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Conn. requests more no-discharge area

The State of Connecticut is seeking EPA approval of a proposal to designate the coastline between Groton and Guilford as a No Discharge area.

If approved, discharges of treated and untreated boat sewage would be prohibited within those state waters, and would significantly increase the amount of No Discharge areas in Connecticut’s coastal waters. The area between Groton and Guilford is adjacent to the Groton/Mystic area, which is already a designated No Discharge area.

“Establishing ‘No Discharge Areas’ can provide tangible improvements to coastal water quality throughout New England, resulting in cleaner beaches and shellfish beds, and healthier boating overall,” says Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England Office.

The proposed designation seeking EPA approval of the No Discharge area was submitted by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, and is being released for a 45-day public comment period, which ends Oct. 31.

To qualify for a No Discharge designation, the applicant must show there are enough pumpout facilities where boaters can get their holding tanks pumped out. This particular area has an estimated 7,500 boats, of which only 4,000 are large enough to have a head on board. There are a total of 36 pumpout facilities in the proposed area, 29 fixed shore-based facilities, four portable facilities, three pumpout boats and 10 dump stations. Three of the fixed shore facilities offer additional portable facilities. In addition, there are about 107 marinas, docking areas, and boatyards within the proposed No Discharge Area, and the majority of these marine facilities have restrooms available for theirs patrons.

Information on No Discharge Areas in New England can be found at:

www.epa.gov/ne/eco/nodiscrg/index.html.

More information on the state’s proposal can be found at:

www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-WATER/2005/September/Day-16/w18014.htm.

Charges dropped in fatal boating collision

Criminal charges were dropped in September against a Bay Shore, N.Y., man who was accused of boating while intoxicated in an accident on Great South Bay in August that killed an 11-year-old girl.

Suffolk County District Attorney, Thomas Spota, dropped the charges against Steven Fleischer, who is 33, because the results of alcohol and drug tests indicated he was not boating while intoxicated at the time of the collision, a news report says. At the time of the decision (Sept. 14), the Suffolk County Police Department was still investigating the accident.

At about 9 p.m. Aug. 17, the Lieneck family of Long Island was traveling in a 24-foot Bayliner across Great South Bay east of the Robert Moses Bridge when a 25-foot Grady-White Offshore struck the starboard side of their boat. The Grady-White, operated by Fleischer, reportedly ripped through the Bayliner’s hull and landed nearly on top of the boat close to where 11-year-old Brianna Lieneck was sitting.

Brianna was said to have sustained massive trauma to her head and torso, and was pronounced dead at Southside Hospital. Her parents were reported to be in critical condition with head, neck and facial injuries. Danyelle Lieneck, 13, and a 13-year-old family friend, who was also on-board, were not injured. Neither Fleischer nor his passengers, Scott Tourin, 32, and Andrew Biegel, 44, were injured.

Authorities claimed Fleischer had alcohol on his breath and that his eyes were “glassy” and “bloodshot,” a news report says. Fleischer, however, passed a field sobriety test administered two hours after the accident, and the results of a blood test taken at 1 a.m. showed no trace of alcohol in his system.

A funeral was held for Brianna Sept. 1 at Saints Cyril & Methodius Church in Deer Park, N.Y.

— Jason Fell

Unmanned boat runs aground on beach

A boat was discovered hard aground Sept. 11, in Mashpee, Mass., with its navigation lights on and engine in gear and running — but no one on board. Authorities believe 58-year-old South Sandwich resident, Paul Bertolozzi, had been the only person on board.

Two days later boaters aboard a 65-foot schooner found Bertolozzi’s body in the water about two miles from Point Gammon, near Hyannis, Mass., the Coast Guard says. Coast Guard officials from station Woods Hole, Mass., recovered Berolozzi’s body and turned it over to state police.

Bertolozzi reportedly left Edgartown, Mass., at about 8:30 p.m., aboard his convertible, Bon Gusto, and was headed home to Osterville, Mass. Bon Gusto, which various reports described as 29 and 35 feet, was found at about 10 p.m. on Tidewatch Beach in Mashpee, Mass., according to news reports.

