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OysterFest set for November 5 return

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum will celebrate the historical, cultural and culinary lore of the oyster and its importance to the tidewater region at the 18th annual OysterFest Nov. 5.

The festival will feature oystering and maritime demonstrations, musical performances, boat rides and special children’s activities. Oysters will be available for seafood lovers to enjoy raw, steamed and fried.

Festival-goers can explore the museum’s 10 exhibition buildings, including “Oystering on the Chesapeake,” an entire building dedicated to interpreting the history of the oyster and the Bay, and “At Play on the Bay,” the museum’s newest and largest exhibit to date, which opened in June 2005.

Admission to OysterFest is $11 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $6 for youths 6-17. Museum members and children 5 and under are admitted free. OysterFest will take place rain or shine.

Contact the museum at (410) 745-2916 or visit .

New houseboat splashed at Md. marina

The Rebecca Jane, a new boat dubbed “the first modern handicapped accessible houseboat,” by its boatbuilder/owners was launched on the Chester River in June from the Chestertown, Md., Marina. Gordon and Jane Chapman of Chestertown designed the 40-footer with 16-foot beam as a “hotel suite on the water.”

Access is by a ramp directly through the boat’s front door. The spacious interior of the boat is completely handicap-accessible and built on one level. Catamaran hulls make the boat extremely stable as well as provide space underneath for storing kayaks.

The design is based on a completely flat deck mounted on pontoons. In addition to accessibility, the flat deck makes it easier to take advantage of off-the-shelf low-maintenance modules that can be fitted together.

The boat is also designed as a “green building.” Fully insulated, it takes advantage of passive solar heating and natural cooling with two sunrooms attached to either end of a central utility module.

The boat will undergo additional sea trials and testing, and will be available for rent on the Chester River beginning in August. In addition to regular rentals, the Rebecca Jane will be available for related non-profit organizations at no charge other than operating costs.

Building plans and technical assistance for building a handicapped-

accessible houseboat are available free from Self-Help Recovery.

RFA supports Clean Ocean initiative

The Recreational Fishing Alliance announced Sept. 7 its support for the New York/New Jersey “Clean Ocean Zone” initiative. The initiative is intended to protect the New York/New Jersey Bight (defined as the area from Cape May, N.J. to Montauk, N.Y.) from further ocean dumping, capping existing dumpsites, prohibiting new sources of pollution, and reduce pollution from stormwater and sediments.

The goal of the initiative is to protect and improve the condition of the Bight by seeking the passage of a federal law that will lock in the progress that has been made.

“Over the past 25 years we have seen a significant improvement in the water quality and habitat of the Bight. Yet, we lack a strong federal law that mandates protection from truly harmful activities,” said Jim Donofrio, executive director of the RFA. “The current battles are fought permit by permit, which means there is always the potential for harmful activities to take place.”

Historically, the Bight, with eight ocean dumpsites, was the “Ocean Dumping Capital of the World.” These dumpsites include those for dredged material, cellar dirt, sewage sludge, acid wastes, wood incineration and industrial wastes.

Menhaden board acts to cap Bay catch

After receiving a record number of comments from the public — 26,000 in all — the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Menhaden Management Board took final action Aug. 17 to set a limit on the amount of this small but ecologically important fish that can be taken from Chesapeake Bay.

The panel, composed of representatives from all Atlantic states, voted 12-2 to cap the harvest of menhaden by the reduction fishery at 105,800 tons, the average catch over the last five years.

The cap will remain in place for at least five years, while a new research program is under way to explore links between overfishing of the Bay menhaden population, and malnutrition and disease in striped bass, which use the bay as their primary breeding ground.

Although menhaden and key predators like striped bass are found from Maine to South Carolina, nearly two-thirds of the coastwide menhaden harvest is concentrated in the Bay.

The only states voting against the new limits were Virginia and North Carolina, homes to the coast’s two reduction fleets and plants that process menhaden into fish meal and oil products.

Cruiser Yachts reels in NASCAR’s Earnhardt

NASCAR racer Dale Earnhardt Jr. has taken ownership of a 2005 model year 400 Express yacht manufactured by Cruisers Yachts.

Earnhardt bought the 43-foot express cruiser in May from Lake Wylie Boat and Yacht Sales in Charlotte, N.C. He planned to dock it at Lake Norman, also in Charlotte.

“He entertains often on the weekends, and he said the yacht will be a perfect hangout with friends and for his dog ‘Killer,’ his black boxer and boating companion,” says Dan Zenz, regional sales manager at Cruisers Yachts.

Zenz says Earnhardt told the company he was attracted to the 400 Express because of its “walkthrough windshield and overall spacious cockpit layout.”

