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Old 11-08-2009, 19:15   #1
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First Big Trip

Hi all,

We have been staying within 60 miles of Tampa for the last 2 years and now we are planning our first "big" trip from Tampa to the Keys (well big to us anyways).

The furthest that we will be from shore on that trip will be 50 miles. We have all of the standard safety equipment such as life jackets, vhf (with gps sos) flairs etc and also jacklines.

What we don't have safety wise is an eprib and a life raft.

For the foreseeable future, This will be our biggest voyage and therefore I have decided on a PLB as opposed to an eprib. I know there is lots of oppinions againts these plb's but I think the new fast find 210 with gps (406 and 121.5 capable) seems like it will meet our needs. The testing on this unit has been very positive.

Life raft--We don't have one and don't have the budget for one but I am thinking of renting one (if I can find a place that rents). Again, lots of oppinions on this topic but given this trip we want to do. Is a life raft really required? We do have a dighy as one resort but not ideal in bad weather. And speaking of weather, if it's not ideal we just won't bother going.

Dighy--On this trip would you 1. stow on foredeck or 2. leave secured on davits.


I know for some of you Tampa-Keys is just a quick hop but to us it will be something new and exiting. I'm just trying to educate myself as much as possible from experienced people like you.

Any info you can pass along will be much appreciated

Thanks
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Old 11-08-2009, 19:45   #2
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Are you a BoatUS member?
I think you can rent a GPS from them for a trip of this nature.
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Old 11-08-2009, 19:50   #3
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Thanks iii,

We have a chart plotter, a backup waterproof hand held and another computer linked gps. I think the only think we would be looking at renting would be the raft
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Old 11-08-2009, 21:49   #4
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On a costal trip like that I don' think that a life raft would be the most important thing to have. As long as you have a dinghy you should be fine. There are lots of nice anchorages on the way from Tampa to the keys I would think you don't even need to have an overnight trip. An extra handheld GPSS would be great but you can navigat that area pretty easy with paper charts.
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:52   #5
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Thanks Charlie, The extra gpss we already have on the boat for example the waterproof one is to find dive spots in the dink. And you are right, that area is pretty easy with paper charts.

Still not sure about the raft. You are probably right that we should be fine with the dink. I suspect that most people doing coastal cruising don't have one.

How about the Dinghy....... up on the foredeck or snuggled up nicely in the davits?
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:01   #6
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I dont like a dinghy on the davits when in deep water, but if you are just coats hopping, and keep a good eye on the weather, there should not be a problem.
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:12   #7
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:54   #8
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Neither the liferaft nor the epirb buy you safety. We have them because they are required by some states/insurance companies, etc.. What you do need is a strong ship - strong, watertight hull, sound standing and running rigging, good sails, reliable engine, etc., and the seagoing skills in the skipper/crew. It is good to have a liferaft and an epirb (I would definitely suggest an epirb before a plb) but they do not make the passage safe.

The dinghy stow it on board and tie it down well.
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Old 12-08-2009, 14:16   #9
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Dinghy stowing is a very personal thing. I like to have my dink strapped down on the deck. If I do tow the boat I always take the engine off and empty things out of the boat.
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Old 12-08-2009, 14:23   #10
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I've not done the trip but looked at it. I would think you could mostly day hop? Leave the dingy on the davits if they are good and solid. Tie it from moving around just in case it gets a little rough.. raft? naw
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Old 12-08-2009, 14:30   #11
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It's good that someone is too cautious, instead of the usual not cautious enough. But for goodness sake, you're not going to be more than 10 hours from shore, according to your idea of being maximum 50 miles from shore. Keep a close eye on the weather and you will be just fine. You do not need either liferaft, or EPIRB. Just good horse sense.

Actually, unless you are time limited, I think you won't get even 50 miles from shore. That's a beautiful coast, and if you have the time, just hop from anchorage to beautiful anchorage. If the weather starts to turn bad, just head for a safe harbor.

As to your dink, if you stay close enough to shore to be sure that you won't have to ride out a storm at sea, just leave it on the davits. No need to make such a big deal out of it.
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Old 12-08-2009, 15:23   #12
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On the trip out to the Keys you'll probably be hugging the coast line to stay out of the Gulf Stream. Return trip, you'll probably not have to go further than 10-20 miles offshore to pick up the stream. A liferaft in those warm waters is not really needed as long as your dinghy is in good shape.

An Epirb will get you help real quick if it should be needed. Personally, an Epirb would be my first purchase before any other electronics. You'll probably never use it but they work when called upon, no matter how far offshore or what the conditions on the boat. That's not to say that you set it off if the engine quits but only when life is at stake.

Aloha
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Old 13-08-2009, 08:32   #13
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Thanks all,

Dockhead-- LOL Yep, I am a little over cautious with things but like you said, better that the other way around .

Very exited for this trip, thanks for the posts
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Old 13-08-2009, 13:51   #14
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Acadia,
I think like others have said that you will not be that far from shore. When we brought our boat back to the keys from St. Augustine, we joined BoatUS - that would be a very smart move if you don't already have it. I also found a website that rents life rafts when I was searching to find someone to replace the battery for my EPIRB.
84 Boatworks - Givens, EV, and Revere Life Rafts & Safety Equipment

They're in Fort Lauderdale. Good luck in your trip!

Ann
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Old 14-09-2009, 10:03   #15
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Acadia, We just did this trip in May (as our shakedown sail) and will be doing it again in Oct (as we leave for our first cruising adventure in the caribbean). You will want the dingy handy so you can run around after you anchor and be sure to take pictures of your boat at the different anchorages. I agree with the above comment that if you do not have a tow package you shoulg get one. We have Tow Boat and if you use them only once it covers the cost and then some.

You will always be withing VHF range of other boats - relax and have a ball.
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