Hurricane Season 2018: What’s the Forecast?

Wondering how the Hurricane Season 2018 Forecast is going to weather South Florida? Last year hit South Florida, particularly the Keys, extremely hard. A new hurricane forecast for the Atlantic has just been released, and great news: the probability for major hurricanes making major landfall in the United States and Caribbean is below average. If you’re a South Florida resident, or a boat club member, you can breathe a sigh of relief—for now.

Hurricane Season 2018 Forecast
Here’s an image we hope not to see this hurricane season! (NOAA)

The forecast for Gulfstream Boat Club’s locations in Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, and Hypoluxo is looking good. As of July 2, 2018, here is the news from the Department of Atmospheric Science, Tropical Meteorology Project, from Colorado State University:

ATLANTIC SEASONAL HURRICANE SEASON 2018 FORECAST:  HURRICANE ACTIVITY AND LANDFALL STRIKE PROBABILITY.

We have decreased our forecast and now believe that 2018 will have below-average activity. The tropical and subtropical Atlantic is currently much colder than normal, and the odds of a weak El Niño developing in the next several months have increased. With the decrease in Hurricane Season 2018 Forecast, the probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States coastline and in the Caribbean has decreased as well. As is the case with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them. They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.

PROBABILITIES FOR AT LEAST ONE MAJOR (CATEGORY 3-4-5) HURRICANE LANDFALL ON EACH OF THE FOLLOWING COASTAL AREAS:
1)  Entire U.S. coastline – 39% (average for last century is 52%)
2)  U.S. East Coast Including Peninsula Florida – 22% (average for last century is 31%)
3)  Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle westward to Brownsville – 21% (average for last century is 30%)

PROBABILITY FOR AT LEAST ONE MAJOR (CATEGORY 3-4-5) HURRICANE TRACKING INTO THE CARIBBEAN (10-20°N, 60-88°W)
31% (average for last century is 42%)

Information obtained through June 2018 indicates that the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season will have activity below the median 1981-2010 season. This revised prediction is a considerable decrease from our prior seasonal forecasts issued in April and June. There remains some uncertainty with this forecast which we outline in the following paragraphs.

Captain in boat offering aid after Hurricane Irma
We delivered diapers, water, food, and more to Marathon Key last hurricane season.

We estimate that 2018 will have an additional 4 hurricanes (median is 6.5), 10 named storms (median is 12.0), 41.50 named storm days (median is 60.1), 15 hurricane days (median is 21.3), 1 major (Category 3-4-5) hurricane (median is 2.0) and 2 major hurricane days (median is 3.9). The probability of U.S. major hurricane landfall is estimated to be about 75 percent of the long-period average. We expect Atlantic basin Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) and Net Tropical Cyclone (NTC) activity for the remainder of the season to be approximately 65 percent of their long-term median values.

The Hurricane Season 2018 Forecast forecast is based on an extended-range early July statistical prediction scheme that was developed utilizing 36 years of past data. Analog predictors are also utilized. We now anticipate a below-average Atlantic basin hurricane season. The tropical Atlantic is much colder than normal. A colder than normal tropical Atlantic provides less fuel for developing tropical cyclones but also tends to be associated with higher pressure and a more stable atmosphere. These conditions tend to suppress Atlantic hurricane activity.

Also, the odds of a weak El Niño for the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season in 2018 have increased somewhat. If El Niño were to develop, it would tend to lead to more vertical wind shear in the Caribbean extending into the tropical Atlantic, tearing apart hurricanes as they are trying to develop and intensify.

Coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them, and they need to prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.

For more information on the Hurricane Season 2018 Forecast, visit http://tropical.colostate.edu. And for now, feel free to plan some summer South Florida boat trips with GBC!

Boating Classes in Palm Beach

Free Boating Classes in Palm Beach

Boating Classes in Palm Beach – The ABC’s of Boating.

Being a member of a Palm Beach boat club is a great investment. Why own a boat? But even if you’re a renting a boat for the day, it’s important to educate yourself on the basics of boating. If you were looking for some Boating Classes in Palm Beach we got news for you! Each new Gulfstream Boat Club member receives a boating orientation from one of our licensed captains. We’ll “show you the ropes”!

The Palm Beach area also offers boat club members who want to learn a little more about boating some great options.

Boating Classes at The Palm Beach Sail & Power Squadron

For example, America’s Boating Course is offered locally the first Saturday and Sunday of the month by Palm Beach Sail & Power Squadron at their headquarters. It is open to the public. You do not have to own a boat to take this course; it’s perfect for boat club members. It’s a great opportunity to learn from the experts.  You never know when that bit of boating knowledge will become useful.

