Bob Stephenson's " MostlyFloridaBoating"

Last updated 11/8/2003 : Revised MTOA URL" - see["Specifically Trawlers"] section. (( see "NEW" symbol ))TRY these new sites! Enjoy yourself.

SITE INDEX : Click on a 'section' to go to that section -

Weather and Tide Center - weather sites with specific application (Gulf Stream temps/weather, marine forecasts, etc) to cruisers plus links to tide prediction/chart sites, and any other weather stuff I thought was interesting.

Specifically Trawlers / Living Aboard - as it says, this is the section where I placed 'living aboard' related links.

Specifically Florida - links to sites relating to Florida, cruising in Florida, and some links to rules/laws relating to Florida waters.

Books and Magazines - those sites I think are of special value (or necessary) for the boater.

Instructional - as related to boating safety or use/repair of your vessel - again, those sites I think are among the best.

Products and Vendors - links to sites of vendors that manufacture or sell products I used (or wanted to use) aboard my trawler.

Misc - all those sites that I think are really useful or informative but didn't fit in the above sections.. This section has some very good and useful sites listed.

USCG - US Coast Guard links.

Effective July 20, 1998, the The United States Coast Guard commences a five year phased-in merger of the Uniform State Waterway Marking System with the United States Aids to Navigation System. This merger eliminates distinctions between the two systems and creates safer, less confusing waterways. Check this site to see what's happenin'.

As I enjoy boating and guess that there must be someone else who also enjoys the same, I plan to include some "jetsam" that may be worth salvaging ... By the way, jetsam is stuff "deliberately" thrown over to lighten the load before things get rough. I guess that applies here ??
Whereas, a boat is SHIP-SHAPE when everything is in good order, WELL FOUND when it is well equipped, and BRISTOL FASHON if it is especially well cared for , none of these terms apply to this "Home Page" !!

BTW, Mike Burwell kindly corrected my use of the "terms" above by pointing out that yacht conditions are always expressed in 'present tense'. Thanks Mike

Bob Stephenson
Retired in High Springs, FL effective 2/98.
You can mail me at: Bob in High Springs

Weather Center

- Current TIME at different locations -

"PORTS" Home Page, including current, temp., wind speed, tide movement, etc. at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge (Tampa Bay, FL) - updated every few minutes.   Also try the same service for other sites in Florida.

Additional "PORTS" locations in the U.S.

Wx4u.Com : Weather For You - an excellent site to view world wide sea surface temp., plus select your local Marine Weather location for current conditions and marine forecasts.

The Weather Site provides a variety of more unique data that's vital to marine with complete hurricane information, tides & currents, a marine bulletin board -- even buoy reports.

Florida Weather Monitor OnlineThe latest Florida weather information and forecasts, the latest watches and warnings map, radar, satellite and climate maps and data. - Detailed Forecasts for the US Coastal states and Offshore. With modern computer techniques it is possible to provide detailed offshore forecasts for any location, including wind speed and direction, wave height and direction, visibility, and chance of thunderstorms. Only Coast Weather gives mariners frequent and detailed marine weather forecast charts, and point forecasts at locations they choose offshore. We don't break our forecasts into arbitrary separate parts by coastal, offshore and high sea "zones." And besides our forecast charts, you can get a forecast for any location offshore, as far as Bermuda and the Virgin Islands. Coast Weather makes highly detailed weather forecast charts for the coastal states, and offshore 200 miles and more. These weather maps are made several times a day, with forecasts through seven days, using the most advanced computer weather forecasting systems. And you can get a detailed Point Forecast for any location you want, onshore or offshore, at any time, from their regional web pages. Parts are free and some parts are subscription only - the info is well worth the price though.

Fish 4 Fun - this site has buttons for tons of tide locations, plus weather, etc. and as a bonus, fishing reports for Florida.

Weather Facsimile Charts - The NWS Gateway provides access to the latest version of the weather facsimile charts they operationally distribute. The charts are not altered or enhanced and are in the original black-and-white form used by NWS offices. These facsimile products are in a digital G4-1D (T4) code as defined in WMO Manual 386 for Global transmission and are enveloped in TIFF. You will probably need an external viewer to display TIFF files.
Also try Marius Rensen's Worldwide HF-FAX page - a wealth of data.

