Hurricane Season Tips for Boat Owners

Hurricane season kicked off June 1 so there is no better time than now to prepare your boat!

Hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th, with peak activity typically in August and September. While we’ve been fortunate to avoid a direct hit in South Florida over the past three years, our neighbors to the north and south have not been as lucky. We saw the utter destruction caused by Hurricane Irma in the Upper Keys in 2017, and the catastrophic damage Hurricane Michael caused last year as it came ashore in the Florida Panhandle as the fourth-strongest windstorm on record to make landfall on the continental United States.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts a near-average 2019 season, with 9-15 named storms, 4-8 of which may become hurricanes and 2-4 that may become major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher. One named storm, Andrea, formed prior to the start of the season. NOAA’s hurricane outlook is similar to Colorado State University’s, which calls for 13 named storms, 5 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes.

Officials underscore the fact that an average season is still “a
lot of storms.” Unfortunately, many of us know from experience that it only
takes one storm to cause complete destruction so now is the best time to
prepare your boat for a potential hurricane.

HURRICANE
SEASON BOAT PREPARATION TIPS

The first step in preparing for hurricane season is to create a
hurricane plan well before a storm approaches. When formulating a hurricane
plan, always keep in mind that life comes before property. Customers are our
key priority at North Beach Marina, so to ensure your safety we strongly
encourage that you heed all evacuation notices issued by your local county
emergency management office regardless of the vulnerability of your boat.

Components of your hurricane plan should include:

Know Your Insurance Policy

Secure all of your important boat documents in an easily accessible
location on dry land and make sure your insurance policy is up-to-date. Become
familiar with your policy and contact your provider prior to a storm if you
have any questions. To help with claims, take photos and video of your boat
before and after to show proof of damages, and inventory all equipment on your boat. 

Get on Dry Land 

If you have a smaller boat under 35-feet, it is safest for the boat (and for your mental well-being) to be on land rather than in the water. Whether the boat is on a trailer, next to your house, or at a dry storage marina, boats that are stored dry typically see less damage than those left in the water during a hurricane. Be sure to store the boat on high ground to avoid flooding and place additional jack stands along with areas of the hull that are reinforced by bulkheads. Place pieces of plywood under the stands to prevent them from sinking into the ground, and chain together jack stands to prevent them from spreading apart.

Securing Your Boat on a Trailer

Tying your boat to its trailer helps prevent it from floating away in
the storm surge or flooding a hurricane brings. If you’re keeping it on a
trailer outside, choose a location away from trees and electricity poles,
preferably next to a building or other structure that provides a shield from
the wind. Place blocks beneath the frame on either side of the wheels, and deflate
the tires. Tie the boat to the trailer and secure the boat to ground the best
you can.

Remove and Secure Items to Reduce Windage  

If you leave the boat outside during a storm, remove anything that
has the potential to fly off, like covers, especially if they are expensive or
custom-made. Even if the storm does not damage your boat, it is likely that
your canvas will be damaged or destroyed by wind, the strain from rain collecting,
or by flying debris. Boats are made to get wet, so leave it uncovered during a
storm.

We also recommend that you take anything above and below deck off
the boat if it is not waterproof, or if it is light enough to fly away in a
heavy wind. This includes (but is not limited to) cushions, dock lines, flags,
Bimini tops, and GPS/radios. Make sure to secure anything else that cannot be
removed from the boat. To prevent chafing, wrap protective covering around your
lines wherever the ropes touch the boat. Fully charge batteries in case the
bilge pump has to work overtime, and shut off fuel lines.

Seal Openings

Seal all openings (hatches, cabinets, doors, etc.) on the boat to
keep it watertight. To help keep things secure during a storm, use duct tape
for an easy remedy.

Remove Drain Plugs

If you are storing your boat on dry land, remove the drain plugs. Marinas
typically do this when storing. If the boat fills up with water, the added
weight can negatively affect the way it sits on your trailer or dry-rack. Just
remember to put the plug back in before using the boat.

Inspect the Bilge Pumps & Float Switches

Make sure your bilge pumps and bilge float switches are working and are hard-wired to your batteries. If your boat is on a lift, make sure the lift is in good working order and lift your boat higher than normal.

