Fireworks - Keeping Your Boat Clean by admin

Watching fireworks over the water is certainly a lot of fun, it also comes with a headache.  All of the ash and soot falling from the sky has to go somewhere, and it often finds its way onto your boat.  While there is certainly no immediate threat, letting fireworks fall out sit on your boat indefinitely is not a good idea.  It can find its way into vinyl, canvas, and non-skid.  We highly recommend a full wash as soon as possible after the fireworks, and at the very least a quick rinse and chamois.  If you need a hand, be sure to give us a call (248.974.8351).

Bay Harbor Boat Show Countdown! by admin

Today we had the pleasure of being out on the water moving a customer's boat from Charlevoix to Bay Harbor. Due to the Bay Harbor Boat Show ( coming up our customer has been bumped from their usual slip in order to make room for all the boats at the show.  We are looking forward to the show, and have a few pieces of news we look forward to sharing with the boating community starting on Friday!

Marina dredging closes Petoskey boat launch ramp by Ryan


For all of you boaters looking to launch for the upcoming weekend in Petoskey, please be aware of the planned dredging at the Petoskey boat launch ramp. From

The launch ramp at Petoskey’s city marina is unavailable for boaters as crews tend to a dredging project in the recreational harbor. City parks and recreation director Al Hansen said the ramp was closed down Friday for the two- to three-week project.

“We’re trying to do it as rapidly and quickly as possible,” he added.

The dredging work, which costs about $71,000 and is being paid for using marina reserve funds, was arranged in response to a decrease in water levels along with a buildup of sediment that makes navigation difficult in portions of the harbor. R.B. Lyons of Charlevoix is handling the dredging, with support from trucking firm Poquette Leasing of Petoskey. During the project, the launch ramp is needed for storage and truck loading of spoils removed from the harbor bottom, Hansen said. The slope of the ramp helps in draining water from the spoils, and Hansen said using that location also helps avoid encroaching on marina parking areas. City officials had hoped to have the dredging work taken care of earlier in the spring, but Hansen noted that they encountered delays in obtaining state permits needed for the work. The parks and recreation director added that contractors are aware of the need to move quickly on the project. Given the pace with which the project has moved in its first several days, Hansen said it may take less than three weeks to wrap up.

“We want to get it done before our main season hits us in late June,” he noted.

Slips remain available during the project for boaters traveling to and from the marina by water, although Hansen said some boaters are having to be temporarily relocated from one portion of the harbor to another. Spoils removed from the harbor bottom will be taken to an Onaway-area landfill for disposal, Hansen said.

Gabe Buckley -- Boat Washer turned Artist by Trevor

Gabe Buckley has been around Bay Harbor for 6 years now, running Northern Retreat Property Management. Gabe has washed a few boats in his day, but is now focusing more on his artistic talents. He is quite a painter, and his work was recently featured on the cover of the area's Dining Guide. Look out for Gabe and his work to be at the Bay Harbor Boat Show, but also in galleries around Bay Harbor and Harbor Springs. You can see more of his work at


Big Brother Watches Boat Washers... by Trevor

To supplement the Bay Harbor Lake Marina webcam, it looks like the Yacht Club is catching up. These webcams are a great way to keep an eye on your boat, particularly in regards to the weather. You can decide if it is a good day to take the boat out, or be able to tell how hard the boat is bouncing in a storm (not in protected Bay Harbor, mind you!).

Yet another great use of these cameras? Watching us clean your boat. WOW.

The camera pans around to cover the entire bay, and zooms in to check on BHLM in the distance. If only you could control it to zoom in on individual boats!


Tornadoes on the Water - Waterspouts in the Spring by Ryan


It's been a stormy, wet, and cold spring. We've had a lot of severe weather warnings all over the great lakes region and record tornadoes throughout the country. What's even more frightening that a tornado coming towards your house? How about a tornado coming towards you boat! At least with a tornado you can hide in your cellar. On the water, there is no hiding from one of these frightening natural phenomenons...

Walstrom Open House! by admin

When we tell people about northern Michigan, we often tell them how perfect it is up here during the summer.  Today turned out to be a bit on the cool and cloudy side, but Walstrom's new sales showroom is the nicest showroom I have ever seen.  A big thanks to Walstrom's for hosting the event and being kind enough to extend an invitation to us!  The guest list included a lot of our customers and other influential members of the boating community.  Check out the pictures to see if you can spot any of them!

Blackbeard's anchor recovered off NC coast by Ryan

Illustration of Blackbeard's Jolly Roger flag....

About two years ago I had the privilege to crew a couple of yachts down to Florida. We stopped in Beafort NC for a few days and I was thoroughly indoctrinated into pirate culture by the surrounding populous. According to town legend, Beaufort is the home of the murder of the infamous Blackbeard...

