Thursday, December 28, 2006

Good Book - - Halsey's Tyhoon

Click here to download full size cover art.

If you like real sea stories you will like this book.  It is very well written and informative.  It is a quick read and entertaining too.  It will make you respect those who make their livings on the sea.


Thursday, December 21, 2006


A Livingston County jury convicted 19-year-old Grant William Czuj of killing a Brighton Township man in a 2005 drunken boating accident on Zukey Lake.

Defense witness: Blame the lack of lights

Coast Guard experts says that lack of lights caused the accident. The jury is out....

Monday, December 04, 2006

Friend testifies that boat driver said "I'm guilty" after fatal accident

“I’m guilty,” Grant William Czuj reportedly said just moments after the boating accident on Zukey Lake in July 2005 that left one person dead and several injured.

That was the testimony that Brian Murphrey — a friend who was aboard the speedboat Czuj was allegedly driving that night — gave in Livingston County Circuit Court this morning as Czuj’s trial got underway. Czuj, 19, is accused of operating the boat that killed Michael John LaFave and seriously injured Sarah Ribas. They were aboard a pontoon boat Czuj’s craft allegedly hit. Prosecutors say Czuj was intoxicated at the time. For all the details, read Tuesday’s Daily Press & Argus.

Those two words "I'm guilty" will be given great weight. Admissions made right after an incident like this are very damaging when they come into evidence as this statement apparently did.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Charges unlikely in boat deaths

Investigators say they will recommend against filing criminal charges against Eric and Michelle Singleton, the parents whose children died when the family boat sank on Lake Yale. The children were not wearing life jackets. "In my estimation, it would be adding insult to their injury in this case," said Lt. Don McMillen, supervising investigator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

This is a terrible case and it seems the authorities are making the right decision. The parents will suffer enough.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Mechanical problem might have led to boating tragedy

Investigators found two mechanical "issues" Tuesday that may have helped doom a family fishing outing, while a heartbroken Eric Singleton returned to Lake Yale near Eustis to guide divers searching the murky waters for his son and daughter. One of the problems was a bad cable that affected a device used to dip the vessel's outboard motor into the water and control the motor's angle, said Kat Kelley, a spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The motor was stuck in the "up" position.

More than 700 fall sick on cruise ship

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - More than 700 passengers and crew members aboard a trans-Atlantic cruise have fallen ill with flu-like symptoms, cruise line officials said. Dwayne

Monday, November 13, 2006

Fishing trip hooks nothing but trouble

Two men spent part of Thursday morning stranded on a buoy in chilly Escambia Bay waters.Gary Brown, 51, of Gulf Breeze, and Kenny Powell, 50, of Pensacola, were found shortly before 10 a.m. Thursday by a Coast Guard helicopter as one of them waved a shirt as an SOS. Brown was the boat captain. Both men were well, officials said.

Children Missing After Boat Crash

Two children in Lake County, Fla., were missing early Monday after a family of five crashed their boat and were thrown into the water, according to Local 6 News. Authorities said a man, his wife and three children, ages 2, 8 and 3 months, were boating on Lake Yale in the Eustis area Sunday night when the boat crashed and sank. After being thrown into the water, the father grabbed his 3-month-old and swam to shore to get help. When a neighbor went back to the scene, the mother was on shore but the two children were missing.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Developer Roland Rogers blames SELF for crash

By Rogers' account, he made three key errors:

Mistake No. 1: As he approached the pass, he was going too fast, about 25 mph.

Mistake No. 2: He left his Global Positioning System in the garage. He usually uses it to help him navigate.

Mistake No. 3: He left his spotlight in the glove compartment of the boat.


Personal Responsibility.


Monday, October 30, 2006

Junk Boats in Florida

Authorities blame a combination of factors for the increase in trashed boats, from the eight hurricanes that have hit Florida in recent years, to boaters being pushed out of a dwindling number of marinas to a fuzzy definition of junked boat.

The problem is compounded by a boom in boat ownership that has outpaced the population growth. Florida now boasts the country's largest boating population, hitting a record of 1-million last year.


