Nautical News: For the week of June 9, 2013

KAYAKERS RESCUED

Scituate Harbormaster Mark Patterson said his two assistants, Mike Bearce and Joseph McDonough, did a miraculous job rescuing two kayakers who were in the water holding onto a rock about a quarter-mile off Minot Beach. At the time, winds were gusting to 40 miles per hour, there were 4-6 foot waves, and the sea water temperature around 58 degrees. Those conditions made it impossible for the young couple to swim to shore, and almost made it impossible for the rescuers to navigate their boat amongst the rocks to save them. Both kayakers were wearing life jackets, but they were cold and showing signs of hypothermia and were cut up pretty good from holding on to the rock. The assistant harbormasters pulled the couple aboard and brought them back to shore where they were treated by Scituate firefighters. Their kayak was lost.


FLORIDA NO LONGER REQUIRES ETHANOL IN THEIR GAS

Florida’s Governor Rick Scott signed into law that repeals the law requiring all Florida service stations to sell gasoline containing ethanol. Florida is now the second state to allow gas stations to sell gas without ethanol. Alaska is the other state where boats and airplanes cannot safely use ethanol. Florida legislators now expect its residents to benefit from lower prices at the pump and better fuel economy.


NOAA PROPOSES RIGHT WHALE PERMANENT SPEED LIMIT

NOAA has just published its plan to make its right whale speed limit rules permanent with no time limit. The current speed limit rule had a time limit that expires this December. NOAA’s new proposal will permanently require vessels 65 feet and larger to slow down to 10 knots in areas where North Atlantic right whales congregate. This has some vessel owners, like the operators of the Boston to Provincetown ferries concerned. Their service will not survive if the ride between Boston and Provincetown took 5 hours. Since 1990, there have been 13 fatal right whale ship strikes. Ironically, one ship strike involved the Stellwagen Bank Research vessel. The 60-day public comment period on this new rule will end on August 6th.


PIPING PLOVERS CLOSES BEACH

Piping plovers nesting on top of the sand has temporarily closed Duxbury Beach. Eighteen nests were found and it could take a month or longer before the baby plover chicks hatch and fly away. Although not endangered, plovers are a threatened, protected species under the federal Endangered Species Act. The Duxbury Beach is privately owned by the Duxbury Beach Reservation which leases the beach back to the town. Non-residents with $295 beach stickers will be the most affected by the restrictions, since they won’t be able to take their four-wheel-drive vehicles on to the beach. However, town residents will be able to cross the Powder Point Bridge, park in the town lots, and walk on parts of the beach. Duxbury Harbormaster Donald Beers III said residents and non-residents can get updates on beach access twice a day by going to the harbormaster’s website


CREWMAN FOUND DEAD ON RED SOX OWNER’S YACHT

Police and firemen found a 28 year old crew member on board Red Sox owner John Henry’s yacht Iroquois in cardiac arrest. Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. It wasn’t clear who called authorities, and police did not release the man’s name. At the time, the yacht was docked at The Marina at Rowes Wharf in Boston. The Red Sox’s web site posted the news and stated that the only people onboard were fellow crewmembers. The site posted the following information: “Earlier today, a crewmember on the vessel M/Y Iroquois apparently took his life aboard the vessel docked at 30 Rowes Wharf. Mr. Henry and the members of the Boston Red Sox are saddened by the news and send their deepest condolences to his family.”


FISHERMEN PETITION TO CLOSE REGIONAL NOAA OFFICE

New England fishermen have submitted a petition to members of Congress urging them to close the regional office for federal fishing regulators and funnel the savings to the fishing industry. The petition with more than 150 signatures seeks to eliminate the Northeast Regional Office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Gloucester. It was submitted Thursday. It blames regulators for the state of the fisheries and says savings from closing their office can help fishermen struggling under deep quota cuts.


TAGGED GREAT WHITE RETURNS TO CAPE COD

A great white shark that was tagged off Cape Cod last year has now returned. Signals from the animal’s acoustic tag were received by the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. The shark is registered as a 13-foot long female. This is the first of twenty great white sharks that were tagged last summer to have returned to Cape Cod. Officials say the sharks return to feast on the growing number of gray seals in the area.


ANOTHER TREASURE SHIP FOUND OFF SOUTH CAROLINA

The wreck of a 19th-century steamer that smuggled guns, carried hundreds of thousands of dollars and possibly gold, has been discovered off the coast of South Carolina. Found in about 40 feet of water, the ship has been identified as the SS Ozama by underwater archaeology pioneer and treasure hunter Dr. E. Lee Spence. According to Spence, who also discovered the Civil War submarine H.L. Hunley and many other historically significant shipwrecks, the iron hulled SS Ozama steamer is in surprisingly good condition. The 126-foot vessel was built in Scotland in 1881 and was used in 1884 to tow dredges from New York to Central America that were used in construction of the Panama Canal. It sank in the Bahamas a year later but was salvaged and renamed Ozama after the river in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic — one of the ship’s regular ports of call. Then in 1894, the Ozama, bound from Philadelphia to Charleston, South Carolina sank again. Although the papers listed the ship as carrying no cargo, it is now believed the ship was smuggling guns and gold for the president of Haiti.


SHARK JUMPS INTO BOAT

And last on today’s nautical news, two New Jersey fishermen got the scare of their lives after a 303 pound mako shark leapt into their 31 foot boat while they were anchored. As the fish thrashed about on the boat, it started biting and chewing everything in its sight including the seat cushions and the fiberglass decking. Eventually, the two men were able to subdue it with a gaff, a jackknife, and some rope. After things calmed down, they said the shark was missing a few teeth and they actually found one in the boat that was an inch and a half long.


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