Tag Archives: boating

Let Thermacell Up Your Mosquito-Repellent Game

As avid outdoors people, who hate being mosquito candy, we at Pocket Ranger® are pleased to announce our new sponsor, Thermacell®!

Thermacell logo.

Image: www.thermacell.com/

Thermacell is, of course, an incredible mosquito-repelling technology that bears a 98 percent effectiveness rating. It is used by governmental agencies, on military bases, and by civilians in their yards and in swamps, meadows, and any outdoor space across the U.S. where mosquitos lurk. The product is vetted and championed by campers, hunters, hikers, boaters, and anyone else who’s used it where flying, biting insects attempt to invade our personal space.

Camper with mosquito-repellent lantern.

This camper, right in the thick of the mosquito’s native habitat, opens his tent flap wide. Why? Because of those awesome Thermacell® mosquito-repelling lanterns he’s using to clearly excellent effect! [Image: www.thermacell.com/]

Thermacell’s Patio and Outdoor Lanterns, Torches, and “Repeller” Appliances all create the same noninvasive and virtually odor-free area of protection for stationary uses and mobile ones. “How does this work?” you might ask. Well, the (easily-researched) secret ingredient in Thermacell’s mosquito repellent is allethrin, a synthetic form of the insecticide that occurs naturally in chrysanthemums. Allethrin is essentially odorless and works in Thermacell devices through butane-operated diffusion. There’s no oily topical application or the usual bug spray scent, and the effect covers anyone within its 15’ x 15’ area of protection.

Hikers that AREN'T itchy!

Look at these guys! Taking a placid, dimly lit walk without worrying about the meal that would no doubt be their exposed arms and calves, were it not for that shining Thermacell lantern! [Image: www.thermacell.com/]

The lanterns and torches have a convenient base or attach easily to a pole while emanating enough light to allow one to rummage through a fishing tackle or play a card game. The repeller devices easily attach to belts, backpacks, or a pocket for portable and hands-free protection against the bugs that pester even the best prepared hikers among us. If you’re changing the oil in your car, relaxing with friends around a bonfire, spending your day as a professional or recreational landscaper/gardener, or are just anyone who enjoys being outside as much as we do, this is the device for you. No more hovering pests looking to make a meal of you!

Grow food, don't BE food!

Here’s a representation (with some graphic embellishment) of how nice it can be to grow food and not BE food. Note: The svelte device working hard to keep the gardener’s hands free to work their green-thumbed magic! [Image: www.thermacell.com/]

Perhaps best of all, each of the repellent devices is designed to be lightweight and portable and are powered by AA batteries. So you don’t have to worry about cords or charging, and least of all, wrangling bulky lighting gear and bug spray out to your favorite campsite, tree stand, or fishing spot. It’s all compact and conveniently located within a single device!

To hunt and not be hunted.

Fun fact: Thermacell’s Earth Scent Mosquito Repeller is the only butane-operated mosquito repellent that doubles as a mask for human scent, which is as good a combination a hunter could hope for to keep the focus on hunting rather than being hunted. [Image: www.thermacell.com/]

If you think we’re stoked about our new sponsor, you’re right! We’re all about getting outside and doing what we love, and this device definitely adds to the quality of outdoor adventure. If you’re curious, you can find out more about this wonderful mosquito-repellent technology by visiting the Thermacell website here. You’ll learn about how the devices work, what they’re guarding against, and how to get your hands on your very own Lantern, Repeller, or Torch! And while you’re at it, don’t forget to use your favorite Pocket Ranger mobile apps to plan a perfect trip to give those mosquito repellers a whirl!

Tips on Learning How to Fish

Spring fishing season has arrived! If you are an inexperienced angler and would like to try fishing for the first time, follow these few tips for your preparation. Even if you are an experienced angler, these tips will refresh your memory for your fishing adventures.

Fishing License

A fishing license is one of the most important things that you will need in order to go fishing. Each state has their own rules and regulations, so it is important that you read up on them before heading out. All fishing rules and regulations will be under Fishing > Rules and Regulations in your Fishing and Wildlife Pocket Ranger® Guide. Licenses can be purchased online. Some states require you to be 18 years or older in order to obtain a fishing license.


Man fishing on a pier alone

Image: www.active.com

Choosing a place to fish can vary. Some people choose locations where they often see people fishing or local places where they may want to start. If you are a beginner and feel shy fishing in front of a heavy crowd, you may want to opt for a quiet fishing area.

