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Panama Canal Expansion Links To Florida Business Expansion

 

The Maritime Executive newsletter reports that the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) and Port Everglades renewed their strategic alliance today with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

panama-canal

Panama Canal

 

First signed in August 2009, the MOU, which is renewable for five years, solidifies both entities’ dedication to growth and best customer practices.

“Our partnership furthers our shared goal of promoting trade growth in Panama and Florida,” said ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta. “As we approach the completion of our expansion, we look forward to pursuing even more mutually beneficial activities with Port Everglades.”

Areas of cooperation between the ACP and Port Everglades include joint advertising programs, data interchange and competitive market analyses of the shipping industry. This alliance will also continue to promote the “All-Water Route,” the route from Asia to the U.S. East Coast via the Panama Canal.

Serving more than 150 ports and 70 countries, Port Everglades generates over $14 billion worth of business activity and approximately 140,000 jobs in Florida. More than 5.2 million tons of containerized cargo is transported through the Port. With the expansion of the Panama Canal slated for completion in 2014, it stands to benefit from anticipated growth.

“Just as the Panama Canal expansion is moving forward to meet the challenges of the future, so also is the Port Everglades Master/Vision Plan, providing us with a roadmap toward meeting those challenges. The strong working relationship between Port Everglades and the ACP will continue to provide mutual advantages in the years to come”, said Port Everglades Port Director Phillip C. Allen.

Initially approved in 2007, the Master/Vision plan is a comprehensive, dynamic roadmap designed to guide the Port’s growth through an estimated $2 billion in capital investments over a 20-year period. One major component is the deepening of the Port’s channels from 42 feet to 50 feet.

Meanwhile, the Canal’s expansion is well underway, following the recent commencement of the permanent concrete work for the new Atlantic side locks. The $5.25 billion project includes the construction of a new set of locks that will allow the transit of longer and wider ships.

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4thofjulyThere’s no better place to watch a spectacular fireworks display light up the summer sky then from your boat! Your Cruising Editor has scoured the net to bring you this comprehensive list of firework celebrations that can be viewed by boat (Keep in mind that all of these displays are weather dependent -just like boating!).

Also, please take a look at the end of the list for some important safety tips to having a safe Fourth on the water. Enjoy!

New York Fireworks

Fireworks at Coney Island | When: 9:30 every Friday night during the summer season. Where: The Cyclone Roller Coaster and Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park sponsor fireworks. Fireworks generally start the last weekend in June and conclude the Friday before Labor Day.  Note: View by boat off the beach in the ocean. For specific questions about the fireworks, please contact The Cyclone (718-265-2100) or Deno’s (718-449-8836) directly.

July 1 & 3

North Sea Fire Department Fireworks Carnival & Celebration |When: Dusk | Where: 149 Noyac Road, Southampton, 631-283-3629 By Bay Fireworks | Note: Anchor in Little Peconic Bay.

July 3 – City of Glen Cove July 4th Spectacular | When: Dusk | Where: Morgan Park, end of McCaughlin Street, Glen Cove, 516-676-2006 | Note: Anchor in Hempstead Harbor.

Peconic Riverfront Park Fireworks | When: 9:00 pm | Where: Peconic Riverfront Park, behind Main Street. Sponsored by Riverhead B.I.D. Management Association, 631-727-0048 | Note: Boaters are permitted to tie up at the Riverhead waterfront all day without a permit.  To spend the evening, a permit must be purchased at the Recreation Department.

Go 4th On The Bay | When: Dusk | Where: Point O’ Woods, Fire Island. Fireworks by Grucci | Note: Good viewing from most of the Fire Island bay fronts and shorelines of the bay from Smith Point to Bay Shore.

July 4

Stars over Montauk |  When: 9:00 pm | Where: Umbrella Beach, Montauk, 631-668-2428  www.montaukchamber.com  Fireworks by Grucci | Note: Anchor in Fort Pond Bay.

Go 4th On The Bay |  When: Dusk | Where: Patchogue, 631-286-0088 Fireworks by Grucci | Note: Good viewing from most of the Fire Island bay fronts and shorelines of the bay from Smith Point to Bay Shore.

Asharoken Village Fireworks | Where: Good viewing from LI Sound east and west of Asharoken and from Northport Bay, 631-261-7098

Macy’s 4th of July Spectacular | When: 9:00 pm | Where: Hudson River between 24th and 50th Streets, 212-494-4495 | Note: Anchorage varies; contact USCG Sector New York 718-354-403.

