Nautical News: For the week of June 16, 2013


The fishing industry is mourning the death of award winning New England journalist Richard Gaines, who passed away last week at the age of 69. Gaines wrote for the Gloucester Daily Times newspaper, covering all of region’s fishing stories, especially ones about the government regulations. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2010. Richard Gaines and “Nautical Talk Radio” often worked together and we will surely miss his contributions.


A 90-year-old man from Maine swam from his sinking lobster boat to a small island after the 26 foot lobster boat hit a ledge. At the time, the 90 year old lobsterman was heading out to check a trap. He had left his wife a note stating that he would be right back, but when he didn’t return for dinner, she knew something was wrong. She called their son and their son in law who borrowed a neighbor’s boat and found him standing on the island. Other than a few cuts and scrapes, and suffering from hypothermia, he was none for the worse. He said he had to swim about 30 yards to the island and then crawled over the rocks a few inches at a time. The boat was refloated by Sea Tow and towed ashore. It turned out that for this Maine man, it would be a good Father’s Day.


Officials were notified of a missing kayaker after he and his friend launched their kayaks at 9 o’clock at night from Gunrock Beach which is in between the towns of Hull and Cohasset on Boston’s south shore. Officials were told that the two of them were paddling out to a nearby island at night when the kayaker in the lead looked behind him and couldn’t see his friend. The Cohasset and Hull harbormasters were called as were the town’s fire department which launched an inflatable boat and the Coast Guard which sent boats and a helicopter. After searching for nearly two hours, officials learned that the missing kayaker had simply turned around and went home, either without notifying his friend or his friend not hearing him if he did. When questioned at home by authorities, it was reported a relative wanted to know what the big deal was.


A team of 20 researchers and volunteers from a multitude of nonprofit and government groups attached a $5,000 cell phone tag with GPS on two adult gray seals that were captured in Chatham Harbor on Cape Cod. Each tag was glued to the backs of the seals’ necks. It is hoped that the tags will send information to a nearby cellphone tower when the seals haul out onto a beach or a rock to rest. This was the first time an adult gray seal was electronically tagged in U.S. waters. It is hoped that the tags will reveal basic science questions such as where the seals travel and what they eat. Fishermen claim the animals are decimating valuable fish stocks that they cannot catch. Before the seals were released, they were given a sedative and weighed and measured. Samples of their blood, skin, blubber, and a whisker were taken to measure toxic contamination. Even a tooth was extracted. Originally, three seals were taken, but the third seal did not respond well to the sedative.


The 19th Marion Bermuda Race got underway on Friday with a fast start. Since its inception in 1977, the biennial Marion Bermuda Race has been a premier 645 mile ocean race and sailing event which appeals to a broad range of cruising and racing enthusiasts. Of the thirty-five boats that had registered, thirty-four made it to the line. A 32 foot sailboat named Warm Rain, the smallest boat in the fleet, decided not to go at the last minute due to personal reasons. Among the famous in the race is celebrity journalist Geraldo Rivera. The Marion to Bermuda Race is organized and run entirely by members from three yacht clubs: The Beverly Yacht Club in Marion, Massachusetts, The Blue Water Sailing Club also in Massachusetts, and the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club in Bermuda.


Farmed salmon is in the news again. For years we have been warning listeners about the dangers of eating farm raised fish. Now, Norwegian doctors are urging women, children, and adolescents to avoid eating farmed salmon. They said the drugs, chemicals, and other pollutants in the food given to the fish are harmful to humans, having a negative effect on brain development and associated with autism.


Environmental activist Erin Brockovich, who was portrayed by Julia Roberts in a 2000 movie about her fight over the pollution of a California town, was arrested on suspicion of boating while intoxicated on Lake Mead in Nevada. Breath tests showed her blood-alcohol level was just over twice the legal limit of .08. A Nevada Wild Life game warden questioned her after hearing Brockovich and her husband arguing loudly while trying to dock their boat. According to the warden, he also observed Brockovich throw a cell phone into the water, slap her husband, and was unable to control the boat. Brockovich issued an apologetic statement stating that she did not operate the boat in open waters under the influence of alcohol. She said she only moved the boat from one slip to another and at no time posed a public safety risk. She added that she takes drunk driving very seriously and was very sorry. She warned other boaters that spending a day on the water under the hot sun and having a couple of drinks with nothing to eat can have a far greater impact on your body than you realize.


In support of its mission to build stronger relationships between scientists, entrepreneurs, and innovators in Massachusetts and Switzerland, swissnex Boston is welcoming the world’s largest solar-powered boat to Boston’s Fan Pier for its inaugural visit June 22nd – 26th, 2013. The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is a 100 foot long catamaran that runs exclusively on solar energy which last year became the first boat in history to go around the world. Together with PlanetSolar and the University of Geneva, swissnex Boston is hosting a series of educational, business, and media events about solar technology and climate change, featuring partners from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Boston Children’s Museum, Greentown Labs, Museum of Science Boston, and the MIT Energy Club. For more info about this event go to


Earlier this week, state and local police were called to Nantasket Beach after what appeared to be a beer keg washed ashore. Because it had a pipe with a lever protruding from it, the bomb squad was summonsed. Yellow tape was placed around a wide area of the beach. When I asked a trooper at the scene if it was a beer keg, he told me that it was no beer keg that he had ever seen. He and other officials believed it was some type of WWII ordinance. The bomb squad arrived and x-rayed the object. They determined it was filled with sea water and was harmless. The object was removed from the beach and taken to the town’s landfill. As it turned out, it might very well have been nothing more than a modified beer keg.

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