From bass anglers to wave riders, folks whose leisure time includes a body of water have an armada of different types of boats from which to choose.
If you’re considering the purchase of a watercraft, the type of boat you select should be driven by its intended use – and, of course, your idea of fun.
Have a passion for watersports? Maybe you’re looking to cruise around leisurely? Are you hooked on fishing or is sailing more your speed? Whatever you’re looking for, there is a kind of boat that fits your needs. To start, you should select a type of boat from three watercraft categories.
Generally, watercraft are divided into these 3 categories:
Types of cruising boats
Bowrider Boats: A type of runabout with a seating area in the bow, a V-hull, and typically used for day cruising. Riders tend to enjoy sitting in the bow because of the nice breeze it offers. With swim platforms off the stern, bowriders also allow for skiing.
Size: 16-35 feet
Pontoon Boats: Considered the most popular boats in the world, these multi-hull craft rely on pontoons, which resemble large tubes, to float. They’re comfortable because of their wide decks and couch-like seating. And while primarily used for leisure trips, pontoons with large and powerful engines can be used to pull skiers.
Size: 16-30 feet
Sailboats: These vessels are partly or entirely set in motion by the wind. There are many different kinds of sailboats, which are distinguished by size, hull configuration, keel type, amount of sails and purpose.
Size: 7-70 feet
Trawler Boats: Recreational trawlers are well suited for longer trips. These boats have a displacement hull, which makes them fuel-efficient as they use less horsepower, and they are spacious enough to accommodate sleeping and cooking.
Size: 26-50 feet
Cabin Cruiser Boats: These powerboats often have such amenities as a galley, bathroom and a sleeping area. Depending on size and engine configuration – inboard or outboard – cruisers are typically capable of handling choppy waters. Larger, inboard models require a greater level of skill to pilot.
Size: 24-75 feet
Types of fishing boats
Bass Boats: These boats’ low profiles and V-hulls allow for better access to shallow water. They’re best known for angling bass and can typically accommodate 3 people.
Size: 16-26 feet
Center Console Boats: Named because of the central location of their steering console, these single-deck, open hull freshwater and saltwater boats can typically handle rougher offshore waters. They’re well-suited for those looking to catch ocean fish.
Size: 18-48 feet
Sport-fishing Boats: Larger vessels geared for those who go after bigger fish. Sport-fishing boats are spacious enough to provide amenities for extended trips.
Size: 38-100 feet
Aluminum Fishing Boats: Smaller boats featuring riveted or welded aluminum hulls are primarily used for freshwater fishing. These simply-designed, lightweight vessels are well-suited for shallow water and inlets, and can fit in places other boats cannot.
Size: 8-24 feet
Walkaround Boats: Best for family fishing experiences, walkarounds feature stowaway seating, rod holders and steps to access the forward deck. Like center console boats, they have open hulls and full-length decks, as well as cabins for longer trips. They are most used in coastal waters and larger bays.
Size: 18-28 feet
Types of watersports boats
Fish & Ski Boats: Designed for fishing and watersports, fish and ski boats offer the best of both worlds and are ideal for families that enjoy watersports. Most feature a sunpad area that can convert into a fishing platform.
Size: 16-22 feet
Ski Boats: For the waterski enthusiasts, these motorboats are made to tow 1 or more water skiers and feature powerful engines.
Size: 18-28 feet
Wakeboard Boats: The design and features of wakeboard boats enable them to create large wakes that a wakeboarder can jump from side to side – often doing aerial tricks. Known as V-drive boats, wakeboard boats have their engines placed backwards in the bow of the craft, which creates a larger wake.
Size: 18-28 feet
Jet Boats: Similar to bowriders, jet boats have spacious seating areas in the front, as well as seating in the back. Known for maneuverability, they can be used for a relaxing cruise or a speedy ride.
Size: 14-26 feet
Personal Watercraft: Also known as PWCs, these craft are designed for those with a passion for watersports, such as tubing and waterskiing. PWCs usually have planing hulls, allowing them to move more rapidly on the water. Typically more affordable than a boat, some PWC models are designed to carry up to 3 riders.
Size: 8-13 feet
The list goes on and on…These are some of the most common types of recreational boats around. As you can see, there is a kind of boat out there that will fit your needs. Once you find your perfect match, be safe and get the coverage you need to stay protected on the water.
Top 5 NASCAR Races in 2017When it comes to NASCAR, choosing your favorite race might be a lot like picking your favorite child; each one has something special that makes them unique. You love them all!
