News Notes – Mid-Atlantic

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NOAA bars some fishing in areas off Southern coast

NOAA has established eight separate marine protected areas, encompassing 529 square nautical miles, in an effort to protect deep-water fish species and their habitats.

The new protected areas range from 21 to 150 square nautical miles. There is one area off North Carolina, three off South Carolina, one off Georgia, and three protected areas off Florida. All fishing for snappers, groupers, tilefish, grunts, porgies and sea bass is prohibited throughout the protected areas.

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council proposed the action as part of a larger management plan.

“These areas of the south Atlantic were chosen because they feature known spawning grounds and nursery habitats for deepwater fish — especially for snappers and groupers,” says Jim Balsiger, acting NOAA assistant administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service.

The marine protected areas are critical to the survival of more than 70 species of deepwater fish susceptible to fishing pressure, according to the Fisheries Service. These fish are not good candidates for catch-and-release fishing because they suffer trauma when caught and reeled up from great depths, according to the agency.

Commercial shark bottom longline gear is also prohibited in these areas because the deepwater fish species are likely to be caught accidentally with this gear.

For information, visit www.noaa.gov/fisheries.html.

Crash course in ocean sailing

The Cruising Rally Association, based in Hampton, Va., offers three Ocean Sailing Seminars this year. Each workshop lasts two days and offers a crash course to future offshore sailors, covering the “how-tos” of passage planning and preparation from seasoned instructors.

This year’s Ocean Sailing Seminars will be offered in Newport, R.I. (March 7-8); Annapolis, Md. (March 14-15); and Hampton, Va. (Sept. 19-20).

The Cruising Rally Association was founded in 1990 by Steve Black, and manages a year-round calendar of offshore cruising rallies and seminars.

A three-time transatlantic soloist himself, Black was the former executive director of US Sailing.

For information, visit www.carib1500.com.

S.C. certifies first clean boatyard

The South Carolina Clean Marina program recently awarded certification to Lighthouse Marina in Chapin, S.C., and Port Royal Landing Marina in Port Royal, S.C. The state’s first Clean Boatyard Certification was awarded to the Charleston City Boatyard in Wando, S.C. This brings the total number of Clean Marina facilities in the state to 12.

“The program has stagnated for the last couple of years,” says Bob Pilcher, SCMA president. “SCMA got together with the Department of Health & Environmental Control and the Department of Natural Resources to revitalize it with a new guidebook and checklist. This first round was a learning curve for both the committee and the applicants.”

Clean Marina designations must be recertified every five years. The program was open to new applicants as of January.

The Clean Marina Initiative is a voluntary program that helps reduce pollution in U.S. waters by encouraging environmentally friendly marina and boating practices.

For information, contact Suzi DuRant, executive director of SCMA at (843) 889-9067.

New year brings new boating laws

Here’s a sampling of some of the new regulations that will affect boaters this year:

In South Carolina, a state law that went into effect in December makes it a crime to abandon a watercraft on public lands or waters for more than 45 days. If a boat has been moored, stranded, wrecked or is sinking or sunk and has been left unattended, the state can remove it at the owner’s expense. Penalties include fines between $1,000 and $5,000 or up to 30 days in jail.

Also in South Carolina, the price of watercraft and outboard decals and duplicate registration cards increased from $1 to $5. Late fees of up to $30 can be charged to those who don’t register within 60 days of purchase.

In North Carolina, charter fishing-boat operators are now allowed to purchase a block of 10, 10-day coastal recreational fishing licenses for their customers.

By June, New Jersey boaters will be required to pass a boating safety course approved by the state’s marine police.

New cable series seeks the ultimate boating fan

UK-based production company Tiger Aspect Productions is developing a series on ships for a major cable network, and is in search of diehard boaters who might host the series.

The ideal candidate would be a credible “insider,” a true passionate fanatic of boats and maritime history who can help communicate this passion to the audience. The company is particularly interested in candidates with real-world boating / shipping experience.

The host would get up close and personal with the past, present, and future of ships — from icebreakers in the Arctic, to the biggest cruise liners sailing the Caribbean, to oil tankers cruising the Persian Gulf. The series is mainly interested in the business of boats and ships, the industrial side of the maritime world, as opposed to recreational boating.

To learn more about Tiger Aspect Productions, go to www.tigeraspect.co.uk.

To apply, e-mail fred.grinstein@tigeraspect usa.com. Give information about yourself, your passion for boating, and where it’s taken to you. What’s your unique take on boating? Include a picture of yourself, and any Web sites or videos you might have.

C.G. reminds boaters of Naval Vessel Protection Zone

 The Coast Guard is encouraging boaters in the Hampton Roads, Va., area to familiarize themselves with the federal regulations governing the security zone surrounding all U.S. naval vessels more than 100 feet.

Recently boaters have been approaching naval vessels too closely within the port, according to the Coast Guard. Protecting naval vessels from sabotage and terrorist acts is one of the Coast Guard’s highest priorities, the agency says.

When within 500 yards of a naval vessel, all boaters, both commercial and recreational, must operate at the minimum speed necessary to maintain a safe course. In addition, boaters must comply with all directions given by the Coast Guard or the naval vessel inside the 500-yard zone. No vessel or person may approach within 100 yards of the naval vessel unless authorized by the Coast Guard or the naval vessel.

Violators of these regulations are subject to civil and/or criminal penalties, including the use of deadly force when necessary, according to the Coast Guard.

Learn more about America’s Waterway Watch Program at www.americaswaterwaywatch.org.

Architects selected for NSHOF Hall of Fame

The National Sailing Hall of Fame & Sailing Center selected Boggs & Partners Architect to design the organization’s building, to be built at the foot of Prince George Street on Annapolis (Md.) City Dock.

The National Sailing Hall of Fame & Sailing Center is a not-for-profit educational institution dedicated to preserving the history of the sport of sailing and its impact on our culture.

The project involves the reuse of the Burtis House thus preserving the character of the downtown Historic District. The three-story building will be built up to, and include, the house, which is close to the U.S. Naval Academy, the Annapolis business community and Spa Creek.

For information, visit www.nationalsailinghalloffame.org.

This article originally appeared in the March 2009 issue.