From BoatingTimes Long Island 

fireworks_over_biscayne-bayFlorida Fireworks

Hollywood – When: 9:00pm and 9:30pm | Where: The City of Hollywood 4th of July Celebration Fireworks will be held July 4, 2011, in the Atlantic Ocean offshore of Hollywood Beach. Fireworks are launched from a barge.

Key Biscayne – When: 4th of July, 2011, 8:30pm and 9:30pm | Where: The Village of Key Biscayne  in Miami, Fl on the ocean off Key Biscayne Beach front.

Key Largo – When: Monday, July 4, at 9 p.m. | Where: Blackwater Sound, fitting its name, provides the perfect nighttime mirror-like surface to make the annual fireworks display seem like a 3D viewing experience designed to dazzle, either by land or sea. | Note: The best seating is at Sundowners and Senior Frijoles Restaurants, Caribbean Club and Marriott Key Largo Bay Resort, all located around mile marker (MM) 104 bayside. Reservations are suggested because seating fills up early. www.keylargofireworks.com.

Palm Beach –  Where: The new West Palm Beach waterfront – the bike path along Palm Beach – and the southern causeway park on Palm Beach.

Stuart – When: starting at 4 pm. | Where: Flagler Park ‘Family Fun with Live Country Music Children’s activity area, vendors, plenty of good All American food. Stuart Community Band will be performing patriotic music beginning around 7 pm. Fireworks begin At 9 pm. Note: Boaters can view the fireworks while anchored in the river or dock at the City of Stuart courtesy dock and enjoy the activities in Flagler Park. More: July 4th Celebration & Fireworks.  Local Information: It is on the St. Lucie River downstream from the Roosevelt bridge just off the hospital. Many boats usually show up for the display.

West Palm Beach –  4th on Flagler boasts the region’s biggest and best 4th of July celebration and features three stages of non-stop entertainment, a kid’s area, food and refreshments, the unfurling of a giant American Flag, the Firefighters’ Splash and Dash and a spectacular fireworks extravaganza. Residents and visitors can enjoy the fireworks, food, concerts and much more along our City’s stunning waterfront. 4th on Flagler will be held on Monday, July 4th from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. along Flagler Drive in Downtown West Palm Beach, with the National City Fireworks Show taking place at 9:00 p.m. This FREE event is produced by the City of West Palm Beach Mayor’s Office, Division of Community Events.  For more information on the event, visit wpb.org/4th or call 561-822-2222.

Sarasota/Manatee – Where: Longboat Key’s “Boom-Boom on the Bay” fireworks show | When: July 2nd just after dark, around 9pm. Boom-Boom On The Bay is sponsored by: The Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant and Pub, Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant, the Longboat Observer, Cannons Marina, Longboat Key Club and the Longbeach Village Association. Note: Cannons Marina co-sponsors the fireworks event on July 2nd that will be displayed over North Sarasota Bay just after dark. For those in the boating community, this presents an excellent opportunity to have a BOAT-A-BRATION! Anchor your boat around the Intercoastal Waterway’s mile marker 39 and watch the sky light up! Seeing the colors dazzle over the water is a stunning experience you won’t want to miss.

Note: Check your current charts, and get there early to ensure a good spot to anchor. As you’ll obviously be enjoying these displays after the sun goes down, make sure you are comfortable operating your vessel at night. Keep a keen eye out for other boaters, stay at least ¼ mile away and up-wind from where the fireworks are being discharged, don’t anchor in a channel, and keep clear of any Coast Guard designated security/safety zones. Be safe and enjoy the show!

fireworks_visitannapolis

Courtesy of VisitAnnapolis.com

Maryland Fireworks and Notice to Mariners

Baltimore, Md. — Mariners are advised that the Coast Guard Captain of the Port Baltimore has received notice of the following fireworks displays, scheduled to occur on or near navigable waters during the 2011 Independence Day holiday period:

1. Chester River, Town of Chestertown, Maryland, mariners are urged to remain at least 300 yards from the fireworks discharge site located on shore near the mouth of Radcliffe Creek on July 4, 2011 (no rain date) for a display scheduled at dusk. Chart 12272.2. Fairlee Creek, Great Oak Landing Marina, Maryland, mariners are urged to remain at least 200 yards from the fireworks discharge site located on shore at Shell Point on July 2, 2011 (rain date of September 3, 2011) for a display scheduled at 9:25 p.m. Chart 12274.3. Herring Bay, Herrington Harbour South Marina, Friendship, Maryland, mariners are urged to remain at least 150 yards from the fireworks discharge site located on the south jetty on July 2, 2011 (rain date of July 3, 2011) for a display scheduled at 9:30 p.m. Chart 12266.