Bertolozzi and his wife, Gail, reportedly traveled from Osterville to Edgartown earlier that day. The Cape Cod Times reported the couple allegedly had an argument and Bertolozzi left without his wife, disappearing at some point during the nine-mile return trip. Six- to 7-foot swells in Nantucket Sound that night could have contributed to Bertolozzi’s disappearance, according to Coast Guard officer Jay Cadorette.

In response to the incident, the Coast Guard launched a 110-foot cutter, 41-foot utility boat, HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and HU-25 Falcon jet, conducting a 38-hour search that covered more than 1,000 square miles. State and local police, good Samaritan boaters and aviators, Coast Guard Auxiliary and numerous harbormasters also assisted in the search, the Coast Guard says.

— Jason Fell

Life jacket part of modern art exhibit

The StayAlive Life Jacket manufactured by Innovations & Solutions will be featured in a unique safety products design exhibition opening Oct. 16 at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

“SAFE: Design Takes on Risk” runs at MoMA through Jan. 2, and features about 300 products and prototypes designed to protect the body and mind from dangerous conditions, respond to emergency situations, ensure clarity and information, and provide a sense of comfort and safety.

Retired Florida Marine Patrol Officer Dan Williams invented the StayAlive Life Jacket. It combines a U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device with necessary safety items to greatly improve the chances of survival and rescue in emergency situations.

For more information about the StayAlive Life Jacket visit www.stay aliveinc.com or call (305) 289-7376. For information about the exhibit, call (212) 708-9400. www.moma.org

Free dockage at Conn. River restaurant

Harbor Park Restaurant of Middletown, Conn., is offering free overnight deep-water dockage at the restaurant for the month of October.

The establishment has 300 linear feet of dock space, which has accommodated 150-footers in the past. All boats are welcome although reservations are recommended. For additional information visit www.harborparkrestaurant.com or call (860) 347-9999.

Vessel donated for search and rescue

Sea Strike Boats is donating a 240 Center Console to the Bear Search and Rescue Foundation, a non-profit group dedicated to training search-and-rescue teams around the country.

“We wanted to donate [the boat] to an organization we support that might not easily get a boat of this size and versatility,” says Tom Theis, president and CEO of Sea Strike Boats.

The Sea Strike 240, and vessels like her, will be used for marine training, rescue and patrol operations around the country 12 months a year. The program, called Boat Emergency Action Response, will use the Sea Strike 240 as its flagship for a fleet of rescue boats. www.bearsearchandrescue.org

RFA adds N.Y. chapter

The Recreational Fishing Alliance has formed a New York Chapter that is now active and is the sixth formally recognized chapter for the RFA, in addition to dozens of allied groups around the country.

“With over 2,500 RFA members, several allied organizations, and thousands of affiliate members in New York, it is time for us to have an active chapter,” said Jim Donofrio, RFA executive director.

The chapter will be led by co-chair Mark Molitor of Garden City, N.Y., who will also serve as secretary, and Chris Squeri of Freeport, N.Y., who is acting co-chair.

RFA-NY is engaged in the ongoing struggle in Albany over legislation that could severely curtail or eliminate beach buggy access on Long Island, and continues to seek solutions to the overly restrictive summer flounder regulations in New York.

‘Nautical Nightmares’ returns to Seaport

A new mysterious boat ride along the historic Mystic River will highlight the beginning of Nautical Nightmares, the annual Halloween season event at Mystic Seaport.

Nautical Nightmares is a 70-minute dramatic experience that explores the mystery of historic ghost tales, legends and unsolved mysteries of days gone by. This event is not recommended for children under 7.

Performance nights are Oct. 14, 16, 20-23 and 27-30. Tours leave every 20 minutes beginning at 7 p.m. The last tour leaves at 9:20 p.m. Tickets for Nautical Nightmares are $17 per adult ($15 for members) and $14 per child (4-18, $12 for members). Tickets can be purchased by calling (888) 973-2767 or at the Mystic Seaport Visitor Reception Center.

