Monthly Archives: January 2011

The World’s First Self Sufficient Zero Carbon Superyacht

The Ocean Empire LSV (life support vessel) is a 44m Solar Hybrid Superyacht with 2 Hydroponic farms and fishing facilities to harvest the sea. Her solar powered propulsion systems and all the Hotel amenities of a luxury global voyager are supplied by harnessing 3 major sources of sustainable of energy.

Ocean Empire LSV  by Sauter Carbon Offset Design - The World’s First Self Sufficient Zero Carbon Superyacht  

The first and foremost source of energy is from the Sun which powers Solar Cells (covering the entire surface of the vessel) while at the same time illuminating 2 Hydroponic farms.

The second source is energy from the Wind which powers an auxiliary automated SkySail that drives the Ocean Empire to 18+knots while charging her GM ESS2 batteries through power sailing KER.

The third source is energy from Waves captured through Motion Damping Regeneration (MDR).  A new form of ATMD (Adjustable Tuned Mass Damper) developed in collaboration with Maurer Sohnes Gmbh

Ocean Empire LSV by Sauter Carbon Offset Design - The World’s First Self Sufficient Zero Carbon Superyacht

The MDR system is basically an ATMD utilized in skyscrapers such as Taipei 101 to reduce their swaying motion. In this application 16 tons of batteries are the Mass while linear generators produce up to 50 kws of electricity as they dampen the motion of the vessel.

Richard Sauter head of design commented “The Ocean Empire life support Superyacht liberates the Superyacht community from its strict dependence on unsustainable resources by harnessing the renewable collective power ever present in the Earths Biosphere”.

Ocean Empire LSV  by Sauter Carbon Offset Design 
The Ocean Empire LSV is a state of the art Superyacht catamaran. As such her Green Tech innovations are able to optimize what is easily the most dynamic form of ocean going platform. Her Daimler Turbo Compound BueTec engine is the most advanced EPA Diesel ever built.  Her Sunpower Solar Cells are the most efficient to date as are her Voith Surface Drives.

Employing existing OEM products and costing little more than her conventional Superyacht counterparts. Ocean Empire’s Solar Hybrid design offers every available Superyacht luxury within her full range of operation which extends from a 50% reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions to Ultra Green Carbon Neutral and Zero Carbon cruising.

As a Charter, a Plugged in Ocean Empire LSV is capable of feeding 360+Mwh’s of electricity to the grid. Enough energy to make up to 12,000 nautical miles of Chartered Carbon Neutral voyages every year

Existing OEM technology present in the Ocean Empire LSV;

•             Daimler Turbo Compound DD16 Electric Power Generation
•             SkySail Automated Traction Kite
•             SunPower Solar Cells
•             GM Allison Electronic Controller (KER) (Kinetic energy regeneration)
•             Maurer Sohnes Gmbh  Motion Damping Regeneration. (MDR)
•             Voith Turbo Advanced Propulsion Surface Drives
•             Carbon Composite Wave Piercing Hi-efficiency displacement hulls
•             Advanced Aerodynamic Radar Canopy with PV Wing Spoilers
•             Energy Efficient Equipment, AC & Refrigeration with Waste Heat Recovery
•             Plug-in Computerized Energy Management, Maintenance & Guidance.
•             GM Allison ESS2 Battery Storage UPS rated at 2,000Kwh.

Ocean Empire LSV Specifications:
Length 44m
Beam    15.5m
Draft      0.8m
Guests 10
Crew     8
Weight                 <85tons
2 Hydroponic  farms        30sq.m
SkySail 200kw
SunPower solar cells       70kw
Maure Sohnes MDR       50kw
Daimler DD16 Diesel Electric power generation  350kw
Siemens AC induction motors    300kw
Voith propulsion surface drives 1.5m
Fuel: Diesel/GM ESS2  batteries                20t/2,000kwh
Maximum speed              18+knts
Cruising speed  12+knts
Hybrid power sailing cruising range at 18knts       3,500+nm
Zero Carbon power sailing range at 14 knots average      Unlimited
Carbon Neutral power sailing range         <12,000+nm
Zero carbon motoring range at 10knts average   Unlimited

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Mysterious Grand Piano Found on Biscayne Bay Sandbar

Miami Herald – Here’s a mystery that gives a whole new meaning to the phrase  “piano bar.”