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Michael LaFave case - update

A defense attorney lost his bid to exclude from trial an expert witness and new evidence provided by the father of the Brighton Township man killed in a June 2005 boating accident on Zukey Lake.

Defense attorney Bruce Saperstein said Assistant Prosecutor Daniel Rose provided the new evidence — maps and aerial photographs of the lake and the location of the collision that killed Michael LaFave, 27 — too long after filing charges against his client.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Daniel Burkett - Update on fatal boating accident, community mourns

An arraignment date is set for the ski-boat operator, Steven Ettlin, 22, of San Juan Capistrano, who was charged with vehicular manslaughter with a vessel while intoxicated. Ettlin will be arraigned in Butte County Superior Court on November 17, and a preliminary hearing date will be determined later.

There were three young adults (two males and one female) on board the rented ski-boat and another young man on a wakeboard in the water when the accident happened. Ettlin was operating the boat, which was pulling the wake-boarder. Burkett was on vacation with his friends at Lake Oroville and they had rented a ski-boat.

When the wake-boarder fell, Ettlin cut the throttle, which abruptly slowed the boat when Burkett fell overboard and into the water, said Deputy District Attorney Christopher Carlos. The boat continued to move and ran over Burkett. "Alcohol was involved," Carlos said.


Thomas Street school mourns loss of principa - Deborah Macdonald - in boating accident on dam

Deborah Macdonald, 53, principal of the school for four years, suffered serious injuries when her boat drifted over a 3-foot-high cement dam on Loon Lake in Kearney, near Huntsville, at roughly 3:30 p.m.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Coast Guard Budget Needs to be Dramatically Increased - Security is Wearing it Thin - Workboat Magazine

From WorkBoat Magazine

Balancing Act

The Coast Guard must juggle traditional missions with new security duties.

By Pamela Glass, Washington Correspondent


The Coast Guard Needs More Money Before something bad happens.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Barge explosion death toll mounts: Kenneth J. Rink, 51, of Berwick; John J. Mire Jr., 59, of Patterson; and Terry Abraham, 36

The Pueblo Chieftain Online

October 17, 2006 Coast Guard Calls Off Search for Pipeline Explosion Victims

A crane on the deck of a barge is blackened by the fire that erupted after a pipeline explosion in West Cote Blanche Bay on Thursday about 100 miles southwest of New Orleans.

CYPREMORT POINT - The death toll in Thursday's natural gas explosion in West Cote Blanche Bay climbed to four Friday and is expected to result in a total of six dead, officials said.

Local authorities on Friday continued their search for the missing, now deemed a "recovery effort" while federal authorities investigated the reasons behind the explosion that occurred when a tugboat carrying two barges struck an underwater gas pipeline.

Gas flow was shut off to the pipeline, but Coast Guard Lt. Rick Foster said there was still concern of another explosion if some gas remained in the line. Divers were to examine the site to determine whether a "spud" from one of the barges -- a metal extension used to halt the vessel -- might have pinched the pipeline, Foster said. The barge was still in place at the site.

The tugboat captain was found dead late Thursday in the wheelhouse of the boat, and search crews found the body of a fourth man Friday morning floating about 2 miles from the scene of the accident, said Iberia Parish Sheriff Sid Hebert.

Two crew members survived — one with burns and one without injury — and two other crew members remained missing as of sunset Friday.


Friday, October 13, 2006

Rescuers search for 2 missing after deadly La. pipeline blast - Towboat Hits Gas Pipeline - Tug hits gas line 4 killed - 2 missing in Louisiana

JEANERETTE, La. (AP) — Searchers held out hope Friday that three people missing following a deadly natural gas pipeline explosion in Louisiana's West Cote Blanche Bay would be found alive.Three others were killed in the Thursday afternoon explosion, two miles off shore and about 100 miles southwest of New Orleans. One person was badly burned.

Emergency crews were alerted to the explosion about 12:30 p.m. by someone on the shore who reported seeing 100-foot flames in the waters off Cypremort Point.

