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News notes - Florida and the South

NOAA mission to study underwater habitat

Six scientists and educators from NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Program embarked on a nine-day mission to the world’s only undersea scientific facility starting Sept. 17.

While living underwater in the Aquarius ocean laboratory, scientists investigated changes to corals and marine life in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and broadcast their activities in real time to students and general audiences through the education Web portal.

During the mission, dubbed “Aquarius 2007: If Reefs Could Talk,” scientists conducted research mainly on sponge biology and ecology and long-term monitoring of coral and fish species. Mission results will be compared with previously collected data, going back to 1994, to assess change on the reef, which may be due to anthropogenic climate change and associated natural variability, as well as human contributions in the form of pollution.

The mission will use advanced technology for underwater research combined with communications to create and broadcast Web-based educational programming.

Roundtable participants endorse education

Participants in the Sea Tow Services International Boater Education Roundtable discussion held this October in Southold, N.Y., came out with unified goals. The cross-section of marine industry representatives from key business segments established a goal of identifying a way to provide a minimum level of education for every boater, and agreed on the need for that education to be mandatory on a state level.

There was a consensus that such a mandate should be based on a phase-in model and be compliant with National Association of State Boating Law Administrators-approved guidelines.

There were, however, differing opinions among the participants as to whether a federal mandate would be the most effective, or perhaps only, way to ensure the states establish these minimum education requirements.

“The central issue is figuring out how to get all of the states to require the minimum level of education for all boaters and then standardizing that education through NASBLA approval,” said Keith Cummings, president of Sea Tow and moderator of the event. “The next step would then be to move for reciprocity between states.”

The group agreed to formalize a Boater Education Steering Committee to lead this education initiative. They also plan to develop a clear, concise message that communicates the need for boater education, and identify the proper channels within the boating industry, including existing grant holders, who will help communicate that message to the masses.

Coast Guard Auxiliary wins rescue competition

For the first time in the eight-year history of the International Search and Rescue Competition, American lifesavers brought home the trophy. A quartet of Coast Guard Auxiliarists from Pinellas County, Fla., beat five other U.S. teams and six Canadian teams at the event held recently in TorontoHarbor.

Teams are judged in skill areas in the field of maritime search and rescue. ISAR 2007 featured events that are designed to test the volunteers’ ability to plan, communicate and prosecute a maritime search and rescue mission, including a person-in-the-water recovery event. Other events included: search and rescue planning, seamanship, communications, dewatering (boat taking on water), line toss, marlinspike and two surprise events: one with the boat helmsman blindfolded and taking direction from a crewman, and another where crews rowed out to retrieve and backboard a mannequin and bring this simulated victim to shore.

The winning American team consisted of team captain Kevin McConn, 48, of Tarpon Springs; Don Hoge, 59; Jim Ryder, 69; and Max Garrison, 65, all of Dunedin.

Scoring 88 out of a possible 104 points, the Florida Auxiliarists bested the closest competitors, a Canadian team, by 35 points.

Cruising guide for Chesapeake to Florida

Snowbirds headed south or planning to do a portion of the Great Loop might want to check out the new second edition of Maptech’s Embassy Cruising Guide - Chesapeake Bay to Florida.

Revised by maritime editors Kate Yeomans, Betsy Haggerty, Nancy Taylor Robson and Jordan Taylor, updates and additions to the 558-page guide include detailed navigation advice to new anchorages and guest moorings in popular ports, including expanded coverage of Chesapeake Bay destinations and the Georgia coast.

There are more than 100 pages of NOAA chart excerpts, 200 color aerial and destination photos, and hundreds of recommendations for shoreside dining, provision and sightseeing. Detailed navigation advice is designed to be used hand-in-hand with Maptech ChartKit Regions 4 and 6.

A special feature is “Captain’s Guide to Cruising the East Coast” by Mark Pillsbury, featuring a comprehensive look at how to cruise the coast, both outside and inside the ICW, from Maine to Miami. Additional features within the mini-guide include advice on navigating through North Carolina by Capt. William Dean Lee; advice on cruising the Great Loop by Bob and Nan Hanold; and a sound-off between two writers — Charles Doane and Kim Kavin — about which is better for cruising, power or sail.

