Sailboaters and ocean gurus inside

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by volente_00, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. I'm been thinking about taking a journey from Galveston Texas to Panama city beach florida. No big deal you say ? I want to do it by boat. An 18 foot gas powered Bayliner boat to be exact. The boat is less than a year old and I plan on bringing an extra battery,sparkplugs, tools, belts, bilge pump, and alternator I know, crazy idea. It looks to be about an 800 mile journey and my intent would be to stay relatively close to the shoreline due to boat size. The boat will run 100-110 miles on a tank of gas. I would like to travel 80 to 100 miles per day, preferably 4 to 5 hours in the morning to avoid the heat. Would 15 to 25 mph be a safe crusing speed staying close to the shore ? My question is, are there marinas along the way at least every 100 miles, or would I need to bring a bunch of gas cans in the boat ? I planned on bringing some just in case. Also my intent is to travel during the day and find a marina to dock at during the night. Any ideas where i could get a map showing where marinas are at along the gulf of mexico ? I will be keeping a keen eye on the weather , and don't mind prolonging the marina stay to avoid bad conditions. Is this feasible or am I just plain nuts for wanting to do this ? I will be bringing 2 vhf radios, gps, extra batteries, non perishible foods, water, first aid kit, etc. Any advice or tips would be appreciated. Thanks
  2. Just check the weather for small craft warnings. Let someone know what your plans are each morning. DON'T cruise at night. Definitely bring some extra fuel. You should be fine.

    I'd get a Gulf Intracoastal "Cruise Guide". That should show where marinas with gas docks are. I'd plot out each day to make sure you can easily reach the next gas. You may or may not find a berth, but you can anchor or tie up at any safe island or Intracoastal beach area. Just make sure you don't get loose and drift into shipping areas.

    There are free charts at NOAA:

    Here is the Intracoastal at Galveston Bay:
  3. You could make the entire run in the intracoastal if you had to (rough seas/bad weather).
  4. Banjo


    No idea of your experience / qualifications or what the boat looks like. You might post a pic, find one on usedboats .com or similar if you don't have one. It's important because different types of boats will have different vulnerabilities and solutions.
    You need to start at the beginning. Take a coast guard class in safety and powerboating, they're free or close to it. You'll meet other people there that can help you. From your post it doesn't sound like you know enough yet. On the open ocean you need to always wear a life preserver jacket and be tethered to the boat if alone. You will need extra shear pins and an extra prop. 15 knots or less is more probable. Safety and preparedness is the end game. The open ocean is a very unfriendly place to be when it decides to throw a party.

  5. This is the boat.

    I have 17 years of boating experience but very limited in the ocean, mostly just day fishing trips. Good point about the shear pins and prop. As far as VHF radio goes, is a 5 watt handheld sufficient or should i get a higher watt fixed one ? I am just wanting to make the trip hugging the shoreline, not going to go 80 miles out like those poor guys did in that 20 footer in florida.
  6. I'd rather just stay docked and only journey when the weather is ideal.

  7. Thanks
  8. One thing about saltwater and radios, if your antenna is a vertical as most are, and the radio is grounded such that the ground has some connection to the saltwater, a few watts is dynamite. Verticals over saltwater work way better than over the best earth ground. Your radio might be capable of high power but if you can get by with lower power, just save the batteries....

    I've listened to marine mobile ham operators with hundred watt rigs with signals just booming in from hundreds of miles away, and with steady signal strength for hours. Hams have a maritime net on twenty meters that can be used for checking in with family or even emergencies.
  9. Good idea about the prop. Most props on boats like an 18 don't use a shear pin anymore AFAIK. At least mine doesn't (18ft Searay/w 150 merc and ss prop). They have a rubber hub cushion setup but the problem is, if you hit something and it spins the internal rubber bad enough, the prop will need to be refurbished. The hub will just spin and you are pretty much dead in the water. So bring another as backup. It can just be a cheap aluminum one. Definitely check your prop to see what setup you have, and try taking it off/putting on. Could be hard and you don't want to struggle with it on the water.
  10. Banjo


    Damn, only read the headlines , didn't know those guys were 80 mi out in a 20 ft.
    I'm a bluewater ocean sailor with 25 yrs experience and 25 yrs of owning/ building sailboats. Twice around the world, ocean racing, two transpacs , Los Angeles to Honolulu, more Newport to Ensenada's than I can remember, etc, etc.
    Your idea is fine. I can't stress enough the value of the coast guard courses. They respect a boater that has completed them and you will learn the proper rules and regs. Staying close to shore, plenty of fresh water to avoid dehydration , a canvas top to keep the sun off, enough fuel properly battened down so weight doesn't shift and you should be fine. Every marina has a harbor master and that official will have guest docks or know where to find them.
    Familiarize yourself with tidal currents etc, they can be pulling you out causing you to burn more fuel, higher engine revs to correct, all sorts of problems generating the next set of problems are possible. The radio should be fine.To reiterate, it's about preparation and safety, hence the coast guard education.
    #10     Mar 18, 2009