News notes – Mid-Atlantic

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Maryland marine police report busy holiday

With unpredictable weather during the three-day Independence Day weekend, the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) were kept busy making more than 5,900 boating stops on state waterways and more than 5,000 public land stops.

“Operation Big Bang” aggressively targeted boaters operating in a reckless or negligent manner and/or under the influence of alcohol on the waterways. The operation also focused on boaters not maintaining a proper lookout and not having the required safety equipment onboard.

On the waterways, NRP checked 5,908 boaters and performed 3,205 vessel safety inspections over the holiday weekend. Officers issued 360 citations and 1,163 warnings on the state’s waterways. Twelve subjects were arrested for operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol (a 7.5 percent decrease from 2007) and two for other criminal acts. NRP also investigated 14 boating accidents (a 6.5 percent decrease from last year) with no life-threatening injuries.

Annapolis community center gains steam

The idea of a community boating center has been talked about in Annapolis for a long time. Now a group of concerned citizens, sailors and boaters “has come together to make this dream a reality,” says Lorie Stout, chairman of the board for the new group.

“The intention is to start small, using existing local institutions, and over time build a network of programs that can be combined at a public waterfront facility,” Stout says. “Our first program will be a 10-week series of free learn-to-sail sessions on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at the AnnapolisSailingSchool facility at the Point at Back Creek.”

Plans call for the creation of a ‘home’ for many of the existing area programs, including Box of Rain, the Brendan project and the AnnapolisParks and Recreation Department program as well as local high school, college and other community programs. Lessons and access to boats will be offered at a nominal cost. All activities will be under the supervision of certified professionals from local boating and sailing organizations.

For information, contact Lorie Stout at (410) 268-1500 or e-mail her at info@chessiejr.org .

Tow firm reports steady holiday activity

Sea Tow Services International released statistics on the company’s activity level for what was a moderately busy Independence Day holiday.

“Reports from across the country indicate that boaters stayed close to home this year. However, that trend could be equally reflective of the unpredictable weather patterns that plagued much of the East Coast as it is of current economic conditions,” says Capt. Joseph Frohnhoefer III, Sea Tow’s vice president of operations.

While call volume at the company’s 24-hour national dispatch center was statistically on par with last year, it experienced a 30 percent increase in the number of requests for on-the-water assistance.

Of the more than 1,100 service calls reported, there were 682 tows, 119 ungroundings, 103 fuel drop requests, 99 jump-starts, 61 salvages, 19 maydays and 11 MARBS. Nearly 25 percent of the calls came during off-peak hours (between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.) and Sea Tow captains were involved in at least a half-dozen life-saving incidents across the country. Sea Tow Fort Myers, Fla., Sea Tow Wrightsville Beach, N.C., and Sea Tow Palm Beach, Fla., reported the highest activity levels in the network.

Sea Tow’s franchise network employed more than 600 staffers and had more than 350 boats on patrol that burned in excess of 20,000 gallons of fuel while assisting boaters in need throughout the three-day weekend. More than 150 boats and numerous man-hours were also volunteered to local fireworks celebrations throughout the country.

Tall ships fleet takes to the Chesapeake

The CalvertMarineMuseum in Solomons, Md., is bringing tall ships to the Chesapeake as part of the War of 1812 North American Grand Tactical, co-sponsored by JeffersonPattersonPark and Museum Sept. 20-21.

Visitors can visit the Maryland Dove, docked at the Lore Oyster House, and the Royaliste and Kalmar Nyckel docked at the Waterman’s Wharf. Crew-guided tours of the Dove and the Royaliste will be available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Crew of the Kalmar Nyckel also will be available to answer questions from noon to 4 p.m. There will be no charge for touring the boats.

The Maryland Dove was built in the late 1970s as a recreation of the Dove that brought colonists to Maryland in the 17th century. Usually berthed at Historic St. Mary’s City, this square-rigged pinnace is more than 70 feet long with a main mast height of 64 feet. The Royaliste is a 71 foot, gaff-rigged square topsail ketch refit to specifications of an 18th-century dispatch gunboat/bomb ketch.

The Kalmar Nyckel is a replica of a ship that made four round-trip voyages across the Atlantic in 1638, bringing Swedish colonists to the DelawareValley. The present-day Kalmar Nyckel is the seagoing goodwill ambassador for the State of Delaware. A recreation of a 17th-century Dutch pinnace, the Kalmar Nyckel is more than 170 feet long, with a 10-story-high mast, more than 7,000 square feet of sail, nine miles of rigging, and four cannons.

