In the News

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GPS system to get an accuracy checkup

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will lead an international effort to pinpoint the locations of more than 40 global positioning satellites in Earth’s orbit in an effort to ensure the accuracy of GPS data. NOAA personnel will compile and analyze satellite orbit data from 10 analysis centers around the world.

For the next four years, NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey

(www.ngs.noaa.gov) will serve as the Analysis Center Coordinator for the International Global Navigation Satellite Systems Service, a voluntary federation of more than 200 organizations that provide continuous global satellite-tracking data. The Global Navigation Satellite Systems, which include the U.S.-based Global Positioning System, the Russian GLONASS system, and the European Galileo system, are used for accurately determining the geographic position of any point on Earth.

PassageMaker names executive editor

John Wooldridge has been named executive editor of PassageMaker magazine. Wooldridge, who served as managing editor of Yachting and MotorBoating magazines, holds a 50-ton captain’s license and is the author of “Chapman Boater’s Log,” a companion to “Chapman Piloting & Seamanship.” He also edited “Chapman Chart No. 1,” which combines NOAA Chart No. 1 with relevant Chapman chapters on map-reading and usage.

PassageMaker was founded 12 years ago and is devoted to the trawler lifestyle and cruising under power. It is owned by Dominion Enterprises of Norfolk, Va., which also owns Soundings. www.passagemaker.com

In other news, Dominion-owned Boats.com announced a major upgrade to its Web site, integrating a new look as well as a sophisticated, interactive Web platform. The new site incorporates Endeca software, which permits users to define search criteria using specific parameters for more precise results. Boats.com’s sister site, Yacht World.com, also has been upgraded with the Endeca technology.

C.G. Auxiliary needs you

The Coast Guard Auxiliary is seeking volunteers interested in serving their country and communities. The Auxiliary participates in all Coast Guard missions, with the exception of direct law-enforcement and military actions. It conducts safety patrols and search-and-rescue missions, assists the Coast Guard with Homeland Security duties, teaches boating safety classes, and conducts free vessel-safety checks.

Training opportunities, most of which are free, include boat crew and coxswain, vessel examiner, boating safety instructor, public affairs and more. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, at least 17 years old, and must pass a background check. There are no minimum service hours; you can serve as little or as much as you want. For information call (877) 875-6296, or visit www.join.cgaux.org .

Rescue efforts earn recognition

Six air crews from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City (N.C.) were honored for rescuing 12 sailors in storms last spring. Members of the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and C-130 Hercules flight crews were awarded Air Medals, Commendation Medals, Coast Guard Achievement Medals and the Commandant’s Letter of Commendation.

The awards stem from four search-and-rescue missions in April and May 2007. Three sailors were airlifted from the sailboat Winds-or-Knot off Bermuda in seas estimated at 40 to 50 feet. Three weeks later, four sailboats — Seaker, Illusion, Sean Seamour II and Flying Colours — transmitted distress signals in gale-force winds and high seas. Coast Guard efforts resulted in nine sailors rescued. Flying Colours was never located. (For more on that storm, search the archives at www.SoundingsOnline.com . Keyword: Flying Colours.)

‘Ocean-friendly’ seafood promotes conservation

West Marine, in collaboration with recreational fishing and ocean conservancy groups, marine manufacturers, retailers and restaurants, is distributing the Blue Ocean Institute’s Guide to Ocean Friendly Seafood. The guide, available at West Marine retail outlets, contains color-coded sustainability rankings for popular seafood species. Fish are analyzed and ranked by assessing life history, abundance in the wild, habitat concerns, and fishery management practices.

Fish that are ranked “green,” including U.S.-farmed tilapia, clams, mussels, oysters and wild Alaska salmon, are considered abundant or are caught or raised in an environmentally responsible manner. Fish with red rankings, such as Atlantic bluefin tuna and imported shrimp, are overfished or caught in ways that harm the environment. The guide, also posted at BlueOcean’s Web site, includes information on health risks from mercury andPCBs. www.blueocean.org , www.westmarine.com