4. Miles River, St. Michaels, Maryland, within a 200-yard radius of the fireworks barge in approximate position 38°47′41″ N, 076°12′53″ W, located on a point of land at the mouth of Long Haul Creek on July 3, 2011 (rain date of July 4, 2011) for a fireworks display scheduled for 9 p.m. Chart 12263.

5. Patuxent River, Golden Beach/Patuxent Knolls Civic Association, Maryland, mariners are urged to remain at least 200 yards from the fireworks discharge site located on shore near Long Point on June 25, 2011 (rain date of June 26, 2011) for a display scheduled at 9 p.m. Chart 12284.

6. Potomac River, Town of Colonial Beach, Virginia, mariners are urged to remain at least 150 yards from the fireworks discharge site located at the end of the Town Pier on July 4, 2011 (rain date of July 9, 2011) for a display scheduled at 9:30 p.m. Chart 12286.

7. Rock Hall Harbor, Rock Hall, Maryland, mariners are urged to remain at least 150 yards from the fireworks discharge site located on shore on July 3, 2011 (rain date of July 4, 2011) for a display scheduled at 9 p.m. Chart 12278.

8. Sassafras River, Georgetown, Maryland, mariners are urged to remain at least 150 yards from the fireworks discharge site located on shore west of the mouth of Dyer Creek on July 4, 2011 (no rain date) for a display scheduled at 9:15 p.m. Chart 12274

9. Severn River, Sherwood Forest, Maryland, mariners are urged to remain at least 150 yards from the fireworks discharge site located at the end of the Sherwood Forest Club’s Main Pier on July 3, 2011 (rain date of July 9, 2011) for a display scheduled at 9 p.m. Chart 12282.

10. Severn River, Epping Forest, Maryland, mariners are urged to remain at least 100 yards from the fireworks discharge barge located at the mouth of Clements Creek on July 2, 2011 (no rain date) for a display scheduled at 9 p.m. Chart 12282.

11. Somers Cove, Crisfield, Maryland, mariners are urged to remain at least 100 yards from the fireworks discharge site located on shore at Jersey Island on July 3, 2011 (no rain date) for a display scheduled at 9:15 p.m. Chart 12231

12. Susquehanna River, Havre de Grace, Maryland, mariners are urged to remain at least 300 yards from the fireworks discharge site located on shore at Park Island on July 3, 2011 (no rain date) for a display scheduled at 9:30 p.m. Chart 12277

Mariners are urged to transit these areas with caution, to keep a sharp lookout for other watercraft in these areas, and are reminded to heed the directions of patrolling law enforcement and public safety officials. Absent specific guidance, mariners should remain 300 yards from any fireworks discharge site. For any comments or questions, contact Coast Guard Sector Baltimore Waterways Management Division at telephone number (410) 576-2674, (410) 576-2693 or email Ronald.L.Houck@uscg.mil.

From: Chesapeake Maritime News

Other Firework Festivities for Boaters Around the Country:

  • Boston – Charles River Boston Pops Esplanade
  • Bainbridge Island, WA –  Fireworks start at dusk on Eagle Harbor. Boaters are advised to be mindful of rocks and sandbar at the harbor entrance. Low tide is at 11 p.m. July 4. During the day, the island hosts its Bainbridge Grand Old Fourth of July from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a street fair, live music, an antique car show and a parade. All events are in Winslow, a short walk from Eagle Harbor Marina and The Harbour Marina.
  • Anacortes, WA – Fireworks start at dusk over Fidalgo Bay. The display will be staged just south of Anacortes Marina and will be visible from there, as well as from Cap Sante Marina. The day also includes the annual Fourth of July Parade and Patriotic Program, which starts with an 11 a.m. parade, followed by kids’ games and food at Causland Memorial Park, 710 N. Ave.
  • Friday Harbor, San Juan Islands, WA – Fireworks start at 10:15 p.m. over Friday Harbor Marina. Other July 4th events include a parade at 10:30 a.m., a Pig War picnic, firehall lunch, an antique fire equipment and car show and a “rock the dock” street dance.
  • Lake Tahoe, California – July 4, 9:30 p.m., Edgewood and Lakeside Beach
  • Dana Point 4th of July Fireworks – Monday, July 4 8:00p | Dana Point, California. Come aboard one of our beautiful boats for a special 4th of July Fireworks Display Cruise. Enjoy a unique evening of fun on the water, complete with a live Fireworks demonstration.
  • San Diego – Shelter Island, Harbor Island and the North Embarcadero area – launch fireworks simultaneously for 20 minutes.
  • July 4th Celebration & Themed Boat Parade /Fireworks – Green Lake, Wisconsin
  • Chicago – Independence Day Fireworks 2010…a Triple Play.
    This year, the City of Chicago is spreading out its fireworks spectacular. Instead of one big show at Grant Park, fireworks will be lighting up 26 miles of Chicago’s lake front with a triple play of pyrotechnics. The City has also changed the date of the celebration from July 3 to July 4.
    The simultaneous shows will fire off in the following locations:
    Mid-point: Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave.
    North side: Fireworks will be set off near Montrose Beach with best viewing from Foster to Montrose near the lakefront.
    South side:  Fireworks will be set off near the 63rd St. Beach with best viewing between 63rd. St. and Promontory Point.
    Sunday, July 4th.
    All displays will begin at 9:00p.m. and last approximately 15 minutes.
crowded-sailboats-on-bay

It can get quite crowded out there. Please be safe!

Safety Tips Courtesy of YachtPals.com

  • Before heading out, make sure your running, steaming and anchor lights are working properly, and that you have all the necessary safety equipment aboard. Authorities will almost always be on the water with you at these events, so make sure you’re safe and legal. Also, pack some earplugs for the fireworks show if you are sensitive to noise.
  • Leave the pets at home or with friends/family.  Fireworks absolutely terrify most animals, and “S/he hates to be left out of the fun” is no excuse for torturing your beloved pet’s ears and nerves.
  • Get to your desired anchorage early, upwind of the show if possible, and set your anchor well before reducing scope. You don’t want to be jockeying for a good position at the last minute, or have your anchor lose grip in the middle of the show. Make sure you are in a safe position, and are clearly outside the restricted area of the fireworks barge.  Nothing worse than waiting all day and then being forced to move 15 minutes before the first mortar.
  • Keep libations, at least for the skipper and vital crew, to a minimum.  There will be plenty of drunks on the water, unfortunately, and you will have to keep an eye on your anchor and topsides while latecomers barrel in.  Relax, have a nice dinner, and watch the comedic “bumper boats show” while you wait for the sun to go down.
  • If you use your dinghy with an outboard in the anchorage, keep your wake down, as boats will be anchored or rafted closely.  In most jurisdictions, you are responsible for damage you cause from your wake, even on the tender.  Plus, it’s just plain rude to subject others to your need for speed.  Rule of thumb:  unless there’s an emergency, never motor in an anchorage faster than you can row.
  • Turn off mast lights (when safe and legal), deck lights, and all bright lights inside the boat before the fireworks start, as this provides a better view for everyone. Resist the urge to add your old flares to the show, don’t let the kids/grandkids/landlubbers play with flashlights, and don’t use your spotlight to “see if that’s Bob’s boat over there.”  Also turn off any music – unless of course the fireworks are set to music via the radio, and you have good speakers, in which case crank it up!
  • Sit back and enjoy the show, and don’t forget to ooh and aah!  Don’t watch the fireworks through a camera lens – you’ll miss it, and unless you have a lot of night-shooting experience, the photos are almost always disappointingly blurry when shot from a boat.
  • Take your time leaving.  Many of the boating accidents at these events happen as everyone hurries to get back to dock, often with a few beers in their bellies. Wait an hour, and you’ll usually have the water to yourself.  If you’re in a protected spot, consider spending the night.  Hey, you’re already out after dark, your hook is set, and the work’s all done.  Why not stay out and enjoy a night under the stars?

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nsbw-wear-it_logoNational Safe Boating Week – May 21-27, 2011

Focus on Life Jackets

This year during National Safe Boating Week, and throughout the boating season remember to practice safe and responsible boating, always wear your life jacket, and be alert and aware while on the water. By practicing these simple steps you can save your life as well as the lives of the people boating with you. Life jackets are now more comfortable and lightweight than ever, with many new styles to fit the style you want. Safe boating saves lives so for this year’s North American Safe Boating Week (May 21–27, 2011) and throughout the boating season remember to “Wear It!”