SECURING YOUR BOAT TO A
LIFT

Boats on lifts are more susceptible to damage in a serious storm
due to collapsing lifts, flooding, being blown off cradles, etc. If you must
leave your boat on a lift, raise your boat as high as the lift allows but do
not secure the boat to the lift. Secure long ropes to anchor points (do not
secure to floating docks, use pilings) in case the surge lifts the boat off the
lift.

STORING YOUR BOAT IN THE WATER DURING A HURRICANE

Find a Safe Harbor

If you have no choice but to leave your boat in the water during a
hurricane, try to find a safe harbor to anchor, preferably off of the deep
water. Once you find a safe place, look around. Are there rocks? Are you near a
seawall? Is your boat anchored on a sandy bottom or a rocky ledge? What
obstacles can the boat come into contact with during violent winds, storm
surges, or if the boat breaks loose from its anchor? A well-protected area with
the least amount of fetch is best.

Securing to a Dock

Boats tied to docks are at greater risk than boats kept at moorings
or on anchors since they suffer more windage. If you have no other option but
to dock your boat, make sure your dock is in good shape and make any necessary
improvements to ensure it holds up during the storm. As crunch time approaches,
double or triple tie your boat to the dock. Adjust all lines to account for tide
surges, the wind, and rain, and ensure each line has adequate chafe protection
on the boat and at the dock cleats. Also, use buoys and fenders to protect from
impact against floating debris, the dock, and seawall.

FINAL TIPS FOR HURRICANE SEASON

Don’t Wait

Evidence shows that boats stored on land fare better on average in a hurricane compared to boats kept in the water. If you plan on hauling your boat, coordinate in advance with your marina. Don’t wait until three days before the storm to make your hurricane plan. Call your local marinas and Happy Trailer Storage today to see how we can help before a storm hits.

You can take all the precautions in the world to secure your boat,
but Mother Nature sometimes gets the best of us. Be prepared and stay safe. Should you need assistance preparing your boat for hurricane
season, call us at (786) 728-9988.

Miami’s 2019 Lobster Season Guide

2019 Lobster Mini-Season Miami

Happy Trailer Storage Welcomes Start of the 2019-20 Lobster Season in Miami

One of the most highly-anticipated events in Miami, lobster mini-season, officially begins at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, July 24 and ends at midnight the following day. This two-day event gives recreational fishermen the opportunity to get lobsters before the commercial season begins. The regular eight-month season starts shortly after on August 6th and runs through March 31, 2020. 

Before you head out on the water, check out our tips below to ensure a safe and successful hunt!

SAFETY FIRST

There is always a risk associated with scuba diving, especially during mini-season. With thousands of recreational boaters on the water at one time, make sure to have your dive flag visible, bring a spotter, and keep your eyes and ears open. Also, if you are tempted to reach into a hole or under coral to grab a bug, don’t. You risk getting stuck or bitten by an unknown fish lurking below.

BRING THE CORRECT EQUIPMENT

There is nothing more frustrating during a dive than malfunctioning equipment. From a leaking mask to a broken regulator, make sure to avoid the hassle by having your gear tested and prepped for the season.

Common Lobstering Equipment 

  • Dive flag: All divers in Florida waters must display a dive flag and stay within 300-feet of open water.
  • Lobster net and tail snare: Nets are used on sand flats, while snares are best for reefs.
  • Tickle stick: A thin fiberglass rod about 24-inches long used to coax lobsters out of holes without harming the reef.
  • Gloves: For the lobster, not the reef.
  • Mesh bag: Used to hold your catch. Look for models that have a convenient way to attach to your weight belt or gear, and a locking enclosure. Be sure to put your name on all of your equipment.
  • Lobster gauge: Every diver must carry a lobster gauge and must measure the lobster under-water before it’s placed in the game bag.
  • Mask, fins, snorkel or dive gear

Be sure you are familiar with the rules of the lobster season before heading out on the water: 

KNOW YOUR LIMITS

During the mini-season, recreational divers and snorkelers can take a maximum of 12 lobsters per person, per day in South Florida, except for Monroe County and Biscayne National Park where the limit is six per person, per day, and the Biscayne Bay/Card Sound Lobster Sanctuary where the taking of any lobster is prohibited. Possession limits are strictly enforced on and off the water. During the regular season, the maximum limit for all locations is six lobsters per person, per day.