Interactive Marine Observations. Here you will find an easy-to-use, graphical interface to the weather conditions being reported by buoys and CMAN stations in the world's oceans. You must have a browser that supports the imagemap tag.

 - current conditions at weather buoys off the coast of the British Isles,
  in the Western Pacific and off the coast of Japan.
 - charts depicting the sea surface temperature in the Gulf of Mexico
  and the US East Coast (courtesy of the Tropical Prediction Center).
 - charts showing the position of the Gulf Stream (courtesy of the Tropical
  Prediction Center).
 - tide data for hundreds of US and world locations (courtesy of University
  of South Carolina).
 - new improved maps and navigation interface.

Jenifer Clark's Gulfstream - Professional Satellite Oceanographer Jenifer Clark, with 26 years experience as NOAA's Gulf Stream expert, invites mariners to take advantage of her realtime ocean charts for sailboat racing, boat deliveries, ocean cruising, and offshore fishing. Using infrared imagery, satellite altimetry data, and surface isotherm data, oceanographic analyses are produced and available for the Gulf Stream area and all the major currents of the world. Waypoints are also provided for taking advantage of favorable currents and for avoiding unfavorable ones.
NEW: Now you can import Jenifer's current predictions directly into your PC with software by Local Knowledge. LK's digital models enhance accuracy and resolution and build in shorelines, islands and other obstacles. You can overlay electronic charts with current vectors to see boat position and routing in context, zoom in for more detail and make printouts to use in the cockpit. Better yet, LK's digital models support a broad range of navigational and tactical computations, from corrected headings and laylines to full weather routing, integrating current, wind and boat performance. LK also provides detailed tidal-current models for many locations, so you are covered start to finish.Do check out LK's page!

Gulf Stream Charts - another good Gulf Stream site with up-to-date info.

The Maryland School of Sailing & Seamanship - more info on the Gulf Stream, plus lots of additional weather info.

Another de-coded site for bouy and CMAN station weather
or, National Data Bouy System - the primiere source of meteorological and oceanographic measurements for the marine environment. Check out the new service - NDBC 's Dial-A-Buoy
Mariners can now hear the latest coastal and offshore weather observations through a new telephone service called Dial-A-Buoy. Dial-A-Buoy provides wind and wave measurements, etc. taken within the last hour at 65 buoy and 54 Coastal-Marine Automated Network (C-MAN) stations. The stations are located in the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes and are operated by the National Data Buoy Center (NDBC). NDBC, a part of the National Weather Service (NWS), created Dial-A-Buoy to give mariners an easy way to obtain the reports via a cell phone.

Marine_weather (Bayside's Off Shore Internet Access Div. - Coconut Grove, FL, US ) - Marine_weather,forecast,real time radar, satellites images,and more.The Internet's foremost marine weather site. Easy & fast for offshore Cellular access.

VAX498 SOUTH BOUND II COASTAL - Herb Hilgenberg, a Canadian amateur weather forecaster (said by many to be better than professionals) provides daily weather routing advice via marine SSB radio to vessels on Atlantic passages. Listen to Herb before you decide to make the passage across the Gulf Stream.

Dooley SeaWeather Analysis, Inc. - the site for serious weather information on the high seas. World wide data, with long term forcasts and detailed sea analysis info. If you plan on sailing outside the ICW, better check here for the weather.

