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The Official Bimini 2019 Thread

Old 01-27-2019, 06:00 PM
  #121  
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No need to be nervous about this crossing if you have a good weather window, a solid, sea worthy boat, proper safety equipment, and are comfortable with being out in the ocean on your vessel. It's 45 nm from Miami Government Cut to Bimini. We do it all the time year round usually between 1 1/4 hours to 1 3/4 hours. Be sure to have an EPIRB or a PLB at the very least, a boat VHF and a handheld, a chart plotter and preferably a handheld backup like an IPhone with Navionics. I'm a big believer in a life raft (valise) and a sat phone, especially the raft. You are never more than 25 miles from land. If you only do your crossing in good conditions, it's not a big deal. It becomes a big deal when you decide that you have to get back on a certain day by a certain time and the conditions are less than favorable and you go for it anyway. That's when you get into trouble.
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Old 01-28-2019, 03:54 AM
  #122  
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Originally Posted by jillybird View Post
No need to be nervous about this crossing if you have a good weather window, a solid, sea worthy boat, proper safety equipment, and are comfortable with being out in the ocean on your vessel. It's 45 nm from Miami Government Cut to Bimini. We do it all the time year round usually between 1 1/4 hours to 1 3/4 hours. Be sure to have an EPIRB or a PLB at the very least, a boat VHF and a handheld, a chart plotter and preferably a handheld backup like an IPhone with Navionics. I'm a big believer in a life raft (valise) and a sat phone, especially the raft. You are never more than 25 miles from land. If you only do your crossing in good conditions, it's not a big deal. It becomes a big deal when you decide that you have to get back on a certain day by a certain time and the conditions are less than favorable and you go for it anyway. That's when you get into trouble.
Jilly,something we should consider for this years trip.Which one did you guys go with?We're in a 376 Grady CC so space is at a premium.Thanks
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Old 01-28-2019, 05:47 AM
  #123  
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Originally Posted by zh50 View Post
curious if anyone has crossed over and arrived after customs/immigration closed? If so what did you do ?
Last time i got over after they were closed i was told at big game that i HAD to check in that night. They would not let me check into my room until i was cleared. They called the after hours people and in about 30mins they were at big game. It was an easy check in (both customs and immigration) BUT they had a pretty heavy charge for after hours service. I want to say it almost doubled the cost of checking in. I gripped about it some to the agent thinking that he was just trying to line his pocket but i knew i wouldn't get any where with it so i just paid.

I may have been able to approach it differently and have avoided this. I asked the receptionist at big game about checking in after hours and then that lead to it being a requirement. Next time i would just walk in and not mention anything about it and probably be able to get my room no problem. If that worked i would then check-in in the morning.
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Old 01-28-2019, 06:39 AM
  #124  
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Well I tried to reserve the condo my wife likes at the sands for June and it seems it's not possible at the moment due to "staff changes", this is the reply I got.


"Bimini Sands is currently going through a staff change, so we are not taking reservations right now. We may start taking them again the end of March. When we do, you will be able to book it online."


So they "may" start taking bookings at the end of March ??, anyone know what's going on ?.
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Old 01-28-2019, 06:41 AM
  #125  
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Mikey111k, you do have to check in on arrival at Big Game after hours unless you stay on your boat with the quarantine flag up until customs and immigration opens, I believe. Otherwise, you are in the Bahamas illegally. Since the after hours service is available, you've got to follow their rules. Otherwise, be prepared for the consequences if the officers decide to penalize you.