SIZE MATTERS

It is important to remember that the body of the lobster, excluding the tail, should be larger than three inches, measured in the water. Have a measuring device on you at all times – it’s required by law. Be sure you are familiar with how to measure a lobster properly. 

BUY A LICENSE OR GET FINED

Anyone taking or attempting to take a lobster must have a recreational saltwater fishing license and a spiny lobster permit to participate in the lobster season. These can easily be picked up at your local Publix Super Markets or online at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com.

KEEP THE LOBSTERS INTACT

Do not remove the tail. Lobsters must be kept intact from catch to arrival on shore.

WHERE TO LOBSTER IN SOUTH FLORIDA

While the Florida Keys draw the biggest crowds, there are a number of advantages to enjoying mini-season right here in your own backyard. One of the biggest perks is your overall catch. In the Keys and Monroe County, the limit per person, per day is six as opposed to South Florida which is 12. There are also plenty of lobster-heavy sites to choose from in Miami and the tri-county area. Also, since mini-season rules are looser, it’s legal to dive at night for lobster, so some dive operators offer a 24-hour charter schedule.

In Miami, you can start your hunt right from the beach. Legal-size lobster can be found within just 50-yards of the sands of South Beach, or you can join lobster charters to natural reefs, ledges, grass beds and man-made, state-approved rubble reefs.

In Broward and Palm Beach counties, the first reef line is an easy swim from shore and is home to plenty of bugs at the start of the season. If you’re looking for an adventure, there are numerous sites further offshore that local charter boats can take divers to. In Palm Beach, a popular spot for spiny lobster are the deep ledges off Jupiter Inlet. If you want to go a bit further, charters out of Palm Beach Inlet offer a selection of both deep ledges and shallow reef lines that hold plenty of big bugs for drift divers

Stay safe and enjoy lobster season!

July 4th Fireworks Miami

4th-of-July-fireworks-Miami

Top Places in Miami to Watch Fireworks

Happy
Independence Day! With July 4th falling on a Thursday, many of you
will be enjoying a long weekend celebrating America’s birthday. We live in one
of the most amazing places on the planet to watch Fourth of July fireworks soar
over the Atlantic by boat. So it’s no surprise that everyone wants to take to
the water to view the colorful explosions along the coastline. Inexperienced
boaters can make the waters dangerous so ensure the safety of you and your
passengers by exercising additional caution this July 4th weekend.

Here’s
our list of the top destinations in Miami for boat owners to watch the
fireworks. Be sure to schedule your boat launch in advance to avoid delays
getting out on the water.

All fireworks displays begin at 9 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Key Biscayne’s Fourth of July Parade
Runs along Crandon Boulevard from Harbor Drive to West Enid Drive
Key Biscayne
Biscayne Bay offers a front row seat to several fireworks shows from Key Biscayne, South Beach, Downtown Miami and Coconut Grove.
Parade: 11:00 a.m.

Bayfront Park: “Americas Birthday Bash”
301 N. Biscayne Blvd.; view from Biscayne Bay
Downtown Miami
One of the largest fireworks shows in South Florida

Miami Beach’s “Fire on the Fourth” Festival
Collins and 73rd St., at the North Shore Bandshell Park
Miami Beach
Live concerts begin at 5 p.m.
Be sure to look to the south for fireworks over the Atlantic along Ocean Drive at Lummus Park, between 5th and 15th streets, on Miami Beach.

South Pointe Park
South Jetty, 1 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach
Government Cut is one of the best spots in Miami to catch a variety of fireworks shows at once! This quiet spot at the southern tip of South Beach offers another prefect perch to watch the sky light up, with views of fireworks on the Atlantic, Downtown Miami and Coconut Grove.

Haulover Beach Sandbar
10800 Collins Ave.
Bal Harbour
The Haulover Beach Sandbar is a great place for daytime water activities. When the sun sets, catch the fireworks display on the southern jetty of Baker’s Haulover Cut.