The guide retails for $44.95.

Workshop covers manatee management

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently sponsored Law Enforcement Manatee Protection to discuss plans to protect manatees.

“There has been a lot of debate lately about changes concerning the protection of manatees,” FWC chairman Rodney Barreto said in a statement. “But nothing changes the laws that protect the manatee. The manatee will get the same amount of protection whether it’s listed as endangered or threatened.”

The workshop covered several topics, including the proposed manatee management plan and reclassification, an overview of recent unusual manatee deaths in Southwest Florida, manatee harassment and enforcement technology.

“This workshop is key in matching manatee science with law enforcement priorities to provide the maximum protection for the animal,” said Lt. Col. Jim Brown, deputy director of law enforcement for the FWC, in a statement. “We have a lot of information, which helps us determine how we can best apply law enforcement techniques to protect the manatee.”

WalkerBay adds Hypalon to Odyssey line

The Odyssey Air Floor Inflatable from Walker Bay Boats is now available in Orca Hypalon.

“The advantage of the Odyssey Air Floor is that it can be rolled up and carried in its own bag, making it the perfect stowable tender,” said Paul Roberts, VP of sales and marketing for WalkerBay. “Adding the Orca Hypalon option makes the Odyssey more appealing to consumers in extreme ultraviolet light regions.”

Four layers of calendered sheets guarantee air-tightness (no porosity) and optimal adhesion of rubbers. This combination of materials provides improved weather resistance against fading and aging as well as resistance to fuel, oil and everyday abrasions.

Florida loses another boatbuilder

Palmer Marine executives say they are taking advantage of North Carolina’s business-friendly environment by relocating its operations to the Tar Heel state.

N.C. Governor Mike Easley announced in September that the Washington-based company is relocating manufacturing operations from its Cape Coral, Fla., plant to BladenCounty.

Palmer Marine builds several lines of sportfishing boats. According to the governor’s office the move was made possible in part by a $200,000 One North Carolina Fund grant. Palmer Marine, in a statement, says the matching grant was instrumental in its decision.

CEO: No sale for Magnum Marine

Contrary to a report originating from Italy, Magnum Marine, Miami-based manufacturer of high-performance yachts and patrol craft, has not been sold, according to company officials.

“The Theodoli family has owned and managed Magnum Marine for over 30 years and we are proud to be totally independent,” company CEO Katrin Theodoli said at the Miami facility. “Our independence from any large group allows us to be free from compromises in design and quality. We continue to build the fastest, sexiest, most seaworthy custom-built performance yachts in the world.”

Magnum Marine’s statement follows the publication of an article that appeared in the Italian newspaper “la Repubblica”.

“Magnum Marine has not been sold to anyone, the article is totally untrue,” said Theodoli.

Three new Magnum models are said to be in the pipeline for launch in the next 12 months.

Boating law organization elects new president

At its 48th annual meeting in Burlington, Vt., the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators elected John Fetterman as president of the nonprofit organization for the 2007-’08 year. He succeeds Jeffrey S. Johnson, Alaska Boating Law Administrator.

Major Fetterman of Manchester, Maine, joined the Bureau of Marine Patrol in 1977 as a field officer. Much of his career with the Marine Patrol has been spent as Chief Pilot, flying some 12,000 hours of flight time in multiple aircraft. In non-flight duties, Fetterman also supervised the Bureau’s Special Services, where he focused on safety programs within both the recreational and commercial boating communities. In 2001 he was promoted to deputy chief. In his current position, he serves as coastal boating law administrator for the state of Maine.

Fetterman served as project leader for Maine in drafting the “first in the nation” memorandum of agreement with the U.S. Coast Guard on enforcement of Safety and Security Zones.

Keys yacht club added to Florida’s Clean Marinas

MarlinBay Yacht Club of Marathon, the Florida Keys newest resort-style community with a private marina, is constructing its marina consistent with state-regulated Clean Marina standards. Currently Florida’s Clean Marina Program boasts about 136 Clean Marinas, few of which are located in The Keys.

