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News Notes - Mid-Atlantic

Charleston Harbor Fest draws sun, crowds

Non-stop activity for thousands of attendees characterized three days of South Carolina’s Charleston Harbor Fest in May. Pirates, classic vessels and more drew attention at the CharlestonMaritimeCenter venue, while watersports exhibitions and aerial acrobatics highlighted the proceedings at Patriots Point.

Charleston Harbor Fest (formerly the Charleston Maritime Festival) is an annual event that serves as a fund-raiser to support the South Carolina Maritime Foundation, which focuses on revitalizing interest in the region’s maritime heritage.

Among the highlights at Harbor Fest were the attendance of three visiting tall ships, including a replica of the Amistad, whose crew also staged a special land-based exhibit depicting the historic context of the 1839 slave revolt on that ship. A large pool was the setting for demonstrations of remotely operated vessels built by students from WestAshleyHigh School. Elsewhere, photos taken by Kids with Cameras (inner city children who had sailed aboard the foundation’s Spirit of South Carolina) made a unique exhibit.

Always a favorite activity at this event, the Family Boatbuilding program included 10 families, each constructing a 12-foot Charleston Bateau over the course of two days.

Virginia boat show returns to Norfolk

The fourth annual Virginia In-Water Boat Expo and Sailfest returns Sept. 12-14 at the downtown Norfolk waterfront.

The state’s largest in-water boating exhibition will showcase hundreds of the latest in luxury and cruising yachts, sportfishing and bass boats, sailboats, performance boats, personal watercraft, engines, and marine accessories.

The expo will also feature live entertainment nightly, interactive exhibits and a Discover Boating pavilion, where experts will be on site to provide information for novice boating enthusiasts and experienced of boaters.

Hours are noon to 8 p.m. Sept. 12, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 13 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 14. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for military personnel and their spouses. Children 15 and under are free. A $2 per ticket discount is available through Sept. 11 when purchased online at For information, call (757) 441-2345.

Boating industry group buys N.J. show

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) has announced its acquisition of the Liberty Boat Show from Liberty Event Management LLC. Terms of the show’s sale were not disclosed. The NMMA will reportedly retain the event’s original location and dates and manage show operations from its New York office.

“The Liberty Boat Show is located on a great site in the heart of the New York City market,” says Ben Wold, executive vice president of the NMMA. “It has everything a boat show would want: ample land space, a 600-slip marina, tons of available parking and multiple mass-transit options.”

“Liberty Event Management is very proud of the show it built,” former show producer Ken Tesler says. “And I feel with added resources it’s now perfectly poised to grow to the next level and beyond.”

Catering to the tri-state area market (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut), the Liberty Boat Show is in its seventh year, with the 2008 show scheduled to take place Sept. 25-28 at Liberty State Park’s Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City, N.J.

The 2008 event will be managed by Jonathan Pritko, who is also responsible for the Norwalk International In-Water Boat Show and the Atlantic City International Power Boat Show.

With this most recent purchase, NMMA now owns and produces 24 boat shows annually throughout the U.S. and Canada.

JarrettBay expands brokerage options

North Carolina-based Jarrett Bay Yacht Sales recently announced the expansion of their brokerage sales efforts into New Jersey, with 22-year sales veteran Bob Hoste signing on as broker-in-charge at their new Point Pleasant office.

Hoste transitioned his passion for the ocean into a successful career in new and pre-owned yacht sales. He is a two-time recipient of Hatteras Yachts’ Salesman of the Year award.

JarrettBay is also extending its North Carolina dealership and brokerage sales representations to the Outer Banks through the recent hiring of Brynner Parks.

For 30 years, Brynner Parks’ Smoker Charters fishing successes have been well-known on the docks from Ocean City, Md., to Oregon Inlet, N.C.

Maryland, Delaware team for conservation

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control secretary John A. Hughes and Maryland Department of Natural Resources secretary John R. Griffin met on the Delmarva Peninsula to sign an agreement supporting an effort to ensure long-term stewardship of the NanticokeRiver.

Rich in historical and cultural assets, the Nanticoke River flows through a region that hosts biologically diverse natural habitats including maritime forests, Atlantic white cedar and bald cypress wetlands, and rare plant and wildlife species.

The agreement involves the proposed preservation of 275 acres to implement the town’s planned greenbelt along its western and southern borders. Purchase of the farmland with $4.3 million of Program Open Space funds is pending approval from the Maryland Board of Public Works, which was scheduled to review the transaction June 11.

Visit DNREC’s Web site,, to view the Nanticoke Partnership Agreement.

Maryland artificial reef gains NYC subway cars

Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative (MARI) partners, including the Ocean City Reef Foundation, MTA New York City Transit, the town of Ocean City, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), recently placed 44 retired New York City subway cars off Maryland’s Atlantic coast for creation of a new artificial reef, the Susan J. Power Reef.

The Jackspot reef site, the first of five possible sites off Maryland’s Atlantic coast, is approximately 19 miles southeast of Ocean City, Md., and represents MARI’s first coastal project. The site will eventually include as many as 600 retired subway cars, and is expected to become a regional fishing and diving destination.