Black Point Marina 4th of July Spectacular
24775 SW 87 Ave.
Homestead
Grab a bite or beverage before the night lights up at Black Point Ocean Grill, an award-winning waterfront restaurant and bar.

North Miami Celebration by the Bay
FIU Biscayne Campus
3000 NE 151st St.
North Miami Beach
Fireworks begin at sundown

Can’t make up your mind? Then sail along the Intracoastal to catch the 9 p.m. fireworks displays in Miami Beach, Key Biscayne, Downtown Miami, and Coconut Grove

Sea Turtle Season Miami

sea-turtle-season-miami

Sea Turtle nesting season in Miami occurs between April 1st and October 31st.

Where to See Sea Turtles in Miami

Sea Turtle season in Miami starts earlier than most places in Florida and runs from April 1 to October 31st to account for the arrival of the leatherback-turtle nesting.

It is important to protect the safety of sea turtles and their hatchlings. According to sunny.org, “nearly 90% of sea turtle nesting in the U.S. occurs in Florida. From March through October the turtles return to their home beaches to nest, and only one in 1000 hatchlings will survive to live past 2 years. Florida laws protect all sea turtles. It is illegal to touch the sea turtles, hatchlings or their nests. Be sure to stay mind the pink ribbons along the beaches that mark of the nesting areas. If you want to experience this incredible phenomenon in person, we have some handy tips below to ensure the safety of these fragile animals while having a great time.

Types of Florida Sea Turtles

There are five species of sea turtles:

  1. Kemp’s Ridley (Rarest sea turtle in the world, can be found in Mexico, Texas, Southwest Florida)
  2. Hawksbill (Critically Endangered, common the Florida Keys)
  3. Leatherback (Common in South Florida; largest sea turtle, can grow up to 1,300 lbs)
  4. Green (Common in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Hawaii)
  5. Loggerhead turtles (Common in Southwest Florida)

Safety Tips for Viewing Sea Turtles

  • Never Touch the Turtles: Never disturb or disrupt the path of a sea turtle, and NEVER pick up hatchlings.
  • Lights Out: If you live on the beach, turn off outdoor lights at night when not needed.
  • No Camera Flash: Don’t take pictures of sea turtles with a flash. Take pics without a flash, and leave only footprints.
  • Clean Up Trash: Nesting turtles and hatchling can get trapped or confused by beach trash. Be sure to clean up when you leave.  
  • Turn on on the Red…Flash Light that is: with “turtle safe flashlights”– like red lights that emit a very narrow stream of visible light. Or shield your flashlight with paper or tape so the strong light does not disorient turtles.

Where Can I see Sea Turtles in Florida?

There are many parks in Florida that offer nighttime sea turtle walks in June and July. You can see them anytime too with by walking the beach at night along Miami and Fort Lauderdale. However, if you want to see a Florida sea turtle in action it will take some careful planning. As you can wait up to 3+ hours, and sometimes never see one at all. Here are some places to see the magical turtles:

  • Along Miami Beach
  • Along Fort Lauderdale Beach
  • Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park
  • Sebastian Inlet State Park Fishing Museum
  • Barrier Island Sanctuary
  • Sea Turtle Preservation Society
  • John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

For more information contact us at 786-728-9988 or click here…

Top 5 Places to See Manatees in Miami, and beyond

manatee Miami florida

Top 5 Places to See Manatees in Miami

Are you looking to see a manatee? Check out our list of top viewing locations in Miami and Beyond

It’s that time of year when Florida’s most endearing snowbirds make the trek south, flocking to warmer waters to escape the winter chill. Manatees, or “sea cows” as they’re affectionately called, congregate in the warm waters of South Florida’s power plant discharge canals and many of the state’s crystal clear springs farther north when the water temperatures drop below 68 degrees. Although they are massive in size, manatees have very little body fat, so they can often be found huddling together for refuge in warmer waters during manatee season (November 15-March 31).

Here are a few local spots where you can catch a glimpse of these majestic sea mammals before they head north for the summer, along with some road-trip worthy destinations to clear blue crystal springs for the ultimate viewing experience.