A grand piano recently appeared on a sandbar in Biscayne Bay, about 200 yards from the Quayside condominiums off Northeast 107th Street. Whoever put it there placed it at the highest point of the sandbar so that it’s not underwater during high tide.

How and why the piano got there is a mystery. A grand piano weighs at least 650 pounds and is unwieldly to move, said Bob Shapiro, a salesman at Piano Music Center in Pembroke Park.  “You don’t take it out there in a rowboat,” Shapiro said.

This much is clear, however:  The piano isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Unless it becomes a danger to wildlife or boaters, authorities have no plans to haul it away.

“We are not responsible for removing such items,” said Jorge Pino, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  “Even a car can become a habitat for wildlife. Unless the item becomes a navigational hazard, the Coast Guard would not get involved.”

The marine patrols of both the North Miami Police Department and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said the same thing.

From Quayside, the shape of the piano is visible to the naked eye, but with a pair of binoculars or a telephoto lense, seagulls can be seen landing on the instrument and water lapping at its legs.

Throwing away a grand piano may seem like a waste of money, but it may not be. In decent condition, a used grand piano would cost at least $3,000 to $4,000. But many pianos wear out from the literally tons of pressure on the internal parts, and cheaper models aren’t worth the cost of rebuilding.

“It could be worth nothing,” Shapiro said.  “Pianos don’t grow old gracefully. They just wear out.”

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Help Kids Stay Safe on the Water By Becoming a Life Jacket Loaner Site

January 27, 2011 – The easiest way to ensure a child’s safety on the water is to make sure they wear a life jacket that fits. But children’s growth spurts and last minute changes to the roster of invited guests do not always make that easy. However, your marina or local waterfront business can help if they partner with the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water’s Life Jacket Loaner Program for kids.

Since the program began in 1997, at least three children’s lives have been saved by wearing a BoatUS Foundation loaner life jacket, and each year over 90,000 life jackets are borrowed – at no cost – for a day or weekend from the over 500 loaner sites nationwide.

There is no cost to host a loaner site, but applications will only be accepted until March 11th, 2011. Each location that is accepted into the program will receive a life jacket loaner “kit” – a protective container that holds various sized life jackets for kids up to 90 pounds, signage, promotional materials and easy-to-use sign-out sheets to track usage.

“The BoatUS Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Program is the largest and longest running nationwide loaner program.” said Program Manager Alanna Keating. “We make our program simple for those hosting a location as well as for boaters, anglers and sailors needing a kid’s life jacket. We provide all of the materials needed for the program and all we ask for in return is that the life jackets are available for free to the boating public in a readily accessible but secure location, and hosts periodically let us how the program is going,” added Keating.

To apply to become a Life Jacket Loaner Program site, or for more information on the program or the life jacket laws in your state, please visit

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Lanyard Law Coming Soon

Boaters May Soon Be Required to Wear Engine Emergency Kill Switch Lanyard

boat lanyard lawDo you use your kill switch?  Have you ever used that red cord that dangles from somewhere on your boat’s dash?  As you probably already know, its purpose is to kill the engine if the operator of a boat is tossed overboard.  Many people simply leave it dangling or coiled up, but have you ever seen anyone clip it on while operating a boat?

A new boat owner often sees the lanyard and wonders:

Is it illegal not to use it?

Does it work?

What is the big deal?

What’s coming next?

The Lanyard Law

Let’s face it, these things are inconvenient, and most people probably don’t use them on boats.  And unless you live in one of five states that has a lanyard law then you won’t be fined for not using the lanyard.  If your boat is equipped with a lanyard or built after a certain date, then you will be fined if you are operating your boat without using your lanyard in the following states: Nevada, Alabama, New Jersey, Louisiana, and Illinois.  And the Coast Guard is trying to make use of cut-off switches a federal law soon, which may make this issue much more important to you if you boat in the other 45 states.

Money and Death

Why is this law spreading across the states?  The answer is in the numbers.  A typical center console boat carries enough gas to run at least 100 miles, and has power or hydraulic steering.  On older boats if you let go of the steering, the boat would go in a circle, but newer boats will hold a course and can take off if you go overboard.  In the unfortunate event that you hit a log and are tossed from your boat unexpectedly in choppy seas, would you prefer your boat circling you with its prop humming and possibly hitting and killing you, or would you rather the boat take off and leave you stranded?  Both situations are bad for the operator, but property insurers have a preference.  They don’t want that boat rocketing off.  Not because they care about leaving you stranded, but because that out-of-control vehicle speeding away from you has the capability of causing substantial damage to multiple other persons and property.

