Safety Gear to Have on Your Boat

July 28th, 2015 by Oyster Harbors Marine


Whether you enjoy cruising or fishing, you likely view boating as a source of fun, carefree times; a chance to relax on the water away from the stresses of daily life. But even on a boat, problems can occasionally arise, from an annoying leak to somebody falling overboard to even an onboard fire. And if you’re unprepared, minor problems on the water can quickly escalate into a dangerous situation.

You can prevent that from happening by making sure you have appropriate safety gear on your boat. Create a safety gear checklist and review it periodically to make sure you’re never caught unprepared. Some onboard safety gear is required by law depending on the state you live in, the size of your boat, body of water you boat is on and other factors. Be sure to check what is required by the Coast Guard and local laws.

Start by making sure you have Coast Guard-approved Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) onboard your boat. The Coast Guard estimates that 80 percent of boating fatalities could be prevented by people wearing PFDs. Make sure everyone onboard has a PFD that fits them correctly (especially children). You should also have throwable flotation devices immediately available.

Next, any boat with gas or diesel needs to have a fire extinguisher. If you ever need it, you’ll need it fast, so make sure it’s readily available. Routinely check that it hasn’t passed its expiration date and that the indicator needle is still in the green area. You also need both sound and visual signaling devices, such as flares, air horns and whistles. Again, check Coast Guard and local regulations.

While some safety gear might not be required, it’s just smart to have onboard. Chief among these is a first aid kit. If you have an accident on the water, it’s going to take time to get help, so you need to be able to aid yourself or a passenger fast. You also should have a bailer in case of a leak, and a tow line.

A decent tool kit will come in handy if you have any mechanical problems, and it’s smart to keep a supply of spare parts, including fuses, onboard. You need to have a waterproof flashlight (preferably a couple), and you should have communication devices such as a VHF radio and a cell phone. And, if you do get stuck on the water for a while, you’ll want to have spare food and drinking water stashed for just such an occasion.


The Unique Appeal of Woods Hole

July 23rd, 2015 by Oyster Harbors Marine



It’s pretty safe to say there’s no other place quite like Woods Hole on Cape Cod, or probably anywhere else in New England for that matter.

On one hand, Woods Hole is a small, picturesque coastal village where you can walk or pedal a bike along quiet, narrow streets, and spend a leisurely day shopping and eating at local restaurants. On the other hand, this tiny seaside community is packed with multiple world-renowned scientific institutions, the caliber of which you’d expect to find around Boston on the campuses of MIT or Harvard. The result is a college-town-meets-fishing-village atmosphere in a place where you can enjoy beautiful scenery, eat great seafood, and learn about the latest in marine science all in a day.

While Woods Hole is a wonderful destination, navigating there can prove tricky. Boat traffic is heavy in the area, and includes large ships and ferries. The surrounding waters are also riddled with rocky ledges and powerful currents, so pay close attention to your cruising guide and channel markers. If it’s your first time boating to Woods Hole, make sure you have enough power and time your trip to coincide with slack tide.

For slips and moorings, a good bet is Eel Pond. There you’ll find Woods Hole Marine; (508-540-2402) and Pinky’s Marina; (508-540-2310). To access Eel Pond, you’ll need to contact the Eel Pond Bridge on Channel 13 and ask them to open the bridge. The bridge opens at the top of the hour and bottom of the hour as long as a request is made. Other dockage options include the Woods Hole Yacht Club; (508-548-9205), which sometimes has transient slips, and R&R Marine (508-548-6976). You can find gas and diesel two miles east in Falmouth Inner Harbor.

No trip to Woods Hole is complete without visiting its several amazing marine science facilities. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; (508-289-2252) is one of the world’s most respected marine science facilities, and a visit there is sure to provide you with at least one (but probably several) mind-blowing learning experience. The Marine Biological Laboratory; (508-548-3705) allows visitors to learn about the lab’s research into marine biology. The Woods Hole Science Aquarium; (508-495-2001) features local marine life than can be viewed and sometimes touched. And the Buzzards Bay Coalition Visitor’s Center; (508-540-6222) has interactive exhibits that will appeal to both children and adults.