“We interviewed one boat operator 3 1/2 miles away who felt the explosion on his face,” said Iberia Parish Sheriff Sid Hebert. Hebert said rescue boats in the area went to the scene soon after the explosion and pulled four workers from the water.

The NTSB says:

“The National Transportation Safety Board has sent a team of five investigators to the scene of a fire involving a towboat with two barges and a natural gas pipeline in West Cote Blanche Bay near Morgan City, LA.

The accident occurred on October 12, about 11:00 a.m. (CDT), when a piling dropped from one of the barges and struck a submerged high-pressure gas line, causing the line to rupture and catch fire. Preliminary information is that three people were killed and three are missing.

This will be a joint investigation with the U.S. Coast Guard. The NTSB Investigator-in-Charge is Morgan Turrell.”

4th Body Found After Pipeline Fire; Search On For 2 Still Missing  (Update)

Coast Guard Update



Parents To File Suit In Regatta Boating Death - James Noel-Pou and Monica Burguera - Attorney Stuart Z. Grossman for the Plaintiffs

Body Recovered In Biscayne Bay

Parents To File Suit In Regatta Boating Death James Noel-Pou and Monica Burguera were killed Details of lawsuit released at 2pm news conference

"These boaters paid Club Nautico extra for a skipper and they got a 16-year old? To send these people out with a teenager and call him a captain is negligent," attorney Stuart Grossman told our news partners at The Miami Herald

The attorney for the plaintiff alleges that the teenage boat captain was drinking before the crash.


The speed of the filing of this lawsuit is no big surprise.  It is also the right thing to do. 

Mistakes were clearly made by multiple parties and the Court will be helpful in sorting this out.  The suit will give the litigants, and the Court,  the ability to take control of and inspect the subject boats for defects and physical damage, that may have contributed to the accident.  The evidence will be preserved for expert analysis.  Finding the truth in this will be challenging for those involved.

Although the case will largely be about money damages there are larger policy and social questions that need to be addressed.  This type of suit often does drive legislation or regulatory changes that make boating safer. 

Hopefully, this Columbus Day Regatta will become safer so that no more parents lose their children to preventable acts of negligence. 



Thursday, October 12, 2006

Flags of Our Fathers (Sons and Daughters)

U.S. Marines carry the casket of Lance Cpl. Christopher Cosgrove III from Saint Vincent Martyr Church after funeral services in Madison, N.J., on Wednesday.
Flags still drape the coffins of those who protect our freedoms… let us never forget……

Stempien / Rutherford Lake Huron Boating Mystery

A former model and her boyfriend vanished during a boating trip on Lake Huron. Now more than a year later, there are new developments as the search for answers has their families locked in a bitter battle


We posted on this months ago and it looks like there remains hope for this case to be solved yet.


Monica Burguera - James Noel-Pou - Columbus Day Regatta - Miami Boating Accident Victims

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Columbus Day Regatta

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Boat propellers killed two friends -Miami Columbus Day Regatta Boating Accident - Monica Burguera - James Noel-Pou

 Boat propellers killed two friends

The two boaters who were killed in a crash on Biscayne Bay over the weekend died of massive head injuries.

The two young people who perished in a weekend boating accident on Biscayne Bay were killed by the propellers of the powerboat that slammed into their rental.

The cause of death for both is the same: massive injuries to the head, the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner's Office said Wednesday. Although the investigation into the boat crash is far from complete, the autopsies offer graphic details of the horrific accident.

They also indicate the boat that struck the victims might have been traveling so fast it became airborne, either flying low over the victims' boat, or its propellers landing inside it.


This is a terrible accident that we have posted on below.  It makes one wonder whether this particular event can ever be held in a safe manner for all boaters.  Surely there were mistakes made and the message is clear that boating can be fun but also dangerous and deadly.  What  a shame.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Trawler Gaul

Gaul Trawler

A reader brought this vessel to our attention.  It is believed the Gaul sank on 8 February 1974.

An official report later that year concluded the ship had been swamped by heavy seas.

Over the past 30 years a series of investigations have revealed two alternative theories on the Gaul's fate.