The Palm Beach Sail & Power Squadron is located at 1125 Old Dixie Hwy., Lake Park, Florida.  The America’s Boating Course is offered to promote public awareness of the dangers on the water and to teach safe and proper skills. The certified instructors are volunteers from Palm Beach Sail & Power Squadron.

Boating Classes in Palm Beach
America’s Boating Course classes are held regularly in the Palm Beach area.

The course covers:

  • Boating terms, types, charts, fueling, safety, handling, anchoring, trailering, and personal watercraft
.
  • Required equipment, navigation lights, boat registration, law enforcement and Florida regulations.
  • Aids to navigation, navigation rules, emergencies including use of VHF radio.
  • Review of homework, overall review, final exam and awarding of certificates, membership interviews.

The course is open to anyone 12 years or older.  Successful completion of this course will qualify that person to obtain a Florida Boating Safety Education I.D. Card. Taking some boating classes in Palm Beach should be everyone’s priority.

Registration is at 8:15 AM Saturday morning. Cost is $30 per person (cash or check) payable at registration. Class begins promptly at 8:30 AM (right after registration) and will run until 4 PM, with lunch break. Return Sunday at 2 PM (until about 4) for a review, exam (60 questions) and squadron orientation. For more information visit WWW.PALMBEACHSPS.ORG or call (561) 863-1461.

Online Boating Classes

Online Boating Classes
The BoatUS Foundation sponsors a free online boating class.

Don’t have two days to indulge your desire to learn more about boating? How about an online course? At the BoatUS Foundation website, you can test your nautical knowledge with a 75-question Boating Safety Course, specific to Florida. This test covers a broad range of topics that are appropriate for all boaters — power, sail and personal watercraft. You will be able to print your BoatUS Foundation certificate upon successful completion of this 75-question course, which is approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.

Free Boating Classes in South Florida

The best place in the Palm Beach area to start your education on boating is as a member of Gulfstream Boat Club. Call us at 561.865.7797 or click here to learn more about membership, which includes a free orientation from one of our licensed captains! Taking your first boating classes in Palm Beach was never easier!

GBC’s Custom Intracoastal Waterway Map

Where to get an intracoastal waterway map?

We’re the best boat club in South Florida, so we need to provide the best map, right?
When clients arrive for their boat rentals at our Delray Beach, Palm Beach, and Boynton Beach locations, they receive a GBC-customized map. A GBC staff member or captain will guide you through it, especially if it is the first time you are renting one of our twenty-plus boats. (Deck boat, pontoon, or single- or dual-console: what’s your favorite? Check them all out here!)
South Florida's intracoastal waterway map
Here’s a sneak peek of GBC’s new custom-designed nautical chart.
For the first time in five years, we’ve redesigned our Gulfstream Boat Club intracoastal waterway map or nautical chart, and we can’t wait to provide it with each boat rental.

What is the difference between a map and a nautical chart?

According to NOAA, a nautical chart provides detailed information on water depths, shoreline, tide predictions, obstructions such as rocks and shipwrecks, and navigational aids. The term “map,” on the other hand, is much broader: road maps, atlases, city plans, etc.
A nautical chart is used by mariners to plot courses through open bodies of water as well as in highly trafficked areas. It provides detailed information on hidden dangers to navigation. Indeed, the Intracoastal Waterway in South Florida is such a great place to boat, but there can be a lot of traffic on the water, and there are lots of sandbars, shoals, and inlets to be mindful of.

What can you learn from using our intracoastal waterway map?

Most boat rentals originate from our Delray Beach location at Marina Delray. From there you can head north as far as Palm Beach. Peanut Island is a popular destination, and Sailfish Marina is a great place to have a dockside lunch before you head back south. (And you’ll pass our Hypoluxo location on the way north!). It’s all in the intracoastal waterway map we’ll provide.
If you use your boat rental to head south from Delray Beach, you’ll be headed towards Boca Raton. Either stop at one of Delray’s waterfront restaurants like Deck 84, or motor to Lake Boca, with great views and a dockside lunch at the Waterstone Hotel.
Consult our intracoastal waterway map to remain aware of no-wake zones. You don’t want to return from your boat rental with a ticket. And remember to stay to the east of green markers, and to the west of red markers. This is the most popular mistake of boaters new to this busy stretch of the Intracoastal.
Thanks to Dee Cutrona of Maude Press for redesigning our nautical chart! Time to schedule your next South Florida boat rental—you’ll get a free chart when you do!

Palm Beach Tides: Your Guide to Great Fishing

Where to check for Palm Beach Tides?
Don’t forget to check the tides before your next fishing cruise!

