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Illegal discharges mean prison for ferry manager

The former operations manager of the Fishers Island (N.Y.) Ferry, who held the position for 20 years, pleaded guilty in federal court in Hartford, Conn., in September to deliberately dumping raw sewage from the ferries into the Thames River and Long Island Sound over a period of four years.

Mark Easter, who is 54 and of Bozrah, Conn., admitted to having directed ferry workers to leave the discharge valves in the “open” position as the ferries Munnatawket and Race Point traveled between New London, Conn., and Fishers Island, the Hartford Courant reported. Easter reportedly agreed to serve a month in prison for the crime and faces a $25,000 fine for each day the sewage was dumped.

“This crime against the environment occurred for several years, and thousands of gallons of raw sewage were knowingly deposited directly into our waterways,” U.S. Attorney Kevin O’ Conner says in the report. “This case is another example of the United States’ Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners vigorously enforcing compliance with environmental laws by prosecuting those who choose to ignore them.”

It apparently took authorities a number of years to discover the crime, however, because although the Coast Guard performed regular inspections of the ferries, the inspections were scheduled in advance and Easter would reportedly direct his workers to close the valves beforehand. In July 2004, the Coast Guard made a surprise inspection of the vessels and found the valves in the “open” position.

The case was tried in Connecticut because although the ferry service is based in Southhold, N.Y., the terminal for the ferries is located in New London. Easter is expected to be sentenced on Jan. 3.

— Jason Fell

Ring in the new year with the NY boat show

After celebrating its centennial last year, the New York National Boat Show — a winter-in-Manhattan staple — returns to the Jacob Javits Convention Center on New Year’s Eve.

The convention center floor will be filled with more than 1,000 of the newest in cruising yachts, sportfishermen, bass boats, performance boats, personal watercraft, pontoon boats, inflatables, engines, marine accessories, electronics, fishing equipment, nautical gifts and apparel.

Show highlights include: five Bond (as in James Bond) super spy vessels straight from the movies; a 4,000-gallon aquarium (40 feet long and 8 feet high) with demonstrations of a variety of fishing techniques using live fish; and a roster of speakers at free informative daily seminars.

The show runs through Jan. 8. Admission is $15 for adults, $8 for youths 13-15, and children 12 and younger admitted free. Special two-day discounted tickets are $25. For information, call (212) 984-7000 or visit www.nyboatshow.com.

Alden Yachts building new flybridge express

Alden Yachts of Portsmouth, R.I., announced in September the signing of a new contract to build another 49-foot Flybridge Express. The yacht will be hull No. 14 in the Alden Yachts’ 40-49 Express Series, and will be the fourth 49 constructed since the introduction of that model.

“In some ways I think the 49 is the perfect size,” said Jim Ewing, vice president of Alden Yachts. “It provides the necessary interior space to allow for very comfortable accommodations — you don’t feel that any of the spaces are compromised to fit into a 49-foot yacht. At the same time it is small enough for a couple to easily handle, and with stern and bow thrusters is a breeze to dock.”

The yacht will be powered by twin Cummins 660-hp diesels. Its interior will feature a two-stateroom, two-head arrangement finished in cherry.

The yacht will further benefit from Alden Yachts’ Acoustic Noise Reduction Program, which involves 10 different techniques, including machinery isolation mounting, exhaust silencing, vibration dampening, and sound blocking and absorption. Completion of the 49 Flybridge Express is scheduled for summer 2006. www.aldenyachts.com

Holiday tour returns to Mystic

Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Conn., will present its annual Lantern Light Tours this year throughout the month of December. This year’s tour, written by museum staff, brings back Christmas Eve 1876 as a costumed character leads the way through a festive 19th-century seaport village, visiting a tavern, locals, and sailors in port for the holiday.

Performance dates are Dec. 2-4, 8-11, 15-18, 22-23 and 27-29.

Tours leave every 15 minutes beginning at 5 p.m. Each tour is about 70 minutes long. Family Nights ( Dec. 8, 15 and 22) will feature live music and a visit from St. Nick.

Lantern Light Tour tickets are $25 for adults and $18 for kids 4-18. The tours are not recommended for children under 4. Tickets can be purchased by calling (888) 973-2767 or at the Mystic Seaport Visitor Reception Center. Reservations are strongly recommended, particularly for Friday and Saturday evening tours. www.mysticseaport.org

Connecticut dealer signs on with Rampage

Rampage Sport Fishing Yachts announced in September that seven new marine retailers have joined Rampage’s growing list of dealers. The newest dealers include Russo/Brewer Yacht Sales, Westbrook, Conn.

Consumers can locate the Rampage dealer nearest them at

www.rampageyachts.com .

Based in Navassa, N.C., Rampage creates walkaround, express and convertible sportfishing yachts, 30 to 45 feet.

Boat donations now made easier

A new online service called ONEtool is helping the Massachusetts Maritime Academy reduce the time it takes to process donated vessels.

Donated boats are used by the academy for seamanship, boat handling, maintenance and piloting training. Vessels are also used to facilitate the college’s educational programs through internships, federal work-study, and cooperative learning services in International Marine Business, and Marine Safety and Environmental Protection Degree programs.

The marine software and data management services company, Secured Marine Trust, is located in New Haven, Conn. It operates on a secure Web-based server, and quickly executes a one-click transfer of vessel information from the U.S. Coast Guard database of documented vessels. A form ready for signature can be prepared within minutes.

Call MMA at (800) 453-2541. www.maritime.edu