Black Point
Marina, Miami

Manatees traverse Miami’s extensive canal system during the winter months. A popular spot for them is the area from Black Point Park & Marina near Biscayne National Park to Biscayne Bay. Manatees typically poke their whiskery snouts out of the water every 2 to 5 minutes, but can stay submerged for as long as 20 minutes, so be sure to pack your patience.

Manatee
Lagoon – Florida Power & Light Eco-Discovery Center, West Palm Beach

Power plants are a hot spot
for manatees, so its no surprise the warm-water outflows of Florida Power & Light Company’s (FPL) Riviera Beach Next
Generation Clean Energy Center is an ideal location for manatee watching. For the most ideal viewing opportunities, visit when cooler temperatures continue over a period of two to three days with minimal cloud cover. If you can’t make it to the lagoon, be sure to check out their Manatee Cam live stream. (Open Tuesday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to
4 p.m.)

Manatee
Observation and Educational Center, Fort Pierce

Managed by Ft. Pierce Power Authority, the Manatee Observation, and Education Center is a waterfront environmental education and wildlife viewing center. Overlooking Moore’s Creek, the Center provides a resting spot for manatees and a covered observation walkway and second story observation tower providing visitors the perfect spots to see manatees and other wildlife. Swampland Tours and Lisa’s Kayaks provide adventure tours to get on the water for closer observation. (Open Tuesday-Sunday during Manatee Season)

Canaveral
National Seashore Manatee Observation Deck,
Titusville

Canaveral
National Seashore
, located along the east coast in both Volusia and Brevard counties, features a manatee observation deck where the Kennedy Parkway crosses the Haulover Canal. This spot is popular with manatees and tourists alike. The observation deck features benches for visitors to enjoy the view and manatee information displays. If you don’t have any luck at the Manatee Observation Deck, head over to Bairs Cove Boat Ramp, also along the Haulover Canal.

Crystal
River National Wildlife Refuge, Crystal River

People come from around the world to interact with manatees at the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1983 to protect the then-endangered Florida manatee by creating a refuge to preserve the last unspoiled and undeveloped spring habitat in Kings Bay, which forms the headwaters of the  Crystal River. The refuge provides critical habitat for the manatee
populations that migrate here each winter.

The most popular area to view manatees is Three
Sisters Springs
, a designated manatee sanctuary between November and March. Several park programs allow visitors to snorkel alongside the manatees, but you can also see them from the boardwalk, viewing points along the roads and on the bridges inside the refuge.

Although no longer endangered, the Florida manatees’ status is
considered “vulnerable” due to its declining population. Their biggest threat is humans. When viewing these gentle giants, keep in mind that It is illegal to harass manatees (that includes hugging), so be sure to give them their space. Check out Crystal River Refuge’s “Manatee Manners” video on how to swim near manatees in a safe and fun way for you and the manatees. 

2019 Miami Boat Show

2019 Miami International Boat Show

Miami International Boat Show

What you need to know about the Miami Boat Show

The Miami International Boat Show runs from February 14 through 18 at the Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin, Virginia Key. Explore more than 3,000 boats and 2,000 exhibitors showcasing the latest and greatest in marine technology, gear, and accessories.

The Miami Boat Show takes place in two locations; the Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin and Miamarina at Bayside. At Miamarina at Bayside is the Strictly Sail Boat Show. You do not want to miss this incredible event. There is truly something for every boating lifestyle and budget.

Ticket Info

Premier Day (Thursday): $40 Adult (age 13+): $25 Two-day pass (Friday–Monday, February 12–15): $45 Five-day pass: $100 Children (12 & younger): FREE with a paid adult admission.

Getting to the Event

There is limited parking near the event site and only one road in and out. It is strongly recommended to take an UBER or the free water taxi or shuttle bus to the event. You can access both from the American Airlines Arena and Bayfront Park.

For more details, visit the Boat Show Website at http://www.miamiboatshow.com/. 

Miami Holiday Boat Parade 2018

Miami Holiday Boat Parade 2018

Celebrate the start to the holidays season with the 21’st annual Miami Outboard Club Holiday Boat Parade

Happy Holidays from everyone at Happy Trailer Storage. To kick off the holiday season, you will not want to miss The 21st Annual Miami Outboard Club Holiday Boat Parade that will take place on Saturday, December 15, 2018. This family-friendly event will showcase more than 100 boats decked out in lights, decorations, and music. The boat parade begins at 7:00 pm and can be viewed from the Bayfront Park where there will be Food Vendors, Bounce House, DJ, and Firework Show at 9:00 pm.

