Sunday, September 29, 2013

Meet The Team - Matt Henry

Matt Henry has been bass fishing competitively since 1999, when he was just 11 years old. Fishing has been a part of his life since he was a young boy learning techniques used by his father. Matt joined the Junior Bass Busters, the first youth bass club established in Georgia, based out of Conyers in 1999. He fished with the youth club until he graduated high school in 2006. In that time frame he won (3) Georgia Junior State Championships, and fished in (3) Junior World Championships where he represented the State of Georgia.

After high school, Matt went on to college at Georgia College & State University where he founded the Georgia College Bass Fishing Team. He served as team president for multiple years and had many great tournament finishes throughout his college career. Matt's childhood dream was to become a full time pro fisherman one day and he is currently making those dreams come true. He is now fishing the pro side of the FLW Outdoors BFL (Bass Fishing League) and many other local and regional tournaments. When Matt is not fishing a tournament or out on the lake guiding, he likes to volunteer his time by giving back to youth fishing programs.

Tournament Highlights:
1st Place HD Marine Trail; March 2009, Lake Sinclair, GA
1st Place Georgia Southern Collegiate Trail; March 2010, Lake Sinclair, GA
8th Place Boat U.S. Collegiate Nationals; May 2010, Lake Lewisville, TX
1st Place BFL Bulldog Super Tournament; August 2010, Lake Oconee, GA
1st Place BFL Bulldog Division; May 2011, Lake Eufaula, AL
1st Place Berry's Trail; December 2011, Lake Sinclair, GA
1st Place Georgia Southern Collegiate Trail; April 2012, West Point Lake, GA
1st Place Berry's Trail; May 2012, Lake Oconee, GA
1st Place Berry's Trail Angler of the Year; (2011-2012 Season) Points Champion


Free Online Georgia Boating Safety Course

The BoatUS Foundation's Online Course is the only FREE Online Boating Safety Course approved by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

The course consists of six lessons and a final exam. Each lesson has a 10-question quiz at the end to test your knowledge. The final exam is 75 questions and you must pass with a score of 80% or better in order to print your certificate of completion.

Georgia residents who are 12 to 15 years of age are required to pass a Georgia DNR approved boating safety course in order to operate a PWC or motorboat. Click here for more details on exactly who is required to take a course and what they are permitted to operate.

Are you ready to take the online boating safety course? Click here to get started.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Tips for Properly Transporting and Trailering Your Boat

With summer officially ending yesterday, you may be wanting to enjoy some early fall boating before it starts to get too cold out. The majority of boaters transport their boat to and from the water by trailer. So it’s important for you to ensure the safety of your boat while properly transporting and trailering it by following these helpful tips.

Safe Towing Preparation
First of all, make sure that the trailer is the correct size and type for the boat that you want to transport. The trailer needs to be able to support the weight of the boat as well as the motor, fuel and any gear that you will be using. Secondly, you want to make sure that the vehicle that you are using to pull the trailer has been rated to haul the size and combined weight of the trailer and boat. Before you leave with your boat on the trailer, double-check that the supports and tie down straps are secure and that nothing is loose or could come loose in the boat while it is being transported. Also, inspect the trailer tires and make sure the tire pressure is correct and double check that you have a spare tire. Finally, make sure that the safety chains between the vehicle and the trailer are crossed under the trailer tongue with enough slack to allow for tight turns, if needed and that any tail lights are plugged in and working properly.

Driving with a Trailer
When driving a vehicle that is pulling a trailer, you want to make sure that your side mirrors are large enough to provide you with a view of the area behind your trailer. You’ll notice that your vehicle’s acceleration is a lot slower than you are used to and you’ll also need to give yourself plenty of room for stopping, changing lanes and turning. It might be a good idea to practice your driving skills in an empty parking lot, especially the task of backing a trailer into a boat ramp. To do this, you will want to line up the trailer as much as possible with the ramp and know that the trailer will move in the opposite direction of the steering wheel. Some drivers keep their hand at the very bottom of the steering wheel and turn the wheel in the direction they want the trailer to go.

Launching and Retrieving Your Boat
Before getting to the boat ramp, get your boat prepared. Remove the straps, put in the drain plug, disconnect the trailer lights and attach the bow and stern lines. This way, you won’t hold up others waiting to launch their boats from the boat ramp. Once your trailer is positioned on the boat ramp, back up the tow vehicle so that rear rollers of the trailer are immersed in the water. Set the vehicle’s parking brake and use the winch to lower the boat into the water while holding on to the bow line. To retrieve your boat from the water, follow these steps in the opposite order.

What other tips could you recommend?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Free Vessel Safety Check

In case you didn't know, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary offers free vessel safety checks to help you stay safe on the water. Their number one priority is safety. They'll inspect your boat and if it passes, you'll be given a decal that notifies law enforcement that your boat has been inspected and complies with state and federal laws. If for some reason your boat doesn't pass, they'll provide you with a list of what needs to be fixed along with tips to help you fix them. Wondering what a vessel safety check is all about?
Here is a list of items that are checked:
  • Proper display of registration numbers. US Coast Guard documented boats do not have to display state registration numbers.
  • Registration and Documentation papers. Registration or Documentation papers must be on board and available. Documentation numbers must be permanently marked on a visible part of the interior structure. The documented boat's name and hailing port must be displayed on the exterior hull in letters not less than 4 inches in height. To be documented a boat must be 5 net tons or greater.
  • Appropriate PFDs. PFDs must be accessible there must be one suitable PFD available for each person aboard. Vessels over 16 feet must have one throwable on board.
  • Visual Distress Signals. Recreational boats 16 feet and over must carry a minimum of either 1) three day and three night pyrotechnic devices, 2) one day non-pyrotechnic device (flag) and one night non-pyrotechnic device (auto SOS light) or 3) a combination of 1) and 2).
  • Fire extinguishers. The specific requirements vary depending on boat size and whether or not a fixed system is installed. See the USCG Auxiliary website for details.
  • Ventilation. Boats with gasoline engines in closed compartments, built after 1 August 1980 must have a powered ventilation system. Those built prior to that date must have natural or powered ventilation. Boats with closed fuel tank compartments built after 1 August 1978 must meet requirements by displaying a "certificate of compliance." Boats built before that date must have either natural or powered ventilation in the fuel tank compartment.
  • Backfire Flame Control. Inboard and inboard/outboard boats powered by gas engines must have a backfire flame control device installed.
  • Sound producing device. All vessels must carry a sound producing device capable of a 4 second blast audible for ½ mile.
  • Navigation lights. All boats (including dinghies) must be able to display navigation lights between sunset and sunrise and in conditions of reduced visibility. Boats 16 feet or more in length must have properly installed, working navigation lights and an all-around anchor light capable of being lit independently from the red/green/white "running" lights.
  • Pollution placard. Boats 26 feet and over with a machinery compartment must display an oily waste "pollution" placard.
  • MARPOL Trash Placard. Boats 26 feet and over in length must display a "MARPOL" trash placard. Boats 40 feet and over must also display a written trash disposal plan.
  • Marine sanitation devices. Any installed toilet must be a Coast Guard approved device. Overboard discharge outlets must be capable of being sealed.
  • Navigation rules. Boats 39.4 feet and over must have on board a current copy of the Navigation Rules.
  • State and Local Requirements.
  • Boater education card
  • CO warning sticker
  • Overall vessel condition
  • Clean bilge
  • Deck free of hazards
  • Safe galley and heating systems