In June, when Blackbeard put his and Bonnett’s ships into the Old Topsail Inlet, he tricked Bonnett into going on to Bath. Blackbeard then sank both ships, leaving the crews to fend for themselves. He took off in the only ship left and carried his booty away. It is possible that some of the stranded seamen settled in the area rather than take a chance on being hanged as pirates. According to Maurice Davis, one was said to have made his way back to New England, but later returned to Carteret Precinct and became a man of some importance.

The governor of Virginia, determined to capture and rid the ocean of pirates, sent two sloops into North Carolina waters where they discovered Blackbeard’s ship the Adventure near Ocracoke. Following an intense battle, the British crew managed to kill Blackbeard along with eight of his men. They took the other nine back to Virginia for trial where they were convicted of piracy.

Beaufort North Carolina is making news again having alegedly recovered a 3,000 pound anchor from the wreck of Blackbeard's flagship, the Queen Anne's Revenge. Having sunk in 1718, the anchor is still in amazing shape!

According to Yahoo! News...

MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. – An anchor from what's believed to be the wreck of the pirate Blackbeard's flagship has been raised from the ocean floor off the North Carolina coast.

Archaeologists believe the anchor recovered Friday is from the Queen Anne's Revenge, which sank in 1718. That was five months before Blackbeard was killed in a battle.

The artifact is the third-largest item at the shipwreck, outsized only by two other anchors.

Researchers retrieved the anchor from the shipwreck about 20 feet under water and were bringing it to shore. The work to retrieve it began last week. The anchor is about 11 feet long.

The recovery coincides with the release this month of "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides." The movie features both Blackbeard and the Queen Anne's Revenge.

Drinking and Boating - A pre-season reminder to Get a Captain! by Ryan

U.S. Coast Guard Official Seal

Like most boaters this spring, you are likely planning a series of scenic tours, dinners, and entertainment aboard your beloved vessel. And why shouldn't you? Entertaining and personal enjoyment are the reasons we enjoy boating! As we all know though, drinking and driving rules apply to the road and to the water. Those rules are not always the same though and a failure to understand the differences could cost you big! This brief primer from attorney Todd Levitt outlines the rules and penalties (among other things) for boating under the influence in Michigan. An excerpt...

The following conditions determine if you are boating under the influence.

If your blood alcohol content is 0.10% or greater by weight of alcohol as determined by a breath, blood, or urine test, you are considered to be under the influence of alcohol. If your blood alcohol content is greater than 0.07% but less than 0.10% by weight of alcohol as determined by a breath, blood, or urine test, a law enforcement officer can consider that fact along with other evidence in determining if you are under the influence.

Michigan law establishes the following penalties.

People arrested for boating under the influence are guilty of a misdemeanor. Upon a third conviction within 10 years, a person will be guilty of a felony. If a person boating under the influence causes great bodily injury or death of another person, he or she will be guilty of a felony. By operating a vessel on Michigan waters, you have consented to be tested for alcohol or drugs if arrested by a law enforcement official.

The article includes rules on who can operate a boat, age restrictions, jurisdictions, no-wake rules, and other common operating rules. Rather than sifting through the giant rulebook yourself, I suggest you check out the rest of the article here and save yourself a potential headache this summer.

Unlike driving a vehicle, DNR officers and Coast Guard officials do not need probable cause to board your vessel and perform a "safety check". The rules are strict and the penalties are firm, so follow our advice - GET A CAPTAIN!

Enjoy your night out, drink to your heart's content, and call First Mate for a captain to get you back to the dock safe!

Related articles

World's only recreation of a three-masted Great Lakes schooner arrives to downtown Milwaukee by Ryan

Denis Sullivan + Discovery World

I lived in Milwaukee a couple summers ago and absolutely loved the city's waterfront. They also had an amazing schooner fully restored that toured from Milwaukee down to the Florida Keys on a nearly annual basis. It is returning this summer and is open for tours!


MILWAUKEE — The world's only recreation of a three-masted Great Lakes schooner arrives to downtown Milwaukee this weekend.

The Denis Sullivan returns on Saturday from its winter dock and will be open for public tours at the Discovery World harbor in Lake Michigan.

Professional shipwrights and nearly 1,000 volunteers finished building the 137-foot re-creation of a 19th century Great Lakes schooner in 2000. It is used for education, training and research.