With all that learning, you’re likely to work up an appetite. Luckily, Woods Hole is also home to several fantastic restaurants. Among them, the Landfall Restaurant (508-540-1758) is a popular restaurant overlooking the harbor. Shucker’s Raw Bar; (508-540-3850) is a casual dock-and-dine with a large menu. The Captain Kidd (508-548-8563) is a low-key restaurant on Eel Pond offering limited dockage to patrons.


Super Sizzlin’ Summer Sales Event

July 22nd, 2015 by Oyster Harbors Marine


The Remarkable Story of the Queen Bee

July 9th, 2015 by Oyster Harbors Marine

Boaters like to think that nothing bad will ever happen to them at sea. But they also like to think that if something does happen, their boat will be strong enough to survive it. And while many boat companies boast that their boats can handle whatever conditions they might face, Regulator Marine can back it up with one of the most amazing boating survival tales in recent memory.

article-2091834-1175193D000005DC-455_634x417In August 2008, Scott Douglas was fishing in his Regulator 26 center console – the Queen Bee – with his brother-in-law, Rich St. Pierre. Suddenly, the two men looked up to see a rogue wave towering 5 feet over their bimini top. It tossed the two men overboard, forcing them to swim to shore while they watched the Queen Bee, still under power, being pulled out to sea. While happy they were safe, the men thought it was the last time they’d see the Queen Bee.

Fast forward nearly three and a half years to early 2012, when Douglas was astonished to receive a call telling him his Queen Bee had been discovered across the Atlantic Ocean just off the north of Spain, still intact. After traveling roughly 3,500 miles across the ocean, the boat had a little rust, had mussels attached to it and had a slightly banged-up T-top frame. Other than that, it was still in great shape. Its two engines were intact. Its hull was still seaworthy. Even the first-aid kit, nautical maps and fire extinguishers were all still in place.

The saga of the Queen Bee received national attention. And rightfully so. Douglas was amazed his boat had survived. So were the people who had built it. Architects with Regulator say they design their boats so they can withstand a lot. But a three-and-a-half year ocean crossing? Enduring hurricanes and the notoriously brutal storms of the North Atlantic? No one who builds a 26-foot center console has that in mind during construction.

But somehow the Queen Bee survived. It stayed afloat because the main structural components of the vessel – the hull, the liner and the console – had all stayed intact. Some experts credit Regulator’s innovative fiberglass grillage system for holding the vessel together. A lesser boat likely wouldn’t have survived.

And its owner wouldn’t have nearly as cool of a tale to tell.