“The Clean Marina program is just another example of Marlin Bay Yacht Club’s commitment to the environment, our neighborhood, and waterway community,” said Thad Rutherford, the club’s project manager.

The club’s marina will feature 99 deepwater boat slips and a protected harbor for vessels from 24 to 70 feet.

Everglades Boats adds six dealers

Everglades Boats, a manufacturer of family fishing boats in Edgewater, Fla., has announced the addition of six new dealers to the company’s dealer portfolio.

The additions include ColtonsPointMarina, Cotons Point, Md.; Hartley Marine Services, Edgewater, Md.; Grove Harbour Marina, Miami; Rocky Creek Marina, Edglewood, Fla.; Oconee Marina, Eatonton, Ga.; and Yacht Works, Port Clinton, Ohio.

Everglades Boats currently has 44 dealers nationwide with more locations coming soon. Information about each of the dealers is available through the dealer locator at .

Marine insurance agency adds to yacht coverage

Maritime General Agency of Westbrook, Conn., has released a new policy form for their AIG Executive Yacht Policy. The new form, which is for private pleasure yachts valued between $1 million and $5 million, adds coverage not previously included, such as additional living expenses, fine arts, temporary substitute yacht, search and rescue fees, loss of charter hire, newly acquire yachts, precautionary measures and moped/motorbike coverage.

Coverage by Maritime General Agency is written through New Hampshire Insurance Company and other AIG member companies.

BoatU.S. endorses waterway watch program

As America enters a new era of increased terrorist threats at home, citizens across the country are being asked to keep on the lookout for suspicious activities. BoatU.S. recently encouraged recreational boaters to do their part through “America’s Waterway Watch,” a program that enlists the active participation of those who play, work or live around America’s waterways.

Similar to the successful Neighborhood Watch programs that ask community residents to report suspicious activities to local law enforcement agencies, Waterway Watch is a combined effort of the Coast Guard and its Auxiliary and Reserve components.

“We believe that many boaters are willing to play a part in securing our waterways and provide the Coast Guard with information about activities that may appear strange or unusual,” said BoatU.S. president Nancy Michelman.

Boaters are asked to keep the 1-877-24WATCH (877-249-2824) phone number aboard their boats, and use it when something seems out of place.

Attendance up at Tampa Boat Show

The National Marine Manufacturers Association kicked off the fall boat show season on a high note, as thousands of consumers turned out for the 42nd Annual Tampa Boat Show. Total attendance for this year’s event was up 5 percent over the 2006 show, with 21,010 visitors on hand, according to organizers.

More than 200 exhibitors displayed new boats, gear and accessories at this year’s show, which ran Sept. 7-9 at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Fla. More than 500 visitors participated in seminars. The show, owned and produced by NMMA, is Tampa’s largest and longest-running boat show.

This marks the first year the Tampa show scaled back from a four- to three-day format, a move Berryman says was a positive one for both exhibitors and consumers.

Next year the Tampa Boat Show takes place Sept. 5-7, 2008.

Galati Yacht Sales of Anna Maria, Fla., was presented with the Best In-Water Display Award at the Tampa Boat Show, by the National Marine Manufacturers Association in September. This is the seventh time Galati has received this award for excellence in display presence.

Fla. manufacturer receives honor

The South Florida Manufacturers Association honored Dometic Environmental on March 14 as one of the recipients for the 2006 Manufacturer of the Year awards.

Established in 1998, the award recognizes manufacturing excellence in South Florida. The winners were selected based on six criteria: commitment to employees, dedication to quality, growth over the past two years, commitment to customers, commitment to community and innovative systems and products.

Dometic Environmental Corporation, a business unit of Dometic Corporation, is a leader in air conditioning and refrigeration technology for marine, vehicular and other applications. The company’s products are marketed under the Dometic, Cruisair, Marine Air Systems, Grunert and Sentry brand names, with a heritage dating back over 45 years. Corporate headquarters and operations are in Pompano Beach, Fla.

