Nautical News: For the week of February 19, 2018



The captain of the fishing vessel Sea Star radioed the Coast Guard that his boat was 18 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard taking on water and listing badly. He also told the Coast Guard he and his three crew mates were putting on survival suits. A Coast Guard helicopter crew and fixed wing air plane training in Woods Hole immediately headed to the sinking boat’s location. When they arrived, 60 percent of the fishing boat’s stern was underwater. To prevent the boat from sinking, the captain kept the boat moving as fast as it would go to drain the water out of the boat. With the Coast Guard helicopter hovering above the boat, a rescue swimmer helped hoist two of the fishermen into the helicopter after they jumped from the moving boat. With still two more to be saved, the boat’s engine died and the boat was going down. The captain and the remaining crew mate jumped into the water, and they, with the aid of the rescue swimmer, were hoisted to safety. The Coast Guard helicopter pilot said the boat completely sank just as we picked the last two up. The helicopter pilot credited the fixed wing aircraft that flew above the rescue with their infrared camera that made sure nobody was ever out of sight. The fishermen were flown to Air Station Cape Cod where they were examined by medical personnel and found to be in good health. The Coast Guard said the fishermen’s immediate use of their VHF radio, putting on their survival suits with strobe lights, and using their Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon were important factors in their successful rescue. The cause of the sinking is under investigation.




The Coast Guard is asking for $15 million to keep its only heavy icebreaker afloat, the Polar Star, and they want $750 million to build a new one – -the U.S.’s first new heavy polar icebreaker in over 40 years. The Polar Star entered service in the mid-1970s and was refurbished in 2012 and is now well past its 30-year service life. The Coast Guard’s total request for the next fiscal year is a little over $11.65 billion — an increase of 8.4%, or $979 million over the amount requested for fiscal year 2018. Under President Trump’s Homeland Security Department’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2019, they just might get what they are asking for. After the work and rescues the Coast Guard did during last year’s hurricanes, the Coast Guard received high grades and respect from President Trump.




A consortium of 24 groups with ties to the seafood industry is calling for Congress to change the term when they re-authorize the Magnuson-Stevens Act in the coming weeks. They want to eliminate the term “overfishing” claiming it is not accurate to base a stock’s condition on just its fishing mortality. In its place, the 24-member group wants the term changed to “depleted” because overfishing unfairly blames the industry for stock conditions and does not take into consideration predation, pollution, or changing environmental conditions.




Recreational boating in the United States plays a significant part in the country’s economy, according to a study done by the U.S. government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. This is the first time the federal government has, in any meaningful way, recorded outdoor recreation as an industry. The president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association said “it’s bigger than mining, bigger than agriculture.” Boating and fishing also included canoeing, kayaking, sailing, and personal watercraft. The data showed boating and fishing was second only to motorcycles and RVs. Boaters spent $38.2 billion in 2016. In third place was golf and tennis.




Back in 1983, marine biologists in San Diego thought they could boost wild fish stocks by raising the fish in a hatchery and releasing them as they matured into the sea. It wasn’t a new idea, because Americans have been raising fish in hatcheries for at least 150 years, but this was the first time scientists in California would try it with white seabass. Unfortunately, most of the seabass released into wild died shortly thereafter. After trying it for 35 years and spending $40 million, the wild seabass population increased less than one per cent. Compared to Alaska’s salmon hatchery program, which accounts for one-third of that state’s total harvest, the seabass hatchery experiment is just about over. However, scientists said the hatchery was not a failure. They learned that species matters. The public will vote next month whether to close the hatchery or keep it open to try to enhance the halibut stock.




And last on today’s nautical news, a couple from Colorado decided to get out of the rat race and go live on a sailboat, maybe sailing to the Caribbean or even around the world. They sold everything they owned in Colorado and bought a 1969 28-foot sailboat in Alabama. They had no sailing experience, so had a relative help them sail to Florida, where they lived at the marina for months getting ready for their journey. Then the day came to say good bye to their new friends and sail away. It didn’t take long before the weather changed and fog rolled in. They decided to pull into port and on the way in the inlet, the boat hit some rocks and their dream was over. The couple was able to grab a wallet and a phone before the boat sank. Everything else that they owned was gone. Fortunately for them, their lives were saved by the local Sea Tow captain who brought them back to shore. They had no insurance, but word spread back to the marina where they had lived, and their boating friends came to help them. A Go Fund Me page was set up and more money was raised than what they initially paid for the boat. They said they were not giving up on their dreams. Their plan is to continue sailing the world and living aboard a boat.

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