However, with 92 races in the NASCAR season, some events spur more hype and anticipation. That can be because of each race’s traditions, the track and ambiance. For example, the Coca-Cola 600 offers rare daytime to night-time racing while the Night Race at Bristol includes some of the most good-spirited tailgating on the NASCAR circuit.
So if you can’t attend all of them, how do you prioritize which ones to see in person?
We’ve simplified the choice for you. Here’s a look at five of the year’s most anticipated races and what makes each one so distinctive:
Learning some NASCAR etiquette will help you fit right in and have more fun
Watching NASCAR on television is one thing; experiencing it live is a different experience altogether. Knowing such things as what to wear and what not to bring can separate the rookie attendee from the seasoned pro, and it will help you from making any newbie faux pas.
Since you may not know what to expect your first time at the track, here’s a quick cheat sheet on how to make the most of your experience.
No. 1: Use the buddy system
As with most things in life, going to see NASCAR with a friend is way better than flying solo. Preferably, that friend will have been to a race or two and can walk you through things. They’ll be able to help you find your way around the grounds and can answer any questions you might have.
No. 2: Dress the part
NASCAR fans wear their love of the sport on their sleeves – and just about everywhere else, too. Wearing NASCAR-themed shirts and hats (or heck, even a full-body fire suit) means that you’ll fit right in. If you don’t already have a NASCAR-ready wardrobe, you can make your first stop the official NASCAR shop at the track. And wearing your devotion for a driver is a great way to start conversations with other fans.
No. 3: Leave the backpack at home
You know that guy who holds up the line because he brought a big backpack that security has to search? Or the woman who brought a giant purse? Don’t be them. Go minimalistic on your carry-along items and if you need a bag, opt for a fanny pack or even a clear backpack that will let you breeze right through security checkpoints and get to the real fun.
No. 4: Join the crowd
NASCAR is all about fun and community, so be prepared to be part of things. The fans are enthusiastic and lean toward the rowdy side – embrace it! No point being a stick in the mud when everyone else around you is having fun. So whether it’s a handmade banner, a foam finger, or a professionally made banner you bought online, wave it with pride and don’t hold back.
No. 5: Study up beforehand
New to NASCAR? You don’t need to show it. Study up a bit before you hit the track so you have a good grasp of how it all works. True fans stay up to date on rule changes and NASCAR news, so it wouldn’t hurt to brush up a bit before you try to blend in.
No. 6: Choose comfort over fashion
Sure, you want to look your best, but trust us, comfort is king at a NASCAR race. That means leaving the sandals and high heels at home and going for a pair of comfortable shoes. Wearing rubber-soled shoes is a good idea because you’re going to be walking on some unforgiving surfaces (concrete, gravel, etc.). You’ll also want to check the weather and plan ahead for heat, cold, rain or whatever else may come your way.
No. 7: Keep your cool(er)
You’re going to have a long, fun day at the track, and it’s important that you stay properly fueled. Bringing a cooler with your favorite beverages and/or snacks will keep you going! (Most tracks allow coolers onsite, but always be sure to check the track’s website for details before you go.)
No. 8: Get digital
Your best guide to the track is often found online. Visit the track’s website for maps and important information, and see if they have an app that will tell you what you need to know once you get there. Check out these must-have NASCAR apps.
For die-hard NASCAR fans, nothing feels longer than the days between races. While waiting for the next round of action to hit the track, we’re left with what feels like too much time on our hands.
But these days, it’s easier than ever to enjoy NASCAR action even when race day is hours (or days) away. From listening to podcasts to visiting online sites, there are many ways to tap into NASCAR nation and get your fan fix.
One way to get that at-the-track thrill – wherever you are – is through mobile apps and games. They’ll keep you on top of the stats you want to know, give you the inside scoop on your favorite drivers and keep you on top of race times and dates. Depending on your cable provider, you can use apps like Fox Sports Go or NBC Sports Live Extra to stream races, but if you’re looking for all-NASCAR, all the time, here’s a look at some of the must-have mobile apps for NASCAR fans:
Free NASCAR apps
Whoever said the best things in life are free must have known about these apps. Here are the top five free NASCAR apps and what they can do for you.
SF-NASCAR. This Android-only app by Sports Fusion lets you create a customized list of races to follow and also keeps you up to date with the latest NASCAR news.
NASCAR Rules. Whether you’re a long-time fan or a newbie to the sport, it can sometimes be tough to keep up with all the NASCAR rules. This app helps you do just that.
NASCAR Series Schedule. Light on frills, this simple app focuses on the 2016 NASCAR Spring Cup Series Races, with information such as start time and the number of days left until the race.
