Monthly Archives: January 2011

Cruise Ship Carnival Splendor to Travel Under Own Power

You may remember last November when a fire aboard the Carnival Cruise Ship Splendor disabled the ship off the coast of Mexico leaving hundreds of passengers stranded. There were no working toilets, no refrigeration, no hot water and no working galleys. The military dropped nonperishable items to the ship and the passengers were living on pop tarts, spam, and other yummy delicacies while the ship was towed by two ocean-going tugs to dry dock in San Diego.

Now, according to the Coast Guard News,  the cruise ship Carnival Splendor is scheduled to depart San Diego under its own power and head for dry dock in San Francisco Jan 19th, 2011.

USCG Photo

Carnival Splendor has been undergoing repairs for a fire that broke out in the engine room during the south bound leg of a Mexican cruise on Nov. 9, 2010. Repairs to the damaged components in the engine room have been ongoing since early November under the close supervision and direction of representatives of the cruise ship’s flag state of Panama, and Carnival’s own technical staff. Coast Guard inspectors from San Diego and San Francisco have been overseeing this process.

“The level of diligence and cooperation that Carnival exhibited during this repair period, and the degree to which ship’s crew engaged with the Coast Guard at every step of the process were exemplary; they’ve clearly shown that safety has been their number one objective,” said Lt. Ken Morton, Sector San Diego Chief of Inspections.

The Splendor will be accompanied by two tugs during its multi-day voyage north.

The Captain of the Port, Coast Guard Capt. Tom Farris, has granted permission for the cruise ship to get underway, and has stipulated that the vessel’s movement takes place in the San Diego Channel during daylight hours.

“Splendor’s departure marks an end to what was an extraordinarily cooperative effort by the Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, Port of San Diego, and various other port partners,” Farris said. “Events such as this are rare, and all parties involved are working intensely to ensure they capitalize on every opportunity to make them even more so.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. View the rescue efforts below.

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All About Fish, Fishing And Hunting

Approximately one-third of all boating fatalities occured while the victim was fishing. Likewise, more hunters die each year from drowning and the effects of hypothermia than from gunshot wounds.

Many of the fatalities would have been prevented if the victim had been wearing a PFD.

A number of hunters and fishermen drown each year simply because they do not act as responsible boaters. They overload the boat, stand up, don’t wear PFDs or fail to take other precautions required when boating. A person who stands in a boat does not have the same balance as someone sitting down. A person who fires a gun while standing could easily lose balance and fall overboard.

DON’T operate around boaters who are hunting. Generally hunters don’t want to be around other boaters any more than other boaters want to be around those hunting from boats. As a rule, if you see someone in a boat who appears to be hunting, just keep clear.

When operating around boaters who are fishing, take extra care to control your wake. People often stand up in their boat to cast or reel in a fish. Your wake could tip the boat and cause someone to fall overboard. Remember that you are responsible for your wake.

If you are the boater who is fishing, remember never to anchor in narrow channels or shipping lanes and do not tie up to aids to navigation. If in an area where you can anchor, do so from the bow.

DNA Confirms Asian Carp Crossed the Line

Scientists from The Nature Conservancy and the University of Notre Dame say their DNA tests have been peer reviewed and confirm that Asian carp fish have broken through Illinois’ electric barriers and may already have moved into Lake Michigan. The testing procedure had been questioned in legal proceedings. Meanwhile, studies and court cases have been initiated to determine whether locks connecting Chicago waterways with Lake Michigan should be closed permanently to protect native species. (Detroit Free Press)

Spears Sharpen for Winnebago Sturgeon

Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources is predicting another very good year for Lake Winnebago sturgeon spearing. Wisconsin anglers are sharpening spears and getting their ice-shacks ready for the five-day season opening Feb. 12. The sturgeon harvest count has gone up dramatically in recent years. (WBAY)

Louisiana Hosts Best Bass Anglers

The best bass anglers in the world compete Feb. 18-20 in the 2011 Bassmaster Classic in New Orleans. B.A.S.S., which conducts the world championship, is partnering with the National Wildlife Federation and the Louisiana Wildlife Federation to call attention to the need to protect and restore Louisiana’s coastal wetlands. (ESPN)

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Google Founder Spends 45 Million on a Used Boat

Google mogul Larry Page has joined the billionaire boat owner club by splashing out $45 million on his own super yacht – but unlike many moguls, he bought his yacht used.