Some believe the trawler was captured by the Soviets because it had spies on board. In 2004 rumours emerged that a British submarine became entangled in the vessel's nets and dragged it underwater.

Successive governments have denied that the trawler was involved in espionage.

In August 1997, an expedition funded by UK and Norwegian television companies found, and positively identified the wreck of Gaul 70 miles to the north of Norway's North Cape.

Following the subsequent showing of the documentary on UK television, the Deputy Prime Minister asked the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) whether it was possible to determine the cause of sinking from this new material. The MAIB reviewed the available footage, and concluded that a more detailed examination of the wreck would be required to make any such judgement. The Deputy Prime Minister therefore directed the MAIB to conduct an underwater survey of the wreck and report on its findings.

There is a lot of information on the internet about the ship, her loss and the possible causes of her loss.   See also.

Let us know if you have information about this fascinating case.


James Noel-Pou and Monica Burguera - Miami Columbus Day Regatta Boating Accident

GRIEF: Relatives and friends cry Monday as the body of James Noel-Pou, who was the second victim in a boating accident during the Columbus Day Regatta over the weekend, is taken into Miami Marine Stadium Marina after being spotted by the Coast Guard. The girl on the right was on one of the boats that was involved in the evening crash.

This is a very sad case.   (text, photo and video report linked)

This press release (Columbus Day Weekend Safety Concerns) was put out by the US Coast Guard on October 4, 2006 before the accident.  Boating at night under these circumstances can be challenging and dangerous.



Saturday, October 07, 2006

Attention Iwo Jima Vets

The Orlando Sentinel wants to take you to a screening of Flags of Our Fathers. Click on "Attention Iwo Jima Vets" above for the link to the Sentinel. I ran the Marine Corp Half Marathon in Jacksonville this morning. It was good to see Marines young and old in the race and at the event. This is a great idea by the Orlando Sentinel. Dwayne

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Vietnam Coasties
Coast Guard Warriors who Served in Vietnam

Monday, October 02, 2006

Flags of Our Fathers - Iwo Jima - Thanks to those who fought and died...

The flag raising at Iwo-Jima, photographed by Joe Rosenthal










I have been reading Flags of Our Fathers.  It is an excellent book that is being made into a movie by Clint EastwoodOfficial site here.The story, for the most part, tells the tale of the men who raised an American Flag at Iwo Jima during the battle for that island.  The flag raising and the photograph have an interesting history.  The real story in the book is of the heros that fought and died on the island.

The battle was fought largely by U.S. Marines, on the island, but it is also a maritime battle involving the Navy (some 800 ships and Seabees) (flag raiser John Bradly was a Navy Corpsman) and the Coast Guard.

After reading the book I have a whole new appreciation for those (from any military service) that fought there and any of the Battles of World War II.

The book tell us that following the Battle for Iwo Jima the United States left behind the largest Pacific cemetery for US fighting men.  Nearly 6,800 died and were buried there. 

Outside the cemetery someone wrote:

When you go home ; Tell them for us and say; For your tomorrow ;  We gave our today……  Flags of Our Fathers p.376

If you (or your family members were there) we say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country.  

I am certain that  this World and our lives are different and better as a result of these sacrifices.


Dwayne Clark


PS The years have taken a toll on the veterans. It is estimated that about 1,000 U.S. veterans of World War II die each day, and as their numbers shrink, reunions and commemorations mean a little bit more.

5 rescued after boat capsizes

Harassed by small sharks and repeatedly pulled back to sea, two men hugged each other to keep warm and drank water and soft drinks to stay hydrated during nearly 24 hours at sea before their rescue Sunday.

Good ending to this one.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"Thank God and the United States Coast Guard..."

USCG HH65-A On Deck St. George Reef Lighthouse

7 survive two nights on life raft

‘Thank God and the United States Coast Guard’


There is a happy ending to this one…..


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Houston Firm To Assist In Grand Lake Boating Accident Investigation


GROVE, Okla. (AP) -- An engineering firm will attempt to create a computer-generated simulation of a Grand Lake boating collision that killed a Georgia man.

