News Notes – New England

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Paul Kemiel, a veteran powerboat racing photographer and frequent Soundings contributor, has a new Web site at www.paulkemielphotographics.com.

Kemiel has been photographing Unlimited Hydroplanes, Offshore, and F1/tunnel boats since 1981.

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New Marine Corridor is home to training center

Industry representatives, government officials, students and educators came out recently to celebrate the opening of the new Franklin Street Marine Corridor building and the International Yacht Restoration School’s new Marine Systems Training facility in Bristol, R.I.

“This is a unique place that is an incubator for marine businesses as well as flexible space for marine trades expansion ... and includes an education component,” said Andy Tyska, developer of the Franklin Street Corridor, in a statement.

Tyska started his Bristol Marine full-service boatyard at the site about 10 years ago. The industrial park has since grown to include new buildings with 20 marine-related businesses. Plus, IYRS set up a Marine Systems Training Facility at the park to offer courses in electrical, engine, A/C and other boat systems. The school will now occupy an additional 5,000-foot section of the new building.

For information about the Franklin Street Marine Corridor, contact Tyska at (401) 253-2200. For information about IYRS Marine Systems training programs, contact director of admissions John Freer at (401) 848-5777, ext. 203.

Runaway-boat operator gets four years

 A man whose out-of-control powerboat sliced through a sailboat and killed a woman in July 2007 recently accepted a plea deal and will serve four years in prison.

Gregory Siege, 46, of Madison, Conn., has pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and boating under the influence.

Under the plea deal, reached March 31 and approved in New London (Conn.) Superior Court, Siege will also be on probation for five years.

“The victims involved and their concerns were paramount in the negotiations,” says Charles E. Tiernan III, Siege’s defense attorney. “Four years was the number that everyone agreed to in the discussion.”

In January, Tiernan challenged evidence of the presence of alcohol in Siege’s system because the field tests were taken more than two hours after the accident, giving no “reliable” evidence of Siege being under the influence at the time, he says.

“The court did agree and suppressed the test results for the charges of boating under the influence,” says Tiernan. “But the state could still use the results as evidence for the other charges.”

On July 8, 2007, Siege fell off his 20-foot center console Edgewater with 200-hp outboard at about 3:46 p.m. He was not wearing a lanyard, so the uncontrolled vessel raced through the Connecticut River near Old Saybrook, Conn. At 3:48 p.m., the powerboat sliced through a 14-foot 1979 Hutchins sailboat with a 4-hp outboard, according to authorities. Susan Brandes, 53, of South Windsor — a passenger on the Hutchins — died of several blunt trauma injuries. Three other passengers on board were injured as well. Siege admitted he consumed Scotch whiskey before the incident and it was reported by the police that he smelled of alcohol and appeared unsteady. According to Tiernan, the first urine sample was taken at 5:56 p.m. and the second around 6:30 p.m.

“I still totally disagree that this evidence could be presented at all,” says Tiernan. “But it was clear we couldn’t take it out of the case entirely.”

The plea bargain was created in an effort to avoid the inevitability of two trials — one for the charge of boating under the influence where the test results would not be allowed and the second for the rest of the charges where the results could be used as evidence, according to Tiernan.

“The stakes are very high and, in all likelihood, the court would’ve determined a greater penalty,” says Tiernan. “The evidence of alcohol and alcohol tests are very important for a jury.”

Siege is set to be formally sentenced at the end of May.

Rare cutter displayed at antique boat show

The 27th annual Antique and Classic Boat Festival will take place Aug. 22-23 at Hawthorne Cove Marina in Salem, Mass.

The festival features vintage motor yachts and sailboats, including 1920s- to ’50s-era mahogany runabouts, cabin cruisers, sloops, sharpies, yawls and schooners. Expected among this year’s boats is ELF, a rare topsail cutter built in 1888 by Lawley Yard in Boston. The festival will also include a crafts market, artists, old-time band music and tours.

Call (617) 666-8530 or (617) 868-7587 for classic boat entry information. Boats do not need to be in show condition to be displayed.