Bavaria USA names new dealer in New York

The U.S. headquarters of German sailboat maker Bavaria has named Samalot Marine in Rockland County as a dealer for Bavaria’s complete line of cruising and performance-cruiser sailboats.

Located in the Haverstraw Marina on the Hudson River, Samalot Marine offers a range of services for sailors, including furling installations, fiberglass repairs, engine repairs and repowers, rigging and marine electronics sales and service.

A fully equipped sail loft is on the premises, and Samalot’s 15-ton crane will step masts up to 80 feet.

For 2005-’06 Bavaria USA is introducing a completely redesigned series of cruising sailboats to the U.S. market, ranging from 30 to 50 feet.

Florida trawlers explore northern waters

Eight Great Harbour trawlers steamed out of Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay Aug. 26 on a group cruise to Boothbay Harbor, Maine, intended to sharpen owners’ seamanship skills and give them a taste of the New England coast.

The cruise was led by Mirage Manufacturing, which builds the Great Harbour trawlers in Gainesville, Fla. Except for one, none of the boats had ever been further up the East Coast than the Hudson River. The fleet consisted of six Great Harbour 37s, a Great Harbour 47 and an N37, all of which share the same hull design.

The itinerary included Onset, Mass., Provincetown, the Isles of Shoals (off the New Hampshire coast), Portland and Booth Bay Harbor. The plan had been to duck into Gloucester as well, but the anticipated arrival of Hurricane Katrina’s remnants prompted the group to arrive at Portland a day early, and provided the skippers with a lesson in weather window planning.

In Portland the fleet went alongside docks at the Maine Yacht Center, the only scheduled docking on what Mirage dubbed the Down East Cruise. Otherwise, the boats anchored or picked up moorings.

Shoreside, the crews enjoyed a private concert in the marina’s lounge by Eileen Quinn, itinerant troubadour of the cruising lifestyle; a clambake on the beach at Provincetown; and a lobster bake at Boothbay.

Several of the participants saw their first whales as the vessels paralleled Stellwagen Bank en route from Provincetown to the Isles of Shoals. En route to Portland, many of the skippers got their first taste of navigating in fog.

N.Y. sailors win Blue Jay nationals

Christine Jakob and Jesse Diliberto are this year’s National Blue Jay Sailing Champions. The International Blue Jay Class Association held the 2005 Championship Regatta at Northport Yacht Club on Long Island.

The junior sailing champs, hailing from Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club, are Christine Jakob, skipper, from Glen Cove, and Jesse Diliberto, crew, from Centre Island.

The championship regatta consisted of a series of nine races over a three-day period, Aug. 11-14. The sailors finished first in six of the races, second place in two races, and fourth place in one race. Although there is no upper age limit for the national championships, the winners are only 14 and 15 years old, respectively.

No more Sea Tow on Lake Champlain

Boaters on Lake Champlain who need a tow will now have to turn to local and state police, town rescue departments, local marinas or friends for help. The Lake Champlain franchise of Sea Tow Services International recently went out of business.

“We have a number of members in that area, and we’re dedicated to finding the right person to establish a new franchise there as soon as possible,” says Sea Tow president Keith Cummings.

In the meantime, boaters will have to be more careful on the water in order to avoid needing to be towed, says Dave Lumsden with the Coast Guard unit in Burlington, Vt. “The Coast Guard isn’t going to tow a boat if there’s no danger to life and property,” Lumsden says. “Owners are going to have to make sure their boats are mechanically sound. They should leave a float plan with friends and/or family. Getting a tow on the lake is going to be a little tricky for a while.”

Cummings says members can still call Sea Tow if they need help, although it might take a while to get assistance. “We have a list of people and organizations in that area that can tow a boat if we need them to,” he says. “Members there are still covered. We’ll be working hard to make sure boaters don’t have to wait too long for these services.”

Cummings hopes to have a new Sea Tow franchise on Lake Champlain by the beginning of next season.

— Jason Fell

Water ski royalty battle on N.Y.C. waters

Four of the top U.S. water ski athletes added a new jewel to their crowns and the title of MasterCraft Pro Champion as the finals and super finals concluded during the three-day 2005 MasterCraft Pro Water Ski Championships at Meadow Lake in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.