Yacht club group adds Bahamian facility

Yacht Clubs of the Americas and Grand Bahamas Yacht Club have entered into a partnership that will provide members of both clubs shared amenities at their ports of call. The new fractional ownership agreement enables YCOA slip owners to enjoy four nights of complimentary docking and berthing as well as discounted fuel prices at GBYC, the largest full-service, deep-water marina in The Bahamas.

The partnership combines YCOA’s five-star concierge service with GBYC’s status as the only five-star marina in The Bahamas.

YCOA members also reap the benefits of GBYC’s recent $500 million, 70-acre expansion that will result in more than 400 marina slips, 330 homes, golf residences, spa, fitness center and beach club.

GBYC, which acquired Port Lucaya Marina, has also opened up megayacht passage through The Bell Channel.

South Florida marina begins renovations

Old Port Cove Marina in North Palm Beach, Fla., was to begin major renovations this spring to accommodate vessels from as small as 30 feet to megayachts up to 190 feet. The current size limit is 150 feet.

Renovation plans include replacing all docks, piers and pilings at Old Port Cove’s north marina with new state-of-the-art hardwood decked floating docks. They will be available for dockage beginning next fall. The project also includes new power pedestals with 100 amp single and 3-phase electric, cable, phone, Wi-Fi and an in-slip pump-out.

Marina operations will continue during the renovation, and dockage will be available at the south marina throughout the construction period.

The company has two other marinas in Florida: North Palm Beach Marina and New Port Cove Marine Center in Riviera Beach. All three are designated Clean Marinas by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and all are BoatU.S. members.

Galati now authorized as a Regulator dealer

Galati Yacht Sales is now Regulator’s authorized dealer for markets throughout Florida and Texas.

Galati dealers will feature the complete line of Regulator offshore sportfishing boats from 23 to 32 feet exclusively on the west coast of Florida, including Naples, Tampa and Destin; and will also offer the line at its Houston dealership, the latter representing a new market for Regulator.

For more information, contact Carol Ricketts at Regulator Marine, (252) 482-3837 or Jennifer Jordan at Galati Yacht Sales, (727) 576-8336.

Town approves waterfront development

Eighteen waterfront town-homes offering docks for up to 50-foot boats have been approved by the Town of Port Salerno, Fla.

Developers of The Venture Group, together with architect, Gary Kelly, say they are striving to create a waterfront Key West-style community compatible with the history of Port Salerno.

“The Sanctuary at Manatee Bay’s deep water location, just 10 minutes by boat to the St. Lucie Inlet, is ideal for those who love and want a backyard gateway to Stuart’s world-famous ‘Sailfish Alley,’” says Venture Group president Harvey H. McClintock.

The waterfront community, which occupies 2.6 acres and 950 feet of sea-walled frontage on Manatee Bay, will offer five available floorplans.

Sales are to officially commence in October with the opening of an on-site sales pavilion. For information contact Andrew Russo at VIP Properties of Distinction at (561) 743-0955 or (561) 371-0933.

Approval for manatee protection plan

Palm Beach County officials recently approved a required manatee protection plan.

According to the Palm Beach County Web site, the objective of the plan is to improve overall protection for manatees while ensuring adequate public access to county waterways. Its primary goal is to establish guidelines and policies that direct new (or expanded) boating facilities to areas posing the least risk to manatees and away from areas of relatively high risk.

Other stated goals include protecting manatee habitat, promoting boating safety, and increasing public awareness of the need to protect manatees and their habitat.

County commissioners originally passed a plan in June 2006, but state and federal wildlife agencies rejected it, saying it allowed for overdevelopment of boat slips where manatees are present.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved a revised plan in July and sent it back to county commissioners for approval. The protection plan only affects areas where four or more boat slips are considered.

Boater medical service opensin Lauderdale

Ocean Medical International, a United Kingdom-based company that supplies yacht medical kits and services, recently announced the opening of offices at the Fort Lauderdale Marine Centre.

The office is managed by Rebecca Castellano, formerly of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida. Castellano is a former nurse of more than 20 years and well known in the Fort Lauderdale yacht industry.

The U.S. office broadens OMI’s international network with offices and agents already in Palma, Spain; Antibes, France; Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Sydney, Australia.