Tips for Onboard Entertaining

July 2nd, 2015 by Oyster Harbors Marine

32-exterior-2 featureEntertaining is likely one of the key reasons you bought a boat. But onboard parties bring with them plenty of challenges. You have much less room than you do at home, you’re working in a small kitchen with smaller appliances (if there are any appliances at all), and you’re doing everything on the relatively unstable footing of a boat on the water. Plus, it’s a boat! Everyone onboard – including the host – should be having a great time, not working away in the galley. Here’s a few tips to make your onboard entertaining experience a success that everyone will enjoy.
Make a detailed list of everything you’ll need. Then treat that list as if your party’s life depends on it, because it does. Once you leave shore, there’s no running back to grab what you forgot. So make sure you have everything you need, and plenty of it.
Create a strict guest list. At home it might be the more the merrier, and you might not think twice if a friend wants to bring a plus one. But on a boat there’s only so much space and so many places to sit. You also have capacity laws to think about, and you need to be sure you have enough life jackets. Think about how much comfortable seating you have on your boat, and then stick to that.
Consider the parking at your marina. If there’s not enough parking for all your friends, you may need to meet someplace close by and carpool in.
Prepare for the weather. It might look beautiful outside at the start of your party, but what if a surprise shower passes through? Or the wind kicks up? Is your boat able to shelter guests from the elements? If not, make sure people are prepared with windbreakers or raingear. Also, consider the sun. Is there available shade for guests? And make sure to have plenty of sunscreen on that list we talked about.
Is the party for a holiday or are you having a theme? If your event is for a holiday, make sure to decorate appropriately. For July 4, have plenty of sparklers, flags and red, white and blue decorations to go along with the burgers and beer. If there’s no holiday to celebrate, picking a theme – like a pirate party or karaoke – can be a fun excuse to have a party. Go all out with decorations and accessories.
Don’t go crazy with your meals. When entertaining onboard, your boat and the ocean atmosphere will take center stage. Meals should complement that, but not overwhelm. Also, with tight space and smaller equipment, cooking in your galley is much more challenging than your home kitchen, so limit your onboard prep work. Cook your main meal ahead of time at home, preferably that morning. You can also forego plated meals in favor of family-style casual, where guests help themselves (easing the work for the host). Potluck is a good way to go, and guests are always happy to oblige. Keep things simple with light appetizers and easy-to-prepare desserts. And with side dishes, think of what can be cooked and prepared ahead of time, or what can be easily assembled onboard.
Check out these boating recipes on Pinterest to get ideas for great make-ahead dishes.

How to Choose a Good Anchorage

June 25th, 2015 by Oyster Harbors Marine



What boater hasn’t dreamed of dropping a hook in some secluded cove to go for a swim, enjoy a sunset or spend the night under the stars? Of course, there’s a lot more to it than just releasing your anchor any old place you want. Here are a few tips to help you pick out a great anchorage.

Do Your Homework. If your plan is to just stumble upon a good anchorage, think again. Choosing an anchorage on the fly, when you might discover there is not a suitable one available, is a recipe for disaster. Pick out your anchorage ahead of time. You’ll discover tons of great information in guidebooks and online. Check your charts, and be sure to pick two or three options in case your first anchorage is crowded or has problems.

Look for Protection. When picking an anchorage, you want a place that will give you the most protection from wind and waves. You won’t have a peaceful night on the hook if waves are knocking your boat around. Consider the direction that wind and waves will be coming from, and tuck into a harbor or behind an island where you’ll be shielded from rough conditions.

Consider Potential Hazards. Be sure to consider any possible hazards you might encounter in the anchorage. Are there many dangerous rocks or changing currents? How about shoals? Is it crowded with boat traffic, and will you be dodging freighters or ferries? Are there cables or chains at the bottom?

Look for Good Holding. While it can be hard to know for sure what is at the bottom, you’ll often find bottom conditions noted on charts, with an “S” for sand and an “M” for mud. Think about your type of anchor when considering where to drop your hook, as some anchors work better in soft mud while others are better in hard sand. Also, be sure to avoid sloping or grassy bottoms.

Choose the Right Depth. What seems like a perfect anchorage at high tide can be a disaster if, come low tide, you find yourself sitting in mud. Check the area’s tidal range to make sure you won’t end up grounded. Also, make sure the water isn’t too deep, or you’ll have trouble holding.

Give Yourself Room. Your boat might be anchored, but it is still moving. Even with just a little breeze, your boat could swing around on its line. Be sure to give your boat enough room so it can swing in a circle around the anchor. And make sure not to anchor upwind of another vessel so you don’t end up over their anchor.

Here’s Your Big Chance

June 24th, 2015 by Oyster Harbors Marine
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June 23rd, 2015 by Oyster Harbors Marine

Osterville 5 (1)

Oyster Harbors Marine is in the process of expanding the rack storage options that we offer. We are planning to add racks that will accommodate boats up to 28’ (32’ LOA) for the 2016 season. Hours of operation will be 7 am-630 pm, 7 days a week, Memorial Day through Labor Day. Please let us know if you would like to reserve a rack for the 2016 season. Your non-binding reservation will help to determine the storage capacity needed to accommodate interest in this service offering. For more information and availability please contact 

Matt Carstensen at or 508-367-9999

The Magical Maneuvering of SeaStar’s Optimus 360

June 18th, 2015 by Oyster Harbors Marine

If there’s one thing that gives boaters more anxious moments than anything else, it’s probably docking in tight spaces. While boating is fun and relaxing, the experience is often bookended by tense captains holding their breath as they pull away from or return to the dock, hoping not to damage their boat, or worse – somebody else’s.

