There are many types of new and used boats to select from, with a wide range of prices. Will you use it for fishing – waterskiing – cruising – or just fun on the water? Will you trailer or keep it at a marina or mooring? There are Center consoles - Cruisers - PWCS – High-performance – Jet boats - sailboats - Kayaks, and Rowboats, to name a few. Do you want a new or used Vessel? Discuss with your family members to make the right selection.
When you have narrowed your choice, visit a dealer and ask for a sea trail to see how the boat handles in different situations. Run the boat at various speeds to get a good feel for how it rides. If buying new, ask about the warranty and see if the dealer has the facilities to repair your boat if necessary. If buying a used boat, make sure you have it surveyed by a professional to make sure there are no problems with the hull or motor. Make sure you take a sea trail to see how the boat performs and if it is right for you.
Shop for the price of the vessel and the financing (if needed). Thousands of dollars can be saved by a smart shopper. If you are buying privately, still demand a sea trial and have the boat surveyed!
SEA TRIAL: It should last about 90 minutes so you can get a feel for how the boat handles under different speeds and conditions. Put the boat on a plane and see how it rides. Dock the boat and pull it up to a dock to see how it maneuvers in tight quarters. Are you comfortable standing and sitting at the helm? Do you have a good view of all sides of the boat?
The Marine Surveyor will have a fee, but it is money well spent to get an expert's view of the boat you are purchasing. You will get a detailed report of the boat, and when you insure your boat the insurance company will probably want a copy of the survey. You can use the report to renegotiate the price or have any problems repaired.
Make sure you and your family members take a “Safe Boating Class.” You will boat with more confidence with the knowledge you will acquire.
BOATING is great FUN. ENJOY IT!!!!!!
Captain Frank M. Ferraiuolo
By Captain Frank M. Ferraiuolo (USCG Aux.) *
Boating is fun and a safe sport for all ages. Whether you fish, swim, anchor, or travel, keep in mind the WEATHER! A small runabout, a PWC, a Kayak, or a large cruiser ALL must consider the weather. When the winds are predicted to be 15MPH + or rain or storms are in the forecast, it will not be a great boating day!
We are in Hurricane season right now, and there are a number of things to consider when keeping your Vessel safe and secure. DO NOT wait until the last day to prepare your vessel properly. Do not stay with the Vessel during the storm.
A Vessel can be replaced, but a life cannot!!
If your Vessel is trailerable, remove it from the water and bring it to high ground. If you keep your Vessel at the Marina and can have it hauled and blocked on dry land, do so.
If you must keep it in the water, remove all valuables and electronics and secure the Vessel with extra fenders and lines! Use chafing gear on the lines to prevent them from fraying and failing. Use several different cleats and rings to secure your Vessel. Remove anything that can be blown off your vessel (Chairs-Coolers-decorations etc.).
Check with your neighbors to make sure they prepare their vessels properly.
If you keep your Vessel on a mooring, make sure your Anchor is secure and use several lines on different cleats to secure the anchor. Make sure your battery is fully charged, your Bilge Pump is working properly, and all your Scuppers are clear of debris. Many insurance companies will help pay for the haul-out of your vessel to keep it secure.
Remember to take each storm seriously; as we learned from Hurricane Ian, they can change their path at the last minute.
*Past District Captain for Coxswain-Instructor-Vessel Examiner for the USCG Auxiliary (NYS)
FORT MYERS, Fla. (September 5, 2023) – Right-handed pitcher Jackson Hicks has been named as the Mighty Mussels' 2023 recipient of the Harmon Killebrew Award.
Created in 2011 following the Hall of Famer's passing, the Killebrew Award honors a minor league player from each of the Twins' full-season affiliates for outstanding community service. Recipients are nominated by the general managers of the minor league clubs.
"Jackson has been a consistent upbeat and positive presence in the clubhouse, around the stadium and in the Southwest Florida community," Mussels' general manager Judd Loveland said. "Making his home in Fort Myers, he has played a valuable role at our youth camps and is a role model for the game of baseball."
Over two seasons with Single-A Fort Myers, Hicks led the team in appearances (73), notching a 3.19 ERA over 101.2 innings pitched. In his final 16 innings before his promotion on August 21, he allowed just one earned run on seven hits while striking out 23 (0.56 ERA).
"Jackson epitomizes what a consummate teammate looks like and what it means to serve others in the community," Fort Myers manager Brian Meyer said. "Whether it be through daily fan interactions or being out front in community efforts, Jackson finds a way to connect with others and make a positive impact."
Hicks' mindset is shaped by his humble start. He attended the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill as a conventional student, pitching for the Tar Heels' club team. After graduating with a double major in political science, Hicks began building homes with Habitat for Humanity.