Tickets cost $5, and children under 12 are free when accompanied by an adult. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at Hawthorne Cove Marina in Salem, Mass.  

For information, visit www.boatfestival.org.

Maine dealership offers low-cost ‘memberships’

Port Harbor Marine in South Portland, Maine, recently launched its new “Boat Club in Maine” program to draw in would-be boaters who are watching their budgets.

Port Harbor president Rob Soucy says the concept grew out of the company’s successful boat-rental program. He expects the program to appeal to a more local crowd and help increase traffic to the dealership.

“The membership allows people who’ve been thinking about owning a boat, but who aren’t quite ready to make the full commitment, an opportunity to get into the sport at a fraction of the cost,” he said in a statement.

Memberships fall under two categories: a family membership, which allows family groups and one designated captain access to boats from May 1 to Oct. 1, and a business membership, which grants access to three designated captains, one of whom must be on board for every outing, throughout the May-to-October season.

Bertram 31 owners to rendezvous in R.I.

The Annual Bertram 31 2009 NE Rendezvous will take place Aug. 7 and 8 at Point Judith Marina in Snug Harbor, R.I. Those interested in joining should contact Giff Plume, gplume@cox.net, or Dug Stowe, dstowe@lutco.com. The event is open to all individuals with a decided preference to Bertams and, in particular, Bertam 31s.

Friends remember Pearson as an ‘icon’

When Kaye Pearson took over management of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida’s boat show in 1976, it was a “backyard” business with 20 boats in the water, another 20 on land, and 30 booths on an adjoining street along the New River.

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During the next 30 years, his Show Management built the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show into one of the world’s largest, exhibiting more than $2 billion worth of product at six locations.

Pearson — who entered the boating business in 1971 as a partner in Pearson Potter Yacht Basin on the New River and became one of the giants of Florida’s marine industry — died March 21 at his home in Fort Lauderdale after a bout with cancer. He was 68 years old.

Pearson also founded a brokerage show, the Yacht and Brokerage Show at Miami Beach, which in its 21st year draws 500 new and used yachts; started boat shows in Palm Beach and St. Petersburg, Fla.; managed the Suncoast show in Sarasota, Fla.; and through the years managed shows in Texas, New York, San Francisco and the Bahamas.

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Contributions in Pearson’s memory can be made to the Boys & Girls Club of Broward County, the IGFA or the Humane Society of Broward County.

— Jim Flannery

Fish and Wildlife Service hands out millions

More than $12.5 million in grants was recently awarded through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Boating Infrastructure Grant program.

The grants will help fund 14 projects across 11 states, from California to Maine, including construction of docks, boat slips and other facilities to support recreational boating.

The Maine Department of Transportation, in cooperation with Dolphin Marina, will receive more than $363,000 and meet that amount with more than $134,000 to construct 20 transient moorings and 16 transient slips and renovate amenities for transient boaters.

“Boating is one of our country’s favorite pastimes, and the Boating Infrastructure Grant program greatly enhances recreational opportunities while conserving America’s aquatic natural resources,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said in a statement.

Funding for the program comes from the Sport Fishing and Boating Trust Fund, formerly known as the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund, supported by excise taxes on certain fishing and boating equipment, and boat fuels. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will also release about $3 million to 40 states willing to match a smaller, non-competitive grant program known as BIG Tier One funding.

Online gallery captures boats in 20th century

The New Bedford (Mass.) Whaling Museum has opened a new online photo exhibit, “Prescott Collection: Small Region, Wide World.” The photos in the exhibition show everyday life in New Bedford and South Dartmouth, Mass., from 1892 to 1945 through the lens of Dr. Henry D. Prescott, a physician born in New Bedford in 1876.

This photo from the New Bedford Whaling Museum's Precoott Collection shows boaters viewing a solar eclipse in Waxahatchie, Texas, in 1932.

Michael Lapides, New Bedford Whaling Museum curator of photography, chose 500 photos from the more than 1,300 negatives and 8,500 photographs in the collection to provide the unique online slice of local history that the Prescott Collection offers.