Museum spokesman Richard Cieslak (SEE'-slak) says the ship will visit Manitowoc on the last weekend in June, Sturgeon Bay over the July 4th weekend and then Racine later this summer.

by Ryan

Ryan Mather - Detroit Zoo

I had an awesome time at the Detroit Zoo last weekend. Among the many highlights of the day was a trip to the 126-seat Wild Adventure 3-D / 4-D Theater where I watched the Planet Earth: Shallow Seas 4-D Experience. All I can say is "Amazing"! For any boater interested in coral diving, and other shallow ocean life, get ready for an amazing experience. From their website... "In this epic 4-D adventure, hear the power of the ocean's waves as they crash along the shoreline, and feel the salty spray as you surf the coast with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins in search of food.  Glide alongside a cast of balletic sea lions as they dive through vast swirling bait balls of anchovy, and track a mother humpback whale and her calf as they navigate from their tropical nursery to the Arctic Circle.  Experience the greatest gathering of seabirds and whales ever captured in Digital HD. Sense the pressure, feel the perils and smell the triumph as you celebrate Earth as never before in Planet Earth: Shallow Seas 4-D Experience."

Get Ready for the Bay Harbor Boat Show! @bayharborshow by admin

In slightly less than a month, the Bay Harbor Boat Show will be upon us!  June 17-19 at Bay Harbor Lake Marina, admission is free.  In case you forgot, we were there last year handing out tasty drinks and popcorn. We will have more exciting news as the event gets closer, but for now you can get your BHBS news fix at!  There are listings of most of the boats currently scheduled to be at the show along with a twitter feed with important boat show news (@bayharborshow).

Summer is here folks, enjoy it while it's here!

Walstrom Marine - Out with the Old, In with the New! by admin

The weather in northern Michigan has changed, and so are the sales offices of Walstrom Marine in Harbor Springs. We will be attending their grand opening BBQ next weekend (and you should too!).

With the opening of the new building, the old building next door is in the process of being torn down / renovated to suit the needs of Walstrom's customers in the Basin. I hope they save the "Walstrom Marine" from the front of the old building!

Keeping Track of the Big Boats - Kill Time Online! by Trevor

I was checking all my nautical sites, and while on (I did not recommend because it is slightly technical and focuses more on freighters and cargo ships) andI stumbled across an online AIS mapping system. Wikipedia explains AIS:

The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is an automated tracking system used on ships and by Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) for identifying and locating vessels by electronically exchanging data with other nearby ships and VTS stations. AIS information supplements marine radar, which continues to be the primary method of collision avoidance for water transport.

Information provided by AIS equipment, such as unique identification, position, course, and speed, can be displayed on a screen or an ECDIS. AIS is intended to assist a vessel's watchstanding officers and allow maritime authorities to track and monitor vessel movements. AIS integrates a standardized VHF transceiver with a positioning system such as a LORAN-C or GPS receiver, with other electronic navigation sensors, such as a gyrocompass or rate of turn indicator. Ships outside AIS radio range can be tracked with the Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) system with less frequent transmission.

This site gives a bit of information about vessel movement, and is about what I imagine an air traffic controller looks at all day (when they are awake!). Not only are you able to browse the entire world for AIS reporting ships, but you can view by type of ship, and a few other parameters. Obviously tracking the big yachts is going to be my primary use for this! Just taking a look at some of the yards in Florida, I was able to quickly find Johnny Depp's Boat, VaJoLiRoJa. Fun fact about his boat, if you say the name fast enough, it sounds like "The Jolly Roger", which would make you think of the pirate movies that paid for the boat, but it is actually the first names of all in his family, VAlerie, JOhnnie, LIly-ROse, and JAck.

As you can see on the left side of the screen, I have filtered out everything but the yachts. Also, notice the ad for an iPhone app! That would be a great time killer on the road!

Looks like the Beaver Island ferry, the EMERALD ISLE is a little late for it's 4:30 projected ETA. If you like big boat, or fancy yourself a diehard yacht spotter, this may be the site for you. These closeups only show a few areas in the US, with a lot of commercial boats filtered out, but there are a lot of boats on this site. Be sure to check out some of the destinations around Europe (Med, Monaco, Cannes, etc) to see some of the big boys! Zooming out still gives you a tiling of green squares with the number of reporting vessels in each area, so you can quickly find the hot spots.

I highly recommend you poke around, and if you find any interesting boats, say something in the comments!

Big Boaters by Trevor

Mad Mariner points out an update to some regulation:

It's official. The Coast Guard thinks we're fat.

In a ruling two weeks ago, it raised the average passenger weight from 160 pounds to 185 pounds on charters and other passenger boats – the first increase since the 1960s.

I am not suggesting the Coast Guard has their pulse on the precise growth of the average boater. The only impact I see this having is more tickets being written for too many people on a boat. This effectively reduces the legal capacity of all boats by 15%. I certainly hope that they do not attempt to make this law retroactive ( I am hoping 'passenger boats" its only commercial boats) ; whereas someone with a plaque on their boat that says "CAPACITY 11" can be ticketed for having 11 people.