He simultaneously continued to hone his craft during the pandemic, posting videos of his pitching arsenal on YouTube. That earned him a contract in the independent United Shores Professional Baseball League. After a few strong months pitching in Michigan, Hicks earned an affiliated contract with the Twins on July 28, 2021.
Four Champions of the Uniformed Services Community Recognized
Cape Coral Chapter, MOAA
John Gunter, Cape Coral Mayor, will be the featured speaker at the Saturday, September 9 breakfast meeting of the Cape Coral Chapter of the MOAA. A question-and-answer session will follow Gunter's planned remarks.
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) repened the Sanibel Causway last October 19th repairs continue, they have provided an update on the latest developments. Crews are diligently at work along McGregor Boulevard and the Sanibel Causeway, spanning from Port Comfort Road to Sanibel Island. As a result of these ongoing efforts, the causeway islands in close proximity to the temporary roadway have been designated as active work zones, effectively restricting public access, including access by water.
Here's a breakdown of the scheduled work for the rest of the week.
1. Temporary Lane Adjustments: Motorists should be prepared for isolated flagging operations on the Causeway. Crews are planning to facilitate the opening of all lanes during specific time windows, notably from 7 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 5 p.m.
2. Sheet Pile Installation: Work is progressing as crews continue to drive sheet piles on the causeway islands.
3. Temporary Roadway Construction: The construction of the temporary roadway on the causeway island closest to span A is actively underway. Once complete, vehicles will be rerouted to utilize the temporary road, allowing crews to elevate the existing final roadway by approximately 2 feet. The final roadway will be reinstated once this elevation is achieved.
4. Increased Traffic at Punta Rassa: Motorists should anticipate an influx of dump trucks entering and exiting Punta Rassa. They are engaged in delivering armor stone required for the project.
5. Daytime Delays: Regular daytime delays can be expected for the delivery and removal of materials, equipment transfers, and the removal of debris from the roadway.
Given the significant volume of oversized vehicles traversing the causeway to support the island's recovery efforts, travelers are encouraged to exercise patience as travel times may be extended. For the convenience and safety of all, bicyclists are advised to explore alternative modes of transportation, while pedestrians are reminded that access to the Sanibel Causeway is not permitted.
Throughout the project, shoulder closures will be in effect, and motorists are urged to adhere to the posted speed limit of 20 mph. Caution is paramount, with a particular focus on watching for workers and construction vehicles entering and exiting the roadway.
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is offering the one-day, “Boat America” class. This beginner boating class will provide the novice recreational boater with the knowledge needed to obtain the FWC safety certification. Many boat insurance companies will offer discounts on boating insurance to boaters who successfully complete the Boat America class.
The Boat America Class, as part of National Safe Boating Week, will be held Saturday, May 21st from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. in South Fort Myers at the Pine Ridge Community Center (next to the fire station and across from the Tax Collectors Office) at 15660 Pine Ridge Road, Fort Myers.
The Safe Boating Campaign is a worldwide effort focused on responsible boating led by the National Safe Boating Council with support from boating safety advocates around the world. At its heart, the Safe Boating Campaign is a grassroots effort that collaborates with partners to share about safe boating in their local communities through events, social media, workshops, and more. It is produced under a grant from the Sports Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. National Safe Boating Week runs from May 21st through the 27th.
The class presenters are trained professionals of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary who facilitate the sharing of experiences and relate courseware to our local area. Greg Masonick, the Flotilla Commander of the Fort Myers Beach Flotilla 91 stated, “Education and awareness of boating hazards is the key to safe boating.
Participants learn the importance of life jackets, reducing risks, being prepared, and exercising good judgment. People are very busy today, and this one class can fit easily into everyone’s calendar. Unlike online classes, this program offers student interaction, shared perspectives, and local area knowledge.” The cost is $45 per person and includes study material. Advance registration is required, by phone at 239-690-6780 option 1 or online at http://www.aux91fmb.org/safeboating/ - the class fills up quickly so register today.
The US Coast Guard Auxiliary is the lead agency protecting America’s seaward frontier in recreational boating safety. Our vessels and aircraft deploy across the U.S. and aid or save countless boaters every year. Every day the auxiliary saves hundreds of thousands of dollars in property and saves countless lives.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed civilian component of the U.S. Coast Guard and supports the Coast Guard in nearly all mission areas. The Auxiliary was created by Congress in 1939. For more information, please visit www.cgaux.org
The Mighty Mussels started their season on the road and won their first, second, and third game to complete a sweep of the season-opening series at BayCare Ballpark against the Clearwater Threshers
The Mussels were only team in the league to sweep their season-opening series, Fort Myers pulled out three tight games in Clearwater by scores of 6-5, 4-2 and 6-3. The team’s 3-0 start is the best in the league and the franchise’s best since 2014.