You can go freshwater fishing in lakes, ponds, streams or rivers. Or you can choose saltwater fishing such as surf fishing, fishing by boat (party boat or charter boat) or bay fishing.

Time of Day During Spring Season

Two men fishing on a boat during sunset with his catch

Image: jimolive.photoshelter.com

  • Early Morning – Fish do not bite during this time because the water is cold and doesn’t heat up due to the sun being low which makes the rays bounce off the water.
  • Late Morning/Early Afternoon – Fish are biting on and off during this time because the sun’s rays start to penetrate the water. During this time, you should fish towards the downwind shoreline because the wind pushes the warmer surface water into that area.
  • Afternoon/Early Evening – There are a lot of fish eating during this time because their metabolism and digestion are high. The water is also warmer because the sun is directly above.

Fish Species

Images of different fish species

Image: pixshark.com

Focusing on fishing for a particular fish for a beginner may be too difficult, but it’s a worth a try! Here is a list of popular fish to help you choose one to catch:

  • Bass – a southeastern sport fish
  • Striped Bass – you will most likely need a boat to catch these
  • Sunfish – best catch for a beginner angler
  • Walleye and Pike – northern, cold-water lake fish
  • Catfish – vary from small to large

For a complete list of freshwater and saltwater fish, download your state’s Pocket Ranger® Fish and Wildlife Guide.


Man surf fishing pulling in his catch, clear blue water

Image: www.rancholeonero.com

Fishing in a lake from shore – Sit and wait with a bobber and bait. For this type of method, you can use inexpensive equipment.

Surf fishing from a beach – This requires heavy tackle that costs a little bit more. Catches vary day to day with this method.

Pond Fishing – Fishing at a pond can be simple, especially for beginners. It allows you to manage your skills and you may even catch a pan fish for dinner.

Boat Fishing on an Ocean – There are many boating options that are available for fishing. You can pay to go on a party boat for a half day or full day and you can use equipment and bait that is provided to you. Depending on the type of boating you choose and how big the crowd is, you can have assistance such as hooking your bait, casting and landing a fish.

Suggested Gear: 

  • Fishing Rod/Fly Rod
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat

Check out more fishing gear at our Pocket Ranger Gear Store.

Everyday Can Be A Walk in the Park in the Enchanted Mountains of Western New York!

When you think of Spring, you might imagine yourself thawing out, getting back outdoors for a hike, or hopping on the motorcycle and riding anywhere! Springtime is here in Cattaraugus County, otherwise known as the Enchanted Mountains! For some, this is their favorite time of year, with new growth all around, warmer days and the opening of all the amazing parks. Cattaraugus County is home to Allegany State Park, open year round, but there’s also have Griffis Sculpture Park, Rock City Park, Sky High Adventure Park and the Onoville Marina, all of which begin to welcome visitors at the start of May.

Red House Lake in Alleghany State Park [Image Credit: NY Cattaraugus County]

Red House Lake in Allegany State Park [Image Credit: NY Cattaraugus County]

There’s no better place to see the birds soar, watch the flowers bloom and get outdoors than Allegany State Park. One of the joys of warmer weather is camping. Gather around the campfire to hear the noises of the night while you “unplug” with your family. This park has much to boast about being the largest NY state park and offering a 24-mile trail system for mountain biking, two lakes, miles for hiking (including the North Country Trail), and just about any other outdoor activity you can think of. You can get those muscles moving again at their numerous events in May, starting with the Allegany Adventure Run on the 2nd. Geocachers set your coordinates to this park on the 16th and 17th of May for the annual Geobash. Now in its’ 10th year, an array of activities are planned including night caches, games, educational seminars and a free pancake breakfast. Later in the month, the fun doesn’t end with the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage. Held the last weekend in May, this is an outdoor learning experience where participants can enjoy programming on everything from bird banding to a folk concert.

Rock City Park [Image Credit: NY Cattaraugus County]

Rock City Park [Image Credit: NY Cattaraugus County]

Rock City Park will offer visitors a spectacular view from “Signal Rock,” where they can see all the new leaves forming on the trees. Discover 80 foot tall rocks that have been left over from the ice age. Hike the trail that leads under, around and sometimes through these magnificent rocks then check out the souvenir and rock shop or the Fluorescent Light Rock Room. They host their Mother’s Day Weekend Arts and Crafts Show on May 9th and 10th.