On Sept. 21 all three ships will sail for JeffersonPattersonPark to participate in the re-enactment of the Battle of St. Leonard. For information about the War of 1812 North American Grand Tactical visit www.jefpat.org .

New spa and sail retreat in St. Michaels

Offshore SailingSchool and The Inn at Perry Cabin in historic St. Michaels, Md., have created an exclusive Spa and Sail Retreat, available through October. The five-day retreat includes OffshoreSailingSchool’s Learn to Sail course or Bareboat Cruising Preparation course with many amenities at the inn.

The learning vacation starts Sundays and includes seminars followed by on-water exercises each day, Monday through Thursday, leaving half-days to explore the nearby Chesapeake BayMaritimeMuseum, enjoy the spa and other amenities, or walk through the quaint streets and town shops.

The Inn at Perry Cabin Spa and Sail Retreat starts at $2,365 per person, double occupancy. Suites and other accommodations are available, as is a non-sailor rate for those accompanying participating students. The single supplement for taking a room alone starts at $670 per night.

For information, contact the school at (800) 221-4326 or visit the school’s Web site at www.offshoresailing.com .

National Harbor yacht show deemed successful

The inaugural Yacht Show at the new National Harbor marina facilities in June was deemed a success by organizers.

The opening of the show was delayed because of a microburst that ripped a 15,000-square-foot exhibitor tent from its foundation and relocated it upside down on the hill adjacent to the show site. The staff and exhibitors worked to have the show up and running, and were greeted with sunny skies for opening day.

Besides the boats, highlights at the Yacht Show at National Harbor included the Turkish Yacht Builder’s Alliance and the Belgium Beer Garden in the International Pavilion. A VIP lounge was a place to find shade and escape the heat.

“While attendance was low, the quality of buyers was high,” says Dave Mallach, with Vicem Yachts in New York.

United States Yacht Shows launched the first in-water boat show in Annapolis in 1970 and continues to run the United States Sailboat Show, the largest in-water show dedicated exclusively to new sailboats, followed by the United States Powerboat Show, the oldest running in-water show dedicated exclusively to new powerboats, also in Annapolis.

The Yacht Show at National Harbor was a premiere event at National Harbor, a $4 billion, 300-acre waterfront development on the Potomac River adjacent to Washington, D.C. For information, visit www.USBoat.com .

Rescue 21 system comes to Hampton Roads

The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 critical command, control and communications acquisition project is now being used at the Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads, Sector Command Center.

The system is the backbone of the National Maritime Distress and Response System, a maritime version of 911 that allows the boating public, the Coast Guard and other response agencies to communicate more effectively in emergency situations.

The advanced Rescue 21 system offers direction-finding capability, reduction of coverage gaps along the coast, enhanced playback capability, improving clarity of calls, digital archiving of calls and increased simultaneous channel-monitoring capacity.

U.S. Power Squadrons now issuing MMSIs

The United States Power Squadrons (USPS) is now an official source for Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) numbers, which corresponds to the Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 System.

USPS also has a seminar titled “Using VHF and VHF/DSC Marine Radio” that explains how to select and use the new radios and their advanced features. In the seminar, attendees will be able to observe simulated calls and take home a CD to practice on their own. The seminar also comes with a waterproof “Quick Guide.”

By registering a MMSI number for their vessel, through their GPS, boaters provide key information to the Coast Guard about their vessel and its owner.

To evaluate requirements or to obtain your free MMSI for domestic use, go to www.usps4mmsi.com or call (888) 367-8777.

Cadets in need of new sailboats for training

The Coast Guard Academy is seeking modern sail training vessels to train cadets. The goal is to build eight boats, one for each cadet company, to supplement summer waterborne training and for weekend cruises when academy juniors and seniors would earn qualifications.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary, which is the uniformed civilian component of the United States Coast Guard, suggests those interested in supporting the program contact Donald B. Trone, director of the Institute for Leadership at (412) 860-4982 or e-mail trone@cgaleaders.org .

Free gas paired with incentive for buyers

Two of Zodiac’s RIBs — the 28-foot Zodiac Pro 20-Man and Pro Open 850 models — are now available with a $1,000 free gas promotion, available through participating dealers in North America.

“By pairing this $1,000 free gas offer with two of our most popular, fuel-efficient center console RIB models, we’re delivering a one-two punch to high fuel prices that will really resonate with boaters,” says Howard French, vice president and general manager of Zodiac of North America, Recreational Sector. Buyers also have the option of choosing a $1,000 cash rebate instead of the free gas. www.zodiacmarineusa.com