Friday, March 31, 2006

Have a good weekend! 


Runaway barge rams Gandy Bridge

Tampa, Florida – The Gandy boat ramp is usually busy with fishermen, but Thursday, among those coming and going were boatloads of engineers. They came to check out the Gandy Bridge after a barge crashed into it.

This could have been bad.


Monster Waves??

A recent article off the net says this:

A British research team has observed some of the biggest sea swells ever measured. A whole series of giant waves hammered into their ship that were so big, according to computer models used to set safety standards for ships and oil rigs, they shouldn't even exist.

There is a lot of science and fiction in this field.


Bella Bathurst's top 10 books on the sea

Bella Bathurst

This author (previously unknown to me) is getting really good reviews on her books about the sea and ships. 

Here are her top 10 favorite maritime books by other authors.

Her latest book is the Wreckers:

Here is a review of the book from the Times Online.

Here is her bio and  Here is her web site.


Victim In Sinking Boat Arrested After Rescue - Plus Video


CBS4 News) DANIA BEACH Two men heading to the Bahamas were rescued from their sinking yacht Thursday afternoon only for the passenger to be arrested after reaching land – ironically the charges stem out of boating violations.

Even if you are a passenger you must keep the boating violations cleared up or you may go to jail.


Thursday, March 30, 2006

Neat Website on Celestial Navigation

Parties Accused in Tragic N.Y. Boat Capsizing Deny Negligence - Ethan Allen Lawsuit -

Defendants accused in the overturning of a boat that killed 20 elderly tourists last year on an Adirondack lake in New York argued in court papers they weren't at fault and the accident was caused by events beyond their control.

The comments to the linked article (at the end) are rather colorful and strong in respect to the pending lawsuit and the merits of that suit.  What do you think?  Is the suit frivolous or not?

One lawyer was quoted as saying:

"Everybody wants to blame someone else, including the Good Lord and the USA.,'' said attorney James Hacker, who sued Nov. 10 on behalf of Viola Urbaniak's family, claiming negligence killed her. "Both of which I can tell you weren't there that day.''

Attorneys for Shoreline Cruises and Captain Richard Paris deny any negligence, pointing instead to "an unforeseeable sudden emergency'' or to "an act of God.''

The NTSB has not issued its final report.



Allen Confirmed as next USCG Commandant

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The US Senate voted to promote VADM Thad W. Allen to the rank of Admiral and to serve as the next Commandant of the US Coast Guard. Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff issued a Statement commending the Senate for its quick action.






Here is his bio.


Sonar Used to Find Teacher's Body After Boating Accident


BURKE COUNTY, N.C. -- Searchers at Lake James in Burke County find the body of a missing teacher 85 feet below the surface of the water.

They used sonar and the body would probably not have been located without it.  This has given the family the possibility of closure.

This man and his friend were thrown from the boat and hit by it when it came back around. One wonders if there was a kill switch  on the motor?


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Purple tails every time... Posted by Picasa

Sunset Florida Keys

It's Apple Vs. Apple in British Court - At least its not Apples and Oranges



LONDON (AP) - Two legendary companies in the music industry are to meet Wednesday in a London courtroom to fight it out over what might be the world's most recognizable logo: A simple piece of fruit.


Adventure awarded $100,000 by Lowe's

Gloucester <I />Adventure</I> Inc.


GLOUCESTER, MASS. (March 27): The nonprofit group preserving the schooner Adventure, which Capt. Jim Sharp of Camden donated to the city of Gloucester, Mass. in the late 1980s, was recently awarded $100,000 to further the vessel's restoration.


Maui Humpback Whale Breaching

Maui is the best place to see humpback whales in their natural breeding area in Hawaii. Every year from mid-December through mid-May the humpback whales make their home in the waters surrounding the island of Maui.

Whale Watch on Maui and you can watch the whales breach with your own eyes.  Take the Maui Princess Whale Watch to get the best viewing position.


Humpback Whales / Coast Guard Cutter Cape Small 95300


In 1976 I had the pleasure of sailing around the Hawaiian Islands on a 95 foot Coast Guard Cutter. 

The Cutter was the Cape Small 95300.  On our patrols we were at time between the Islands of Maui and Kaho’olawe due to some unrest of the locals over bombing, by the Navy, on Kaho’olawe. 

During the patrols we had the pleasure of seeing humpback whales in close proximity to our patrol boat.   We launched a small boat and they came very close to us and showed little fear. 

