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Providence Boat Show returns to downtown

The 16th Annual Providence Boat Show is set for Jan. 29 through Feb. 1 at the Rhode Island Convention Center in downtown Providence.

The show will feature powerboats that appeal to cruisers and anglers, as well as small sailing crafts such as Lasers and Sunfish. There will be 225 exhibitors showing more than 300 boats from 8 feet to 40 feet.

The show will also feature demonstrations, workshops and seminars including: Live Baits-Trophy Tactics by Charlie Soares; Block Island Bass and Big Fish Beyond, Captain Bill Brown; and Ethanol’s Effect on Marine Motors by BoatWise Marine Training School.

The Children’s Activity Center will feature the CastingKids Program presented by the Rhode Island Bass Federation — a flip, pitch and cast competition open to children ages 7 to 10 and 11 to 14. Winners will go on to compete at the state and national level.

The show runs noon to 9 p.m. Jan. 29 and 30; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 31; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 1. For information, go to www.providenceboatshow.com.

Maine proposes no-discharge zone

Maine is working to create a no-discharge zone for the waters around Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Wells.

The state has submitted a request to the Environmental Protection Agency to determine if the area has adequate facilities for the safe and sanitary removal and treatment of sewage from all vessels in the area.

Anyone wishing to comment on this proposal must do so by Jan. 12.

Maine has certified there are five pumpout facilities within the proposed area currently available to the public. The total vessel population is 537; 195 of those vessels might have a marine sanitation device, according to the document filed by the state.

The proposed area includes 672 acres of habitat for the endangered piping plover and least tern, according to the state’s filing.

To comment go to www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for submitting comments. You can also e-mail rodney.ann@epa.gov or fax (617) 918-0538. Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-R01-OW-2008-0875. All comments will be made available online.

Conn. River Museum celebrates bald eagles

As the temperature dips each winter, bald eagles, once an endangered species, start their annual return to their wintering grounds along the Connecticut River.

EagleWatch 2009 offers boat tours that bring you closer to the national bird.

With the birds’ return comes the Connecticut River Museum’s EagleWatch 2009 featuring interactive exhibits, live demonstrations and eagle boat tours through February and March. The museum is based in Essex, Conn.

The Eagles of Essex exhibit opens Jan. 30 and runs through March 15 with photography, sculpture and artwork documenting the story of these birds of prey. Also included in the exhibit is a community photo contest.

EagleQuest boat tours will take passengers out on the Connecticut River for a heated expedition with narration by a Connecticut River Museum education specialist. Trips run every Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 7 through March 15. Seating is limited. Call the museum for reservations.

Eagle wood carving, children’s activities and other live demonstrations are also scheduled for various weekends. Visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or call (860) 767-8269 for details.

Herring boat doubles as whaling ship

A Massachusetts-based company helped Hollywood find a “whaling ship” in New England.

When the producers of a commercial promoting “Whale Wars,” a reality/documentary series on the Discovery Channel’s Animal Planet network, needed a vessel that could pass as a whaling ship, Quincy, Mass.-based The Boat Wranglers suggested the film crew use a herring boat.

The Boat Wranglers (www.theboat wranglers.com) helps New England boat owners earn income when their boats aren’t out fishing or otherwise engaged. “Whale Wars,” which aired in December, follows Capt. Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, on a three-month campaign. Watson works to eradicate whaling, poaching, shark finning and habitat destruction, and has been called activist, hero and eco-pirate.

To read Soundings’ profile on Capt. Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, go to www.soundingsonline.com and search keyword “Sea Shepherd.” Click on “Guardians of the sea or ‘terrorists?’ ”

Mumbai attacks make watch program important

The November terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, make it more important for boaters to be vigilant, according to the Coast Guard Auxiliary. People who live, work or relax near the waterways can assist the Coast Guard by reporting suspicious activity through the America’s Waterway Watch program.

America’s coasts, rivers, bridges, tunnels, ports, ships, military bases, and waterside industries are all potential targets, according to the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Though waterway security has been increased greatly in recent years, with more than 95,000 miles of shoreline across 290,000 square miles of water and about 70 million recreational boaters in the United States, the Coast Guard and other law enforcement agencies can not do the job alone.

Boaters should be on the lookout for: unusual surveillance of vessel or waterside facility operations; unattended boats near bridges; unusual diving activities; unauthorized vessels operating in restricted areas; or other suspicious activities.

To report a suspicious activity, call the National Response Center at (877) 249-2824 or radio the Coast Guard on VHF channel 16. Call 911 or channel 16 to report immediate danger to life or property. For information on the America’s Waterways Watch program visit www.americaswaterwaywatch.org.

Guy Harvey launches jewelry collection

The new Guy Harvey Signature Jewelry Collection by Nautora transfers the artist’s scenes into sculpted pieces of jewelry. Pieces include images of blue marlins, dolphins, sailfish, sea turtles and many other species.

A portion of the proceeds from the well-known artist's accessories go to The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation.

Visit www.guyharveyjewelry.com for information.

Ladies’ liveaboard course heads to the BVIs

Sea Sense, the women’s sailing & powerboating school is offering a seven-day, liveaboard, sailing course in the British Virgin Islands for beginner to intermediate sailors.