The importance of Tidal Data

Palm Beach tides are in the minds of anyone familiar with Palm Beach County’s inlets, such as the Boynton Beach Inlet. Navigating boats through shallow water ports, the Intracoastal Waterway, and other tricky or busy waters requires a knowledge of the time and height of the tides, as well as the speed and direction of the tidal currents. Gulfstream Boat Club can help.

Tidal data affects not only boating, but fishing and surfing, three of South Florida’s most popular water activities. GBC’s experienced captains use knowledge of the tides and tidal currents to improve their catches. “Depending on the species and water depth in a particular area, fish may concentrate during ebb or flood tidal currents,” NOAA’s website reports. In other words, checking Boynton Beach tide tables online or on a phone app can be the difference between a big day of fishing and a bust.

So when you’re getting ready for a day of fishing or boating in South Florida, besides packing the rods, snacks, and sunscreen, definitely be sure to check the Palm Beach tides.

Palm Beach Tides and Fishing

Here’s a good explanation of how tides affect fishing, according to Sport Fishing Magazine:

“The gravitational pull of the moon and sun drives tides, forcing water up or down over a period of the time. Low tides reveal structure such as jetty rocks, sea grass, pilings and oyster beds; high tides flood those fish ­aggregators. Current moves water in specific directions; currents can be driven via tide, wind or even waters of different ­densities abutting each other. All summed up, currents and tides create water movement, and understanding how that movement causes fish to react dramatically increases your chances of success.”

Like most living creatures (humans included!), fish want to conserve energy, so they rarely swim against the current. That means they like to follow the water movement, and also tend to huddle behind structures or gather in eddies to escape it.

“When fishing in current, especially in shallow waters, anglers should cast up-current to let their presentation flow naturally,” says Sport Fishing magazine. “This axiom holds true no matter where you’re fishing in salt water — neither prey nor predator lackadaisically swims against the tide.”

Palm Beach Tides Sources

So what sources does Gulfstream Boat Club rely on for tidal information?

Here are a few of our favorite websites:

The Discover the Palm Beaches website offers links to the live beach cameras in the area: Lake Worth Inlet, Boynton Beach Inlet, Jupiter Inlet, Boca Raton Inlet, and the Delray Beach cam. The Boynton Beach tides are the ones we at Gulfstream Boat Club check most often.

NOAA.gov can always be counted on for up-to-date information. Their local tides and currents info is linked to Lake Worth Pier.

Palm Beach Tides Forecast
Tides4fishing is a popular website to check the tides.

Tides4Fishing offers easy to read, hour by hour information on Palm Beach tides.

 

Check Palm Beach Tides with Magic Seaweed
Plan for tides days in advance with Magic Seaweed.

Magic Seaweed offers forecasts and a whole week’s worth of tidal info at one glance.

Here are some helpful tide-related phone apps for the Boynton Beach area:

Tide Charts Near Me has 6,000 stations around the word. By default it will pick the closest station to you.

Tides Near Me offers fast, free current tidal conditions.

Fishbrain app for checking Palm Beach Tides
The Fishbrain phone app gives you access to a whole community of anglers.

Watch the Palm Beach tides and connect with other anglers on the Fishbrain app. Fishbrain allows you to access a wealth of community fishing intel, track your catches, and connect with other fishermen. It even offers short weekly tutorial videos.

Now that you’ve checked some websites and downloaded a phone app to track local tides, you’re ready to call Gulfstream Boat Club and set up your next fishing excursion! We’re open seven days a week: 561.865.7797.

 

 

 

Florida Boat Rentals: Why to Choose GBC?

Looking for a Florida Boat Rentals place?
GBC is South Florida’s top choice for boat rentals!

Florida Boat Rentals: GBC gives you all the answers

You’re in Palm Beach County and eyeing the serene Intracoastal, and considering a boat rental. You’re just one phone call away from a fun fishing charter, sunset cruise, or family adventure. Gulfstream Boat Club offers more than 20 high-end boats, as well as complimentary fishing and snorkel gear. But why is GBC  the best florida boat rentals choice for you?

A simple internet search will pull up several “boat rentals” in South Florida. But here’s why GBC is the top boat club in the area. Besides our fleet of expertly maintained boats, multiple locations, and highly trained staff, here are a few other considerations that make us so popular:

Are there any Rental Boat Licenses and Regulations?

All of GBC’s captains are not only fully licensed, but know South Florida’s Intracoastal waters and Atlantic Ocean better than anyone. Each state has different age and license requirements for boaters. Boat rental operators and charter captains are required to have a valid boat license, which is regulated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). This license allows operators to carry anywhere from 4 to more than 11 customers on board a boat, depending on which charter boat license they carry.

