Primary Category: Nature & Waterfront

The Best Bay Boats for North Bay

Written by The Sweetbay Team

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The Sweetbay Team

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SweetBay is life at water’s edge. Owning a boat to go out and enjoy the bay this community is built around, well, that’s one of the many reasons people are moving to the Florida Panhandle.

Many of us crave the water - lakes, rivers, oceans, bays. Those that don’t have much experience around it tend to fall in love quickly. It’s a unique feeling, being on the water. Especially at sunrise and sunset, in pursuit of your favorite activity, while a quiet peacefulness overtakes your mind and body. And all you need to get there is a boat.

A marina is planned in the near future to allow for motorized boats to be launched directly from Sweetbay. But that shouldn’t stop you from getting out on the water! As soon as this afternoon you could slip a kayak or paddle board into the water just steps from your home.

The beauty of a motorless boat is that you don’t need a trailer or a lot of room to store it. They are easy to haul and extremely maneuverable when it’s time to launch. There’s not a fuel or engine hassle. Perhaps most importantly, it’s a great way to teach children boat and water safety and introduce them to some great outdoor endeavors like fishing, crabbing, bird watching, or… simply boating.

The following two options are some great motorless bay boats. We’ll also include a few activities on the water that you might consider, and of course, some safety information. So, if you’re making the transition to coastal living, now is a great time to explore the bay and learn about this awesome experience called boating and all that it entails.

Kayak

The best option from a spin fishing (basically, any tackle not a fly rod or cane pole) standpoint, is the kayak. Sitting low in a kayak provides ample back support that is great for two reasons. One, it’s more comfortable. Kayak come equipped with seats built for back support. Two, a fisherman gets more leverage to cast when he has stability, whether that’s in the legs or back.

Kayaks are traditionally lighter than other forms of motorless boats, such as canoes. But that doesn’t mean they’re any less durable. Today, double roto-molded plastic technology has made kayaks virtually bulletproof. Think about a Yeti cooler, except it floats when you sit in it. Kayaks come in all varieties from fishing models to those built for lounging on the water.

Stand Up Paddle Board

The standup paddleboard’s (SUP) popularity is centered around the health benefits associated with these oblong boards built for big, calm waters. Not only do they put you through a full-body workout, you also stand at a vantage point to see your surroundings.

Before making a purchase, you may consider renting a board. The various disciplines include touring, recreational paddling, racing, surfing and of course SUP yoga. Once you’ve determined how a SUP fits into your life, then make the investment.

Accessory wise, you should always wear a life jacket, plenty of sunscreen, wear sunglasses and consider carrying a whistle to notify other boaters of your presence. All in all, SUP is a very enjoyable activity that will leave you feeling good from time spent on the water and the rigors that come with staying on your feet.

Where to Launch

North Bay is a short distance from every front door in SweetBay. So, launching your motorless boat will never be a hassle and the water is always accessible from the boardwalk by the bay. Regardless, there are so many great places to launch a motorless boat, fish, swim, or just hang out.

Notes on Boating Safety

  • Always, always, always wear a life jacket. We can’t stress that enough. Salt water is more buoyant than fresh. Couple that with a life preserver and you’ll have no problem floating.
  • Let someone know where you plan to go and for how long you’re staying out.
  • Keep a dry bag on board to put your cell phone in.
  • Pack plenty of fresh water. Can’t drink it out of the bay.
  • Leave a Bic lighter in your dry bag. Should you get stranded, it’s always comforting to have a fire for multiple reasons.

You’re going to love the perennial warm waters of North Bay and the endless activities that take place there. Consider hiring a guide if you want to learn how to fish the bays around SweetBay. They can show you not just where to fish, but how. And you can visit the SweetBay Welcome Center where the team will point you in the direction of a favorite local guide. Bay fishing, or inshore, is different than offshore and vastly so when compared to wetting a line in any freshwater fishery. Whatever it is that you love about living on the water, enjoy.

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