The humpback whale is the fifth largest of the world's great whales. Distinct populations of humpback whales are found in each of the world's oceans. Newborn calves, weighing an average of 1.5 tons, range from 10 to 16 feet in length. Males may reach 43 feet in length, while females are slightly larger, averaging 45 feet. A mature humpback weighs up to one ton per foot, or about 85,000 - 90,000 pounds.

Recently published photographs showing graphic injuries to two humpback whale calves off Maui are raising questions about how to make the ocean safer for the endangered animals during their winter visits.

Also recently Luna the Orca was killed by a tugboat.  These cases raise issues about how man can share the ocean with these wonderful creatures.

I assure you if you ever seen one in person you will never forget the experience.


Monday, March 27, 2006

Officer guilty in boating DUI case


Felony conviction means up to 7 years in prison, possible loss of job

A Los Angeles police officer was found guilty Friday of critically injuring a man on a personal watercraft on Lake San Antonio and fleeing to avoid arrest for drunken boating.

David Ernest Guzman, 31, was convicted on all charges, including boating under the influence of alcohol causing injury, and hit-and-run boating, both felonies, as well as a misdemeanor charge of drunken boating.

He was released on $24,000 bail pending sentencing April 28, and forbidden from possessing a firearm. Judge Lydia Villarreal ordered him to transfer possession of his eight registered guns to his father, an investigator with the Ventura County District Attorney's Office.

The defense said Guzman didn't realize he'd hit someone and wasn't under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, the District Attorney's Office said.

Guzman appeared stunned as he looked back at his sobbing wife, who was holding the couple's 2-year-old son in the courtroom.

Defense attorney Richard Rosen, who is normally loquacious, was left virtually speechless by the verdict.

Sentencing in the case is set for April 28. Guzman faces a maximum of 7 years in state prison.

We will continue to follow this story in th press.


Ghost Ship?

You don’t hear much about Ghost Ships nowadays.  But here is a story about one. 

It was first spotted on Friday by a Coastwatch surveillance aircraft in the Gulf of Carpentaria, about 180 kilometres south-west of Weipa.

The federal government is under pressure to explain why an abandoned tanker was left to drift in the Gulf of Carpentaria for two weeks after authorities first spotted it.

SALVAGE operators are set to tow the abandoned tanker found drifting in Australian waters to the far north Queensland port of Weipa.


Ghost ship / supplied

Friday, March 24, 2006

New Coast Guard Cutter Enters Service

Coast Guard Cutter Enters Service

Friday, March 24, 2006
Coast Guard Cutter Enters Service
Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire is welcomed aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Terrapin by its crew in Bellingham, Wash., after the Terrapin officially entered service. During the ceremony Gov. Gregoire became the Terrapin's sponsor and will serve as a civilian advocate for the cutter and its crew.

Official U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Mike Zolzer.

Thats a beautiful boat!


The Kill Switch and Runaway Boats



Most boats nowadays are equipped with a kill switch.  Many of them like the one on my boat come with a lanyard or cord to wrap around some part of the body (presumably) the wrist.  If you attach it to your body as the operator and you are thrown from the boat it will automatically kill the motor.

We have reported two recent accidents where people are thrown from their boats only to have the runaway craft circle back and kill them.  Had they used an operational kill switch this may not have happened.  Presumably the boat would have come to a harmless stop.

We do not like to speculate about matters (tragic deaths) that we have limited knowledge on, but based upon limited facts in the press it appears this could be the case. 

One report said:

    • Both Brunner and Ashabraner were reportedly wearing life jackets at the time of the accident.
    • Officials with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR), who were in charge of the investigation into Saturday's accident, said that Brunner failed to use his kill switch, “which contributed significantly to his death.”
    • “This is exactly what a kill switch is designed to prevent,” officials said, “because in that situation, a boat is just going to continue to circle.”
    • The KDFWR said that the boat made contact with Ashabraner three times after the two men were thrown into the water.
    • “He (Brunner) would still be alive today if he had just used the kill switch,” the KDFWR said.

Another report said:

    • Another important safety tip for boaters, remember to attach this kill switch. It'll stop the boat instantly if you do fall out. Children under 10 are required by law to wear life jackets when on the water, as are water skiers and jet skiers.

I am sure there are downsides to using a kill switch.  I have at times inadvertently pulled the switch only to have the motor die.  If this happens in traffic it could cause a problem but overall I choose to use mine as the risk of being thrown from the boat with or without passengers can be high. 

Follow your boat manufacturer’s advice on this.