The 400 Express, which was completely redesigned for 2005, is one of the first yachts available with Volvo Penta’s new IPS propulsion system.

Farr Yacht Design forms Farr Yacht Sales

The shareholders of Farr Yacht Design announced the formation of a new company — Farr Yacht Sales — to focus on the sales, marketing and brokerage of the performance racing and cruising yachts.

The new entity will seek to expand contacts with existing and new customers, according to the company, while Farr Yacht Design can remain focused on the design and engineering of the fastest performance yachts in the world.

“We want this to be a first-rate brokerage operation that will offer exceptional service to those selling or buying sailboats,” said Bruce Farr.

“By closely integrating Farr Yacht Sales with the design office we are able to offer informed technical support to those contemplating purchase or sale of an existing yacht,” said Patrick Shaughnessy, vice president of Farr Yacht Sales.

Heading up the brokerage will be Bill O’Malley, a longtime member of the performance sailing industry.

Farr Yacht Sales’ new Web site,, will link to one of the largest databases of used boats in the world:

Virginia Albin dealer given top honor

Chesapeake Yacht Sales at Deltaville Yachting Center, in Deltaville, Va., was named No. 1 in customer service worldwide at the Albin Marine Annual Dealers Conference in Newport, R.I.

Fred Peters, president of Albin Marine, thanked Lew and Onna Grimm, and the service department at DYC for providing for their customers’ needs with excellence and consideration.

Chesapeake Yacht Sales at DYC is a dealer for Catalina, Carolina Classic and Albin Marine.

PWC minimum age now 14 in North Carolina

The North Carolina legislature has approved raising the minimum age for operating a personal watercraft from 12 to 14.

The bill, approved by the House June 27, also requires PWC operators who are 14 and 15 to either share the craft with someone over 18, or have completed an approved boating safety education course.

The Personal Watercraft Industry Association supported the measure, although it recommends a minimum age of 16.

The bill, headed for Gov. Mike Easley’s office, includes a grandfather clause that allows children at least 12 years old before Nov. 1 to continue to operate PWC.

NRP rescue fiveon Chesapeake Bay

On July 2 the Maryland Natural Resources Police rescued a Glen Burnie man, a Cambridge man, and their three grandchildren from the Chesapeake Bay near James Island.

NRP officers responded at 2:38 p.m. to the west side of James Island for a boater in distress. Milton Miles, 54, of Glen Burnie and his two grandchildren ages 6 and 9 along with Peter Creager, 50, of Cambridge and his 5-year-old grandson were fishing in Chesapeake Bay off James Island. Their vessel had mechanical difficulties and was getting bashed against the trees and shoreline of the island.

NRP helicopter Natural-Four landed on the island, assisted the three children from the vessel into the helicopter and transported them to Taylors Island. The Taylors Island VFD assisted the NRP in the rescue operation.

Civil War historian joins USS Monitor team

Nationally renowned Civil War historian and author Craig L. Symonds has joined the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Va., as chief historian for the USS Monitor Center — a 63,500-square-foot exhibition, conservation and research center devoted to the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor, and opening in March 2007.

Author of 10 books, recipient of numerous honors and awards, and retired professor of history at the U.S. Naval Academy, Symonds is considered the nation’s foremost authority on the Civil War navy.

Symonds sees his new role as that of an advocate as well as a historian. “I look forward to doing what I can to make sure this heritage is both preserved, and accurately and interestingly presented,” he said.

New York yacht club offers safety seminars

Larchmont, N.Y.-based Storm Trysail Club is expanding its Junior Safety-At-Sea seminars.

The club’s first Junior Safety-at-Sea Seminar of 2005 took place July 6 in Annapolis, Md. It was the seventh time that the club’s Chesapeake Bay Station partnered with the U.S. Naval Academy. The result was 32 kids participating aboard three boats, helped by a large group of knowledgeable volunteers and seven coaches from various junior programs.

On July 15 at Larchmont Yacht Club, where the STC has its home office and launched its first Junior Safety-at-Sea Seminar nine years ago, a record 220 junior sailors, ages 14 to 17, participated. This time there were 26 boats to accommodate them and the 50 coaches who volunteered.

“The Storm Trysail Club introduced these seminars formally after an incident where informal training, provided to Larchmont Yacht Club juniors, was instrumental in the saving of a junior sailor’s life after she went overboard in a junior big-boat event,” says STC commodore and Larchmont Yacht Club member Richard du Moulin. “That’s when we realized it’s never too early to introduce safety at sea.”

Activities included safety procedures, particularly man overboard recovery, crew work, inflatable PFDs and life rafts.

