unavailable as taxes are calculated differently. Boaters are urged to contact a tax preparer or financial advisor.

For more details on the mortgage deduction, go to and download Publication 936 or the Fact Sheets. For state tax deduction information download Publication 600, which also includes state-by-state tax tables.

January 24, 2009

If You Catch A Great White, Let It Go (Yes, Really)

Commercial shark season reopened this morning in the Gulf of Mexico. There are 20 species that must be released, including the Great White.

A 2 year investigation just closed involving a small Great White caught off Madeira Beach, resulting in over $40k in fines. An anonymous tipster called the authorities, who found the head of the shark in a storage facility in Seminole. The jaws are removed and sold on the black market for up to $25k.

The Great White Shark is an open water predator usually associated with cool waters (think Jaws) not the Gulf of Mexico. But in January, the water temps fall to 60 degrees or lower, and the sharks move into area waters, usually 20 miles offshore. Over the years, the bay area has had a few large sharks brought in, including a 2200 lb 15 1/2 foot white shark caught off Indian Rocks Beach in 1994.

In December 2008, nearly two years after the seizure, authorities released details of the operation. Three individuals and two corporations were charged.

Boat Slips and Marinas For Sale

There are currently boatslips for sale at the following marinas:
Turtle Cove - Tarpon Springs, Island Yacht Club at Island Estates, - Clearwater, Pasadena Yacht & Country Club - St Petersburg. Prices range from $35k to @250k. There are also marinas for sale from $1 Million. For more information on Pinellas County Real Estate visit PropCo Real Estate or call toll free 888-499-5454.

Boat Ramps, Marinas, Yacht Clubs, and Storage


Belleair Causeway Boat Ramp 10 Ramps, 108 Parking Spaces
Park St. and Elbow Lane North, St. Petersburg

Jungle Prada Park 2 Ramps, 16 Parking Spaces
Park St. and Elbow Lane North, St. Petersburg

Madeira Beach Municipal Marina 1 Ramp, 0 Parking Spaces
503 150th Ave., Madeira Beach

Maximo Park 5 Ramps, 47 Parking Spaces
34th St. and Pinellas Point Dr. South, St. Petersburg

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Dunedin City Marina 1 Ramp, 0 Parking Spaces
51 Main St., Dunedin

Bay Vista Park 1 Ramp, 15 Parking Spaces
4th St. and Pinellas Point Dr. South, St. Petersburg

Coffee Pot Park 1 Ramp, 20 Parking Spaces
1st St. and 31st Ave. Northwest, St. Petersburg

Crisp Park 2 Ramps, 30 Parking Spaces
Popular St. and 35th Ave. Northeast, St. Petersburg

Demen's Landing Park 2 Ramps, 15 Parking Spaces
Bayshore Dr. and 2nd Ave. South, St. Petersburg

Grandview Park 2 Ramps, 40 Parking Spaces
6th St. and 39th Ave. South, St. Petersburg

Safety Harbor Marina (Municipal) 1 Ramp, 0 Parking Spaces
Tampa bay, 750 Main St, Safety Harbor

St. Petersburg Municipal Marina 2 Ramps, 0 Parking Spaces
300 Second Ave., SE, St. Petersburg

Sunlit Cove Park 1 Ramp, 5 Parking Spaces
Sunlit Cove Dr. and Bay St. Northeast, St. Petersburg

Park Boulevard Boat Ramp
18651 Gulf Boulevard Indian Shores

War Veterans' Memorial Park
9600 Bay Pines Boulevard, St. Petersburg

Ft. De Soto Park - 3500 Pinellas Bayway South, Tierra Verde

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Bay Pines Marina, St Petersburg 727-392-4922
Blind Pass Marina, St Pete Beach 727-360-4281
Boca Ciega Yacht Club 727-321-7295
Clearwater Harbor Marina 727-462-6954
Clearwater Municpal Marina 727-462-6954
Clearwater Yacht Club 727-447-6000
Carlouel Yacht Club 727-446-9162
Hubbards Marina, Johns Pass Madeira Bch 727-392-0167
Isla Del Sol Yacht Club, St Petersburg 727-906-4752
Island Yacht Club, Clearwater 727-461-2315
Island Harbor Marina, Palm Harbor 727-784-3014
Lighthouse Point Marina, St Petersburg 727-384-3625
Madeira Beach Municipal Marina 727-399-2631
Madeira Beach Yacht Club 727-393-0778
Maximo Marina, St Petersburg 727-867-8087
Pass a Grille Yacht Club 727-360-1646
Pirate's Cove Marina, Dunedin 727-733-1102
Pasadena Yacht Club 727-381-7922
Pass a Grille Marina, St Pete Beach 727-360-0100
Royal Yacht Club 727-736-4001
St Petersburg Municpal Marina 727-893-7329
St Petersburg Yacht Club 727-896-7212
Tierra Verde Marina 727-866-0255

Treasure Island Yacht Club 727-367-4511

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Lighthouse Yacht Services 727- 937-0327
527Anclote Rd Tarpon Springs, FL

Florida Trailer Storage 727- 533-8111
1700 Palm Way Largo, FL

Stanford Storage 727- 546-9646
7950118th Ave Largo, FL

Ozona Boat Storage & Repairs 727- 789-9497
211 Hedden Ct Palm Harbor, FL

Buccaneer Bay Storage 727- 549-8980
6675 114th Ave Largo, FL

Snug Harbor Marine Inc 727- 398-7470
13625 Gulf Blvd Madeira Beach, FL

Lightning Bay Performance 727- 578-0880
10900 Gandy Blvd N St Petersburg, FL

Gulf Marine Ways Inc 727- 937-4401
950 Dodecanese Blvd Tarpon Springs, FL

Viking Boat Works Co Inc 727- 576-1094
10121 Snug Harbor Rd NE St Petersburg, FL

Neptune Marine-Pinellas County 727- 934-2370
1046 Island Ave Tarpon Springs, FL

Progressive Marine Svc Inc 727- 822-2886
1351 Bay St SE St Petersburg, FL

Salt Creek Marine Ctr 727- 895-4481
107 15th Ave SE St Petersburg, FL

Sailor's Wharf 727- 823-1155
1421 Bay St SE St Petersburg, FL

Bay Area Rv & Boat Storage (813) 837-2132
7215 S Germer St Tampa, FL

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