Lu 1967, on my Stamas, I have a mounted canister with hydrostatic release containing a full 8 man Winslow offshore raft. That's top of the line, but I run my boat up to NY in the summer and fish the NE canyons 100 miles offshore. There are plenty of very small, excellent valise life rafts on the market that weigh next to nothing and are the size of a backpack. They cost in the $1k to $1,200 range. For $1424 you can get a Revere Compact 6 person coastal valise raft with canopy. It weighs 20 pounds and is 20 inches by 13 by 6. The 4 person is only 18.5 pounds and 16.5 inches by 13 by 6 and costs $1225. Winslow has a 4 man Superlight Rescue Raft that weighs 16 pounds and is 16x14x8 inches for $1571 and is excellent, durable quality. Note, these are not full scale life rafts designed for offshore multiday conditions, but rather warm water short duration rafts that will keep you out of the water if, God forbid, your boat goes down. But they are all very high quality products made by outstanding life raft companies. And they take up hardly any space and are inexpensive. IMHO it's nuts to go out in the ocean frequently without at least having one of these rafts aboard given the rather minimal expense, the easy storage, and the additional safety they provide.
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Old 01-28-2019, 06:46 AM
  #126  
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Originally Posted by jillybird View Post
Mikey111k, you do have to check in on arrival at Big Game after hours unless you stay on your boat with the quarantine flag up until customs and immigration opens, I believe. Otherwise, you are in the Bahamas illegally. Since the after hours service is available, you've got to follow their rules. Otherwise, be prepared for the consequences if the officers decide to penalize you.

Lu 1967, on my Stamas, I have a mounted canister with hydrostatic release containing a full 8 man Winslow offshore raft. That's top of the line, but I run my boat up to NY in the summer and fish the NE canyons 100 miles offshore. There are plenty of very small, excellent valise life rafts on the market that weigh next to nothing and are the size of a backpack. They cost in the $1k to $1,200 range. For $1424 you can get a Revere Compact 6 person coastal valise raft with canopy. It weighs 20 pounds and is 20 inches by 13 by 6. The 4 person is only 18.5 pounds and 16.5 inches by 13 by 6 and costs $1225. Winslow has a 4 man Superlight Rescue Raft that weighs 16 pounds and is 16x14x8 inches for $1571 and is excellent, durable quality. Note, these are not full scale life rafts designed for offshore multiday conditions, but rather warm water short duration rafts that will keep you out of the water if, God forbid, your boat goes down. But they are all very high quality products made by outstanding life raft companies. And they take up hardly any space and are inexpensive. IMHO it's nuts to go out in the ocean frequently without at least having one of these rafts aboard given the rather minimal expense, the easy storage, and the additional safety they provide.
That was my understanding too. I have heard stories of people waiting until the next morning and getting harassed when they tell the agent they arrived late last night. I have also heard of it not being a problem.

I have been told by 'officials' in bimin that it is OK to check-in the next morning. Everything i have seen on paper supports that you have to check in right away and cannot wait until the morning. I wonder if going to the airport would have avoided the extra fees? What time is the airport open until?
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Old 01-28-2019, 06:48 AM
  #127  
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Originally Posted by Chimpo View Post
Do they charge for that, or is it something they do to promote tourism?
Yes they charge for that, to be honest I don't see the point in paying for that if you can get a buddy boat for free.
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Old 01-28-2019, 07:51 AM
  #128  
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Originally Posted by Gnrphil View Post
Yes they charge for that, to be honest I don't see the point in paying for that if you can get a buddy boat for free.
It’s like $75. With that you also get some benefits should you need them, like prefered customs ckearance, hasslefree parts shipping if you need a part.
Buddy boats are free, but getting one to actually go when you do is a different story. I have heard any excuse available, from “I lost my job” to “ I have to go to a funeral” to “ My neighbor’s dog is having kittens and i need to be there fir that”.
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Old 01-28-2019, 08:16 AM
  #129  
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Originally Posted by berrie View Post


It’s like $75. With that you also get some benefits should you need them, like prefered customs ckearance, hasslefree parts shipping if you need a part.
Buddy boats are free, but getting one to actually go when you do is a different story. I have heard any excuse available, from “I lost my job” to “ I have to go to a funeral” to “ My neighbor’s dog is having kittens and i need to be there fir that”.
Well maybe I just got lucky the first time, I'm quite happy to go alone at this point anyhow.
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Old 01-28-2019, 08:37 AM
  #130  
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Thanks Jilly, I think that Winslow super light sounds about perfect.Thanks again for taking the time.
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Old 01-28-2019, 09:30 AM
  #131  
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Originally Posted by BiminiCowboy View Post
I've been crossing for about ten years now. Send me an email if you have any questions, and I'll tell you what I know. I'm from Louisiana, we own a condo there at Bimini Sands. timewellwasted1969@yahoo.com
I will get in touch soon.
Thanks!!
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Old 01-28-2019, 10:52 AM
  #132  
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Lu1967. My pleasure. My son has the Winslow Super Light on his Contender 31. The valise is tiny. While many guys pooh pooh having a raft like this as an unnecessary expense, I view it as a cheap life insurance policy.
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Old 01-28-2019, 11:52 AM
  #133  
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Originally Posted by jillybird View Post
They cost in the $1k to $1,200 range. For $1424 you can get a Revere Compact 6 person coastal valise raft with canopy. It weighs 20 pounds and is 20 inches by 13 by 6. The 4 person is only 18.5 pounds and 16.5 inches by 13 by 6 and costs $1225. Winslow has a 4 man Superlight Rescue Raft that weighs 16 pounds and is 16x14x8 inches for $1571 and is excellent, durable quality.
IIRC, the Revere's I was looking at needed inspection after two years, then every year thereafter. I imagine the inspection is cheaper on these small rafts, but it any adds up.