Griffis Sculpture Park [Image Credit: NY Cattaraugus County]

Griffis Sculpture Park [Image Credit: NY Cattaraugus County]

The grass is always greener at Griffis Sculpture Park, where nature combines with art. Hike along the trail to come upon over 250 enormous sculptures. Adults like the park because it has beauty like no other, while children like the park because you can climb on some of the sculptures! Fun to visit in any season, visitors will enjoy feeling the sun while resting beside a giant giraffe or by the ladies near the lake.

Warmer weather also means warmer water! Float your boat and soak up the sun along 91 miles of natural shoreline in the Reservoir, launching at Onoville Marina. Explore the trees while climbing through them and racing down the ziplines at Holiday Valley’s Sky High Adventure Park. Don’t forget the golf clubs when you go as Holiday Valley also has a redesigned 18 hole par 70 “Double Black Diamond” golf course that is challenging and well maintained, with breathtaking scenery from every hole.

Onoville Marina [Image Credit: NY Cattaraugus County]

Onoville Marina [Image Credit: NY Cattaraugus County]

Live to ride? Then you have been waiting all winter to get your motorcycle or horse out for some fun! Keep a heads up for two motorcycle events in our area. First, join the rest of the gang at Gowanda Harley-Davidson on Memorial Day for their Ride to Remember. Honor and respect those who served and the reason behind the day. Then let loose at the Hollywood Happening, one of the area’s largest motorcycle events. Three days of live bands, contests, vendors and rides to benefit the ongoing restoration efforts of the Hollywood Theater the last weekend of May!

No horsing around, the Enchanted Mountains is a great place for bridle trails. Looking for horse related events and get-togethers? Keep EnchantedMountains.com/Horse on your favorites list then. Our local stables, clubs, and arenas are committed to sharing their passion for all things equestrian with experienced or beginner riders. Let the Crosspatch take you on a guided trail ride with your own horse or one of theirs. Nothing quite compares to seeing the countryside on horseback.

So get into the swing of Spring by making a trip to the Enchanted Mountains of Western New York. For free information on any of these activities or events or to request free guides, call 1-800-331-0543 or visit EnchantedMountains.com.

Top 10 Boating Safety Tips

boating, lake waterskiing, water, boats

Image: www.norrislake.com

Whether you’re boating on the lakes or ocean this summer, here are our top 10 boating safety tips that’ll keep you ship-shape:

1. Learn up!

pick-up, truck, boat, outboard motor, dock, water, craft, 2, ramp, loading zone

A boating safety course could help with that! [Image: gettommys.com]

Before your maiden voyage, get boat smart by taking a boating safety course. You’ll learn about important boating laws, navigation, first aid, and how to trailer, store and protect your boat. Some states require all powerboat operators take a boating course, but regardless, an educated captain is the best kind of captain.

2. Look to the skies!

bad weather, storm, boats, docks, fishing, thunderclouds, dark sky

You might want to sit this one out. [Image: www.thehulltruth.com]

Read up on the day’s weather conditions before you take the boat for a spin. Thunderstorm in the forecast? Hail on the horizon? It may be a better day for pulling up an Adirondack chair and sipping something cool on the porch until the sun reappears.

3. Fuel up!

tow, boats, lake, water, grey, sky, family, cop

Stranded? Look for someone to tow you in! [Image: www.osoyoostimes.com]

No one wants to run out of gas in the middle of the lake (or ocean!).  Top off your fuel tank before departure, and check your engine oil and coolant levels while you’re at it.

4. Life Jackets: Bring ‘em & Wear ‘em!

family, life jackets, life vest, PFD, water, boat, boating

Image: heartland.coastguard.dodlive.mil

Whatever you may call them (life jackets, PFDs, life vests), they’re you’re ultimate lifesaver in times of boating crisis. A well-fitting lifejacket saves wearers from drowning, and, in cold waters, can keep the onset of hypothermia at bay. Not a fan of wearing them? With so many colors and varieties, it’s easy to find one that suits your boating style. And don’t forget Fido’s PFD! Not all dogs are great swimmers, and even the best swimmers can get tired.

pfd, life vest, chihuahua, dog, water, life jacket, yellow

Pick a bright colored PFD so you can easily spot your dog! [Image: cdn3.volusion.com]

5. Be Prepared!

Packing the right equipment on your boat is the key to a worry-free excursion. Keep all of the ship’s papers, such as fishing permits, boating license, charts, etc. on board with you. Be sure to store fire extinguisher, spare tools, rope, bilge pumps, flares, flashlight, spare batteries, and navigation lights aboard your boat.  A portable air horn can also come in handy if you need to call for help. Check out our Gear Store for these provisions and more!

