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News notes – Mid-Atlantic

Marine police ‘sweep’ Virginia waterways

Conservation police officers for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, took to the inland waters of the Commonwealth to raise awareness of boating safety one Saturday in August.

The 65 boating patrols focused on the most heavily used waters including SmithMountainLake, LakeAnna, and the Potomac, James and RappahannockRivers. Seven boating under the influence, or BUI, check points were conducted.

At the end of the day, 715 boats had been inspected, 180 charges made and 126 warnings issued.

Operation SWEEP, or Safer Waterways through Enforcement and Education Programs, is the beginning of an intensified effort to enforce the Commonwealth’s boating laws and to educate the public about safe boating practices, according to authorities.

Conservation police officers routinely patrol the public waters, conduct safety inspections and give programs about boating safety, but this year VDGIF’s Law Enforcement Division decided to step up their presence to raise awareness of safe boating.

Although this effort came near the close of this year’s boating season, it is a precursor to a more concentrated waterway enforcement effort by the Law Enforcement Division.

Busy holiday weekend for Md. marine police

Ideal weather conditions over the Labor Day holiday weekend kept the Maryland Natural Resources Police busy as they checked more than 2,000 vessels and made over 7,000 contacts on Maryland’s waterways.

NRP made a total of 7,622 boating contacts and performed 2,456 vessel safety checks over the three-day weekend that traditionally marks the end of the summer boating season.

Officers issued 262 citations and 796 warnings on the state’s waterways, an 85-percent increase from 2006. In the process, they also arrested five individuals for operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol, up 25 percent from last year. In addition, NRP investigated 20 boating accidents, three of which involved personal watercraft.

NARC cruisers prepare to head south

The Seventh Annual North American Rally to the Caribbean will depart Newport, R.I., Oct. 29 for the 1,500-mile sail to Bermuda and then to the Caribbean. The rally is expected to end by Nov. 17 in St. Martin.

Anyone interested in participating with their boat or as crew should call Offshore Passage Opportunities at (800) 472-7724.

Anyone planning to sail from Newport to the Caribbean this fall is invited to join the fleet and sail in a mixed fleet of professional and amateur sailors making the annual classic passage. The rally is open to any seaworthy boats of any size.

Charter firm announces fall cruising specials

Southwest Florida Yachts has announced special fall pricing for yacht charters, power or sail, through Oct. 31. Charters of three days or more qualify for five days of cruising at no extra charge.

Five days aboard one of its 32-foot power yachts would cost $1,186 instead of $1,653. During the high season the same vessels charter for $2,066 for five days. Chartering a Grand Banks 42 for a five-day cruise that normally costs $3,444 in the high season will, with the summer season specials, cost just $2,175.

Chartering Southwest Florida Yachts’ 32-foot Catalina sloop from July though October costs $1,120 for five days instead of the high season rate of $1,815.