Tide Web sites:

Return to section : Top of page | Weather | Living aboard | Specifically Florida | Books & mags. | Instructional | Products & vendors | Misc. | USCG

Specifically Trawlers and Living Aboard

Return to section : Top of page | Weather | Living aboard | Specifically Florida | Books & mags. | Instructional | Products & vendors | Misc. | USCG

Specifically Florida Related

Return to section : Top of page | Weather | Living aboard | Specifically Florida | Books & mags. | Instructional | Products & vendors | Misc. | USCG

Books, Magazines, Articles, etc

Return to section : Top of page | Weather | Living aboard | Specifically Florida | Books & mags. | Instructional | Products & vendors | Misc. | USCG

Products and Vendors

Return to section : Top of page | Weather | Living aboard | Specifically Florida | Books & mags. | Instructional | Products & vendors | Misc. | USCG


Return to section : Top of page | Weather | Living aboard | Specifically Florida | Books & mags. | Instructional | Products & vendors | Misc. | USCG


Boaters' World Wide Browser - This site provides direct links to marine related on-line articles in publications from around the world. Read selected articles from North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania. Each month they link to a wide variety of publications, covering sailing, power boating, canoeing, kayaking and rowing. They link you to articles on day trips and voyages; how-to articles; interesting destinations; marine news; boat building; design; and other marine topics. I've found their instructional articles well worth reading.

National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) Maritime Safety Information Center (MSIC) - There is a lot of great stuff there, including nav. calculators, notice to mariners, product catalogs, broadcast warning messages, etc.

The United States Coast Pilot consists of a series of nautical books that cover a variety of information important to navigators of coastal and intracoastal waters and the Great Lakes. Issued in nine volumes, they contain supplemental information that is difficult to portray on a nautical chart. Topics in the Coast Pilot include channel descriptions, anchorages, bridge and cable clearances, currents, tide and water levels, prominent features, pilotage, towage, weather, ice conditions, wharf descriptions, dangers, routes, traffic separation schemes, small-craft facilities, and Federal regulations applicable to navigation.

THE FLORIDA INLAND NAVIGATION DISTRICT - This site is produced by the Florida Inland Navigation District to assist mariners using the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway by: compiling published reports of shoaling in the waterway channel; showing BRIDGE REGULATIONS FROM THE CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS DATED JULY 1, 1999 for the entire ICW; for having all kinds of current info on using the ICW. This is one of those must visit sites

Intracoastal Waterway Facilities Guide - this Guide provides practical Information on over 500 of the most conveniently located marinas on the East Coast as well as the Gulf coast. The Intracoastal Waterway Facilities Guide covers From Maine to the Keys, including Lake Okeechobee, up the Gulf Coast of Florida continuing on to Alabama and Texas.

Integrated Caribbean Coast Guard System - starting point for the web site for the Caribbean Coast Guard. New 2/2000 - this may develop into something??

Pat's Boating in Canada - each year, 8 million Canadians take to the water. If you have lost your heart to a boat, you need to know all about Regulations, navigation, Safety, and much more before you get underway! Cruise the Thousand Islands [sigh] and Rideau Canal, browse our Boating Index and have Fun too! This is one of the oldest, largest boating information sites in Canada!

Guide to Sailing and Cruising Stories - lots of good links to cruising and living aboard, as well as many other links.

The Merchant Mariner - lots of useful information on navigationn,,,maritime and nautical subjects,sailing and the merchant marine. Plenty of good links.

Marinas.Com - a pretty good list of marinas by state (some with lots of detail, some with less - as you would suspect). Here's the Florida section :-)

Track your friends on their cruise! APRS...LIVE! -

"I'm a ham radio operator, KN4IM.  For many years, I have been involved
with packet radio, a VERY slow data modem designed to allow hams to
pass digital signals over VERY noisy radio circuits.  We have many
modes, another story.

Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, is a very savvy engineer who works for the US
Naval Academy.  They had a little problem...."Where ARE our sailors?".
So, in response to this question, about the time GPS became a
partially working system, Bob invented the "Automatic Packet Reporting
System" (APRS), from his callsign.  This system has been growing, at
an alarming rate, from its inception....