6. Don’t Drink!

drinking, boating, family, beer, water

Don’t become a statistic! [Image: www.dailyboater.com]

Save the alcohol for your landlubber moments. Boating and drinking don’t mix. Alcohol was the leading factor in all of 2013’s fatal boating accidents. In most states, consequences for boating under the influence (BUI) are as severe as driving under the influence (DUI).

7. Speak up!

Share your float plan with a family member, friend, or marina staff before you ship out. Be sure to let them know where you’ll be going and for how long you intend to be on the water. Sharing info such as your cell phone number, boat type and registration, and how many passengers will be aboard with you will be helpful in case of an emergency.

8. Use common sense!

aquapalooza, lake winnipesaukee, nh, boating, boats, tubes, mountains

A busy day on the lake![Image: newenglandboating.com]

Chances are, you’re not the only one out on the water on a summer’s day. Make sure to operate at a safe speed, and stay alert of swimmers, smaller watercraft (rowboats, jet skis, small sailboats), and large watercraft that may have a hard time turning or stopping.

9. Give it a break! 

no wake zone, water, boating, sign

Image: www.newstimes.com

Respect all no wake-zones. While it can be a buzz-kill to power down into idle, no-wake zones protect many things, such as swimmers, a fragile bank environment, waterfront property, docked boats, and endangered species, such as the common loon or manatees. It can be difficult to navigate a powerboat while at a speed of 5 mph. Slow your boat down well in advance of a no wake zone, and trim the drive or outboard to a vertical position to keep control of your craft.

10. Get insured!

Allstate, insurance, kids, life jackets, boat, sky

Image: www.allstate.com

You never know what’s going to happen out there on the water. For around $20 a month, Allstate’s boating insurance policy offers protection from the many uninsured boaters out there. This kind of insurance protects all of your boating gear goodies, such as waterskis and fishing gear, and covers those friends and family aboard your vessel. Did you take that boating safety course we suggested? Then you may qualify for a reduced boating insurance rate!

Suggested Gear List:

  • Life jacket
  • Flashlight
  • Compass
  • Bilge Pump
  • Whistle

Wondering where to get our suggested gear?
Check out our Gear Store for these and more!

Top Reasons to Experience Boating

19th Century boating

Image: 1812now.blogspot.com

Boating has been around for many years. Whether it is kayaking, canoeing, or being on a speedboat, it is something that you must experience to cool off from this summer heat. Here are a few reasons why you should experience boating.

Stress Reducer

Boat moving in water

Image: www.debberanproperties.com

School, work or errands can be stressful, but when you are out in the open water, it consumes all your attention. Stress can eventually take a toll on your body and it is important to stay healthy. The fresh air and Vitamin D will make you a happy boater!


Boating and water skiing

Image: www.pinedaleonline.com

If you are feeling that you have no time to work out because you’re busy with your daily life, then boating is just the thing for you. Boating provides great exercise. Once you are on a boat, there are other activities you can do, such as swimming, fishing or waterskiing. You are also doing aerobics while canoeing, paddling or even kayaking. Boating releases natural endorphins, which are great for your health.

Bonding Time

Kids Jumping off boat into water

Image: www.citylifemagazine.ca

Recreational boating can bring your family together, away from the television and video games. Boating creates an atmosphere where you can create wonderful memories. It will also teach your family how to work in teams while docking and cruising.

Easy to Learn

Park Ranger Boating

Image: www.independentmail.com

Learning how to boat takes time and practice, but with the right motivation, anything is possible. There are many things you have to learn about boating including how to tie different types of rope knots. There are many park rangers at state parks that are willing to help and with your Pocket Ranger® app, you will be a boating expert in no time.

Water Access

Boat Ramp in state park

Image: www.lake-lewisville.org

Water Access is closer than you think. There are many state parks that have places to dock and that provide boat rentals of your choice. With a short drive, you can enjoy your mini vacation. With the “Nearest Me” feature in your state’s Pocket Ranger® app, you can easily search for boat ramps that are close to home.

