News notes LIS Feb 07

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Group: make ocean health a priority

A coalition of national, state and local environmental groups on Dec. 5 outlined a series of actions Gov.-elect Eliot Spitzer should take to reverse the decline of New York’s ocean health and make the state a national leader in ocean and coastal protection.

The coalition includes Audubon, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Environmental Defense, Friends of the Bay, Group for the South, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Ocean Conservancy, Peconic Baykeeper and The Sierra Club.

The next steps include creating an Ocean Health Index as an annual report card of the state’s ocean health; convening the Mid-Atlantic Governors to address regional ocean issues; and supporting and funding the recently established New York Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Council’s work.

“Gov.-elect Spitzer has a great opportunity to manage New York’s ocean resources to help protect our communities, provide fresh supplies of seafood and secure economic and recreational opportunities for everyone,” says Environmental Defense scientist Jake Kritzer.

Environmental scientists claim that New York has more than 40 percent of estuary and bay waters that are impaired or threatened and more than 35 percent of the most important commercial and recreational saltwater fish and shellfish are depleted or being harvested at unsustainable rates.

Last June, state lawmakers unanimously passed the New York Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Act to help restore and protect the state’s marine resources. The legislation established an interagency council to help coordinate marine resource management and adopted an ecosystem-based management approach for ocean and coastal resources.

To fund these protection and restoration efforts, the coalition is requesting, as part of an expanded $500 million Environmental Protection Fund, $15 million toward ocean and bay restoration and protection and $10 million for the Great Lakes.

Grants to preserve and protect LIS announced

Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell announced grants totaling $265,695 from the state’s Long Island Sound Fund Grant Program for 15 projects created to help preserve, protect and improve public access to Long Island Sound.

“The projects we’re funding … will help us keep our promise to protect the Sound and protect our future,” Rell says

The LIS Fund is supported by the sale of Preserve the Sound license plates, a portion of the proceeds from the Preserve the Sound affinity credit card, and direct contributions to the Fund. Since 1992, more than 133,700 license plates have been sold, raising more than $4.7 million for projects benefiting the Sound. These funds have been used to support nearly 300 projects in the categories of education, habitat restoration, research and public access.

Some of the projects receiving funding for this year include: educational projects, such as a Long Island Sound biodiversity project at a new science magnet school in Norwalk; a public awareness program focused on sea turtles and marine mammals; production of a cable television show about Long Island Sound; an analysis of striped bass populations and their predation on river herring in the Connecticut River; and a habitat restoration project to restore Atlantic salmon populations within the EightMile River watershed.

http://dep.state.ct.us/olisp/licplate/licplate.htm

Connecticut dealer adds Hellier Yachts

Hellier Yacht Sales, Inc. of New London, Conn., has been appointed the exclusive East Coast representative and sales agent for Malö North America.

Family-owned and operated Swedish builder Malö Yachts has been building “semi-custom” performance, bluewater sailing yachts ranging from 37 to 48 feet since 1939.

Each yacht is launched, rigged, commissioned and sailed prior to delivery to the United States in an effort to ensure trouble-free delivery for the new owner. Hellier Yacht Sales has more than 38 years of experience in selling and servicing semi-custom yachts.

Hellier Yacht Sales general manager Rick Dieterich says, “Malö is a perfect alternative to our full-keel bluewater cruising boat, Island Packet.”

Hellier Yacht Sales also represents Catalina and Jenneau sailing yachts, Bigfish daysailers and Dyer dinghies.

Located on the Thames River, Hellier offers easy access to Long Island Sound, 17 slips for boat commissioning and delivery, an indoor showroom, a full-service shipyard and an on-site ASA sailing school. www.hellieryachts.com

Fractional sailing program for snowbirds

ETAPCharterLease of Stamford, Conn., which offers fractional sailing on ETAP sailing yachts, is expanding services to offer the Ocean Passage Program.

The new program will take up to three crew members on the unsinkable sailing yacht during a biannual migration between Stamford and Punta Gorda, Fla.

The program will kick off in Florida this spring. On May 1, an ETAP 37s will depart Punta Gorda for Bermuda. A second leg will depart Bermuda on May 14 bound for Stamford where a new season of fractional sailing will begin on Long Island Sound.

In the fall, the vessel will run south to Florida again.

Berths are $1,800 per leg, all onboard expenses included. www.etapcharterlease.com

Conn. marina earns ‘Clean Marina’ status

Guilford Town Marina on Guilford Harbor is the sixth recreational boating facility in the state to be certified as a Connecticut Clean Marina by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The certification acknowledges the facility’s efforts to go beyond regulatory compliance and participate in voluntary measures to keep Connecticut waters clean.

The Guilford Town Marina, a municipally run facility, has slips and moorings for town residents and other boaters. The staff recycles bottles and cans, keeps trash containers covered and tied down, and provides for the proper disposal of pet waste. The trained staff has access to a spill-response kit in case of an emergency.

“The Clean Marina certification sets the standard which we use to maintain our facility for our customers,” says Fred Brisbois, chairman of the town Marina Commission.

To become certified as a Connecticut Clean Marina, marina operators must show that their facility operates in compliance with all applicable environmental regulatory requirements, and illustrate voluntary operation at standards above and beyond compliance in seven categories: mechanical activities, painting and fiberglass repair, hauling and storing boats, fueling, facility management, emergency planning, and boater education.

Water Channel expands programming hours

The Water Channel, the world’s first television network devoted exclusively to water lifestyle programming, is now broadcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The only network that showcases water-related sports, family lifestyles, water recreation and leisure entertainment, continues its nationwide expansion by adding Time Warner Cable beginning in New York, Minnesota and Ohio. The Water Channel is now carried to more than 15 million homes by Dish Network and Time Warner Cable.

With the expansion of its reach and broadcast day, The Water Channel will add new shows to its lineup, which already includes boat racing, extreme water sports, fishing, entertainment and travel programming. The network is also adding theme nights Monday through Friday.

The Water Channel is currently in negotiations with other cable operators throughout the country and expects to eventually reach 45 million households nationwide within the year.

www.waterchannel.com.

Mercury announces ‘Get the Best’ sales event

A new promotion by Mercury includes Mercury FourStroke outboards 40- to 275-hp and select OptiMax models, involves engines sold Oct. 23, 2006, through March 31, 2007, and warranty registered by April 15, 2007.

These engines will receive an additional three years of factory-backed non-declining limited-warranty coverage. The promotion coverage provided is in addition to the current three-year factory warranty, providing Mercury 40- to 275-hp FourStroke outboards a total of six years of factory-backed non-declining limited warranty.

The 75- to 250-hp direct-injected OptiMax models, excluding racing engines, will receive an additional two years of factory-backed non-declining limited-warranty coverage. Added to the standard three-year warranty, the promotion means OptiMax models come with five years of coverage. This marks the first time Mercury has offered two warranty promotions in the same calendar year.

For more owner information regarding this promotion contact an authorized Mercury dealer or Mercury customer service at (920) 929-5040.

In other news, Mercury recently launched a completely redesigned Web site, which features an easy-to-navigate design that allows visitors to find reliable information fast.

www.mercurymarine.com