Page picked up the 193-ft boat ‘Senses’ which comes with a helipad, gym, multi-level sun decks, ten luxurious suites, a crew of 14 and interior design by famed French designer Philippe Starck.

The 193-foot Senses first set sail in 1999

Page, who is worth an estimated $15 billion, bought the boat from New Zealand brewing heir Sir Douglas Meyer.

Meyer said Page took delivery on the mega-yacht shortly before the new year, and perhaps enjoyed the holidays on the high seas with his family.

Page married model Lucinda Southworth at Richard Branson’s Necker Island in 2007, with whom he has a one-year-old son.

He has visited Senses while it was docked in New Zealand over the past year and chartered other yachts around Tahiti while contemplating his purchase, Meyer told the New Zealand Herald, which first reported the purchase.

But Page’s new toy is still dwarfed by those owned by other high-tech moguls, such as Paul Allen and Larry Ellison.

Allen’s ‘Octopus’ comes in at 415-ft in length, while Ellison’s ‘Rising Sun’ is 454-ft long, with both costing more than $200 million.

The yacht has plenty of room for entertaining with a big dining room table and ten bedroom suites

Source: Daily Mail Online 

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Design A Better Life Jacket And Win $5,000

Are you an armchair inventor with a better way to keep boaters, sailors and anglers afloat? The “Innovation in Life Jacket Design Competition” is calling for out-of-the-box life jacket design entries. However, you only have until the February 1 to submit your idea.

The BoatUS Foundation, along with Underwriters Laboratories and the Personal Floatation Device Manufacturers Association, have teamed up to seek out the newest technologies and design innovations that could rethink a 100-year-old design. “The interest in new, more comfortable designs are always important to waterway users,” said BoatUS Vice President of Boating Safety Chris Edmonston. “While current models of life jackets save lives every day, many are still bulky and uncomfortable, leaving boaters reluctant to wear them. This competition hopes to challenge that mindset.”

Entries that embrace new technologies and non-traditional thinking are being encouraged from individuals or groups, such as high school science clubs, collegiate design programs or even boat and fishing clubs. There are no rules regarding types of materials to be used or whether the design meets any current US standards. “This is the time to be unconventional in your thinking about what a life jacket has to look or feel like,” added Edmonston,

The entries will be judged based on four criteria: wearability, reliability, cost and innovation. “Wearability” relates to the level of comfort. “Reliability” will take into account the chances for potential failure, while “cost” will look at the affordability of the design.  “Innovation” will take into account originality or the employment of new technologies.

In early February, video of all entries will be posted online at the BoatUS Foundation’s channel at, and the public will be asked to select a group of finalists. The finalist entries will then be reviewed by a special panel of judges convened at the International Boating and Water Safety Summit in Savannah, Georgia, on March 6-9, 2011, and the winner announced. A $5,000 cash award goes to the winning designer.

To enter, video footage of an actual working prototype must be submitted by providing a URL link to the video (no actual prototypes are submitted). The video must clearly demonstrate how the design floats a person in the water. For more information on how to enter and for contest rules, visit You may also contact Chris Edmonston at 703-823-9550, x8356.

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Top 10 Places for Boaters to Live

If you, as an avid boater, could live anywhere in the United States, where would you choose?

Boating Magazine recently investigated nautical communities throughout the United States, looking for the best places for boaters to call home. The article’s author, Mike Tyler, looked at several area’s mix of boating opportunities, boat-friendly regulations, water access, availability of waterfront homes, health of the local economy and overall lifestyle for boaters.

The Austin 360 bridge from an artistic view.

From this criteria, the magazine selected the 10 Best Places to Live And Boat (full article). Here is the list, in alphabetical order:

  1. Austin, Texas
  2. Benton County, Arkansas
  3. Finger Lakes, New York
  4. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  5. Knoxville, Tennessee
  6. Oconee County, South Carolina
  7. Otter Tail County, Minnesota
  8. San Diego, California
  9. Seattle, Washington
  10. Tampa Bay, Florida

What area would you add to the list? If you had to keep it to 10, what area would you replace? We’d probably start by excluding locations where it’s too cold to boat more than 25% of the year.