The Future: A Wireless Alternative

Most of us agree that killing your engine makes sense if you ever get knocked overboard, but nobody likes wearing a red lanyard.  Would you wear a device that does what the red lanyard does if it didn’t tie you to the boat?

A Connecticut-based company is betting you will.  They have created a wireless version of the red lanyard kill switch, the first major innovation to the technology since the 1960’s.  The Autotether shuts off your motor within 1 1/2 seconds and is the only wireless lanyard on the market that connects directly to the engine ignition kill switch, requires no hard wiring, is fail safe and works in both salt and freshwater.

If clipping a small device to your shorts that is smaller than a cell phone, without any wires tying you to the boat, can save your life, why wouldn’t you use it?  Learn more about Autotether at

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50th Space Wing completes Phase 1 of E24

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – The 50th Space Wing is pleased to announce the completion of phase one of a two-phase Global Positioning System constellation expansion known as “Expandable 24.”  When fully complete, this expansion will increase global GPS coverage and provide civil, military and commercial GPS users with more robust satellite availability and a higher probability of signal acquisition in terrain challenged environments.

The GPS constellation consists of 24 operational slots positioned within six equally spaced orbital planes surrounding the earth.  This plane/slot scheme and enhanced satellite placement ensure GPS users receive the most accurate navigation data at any time, at any place around the world.  

Expandable 24 is a U.S. Strategic Command commander directed initiative, executed by the wing, specifically the 2nd Space Operations Squadron (SOPS), to reposition six satellites in the current GPS constellation.  Given the strength and number of satellites in the current constellation, Air Force Space Command was in a unique position to enact this revolutionary strategy to benefit global users.  AFSPC acted on this opportunity to increase the robustness of satellite availability by expanding three of the baseline 24 constellation slots. 

Phase one of Expandable-24 began Jan. 13, 2010 when 2 SOPS performed maneuvers to reposition three GPS satellites, one of which took  351 days to maneuver.  The last of the satellites completed repositioning on Jan. 18, 2011.

Phase two of Expandable-24 began in August 2010 and is expected to be complete in June 2011.  During Phase two, three other GPS satellites will be repositioned. When complete, the GPS constellation will attain the most optimal geometry in its 42 year history, maximizing GPS coverage for all users.

“Our primary focus is to execute flawless operations to maintain GPS as the world’s gold standard for positioning, navigation, and timing,” said Lt.  Col. Mike Manor, director of operations for 2 SOPS.  “By repositioning a handful of our satellites to optimize their locations in space, we’ve not only improved the accuracy for military users in disadvantaged terrain like Afghanistan, but also improved the accuracy for all GPS users worldwide.”

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Coast Guard to Establish Security Zone for State of the Union Address

USCG File Photo

 The Coast Guard will establish a temporary security zone in designated waters of the National Capital Region for the State of the Union address Jan. 25, 2011.

During this period, security zone enforcement may limit or prohibit navigation by commercial and recreational waterway users.

The security zone will include the Potomac River from the Francis Scott Key Bridge, U.S. Route 29, down to Potomac River buoy number four, approximately one mile north of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge from shoreline to shoreline. The security zone will include the Georgetown Channel Tidal Basin as well as the Anacostia River from the CSX Railroad Bridge down to its confluence with the Potomac River.

The waterways will be closed to recreational boaters from 4 p.m. Tuesday to midnight. Commercial boaters may be allowed to transit the security zone at the discretion of the Coast Guard. For vessels seeking authorization to enter or transit the security zone, contact the Coast Guard at 202-767-1194 or via marine-band radio on VHF channel 16.

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General Ice Thickness Guidelines

Many outdoor sportsmen and women enjoy the winter months but there are certain things that you should be concerned about when recreating on ice. The following information is courtesy of the Minnesota DNR.

For New, Clear Ice Only

  • 2″ or less – STAY OFF
  • 4″ – Ice fishing or other activities on foot
  • 5″ – Snowmobile or ATV
  • 8″ – 12″ – Car or small pickup
  • 12″ – 15″ – Medium truck

Remember that these thicknesses are merely guidelines for new, clear, solid ice. Many factors other than thickness can cause ice to be unsafe.