APRS involves a radio transceiver (VHF or HF, depending on what range
you're after), a packet modem called a TNC (Terminal Node Controller)
that sells for as little as $100, and a SIMPLE personal computer.  It
was, originally, a DOS program and would run on any PC.  Now, it runs
in Win98 (not sure about MAC, see web page).  In response to the
market for this product, the TNC manufacturers, themselves, started
adding a computer-less APRS code to the TNC's own firmware, so APRS
would run without the PC.  In either configuration, the APRS program

listens to a serial port that has 2 wires, NMEA serial data and
ground, from the transmitting station's GPS receiver.  Stores one of
the data strings then, at regular intervals, transmits a special APRS
data string, in the blind so to speak, on the radio's output

At the receiving end, the stations listening to APRS (which don't
really need a license), the radio's audio is fed to another TNC for
decoding.  The serial port of the TNC is connected to a PC running
APRS software (it transmits and receives) which decodes the data
string and positions an icon (little boat?) on a large set of maps of
different resolutions.  The data stream shows the boat's current
location, the last time it transmitted APRS, its course, speed,
callsign, type of station (that tells APRS which icon to use at the
receiver computer), and other information the transmitting station
wanted to put in.  APRS also provides keyboard to keyboard
communications, bulletin announcements, and other keyboard comm
functions....all while tracking as many stations as it hears, in REAL

So, your friends are in the Windward Islands, transmitting APRS on X
Mhz in the HF bands.  You're sitting at home or on your boat, watching
their progress, in realtime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on your
PC.  You pop up the bulletin screen and see they sent out a bulletin
at 1830 last night, while you were out, saying they had encountered
heavy weather and were headed for Gilligan's Island for shelter.  All
their APRS-equipped friends have this bulletin on their
systems.....within range of the HF radio...about 100-1000 miles...

Sound interesting??  Go to Bob's big APRS pages with LIVE APRS
java-enhanced maps and watch it work!  The URL is:

Down the page, you'll see many places you can go to watch the action
live on the web.  You can watch hams in their motorhomes, Naval
Academy boats cruising the Atlantic, balloon tracking experiments by
ham radio operators, APRS' weather tracking and reporting functions.
Go look for yourselves.

I envision an organization of boaters who have a "watch" on X Mhz
tracking numbers of APRS-equipped cruisers.  APRS has a function
where, if a station DOESN'T report in in X minutes, an alarm function
goes off indicating there may be trouble.  Too bad CG and other safety
organizations aren't interested in this function.  It will do over
large areas on HF what the FAA's Beacon tracking system does for
flight controllers....looking for boaters in trouble without their
live intervention.  Might even save a few lives if Boat X could have
seen Boat Y's heavy weather warning REAL TIME!

Larry KN4IM" 

GeorgiaBoater - the FIRST and only site on the net that is 100% dedicated to serving the needs and interests of the Georgia boating community. - a good site to visit for info on e-mail while at sea. Plus "PROTECT YOUR ELECTRONICS ", "EMAIL on BOATS - Family, Friends and Fellow Cruisers are just a few keystrokes away! But, when it comes to putting Email on your boat you're going to need help separating truth from hype. Here's a few tips ...", "Take INTERNET Offshore! ", " CRUISING PROFILES - Read about people who have left home on small boats to sail around the world. Their planning, preparation and voyages. Info on their boats and equipment. Plus their insights on where to go, what to take, and how to keep it all together. A must read if you're planning on a cruise!", " Do-It-Yourself PROJECTS Inexpensive electronic projects for your boat. From a simple automatic anchor light, to keeping your electrical system in good order.", "Boating TIPS and Information: Tips, Information, Opinion, Ideas. Can Computers SURVIVE on a boat?" And, more.

The tall ship Picton Castle - Come join the adventure as we sail round the world. The Tall Ship Picton Castle -- currently on an 18-month, 35,000-mile world cruise that crosses the Caribbean, Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Oceans -- is seeking voyagers (virtual and real). Also check for additional information.

Old Boat Stuff - Old boat stuff from vintage power and sailing vessels, 1900 to 1960-70 era. Stoves, masts, hulls, tanks, engines, antique wooden masts, wooden boats, teak, brass. Great prices. Tons of hardware.