The View

Boating scenery with boat

Image: www.seaturtlespacecoast.org

No matter which state park you choose to go boating at, there will always be a spectacular view. If you choose a route with all water, trees or mountains, you will be fascinated. You will also have the opportunity to see other boaters, water skiers and even jet skiers. Boating is a great way to meet new people and introduce you and your family to other great water sports. You may also have the chance to see wildlife.

Pontoon Boat Fun

Image: www.newportpontoonssales.com

Many state parks offer boating, but to find one closest to you, download your state’s Pocket Ranger® app. Our app offers GPS maps and boating descriptions to help you decide which type of boating fits you best. And remember to check out the Rules and Regulations for boating in your state park.  

Suggested Gear List: 

  • Kayak
  • Life Vests
  • Sunscreen

Check out our Pocket Ranger® Gear Store for these items and more!

Related articles

5 Awesome Activities for National Senior Citizens Day

Did you know National Senior Citizens Day (Aug. 21) is only a couple of days away? This is when people are “encouraged to recognize and show appreciation” for the elderly. First recognized in 1988 by former President Ronald Reagan, this day honors all seniors and what they have achieved throughout their lives.

It’s two days away, but there’s still plenty of time to make plans, and if you don’t know exactly what to do to celebrate, why not visit a state park. We’ve scoured our Pocket Ranger® apps to bring you this list of activities–some of which you might have done before, while others are probably new to you. Senior citizen or not, it’s never too late to try something new. This list is sure to make it a memorable day for you and your loved ones.

Metal Detecting


Looks like this guy hasn’t gotten lucky thus far.
[Image: www.bearishnews.com]

Metal detecting is such a fun and unique activity. It’s especially great, as it can be an individual or group activity. If you live in Washington state, metal detecting is permitted at more than 60 state parks. In Missouri, it’s allowed in 15 state parks. Please note that Washington and Missouri, as well as many other states, require those wishing to use metal detectors to register and comply with special regulations. Some states such as Georgia prohibit metal detecting.

Wildflower Viewing


“Larry, you never get me flowers anymore.”
[Image: www.farm1.static.flickr.com]

Who doesn’t love to get out and see the best of what nature has to offer? Come summer time, flowers are in full bloom and they offer park visitors a much-needed escape into rich, beautiful flora. Wildlife viewing also enables seniors to learn more about the different species of wildflowers in a particular region. If you live in Tennessee, check out guided wildflower hikes when they’re in session.

Boat Tours


A boat tour in Florida.
[Image: www.belleoftherock.com]

Florida, Florida, Florida. There are many activities for seniors in the Sunshine State, like taking a cool, breezy boat ride with grandchildren or friends. Wakulla State Park offers the River Boat Tour along the popular tourist destination, the Wakulla River. The River Boat Tour runs all year, weather permitting. This tour is also wheelchair accessible.

Other Florida parks that offer boat tours are Bahia Honda State Park, Blue Spring State Park, Crystal River Preserve State Park, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and St. Andrews State Park. Click here for a complete list.


An example of old-school style.
[Image: www.bitsofthepastandpresent.files.wordpress.com]

Just about every local, state and national park has areas designated for picnicking. You can grill, or bring your own homemade food. There are plenty of options when it comes to picnicking and you can get very creative with this activity. Lots of people prefer sitting under a pavilion, especially if it’s a large group, but just as many may prefer bringing a big blanket and doing it old-school style. Bring out the grill, some chips and sodas and make National Senior Citizens Day fun for everyone. Remember the universal picnic rule: leave no trace! You don’t want to leave any leftovers for lions, tigers and bears (OK, no more Wizard of Oz references — we promise.)

Zip lining

Look at him go!
[Image: www.media.katu.com]

Yes, zip lining. Who says seniors can’t play? Obviously, this activity is reserved for the more adventurous type, but nothing is more exhilarating than zipping across terrain hundreds of feet up in the air! Gulf State Park in Alabama recently opened its Gulf Adventure Center zip line last March. The mile-long course lasts almost two and a half hours, but that includes the mandatory ground training beforehand, according to AL.com. This activity involves everyone in the family or friend circle. Groups of up to 12 visitors can travel the course together. Each group will have two guides on the course with them and a spotter on the ground. The cost for the course is $79 per person, although the Adventure Center web site notes that group rates are available. Reservations are recommended, and can be made at the site, or by calling 1-877-ZIP-THE-GULF.

Imagine what the grandkids would think of their cool zip lining grandma or grandpa!

To find these and other activities at parks near you, visit our website at PocketRangerExchange.com and download your free Pocket Ranger® app!