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.