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Rented a boat @ Vantage Yacht Club, Marco HELP! Non-sailors!

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London
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Rented a boat @ Vantage Yacht Club, Marco HELP! Non-sailors!

We've booked this groupon www.groupon.com/deals/vantage-yacht-club-5 for a half day Pontoon Boat rental from Vantage Yacht Club, Bald Eagle Drive located here: http://www.vantageyachtclub.com/marco but we're non-sailors and I'm now a bit worried! The groupon allows a four hour rental and says we can throw anchor at Keywaddin Island. Will we be able to safely do that do you think?

We've gone for a Wednesday 11:30am rental hoping that the water ways will be less busy than at the weekend. None of us are sailors, they will give us instructions but could any experienced sailors give us some tips. Is it safe to anchor at the island and how do you make sure you don't ground the boat? Is it a swim into the island or can you get close enough to wade in? We'll have a six month old baby with us so we'll be super cautious and careful.

We'd like to have a gentle ride, do a spot of shelling and have a picnic lunch and my 12 year old son would love to do some fishing too.

Any tips?

thank you

Knoxville
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1. Re: Rented a boat @ Vantage Yacht Club, Marco HELP! Non-sailors!

The biggest hurdle you will face will be the tides. The waters around Marco can become VERY shallow during low tide, and some land will become exposed. If you aren't careful, you could very easily become stranded on newly exposed sand (not a fun predicament, especially with a baby in tow). Don't get me wrong, boating is pretty easy and you should be okay, as long as you are very observant of low tide. Remember: Green and blue,go on through, but if it's brown, you'll run aground.

Anchoring on Keeywaydin is pretty easy and you should be able to hop off your boat onto the sand, without having to wade much, if any. If they provide you with a front and back anchor, USE BOTH! Check on the boat every 15 minutes or so, to make sure it is not getting stuck in the sand when the water is heading to low tide. Other than that, you should have a GREAT time!

Dayton, OH / Marco...
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2. Re: Rented a boat @ Vantage Yacht Club, Marco HELP! Non-sailors!

Tips:

- don't leave the dock unless you feel comfortable ... ask the doc master all your questions

- they will give you a map ... that takes a little learning .. give your self extra time

- you are within cell towers on the intercoastal east of Keewaydin

- every pontoon I have been on has a CB/radio

- stay between the red and the green signs

- most pontoon renters don't allow you into the Gulf o Mexico

- ride the wake of other boats ... don't fight the waves

- follow the signs about the manatee no wake zones

I have learned to do the whole day rental ... the difference in cost is tiny compared to the options and enjoyment.

Relax, take your time and you will love it.

London
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3. Re: Rented a boat @ Vantage Yacht Club, Marco HELP! Non-sailors!

MarcoRed & Marcomamna thanks for taking the time to reply. I feel happier now i have your great advice. Does the comment about cell towers mean we'll have mobile phone coverage?

Edited: 6:01 pm, February 24, 2014
Wisconsin
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4. Re: Rented a boat @ Vantage Yacht Club, Marco HELP! Non-sailors!

You will almost assuredly have cell phone coverage. I have Verizon and have cell coverage while anchored there. The above advice is spot on. We have found beautiful Sand Dollars from Keewaydin. Enjoy.

Sussex
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5. Re: Rented a boat @ Vantage Yacht Club, Marco HELP! Non-sailors!

Good advice above.

I would second the point about taking a full day rental - the price is negligible, and even if you have no intention about staying you for 8 hours, it means you won't be constantly checking gnu your watch, worrying about the time to travel back to dock.

It is an easy and interesting ride out to Keeywaydin and bumping the boat up on the back of the island is no trouble. Be aware of whether you are on a falling or rising tide though - falling tide, check your boat periodically to ensure it isn't getting stranded. Once securely moored on Keeywaydin, take the short walk over to the Gulf facing side of the island - it is a beautiful beach.

London
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6. Re: Rented a boat @ Vantage Yacht Club, Marco HELP! Non-sailors!

That has made me happy! We're really hoping for some sand dollars - over the last few years we've only found broken or live ones!

Can you tell me how long it would take to walk over to the gulf side of the island I'm not keen to leave the boat incase it gets stranded or we didn't anchor it correctly and it floats away! If it's quick we might risk it for some sand dollar hunting!

Sussex
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7. Re: Rented a boat @ Vantage Yacht Club, Marco HELP! Non-sailors!

It is just ~3-4 min gentle walk across the barrier island to the Gulf side.

It really isn't a big deal getting the boat securely moored, and the good people at the rental co. will tell you wither you are going to be on a rising or falling tide (or possibly the tide will switch whilst you are out, in which case, they will tell you when the tides turn).

London
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8. Re: Rented a boat @ Vantage Yacht Club, Marco HELP! Non-sailors!

Thank you that is really helpful. We rented a speed boat last year on a busy Sunday from Naples Bay Resort via Groupon and it was great fun but very busy on the water and it went a bit too fast. As we have a young baby with us this time I thought something a bit slower and more sedate might be safer. And we're on a Sand Dollar and shell hunt so being able to dock at Keeywaydin was a big draw.

9. Re: Rented a boat @ Vantage Yacht Club, Marco HELP! Non-sailors!

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