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News notes – Florida and the South

Holiday weekend busy for C.G.’s 7th District

Coast Guard units throughout the 7th Coast Guard District responded to more than 47 search and rescue cases over the Labor Day weekend.

Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, Fla., units handled 18 search and rescue cases; Sector San Juan, Puerto Rico, had four; Sectors Charleston, S.C., and Jacksonville, Fla., had two cases each; Sectors Miami and Key West each responded to six cases and the District Command Center coordinated the response to nine more cases.

The 7th Coast Guard District area of responsibility includes the states of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, and spans 1.8 million square miles in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Among the 47 case were:

• A diving accident in which a snorkler was reportedly run over by a motor vessel. The snorkler was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is the lead agency for the investigation.

• A pleasure boat reportedly went out of control with five passengers on board, running into mangroves near Tavernier, Fla. One injured passenger was transported to local EMS by Coast Guard Station Islamorada, Fla., and the four other passengers were taken to Tavernier Marina. The injured passenger was subsequently transported to JacksonMemorialHospital, Miami, for treatment.

• A vessel collision that reportedly resulted in the grounding of a 30-foot pleasure craft off CaladesiIsland, near Dunedin, Fla. The operator of the grounded boat reported a 20-foot pleasure craft collided with their boat. Coast Guard Station Sand Key responded. No injuries were reported and a search of the area by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission did not locate a suspect vessel. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is the lead agency for the investigation.

• Coast Guard Station Miami Beach, Fla., responded to a report of a fire aboard a diving charter boat 18 miles east of Miami. The 104-foot sailing vessel had 12 passengers and seven crewmembers aboard. A Sea Tow vessel, Station Miami Beach’s 33-foot special purpose craft and Miami-Dade’s Fire Rescue Boat 1 arrived on the scene within minutes of each other. The fire was extinguished and no injuries were reported. The vessel was escorted to the Port of Miami. The Coast Guard is investigating the incident.

Included in the caseload are hoax calls and false alarms in which the Coast Guard investigated, launched search units or conducted search planning.

Developers cooperate on new yacht club chain

Destin, Fla., developer Legendary and Yacht Clubs of the Americas recently announced a joint venture to develop Legendary Yacht Clubs throughout the NorthGulfCoast region from Mississippi to Florida.

The partnership between Steeven Knight, CEO of YCOA, and Peter Bos, CEO of Legendary will provide “permanent and affordable” water access for boaters to the GulfCoast waterways as well as luxurious amenities and five-star concierge service.

“We look forward to joining forces with Legendary to help protect waterway access for boaters through the preservation of marinas in an effort to better serve Destin’s active waterway community,” says Knight.

Legendary Marina, located in Destin, Fla., on the ChoctawhatcheeBay, will be the first project in the joint venture. The facility will be renamed Legendary Yacht Club of Destin and will be modeled after current YCOA facilities that boast modern luxury amenities. Legendary Yacht Club of Destin will add the following amenities to its marina operations: a full-service restaurant, infinity edge swimming pool with bar, valet parking, private owners’ lounge, sauna, steam and fitness areas, children’s play area and more. In addition to these amenities, members will enjoy wholesale pricing on their limousine service, fuel, food and beverages as well as extended hours of service and unlimited boat use. Upon return, their boat will receive a full-service soap scrub and engine flush.

A unique benefit of ownership at Legendary Yacht Club of Destin is the reciprocal use privileges members will receive at all YCOA’s affiliated locations including Sanibel, New Smyrna, Naples, Key West, Riviera (Fort Myers), Tampa, Stuart, and Fort George (Jacksonville), Grand Bahamas, Fla., and Charleston, S.C.

For information on Legendary Yacht Club Destin, call (850) 337-8320. ;

Solar-powered ferry begins operation

Discovery at MarigotBay on St Lucia’s scenic West Coast launched what is believed to be the Caribbean’s first solar-powered ferry, Sunshine Express.

Designed and built in MarigotBay by naval architect Bob Hathaway, Alvin Jean Pierre and Zarious Rene, the clean, quiet, energy-efficient ferry is the latest in a long list of environmentally friendly initiatives adopted by the hotel.

St. Lucia’s Governor General, Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy, officially christened the vessel which will now ferry guests of the Discovery at MarigotBay resort and spa across the bay to the La Bas Beach and to the numerous local bars and restaurants that dot the shoreline.

The Sunshine Express was the brainchild of Discovery owner Judith Verity, a lifetime member of Friends of the Earth and an environmentalist. After learning of similar solar-powered craft operating in Germany and decided to launch the local initiative.

“Innovative developments such as this solar powered, emission-free boat are a great example of the way in which tourism can be a very positive force for the protection of the natural environment,” Verity says.

‘AquaPalooza ’07’ one for the books

Sea Ray’s AquaPalooza summer series of maritime bashes drew more than 10,000 boats and 30,000 guests worldwide to 120 local events in its second year — 43 percent more boats and 42 percent more attendees than the 2006 inaugural event, according to the company.

