News notes Mid-Atl Feb 07

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Strictly Sail cruises back to Philly

Nearly one hundred sailboats will be on display at the 2nd Strictly Sail Philadelphia boat show, Jan. 18-21 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

With some of the biggest names in the industry and as the only “all-sail” indoor boat show on the East Coast, Sail America’s Strictly Sail Philadelphia is expected to attract upwards of 15,000 attendees. Sailing gear, electronics and charter information will also be on display from the industry’s top sailing companies. A full schedule of daily seminars and events for sailors of all ages and abilities will be offered for attendees.

“We’re excited to bring Strictly Sail back to Philadelphia for all of the Mid-Atlantic sailors,” says Kevin Murphy, national show manager for Sail America. “It offers sailors a unique opportunity because of its convenience to New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and beyond.” www.strictlysail.com

Keystone State increases BWI penalty

Penn. Gov. Edward G. Rendell recently signed into law Senate Bill 1262 amending the Fish Code to provide for fines and penalties for operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.

The bill increases the penalty for refusal to submit to chemical testing when arrested for operating a watercraft under the influence from a 12- to 18-month suspension of operating privileges in instances where the person’s boating privileges have previously been suspended for refusing to submit to chemical testing or in instances where the person has been sentenced previously for operating a watercraft under the influence.

Fines and penalties for operating a vessel under the influence are provided in the bill as follows:

A person who operates a vessel with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% to .10% will be subject to a term of six months probation and a $300 fine, and will be required to complete a boating safety course. Second-time offenders will be subject to a five-day minimum term of imprisonment, a fine of $300 to $2,500 and will be required to complete a boating safety course. Subsequent offenders will face a term of imprisonment of at least ten days, a fine of $500 to $5,000 and will be required to complete a boating safety course.

A person who operates a vessel with a BAC of .10% to .16%, or a minor who operates a watercraft with a BAC of .02% or higher, will be sentenced to a minimum term of imprisonment of 48 hours, a fine of $500 to $5,000 and be required to complete a boating safety course. For second offenses under these circumstances, a person will be forced to serve a minimum term of imprisonment of 30 days, pay a fine of $750 to $5,000 and complete a boating safety course.

For a third offense, the term of imprisonment is increased to 90 days, and the offender is to pay a fine of no less than $1,500 and no more than $10,000.

For a fourth or subsequent offense, the offender will serve a term of imprisonment of at least one year, be subject to a fine of $1,500 to $10,000 and will be required to complete a boating safety course.

A person whose BAC is .16% or higher, or a person who operates a watercraft with any amount of a controlled substance in his system will be sentenced to a 72-hour minimum term of imprisonment, a fine of $1,000 to $5,000 and will be required to complete a boating safety course. Second- time offenders will serve a minimum 90-day term of imprisonment and pay a fine of no less than $1,500 and complete a boating safety course; third and subsequent offenses will be punished by a minimum term of imprisonment of one year, a fine no less than $2,500 and such offenders will be required to complete a boating safety course.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Joe Conti (R-Bucks), provides that any person who negligently causes serious bodily injury to another person while operating a vessel under the influence and who is convicted of operating a vessel under the influence commits a felony of the second degree when the violation causes the bodily injury.

The bill became effective in January.

Trawler Mecca hits the road

Trawler Fest events are scheduled for various East Coast ports in 2007.

Part boat show, part rendezvous, Trawler Fest is a three-day gathering of trawlers and trawler enthusiasts.

Dozens of boats are at the docks for boarding. Seminars are scheduled throughout the show. An in-depth two-day session, named PassageMaker University, is also offered.

Trawler Fest is presented by PassageMaker magazine, which, like Soundings, is owned by Dominion Enterprises.

The 2007 line-up kicks off Jan. 25-27 in Stuart, Fla., at the Hutchinson Island Marriott Beach Resort and Marina. Subsequent Trawler Fests will be held June 7-9 in Poulsbo, Wash.; Aug. 2-4 in Mystic, Conn.; and Sept. 27-29 in Solomons, Md.

For details, visit www.passagemaker.com or call (888) 487-2953.

Pumpout boat for Annapolis gets a boost

Maryland Department of Natural Resources recently announced $146,000 in funding for the City of Annapolis’ purchase of a marine sewage pumpout vessel, with 75 percent coming from the federal Clean Vessel Act funds and 25 percent from State Waterway Improvement Funds.

The City will donate its current vessel, the Gerald W, to the West/Rhode Riverkeeper Bob Gallagher to conduct pumpouts in those waterways. While most pumpout facilities are located at marina docks, pumpout vessels provide boaters with the added convenience of being able to dispose of raw sewage at slips, anchorages and moorings. A donation ceremony was held in November at the Annapolis City Dock.

Maptech unveils update to local charts

Maptech claims its Flip-Fold charts are a big improvement over large, cumbersome charts because you can spread them out to full width, or keep them folded and flip to your favorite area.

Boaters can punch in the GPS waypoints noted on the charts and create a route to a destination and back home in case the weather changes unexpectedly or your electronics go on the blink.

Among the new titles are Bimini Islands: Miami to Bimini; Abaco Islands: Green Turtle Cay to Little Harbour; Exuma Cays: Warderick Wells to Staniel Cay; Annapolis, Md.; and Boothbay, Maine.

The latter features coverage of Boothbay and surrounding waters from Cape Small and the Kennebec River east to the Damariscotta River. The chart features waypoints, courses and distances, ramp locations and fish species information. Measuring 24 by 36 inches, the chart scale is 1:40,000 with insets.

For information, call (888) 839-5551 or order direct at www.maptech.com . Titles are also available in marine stores nationwide.

Navy testing may affect GPS signal in Chesapeake

The Global Positioning Signal may be unreliable in parts of the Chesapeake Bay and the Patuxent River due to testing between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Monday through Friday through March 31.

GPS systems that rely on E-911, AIS and DSC, may be affected within a 25-nautical mile radius of the Patuxent River Naval Air Station.

GPS users are encouraged to report any service outages during the testing via the Navigation Information Service at (703) 313-5900 or by using the problem worksheet on the Coast Guard Navigation Center’s Web site,

www.navcen.uscg.gov