Is Winslow any better?
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Old 01-28-2019, 05:44 PM
  #134  
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You can get the Winslow vacuum wrapped and then it's a 3 year service interval. I don't know what the cost of the service is, but it should be much lower than for a full life raft since there's much less to this.
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Old 01-29-2019, 12:55 AM
  #135  
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Originally Posted by jillybird View Post
You can get the Winslow vacuum wrapped and then it's a 3 year service interval. I don't know what the cost of the service is, but it should be much lower than for a full life raft since there's much less to this.

Does the vacuum wrapping change the manner of deployment?

I was looking at this one. It comes with a 12 yr warranty, and 3yr service cycle.

Raft

Last edited by Chimpo; 01-29-2019 at 01:25 AM.
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Old 01-29-2019, 06:17 AM
  #136  
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Originally Posted by Chimpo View Post
IIRC, the Revere's I was looking at needed inspection after two years, then every year thereafter. I imagine the inspection is cheaper on these small rafts, but it any adds up.

Is Winslow any better?
Unless something changed, all Reveres are 3 year re-pack. No way to "inspect" it without opening it up. Coming from someone who actually used the life raft, make sure it opens automatically, has a double tube(no single tube) and a canopy. I am a fan of Revere because I bought the raft for a reason and when I needed it, it worked exactly as it was supposed to.
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Old 01-29-2019, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by JAGSARE1 View Post
Unless something changed, all Reveres are 3 year re-pack. No way to "inspect" it without opening it up. Coming from someone who actually used the life raft, make sure it opens automatically, has a double tube(no single tube) and a canopy. I am a fan of Revere because I bought the raft for a reason and when I needed it, it worked exactly as it was supposed to.
I think it was just the entry level inshore/near shore model that was setup on that schedule. You always get what you pay for.
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Old 01-29-2019, 07:30 AM
  #138  
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I can’t speak for the quality of the Survival at Sea life rafts. The company has been around a long time and does sell a very inexpensive and lightweight product. I would assume it is a fine product or else we’d have heard unfortunate stories.

I do do know that Winslow makes a superb raft that I now have on my Stamas and my son has the light Winslow rescue raft on his Contender. I’ve also been impressed with the Revere raft I own from my last boat.

Other excellent rafts are made by Viking, Switlik, and a number of other reputable companies. Servicing on a regular basis is critical too, and make sure your servicing company is up to par. I’ve used LSRE for many years and have only very positive things to say about this excellent company.
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Old 01-29-2019, 10:34 AM
  #139  
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Originally Posted by JAGSARE1 View Post
Unless something changed, all Reveres are 3 year re-pack. No way to "inspect" it without opening it up. Coming from someone who actually used the life raft, make sure it opens automatically, has a double tube(no single tube) and a canopy. I am a fan of Revere because I bought the raft for a reason and when I needed it, it worked exactly as it was supposed to.
this begs the questions, why did you need it? glad you had it when you needed. it
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Old 01-29-2019, 06:02 PM
  #140  
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Originally Posted by Gnrphil View Post
I wanna say I paid around $50 for my 22, it may have changed.
Spoke with pier 66 marina today. Quoted me $150/night for my 25 foot boat! Needless to say I'm still looking for other arrangements. Cant believe its that expensive for small slip.
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