The event marked the first time that professional water skiing graced the waters on Meadows Lake with shortboarding, endurance-testing slalom competitions and ski jumping.

With the advantage of a headwind on the final day, a competitor named Freddy Krueger won the competition by jumping 231 feet, the longest jump of the weekend.

Lifeboat earns spot on National Register

Built in 1946, the Motor Lifeboat CG36500 performed admirably during years of service at the Chatham Massachusetts Lifeboat Station, but never more so than on one night off Chatham back in 1952.

The CG36500 was made famous by its crew of four in the Feb. 18, 1952, rescue of 32 survivors of the ill-fated tanker Pendleton, during a tremendous 70-knot northeasterly storm.

The four Coasties took 36500 out in this storm in what seemed an impossible mission. They each received the Gold Life Saving Medal for getting to the scene under intense conditions and rescuing the 32 crewmen from the Pendleton.

Decommissioned in 1968, CG36500 was left to deteriorate until the Orleans Historical Society intervened, acquired ownership and executed a comprehensive restoration.

The lifeboat now once again travels the water on Cape Cod and beyond and, according to society members, it is the only restored 36-foot Motor Lifeboat that still gets under way. The vessel is berthed at Rock Harbor, Orleans, Mass., during the summer months.

On May 25th, the CG36500 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the only Motor Lifeboat individually listed.

Museum of Yachting receives new exhibit

The National Sail & Maritime Trust in June presented the Museum of Yachting in Newport, R.I., with a new interactive exhibit called The Discovery Center.

The exhibit has 10 interactive stations that help visitors gain an understanding of nautical concepts. Included in the exhibit are a wind tunnel, giant knot-tying board, a block-and-tackle station, and a computer-simulated station that allows visitors to take the virtual helm of a sailing yacht.

“While adults will enjoy these interactive exhibits, we have designed them to help give our younger visitors a better understanding of the elements of physics, seamanship, natural forces and ocean environment that are a part of going to sea on vessels of all types,” says MOY executive director David Brown.

The Museum of Yachting is located at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, R.I., and is open to the public 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 15 to Oct. 31. For information call (401) 847-1018. www.museumofyachting.org

False distress call claims body in water

A distress call June 12 claiming that a body was in the water near New York’s Wantagh Park, sent multiple agencies on what became a wild goose chase.

The caller, a male with an accent, using marine VHF channel 16, calmly reported a body face down in the water being kept afloat by a PFD.

The radio caller then proceeded to switch channels to the Coast Guard working frequency, and provided longitude and latitude, as well as a phone number.

Responding to the scene were Coast Guard and Auxiliary boats, Nassau County Police Marine units as well as the Hempstead, N.Y., bay constable.

After a 20-minute search of the area, the failure to reach the radio caller, and the determination that the phone number was phony, the Coast Guard determined the call to be a hoax.

Knowingly and willfully transmitting a hoax distress call is a felony. It is punishable by up to six years in prison, a $250,000 fine and restitution to the Coast Guard for all costs incurred responding to the distress. The maximum civil penalty is $5,000.

Aquarium camera keeps tabs on Sound’s seals

Last November staff from The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Conn., mounted a camera atop the 19th-century Sheffield Island lighthouse.

The aquarium used the video camera throughout the winter to enhance educational and research initiatives with a focus on the seals that haul out on rocks off Sheffield Island during the winter months.

The three-chip video camera features 800 lines of resolution and a built-in 80X zoom, which means the image can be increased up to 80 times its natural size.

Unlike almost all zoom lenses on consumer cameras, this one uses optics (glass) not electronics to enlarge the image. The result is a very sharp, broadcast-quality image. A pan/tilt head moves the camera up, down, right and left. And focus capabilities ensure that the camera’s image stays sharp. All this is controlled (using existing microwave transmission technology) by operators back at The Maritime Aquarium almost three miles away.

For information on the aquarium’s program call (203) 852-0700 or visit www.maritimeaquarium.org .