NASCAR Emoji Garage. This app gives you access to emjois and stickers of your favorite NASCAR drivers, cars, trophies and more. The teams and drivers featured on the Garage helped choose their favorite designs – and you can buy premium stickers and emojis for the price of “lug nuts” – or stick to the free content.
NASCAR Raceview Mobile. This one looks like an animated game, but it’s actually a 3D rendering of the action on the track – delivered in real time! It even lets you zero in on your favorite driver and follow them around the track during the race. The download is free, with in-app purchases available and premium content is free to Sprint customers with an unlimited data plan.
NASCAR apps for under $2
Of course, for just a couple of bucks, you can access even more insider info. Here are our top three favorite paid apps:
NASCAR Sprint Cup Encyclopedia. If you’re looking for the ultimate NASCAR encyclopedia, look no further. Hundreds of live-action photos complement endless amounts of information including history, career information, race standings and results, and so much more. Available for iOS devices.
iQuiz for NASCAR. Even if you’re a hardcore NASCAR trivia buff, this iOS app will put you to the test – literally! More than 320 questions cover everything from awards and historical records to drivers and teams. And you can share your scores on Twitter and Facebook for bragging rights!
Sports Dashboard – NASCAR. For aggregated racing news, this iOS app really can’t be beat. With frequently updated results, a complete schedule (including TV listings) for all NASCAR series, and the entire Internet’s worth of data on your favorite drivers, this app gives you all the info you could possibly hope for crammed into one well-arranged and easy-to-use app. With a simple tap, you can access all the news and history of a certain driver, including points, wins, poles, Top 5 and Top 10. This one puts all the NASCAR news you need right in your pocket.
Watching a race on television is fun, but if you haven’t seen a NASCAR race in person, you’re not getting part the whole race experience. This is a good year to commit to experiencing NASCAR live – and here’s our advice on how to make that happen.
Even if you’re a veteran to the tailgating scene at football games or concerts, your first NASCAR tailgate party will probably make you feel like a rookie if you’re not properly prepared. Just as NASCAR is a sport unlike any other, NASCAR tailgating is an art and event all its own. In fact, some fans show up days in advance just to experience the tailgating camaraderie and energy of NASCAR, even if they still end up watching the race on their TV in the parking lot. For many NASCAR fans, tailgating is actually a camping experience that just happens to have the bonus of their favorite sport attached to it. If you’re ready to try it for yourself, here are a few tips to help make your first tailgating event a total winner.
Starting a new job is exciting, with different work responsibilities, colleagues and a fresh start. That fresh start means making financial decisions involving your retirement plan, tax withholding and insurance policies. These decisions can have a big impact on your financial health now and down the line.
Here are things you should consider as you start your new job:
1. Retirement plan
Rolling over your 401(k) to an IRA or your new employer’s plan when changing jobs can be a savvy move. If you leave your 401(k) plan with your previous employer you might forget it’s there, and you’ll have more control over the money if you roll it over to an IRA or your new employer’s qualified plan. If you decide to roll over, figure out the plan’s true balance first. Employer matches have a vesting schedule. You may think you have more in the account than is there, if you aren’t fully vested.
Roll that money over into an IRA account when you leave. You can choose a traditional or Roth IRA. With a Roth IRA, you pay tax on the conversion. But the money will grow tax free and you won’t pay taxes on distributions when you retire. This is a good option if you think you’ll be in a higher tax bracket in the future and if you can afford to pay conversion taxes now.
If you cash in the retirement plan and you’re under age 59 1/2, instead of directly moving it to another qualified plan, you’ll have to pay penalties in addition to owing taxes. Instead of cashing in your retirement plan, think about rolling it over to an IRA or your new employer’s plan.
With your current job, opt into the retirement plan and make sure you’re saving enough to get the maximum employer match, said Terrance K. Martin Jr. PhD., an assistant professor of financial planning at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. If the company automatically enrolled you in the plan, make any adjustments to your contributions so you’re saving as much as you can.
2. Disability insurance
Ask for details about your company’s disability policy, because there are many types. The most common are short-term and long-term disability. Both are helpful. Short-term disability covers you if you’re sick or injured, unable to work in the short term, often up to six months. You’ll get some or all of your salary as a benefit during that time period, though there may be an “elimination” period, otherwise known as a waiting period.
Long-term disability starts when the short-term policy ends, offering a portion of your salary. It may have a maximum benefit amount. With both policies, you might have to be employed for a certain amount of time for the policy to take effect. You’ll want to find out what types of sicknesses and injuries are covered under a disability policy, to see if it has to be work-related.
