Nautical News: For the week of October 28th, 2012


Close to home, voters at the Marshfield town meeting approved the purchase of a new Harbormaster vessel after a grant from the Department of Homeland Security would pay 75% of the cost. The town would be responsible for the balance which would be about $100,000 and money received from the sale of the town’s existing harbormaster boat would reduce that amount. A Marshfield resident pointed out that money used to purchase and operate the boat would come from boat excises taxes and mooring fees. The boat would be used to patrol Marshfield’s seven miles of shoreland and the North and South rivers.


The Conservation Law Foundation has filed lawsuits against two Cape Cod marinas and one North Shore marina for alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act. The lawsuits allege that the marinas are discharging pollutants into the harbor from rainwater and melting snow that gathers on their property. The lawsuits are part of the organization’s Clean Water Enforcement Project. The plaintiff is asking the court to fine the marinas between 32,000 to $37,000 per day per violation and order them to pay attorney fees and other costs.


The U.S. Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, Rhode Island will be assisting the Navy’s Operational Test and Evaluation Force from Norfolk, Virginia, testing the firing of torpedoes October 27-30, 2012, during daylight hours only, in waters approximately 25 nautical miles east of Chatham on Cape Cod. U.S. Navy submarines, surface vessels, and aircraft will be involved. Mariners are requested to stay clear of this area. A surface command ship will be stationed in the area while operations are in progress and will monitor VHF-FM channel 16. Any concerned mariner should contact the U.S. Naval Undersea Warfare Center Public Affairs Office for more information.


The Coast Guard searched for a possible person in the water after an empty boat was found adrift near the Rhode Island and Massachusetts border. The Coast Guard said they found on board the eight foot long white skiff a University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Soccer windbreaker with the No. 23 on it, live bait, and a fishing pole. Officials are still trying to determine who owns the boat.


Three fishermen were rescued from their 48 foot boat named Full Circle in Nantucket Sound by the Steamship Authority’s freight boat named Gay Head. The boat was about 12 miles north of Nantucket, when the Steamship Authority’s boat on its way to the island from Hyannis, heard the fishermen’s radio call that their boat was sinking. The captain of the Gay Head turned his ship around and reached the three before their vessel sank. A passenger on the Steamship Authority asked the captain why he was turning the ship around and he responded it was his obligation to offer assistance to a fellow mariner in distress. Coast Guard Station Brant Point also responded to the call for help, but got there after the freight ship made the rescue.


Once again the fishermen have been proven right and the government wrong. From Maine to North Carolina fishermen said there were too many dogfish. but the government implemented strict quotas. This past week, the government admitted they were wrong and upped the 2013 fishing year quota by about 5 million pounds in the region. Sixty percent of the overall quota will go to coastal New England states as fishermen there face up to 70% reduced landings for codfish and other groundfish.


Remember the story about the dead 50 foot finback whale that was in Boston harbor a couple of weeks ago? Well its carcass is now on a beach in Rockport, 30 miles north of Boston. Under the law, the property owner of where the dead whale washes ashore is responsible for its disposal, which the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation estimates will cost $30,000, but the head of Rockport’s public works department said the town will just let nature take its course. In other words, he is hoping the carcass keeps on moving.


And speaking of Boston’s north shore, Marblehead firefighters responded to a 24 foot center console boat named Hat Trick fully engulfed in flames in the harbor, but upon arriving on scene they learned they had a problem with their water pump. The Beverly harbormaster in the adjacent town was called and he was extinguished the fire with that town’s new fireboat. The fire is under investigation, but arson has been ruled out. No injuries were reported.


The Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show opened this past Thursday the same time as hurricane Sandy passed by Florida. Rain fell and wind speeds reached 35 mph, but thousands of people still showed up to see more than 1,200 exhibitors of boats and mega yachts. The Fort Lauderdale boat show means more to the south Florida economy than when the Super Bowl is played there. The show will run through Monday.


And last on today’s nautical news, golfers at a golf club in California were shocked to find a 2 foot long shark flopping around the 12th hole on the course. A staff member said the shark fell from the sky. While that sounds unbelievable, the course is located less than 4 miles from the Pacific Ocean, so it is believed an osprey or a pelican dropped it over the green. The course’s groundskeeper put the shark into a bucket of salt water and brought it back to the ocean where it was released. He said the shark took off like magic a few seconds after it was put in the water.

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