As in years past, the goal of National Safe Boating Week is to educate and inform the boating public about the need to follow safe boating practices. It doesn’t matter if you’re only going out for a short sail around the bay, fishing for an afternoon, paddling or a longer voyage, safety should always be foremost on your mind.

boaterexam-female-bannerBest practices include:

  • Take a boating safety course
  • Get a vessel safety check
  • File a float plan
  • Designate a sober skipper
  • Wear a life jacket

Sea Tow and the nonprofit Sea Tow Foundation will help kick off National Safe Boating Week.

“Late May is the start of boating season in many regions across the U.S.,” Gail Kulp, executive director of the Sea Tow Foundation, said in a release. “But even in communities that enjoy year-round boating, this is a good time to remind boaters of some key boating safety practices.”

nsbw-readysetinflate-logoTo help kick-off the week-long event, and to showcase the wide array of available inflatable life jacket options, the National Safe Boating Council, in partnership with the Canadian Safe Boating Council, is inviting boating safety professionals and members of the boating community to participate in this year’s “Ready, Set, Inflate!” Inflatable Life Jacket World Record Day on Saturday, May 21. Throughout North America and around the world, participants will inflate life jackets to try and beat last year’s world record of 1,154 participants.

For more information on this event and National Safe Boating Week, go to readysetinflate.com or safeboatingcampaign.com.

More: http://www.boating-industry.com/output.cfm?id=2748241

Important Links

Safe Boating Campaign

Safe Boating Council

Ready Set Inflate

USCG Boating Safety Resource Center

Vessel Safety Check

National Weather Service/NOAA Safe Boating

A pledge the public can live with.
Use this handy, downloadable pdf file in conjunction with your event life jacket giveaways. The total size is 8.5″ x 11″ when folded in half. The file also has form fields for easy, on computer processing. Not only does the pledge underscore an obligation by the recipent, but it also serves to be a useful promotional tool. To download the pdf, click on the thumbnail image below.

wearit-pledgecard

Events – “Wear it Florida”

nbsw-wearit-FL-logo

– Youth Boating Safety Class – May 21, 2011 (9am to 1pm)
Free boating safety class for kids age 10 and up
Elks Lodge 1676, 6304 SW 78 Street, Miami, FL . Contact: Elena Cohan, 305-804-9630,  elena.flotilla65@gmail.com

– Presentation: Suddenly in Command, Can You Hear Me?, Rescue 21, Marine Radios, Good Mate Program, Ocean Conservatory, How to Use Flares, Water Way Watch from Homeland Security, Let’s go Boating 1 & 2, Keep Your Boat Storm Ready, Vessel Examinations demonstrated on Auxiliary Vessel.

May 21, 2011, (10:00-3:00) 3939 N. Ocean Blvd. Boca Raton,FL
Contact: Tom Kegan, 561-391-3600, tom@blossomflower.com

– In commemoration of National Safe Boating Week, a Vessel Safety Check (VSC) event has been planned in concert with local County (Clay County Sheriff’s Office) and State (Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission) marine authorities. Vessel Examiners (VE’s) from Flotilla 14-5 have asked VE’s from throughout Division 14 to participate with us in concurrent VSC missions at five different boat ramps across Clay County over the 2-day weekend.

Saturday, May 21st at Knight’s Marina. (0700 – 12:00)
Contact:Helen Russette, 904-278-1811, helenruss@bellsouth.net

– “Wear It” Boat Parade (with a Fly-over by the USCG helicopter – pending) – May, 21st (Noon). Crystal River, FL
Kings Bay – passing by the Ale House, Pete’s Pier, Ft. Island Trail boat ramps/park and more listed below
This will be our second “Wear It” Boat Parade around Kings Bay, up the Crystal River, passing Crystal River State Archaeological Park and the Crystal River State Preserve Park, to Shell Island and back, ending in Kings Bay.  Contact Information: Linda Jone -Vice Flotilla Commander 352-503-6199, LJones1501@gmail.com

woman-wearing-self-inflating-lifejacket

YourCruisingEditor in safety harness

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sunrise_melbourne_beach

Sunrise on Melbourne Beach

I just returned from the Seven Seas Cruising Association‘s 35th Annual Melbourne Gam where it was breezy and cool and the North anchorage off the Eau Gallie Causeway was full with almost 30 boats. It was great to see lots of old friends as well as many “newbies” who have either just set out or will begin their cruising soon.