Participants will sail and navigate to many of the ports and islands in and around the BVIs, while learning from experienced Coast Guard-licensed instructors. The curriculum includes seamanship, sail trim, navigation, man-overboard prevention and recovery, engine maintenance, close-quarters maneuvering, mooring and anchoring. The course will emphasize the skills necessary for bareboat chartering and passagemaking.   

The class, which costs $2,750, will take place March 15 to 21, aboard a fully equipped cruising sloop. For information, go to www.seasenseboating.com.

ACR recalling some emergency beacons

ACR Electronics of Fort Lauderdale is voluntarily recalling some of its GlobalFix iPRO EPIRBs because a “small percentage” of them might not activate manually.

ACR discovered that some of the witness seal tabs used in the manual activation of the GlobalFix iPRO required excessive force to put the switch into its correct position. The water-activation feature works separately and is not affected by the manual switch.

The company says the manual switch assembly will require reworking on a “very limited range” of GlobalFix iPRO units shipped to market. The problem could exist in a maximum of 400 units built within serial number range of 1,000 to 1,699. The 400 units could be either the P/N #2846 Category I (automatic deploy) or P/N #2848 Category II (manual deploy) model.

The company says iPROs with serial numbers outside of this limited recall range are not affected by this notice, and no other ACR EPIRB units are affected.

Contact ACR at (954) 862-2110 or

e-mail nbuckle@acrelectronics.com.

Charter sailboat takes on water, lives saved

The owner and captain of a 48-foot charter sailboat credits a rented EPIRB, acquired through the BoatU.S. Foundation EPIRB Rental Program, for helping save four lives when the boat stuck an unknown submerged object May 13 about 200 miles east of Brunswick, Ga. The boat, named Wolf, had been in transit to its summer charter base in Bayshore, N.J.

There was significant damage to Wolf and it began taking on water. Emergency efforts failed and bilge pumps could not keep up with the volume of water entering. Capt. Paul Doughty activated the beacon at approximately 5 a.m.

Fifteen minutes later, the captain called a mayday on a satellite phone to the Coast Guard, which told him the EPIRB signal had already been identified and that the Cutter Reliance was six miles away and had been directed to the foundering sailboat’s location.

The Reliance’s crew dropped a Rescue Assistance Vessel over the side and safely removed all four mariners. The 10-foot seas made it too dangerous to make further salvage attempts. With its interior full of water and only its cabin top remaining above the waves, the sailboat was abandoned.

The $750 EPIRBs can be rented for as little as $40 a week. The BoatU.S. Foundation EPIRB Rental Program is intended to fill the short-term safety need for occasional offshore passages and is funded by the voluntary contributions of 650,000 BoatU.S. members. For information, call (888) 663-7472 or visit www.boatus.com/foundation/epirb.

Charter firm adds pilothouse trawler to fleet

Southwest Florida Yachts added the Heather Michelle, a 34-foot American Tug pilothouse trawler, to its charter fleet for cruising the protected and scenic Gulf barrier island corridor from Sanibel/Captiva to Boca Grande.

This 34-foot pilothouse trawler from American Tug is a new charter option in southwest Florida.

While on the cruising vessel, you can enjoy dolphins, manatees and tall wading birds in their natural environments, says Barb Hansen, owner-manager of Southwest Florida Yachts in North Fort Myers, Fla.

Hansen says Heather Michelle is available for charters for $1,483 for three days in the summer and $1,873 for three days in the high season. But, through 2010, the company is awarding extra cruising days for free during the company’s 25th anniversary celebration. Summer charters receive two extra free days of cruising for charters of three days or longer. High-season charters of three days or longer receive one extra cruising day at no additional charge. www.swfyachts.com

Yacht designers team up for new firm in Maine

Yacht designers Bob Stephens and Paul Waring have teamed up with Brooklin Boat Yard president Steve White to form a new design firm called Stephens, Waring & White, in Brooklin, Maine.

Services include conceptual design, complete custom design, consultation services and assistance to builders. The firm will also offer design support for production builders.

The firm wants to attract new clients outside of the “yard” and is not limited to custom yacht design.

“We haven’t had much opportunity to get a production boat out there, largely because we have been perceived as a niche design office,” Waring said in a statement. “This has limited our exposure, and we would like to make sure that the industry understands the image we are projecting.”

The yacht design office, previously known as Brooklin Boat Yard Design Associates, was founded in 1960 by the late wooden boat designer Joel White. After White’s death, Stephens and Waring continued designing daysailers and cruising yachts built of cold-molded wood construction.

Quarter-century-old line retains strength

Engineers at Yale Rope Technologies recently retrieved a 2-inch-diameter section of Yale Uniline that had at least 25 years of use. Tests by an independent lab proved the line had retained 100 percent of its original 164,000-pound breaking strength, according to Yale.

This length of Yale line tested at 100-percent of its load capacity after 25 years of field service life.

“We have long known that Uniline is tough as nails, as well as being an efficient way to use fiber,” says Dick Hildebrand, VP of sales for Yale Cordage. “Now we have the proof. Although its load history is sketchy, this 25-year-old piece of line still looks pretty good, with some fading and scuffing. We respliced the line and sent it to a lab for testing, and were delighted when the results came back indicating the line had retained all of its original load rating.”

Yale acquired Uniline when it purchased New Jersey-based Wall Rope in 2007, and established Yale Rope Technologies, a division of Yale Cordage.

This article originally appeared in the February 2009 issue.