Group plan prices are less expensive than buying disability insurance on your own. That said, if the group plan doesn’t meet your needs or it’s not offered, consider purchasing it elsewhere so you’re protected.
One of the most confusing forms you’ll have to fill out is the W-4, the government form asking what the company should withhold for tax purposes. “Everybody looks forward to that tax refund in the spring,” said Martin. “But it represents an interest-free loan for the government.” Most people tend to over-withhold, while ideally you should reach tax season having paid just the right amount. Instead of following the instructions on the W-4 form, Martin advises you to use the irs.gov withholding calculator, which will help you predict your taxes based on your pay stubs. An accountant or financial planner who does tax work might also be helpful in advising you on withholding.
4. Flexible spending
Flexible spending accounts are a great way to save on taxes. If you have a child under 13, figure out your childcare costs, so you can pay them with pretax money. You can do the same with out-of-pocket healthcare costs. You can only enroll in flexible spending when you start a new job, during open enrollment or if you have a qualifying life event like getting married or having a baby.
Those forms you fill out when starting a new job may be annoying and a lot of work, but they have potential to affect your financial life and help you save for the future. For more information and financial tips, check out Sterling Peaks Insurance
Homeownership rates have been falling for the past eight years, according to a report by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. That means more people are renting, making it harder to find a rental home.
The secret, real estate brokers say, is to plan ahead. Often renters will wait until the last minute to look for another apartment. However, when renters are in a hurry they tend to take apartments they don’t really want, says Lance Macon, co-founder of Metro Home Managers, a Washington, D.C.-based, full-service rental property management firm.
Here are eight tips for finding the best rental homes and apartments in your area.
1. Start your search early in the month
The best rentals, in terms of price, location and amenities, go earlier in the month, so don’t wait until midmonth to look for a new place to live, Macon says. It’s best to start searching 60 days before you need to move, especially if you are looking for a rental property where there isn’t as much available.
The second and third weekends of the month tend to be the busiest. If you start your search the first weekend of the month, there will be less competition and the best properties will still be available.
2. Begin online but don’t rely on it
About 90% of renters will start their apartment search on Craigslist or Zillow, Macon says. Looking online is a good way to start your search. You can get a sense of pricing and apartment amenities. However, if you’re moving to a new city, looking online won’t tell you enough about neighborhoods and the local amenities of each, such as public transportation or grocery stores.
3. Use a professional
In most cases, real estate brokers are available to help renters find properties free of charge. The key is to find a broker who specializes in rental properties, not home sales.
If you’re looking in areas where there is generally tight competition for apartments, you’ll want to talk with a number of real estate agents before committing to one because different agents have different relationships with different buildings. Make sure you are talking with an agent who has access to the apartment buildings in neighborhoods where you want to rent.
4. Don’t be fooled by scams
Be aware of online scams, particularly ads on Craigslist that require you to provide your credit card to pay a deposit fee to be shown the apartment. No one should require a deposit to show you an apartment.
Also, be careful if you are renting an apartment directly from a private person because you will be giving a total stranger your Social Security number and your bank account information, and they will likely run a credit check on you. It’s safer to work with a licensed and bonded real estate broker.
5. Know your roommates
If you’re considering sharing an apartment, make sure you know who your roommates will be and consider asking the landlord for separate leases. If you have a joint lease and the rent is $2,000 a month, you are liable for the entire amount if your roommates don’t pay their share, Macon says. But if you have a separate lease, you’re liable only for your portion of the rent.
Don’t be afraid to ask for references if you don’t know your roommates. You can also use social media – LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook – to find out more about them.
6. Offer to take a 13-month lease
If you’re in a competitive marketplace, one way to get a landlord’s attention is to offer to sign a 13- or 14-month lease, says Todd Lee, co-founder with Macon of Metro Home Managers. This is particularly helpful if a traditional 12-month lease would expire in November or December because it is often difficult to rent properties in those months.
7. Consider a smaller building
Generally, an apartment in a 300-unit managed building with a swimming pool, 24-hour front desk, computer lounge and weight room will cost significantly more than the same size apartment in a six- to eight-unit building. If you’re paying for amenities, Lee says, make sure you will use them.
8. Use social media
Don’t be shy about posting on Facebook that you’re looking for an apartment. Let people know you are searching for a new place to live.
Once you find the perfect apartment or home, you’ll want to consider renters insurance. A landlord’s insurance doesn’t cover your belongings, so when the unexpected happens you want to be covered.
As with all insurance, coverage availability may vary by state and exclusions may apply. Check with your insurance agent to see what options are available to you. Learn more about the types of auto insurance options.
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