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The App to Replace Heavy Books on Your Boat

 It had to happen. No more heavy weight of paper, mildew or soggy pages. A megayacht captain and a computer programmer who loves sailing have combined their expertise to create an Application (app) that anyone from the weekend sailor to the professional master mariner will find a vitally useful help to their days on the water – and it only costs $4.99!

Megayacht Capt. Aaron David Pufal and programmer/boating enthusiast Steve Constable have created the Captain’s Toolbox, for for use at sea as well as for reference and exam preparation.

The app has data for all levels of boating expertise.

Maritime tools included are:

  • The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) (easier to use than the clumsy paper version and always at your fingertips)
  • Maritime Navigation Lights & Shapes
  • GPS Position*
  • Navigation Chart Symbols – using an easy spinwheel method
  • Maritime Flags – never be caught again not knowing where a boat is from
  • SOLAS Symbols
  • Marine VHF and SSB Radio
  • Unit Converter
  • Glossary of Maritime and Yachting Terms – 1383 of them
  • Clouds – an inventory and how to predict local weather by reading them
  • Morse Code – just in case you ever need it
  • Wind barbs – quick reference to common wind charting systems and lots else.
  • Sound Signals
  • United Nations Law of the Oceans and Sea

* A cellular connection is needed for GPS use with all iPhones

The system is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, the app requires iOS 4.1 or later. If you purchase it now, the makers promise you’ll receive free updates when more tools are added in the future. The app can replace a heavy load of paper on your boat – books, manuals, study guides and other resources. Once installed, you do not need a cellular, WiFi or internet connection to access the data.

To find out more, or to purchase, click here.

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Boat Collisions

Collisions between boats are one of the most dangerous and frequently occurring mishaps on our nations waters. These collisions not only result in vessel damage but often result in serious personal injury or death. Often the collision will result in people on board being thrown overboard by the force of the impact.

Avoiding collisions on the water differs in many ways from avoiding collisions while driving in your car. The one contributing factor which is similar between boats as compared to automobiles is SPEED. It has been statistically proven that the number of collisions between vehicles, be they of the marine or roadway type, are reduced as speed is reduced.

Although the newer high-powered boats can reach speeds comparable to those of an automobile, there are no seat belts or brakes on most boats. Boats can either alter course or reverse their engines. Similar to the rules of the road used to prevent collisions on our nations highways, there are navigation rules which are used to prevent collisions on our nation’s and the world’s waterways.

The U.S. Coast Guard’s Navigation Rules (International-Inland) publication can be ordered from most Marine Stores or you can view them online or download them from the USCG Navigation Center. The 37 rules and five annexes contained within this publication are specifically designed to help you prevent vessel collisions. All mariners are required to know and responsibly apply these navigation rules when operating their vessels. Over the next few weeks we will be posting and interpreting the rules from what they say to what they mean when you remove the legalese.

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Catch a Fish in Your Mouth, Go to Jail

AP-Emil Svetahor has worked for the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission for almost three decades and has yet to nab anybody trying to catch a fish with his mouth.

Call a Cop? — Pennsylvania authorities rarely cite anglers for violating a state law that prohibits people from catching fish in their mouth. Properly licensed cats are presumably exempted.

But it is against the law in Pennsylvania to use your mouth, your hands or dynamite to catch fish. Anglers who use their hands are usually the ones who get cited under this statute.

“It’s not used that often,” explained Svetahor, law enforcement supervisor for the Southwest Region. “Sometimes people get frustrated trying to catch them and jump in, (and) start throwing them up on shore.”

However, if he ever does find some angler with a trout in his mouth, he’ll hand him a $100 fine, Svetahor said.

Pennsylvania — like many other states — has numerous old laws on the books that are no longer enforced. It is illegal, for example, to sleep on a refrigerator outdoors. And no married man can legally buy alcohol without written permission from his wife.