ATA Associates Inc. of Houston will be at the lake September 26-27 to inspect the two boats involved in the crash and take measurements, said Bryce Lair, a Delaware County assistant district attorney.

Prosecutors are trying to determine whether criminal charges should be filed in connection with the July 30 collision that killed Murray McGarvey, 35, of Brunswick, Georgia.


ATA Associates can be found here.


Officials may never know cause of fatal boat crash on Texoma

 The investigation into a Labor Day weekend boat crash that killed five people has all but ended without a determination of who or what was to blame, Oklahoma authorities said Monday.

Investigators have looked for clues in salvaged pieces of the two high-performance boats that collided on Lake Texoma, but evidence was inconclusive, said Oklahoma State Highway Patrol Trooper Kera Philippi.

"Investigators may never know if the collision


Sounds as if there was not enough evidence left to determine the cause.  Without good eye witnesses this report may be correct.  They may never know the cause of the accident.


Monday, September 18, 2006

Marine and Boating Deaths from NTSB

Marine deaths showed a slight increase from 765 in 2004 to 769 in 2005. Recreational boating deaths, the largest marine category, jumped to 697 from 676, while cargo transport fatalities dropped substantially to 12 in 2005 from 26 in 2004.


Parties settle in boating lawsuit - Deadly Boat Crash

Mark de Tournillon Sr., who pleaded guilty to causing the boat wreck that killed a Moneta couple last year, agreed Friday to a substantial $2.75 million settlement with the estates of Lawrence and Judith Lewis.

Although most of that amount will be paid by insurance companies, de Tournillon intends to pay $250,000 out of the proceeds from the sale of his business, Shoreline Marina. The business has not yet been sold, said William Stanley, one of de Tournillon's defense lawyers.


This case is indicative of the high costs of boating accidents…in human life and money damages.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

The plan offered by Democratic leader Harry Reid would have bolstered security on trains and buses and at chemical plants. Republicans charged it would have slowed efforts to improve security at the nation's ports.

We need a lot more help with the security of our ports.  Lets hope this bill has some teeth in it and that our ports are made safe before we have a serious attack.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

McKinney family mourns after fatal boat collision - Texoma Poker Run Boat Collision

MCKINNEY - While visitors continued to enjoy Lake Texoma the day after the accident that claimed five lives Saturday, Bruce Lane's day in McKinney was far from normal. Lane's son, 25-year-old Justin Lane, and his son's wife, 31-year-old Amy Lane, were both passengers on the "Flash Gordon," which was one of the boats involved in the high-speed fatal collisionHere is news on a memorial service for the young couple. Dwayne

Speedboat collision investigated - Lake Texhoma Poker Run - Collision Deaths

WILLIS (AP) -- Investigators were trying to determine Sunday why two high-performance boats collided while participating in a "poker run" on Lake Texoma, killing five people, including a well-known former race car driver.

Oklahoma Lake Patrol investigators plan to reconstruct the two boats in an attempt to gather clues to how and why they collided Saturday, Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Kera Philippi said.

"They're going to investigate the mechanics of both boats, too, and not just focus on whether it was driver error," Philippi said. "The driver of the second boat is still alive, so they're going to want to talk to him."

Deaths cut Coast Guard cutter mission short - Healy - Hill - Duque



Deaths cut Coast Guard cutter mission short
Somber crew brings Healy to home port


The Coast Guard cutter Healy returned to its Seattle home port Sunday, weeks early, and things will not be the same.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Coast Guard skipper out over 2 diving deaths


The Coast Guard relieved the skipper of the Seattle-based icebreaker Healy of command Wednesday as it continues an investigation into the deaths of two divers from the ship.

In replacing Capt. Douglas Russell, Vice Adm. Charles Wurster, who commands all Coast Guard operations in the Pacific from San Francisco headquarters, said he had "a loss of confidence in the officer's ability to command."