Experience the collection at the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s online exhibits at

www.prescott.whalingmuseum.org. The New Bedford Whaling Museum is devoted to the global story of whales and whaling.

New Web site for East Coast cruisers

www.GoCoastalCruising.com is a new Web site about touring the waters of the eastern half of the United States and Canada, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River. The site features illustrated cruise stories and boating advice.

The stories range from small harbor towns on inland waterways and canals to megayachting centers. A selection of interactive crossword puzzles test readers’ local knowledge and nautical word wisdom. New boaters can learn basic techniques while seasoned cruisers will find more complex solutions to boating situations.

Founders Gene and Katie Hamilton are members of Boating Writers International, a professional association of boating writers. They are authors of “Coastal Cruising Under Power,” (2006, International Marine).

Survival story wins safety prize

As a young teenager, Peter Vaes of Ontario and his friend went out on the water on an especially windy day. The water adventure quickly turned into a frightening experience, but thanks to a little luck and a lot of forethought, both he and his friend survived because they were wearing life jackets.

Vaes was named winner of the 2008 National Safe Boating Council Be a Survivor essay contest. First introduced in 2006, the contest invites individuals to submit personal testimonials on how wearing a life jacket has made a difference in their boating experience.

For the complete story, go to www.safeboatingcampaign.net and click on the Be a Survivor Contest link.

The winner received a $1,000 shopping spree courtesy of West Marine. The National Safe Boating Council works to promote boating safety to the more than 78 million boaters across the country. The NSBC comprises more than 330 national, regional, and local boating and water safety agencies, organizations and corporations that are all committed to boating safety.

Boating safety education marks 60 years

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Coast Guard Auxiliary’s public education program, which has played a role in saving lives. Educating the boating public on recreational boating safety as a means of “preventative search and rescue” has been one of the Auxiliary’s cornerstone missions since its inception almost 70 years ago.

In 1939 Congress created the Auxiliary as the civilian, nonmilitary component of the Coast Guard. Sometimes called “America’s Volunteer Lifesavers,” the nearly 30,000 men and women members teach boating safety in classrooms across the United States, as well as perform search-and-rescue, assist boaters in distress, conduct safety examinations of recreational vessels, and assist the active duty Coast Guard in virtually all their missions, except direct law enforcement and military actions.

Although the missions of the Auxiliary have broadened over the years, teaching boating safety has always been one of its strengths.

“The goal of our classes is to prevent tragedy through education,” says Ed Sweeney, Chief of the Auxiliary’s Department of Public Affairs. www.history.auxpa.org

NBOA insurance offers online rate quotes

National Boat Owners Association (NBOA Marine Insurance) is launching its new Web site, www.nboat.com, which will streamline the quote-request process and provide boat owners with quick-response rates.

The site offers an interactive quote request form containing informative text boxes. Additional features include up-to-date industry and boat owner information, monthly e-newsletter publications, and an online ship’s store offering discounted safety equipment and specialty boating items.

NBOA Marine Insurance is one of the largest specialized insurance agencies in the country.

Inmarsat to offer entry-level services

Inmarsat is planning to offer an entry-level, globally deployable, combined voice and data service targeted at small boats.

The new addition to the company’s FleetBroadband family, FB150, will deliver voice, IP data up to 150kbps and SMS, and is planned to be available by mid-year, according to the company.

FB150 will offer a voice connection at landline quality, accessible simultaneously with internet-capable IP data and simple-to-use SMS, according to Inmarsat.

“Inmarsat and the FB150 manufacturers are committed to ensuring the terminal pricing will address the needs of the sub-$5,000 hardware sector,” says Piers Cunningham, head of maritime business at Inmarsat.

The maker says the above-deck antenna unit will be compact and easy to install. The below decks unit will be similarly scaled and offer standard interfaces to allow quick and easy connection to PCs and “off the shelf” peripheral services, said the company. Visit www.inmarsat.com for information.

This article originally appeared in the New England Home Waters Section of the June 2009 issue.