Unless you have gotten prior approval, on a special occasion such as July 4 or the Holiday Boat Parade, GBC’s boats must be returned by 6PM for your safety and that of your passengers. Pets are allowed, but we recommend adequate safety precautions for their comfort.

GBC captains are fully licensed and know where the fish are hiding!

What’s in the Boat Rental Contract?

GBC’s contract spells out every agreement, rule and eventuality of a boat rental: Condition, Damage, Rental Term, Fines/Permits, Deposits, Use of Boat, and more. Normal wear and tear is expected, but if you come back with a damaged propeller or a ripped captain seat, you’re likely going to have to pay for the damage. If you would like a copy of our boat rental contract sent to you in advance, please give us a call at 561.865.7797.

Experience the Intracoastal on a cruise to Lake Boca with friends!

Is Safety Equipment Provided with every Rental?

GBC has all safety equipment on board, and can provide life jackets of various sizes for your all your florida boat rentals. Your captain will give you an orientation and safety lesson, so you will know exactly where it’s all stored and how to operate it. He’ll also provide you with detailed maps of the waters.

Can I rent a boat via Phone?

Now that you understand why Gulfstream Boat Club is the premier club for South Florida Boat Rentals, give us a call to become a member or try a boat rental for yourself. We take care of all the details so you can experience the fun of boating. Boating is our passion; make it yours. Call us at 561.865.7797 today!

Guide to Boating with Dogs: Part Two

Dog on a boat? Follow these recommendations for his and your safety.
Bringing your dog out on the boat? Invest in a life jacket for his safety and yours!

Bringing your Dog on a Boat? Follow these recommendations.

Dog on a Boat? For some families, no outing is complete without including the dog—boat cruises included! Dogs are welcome on GBC’s boats, but we have a few suggestions to make your dog’s—and your—outing a success. Our recent article guide about Boating with Dogs offered some tips to prepare your pet for your boat ride. Here we focus on helpful tips for you and your dog while aboard:

1. Keep your dog’s first outing on the water short.

Your dog’s initial boat ride should be brief, so he can adjust to the movement of the water. Sometimes, like people, they can experience seasickness. If so, your vet may be able to prescribe medication.

2. Remember to bring water and sunscreen for Fido.

Short-haired dogs can get sunburned on a boat, so make sure you’ve got sun protection that tried and true, and is not irritating to your dog’s skin. If you consulted Part One of our blog, you’ve already purchased a collapsible water bowl, or brought a bowl from home. And make room for your dog in the shade as well! Select a boat from our fleet that offers generous sun protection—and don’t skip their feet when you apply it, as boat surfaces can be reflective and hot.

3. If you dock the boat and take your dog swimming, remember that it’s difficult for them to get back aboard.

At sea, most canines cannot get back aboard from the water without human help—so if your dog is too heavy for you to assist back on board, you may want to rethink that doggie paddle… A dog in a boat is a safe dog.

4. If your cruise is a long one, you’ll need a plan for your dog to relieve himself.

If you can train your dog to use puppy pads on a boat, that makes cleaning up a snap. Pack plenty of doggie waste bags and paper towels. If you make stops on land in Lantana, Boynton Beach, Delray, or anywhere along your route, that’s a great time to take the dog for a walk.

5. Don’t let your dog drink from the Intracoastal.

If he’s had ample drinking water on board the boat, he most likely won’t be tempted. The water on the Intracoastal is not safe for people or pets to drink.

6. Use common sense.

With a dog on a boat, basically follow the same safety rules as you would for kids—and then some. Use caution around slick or slippery areas, keep an eye on your dog’s location, and keep him happy with plenty of water, food, and shade.

For many of us in South Florida, pets are a part of our family—so plan to include your dog on your next boat trip! Any questions? Call GBC at 561.865.7797 to help select the best dog-friendly boat for your next outing.

GBC Reaches Out to the Florida Keys by Boat

Packing up disaster relief supplies to take down to Florida Keys residents.
Packing up disaster relief supplies to deliver to Florida Keys residents.

Donations made it to the Florida Keys by boat.

Thanks to the generous donations of Gulfstream Boat Club and Boatsetter members, last week our team was able to deliver quite literally a boatload of supplies to areas of the Florida Keys destroyed by Hurricane Irma. 
 
We took off early last Thursday from Gulfstream Boat Club in Delray in a 37-foot Boston Whaler full of food, water, diapers, school supplies, clothing, and more. Our plan was to get as far into the Florida Keys by Boat as we could with the fuel we had. 
 