BM2 Steven Duque and Lt Jessica Hill - Coast Guard Cutter Healy - Divers Lost in the Line of Duty

BM2 Duque swears the oath on Healy’s forecastle as LT Hill administers his reenlistment.  Lt. Jessica Hill swears in Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Steven Duque during a re-enlistment ceremony the week of July 30 on the Coast Guard polar icebreaker Healy. Both died in an accident Aug. 17 while performing dive operations. — U.S. Coast Guard












More on Duque (Fearless)and (Dedicated)

Update on Duque (the more I read about these Coasties the more I am in awe of who they were as people)

'Grant Them Fair Winds And Following Seas On Their Final Journey'

"So to Jessica and Steven," said prior CGC Healy Commanding Officer Dan Oliver, "I tell you, you are going to be missed dearly. Lord, I thank you for the opportunity to know Jessica and Steven. And watch out for our fallen shipmates."

This is an update on BM2 Duque and his memorial service. Apparently he was an extraordinary Coast Guardsman too. 

This an update (video attached) on the memorial service for Lt. Hill. Regardless of the cause of this incident, I think both families should be proud of what their loved ones gave to this Country.



Two Coast Guard divers assigned to the Seattle-based Coast Guard Cutter Healy died Thursday afternoon during a routine dive operation in the Arctic Ocean approximately 500 miles north of Barrow, Alaska.

Deceased are Lt. Jessica Hill, 30, of St. Augustine, Fla., and Petty Officer 2nd Class Steven Duque, 26, of Miami.

The victim’s next of kin have been notified and additional support services are being provided to each family, as well as Healy crewmembers.


It seems clear from reports that Hill and Duque loved their work on the Cutter Healy.

When something like this happens the sense of loss goes far and wide.   I personally spent four years in the Coast Guard.  When any member of our small service was lost it seemed to permeate the entire service.  It appears that things have not changed much as the Commandant and other high ranking officers have expressed their sorrow.

While I still served the Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn was lost.  One of my former shipmates died on that Cutter. 

Many in “The Guard” have perished in peace and war.

May we never forget our lost shipmates and the sacrifices they made.

Dwayne Clark







National Transportation Safety Board

Washington, DC 20594






WASHINGTON, D.C. - With the nation about to celebrate its last major holiday of the summer, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Mark V. Rosenker reminded everyone that "safety should be the watchword this Labor Day weekend.

"Labor Day weekend is one of the busiest periods of time for highway travel. Last year, deaths on our roadways rose to their highest level in 15 years. It is imperative that we all observe posted speed limits, buckle up everyone in the car, and never mix alcohol with motor vehicle operation."

Highway transportation accounts for more than 90 percent of all transportation fatalities in the United States. The NTSB has long advocated a series of safety improvements for highway travel, some of which have become law nationally, including mandatory seat belt laws (in every State except New Hampshire), age-21 drinking laws and child restraints.

Other initiatives still awaiting full enactment in the States, which are on the Board's Most Wanted list of safety improvements, include graduated drivers licenses, laws governing persistent drunk drivers, primary seat belt laws and booster seats for children 4 to 8 years old. These are among Most Wanted issues that will be discussed at the Board's public meeting next Wednesday, September 6.

Chairman Rosenker also reminded boaters to wear personal flotation devices. An average of 714 boaters die each year; 508 of those are by drowning. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that about 84 percent of those drowning victims would still be alive if they had worn PFDs.

A selection of safety alerts covering boating and highway transportation can be found on the Board's website at

- 30 -

NTSB Media Contact: Ted Lopatkiewicz

(202) 314-6100


Be safe out there boaters.  Every major holiday we see many catastrophic injuries and deaths on boats.  Keep alert, wear your life jacket and wait to have the alcohol until you return ashore.

Have a fun weekend!


Tuesday, August 29, 2006







Boaters should remain vigilant as warned by the Coast Guard


Monday, August 28, 2006

Bloglines - Coast Guard Urges Mariners to Stay Informed of Changing Weather Conditions

Bloglines user Lawboat ( has sent this item to you.   Boating -
News on Boating from

Coast Guard Urges Mariners to Stay Informed of Changing Weather Conditions

With Tropical Storm Ernesto constantly changing and quickly approaching the southern United States, Florida's maritime community and boating public are strongly urged to monitor the storm's progress and make ...