The state periodically does a housecleaning of old bills, said Robert W. Zech Jr., director of the Legislative Reference Bureau in Harrisburg. The Legislature repealed a number of statutes in 1982 and 1992 — but many more of those odd, archaic laws live on.

The laws, many of which date to the 1700s, can be difficult to research, said Joel Fishman, assistant director of the Allegheny County Law Library.

Fishman said he’s only asked about the refrigerator law about once a year — “usually by a reporter.”

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Boat Show Calendar 2011

January, February and March are the hottest months out of the whole year for boat shows.  When you are interested in buying a boat, boat shows are one of the best ways to try on many different boats, meet dealers and manufacturers and mingle with the boating community.

Boat shows are a great way to begin the boat buying journey. The best way to determine if you are getting a good deal at a boat show is to do your homework ahead of time. This can be somewhat difficult since boat dealers don’t typically have online tools where you can choose your boat’s features and see its costs. There are, however, many great brokerage websites that can help you with pricing information.

You can also use the NADA online guide for pricing information.

Below is a list of upcoming boat shows in early January and a link to all shows through March 2011.

25th Nashville Boat & Sportshow January 6 – 9 Nashville, Tennessee
Gateway Let’s Go Fishing Show January 7 – 9 Collinsville, Illinois
53rd Toronto International Boat Show January 8 – 16 Toronto, Ontario
Parade of Boats January 10 – 31 Andover, Minnesota
81st Chicago Boat, RV & Outdoors Show January 12 – 16 Chicago, Illinois
BOAT SHOW Event at FAYS MARINA January 12 – 23 La Porte, Indiana
57th Kansas City Boat & Sport show January 13 – 16 Kansas City, Missouri
Ultimate Fishing Show – Detroit January 13 – 16 Novi, Michigan
49th Atlanta Boat Show January 13 – 16 Atlanta, Georgia
Providence Boat Show January 13 – 16 Providence, Rhode Island
2011 Denver Boat Show January 14 – 16 Denver, Colorado
Cincinnati Travel, Sports & Boat Show January 14 – 23 Cincinnati, Ohio
2nd Annual Indian River County Nautical Flea Market and Seafood Fest January 15 – 16 Vero Beach, Florida

For dates of all upcoming boatshows through March 2011 click here.

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Coast Guard To Mariners: Flares Are For Emergencies Only

The Coast Guard reminds mariners that red and orange flares are recognized as marine and aviation emergency signals, and are to be used only during emergency situations. If a flare is used in a non-emergency situation, or fired by mistake, it should immediately be reported to the Coast Guard to prevent assets and personnel from searching for someone who is not in distress.

Coast Guard watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu suspended a search based on a report of two parachute flares seen in the vicinity west of Captain Cook, Big Island.

Watchstanders received a report of two flares at approximately 7 p.m. An aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point launched an HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter and conducted a 35-minute search, followed by an hour-long search by a Coast Guard Auxiliary aircrew. One fishing vessel was found in the search area, but showed no signs of distress. The search was suspended after no signs of any vessels in distress were seen or heard over the radio.

This was the third search in a series of flare reports within the past four days.

Four orange flares were reported in the vicinity of Banyan Beach, south of Kailua-Kona, Big Island. This was later determined to be a false alert.

Last Friday evening, the Coast Guard received a report of one red flare in the vicinity of Kailua-Kona, Big Island, prompting a three-hour air search with a helicopter and a fixed-wing airplane. No mariners were found in distress in this case, and only one vessel was located in the search area.

Title 14 U.S.C. 88 (c) makes it a class D federal felony, punishable up to 10 years imprisonment and/or a monetary fine, for anyone who knowingly and willfully communicates a false distress message to the Coast Guard or causes the Coast Guard to attempt to save lives and property when no help is needed.  The statute also provides for a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 and holds the individual liable for all costs the Coast Guard incurs as a result of the individual’s actions.

The cost of operating a Coast Guard Dolphin helicopter is approximately $9,855 per hour; the cost of operating an HC-130 Hercules aircraft is approximately $15, 202 per hour. In addition to the monetary cost, false alarms can also delay Coast Guardsmen and assets from responding to actual emergencies, should any arise.

For information on Coast Guard recognized distress signals, and boating safety, please follow these links:

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