Coordinated by Sea Ray Boats and its network of dealers, the nautical parties were held in rivers, lakes, and harbors around the world during the last two weekends in July. Sea Ray dealers as far away as Austria, Egypt and Australia helped organize AquaPalooza events.

Originally created as a Sea Ray owners’ event, AquaPalooza quickly grew into a boating spectacle, inviting all boating enthusiasts to take part, no matter the brand of their boat.

“We wanted boaters of all stripes to join the fun and get a closer look at our models and the lifestyle that comes standard with owning a Sea Ray,” says Rob Noyes, vice president of marketing for Sea Ray.

This year’s signature event, hosted by Prince William Marine Sales of Woodbridge, Va., drew thousands of boating enthusiasts to the Potomac River near Washington, D.C. Platinum-album-selling country singer Taylor Swift, who says she grew up boating on Sea Ray boats, headlined the celebration. Participants enjoyed games, carnival attractions and a fireworks finale. According to local officials, the number of boats is estimated at 1,200 to 1,300, making AquaPalooza the largest on-water event ever held in the area.

Veteran journalists head Reed’s Almanacs

Publisher Jerald Knopf of Thomas Reed Publications recently recruited marine writers and editors Herb McCormick and Greg Jones to take the editorial helm of Reed’s Nautical Almanacs.

McCormick, the former editor of Cruising World magazine, will become the new editor-in-chief of Reed’s, while Jones, who served as editor of Sailing magazine and senior editor of Blue Water Sailor, has been named executive editor at Reed’s. Together, McCormick and Jones will lead a team of freelance contributors in the field while aiming to take Reed’s to new levels as a passage-planning resource and hands-on navigational tool.

Reed’s, known as “the authoritative navigational resource for voyage planning and reference under way,” is published annually in three editions: East Coast, West Coast and Caribbean. The books list crucial navigational information including tide and current tables; lights, beacons and buoy characteristics; GPS waypoints; harbor and approach chartlets; schedules and station guides for weather and radio communications; and much more.

For more information, contact Jerald Knopf, ; (617) 236-0465 or Herb McCormick,; (401) 835-4420.

Alerion Express adds national dealer network

Pearson Composites, builder of the Alerion Express and J/Boats sailboats and True North powerboats, is adding nine dealers to sell and service its Alerion Express line of daysailers.

The company will have combined sales and service facilities in 26 locations throughout North America. The Alerion Express is available in 20-, 28-, 33- and 38-foot models.

“The demand for our unique line of quality daysailers has been growing for years,” says Scott Bryant, vice president of Alerion Express.

Boat show returns to Fort Myers

The 35th annual Fort Myers Boat Show will be held in the heart of Fort Myers, Nov. 8 through 11, with more than 700 boats displayed in-water, on land and indoors.

Dinghies, inflatables and trailerable boats are displayed indoors and outdoors in the streets and parking lots along Edwards Drive. Larger new boats are displayed in the Fort MyersCityYachtBasin as are brokerage boats. Accessory are displayed both in the HarborsideConvention Center and outside in tents.

Parking is in the downtown parking garages or City of Palms Park (Red Sox Stadium), on Edison Ave. There will be free continuous shuttles to the show.

For information about hours and admission fees call the Southwest Florida Marine Industries Association at (239) 656-7083 before the show starts or the Fort Myers Boat Show Office Hotline at (239) 337-9210 for information and daily updates during the show.

Concrete canoeists compete for a title

Engineering Students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison won the 20th annual National Concrete Canoe Competition held in June in Seattle.

Regatta legend has it that in the 1960s, a group of civil engineering students had what everyone else thought was a crazy idea. They would design, build and race a canoe made of concrete. Despite their success, those students never would have believed that a nationally recognized competition would evolve from their experiment.

While the shape, size and speed of the canoes have changed throughout the years, the innovative spirit and creativity of the competitors remains the same.

Continuing their tradition of concrete dominance for the fifth year in a row, the University of Wisconsin-Madison captured the America’s Cup of Civil Engineering at the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 20th Annual National Concrete Canoe Competition in Seattle. Countless calculations and measurements, hundreds of hours spent constructing their canoe and aching muscles from constant paddling practice were just a few of the challenges the Badgers had to overcome. However, in the end, their technical skills, ingenuity and dedication propelled them to victory in their canoe, the Descendant.

Madison’s 20-foot-long, 179-pound, natural gray canoe led the field of 22 teams from the country’s top engineering schools, and as the winner of the 2007 National Concrete Canoe Competition, the team will also be invited to participate in the 30th Annual Dutch Concrete Canoe Challenge in the Netherlands in September.

The team’s closest competitors were from the University of Florida. The Gator team paddled into second place with the blue, orange and grey, 135-pound, 19-foot-long Gladigator. For their top finishes, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Florida and third place University of Nevada, Reno earned $5,000, $2,500 and $1,500 in scholarship money, respectively.