MAS Epoxy awards grants to schools and non-profits

MAS Epoxies’ new Building a Solid America program is giving product grants to outstanding schools and non-profit organizations with a unique need for the company’s epoxy resin. The first grant was awarded to Alexandria Seaport Foundation in Alexandria, Va., for its Family Boatbuilding Program, which encourages families to work together in teams to learn practical boatbuilding and seamanship skills.

The grants go to organizations that carry on the rich tradition of boatbuilding or woodworking, or that have forward-thinking vision in areas such as wind power generation, alternative energy, or applications that use epoxy in innovative ways.

“This grant supports organizations that teach people the value of teamwork, creative problem solving, and learning how to work with their hands,” noted company founder JB Currell. “We’re particularly interested in groups that reach young people.”

Awards are made on an ongoing basis, and organizations are encouraged to submit an online application form at .

Boating, wildlife groups will work on common goals

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding with United States Power Squadrons in which both parties agree to pursue common goals to promote recreational boating safety and enjoyment.

The agreement spells out and formalizes individual and joint responsibilities for each organization. Paramount in the agreement is an emphasis on safe boating education and compliance with specific laws and regulations of North Carolina.

United States Power Squadrons is the nation’s largest non-profit organization devoted to safe boating education. All of the more than 450 USPS squadrons in 33 districts throughout the country teach a public boating course.

Based in Raleigh, N.C., United States Power Squadrons now has similar agreements with 40 states to date. Last year USPS celebrated its 90th anniversary.

Westlawn teams with Md. community college

Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology students will now be able to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree through a program offered by Cecil Community College located in North East, Md.

The move is the first to be reached as part of a broader cooperative agreement between ABYC and Cecil Community College, and other regional education centers to address concerns about the diminishing labor pool of qualified marine trades professionals in Maryland, Delaware and northern Virginia.

The AAS Degree in Transportation & Logistics — Small Craft and Yacht Design Option, was recently approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission, which set the stage for formally launching the program this fall. Cecil Community College will confer the degree, and will incorporate Westlawn’s already existing and successful distance learning program to deliver the yacht and small craft design segment of the degree program. Cecil Community College will deliver all remaining general educational courses, culminating in the award of the AAS degree.

Maryland dealer picks up Luhrs line

Shady Oaks Yacht Sales of West River, Md., has been appointed an authorized Luhrs Corporation dealer. The yacht sales and service organization will carry the St. Augustine, Fla., manufacturer’s entire line of sportfishermen.

Shady Oaks’ principal West River facility boasts the Bay’s only remaining covered dock, an evocation of a more gracious time in American yachting. The sales offices are situated inside a historic residence. The organization also has a satellite location in North East, Md., with a marine service center that carries select Luhrs models in inventory.

Two local tow firms sign on with BoatU.S.

BoatU.S. Towing has tapped Merrick Aviation Marine as a BoatU.S. Towing Responder on the lower Chesapeake Bay. Merrick Aviation Marine is on Dividing Creek in Kilmarnock, Va., and is owned and operated by Capt. Peter Merrick. The new port will provide service from Smith Point south to Indian Creek.

Boaters in need of towing assistance can reach Merrick Aviation Marine by VHF radio on channel 16 or by calling the port directly at (804) 435-7650. TowBoatU.S. has also opened a new port on one of South Carolina’s most popular inland waters, Lake Murray. The new facility is owned and operated by Capt. Mark Hanners, and located at Marx Marine at Holland Landing.

Boaters in need of towing assistance can reach TowBoatU.S. Lake Murray by VHF radio on channel 16 or by calling the company directly at (803) 622-8560.

Scout Boats adds new dealers

Scout Boats has signed more dealers to its roster, bringing the total number of dealers in Scout’s growing network to 74.

• Boat House Marine, of Mooresville, N.C. — A full-service marine dealership in North Carolina, the company also provides a large mobile repair service for its customers.

• Sawyer Brothers, Inc. of Cecilton, Md. — In business for over 28 years, the dealership services customers from every major metropolitan location in the mid-Atlantic region.

Scout builds sportfishing models ranging from 14 to 28 feet.


Seamanship school upgrades Web site

Mariners School, a United States Coast Guard-approved training facility with locations throughout the Northeast, from Maryland to Rhode Island, has revamped its Web site.

In addition to updated graphics and easier navigation, the Web site features frequently asked questions about USCG-approved courses. The site also offers a listing of current courses, as well as information on how to become a licensed boat captain.

Visitors to the site can find information on OUPV (Captain’s) License courses and Masters Upgrade courses, as well as other license and recreational classes, including Assistance Towing Endorsement and Adult CPR and First Aid. Visitors can also view updated class schedules and register for classes.