Every once in a while, even I follow my own advice.
Last week, I said that if you really wanted to see the Chesapeake Bay Boat Show, you ought to stop by on Monday or Tuesday evenings to beat the crowds.Tuesday afternoon, I pulled into the parking lot across from Festival Hall and took in the show.
I'm probably the worst person to ask about commercially produced recreational boats. I'm aware of some of the better-made boats and a few that aren't so good, but I spend so little time in or around thistype of craft that I have little expertise in this area.
I spend more time looking at equipment that goes on the boat.
I did, however, come across a unique boat, a fiberglass bay-built made in Chestertown. It's the first time I can remember a bay-built sitting among the Mako's and bass boats in Festival Hall.
The craft, by Williams Marine, is 26 feet by 8 feet and draws 30 inches. The 100 percent hand-laid fiberglass hull is powered by a Ford 351 Marine engine. Williams says it will cruise at 20 to 25 knots.
Although not set up for luxury cruising, it sure is a darn fine fishing boat. Rigged and ready to go, it runs about $36,000. I didn't crawl through its innards,but I was favorably impressed with what I saw. Williams put it together with the right stuff.
I stopped by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency booth to learn when we might expect an accurate chart of the Chesapeake Bay.
One man in the booth babbled on about howbuoys move, making it impossible to get a truly accurate chart of any location. When he finished his little speech, a young woman in the booth who knew the score told me that the last chart should be finished in the spring.
That means accurate Chesapeake Bay charts will probably not be available until this fall. Most of the commercially available chart books are made by copying the NOAA charts.
Marine electronics are becoming tremendously sophisticated. The Poptronics booth displayed several Impulse depth-finders. The top-of-the-line System 4040, is a combination fish-finder and Loran C unit. It certainly has a lot of neat features, but it seems like you are constantly pushing buttons.
I like things simple. Some of the other Impulse units did less but would be easier for fishermen like me.
Lowrance, makers of fine marine equipment, has set up a booth beside the Fishing Information Center in Festival Hall. You can get all sorts of good information from that corner of the show.
One item becoming more and more popular along the water front is boat lifts. Once thought to be an item for marinas only, lifts are now quite affordable. Patapsco Marine Engineering of Baltimore produces the Shor-Safe boat lifts. I could see where the unit would pay for itself in a few years and keep your boat looking good.
You park your boat at your pier, push the button and the boat is lifted out of the water, away from the barnaclesand algae. It also protects your drive system from corrosion and electrolysis.
With the boat out of the water, you need not spend sleepless nights wondering if the lines are OK during periods of particularly high or low tides. It's a very good idea for fiberglass boats. Wood boats like my Catherine M have to stay in the water so that the seams don't dry out and open.
The lift unit featured at the show costs $3,200 and could handle a 10,000-pound boat. That booth was probably the busiest at the show. I never did get a chance to talk to the Patapsco Marine folks, but I think the product deserves your attention.
This is but a pipe full of the delights of this year's Chesapeake Bay Boat Show, which runs through Sunday at the Baltimore Convention Center and Festival Hall. Show hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.
Bob Spore is a Coast Guard-licensed charter boat captain from Pasadena. His Outdoors column appears every Friday and Sunday in The Anne Arundel County Sun.