Checking ice thickness

No matter what you are going to do once you get on the ice – like fishing, snowmobiling, skating or even ice boating, it’s a good idea to contact a local bait shop or resort on the lake about ice conditions. It’s also important to do some checking yourself once you get there. Several factors affect the relative safety of ice, such as temperature, snow cover and currents. But a very important factor is the actual ice thickness.

ice chisel

Ice Chisel

The ice chisel or “spud bar” is one of the oldest methods of making a hole in the ice. In its simplest form, it consists of a metal rod with a sharp, flat blade welded onto one end that is driven into the ice in a stabbing motion. Depending on the sharpness of the blade, the thickness of the ice and the strength of the user, it can make a hole in the ice fairly quickly, especially when the ice is less than a foot thick.


Ice Auger

There are several varieties of ice auger. Some people like the hand auger for its low cost, light weight and low noise factor. The disadvantage of a hand-powered auger is that after a few holes, operator exhaustion becomes an issue. Some folks like an electric auger, with its low noise level rivaling a hand auger, with the advantage of a lot less work for the user. An electric auger does, however, need an external 12-volt battery, which can be something of a nuisance to lug around. Gas augers boast the fastest speed in drilling through the ice, but are heavier, noisier and generally more costly than hand or electric models.


Cordless Drill

There is one tool, that many households have hanging on the pegboard in the basement or on a shelf in the garage that can make checking ice thickness a quick and easy task – a cordless rechargeable electric drill.

With a cordless drill and a long, five-eighths inch wood auger bit, you can drill through eight inches of ice in less than 30 seconds. Most cordless drills that are at least 7.2 volts will work, but the type of bit is critical. You need a wood auger bit since they have a spiral called a “flute” around the shaft that metal drilling bits don’t. The flutes pull the ice chips out of the hole and help keep it from getting stuck, much in the way a full-sized ice auger works. It is important to dry the bit and give it a quick spray of silicone lubricant after each use. Otherwise, the next time you open your toolkit, you’ll find your once shiny drill bit looking like a rusty nail!

Tape Measure

Some people claim they can judge thickness by where the chisel or drill suddenly breaks through, but that happens so quickly, it’s easy to overestimate the thickness. It’s smarter to use a tape measure or something like an ice fisherman’s ice skimmer handle with inch markings to put down the hole and hook the bottom edge of the hole to determine the ice’s true thickness.

Other things to keep in mind when checking ice.
Ice is seldom the same thickness over a single body of water. It can be two feet thick in one place and one inch thick a few yards away due to currents, springs, rotting vegetation or school of rough fish. You need to check the ice at least every 150 feet, especially early in the season or any situation where the thickness varies widely.

Recommended minimum thicknesses for new clear ice.

4″ Ice fishing and small group activities
5″ Snowmobiles and ATVs
8″ – 10″ Small to medium cars, and pickups.

White ice, sometimes called “snow ice,” is only about one-half as strong as new clear ice so the above thicknesses should be doubled.

Vehicles weighing about one ton such as cars, pickups or SUVs should be parked at least 50 feet apart and moved every two hours to prevent sinking. It’s not a bad idea to make a hole next to the car. If water starts to overflow the top of the hole, the ice is sinking and it’s time to move the vehicle!

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One Billion Dollar, Streets of Monaco Yacht, a Floating City

A LAVISH new yacht recreating the billionaire’s playground of Monaco is set to become the world’s most expensive.

The staggering 155-metre Streets of Monaco yacht is expected to cost over $1.1 billion to build and is modelled on a section of Monte Carlo.

Currently in the design stage, the super-ship will feature smaller versions of the state’s famous landmarks such as the Monte Carlo Casino and racetrack, as well as swimming pools, tennis courts, a cinema, a go kart track and a Hotel de Paris.

Instead of traditional decks the one-of-a-kind ship will have buildings, and instead of a swimming platform it will have a beach.

Travellers will also spot waterfalls, a swim-in Jacuzzi-bar, helicopters and submarines on board.

The one-of a kind ship could be home to 16 guests and 70 crew with the main apartment spread over three floors and 445 square metres.

Linking upper and lower living areas is the Atrium – featuring seven guest suites, a bathroom, bedroom, dressing room, reception and balcony.

The idea for the super-boat, designed by Yacht Island Design, was sparked by car racing and developed into something more innovative.