kathyparson-pamwall-gwenhamlin

Kathy Parson, Pam Wall & Gwen Hamlin lead the Women & Cruising Seminar at the Gam

The Gam is still the best place to learn from the pros. So many of the participants have done some serious world cruising and that’s not even touching on the incredible experience of the speakers. This year’s seminars included regulars like Women & Cruising with Pam Wall, Kathy Parsons and Gwen Hamlin; Weather Forecasting with Lee Chesneau; Coping with Emergencies by Author/Sailor Ed Mapes; Rigging with Colin Mack of Mack Sails; Marine First Aid with Ralph Beyhl, R.N.; Yoga with Kim Hess and much more!

I made sure to catch the learning roundtables since they’re always entertaining as well as educational. There was a table where you could practice giving injections on a grapefruit, or removing a hook from a pigs’ foot. These are real-life situations that occur all the time on cruising boats, so it’s best to have some practice before you are called on to perform such tasks. I also sat in on a very informative round table on Mobile Apps for Mariners hosted by our friend Mark Doyle (Managing the Waterway Guides). It’s also a topic close to my heart now that I have started a new App Development company – iTapTouch. It was interesting to see how many sailors have iPhones. I saw many with Droids as well, and there are still quite a few holdouts who are less tech savvy and still want whatever free phone the provider is offering! Here’s something I thought I’d never see: Gordon Groves with an iPad! Wow! Now I’ve seen it all! Way to Go Gordon!

apps_roundtable_mark-2

Mark Doyle mesmerize the audience

The Gam has come a long way since I helped put them on. I must give credit where credit is due… the current BOD. What a terrific bunch of dedicated folks. This years AGM was one for the record books – not just in the crowd that attended but because it was so well done. Who knew you could make the Annual Meeting about the Members? Well, they did. VP Chad Carvey introduced a bunch of members who had website links in their bios online. Board Members welcomed the Newbies who were at the Gam, and Treasurer David told the crowd how SSCA has come back from the brink of insolvency to “in the Black” thanks to lots of new members and the Seven Seas “U” where you can join a webinar and learn almost anything about the lifestyle. BIG thanks to outgoing Board President – Craig Briggs who did more for the organization than most of his predecessors! (Check out his cruising blog!)

injections_1

Practicing injections

Trinidad Cruising Station Hosts and friend to all cruisers, Jessie James (Members’ Only) and his adorable wife Sharon Rose were back along with Leroy Quildon, industry specialists for the yachting community in Trinidad was also attending in order to share all the great things that the Trinis offer us cruisers.

nancy-sells-soda
Your Cruising Editor shares SodaStream

The vendor area was full again with the great big family of cruising specialists, authors and services. I even gave out tastes of all natural sodas that you can make yourself with regular drinking water and the SodaStream. What a great invention! Now available at The Yachting Gourmet Store!

suturing roundtable

Preparing for the worse!

If you on the lucky few who are planning your escape, do yourself a favor and don’t miss the next Gam. Same place, same time, next year.

See ya there!

 

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I’ve been watching the reports out of the Gulf (Louisiana, Mississippi), listening to fisherman and oystermen who somehow managed to survive Hurricane Katrina, only to face the worst man-made environmental catastrophe yet. It brings tears to my eyes, hearing them say how they never thought this could happen. Hell, BP has said the same thing and that makes me angry.

The Feds want to expand drilling as did the State of Florida, that is until Governor Crist decided it wasn’t really in our best interests. I’m glad he’s left the Republican Party for his run for the Senate. He is truly an Independent after all. And we need more like him. At least US Senate candidate Kendrick Meek is also against more offshore drilling. Who among the Gubernatorial candidates is also against such drilling. I just discovered (in a Miami Herald article) that the State Legislature was depending on those profitable oil leases to “fill a $6 billion budget hole expected next year.” Now it looks like the State is caught between a rock and a hard (if not sticky & oily) place.

