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Tragedy on whale-watching vessel

A 14-year-old boy is presumed dead after falling overboard from a charter vessel off Cape May, N.J.

Nicholas Johs was aboard the 90-foot Whale Watch II with his father, Steven, and members of Boy Scout Troop F of Staten Island, N.Y., April 30. According to eyewitness accounts, Johs and other troop members had been jumping up and down on the bow, apparently timing their jumps with the rising bow as the boat made its way through 2- to 4-foot swells.

Johs went over the 44-inch-high rail, plummeting into 49-degree water. The accident happened about 200 yards off Cape May Point in an area called “the rips,” where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. Witnesses say the boys had ignored orders from crew-members and chaperones to stop playing the game.

According to news reports, witnesses saw Nicholas surface moments after he fell, floating face down and bleeding. That’s when 19-year-old Ralph Genovese, employed as a deckhand on the boat, dove into the water to try and save the boy. Genovese, apparently affected by the frigid water, had to be rescued.

The accident was reported to Coast Guard officials at about 2 p.m. According to a Coast Guard news release, numerous searches were conducted of the area by members of the Coast Guard, local and state police, a dive team and by a commercial salvage boat.

Two days later, investigators confirmed finding Nicholas’ black T-shirt wrapped around the boat’s propeller, state police said.

Federal requirements mandate that tour boats be equipped with at least one life jacket per person aboard but, under New Jersey state law, only children 12 and under are required to wear one. Nicholas was not wearing a life jacket at the time of the accident.

— Jason Fell

Trojan owners to rendezvous in August

The 2005 Trojan Boat Chesapeake rendezvous will be held at Mears Great Oak Landing, Fairlee Creek, Aug 27 and 28.

Trojan boats were built in nearby Lancaster, Pa., and there are still quite a few in the Chesapeake Bay area. Organizer Jerry Mangan explains since the company is out of business he thought the owners would be interested in a “support group” to exchange information on maintenance and problem-solving.

“Four years ago I invited a few skippers in my area to meet me at Great Oak Landing and 18 showed up,” Mangan says. “The following year 24 showed up in Cambridge for the meeting. Last year 40 boats attended at Great Oak landing. The boats range in size from 28 to 44 feet, with the 32- footer as the most popular.”

Call Jerry Mangan, (301) 791-2384, or e-mail bertmangan@aol.com for additional information and reservations.

Waterway navigation restricted in N.C.

The Coast Guard is urging boaters to use extreme caution when transiting through Oregon Inlet on the Outer Banks of North Carolina beginning May 2 due to construction on the Bonner Bridge.

The auxiliary channel in Oregon Inlet will be closed because of construction barge operations and temporary mooring piles put in place by the N.C. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The main channel in Oregon Inlet will be the sole mode of transit under the Bonner Bridge.

The main channel will be marked with fenders and navigational lights on the bridge and the approach into the channel. All of the navigational aides marking the auxiliary channel on the bridge will be turned off.

Specifically: boaters should reduce speed when approaching the work area; all boating activity in the construction area is prohibited; boaters should be alert for submerged and aerial anchor lines and divers; and boaters should monitor marine VHF radio channel 16 for broadcast information.

For updated survey and navigational information, visit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at www.saw.usace.army.mil or the Coast Guard at www.navcen.uscg.gov/lnm/d5.

NRP rescue two

from Potomac River

The Maryland Natural Resources

Police is currently investigating a boat accident that occurred May 9 in the Potomac River.

The accident occurred around 11:10 p.m. on the Potomac River near the mouth of Occoquan Bay just inside Maryland waters. A 26-foot vessel struck what NRP officers believe to be an unlit navigation marker, and started to take on water. After a four-hour search of the area by NRP, Coast Guard, Maryland State Police helicopter and fire department rescue boats from Virginia, the boat and the two occupants were located.

NRP and Coast Guard boats located the operator, Robert R. Benson, 43, and owner of the vessel, William S. Marcellino, 43, both of Dumfries, Va., holding onto their capsized boat. Both victims were transported to Smallwood State Park and flown to Prince George’s Hospital Center with non-life-threatening injuries. Benson and Marcellino were wearing life jackets. www.dnr.maryland.gov

Trump casino to host

Bertram rendezvous

The Trump Marina and Casino will again host the Bertram Mid-Atlantic Rendezvous. More than 30 boats and some 100 registrants attended the inaugural event in 2004. Pre-registration for this year’s rendezvous, slated for July 22 to 24, has already exceeded last year’s attendance.

The Bertram Mid-Atlantic Rendezvous invites owners of Bertrams of all sizes, with or without their boats, as well as Bertram aficionados, to join the festivities. Any interested person can visit the docks, look at the boats and talk to the owners. Bertram and Marine Max will sponsor a “DockTail Martini Party.” Participants can visit the classic Bertrams at the docks or take a sea trial on a brand new factory Bertram. www.bertramrendezvous.com

Two Md. marinas

are named ‘clean’

Castle Harbor Marina in Chester, Md., and Long Point Marina in Earleville, Md., have been certified as the newest Maryland Clean Marinas; and the Twin Harbors Community Pier in Arnold, Md., has been certified as the newest Clean Marina Partner.

The “Clean Marina Partner” designation was created for smaller boating facilities such as community piers that are not true marinas but which meet the goals of the program by minimizing pollution from their own operations and actively promoting clean boating habits to customers.

The Department of Natural Resources Clean Marina Initiative promotes voluntary adoption of measures to reduce pollution from recreational boating activities. Operators of marinas, boatyards, and yacht clubs qualify for Clean Marina certification by adopting measures to control pollution associated with marina operations.

The goal of the Clean Marina Initiative is to certify 25 percent of Maryland’s approximately 600 boating facilities as Clean Marinas or Clean Marina Partners. These three marinas bring the total number of certified facilities in Maryland to 106, which represents nearly 18 percent of the boating facilities in the state. www.dnr.maryland.gov/boating

Veteran tapped

to lead schooner Virginia

With the construction of 122-foot Pilot Schooner Virginia quickly nearing its finish in Norfolk, Va., another critical phase of assemblage is coming to an end as well: hiring a captain and crew.

In late March, Capt. Nicholas Alley of Baltimore was hired to man the helm of Pilot Schooner Virginia.

Alley comes to the job with an extensive record of hands-on education, more than 25 years of varied experience in the marine industry and all of the requisite licenses and certifications.

Alley’s work history includes having served as engineer, mate and captain on several tugboats and large sailing vessels. Most important, he has many years of experience as a captain of vessels similar to Pilot Schooner Virginia, where he was responsible for vessel operations and management, cadet and crew education, maintenance and ship’s accounting. He is also an experienced bluewater sailor.

As captain, Alley made round-trip voyages from Maine to Venezuela aboard the Spirit of Massachusetts and Harvey Gamage in conjunction with college credit programs. He has also sailed the Bill of Rights, a 125-foot-long schooner and the Woodwind, a 74-foot-long staysail schooner. He served as mate aboard the schooners Pride of Baltimore II, Lady Maryland and was an engineer aboard Westward, Spirit of Massachusetts, Harvey Gamage and Rambler.

Alley will be joined by a crew that has extensive experience at sea and service on vessels similar to Pilot Schooner Virginia. The crew members come from Virginia, Maine, Oklahoma, Georgia and Maryland.

The May 28 commissioning ceremony for Virginia was canceled due to the builder’s need to finish the vessel to meet the required Coast Guard regulations to certify the vessel for operation. The vessel will be presented at Norfolk’s HarborFest, June 10-12. www.schoonervirginia.com