Nautical News: For the week of September 9th, 2012

STRONG RIP CURRENTS AND HIGH SEAS IN NEW ENGLAND FORECAST

Hurricane Leslie will pass several hundred miles offshore, but it will still affect New England’s east facing beaches for the next day or two. The storm is expected to cause 10 – 12 foot waves and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency is warning swimmers of strong rip currents. Swimmers caught in a rip current should swim parallel to the beach, rather than trying to fight the tide. Leslie is a Category 1 hurricane, but could strengthen a little bit as it passes east of Bermuda. Beach erosion from Plum Island to Chatham on Cape Cod is expected. Mike Reddin, our meteorologist, will have the latest about Leslie at the bottom of the hour.


COAST GUARD SEARCHES FOR MISSING KAYAKER

The Coast Guard resumed its search on Boston’s north shore off Swampscott for a missing 23 year old kayaker. An empty kayak was found on the beach about two hours after his girlfriend reported him missing. According to a Coast Guard press release, the young man was fishing on his kayak and was not wearing a lifejacket. It was not clear whether the kayak had been dragged onto the beach or if it just washed up there. Police and harbormaster departments from Salem and Swampscott also assisted in the search.


MASSACHUSETTS ATTORNEY GENERAL CRITICAL OF COAST GUARD

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has accused the Coast Guard of using “distorted analysis” in its environmental assessment of oil barges that navigate Buzzards Bay. The accusation was made after the Coast Guard deemed that double-hulled oil barges no longer need to be escorted through the bay by local pilot boats. Currently, both single and double hulled oil barges are required to be escorted through the bay and Cape Cod Canal by local tugboats. Last year, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Coast Guard to do an environmental assessment study before allowing double-hulled barges to pass without an escort. The latest report done by the Coast Guard supports their decision that escorts are unnecessary for double-hulled barges, a conclusion that is opposite of the state’s Attorney General.


CLEAN UP OF BEACHES BEGIN AGAIN THIS MONTH

The 25th annual COASTSWEEP, the state’s annual volunteer beach cleanup organized by Coastal Zone Management and the UMass Boston Urban Harbors Institute is now underway. Since 1987, thousands of volunteers have removed hundreds of tons of debris from the state’s coastline and waterways. Again this year, state environmental officials are asking for volunteers to help remove trash along the Commonwealth’s coast. To join a cleanup or organize your own, check out the COASTSWEEP website at www.coastsweep.umb.edu. All cleanup supplies including trash bags and gloves are provided free.


SHARK BITES SURFER IN FLORIDA

Apparently sharks are a problem in Florida like they are on Cape Cod. In Florida, a surfer is recovering from surgery on his foot after being bitten by a shark. Other surfers helped the man back to shore and when they attempted to stop the bleeding, they saw the shark’s tooth in the wound.


GOVERNMENT MANDATES OBSERVERS FOR ALASKAN FISHING BOATS

Starting next year, federal officials are mandating observers to go with all halibut fishermen in Alaska to record biological information about the fish. This new mandate has some captains concerned about other biological issues such as young female observers on board for several days in a small boat with an all male crew. The fishermen’s wives and girlfriends are not happy about it either, but the feds said gender discrimination is not an option when a boat is assigned an observer. The observer profession employs a high percentage of women, frequently college biology graduates in their 20s.


THOUSANDS OF DAD BIRDS AND FISH FOUND ON LAKE ERIE BEACHES

Tens of thousands of dead fish and birds were found washed on Lake Erie beaches in Ontario, Canada. More than 25 miles of shoreline were covered with dead fish. Locals thought something or someone had poisoned the water. Three days prior to the fish kill, people said the water smelled bad, but tests of water samples showed no contaminants. Officials blame warmer water with less oxygen as the reason the fish died. The dead fish included catfish, carp, and perch.


STRANGE NOISE AND SMELL COMING FROM PUGET SOUND

And last on today’s nautical news, no one knows for sure what caused a humming noise accompanied by a strange smell on Puget Sound in Seattle, Washington. Residents thought the Navy might have been testing sonar or a secret weapon. Others thought the sound and smell came from the engines of ferries running on vegetable oil. Some environmentalists believed the buzzing noise was from fish sending out a mating call, releasing a scent when they started buzzing or got a buzz on. No one ever did find out the source of the noise or the smell, but the noise and smell stopped a few days later after the press started a blog about it.

About John Shea