In a recent interview with Wolf Blitzer, on the Situation Room, Meek said, “I’ve been consistent as relates to being against offshore drilling in Florida. I can’t say that by every candidate in the race. It was news flash as of two days ago that the governor switched his position once again on offshore oil drilling, and it’s important. There’s not one Chamber of Commerce along the Gulf Coast area, either be a Republican or Democratic county or what have you, they’re saying that they want offshore oil drilling. What has happened now in the gulf is the perfect example that can wreck Florida’s tourism economy, and we’ll continue to work with the administration on that issue.”

Crist made the right move and declared a state of emergency in the state’s panhandle ahead of a possible disaster.

“The oil slick is generally moving in a northerly direction and threatens Florida’s coast,” the executive order reads. “Oil continues to spill from the well as all efforts to stop the discharge have failed and may not succeed for an extended period of time.” (washingtonindependent.com). The warning applies to the counties of Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay and Gulf.

Boaters and Marine Industry Will Be Affected

Florida has the highest number of registered recreational watercraft in the United States (988,652) and is a major recreational boating destination for non-state residents, with an estimated 350,000 non-registered boats actively using Florida’s waters in 2006. Recreational boating and its associated marine industry sectors, including manufacturing, sales, dockage facilities and marinas, and repair businesses generate a significant amount of economic activity. A study conducted for the Marine Industry Association of Florida estimated that the state’s marine industry had an economic impact of $18.4 billion and employed more than 220,000 Floridians in 2005.(Source: Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability an office of the Florida Legislature).

Here’s a link to an excellent animated image of the movement of the oil and placement of booms in the Gulf.

Map of oil spill in Gulf

Oil spill growing in the Gulf

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/oil-spill-map.htm

Who Will See The Worst Of It?

A University of Florida professor and oceanographic expert says he believes the east coast of Florida might see the worst of the impact of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In an article by Joe Callahan on www.gainesville.com, “…state health officials say the chemical-like smell reported to be wafting occasionally across parts of the state, including Alachua and Marion counties, has not been definitively linked to the oil spill but that they continue to monitor the reports.

Y. Peter Sheng, coastal and oceanographic engineer at UF, said the six-day ocean current models released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveal that the western coast of Florida, from the Big Bend to Cedar Key, could be spared.

The oil slick that’s growing south of the Louisiana coast could get caught in what’s called the “Loop Current,” which flows through the Florida Straits and becomes the Gulf Stream.

The Gulf of Mexico's Loop Current

Circulation of the Loop Current through the Gulf of Mexico

The Gulf Stream runs up the eastern coast of Florida. Sheng said he believes it is entirely possible, even probable, that this will happen, thus impacting the beaches from Miami to Jacksonville. The Loop Current is about 35 miles south of the slick, which currently is 125 miles wide and 40 miles long.

“I would say the east coast of Florida has the higher probability (of being impacted by the oil spill),” said Sheng, adding his opinion is based on NOAA’s ocean current forecast and wind direction.

Sheng said until the slick gets to shallow water, wind will not greatly impact the oil slick’s movement.

Lauren McKeague, with the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said state officials are treating the encroaching spill as they would a hurricane and will continue monitoring its growth over the weekend.

Meanwhile, with officials predicting possible landfall of oil on beaches in northwestern Florida by Monday, NOAA has contacted UF Sea Grant agents in Panama City to determine how they can assist with the impending disaster.

Steve Theberge, one of the agents contacted, said NOAA hasn’t given them marching orders yet but is determining who can help and what their capabilities are, looking for everything from boat operators to those who can clean animals covered in oil.”

It’s possible that we will all have to get involved; to save our boats, to save our endangered wildlife, to save our beaches and to save our precious coastline.

In order to protect boats, the Boat Owners Association of the United States suggests:

  • If a marina or boat club puts oil containment booms in place, do not attempt to cross the booms with a boat. This will only spread the oil and damage the booms or possibly the vessel’s running gear.
  • If there is oil in the marina, refrain from running engines or other devices that have seawater intakes such as air conditioners or refrigerators.
  • Hauling out the boat will prevent damage, but it is unclear if these costs will be reimbursed by BP.
  • If the spill is sighted coming toward the marina or is already there, call the BP Community Information Hotline at 866-448-5816 to report it.
  • If your boat comes in contact with the oil, call your insurance company to file a claim. Uninsured boaters can call the BP Hotline at 800-440-0858 to file a claim.
  • Damage to a BoatUS-insured vessel caused by the oil is covered. BoatUS members can call 800-937-1937 to file a claim.

Has the Oil spill affected you or your boat? Let me know by leaving a comment.

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