Last Tuesday they had their home opener in Fort Myers to a crowd of 2, 000+ fans bringing the best record in the Florida State League into Hammond Stadium welcoming in the Jupiter Hammerheads from Miami who were in first place in their division as they began their season 2 -1 where the Mussels’ Kala’i Rosario delivered a walk-off base hit in the tenth inning Tuesday, giving the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels a 6-5 win over the Hammerheads in 10 innings.
The Mussels entered Wednesday's game against Jupiter with a perfect 4-0 record, looking to continue their winning streak when Kyle Schmidt delivered a decisive three-run home run. Schmidt came to the plate after a pitching change in the bottom of the third with Fort Myers (5-0) trailing 4-3. On the second pitch of the at bat, Schmidt cranked a three-run bomb over the left field berm to give the Mussels their first and only lead at 6-4 and the Mussels’ pitching did the rest and struck out 17 in a 6-4 win over the Hammerheads. Mussels 5-0
The franchise is now 6-0 for the first time since 2013, when the Miracle began the season with a staggering 12-0 record. That team’s roster included future Twins Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sano.
LETS GO MUSSELS
Southwest Florida baseball fans, get ready to “Play Ball!” The Fort Myers Mighty Mussels, the Minnesota Twins Low A affiliate in Florida State League (FSL), host their home opener at Hammond Stadium at the Lee County Sports Complex on Tuesday, April 12, against the Jupiter Hammerheads of the Miami Marlins system at 7 p.m.!
A Dream Come True
Majority Owner: John Martin
The Mussels hosted a preseason reception for Season Ticket Holders at Hammond Stadium on Wednesday, April 6. John Martin, who recently became the team’s new majority owner, told the crowd that “this is literally a dream come true for me! From the time I was a little kid from a little dot on the map in the cornfields of Illinois, I watched and played baseball, dreaming that one day I might be successful enough in life to own a baseball team, and now that I do, we will get this right and be a pillar in the Southwest Florida community! We have a simple motto – Affordable Family Fun – to ensure a great atmosphere at the ballpark.”
Mussels Manager Brian Meyer, entering his second season with the organization, calls his team “exciting! We have a nice blend of players from last season combined with a new wave principally from the Twins 2021 draft class. Our coaching staff loves to work with them every day, as it is not just about winning here but moving them up to High-A Cedar Rapids, to continue their journey to their major league dreams.”
Meyer emphasized to the audience that “while the team’s promotional schedule is exciting, we will be equally as exciting on the field! We enjoyed a normal Spring Training on the minor league side, unlike the past two years, and have many rising prospects on our roster, so expect the Mussels to give 100% every single game. As for our players, I assure you they will be better by the end of April than on Opening Night, and much better in September.”
Broadcaster John Vittas, who will call all 60 home games and half of the road ones, predicts that fans “will love this Mussels squad! Our infield is particularly strong and our pitching staff has serious talent.” As for on-field rule changes, “this season the FSL will have a pitch clock to speed up the game; with pitchers having to throw the ball in 14 seconds with the bases empty and 18 seconds with runners on. The FSL will once again experiment with a robo-ump calling balls and strikes in select games in a unique format: the home plate umpire calls the pitches two out of every six home games; the robo-ump in two others; and in the other two, it will be the home plate umpire, but the robo-ump will be on as well, so teams will have up to three challenges to the computer to reverse the call if they feel the umpire got it wrong.”
The Mussels 29-man roster features six of the Twin’s Top-30 prospects, with 16 pitchers and 13 position players. Of these, nearly half – 14 – were with the Mussels at some point during the 2021 season. Highlighting the list are shortstop Noah Miller and outfielder Emmanuel Rodrigues, with Major League Baseball Pipeline ranking Miller the Twins #10 prospect and Baseball America bestowing the same figure on Rodrigues. Miller, age 19, was the 36th overall Major League 2021 draft pick, directly from Ozaukee High School in Fredonia, Wisconsin. In 16 games with the Florida Complex League (FCL) Twins in late 2021, Miller hit .290. Rodriguez, 19 as well from Santiago, Dominican Republic, hit 10 home runs in just 37 games at the FCL while leading the team with 23 walks.
“I played in the Twins last two Spring Training games and that was fun,” said Emmanuel through an interpreter. “I hope to play a lot of centerfield this season, so I prepare for that, but that decision is out of my control, so I will contribute wherever they put me. I am happy to start my first full season of baseball here and look forward to improving. I know I will make mistakes in my first full season of baseball, but that is how you learn and get better.”
