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Floridians, dwellers of the frozen north and all you aspiring cruisers in between, mark your calendars. The dates for TrawlerFest-Stuart have been set for March 5-9, and as usual we've freshened up the seminar schedule with some new topics. We'll be open for registration in the near future, so please stand by.

The location is the Marriott Hutchinson Island Resort & Marina.

For those of you unfamiliar with our thrice-yearly boat show and boating education event, TrawlerFest features dozens of powercraft displayed in the water and more than 25 classes on topics technical, destinational and aspirational. Despite the "trawler" in its name, the seminar series is aimed at anyone who wants to cruise, whether under power or sail. Nearly all the topics are relevant to either cruising subset.

One of our new courses is presented by Mario Vittone and Michael Carr, retired military and experts on many things. Ocean Preparedness & Survival is the name of their course. Vittone is a retired U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmer, whose career choice lead him to become a national expert on immersion hypothermia, drowning, sea survival, and safety at sea. Vittone is a regular contributor to PassageMaker’s sister publication Soundings magazine. In 2007, he was named as the Coast Guard Active Duty Enlisted Person of the Year.

Michael Carr & Mario Vittone.

Michael Carr & Mario Vittone.

Carr is another man with a unique service history. A graduate of the Coast Guard Academy, Carr served as a Coast Guard diver, then went on to do a stint in the Merchant Marine, finally joining the U.S. Army to become a watercraft master and riverine warfare officer. He is the author of "Weather Predicting Simplified."

Preparedness & Survival is replete with practical tips for dealing with emergencies on the water, but the most valuable insights it offers are about preparation and evaluating risk. Knowing how to prepare and how to parse danger ensures that crises are far less likely to happen on your boat, and if disaster should strike, the course also will have prepared you to cope more effectively.

Eric Kunz

Eric Kunz

Eric Kunz leads another new and unique course, called Electronic Navigation, which divides the class into teams of four and provides an actually MFD for hands on training. Most marine electronics consumers use only a fraction of device capability. This seminar's goal is to show attendees how to get the most from their gear. Kunz is lead product development manager for Furuno, but this class is not brand specific and takes advantage of the fact all chartplotters have similar features.

Stay tuned as we finalize our program.

Seminars: Tuesday through Saturday, March 5-9
In-Water Boat Show: Thursday through Saturday, March 7-9
Open 10 a.m.–5 p.m. (Seminar participants enter in-water boat show free on day of seminar.)

Interested in being an Exhibitor or Sponsor? Contact Ryan Davidson (954) 328-7573 or