“It’s pretty amazing to go back to reef sites and see the area covered in mussels and swarming with marine life, even as soon as six months after initial placement,” says Greg Hall, president of the Ocean City Reef Foundation.

A $50,000 donation from Jack and Susan Power supported the first shipment of cars to be transported to the site. Additional car placements are planned for the upcoming months as funding becomes available.

The creation of three-dimensional reefs emulates historic vibrant marine communities, such as oyster beds and coral reefs, critical to supporting diverse species of fish that were once prolific along the Atlantic coast.

For information about the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative, visit

Quarter-century old line retains strength

Engineers at Yale Rope Technologies recently retrieved a 2-inch-diameter section of Yale Uniline that had at least 25 years of use. Tests by an independent lab proved the line had retained 100 percent of its original 164,000-pound breaking strength, according to Yale.

“We have long known that Uniline is tough as nails, as well as being an efficient way to use fiber,” says Dick Hildebrand, VP of sales for Yale Cordage. “Now we have the proof. Although its load history is sketchy, this 25-year-old piece of line still looks pretty good, with some fading and scuffing. We respliced the line and sent it to a lab for testing, and were delighted when the results came back indicating the line had retained all of its original load rating.”

Yale acquired Uniline when it purchased New Jersey-based Wall Rope in 2007 and established Yale Rope Technologies, a division of Yale Cordage.

Maryland boater sentenced to jail time

As part of a plea agreement, William Charles Spittel, 51, of Baltimore was sentenced May 30 to five years in jail. All but six months were suspended with a $2,500 fine, three years supervised probation and 250 hours of community service on the negligent manslaughter by vessel charge. The remaining charges were set aside.

Spittel was charged with negligent manslaughter by motor vessel, negligent homicide by motor vessel while under the influence of alcohol or under the influence of alcohol per se, negligent homicide by motor vessel while impaired by alcohol, operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol, operating a vessel while impaired by alcohol, negligent operation, exceeding posted 6 knot speed limit and failure to maintain a proper lookout.

The sentencing stems from an accident last summer. Shortly before 1 a.m. Aug. 4, 2007, the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) responded to the Pleasure Island Cut on the Back River for a single boat accident. Spittel was operating his 24-foot vessel with two passengers, Jason J. Bard, 34, of Frederick and Michael D. Schott, 33, of Ellicott City when he struck a channel marker. All three men were ejected from the vessel on impact. Spittel and Bard were rescued from the water. Schott’s body was recovered by divers at 2:23 a.m.

Tow firm opens another Virginia port

Capt. K. “Donald” Duck opened his fifth on-the-water towing port, TowBoatU.S. Hopewell, Va., which provides tows back to a marina or launch ramp, fuel deliveries, battery jump starts and ungrounding services for recreational boaters.

The Coast Guard-licensed skipper also owns TowBoatU.S. locations in Portsmouth, Norfolk and Poquoson, Va., as well as TowBoatU.S. Coinjock, N.C.

TowBoatU.S. Hopewell is equipped with a 24-foot response boat, Any Time, which is stationed at Jordan Point Marina at the Benjamin Harris Bridge on the James River.

The son of a submariner, Duck (he got his unique name as a form of endearment from his high school coach, and he’s kept it ever since) began in the marine industry in the 1980s working for his father-in-law’s marine business that repaired, sold and salvaged boats. In the 1990s, the pair became affiliated with TowBoatU.S., and when Duck’s father-in-law passed away in 2003, Donald took over the business.

He is known in the community for training local fire and police departments and also participates in the James River Parade of Lights.

Charter sailboat takes on water, lives saved

The owner and captain of a 48-foot charter sailboat credits a rented Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), acquired through the BoatU.S. Foundation EPIRB Rental Program, for helping save four lives when the boat stuck an unknown submerged object on May 13 about 200 miles east of Brunswick, Ga. The boat, named Wolf, had been in transit to its summer charter base in Bayshore, N.J.

There was significant damage to Wolf, and it began taking on water. Emergency efforts failed and bilge pumps could not keep up with the volume of water entering. Capt. Paul Doughty activated the beacon at approximately 5 a.m.

Fifteen minutes later, the captain called a mayday on a satellite phone to the Coast Guard, which told him that the EPIRB signal had already been identified and that the Cutter Reliance was just six miles away and had been directed to the foundering sailboat’s location.

The Reliance’s crew dropped a Rescue Assistance Vessel over the side and safely removed all four mariners. The 10-foot seas made it too dangerous to make further salvage attempts. With its interior now full of water and only its cabin top remaining above the waves, the sailboat was abandoned.

The $750 EPIRBs can be rented for as little as $40 a week. The BoatU.S. Foundation EPIRB Rental Program is intended to fill the short-term safety need for occasional offshore passages and is funded by the voluntary contributions of 650,000 BoatU.S. members. For information, call (888) 663-7472 or visit