The fact is, no matter how fancy and expensive your boat might be, once it’s in the water it’s certainly not going to have the responsiveness of a sports car.

But it can.

Optimus-360-mainIf you’ve never heard of the Optimus 360 by SeaStar – and, like all boaters, you’ve had your own tense moments at the dock – you need to check it out. Using state-of-the-art electronics, the Optimus 360 gives boaters easy 360-degree maneuvering capabilities when they’re docking, negotiating crowded areas or even loading a boat onto a trailer.

The Optimus 360 has an easy-to-use joystick that is intuitive for boaters, so even novice boaters will find it simple to move the boat in all directions: forward, backward, diagonally. It can rotate your boat on its own axis and even move it sideways, making a tricky docking situation no problem at all.

Oyster Harbors Marine is the official SeaStar Solutions Technical Dealer for New England. So if you’d like to learn more about the Optimus 360 by SeaStar, or see for yourself how easy it is to use, come visit us in Osterville. You can also give us a call at 508-428-2017 or email us at

The Charm of Essex, Connecticut

June 9th, 2015 by Oyster Harbors Marine



One of the benefits of working in the boat business is you often find yourself surrounded by beautiful, captivating waterfront destinations. One of the best, most charming destinations in all of New England is Essex, Connecticut, where Oyster Harbors Marine is lucky enough to have a location.



Essex is quintessential New England. A popular travel guide even called it the perfect American small town. It is steeped in history, with beautiful streets lined with Colonial and Federal architecture. It has lots of shops, restaurants, and art galleries. And it is ideal for boaters, from the area’s great fishing, to the scenic cruising opportunities along the Connecticut River, to the plenty of slips and facilities in town ready to welcome visitors.

You’ll find Essex on the western shore of the Connecticut River, 5 nautical miles north of Long Island Sound. Follow channel markers up the river to G C “26,” and be sure to observe the no-wake zones along the way. Also, pay close attention to channel markers off Hayden’s Point, as rocks extend underwater right to the edge of the channel.

Essex has no shortage of boating facilities. You’ll find the town landing and launch ramp along Main Street. Among the marinas in the area is Brewer Essex Island Marina (860-767-2483; VHF 9), which maintains 80 transient slips and offers fuel, electric, WiFi and more. Brewer Dauntless Shipyard (860-767-0001; VHF 9), is another full-service marina with transient slips. You can find a small anchorage just east of Nott Island, and another in Hamburg Cove, opposite Brockaway Island.

The scenic Connecticut River is ideal for cruising and is teeming with wildlife. Thousands of birdwatchers flock to the area each year for a chance to glimpse bald eagles, ospreys and the fall migration of tree swallows. The river also has many small creeks and coves worth exploring by small boat. If you need to rent a kayak, check out Action Sports in Old Saybrook.

On land, Essex has many attractions worth exploring. You’ll enjoy just walking the scenic streets, enjoying the architecture, perusing the many shops and art galleries, and dining at the area’s many fine restaurants. While in town, be sure to visit the Connecticut River Museum, which explores the history of the river with exhibits, educational programs and special events. The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat tours – featuring a 65-foot replica paddlewheeler – are a favorite among kids. Another great way to see the area is aboard the 54-foot boat Riverquest, which offers scenic cruises along the river.

While you’re in Essex, be sure to stop by and say “Hi” to us at Oyster Harbors. You’ll find us at 9 Novelty Lane and can reach us at 860-581-8067. We’d love to see you.


CLICK HERE to watch New England Boatings episode on this beautiful New England town.