Nautical News: For the week of August 11, 2013

COHASSET HARBORMASTER RESCUES 14 PEOPLE IN 20 FOOT BOAT

The Coast Guard and two Cohasset harbormaster boats rescued four adults and 10 children, including a four-month-old baby, when their 20 foot boat began sinking near a group of rocks off Cohasset. The Scituate harbormaster also sent a boat to assist. All 14 people were rescued with no injuries reported. The boat was re-floated and towed to shore in Cohasset. Although the boat was overloaded, no charges were filed against the operator of the boat.

 

ANOTHER BOAT STOLEN FROM SOUTH SHORE MARINA

Despite a report just released by the National Insurance Crime Bureau stating that boat thefts in the United States were down, another boat was reported stolen from a south shore marina. A couple of weeks ago, a 40 foot boat was stolen from a marina in Hull by a Quincy man and found aground on Nantasket Beach. Although arrested, he failed to appear for his day in court. Yesterday, a boat was stolen from a Quincy marina and found abandoned on some rocks in between Hull and Boston Light. Hull harbormaster Kurt Bornheim described the boat as a 24 foot cuddy cabin with twin outboard engines. The Coast Guard and the Weymouth harbormaster assisted the Hull harbormaster in the investigation and recovery of the boat. No word if the same Quincy man was involved in this theft.

 

CRIMES ON CRUISE SHIPS MADE PUBLIC

Three major cruise lines have voluntarily posted on their websites the number of serious crimes reported aboard their ships. This the first time this type of data has been released to the public. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Carnival Corp., and Norwegian Cruise Line released the data in response to a bill filed by Senator John D. Rockefeller IV. His bill requires all cruise lines that use American ports to make public the number of suspicious deaths or homicides, assaults, rapes, kidnappings and thefts greater than $10,000 reported by passengers or crewmembers. Although these crimes have occurred to hundreds of people over the past 2 1/2 years on these three major cruise lines, it should be pointed out that during this same period, more than 77 million people were aboard their cruise ships.

 

MAYFLOWER II BACK IN PLYMOUTH

The Mayflower II returned to the Plymouth waterfront amid cheers and boat horns after undergoing major repairs at the Fairhaven Shipyard. Carpenters used specially crafted white oak to replace deteriorated sections of the ship’s hull. During its voyage back to Plymouth, hundreds of people watched its passage through the Cape Cod Canal. The Mayflower II’s Capt. Peter Arenstam was at the helm as the ship docked at State Pier.

 

AUCTION DEADLINE EXTENDED FOR GRAVES LIGHTHOUSE

The federal government extended the deadline for the Graves Lighthouse auction. The bidding was supposed to come to an end on August 6th, but suddenly the number of bidders and the amount of the bids increased from 165,000 dollars to more than $550,000. Included with the sale of the 113 foot tall lighthouse and a utility house on 10 rocky acres, located 9 miles off the coast of Boston. Apparently the government is willing to finance the buyer as it is requiring only $10,000 down.

 

SCIENTISTS SEARCH FOR ALIEN SPECIES IN MARSHFIELD MARINA

This past week, Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management had scientists searching for marine invasive species in Marshfield. They were studying what was living on and under the piers and docks at the Green Harbor marina. Marshfield was one of eight communities selected in between Casco Bay, Maine and Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. Scientists are specifically looking for a fast spreading European shrimp which could pose a danger to New England’s native species. These European shrimp were first discovered in Salem a couple of years ago. It is estimated that more than 300 non-native invertebrates and algae have become established in the marine coastal waters of North America during the last 200 years. While some of these species never became established populations, others did and posed a threat to local marine life and in some cases public safety.

 

WEYMOUTH LIFEGUARDS SEE POSSIBLE SHARK FIN

Swimmers rushed out of the water at a Weymouth beach after lifeguards called 911 reporting a fin was sticking out of the water. They assumed it was a shark, although a town official said to the best of his knowledge there never has been a shark seen swimming in Weymouth. A shark expert with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, who reviewed photographs and a video of the fin, said the fin belonged to a harmless ocean sunfish. Ocean sunfish are also known as mola molas and are frequently mistaken for sharks because of their large dorsal fins that stick out of the water, but unlike sharks, they use the fin to propel themselves forward. They feed on jellyfish and will sometimes come close to shore, but are not aggressive or dangerous to humans.

 

COAST GUARD WARNS ALL PARASAIL OPERATORS

The Coast Guard has issued a safety alert to all parasail operators. In the last seven years, parasailing accidents in the U.S. have caused 11 passenger deaths and 52 injuries. Parasail accidents are almost always caused by weather and equipment. Coast Guard representatives have been delivering a checklist of safety issues to parasail operators to help prevent casualties. The pamphlet is titled “Know your ROPES.” It reminds operators to check towlines, observe and monitor weather conditions, prepare for emergencies, and maintain equipment.

 

FORMER PRESIDENTIAL YACHT DOCKS AT CAPE COD MARINA

While President Obama and his family arrived on Martha’s Vineyard in a Coast Guard helicopter, the 93 foot yacht Honey Fitz that five previous presidents cruised on also arrived on Cape Cod and docked at the Hyannis Marina. After three years of restoration work, the Honey Fitz will be open to the public for inspection. Although the Honey Fitz is associated with JFK because he used it the most and renamed it, Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Truman, and Eisenhower also used the yacht. Honey Fitz was built in 1931 by the Defoe Ship Building Company in Bay City Michigan. She can hold up to 70 passengers and has a top speed of 26 knots.

 

NOAA REPORTS SUNKEN VESSELS POSE ENVIRONMENTAL DANGER

NOAA has presented to the Coast Guard a new report that finds that 36 sunken vessels scattered across the U.S. seafloor could pose an oil pollution threat to the nation’s coastal marine resources. Most of these vessels were sunk during World War II and carried large amounts of fuel and oil. A list of these ships and their locations is available on line by going to sanctuaries.noaa.gov.

 

DOLPHINS APART FOR 20 YEARS STILL RECOGNIZE EACH OTHER’S SOUND

And last on today’s nautical news, dolphins have long impressed people with their intelligence. They know how to call one another, know how to count objects, and now a scientist claims that they can recognize an old friend’s whistle, even after they have been apart for 20 years. That is the longest social memory ever recorded for a non-human. In a study just released, dolphins largely ignored calls from unfamiliar dolphins, but responded when an old friend’s whistle was played back to them. It didn’t matter how much time had passed since the two had last seen each other. The dolphins became very happy when hearing a familiar whistle.

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