Nautical News: For the week of September 10, 2017



As the Coast Guard moves from Texas and Louisiana to Florida after completing its search and rescue operations in response to Hurricane Harvey, the following numbers were released. The Coast Guard rescued 11,022 people and 1,384 pets. Involved in the response to Hurricane Harvey were 2,060 active duty, Reserve, civil servant, and Auxiliary personnel; 50 rotary and fixed-wing aircraft; 75 shallow-water boats; and 29 cutters. Of the 2,519 Coast Guard members who live in the impacted areas in Texas, 51 suffered catastrophic property loss and 124 others reported property damage. The Coast Guard’s response to Hurricane Harvey is one of the largest the organization has seen in decades. All commercial ports in Texas have reopened. Now many of the same personnel and assets that responded to Hurricane Harvey are preparing to respond to Hurricane Irma.


Believe it or not, a surfer in Florida tried to ride the waves Friday night before Irma arrived, and vanished near the Boca Raton inlet. An eyewitness described the surfer as a man in his 40s. He said he called the Coast Guard after the surf board washed up on the beach and he heard cries for help. A boat from Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale was sent and conducted a search for nearly two hours, but because the waves were so big, they weren’t able to search that long and suspended the search.




The Coast Guard established an emergency phone line for boaters in the Florida Keys. The phone line was set up in anticipation of the loss of marine radio transmissions. Authorities said they wanted to keep the 911 number open for land based emergencies and that is why they created the Coast Guard emergency phone number. Coast Guard officials urged boaters to continue calling the line if they get a busy signal because there could potentially be a high volume of calls coming in. They also warned boaters riding out the storm that the Coast Guard’s response time is expected to be “severely degraded or delayed” as the storm passes over the area. Coast Guard officials said it would be best for mariners to seek shelter and stay off the water.




Although Irma is heading up the west coast of Florida, the Coast Guard is warning mariners as far north as the Carolinas to be extremely cautious of high seas. The Coast Guard said Hurricane Irma is still a threat to the southern east coastal regions causing large surf and even tropical storm winds between now and Tuesday. Tuesday. Officials recommend boaters give family and friends a copy of their travel plans so someone knows when and where they are supposed to be on their voyage. The Coast Guard is also reminding people to have in addition to all the proper safety equipment on board, to pack a life raft and plenty of drinking water.




Kelp in the Gulf of Maine has long served as a nursery and food for juvenile fish and lobster, but a recent study published by the Journal of Ecology claims invasive species from as far away as Asia has taken over, covering 50 to 90 percent of the gulf of Maine’s seafloor. One scientist said the ocean floor now looks like it is covered by a shaggy rug. Also adding to the loss of kelp has been an explosion of voracious sea urchins. A UMass professor said it is causing the Gulf to lose habitat, fish, and shoreline protection.




And last on today’s nautical news, at a time when the Northeast Fisheries Science Center is conducting stock assessments for New England groundfish, NOAA announced that its research vessel, the Henry Bigelow, will remain in dry dock for motor repairs until the middle of November. The Bigelow has been out of service since July and was unable to do its trawl survey of groundfish which it normally does between September and November. Fishermen have constantly complained that the Bigelow and its crew consistently catch less fish than a commercial fishing boat fishing next to it. Now not able to catch any fish must be a compete embarrassment to NOAA.

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