Nautical News: For the week of May 13th, 2012

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FISHERMEN SAVE COUPLE IN PLYMOUTH BAY

In Plymouth Bay, three men fishing for stripers responded to a man standing in the mud flats calling for help. As they approached the man, he yelled to them rescue a woman in the water. The fisherman looked to where he was pointing and saw a woman in the water clinging to a red channel marker. Here is the 911 call the fishermen made after getting the woman into their boat. Officials credited the fishermen with saving the woman’s life. Plymouth Harbor Master Chad Hunter said the man and woman were in a small 12 foot aluminum skiff that capsized as they headed out to go to the mudflats to dig some clams. In just a little while, we will be speaking with Wayne Walgreen, the captain of the boat who made that rescue.


HOUSE OF REPS DENY FUNDS FOR CATCH SHARES

Fishermen won two important votes in Washington. First the House of Representatives voted against any additional funding for “catch shares” along the Atlantic Coast and Gulf of Mexico. Then, the next day, the House voted to end funding for President Obama’s ocean zoning and National Ocean Policy. In both cases, representatives said their votes were based on the economic ramifications and the number of jobs that would have been eliminated. The Recreational Fishing Alliance called the last two days of congressional action significant in terms of the national efforts to overturn the past 4 years of agenda-driven policy efforts against the will of U.S. coastal residents.


TOWN OF HULL APPROVES COAST GUARD MUNICIPALITY DESIGNATION APPLICATION

Voters at last week’s town meeting in Hull unanimously passed a resolution for that town to support an application for designation as a Coast Guard municipality, and if the application is successful, then the town will hold a ceremony to celebrate the designation. As of right now, there are only 14 Coast Guard municipalities in the United States. A Coast Guard municipality designation is intended to recognize localities that integrate Coast Guard families into their community, that show respect for the professional work of the Coast Guard personnel, and that have a long standing and enduring relationship with the Coast Guard.


BODY OF TUG BOAT CAPTAIN FOUND FLOATING IN WATER

A body found floating off eastern Long Island has been identified as the missing 48 year old tugboat captain from Massachusetts. Brendan O’Leary, of Marblehead, was found in the water about four miles south of Montauk. O’Leary was captain of the Steven-Scott, a 91 foot tugboat. The Coast Guard said he went missing on April 25th while towing a barge filled with jet fuel from New York to Boston. At the time of his disappearance, winds were up to 25 mph with 6 foot waves.


LOBSTERMEN FEUD RESULTS IN BOAT SINKINGS

Lobstermen in Maine are feuding again. Remember three years ago one Maine lobsterman shot another, boats were sunk, and lobster traps vandalized. Well, this past week two lobster boats were set free and drifted ashore in a town ironically called Friendship, Maine. One of the boats sunk. Lobstermen for generations have cut trap lines and shouted threats to settle differences over who can set their traps where. In more extreme instances, they’ve been known to ram boats and fire warning shots into the air. This time it has once again gone too far. Local police and the Coast Guard are now investigating.


NEW REGULATIONS FOR MASSACHUSETTS OYSTERS

Health officials in Massachusetts claim they have traced five cases of gastrointestinal illness back to Cape Cod oysters. Three of the five cases were traced back to the OysterFest in Wellfleet, which served up to 150,000 raw oysters last October. The water north of Cape Cod is too cold for the bacteria to multiply quickly, but when water temperatures on the Cape approach 80 degrees, the bacteria can double by the hour. New Massachusetts shellfish regulations now require refrigeration of oysters within five hours of harvesting, so eating oysters is safe.


NEW HALF BILLION DOLLAR COAST GUARD CUTTER HAS HOLES IN HULL

A brand-new, half-billion dollar, 418 foot long Coast Guard cutter has sprung a few leaks. The Dorothy Stratton, one of three massive national security vessels, has three “pinholes” and a fourth hole that’s about the size of a golf ball in its hull. The ship’s crew discovered the holes and lots of rust last month, just a few weeks after the ship was commissioned by the First Lady. Temporary repairs have been made to prevent the ship from sinking, but the ship needs to be hauled out of the water and dry docked in order to make the repairs permanent.


WOMAN IN FLORIDA ATTACKED BY SHARK

A 47 year old woman from Germany was attacked by a shark while swimming in waist deep water off Florida’s Vero Beach. Witnesses said it appeared the shark removed a piece of her thigh as they dragged her out of the water on to the beach. Luckily, a fire rescue helicopter was flying above the water when the attack occurred and the pilot landed on the beach after he saw the incident. The woman was flown to the hospital and immediately underwent surgery. At last report, she was in stable but serious condition. More people are attacked by sharks in Florida than anywhere else in the United States.


ELVERS WORTH $2000 A POUND IN MAINE

The elver fishery, that’s fishing for baby eels, is banned in Massachusetts, but a bucket of elvers Maine can be worth more than $2,000 per pound making them one of the most expensive delicacies in the world. Maine is one of only two states where it is legal to harvest and sell them. With prices that high, Massachusetts fisheries regulators and enforcement officers are on the lookout for poachers. They want the poachers to know that it is a federal crime crossing a state line to sell the elvers. If convicted, penalties include a loss of property, a fine of $100 for each eel, and jail time


CIVIL WAR SHIPWRECK HALTS DREDGING PROJECT

An historic Civil War shipwreck is preventing the 653 million dollar dredging project scheduled for the shipping channel into Savannah, Georgia. Savannah is said to be the fourth busiest seaport in the nation. Before that channel can be dredged, the Army Corps of Engineers have to figure out how to remove the Confederate warship without destroying it. They estimate it will cost taxpayers about 14 million dollars to get the ship off the bottom where it has been rotting for nearly 150 years. Confederate troops scuttled the ship to prevent General Sherman from capturing it when his Union troops took Savannah in 1864.


PIECES OF JIMI HENDRIX’S GUITAR USED TO BUILD BOAT

And last on today’s nautical news, a boat built out of 1,200 pieces of wood, including fragments from the British Mary Rose schooner and Jimmy Hendrix’s guitar, will be launched today as part of a national art project to mark the 2012 Olympics this summer in London. Created as a “floating collage of memories,” in addition to Jimmy Hendrix’s guitar and wood from the Mary Rose are several hockey sticks, a policeman’s baton, and a hairbrush used by a make-up artist at Pinewood Studios in the 1960s. The boat designer said his aim was to combine traditional wooden boat-building techniques with modern technology. The 30 foot long boat took a year to build and is capable of reaching speeds in excess of 20 knots.


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