Cruising an Ocean on Kerry Deare - "Even a brief look at existing sailing-related pages reveals a lot of good material and sources, so why does the world need another sailing page? My aim is to provide information on small boat cruising, sailing destinations, and gear and technique, derived from my own experiences on an ordinary boat, using ordinary skills, but with lots of time. Time is the key element for most sailors so if I save you some I'll have succeeded.
I will also pass along Internet-based information useful to cruisers (including links to several large source collections) and I will describe several cruises Kerry Deare has taken (and survived):"

Journey's Web site - "Susan Scott and Mike Saunders left Kemah, Texas, on April 5, 1997, to cruise the Caribbean in their 31-foot sailboat, Journey. So far the cruise has led us to exotic ports like Biloxi, Mississippi; Isla Mujeres, Mexico; the Rio Dulce, Guatemala; and numerous cays in Belize. We plan to cover the entire Caribbean Sea in the next three years or so. These are the stories and pictures of the journey of Journey up to now."

Powerboat - The Mining Company - one of the "Mining Co" sites - loads of powerboat info, news and links.

Watercraft & Water Sports Page - this site is dedicated to getting information to boaters, fishermen and other water sport enthusiast as quickly as possible. The Watercraft and Water Sports Page is a nation wide site run by individual webmasters across the nation. The sites contain information on local weather, water conditions, fishing conditions, maps, accomodations, boat dealers, repair shops, tackle and other sporting good information. Has a page where you can select any individual state and get specific info.

Downwind Marine - the best place for cruisers to shop for the gear that will see you through extended cruising.

John's Nautical Links List - "The Mother of All Maritime Links" ! Holy Moly - he means it ! - over 10 pages of links to everywhere - world wild - spent a couple of afternoons checking out some of his links - better than a search engine.

Boat Owners World - now has over 200 links to all the major Boat Builders / Mfg. world wide.

Boating Links - also says they have the most boating links.

The Sailing Index - another "mother of a list". The Sailing Index past a significant milestone in Jan. 1998 -- 3000 links exclusively to other sailing pages.

Shanty songs - and links to other sites with maritime songs and history from the old sailing days. Learn a new song to sing next time you go cruising.

The Naval and Maritime page of the World Wide Web Virtual Library has a ling list of interesting and useful links.

Some links for finding "Gulf Stream" (plus other locations) temp, direction, etc. U.S.Navy info , John Hopkins Univ. info , good current direction info.

"Marine Scene of Florida's Coasts" - interesting site.

Boaters resource for Washington, DC and Chesapeake Bay area. - Includes contests, classifieds, marina locator, maintenance tips, cruising destinations, upcoming shows & events, and boating forum .

Chesapeake Bay Web site - Welcome anyone interested in boats and boating in the U.S. to drop by this web site which features the Chesapeake Bay. There are links to many boating related sites and some information not found any where else - also thinking of starting a boat club in the MD/VA/DC area.

The Chesapeake Bay Mariner's Guide - this site has a wealth of good info on boating the Chesapeake Bay area, including a tide info page for the area.

Cruiser's Connection - a good list of marine links not normally seen in everyone else's list. This site is maintained by a real cruising person - worth checking this site out !

Northwest Boater's Net - Bill Whitney - Quilcene, WA, US
Northwest Boater's Net is an amateur radio network providing routine and emergency communication for cruising boats and amateur operators interested in boating activities.

A site with a super table (list) of boating links This has many links to boating/marine related sites that are not normally found on other "lists" - worth a look!

Fishing licenses & contacts US/Canada - Fishing license fees and contact information for the United States and Canada.

WWW Boating Home Page - a "what's new section" and links to sport fishing pages.

Boatnet - the interactive, on-line catalog and showplace for boats and boat related services. If you see a boat or service you can't resist, the phone numbers and addresses are available.

Transportation Institute ( Camp Springs, MD, US ) The Transportation Institute monitors US maritime policy for cargo shipping, passenger vessels, tugboats, barges, riverboats, Merchant Mariners and Cabotage on American rivers, ports, Great Lakes and international waters.