I spoke with Justin Stuckart, an Army vet who is working with Congressman Brian Mast to coordinate relief efforts throughout the Keys. Justin and I were in touch throughout the week. He also connected me with Tracy Garcia, a resident of Marathon, one of the hardest-hit places. She’s working every day to help get families back on their feet, and specifically to get the schools back open. Part of that mission includes getting students and their families much-needed supplies.
We delivered diapers, water, food, and more to Marathon Key.
We delivered diapers, water, food, and more to Marathon Key.
On our way south we started calling marinas asking if we could take on some fuel, but most were closed or out of fuel. However, Valerie at Shelter Bay Marine in Marathon welcomed us. She invited us to coordinate with Tracy there. Shelter Bay was able to get us 100 gallons of fuel (which we needed to get home), and their team helped us unload. It was a wonderful moment of community.

 

Much of the Keys is still recovering from Hurricane Irma.
Much of the Keys is still recovering from Hurricane Irma.
There is still a grave lack of fuel and power in Marathon, Big Pine, and Cudjoe Key. The residents we encountered were very thankful, but obviously tired, sad, and hurting. Seeing us show up with thousands of pounds of food, school supplies, clothing, and more brought them a good measure of joy and relief. 
We're feeling lucky that we did not sustain much damage from recent hurricanes, and feel compelled to help others that did.
We’re feeling lucky that we did not sustain much damage from recent hurricanes, and feel compelled to help others that did.

 With four major natural disasters in and near the U.S. during the last few months, we urge local businesses to lend a hand to their communities, and others in need. Thank you again for your support and donations. —Alex Warner, Owner, Gulfstream Boat Club

Children’s Life Jackets and Other Boating Safety Tips

Each GBC boat is loaded with children's life jackets—use them while doing water sports as well!
Each GBC boat is loaded with children’s life jackets—use them while doing water sports as well!

Children’s life jackets are a must in terms of boat safety.

There’s also a lot more that Gulfstream Boat Club offers to keep your family safe on a boating trip or fishing cruise.

Every new GBC member receives a free boating orientation. We’ll show you how to operate a boat, the features of each model, and of course where the adults and children’s life jackets are located. We require that children under the age of six wear a life jacket, and we strongly recommend it for older children and adults while on board, or when waterskiing, tubing, or doing other water sports.

Gulfstream Boat Club prides itself on keeping our boats expertly maintained and safe; and for you as a member, it’s one of the top benefits. Why own a boat?

Did you know that preventable injuries are the #1 cause of death of kids in the United States? Children’s life jackets are no joke. Here are some other boating safety tips to ensure a safe cruise from Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit organization working to help families and communities keep kids safe from injuries.

Boating Safety Tips

Wear a Life Jacket

• Always have your younger children wear a life jacket while on boats, during water sports, or even on the dock. And make sure the life jacket fits snugly by having the child make a “touchdown” signal by raising both arms straight up. If the life jacket hits a child’s chin or ears, it may be too big or the straps may be too loose.
• According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Office of Boating Safety, babies should not travel on a boat — including rowboats, kayaks, motorboats, and sailboats — until they are at the appropriate weight to wear an approved personal flotation device (PFD); and no, car seats don’t count.

Keep Little Kids Warm

• Even if it’s a warm, sunny day when you take off on your South Florida cruise, the weather can change quickly.
• And infants and young kids are at a higher risk for hypothermia. If your children seem cold or are shivering, wrap them tightly in a dry blanket or towel.

Teach Your Kids Basic Boating Rules

The basic boat rules should be followed by everyone. Children need to be taught to keep their hands and feet inside the boat at all times, and not run in or around the boat.

Better Safe than Sorry

• A large portion of boating accidents involve alcohol consumption. To protect your safety and loved ones around you, hire a GBC captain if you’re thinking of drinking on the boat. We’re happy to be your designated driver!
• All GBC captains have CPR training. If you’re thinking of taking out a boat without a captain, it’s great to have someone on board who has had CPR training as well. Local hospitals, fire departments and recreation departments offer CPR training.
• All drivers of a GBC boat must be 25 years of age. Florida law states that no one under the age of 14 may operate a personal watercraft at any time. If your teens would like to fish or cruise without you (gasp!), we’ll provide a fun and responsible captain to safely drive the boat. Oh, and Children’s life jackets are free!

Have you been a GBC member for a while, and would like a refresher course on our boats and boat safety? Or would you like a family member or two to have one as well? Just give us a call at GBC at 561.865.7797 to schedule!