Let me know your thoughts on this.  If there are downsides let us know what they are.


Tug H.D. Mitchell and Drowning of Steven McVay

Two men were rescued and the third died in the sinking of the Tug H.D. Mitchell.  The cause of the accident remains under investigation.

Two other men on the boat were rescued and are in good condition. They are 43-year-old Howell Mitchell of Seabrook, Texas, and 25-year-old Thomas Keene, of Golden Mass, Mississippi.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

.. Posted by Picasa





National Transportation Safety Board

Washington, DC 20594

March 23, 2006




Washington, D.C. - The National Transportation Safety Board has sent an investigator to Jamaica to assist in the investigation of today's fire on board the Bermuda registered cruise ship Star Princess. The United Kingdom's Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) will lead the investigation.

"This is an important industry for the United States because every year millions of Americans enjoy their vacations on board cruise ships. We appreciate the opportunity to work closely with the MAIB in this investigation," said NTSB Acting Chairman Mark V. Rosenker.

The NTSB will participate in the investigation under the provisions of the International Maritime Organization's Code for Investigation of Marine Casualties and Incidents.

All information regarding the investigation will be released through the MAIB.

NTSB Contact: Terry Williams

(202) 314-6100


Golden Gate Posted by Picasa

1 dead, 11 hurt in cruise ship fire

MIAMI - Fire broke out on a cruise ship in the Caribbean early Thursday, killing one person and injuring 11 others before the crew extinguished the flames, company officials said.The Star Princess was en route from Grand Cayman to Jamaica when the blaze started in a cabin, according to a statement from Princess Cruises, which is owned by Miami-based Carnival Corp.

Carnival Corp. Chief Financial Officer Gerald Cahill confirmed the fatality and injuries during a conference call. He said at least two of the injured were suffering from smoke inhalation.


12 Passengers Fom Miami Cruise Skip Killed On Tour


This is a bad accident associated with the Cruise Ship Celebrity Millennium.  Apparently the bus careened down a ravine some 300 feet.

The Passengers Were Traveling On The Celebrity Millennium

Family Members Can Get information by calling 1-888-829-4050.

The Cruise Was Destined For Fort Lauderdale


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Follow-up on Four Firefighters that Perished at Sea off North Carolina

This is a follow-up on the four firefighters that perished off North Carolina.  

The Coast Guard said this:

“These men and the tragic end of their lives should give us time to acknowledge the unforgiving harshness of our maritime environment,” Commander Jones said.


Their community said goodbye.




3 Students Presumed Drowned

The University of Rhode Island is holding a service for three students presumed drowned.  Maybe by some miracle this will work out.


Tug H.D. Mitchell Sinking / Steven McVay Death

This is a link to an article on the sinking of the Tug H.D.Mitchell and the death of Steven McVay.  This is the link to the Coast Guard News Release on the accident.

 Dwayne Clark

Longshore Act / Defense Base Act / Civilian Contractors Injured Overseas

This link is to the Dept. of Labor site on the Longshore / Defense Base Act. The page gives the following information: The Defense Base Act provides workers’ compensation protection to civilian employees working outside the United States under a contract with the U.S. government. This page contains currently available information regarding the Defense Base Act (DBA) that may be of interest to the Longshore community. For example, civilian contractors injured in Iraq may be covered under these acts.

Tug H.D. Mitchell - Tug sinking - Gulf of Mexico - Steven McVay

Here is another tug sinking case. The Coast Guard responded to this one also. Looks like one crewman Steven McVay was lost.

Bloglines - Colo. man dies in Gulf tugboat sinking

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Colo. man dies in Gulf tugboat sinking

Gainesville Sun - ne man died after a tugboat sank off the Levy County coast early Sunday, the U.S. Coast Guard reported. Steven McVay, 25, of Colorado Springs, Colo., drowned after the H.D. Mitchell began taking on water in the Gulf of Mexico, according to rescuers ...

Cold water, waders and no lifejacket

This is another probable cold water drowning case. This young man apparently had waders on in a small boat on an icy body of water, with no lifejacket. Very dangerous combination. Hopefully they find him alive.

Bloglines - Boating accident prayer service tonight

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Boating accident prayer service tonight

Survivors of a boating accident that killed four volunteer firemen last week say they swam to shore and flagged down a pizza delivery driver to call for help but they were too late to save their friends.