Additionally, OMI announced a key partnership with “The First Call” program, which provide 24/7 emergency medical assistance to the maritime community. First Call is a call center located in a hospital with doctors and trauma surgeons on hand.

For information, visit or e-mail .

New owners for marine towing company

Thomas “Jack” Black and his wife, Phyllis, have purchased three towing ports in Florida from former owners Mike and Susan Ammons. The Blacks now own TowBoatU.S. Sarasota at Marina Jack, TowBoatU.S. Cortez at Cortez Cove Marina and TowBoatU.S. Manatee River in downtown Bradenton.

Two response vessels are stationed at each location. A 37-foot Uniflight serves as a back up vessel. On board each is a full complement of towing and salvage equipment including extra fuel, dewatering pump, and battery “jump pack.”

Boaters in need of towing assistance can reach any of the three TowBoatU.S. ports by calling the company directly at (941) 374-5745; by VHF radio on Channel 16; or through the BoatU.S. toll-free Dispatch Service at (800) 391-4869.

Riviera Beach builder earns ‘clean’ distinction

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection along with the Clean Boating Partnership has conferred its “Clean Boatyard” status to the Viking Yacht Company’s service facility in Riviera Beach, Fla.

The Viking center is the first boatyard to receive this recognition in Palm Beach County and is the 26th in the state to meet the requirements of the Clean Boatyard Program.

According to DEP southeast director, Jack Long, Viking qualified for this certification by developing emergency spill plans, employee training programs and chemical management procedures, which help prevent damage to the environment.

The service center, which opened in February 2002, is on the Intracoastal Waterway just minutes from the Palm Beach Inlet. Formerly a dilapidated marina, Viking tore down the existing structure, removed the rotting docks and built a new facility with floating concrete docks, a 150-ton Travelift, a three-story office building and a second stand-alone building with 50 feet overhead clearance for tower boats. Designed to cater to its owners, Viking is the only U.S. manufacturer with a satellite facility devoted exclusively for their convenience.

Cruising publisher launches online forum

The people behind the Waterway Guide recently upgraded the publication’s Web site, www.waterway, to include up-to-date fuel prices submitted by cruising friends, navigational updates, news broken down by region and information in the Cruising Resources section.

Creators of the site continue to add to the selection of waterfront Webcam links. The latest copy of Waterway Guide Magazine is also online. The new forum is designed to focus on the people, places and issues of the Intracoastal Waterway, the Great Loop and coastal waters from Eastport, Maine, to Brownville, Texas.

Registration is free and privacy protected. Readers are encouraged to post observations or comment on the observations of others. The forum is intended not only as a means of boater-to-boater communication, but also as a way of bringing particular views to the attention of policymakers and government administrators.

School offers British yachting certification

Offshore Sailing School, founded by Steve and Doris Colgate, has received Royal Yachting Association recognition to provide three practical levels of RYA certification for recreational sailors.

The RYA Sail Cruising and Yachtmaster System, with 2,200 schools, is the training standard for the United Kingdom, Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand and Australia. Offshore Sailing School is one of just three United States sailing schools recognized by RYA to teach its courses.

“The RYA training scheme is considered to be the gold standard worldwide,” says Offshore’s COO Doug Sparks. “It is a knowledge-based system that emphasizes practical ability, experience and know-how in order to enter the system at the appropriate level.”

During a weeklong course instructors use RYA guidelines to teach the required skills, while monitoring each student’s proficiency level, performance and knowledge against required standards.

“Some sailors only want to be crew, many want qualification for coastal passages,” says Sparks.

Three RYA courses available through Offshore Sailing School are taught at its British Virgin Islands base. All courses are taught on 44- to 51-foot yachts.

The three courses include Competent Crew, which covers basic seamanship and helmsmanship; Day Skipper, which includes basic piloting, boat handling, seamanship and navigation; and Coastal Skipper, which covers passage planning, piloting by day and night, boat handling, safety and emergency situations.

No more than four students are taught per boat and instructor.

For information and reservations, call Offshore Sailing School at (800) 221-4326 or visit .