Return to section : Top of page | Weather | Living aboard | Specifically Florida | Books & mags. | Instructional | Products & vendors | Misc. | USCG

U.S.C.G. Information and Files

COMMERCIAL FISHERIES - Vessel Documentation Data Query (NMFS/Office of Science & Technology/Fisheries Statistics & Economics Division) - you can access our copy of the United States Coast Guard's (USCG) vessel data base and extract vessel characteristic, documentation, and ownership data. This data base is updated and revised on a quarterly basis. Our query program only retrieves documentation data about vessels which usually are craft that are 5 net tons or larger and are documented by the USCG. Craft less than 5 net tons ("boats") are numbered by individual states.
U.S.C.G. Web Home Page

United States Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety Web Site. This site is for all recreational boaters.

"Coast Guard TV" - as "seen on TV". The Web site for the TV show about the Coast Guard.

USCG Marine Safety and Environmental Protection - Welcome to the United States Coast Guard's World Wide Web Site for Marine Safety and Environmental Protection information. In it are documents and other sources of information of general interest to the maritime community. The information in this site is updated on a daily basis.

U.S. Coast Guard's Public Affairs electronic information page.

U.S.Customs - find out the requirements for clearing Customs when returning from outside the U.S.

Canadian Coast Guard, Maritimes Region (Dartmouth, NS, Canada) - The official site of the Canadian Coast Guard Maritimes Region. Includes bi-weekly Notices to Shipping, and marine and environmental emergency contact numbers.
Update 10/2000 - "More about the Coast Guard: Yes, this may turn into something. We have requested proposals for a turn key, complete integrated system and are getting bids/spec documents to see if a north american or european firm will respond and seriously devote resources to helping us achieve our mission. I have good news, a project group in North America, with canadians and americans has responded and now we are trying to get it finalised so we can move forward. The coast guard would patrol in member countries 12mi territorial waters AND out in the EEZ (exclusive economic zone) up to and including the 200mi continental shelf. Organizationally the Caribbean Community CARICOM would have the 'teeth' to back up international/regional agreements with a maritime safety and enforcement agency. This effort is a logic next step to the current Regional Security System, with 7 nations participating, in the Eastern Caribbean but provides a regional badge and authority to a regional agency. See the RSS treaty for more about the RSS.

Apply for a USCG license A web site at w that provides full information on how to apply for a USCG license. The site also allows mariners to download all the forms required to apply for a license.

Publications,Reports, Studies and Forms - an excellent location to view or download all kinds fo USCG related data or forms.

USCG "Communications" Web site - this has most of the info that the FedWorld TelNet site has, only this is easier to read.

NOAA has a series of Web pages available concerning EPIRBs, the COSPAS-SARSAT system, EPIRB registration (including a registration form), history, EPIRB rescue cases, and an email address for someone who can give your the straight answer on EPIRB and satellite detection.

The United States Power Squadron's Home Page

National Web site for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Includes pages for the boating public as well as for Auxiliary members.

4/16/96  NO MORE VHF LICENSE FEES FOR RECREATIONAL BOATERS - The need to obtain a license for your VHR marine radio has been eliminated. There still exists some conditions where you might need a license - see the Coast Guard Web page. - a quote from that Web page: "Radio License for Boaters - The Telecommunications Act of 1996 permits recreational boaters to have and use a VHF marine radio, EPIRB, or marine radar without having an FCC ship station license. Boaters travelling on international voyages, having an HF single sideband radiotelephone or maritime satellite terminal, or having vessels greater than 20m in length must still carry an FCC ship station license. "
5/20/96 - Also see the BOAT/U.S. page on the same subject - " many boaters are getting renewal notices from the FCC as their licenses expire. Receiving a renewal notice does not mean a license is required. The FCC sends renewal notices out automatically in case the license is still required or desired. Boaters should keep in mind that only those who plan on transmitting in a foreign port, plan to transmit internationally with single sideband or Inmarsat equipment, or those who have boats 65 feet or larger are required to have a Ship's Station License for their radio. (A license is required for all single sidebands.) "

Return to section : Top of page | Weather | Living aboard | Specifically Florida | Books & mags. | Instructional | Products & vendors | Misc. | USCG

Bob Stephenson
Retired in High Springs, FL effective 2/98.
You can not mail me anymore due to the amount of SPAM the 'bots' generate by finding my address on this page.
** If there are no spelling errors or grammatical mistakes in this Home Page, then it may be someone else's Home Page ! **