Bloglines - Officer says he was sober at time of boating accident

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Officer says he was sober at time of boating accident

A Los Angeles police officer conceded Tuesday that he hit and critically injured a man riding a personal watercraft on Lake San Antonio and left the scene last year, but said he was unaware of the accident at ...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Kids 6 and 16 hit boat and are injured

This accident raises some questions about the age of the operator and passenger if the ages are reported accurately in the news. Wow??

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Bloglines - Local lawyer took on world's waters

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Local lawyer took on world's waters

said Martin, who worked on world maritime laws as head international affairs for NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) during the Clinton-Gore administration.

Bloglines - Miami center for litigation against cruise lines

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Miami center for litigation against cruise lines

in Miami,'' said Martin Davies, a maritime law professor at Tulane University. Davies said plaintiffs' lawyers occasionally try to sue somewhere else, but they almost always fail.

Bloglines - Brett Rivkind was on the hot seat

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Brett Rivkind was on the hot seat

Congressional subcommittee as an expert on maritime law , hoping to focus on his belief in the need for more federal oversight of cruise ship safety practices. Instead, Rivkind

Monday, March 20, 2006

Bloglines - Coast Guard Has Safety Concerns About LNG Terminal Plans (NBC 10 Providence)

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Coast Guard Has Safety Concerns About LNG Terminal Plans (NBC 10 Providence)

WASHINGTON -- The Coast Guard says it has safety concerns about a company's plans to use smaller tankers to pass through the opening in a narrow bridge to reach a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal in Fall River, Mass.

Bloglines - Perry County Man Survives 2 Days Lost At Sea

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Perry County Man Survives 2 Days Lost At Sea


Be safe out there.... Dwayne  Posted by Picasa

Hot news from the Boating World

Here is some hot news in the boating world.
NTSB safety recommendations; and the future of boating from the NMMA.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Shoeleaces, Lifejackets and Cold Water - Boat Accident Survivors tell Story of How Firefighters Died at Sea

I post way too many stories of people dying needlessly in the winter on boats.
These men had their lifejackets but apparently did not appreciate the danger of the cold water. The jackets were not enough to save them. They were 5 miles offshore on an 18 foot boat with 6 men. It appears that the boat may have been overloaded. They were men that drilled safety for a living.
One must always think: What if I end up in that water? What can I do to survive? The lifejackets were there. That was a good start. They got them on and that was good too... Still this was not enough.
Cold water equals quick and almost certain death. So many people underestimate how dangerous it is. If the water were on fire then you can imagine that people would say: "I don't want to end up in there." Cold water is just as dangerous as water with a burning liquid on it.
Boats give those on them a false sense of security. I think you must assume that your craft will fail on each trip and then plan against that failure. Boats and boating can be fun but this case demonstrates how dangerous it can be: Even for men trained in safety.....
It was a miracle that the shoestring and lifejackets saved the two that survived.
See the link above.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Bloglines - Costner, Kutcher filming Coast Guard movie in N.C. (USA Today)

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Costner, Kutcher filming Coast Guard movie in N.C. (USA Today)

Fake snow and about 70 local extras are helping to transform the local U.S. Coast Guard station into an Alaskan counterpart for a movie starring Kevin Costner. Filming in the area began Monday for The Guardian, which is set in Kodiak, Alaska and co-stars Ashton Kutcher.

Bloglines - Coast Guard honors Katrina 'heroes' (The Daily Advance)

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Coast Guard honors Katrina 'heroes' (The Daily Advance)

On Wednesday it was back to business at U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, where for the previous two days a Hollywood film crew finished filming the final scenes of "The Guardian."

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Trial delayed over Computer Animation of Boating Accident

Computer animation can be very powerful and persuasive. This theory is demonstrated by this case. See the link above.

Burial at Sea.... Posted by Picasa

The History of Taps

This link gives one version of the history of Taps.
There are no official words to the music but here are some of the more popular verses:
Day is done, gone the sun, From the hills, from the lake, From the sky. All is well, safely rest, God is nigh. Go to sleep, peaceful sleep, May the soldier or sailor, God keep. On the land or the deep, Safe in sleep. Love, good night, Must thou go, When the day, And the night Need thee so? All is well. Speedeth all To their rest. Fades the light; And afar Goeth day, And the stars Shineth bright, Fare thee well; Day has gone, Night is on. Thanks and praise, For our days, 'Neath the sun, Neath the stars, 'Neath the sky, As we go, This we know, God is nigh.

Lana Stempien and Charles Rutherford remain the subjects of an intense boating mystery investigation linked in the press below. Posted by Picasa