Get more details, click here…

 

Pelican Harbor Marina Beautification Project

pelican-harbor-marina-boat-ramp

Pelican Harbor Marina Beautification Project

Boat Ramp Parking Lot Get’s a Much Needed Overhaul

We are excited to announce the Pelican Harbor Boat Ramp and Marina is getting a much-needed overhaul this fall. Located at 1275 NE 79th St., Miami, on Biscayne Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway, Pelican Harbor Marina is near our boat storage facility and offers nearby ocean access to the Haulover Inlet and Government Cut.

The city of Miami-Dade has implemented the “Pelican Harbor Marina Boat Ramp Parking Lot Beautification Project,” valued at $2.6 million, to modernize, upgrade and improve the overall facility. Construction started this September and expected to be completed in the fall of 2019. The boat ramp will remain open during the project with limited parking spaces available.

Beautification Project Highlights:

  • Reconfiguring traffic flow to reduce congestion.
  • Reconfiguring parking spaces to accommodate 150 trailers and 24 vehicles.
  • Replace and resurface asphalt
  • Installing new signs
  • Installing a new eight-foot-wide pedestrian concrete walkway
  • Improving parking lot stormwater drainage
  • Installing new landscaping
  • Making lighting improvements
  • Installing new fire hydrant.

Learn more about the Pelican Harbor Marina Beautification Project, click here.

Top Lobstering Equipment for South Florida

Top Lobstering Equipment

See our list of lobster catching gear for the Florida Spinney Lobster Season

The 2018 Florida Lobster Season started off with much success for local divers in Miami with plenty of lobster for everyone. Personally, we limited out in the first few hours of mini-season opening and most recently scored 11 bugs off the beach in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea using our Airline hookah system.

With the first few dives under our belt for the season, we noticed some of our gear breaking down and in need of replacement. Now that it’s time to purchase new lobstering equipment we want to share with you our list of top lobster catching gear for 2018.

Low Volume Dive Mask

Dive Fins

Kevlar Dive Gloves

Lobster Bag

Lobster Snare

Lobster Tickle Stick

Lobster Net

 Lobster Guage

Lobster Deveiner Tool

Third Lung

5 Tips for the 2018 Lobster Season

lobster-season-miami-2018-tips

5 Tips for the 2018 Lobster Season

Happy Trailer Storage welcomes the 2018-19 Lobster Season

The Lobster Mini Season in Miami will officially begin at 12:01 am on Wednesday, July 25th and ends at midnight on Thursday, July 26th. The regular 8-month lobster season will start on August 6th and runs through March 31, 2019. Before you head out on the water review our tips below to ensure a safe and successful hunt!

  1. SAFETY FIRST

There is always a risk associated with scuba diving, especially during the lobster mini-season. With thousands of recreational boaters on the water at one time, make sure to have your dive flag visible, bring a spotter, and keep your eyes and ears open. Also, as tempting, as is it may seem to reach into a hole or under coral to grab a bug, do not. You can get stuck or injured by an unknown fish lurking below.

  1. KNOW YOUR LIMITS

During the mini-season, recreational divers and snorkelers can take a maximum of twelve lobsters per person per day in Broward and Miami Dade Counties except for Biscayne National Park. In the primary season, one can take a maximum of 6 lobsters per person per day.

See the official Lobster Season rules

  1. SIZE MATTERS

It is important to remember the body of the lobster excluding the tail should be larger than 3″, measured in the water.  One should carry a measuring device at all times. Possession limits are strictly enforced on and off the water.

  1. BUY A “LICENSE” OR GET FINED

You must have a recreational saltwater fishing license and a spiny lobster permit to participate in Lobster Season. To acquire these items, one can easily pick them up from a local Publix Supermarket or online at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com.

  1. PURCHASE THE CORRECT EQUIPMENT

There is nothing more frustrating then malfunctioning equipment during a dive. From a leaking mask to a broken regulator, make sure to have your gear tested and prepped for this season.