“It is basically a floating city,” company director Rob McPherson said.

“The design theme called for a unique yacht that reflected the style and sophistication of the principality.

“We want to create a truly unique environment that could take the principality of Monaco to the ocean.”

The ship will exceed the $1 billion price tag reportedly paid by Roman Abramovich for his Eclipse yacht.

A second creation by Yacht Island Design will be a smaller 85-metre yacht based on a Pacific Island theme.

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Coast Guard Encourages Preventative Measures for Moored and Anchored Vessels

The Coast Guard encourages owners and operators of vessels anchored or moored in cold weather to conduct preventative maintenance in anticipation of severe winter weather conditions.

The Coast Guard is providing this information to the public after responding to three vessels which sank at their docks, while moored, due to heavy rains.

Pollution violations caused by sunken vessels could result in fines and salvage costs. A maximum civil penalty of $40,000 per day or up to three times the cost incurred by the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund may be assessed.

To prevent the sinking of a vessel, the Coast Guard recommends boaters:

  • Check local weather forecasts frequently. Be aware that storms can come up quickly and without warning.
  • Cover and secure your boat. Heavy rains can flood boats causing them to sink in extreme cases.
  • Check the shaft packing for excess leakage.
  • Perform routine checks for signs of loose or deteriorating planks on wooden hulled vessels.
  • Conduct a routine inspection of your automatic bilge pump.
  • Visually inspect all thru-hull fittings for damage or loose connections.
  • Remove all unnecessary fuel, designate a caretaker, and leave contact information with the harbormaster if you are planning to be away for an extended period of time.

These simple steps can prevent damage to the environment and personal property while limiting man hours and taxpayer dollars spent on avoidable incidents.

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BoatU.S. Towing App for Android. Now Updated!

Get the App that revs up the fun factor in your boating lifestyle!


BoatUS – THE Boat Owners Association of the United States – knows boaters like to share with friends and family breathtaking cruising destinations, the hottest fishing holes, ‘uh oh’ grounding spots to avoid and best of all – their boats current location.

Use the BoatUS Towing App to easily send friends your phone’s GPS Latitude and Longitude with a Google map link. You can easily share your near shore boat location with a few screen touches. Even use it to notify friends on shore when and where you begin and end your float plan!

BoatUS also knows boats break down, go aground and trailer tires blow out when least expected. Who wants to fork out over $600 for a tow? That’s why this App also has similar features to a vehicles automatic locator. Press the “Call for a Tow” option on the home screen and a 24/7 crew mate of BoatUS will answer, knowing who you are, what boat you’re on and where you are. A key feature, since tens of thousands of the boaters who call for a tow unfortunately don’t know exactly where they are located.

Even though this app doesn’t replace good seamanship and navigation skills, it is a nice addition to add to your tackle box. And it’s free.

The BoatUS Towing App not only displays the phones latest nautical Latitude and Longitude right in front of you, it’s GPS function should still work even when out of cell phone range. What a perk if you need to relay it over VHF radio in times of need!

BoatUS Members who choose to buy Unlimited Towing are also prepared when the unexpected engine breakdown, non emergency tow, soft ungrounding, battery jump, fuel delivery and/or trailer roadside assistance is needed. BoatUS can pay the bill on the spot so you don’t have to!

BoatUS is the biggest, the best and the most trusted boat towing program available. Not to mention THE Association providing representation for recreational boaters on Capital Hill, the best boat insurance policies, 24 hour claims service, marina repair and fuel discounts at 900 locations coast to coast, rewards at West Marine stores, award-winning boating, fishing and trailering magazines and over 25 services for boaters needs.

Recently changed in this version

Text or Email your boat’s near shore location to other boaters
-Share your raft up anchorage or favorite fishing hole instantly
-Show your boat’s near shore location on Google Maps
-Displays your Latitude & Longitude (even out of cell range)
-Call for a tow with the comfort of BoatUS knowing where you are
-Complete your boating tool bag with 25 other BoatUS Services
-Get the hottest boating news events from BoatUS Press Room

Download the free BoatUS Towing app today to try it out. At sea. On the Lake. In the River. On the Road. Also, call 800-888-4869 now to join BoatUS and buy Unlimited On-Water and Trailer Assist for less than you probably spend for your auto club. They don’t cover boats and usually don’t pay for tows of boat trailers!

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