The pitching staff has quality prospects as well, led by left-hander Steve Hajjar and righty Marco Raya. Hajjar, 21, a 2021 2nd round draft pick from The University of Michigan who earned 1st Team All-Big Ten honors, makes his professional debut with the Mussels, as does Raya, who is 19 and a 2020 Twins selection who unfortunately missed 2021 with an injury. Among the returning Mussels is towering right-hander Matthew Swain. The 6’7” fireballer was dominant at the tail end of last season, including striking out the side in the final inning of 2021’s second-to-last game to secure the third-ever No Hitter in franchise history!
Something For Everyone
Mighty Mussels Mascott
The Mussels offer something special to their fans at each of their 60 Home contests, often with multiple incentives at the same game, with its initial home stand an excellent example. Each Tuesday features “Two-for-Tuesday” on hot dogs, beers and sodas. The first 2,000 fans on April 12 receive a 2022 Mighty Mussels magnet schedule and if the club does not bring home a win, everyone receives a complimentary ticket to the following evening’s game. Every Wednesday is “Dollar Dog Night”; “Bark in the Park” where fans bring their leashed dogs to the game; and “Guaranteed Win Night,” where if the Mussels come up on the short end of the score, all fans get a free ticket to the following night’s game. Wednesdays as well are “Ladies Night,” who get 2-for-1 seltzers and wine, along with “Silver Sluggers Night,” whose members age 65 and over receive a free ticket and parking.
Thursdays are “Thirsty Thursdays,” with 12-ounce cans of beer for $1 and drafts for $2. Each Thursday is “Miracle Throwback Night,” where the Mussels honor their predecessor namesake by wearing retro Miracle jerseys. Thursdays are “Snowbird Appreciation Night” and “College Night,” where out-of-state patrons and college students with IDs purchase $5 tickets, with April 14 being “90s Night,” with fans encouraged to dress in their finest 1990s attire! Fridays feature fireworks spectaculars immediately following the final pitch, along with the “Wicked Dolphin Happy Hour” two-for-one Wicked Dolphin drinks at the Salty Crab / Wicked Tuna Bar down the 3rd base line, behind the Mussels bullpen. Friday, April 15 is “Big Cat Rescue Night” with Carole Baskin making a celebrity appearance, including throwing out the first pitch, and Mussels players will wear commemorative tiger-print jerseys available for auction at the conclusion of the game.
Saturdays are another “Guarantee Win Night,” with a postgame fireworks display. The first 500 fans receive a Mussels Fanny Pack, while children participate in an Easter Egg Hunt on the field at 6 p.m. And next Sat, the 16th is “Animal Cruelty Awareness Night” with the Lee County Sheriffs Office to prevent animal mistreatment, as well as “Cancer Sucks Night” to assist non-profits in raising funds to help eliminate this dreaded disease. On Sundays, the Mussels host the “All You Can Eat” ballpark brunch that begins at Noon for $15-per-person. Kids can play catch on the field from Noon to 12:30 p.m., then run the bases at the end of the game, with “Kids Club Sunday” members age 14 & under receiving a free ticket and T-shirt.
Baumgartner, Booms & Beers!
Oother 2022 celebrities appearances are Brian Baumgartner from “The Office” on April 29; Jon Gries, who portrayed “Uncle Rico” in “Napoleon Dynamite,” on June 3; and wrestling star Jerry “The King” Lawler on June 18. The Mussels host 17 fireworks extravaganzas, on all Friday Nights, Saturdays through July 2. There are five Beer Festivals on April 30, June 18, July 2 & 30, and August 27, with four special-themed jersey nights: Tiger theme on April 15; Pink Out Cancer on June 4; Hulk Smash on June 17; and 1992 Olympic Basketball on July 3, with all jerseys up for auction purchases throughout the games.
Each of the ten Home series are Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7 p.m., with Sundays at 1 p.m., with the exceptions of Saturday, May 14, at 5 p.m., as Joe Nichols and Parmelee perform a free concert following the game, and Sunday, July 3rd game is, at 7 p.m. for the largest postgame fireworks in Mussels history.
Tickets are $10 to $15; purchase them at www.mightymussels.com, the box office that opens 60 minutes before each game, or at 239-768-4210, with parking $10-per-car. The Mussels play at Hammond Stadium at the Lee County Sports Complex at 14100 Six Mile Cypress Parkway. Vittas broadcasts every Mussels home game and select road contests worldwide at www.mightymussels.com, through the MiLB First Pitch App, or at www.milb.com/fort-myers/fans/ audio-listen-live. Catch the Major League Baseball stars of tomorrow today with the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels!