News, recent developments, and useful information from around the Chesapeake.

December 15, 2014

McAuliffe elected to lead Chesapeake Bay Program council

Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe will succeed outgoing Maryland governor Martin O'Malley in January as the head of the Chesapeake Bay Program's executive council. The group is responsible for overseeing the Bay states' efforts to comply with federal and regional mandates for cleaning up the Chesapeake, including Chesapeake Bay Maximum Daily Load water quality goals and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.

The Chesapeake Bay Program is composed of state, federal and local officials as well as academic institutions and nonprofit groups. The council itself is made up of the governors of each of the Bay states-Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia-the mayor of the District of Columbia, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Commission.

November 20, 2014

JM Clayton to Reopen Oyster Shucking Operation after 50 years

Things are looking up for oysters in the Chesapeake Bay, improving so dramatically that the historic JM Clayton packing company in Cambridge, Md., will resume oyster shucking at its crab packing facility after 50 years. At one point in time Clayton employed 100 shuckers, but as Bay oyster numbers dwindled they closed that part of the business down completely. The fledgling oyster operation is starting small with three shuckers, but hopes to expand soon. Clayton oysters are currently available for purchase at JM Clayton's shucking house and are served at Snappers Restaurant.

November 20, 2014

Ft. Smallwood Public Boat Launch

Anne Arundel County, Maryland has 540 miles of shoreline, the most of any county in the country, yet water access continues to be very limited. There are 14,000 boats or trailers registered in the county and many consider it unfair that county residents will start paying taxes to slow down and clean up stormwater runoff to help the Bay but still have little access to it. Groundbreaking for a boat ramp at Ft. Smallwood Park, originally proposed in the 1990s, finally took place October 28. It is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2016. County officials and citizens alike are hoping that this is just the beginning of efforts to improve public access to the Bay.

November 12, 2014

Photo by Kathy Bergen Smith

Chesapeake Born

A Bay-built tugboat splashes in the West River, ready to get to work for the yard that built her.

Jeff Smith, owner of the Smith Brothers boatyard in Galesville, Md., named the 50-foot tugboat he's just built for his father, 99-year-old Captain Kenneth Smith. Captain Kenneth was one of the original seven Smith brothers who founded a marine construction business that's been operating from the West River since 1918. One recent cloudy day in October, Jeff stood on the pilothouse deck of his newly launched vessel and addressed the friends and admirers gathered on the dock and a nearby barge set as a floating pier.

"This boat is a far cry from the boat that I started working on. I ran that tug for many years," he noted. "The only navigation equipment it had on it was a compass and a depth recorder." This boat is so high tech, he continued, he'd probably be just as lost in the pilothouse as he was when his old boat was wrapped in fog.

Built entirely in the Smith Brothers yard in Galesville, the project took three years from concept to launch. Preston Hartge supervised the construction, starting with the steel plates delivered on a flatbed semi to the finished vessel afloat with its pack-a-wallop twin 700-horsepower engines.

As Captain Kenneth himself looked on with pride, his granddaughter Ellie smashed a net-bound bottle of bubbly on the bow, and the tugboat Capt Kenneth joined the fleet of modern Chesapeake workboats born and bred here on the Bay.

-Jeff Holland

November 12, 2014

Saving Powhatan's Village

A grant will be used to protect the site's York River shoreline from washing away.

A $199,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will allow researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science to help protect Werowocomoco-one of the most important Native American sites in the eastern United States-from shoreline erosion and sea-level rise. Occupied for the last 10,000 years, Werowocomoco was the seat of power for Algonquian Chief Powhatan when English colonists arrived at Jamestowne in 1607. The site-where Captain John Smith was purportedly saved by Powhatan's daughter Pocahontas-occupies an eroding headland on the north side of the York River about half way between Yorktown and West Point. Bob and Lynn Ripley, the current landowners, have graciously allowed a conservation easement and archaeological excavations on the 57 acres of their property that form the core of the historic village.

The main feature of the restoration project will be two or more sills-long piles of rock placed just offshore and parallel to the low, sandy cliff that forms the existing shoreline. Between sill and shore, sand and marsh grasses will be added for additional habitat and protection. Bringing an educational component to the project, the marsh grasses will be planted and monitored by students from Ware Academy in Gloucester. All told, the project will create about 15,000 square feet of marsh while keeping more than 900,000 pounds of sediment and nearly 500 pounds of phosphorus and nitrogen out of the York River each year.

-David Malmquist

November 12, 2014

Photo by Ralph Naranjo

Getting a Better View

U.S. Naval Observatory comes to Annapolis school to study sight reduction.

The Annapolis School of Seamanship, known for its introductory seminars and extensive sea training programs, just got a new group of course graduates: a team of folks from the U.S. Naval Observatory, with a few astronomers from Vanderbilt University thrown in for good measure. Yes, that would be the U.S. Naval Observatory, the go-to place for astronomical data and the official timekeeper for the U.S. Department of Defense (and the rest of the country, for that matter). The group made the trip to Annapolis to review some of the finer points of celestial navigation with instructor (and CBM columnist) Ralph Naranjo.

"They wanted to learn the process of sight reduction," says Naranjo, himself a circumnavigator with many years of experience in navigation, celestial and otherwise. "Sight reduction boils down to the calculations required to establish your position once you've 'shot' the sun, star, planet or moon."

The Naval Observatory team wanted to see how their Nautical Almanac was being used, and Vanderbilt astronomers are working on a streamlined approach to sight reduction. "Celestial navigation may seem antiquated," Naranjo said, "but it still represents a useful backup skill that commercial mariners must master.

November 12, 2014

Good Anchorage

Online resources for cruisers have increased exponentially in the past few years, including some sites with wonderful, first-hand information about cozy coves and neat places to anchor for the night. Good Anchorage ( is the latest, and it is a valuable source of professional-level data.

Todd Rapley, cofounder of Good Anchorage, explained that his work as a superyacht captain revealed a need for reliable information about places his clients wanted to go. Running yachts through the South Pacific, where soundings often date back to Captain Cook, he began collecting data from fellow captains about safe anchorages for vessels like his.

Good Anchorage reflects this. It is strongest in the Pacific and other far-flung places where world cruisers go. If you're going to Antarctica or Reunion Island, this site can recommend a place for you to drop the hook. It's also strong on facts, with a clear display that shows not only depths and bottom conditions, but wind and weather protection and current weather. Having spent a fair amount of time on a professionally run 96-foot sailboat, I see exactly where this site shines.

Information on the Chesapeake Bay is pretty light, with only a couple dozen anchorages. We who live here know that a quick look within a 20- mile radius from any given spot on the Bay will yield more than that. Rapley expects to increase the coverage through local crowdsourcing. If you know the Bay and want to share, you can help by signing up with the service (free).

Good Anchorage is not a gunkholer's guide like Active Captain (look for a review of that next month). It is an excellent resource if you are planning to sail to distant places, and it is young, with potential to grow. It's also a wonderful source for daydreams during cold winter days.

-Tom Dove

November 12, 2014

Farewell, Captain

Fabled Eastern Shore charter captain Buddy Harrison passes away.

Captain Levin Faulkner "Buddy" Harrison III, the iconic charterboat captain and restaurant owner who left an indelible mark on Maryland's Eastern Shore, died Wednesday, October 15, at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. Captain Buddy had been battling cancer; he was 80 years old.

Captain Buddy was born and raised on Tilghman Island, helping with his family's fledgling charterfishing business and expanded summer boarding house. The family "empire" ultimately encompassed Harrison's Chesapeake House, Harrison Sport Fishing, and Harrison Oyster Company, names that would become synonymous not only with the family, but with Tilghman Island itself.

Captain Buddy took over the family businesses in 1978 after his father died. The best known part of those businesses is perhaps Harrison's Chesapeake House, famed for its down-home Bay Country cooking. Harrison's Chesapeake House is also the center for the Harrison charterfishing fleet.

The self-described "Boss Hogg of Tilghman Island," Captain Buddy was highly regarded for his ability to put his clients "on fish" and then wrap their whole experience with stories and recollections that delighted everyone. His boat, the 65-foot Capt. Buddy, played host to all sorts of political, entertainment and sports figures, including past governors, presidents and celebrities.

Harrison's life on the water was not without occasional brushes with the Maryland Natural Resources Police, however. According to a Maryland Judiciary Court Search, Captain Buddy was charged with multiple natural resource violations between 1992 and 2006, the last of which resulted in his turning over his charter and fishing licenses for good.

He is survived by his sons Levin Faulkner "Little Buddy" Harrison IV and Charles R. Harrison, along with seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Little Buddy will continue to operate the family businesses on Tilghman Island.

-Gary Reich

October 17, 2014

Eight New Public Access Sites to the Chesapeake Bay

The Chesapeake Bay Office of the National Park Service recently announced receiving more than $600,000 funding to create much-needed public access to the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The projects include: Cat Point Creek access, Warsaw, Va.; Dutch Gap and Henricus access, Chesterfield, Va.; Front Street access to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, Jersey Shore, Pa.; McVeytown access to the Juniata River, Lewistown, Pa.; Pitts Landing Paddle Craft Facility on the Pocomoke River, Accomac, Va.; Woodland Wharf Access, Dover, Del.; and the Oyster House Project at Tilghman, Md.

Details of the projects and complete story at

October 17, 2014

New White Perch and Cobia Records Set in Maryland

The new freshwater division white perch record¬-1.7pounds-was landed by James Stiars of Baldwin, Md., in the Loch Raven Reservoir. The previous record-holding fish, also caught at Loch Raven, was 1.62 pounds. Stiars, who fishes two or three times a week there in summer, was using a Shad Rat crank-bait and originally thought he had a largemouth bass on the line. The record Cobia was caught on that very same day, September 5, near Ocean City. The 79-pound Cobia was caught a mile and a half east of the inlet by Jack Latimer of Potomac, Md. He was using bucktail jigs tipped with soft-plastic twister tails, and managed to wrestle it into his 16-foot skiff with the help of a friend.


October 17, 2014

185,000 Eels Trucked Around the Conowingo Dam

Recent research has shown that eels in the Chesapeake Bay watershed are critical to the life cycle of freshwater mussels-the larvae of which need to live for a time on a fish "host" before becoming independent. Since the Conowingo was built in 1928 the Susquehanna elliptios (aka freshwater mussels) have pretty much disappeared because eels were no longer able to migrate upstream. Trucking eels around the dam began in 2004 and since 2008 about 700,000 eels have been trucked upstream. A survey taken this year in Pennsylvania's Pine Creek, where eels have been stocked for five years, shows a promising return of the mussels. Exelon Power Company donated $25,000 to continue the trucking operation and there are future plans to construct more sophisticated collection sites on both sides of the river. An eel passage is also in the works, but some are skeptical of passages after only eight shad got past the multimillion dollar fish passages built for them.

Excerpted from Bay Journal,

October 7, 2014

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons User Acroterion

Docked in Limbo

You wouldn't say that the Schooner Virginia, parked behind Nauticus on Norfolk's downtown waterfront, looks forlorn. Still lovingly cared for by volunteers, her woodwork gleams with varnish and her deck wears only a patina of gray. What she exudes instead, rocking gently at her slip, is a sense of patience.

That may be because nothing is happening. Although her owner, the Virginia Maritime Heritage Foundation, announced last August that the Virginia would be put up for sale, that has not happened. And no one seems to be in any hurry to rock this interesting boat. Could no news be good news?

"We continue to look for opportunities," Will King, the foundation's executive director, told me in late September. He wouldn't add very much except to say that if there were any way to keep her here, "we're all for that." Doesn't sound exactly like a fire sale.

The 126-foot gaff-rigged two-masted schooner is a re-creation and namesake of the last all-sail vessel built for the Virginia Pilot Association. The original Virginia, which made its debut in 1917, was inspired by the sleek America's Cup racers of the day and was known to be screamingly fast, hitting top speeds of 15 knots. Its mission was to train apprentice pilots in seamanship and navigation.

The new Virginia was built on the Norfolk waterfront and launched 10 years ago as a sort of floating ambassador for the state, hopefully drawing tourists and business investors. There was money for this in state and local coffers then, so the future looked bright. There were memorable moments during the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race, especially 2007, when the Virginia, with its friendly rival the Pride of Baltimore II close astern, crossed the finish line at Thimble Shoals in 11 hours, 18 minutes, shattering the course record by more than an hour.

But the next year, the economy went south, and all government funding for the schooner abruptly ended. For much of 2009 the Virginia was out of commission, downrigged and wrapped in plastic. But she re-emerged in 2013 with a new business plan and new optimism, taking youths and adults on sail-training and educational missions up and down the Atlantic seaboard and into the Caribbean. On one heavy-weather trip to Bermuda and back, students learned celestial navigation. But the new business plan wasn't working, either, with operating costs far outstripping fees and contributions. By August, a million dollars in debt and burdened by million-dollar yearly operating costs, the schooner was brought home to Norfolk from a sail-training cruise to Newport, R.I., with the intention of putting her on the market. As the foundation put it, "the sale of the vessel appears the most prudent decision at this time."

It was shocking to many long-time supporters of the schooner, including dozens of volunteers who helped build her. Full disclosure: During a plank-signing ceremony during construction, I wished our daughters "fair winds always." The inscription may still be there, hidden beneath stout white oak frames.

The prospects for a successful sale, though, didn't look great. Although once appraised at $3.5 to $4 million, another tall ship, the Spirit of South Carolina- which also cost $4 million to build-brought only $440,000 at auction. Would the Virginia suffer the same fate? Meanwhile, the Virginia's operating costs have shrunk to near zero. Her captain, relief captain, 10-member crew and office staff are gone. Remaining is free dockage at Nauticus and all those volunteers who lovingly keep her in near-Bristol condition, waiting, yes patiently, for that next "opportunity."

-by Paul Clancy

October 7, 2014

Steve Earley

Looking Good

Don't bet against the Chesapeake ecosystem's capacity to rebound from abuse, human or otherwise. Here is a case in point: Researchers in both Virginia and Maryland have recently documented fall spawning by Atlantic sturgeon-6- to 12-foot-long fish-in Virginia's James and York rivers and the Maryland Eastern Shore's Marshyhope Creek, the northwest branch of the Nanticoke River.

Until the 1990s, scientists believed that the Atlantic sturgeon native to the Chesapeake's rivers had gone extinct and that the handful of fish that occasionally turned up in pound nets or dead from collisions with ships were wandering members of the Hudson River stock. But a bounty program in the '90s that paid watermen who caught sturgeon and called the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to document and release the fish turned up a surprising number of "sub-adults" in the two-to-five-foot range. Also in the late '90s, scientists from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Studies Horn Point Laboratory raised fingerlings from Hudson stock and released them into the Nanticoke River.

Then in the early 2000s, a crew of watermen in the lower James River, working gill nets under a contract with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, managed to catch, tag and release more than a thousand sub-adults. In the spring of 2005, a Chesapeake Bay Foundation workboat with a class of eighth-grade students aboard caught a six-inch "young-of-the-year" sturgeon in a trawl net in the James River near Hopewell. It was the first documented evidence of successful wild spawning in half-a-century!

Since then, work with sturgeon has exploded, especially on the James under a consortium of a number of state, federal and educational agencies, including Virginia Commonwealth University, the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the James River Association, as well as a number of others. In addition, NOAA's Protected Resources Division has funded a broad-scale initiative that also includes the University of Maryland and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. This partnership has allowed broad research on this remarkable fish, including radio-tagging with receivers in most of the Chesapeake's major rivers to assess the population size and track the fishes' movements. One important objective is to document spawning areas and begin to improve spawning habitat. Several years ago, for example, Virginia Commonwealth and the James River Association collaborated with Luck Stone, a Richmond-based sand and gravel company, to build a new reef between Hopewell and Richmond.

Today, there is a great deal of information on the progress of this research. If you'd like to follow this remarkable story, look for "Sturgeon on the Bay" in the Quick Links box on our website,

-by John Page Williams

October 7, 2014

Out of Calvert Cliffs

Things must be getting positively lyrical in world of fossil nomenclature. Take for example the newest extinct fish fossil to come out of Calvert Cliffs, that seemingly bottomless mine of things Miocene. The fossil of a here-to-fore unknown tunneling tilefish has been dubbed "ereborensis" after the mountain Erebor in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, where it was the Dwarves who did the tunneling. These prehistoric fish tunneled-and sometimes perished-in the sea floor, their skeletons becoming fossils. More than 600 fossil species have emerged from Calvert Cliffs over the years, most of these cataloged and preserved by the Calvert Marine Museum ( in Solomons, Md.

October 7, 2014

Long Live the Blue Crab Guru

The Chesapeake Bay lost a legend earlier this year when Arnold "Whitey" Schmidt, the popular cookbook author and bon vivant, passed away. Schmidt was 75 and, according to friends, went peacefully in his sleep.

Schmidt not only authored Chesapeake Bay Magazine's popular Crab Lab cooking column, he wrote 11 popular books on the region's cooking, culture and people. Schmidt's first book, The Official Crab Eater's Guide (1985), marked a milestone in the history of Bay country food lit. It became a popular staple at regional bookstores and remains in circulation today.

This early success allowed him to quit his "real job" working for the family business, Tab Tire, in suburban Washington, D.C. He moved to the Eastern Shore and began pursuing his passion for cooking and writing full time.

He went on to publish the books Seaside Dining: Views to Dine By; Bay Tripper (Eastern and Western Shore editions); The Chesapeake Bay Crabbiest Cookbook; The Chesapeake Bay Oyster Cookbook; The Eastern Shore Cookbook . . . and many others.

Schmidt has been profiled in countless newspapers, magazines and television documentaries. The list includes Southern Living, Chesapeake Bay Magazine, BaySailor, Coastal Style, Washington Post, Frederick Magazine, Soundings, Bay Weekly, Sail Magazine and Maryland Life. He was also featured in Maryland Public Television's award-winning documentary Eatin' Crabs Chesapeake Style.

Along the way, Schmidt served as a judge in numerous seafood-cooking competitions, from Annapolis to St. Michaels and beyond.

He claimed to have eaten in more than 275 crabhouses in Maryland, Virginia and Delaware.

In recent years, Schmidt increasingly devoted himself to painting, working mainly in watercolor and acrylic. He filled his home and studio with canvases-most of them focusing on Bay country themes and, of course, the blue crab.

Schmidt's son Matthew is taking the reigns at Whitey's imprint, Marian Hartnett Press, and plans on releasing several new volumes in the future. For more information on Schmidt's work, go to

-by Jay Livingston

October 7, 2014

Courtesy of Flikr User Stevehdc

Out of the Inner Harbor

The Constellation, the last all-sail ship built by the U.S. Navy and a star attraction of Baltimore's Inner Harbor for the past 60 years, will be wintering on Curtis Bay this year as she gets extensive work done to her hull and spars in the Coast Guard yard. The city has approved $750,000 to replace 4,000 square feet of laminated planking on the hull, while state and private money will make up the additional $1.25 million for spars and rigging. The 160-year-old ship, which once captured slave ships off the coast of Africa, will return to the Inner Harbor at the end of February. For more information on the Constellation, see

October 7, 2014

Into Mallows Bay

A small bay located just north of the Potomac River's big horseshoe turn has long been the unwitting host to a ghostly fleet of ships, most of them wooden coal-burners built in Baltimore and elsewhere for use during World War I. The problem was most of them were completed after the war was over. As a result, they were discarded, ending up through a series of misadventures in Mallows Bay. Now a consortium of public and private groups-including the Piscataway Indian tribe, which long inhabited the bay-has filed a petition to have the site declared a federal marine sanctuary. If approved, it would be a first for the Chesapeake (except for a portion of the Monitor Trail, which includes the Mariners' Museum in Newport News). There are currently only 13 marine sanctuaries in the country. For more on the sanctuaries see

October 7, 2014

Out of the Chesapeake

You could call it just a formality, but the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in September gave its final approval to Dominion Resource's petition to convert its Cove Point facility from an offloading station for liquified natural gas (LNG) to one that creates and exports it. FERC said Dominion could export up to 5.75 metric tons of LNG per year from the facility, located just north of Cove Point Lighthouse above Solomons, Md. Construction of the new facility is expected to cost about $3.4 billion. Dominion has 20-year contracts to export natural gas to both India and Japan. The proposal has been opposed by a number of environmental groups because of the method of extracting the gas, called "fracking;" the large population living within a 50-mile range of Cove Point; and the potential threat to the Chesapeake itself.

October 7, 2014

Out of Action

With several thousand cruises under her drive belt, the venerable Lantern Queen has been retired. The colorful riverboat has been a familiar sight along the upper Chesapeake and lower Susquehanna River since 1997, carrying tens of thousands of visitors from its base in Havre de Grace, Md. After a routine Coast Guard inspection earlier this year showed that the thickness of the hull had been reduced significantly by electrolysis, Carroll and Becky Fitzgerald, who have owned the boat since 2007, decided it was time for the Queen to abdicate.

October 7, 2014

Into the Future

The Smithsonian Institution's new $57 million laboratory at its Edgewater, Md., environmental research center (SERC) is so green, even the leprechauns are jealous. How green is it? It's so green that even the ribbon at the September ribbon-cutting was green. Seriously, it's so green that all of the water used in the building is filtered through SERC's wastewater treatment plant and reused for bathrooms, fires and so forth. It has a thousand solar panels and more than 250 geothermal wells to support heating and cooling. And its design uses 42 percent less energy and produces 37 percent less carbon dioxide than other 92,000-square-foot buildings. Are there a lot of those around? We don't know. This one is called the Charles McC. Mathias Building in honor of Mac Mathias, Maryland's U.S. senator whose actions were instrumental in the formation of the Chesapeake Bay Program.

October 7, 2014

Into Paddlewheels

While Havre de Grace may be losing its grand dame of a paddlewheeler, the Hampton Roads Transit Board is considering adding paddlewheels to its own ferryboats. The dress-up would cost the department about $75,000 and add several thousand to yearly maintenance costs, but several members of the transit board are entranced with the idea as a way to increase tourist interest. And the board just happens to have a $4.4 million federal transit grant to make improvements, including replacing one of its boats. Hampton Roads Transit operates three ferries, which carry passengers between Portsmouth and Norfolk.

September 15, 2014

Hit the Oyster Trail

Virginia is all about oysters! And now it has its own trail. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe last month announced the creation of the Virginia Oyster Trail. The idea is that the trail will connect visitors to Virginia oyster purveyors, raw bars and restaurants, and to the culture of Bay watermen.

"Virginia produces the best oysters in the world," McAuliffe declared with understandable partisanship, "and we want it to be known that Virginia is also the Oyster Capital of the East Coast." The fledgling website,, has a guide to the seven oyster trail regions and the unique flavor of each region's oysters.

Update: USA Today has a great article on the Virginia Oyster Trail which you can read here

September 15, 2014

Exciting sturgeon find in Marshyhope Creek

Biologists were in for quite a surprise when they recently netted two "ripe" sturgeon in Marshyhope Creek, a tributary of Maryland's Nanticoke River. One was a 7-foot, 154-pound, female filled with eggs and the other a 5-foot, 70-pound male. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been on the trail of the illusive sturgeon in the Marshyhope area for more than two years. This was their first capture.

Like other anadromous fish, sturgeon live most of their lives in the ocean, but return to native rivers to spawn. In recent years, sturgeon (the Bay's largest fish) have only been known to spawn in the James River. Now biologists hope to find recently spawned "young of the year" in Marshyhope Creek.

Read the full story at:

September 9, 2014

Classy Yachting

The Inn at Perry Cabin on the banks of the Miles River adjacent to St. Michaels long ago established itself as a place for posher living. Visitors can relax in royal splendor enjoying amenities out the veritable wazoo, including gourmet dining and luxurious overnight accommodations. Now they can go for a sail aboard a pair of world-class Alerion yachts while they're at it.

Jason Pinter (former general manager at the Annapolis Sailing School) has big ideas for the fledgling fleet now in place at the hotel's Fogg Cove dock. Besides the two sailboats, he has a spiffy French canalboat (an Andreydale 33, to be precise) at his disposal. Hotel visitors, including folks who just come for the sail, can opt for a two-hour tour aboard (take your pick) Star Bright, the Alerion Express 38, or Star Light, the Alerion Sport 33. If quaffing cocktails is more your style, go for a toot aboard the Harbor Star, the sleek shallow-draft canalboat.

Pinter can take six passengers at a time ($90 apiece) and is happy to throw in a little sail instruction on the side. In fact, he is currently working to develop a full blown ASA accredited sailing school at Perry Cabin: come for a week, leave with ASA accreditation good for picking up a charter boat in the Caribbean or a quick family cruise around the Med.

"Right now I just want to get folks out on the water while I work to get the school up and running," Pinter says. "I also want to give them a taste of some high-end boats that they might not otherwise have a chance to sail."

Now that's a noble thought. Stay tuned. The current tour schedule runs through October and starts up again in April. For more information, go to, click on "hotel" and scroll down to "activities" to find the downloadable brochure on boating opportunities.

September 9, 2014

Boom for Oil, Bust for Sea Mammals

Against strong opposition from environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club and Oceana, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has approved the use of powerful sonic blasts in the search for offshore energy resources in an area from Delaware to Florida, including the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay as well as coastal Virginia and Maryland. The federal agency may now begin granting permits to companies looking for oil and gas resources. In reacting to the approval, the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club points out that even federal research has shown that seismic cannon blasts, or air guns, will injure or kill more than 138,000 marine mammals. The seismic air guns are towed behind vessels firing every 10 seconds over a period of many hours. The impact on mammals that use their hearing for migration, nursing, feeding and other functions could be devastating, the groups maintain.

September 9, 2014

Come Ye Mariners All

You won't find bogus "pirate talk" here, just a wealth of sea songs delivered with full-throated gusto and a lot of audience participation. The Capital Maritime Music Fest on Saturday, November 1, focuses on music by and about people who live and work in our region's maritime communities-with plenty of chanteys from the seven seas thrown in for good measure.

The U.S. Navy Sea Chanters open the show with an hour-long concert beginning at 1 p.m. After that, festival attendees can choose from a variety of activities including a hefty list of hands-on workshops. English-born singer and raconteur John Robert headlines the evening concert (along with Scottish balladeer Alan Red and other luminaries) which starts at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 for a pre-concert all-sing).

Admission is free (a donation of $20 is requested for the evening concert). Co-sponsored by the Washington Revels and the Folklore Society of Greater Washington, with further support from the Schooner Woodwind and the Alexandria Seaport Foundation, the event is hosted by the Naval Heritage Center, 701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, in downtown Washington, D.C. For more information, visit the festival's website

September 9, 2014

Sail Away (Safely)

Ralph Naranjo's new book, The Art of Seamanship: Evolving Skills, Exploring Oceans, and Handling Wind, Waves, and Weather, ($50; McGraw Hill), provides a game plan for becoming the best sailor possible. Known by many as an advocate for safety at sea (he moderates Safety at Sea seminars all over the country), Naranjo delves into his own experiences as a circumnavigator and sets his pen to all the sorts of things onboard folks need to know before they go sailing around the Horn or just up the river and back. The book serves as a resource for pros and novices alike.

September 9, 2014

Wild Time!

Wild rice was a big hit in Native American circles. Its nutty flavor makes it a perfect companion for almost any meal. But probably the best thing about wild rice is that it is abundant right here on the Chesapeake, and within easy reach of boaters cruising the wild and scenic portions of the Bay's rivers.

Zizania aquatica abounds in the tidal marshes along the Chesapeake Bay, especially along the Little Choptank, Nanticoke, Patuxent, Potomac and York rivers. Look for tall banks of foliage topped with silvery green seed heads. This time of year those seed heads are bursting with delectable edible rice kernels that are relatively easy to collect and are guaranteed to add an extra spark to your galley cooking.   

To harvest the rice, grab two large wooden sticks (a paddle, boat hook, crab net, something sturdy that you found along the shoreline . . . .), lay a tarp in the bottom of your dinghy or canoe, then get personal with a stand of wild rice. Using one of the sticks bend the rice heads over the tarp and use the other stick to knock the grains into the bottom of the boat. (Two people working as a duo can do this better than a solo.) When you've collected all you want, pour your haul into a brown paper bag or spread it on a tray and set it aside to dry for two to four days, ruffling it a couple of times a day to loosen any clumps. 

Before you can actually eat your harvest, you'll need to parch the grains in order to remove the husks. Spread a layer of rice in the bottom of an iron skillet and turn the heat on medium low. Using a wooden spoon, stir the grains until the husks are brittle and begin to break open (the rice will turn golden). Remove the rice from the pan and allow the grains to cool. Finally, being careful to stand downwind, gently shake out the rice by cupping both hands and letting the grains run through your fingers, allowing the chaff (the outer hulls) to blow away. What you have left is ready to cook!

August 15, 2014

Stiff Penalties for Hoax Distress Caller

On October 8, 2013, the Coast Guard Sector North received a mayday call in which the caller claimed he was sinking and abandoning his boat in the vicinity of Cape Lookout and Shackleford Banks, North Carolina. Search and rescue operations were commenced that included the Coast Guard, the U.S. Marine Corps, the National Park Service and a local salvage company. A witness to the phone call informed the Coast Guard's investigative service that she heard Homer Blackburn making the mayday call and that he was watching the helicopter rescue efforts off his balcony. Another witness reported that Mr. Blackburn also bragged about the call. On August 4, 2014, Homer Lewis Blackburn, 27, of Atlantic Beach, N.C. was sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $288,390.80 in restitution for the costs incurred.

August 15, 2014

Is Your Favorite Beach Safe?

The Maryland Healthy Beaches initiative provides information on the current condition of your favorite beaches. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the website provides an interactive map of beaches that are open, have advisories, or have algae bloom concerns. You can also sign up for email or text updates or download their mobile app (Android or iPhone).

August 15, 2014

Old Bay Ale Proceeds Benefit Maryland Watermen

On August 7, 2014, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley accepted a $10,270 donation from Flying Dog Brewery to the state's True Blue program, which advocates for the Bay's 5,500 watermen and the sustainable harvest and use of Chesapeake Bay's blue crabs. The donation is a portion of the proceeds from the sales of Flying Dog's Dead Rise Old Bay Summer Ale. This limited-production beer, released to commemorate Old Bay's 75th anniversary, was flying off the shelves this summer. In less than two weeks, the amount of Dead Rise Summer Ale slated for production for the entire mid-Atlantic region was sold in Maryland alone. Flying Dog and Old Bay also partnered to produce the Dead Rise Old Bay Cookbook, which features recipes from 17 local celebrity chefs. 100 percent of the proceeds from the cookbook will benefit True Blue. Dead Rise Old Bay Summer Ale will be available through mid-September, and the Old Bay cookbook is available from Flying Dog's website,, at the brewery gift shop, and at the Old Baytique in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

August 15, 2014

BoatUS Sea Scout National Flagship Award

BoatUS awarded Seas Scout Ship 1942, S.S.S Dragonlady, with the 12th Sea Scout National Flagship Award. This is the second time Ship 1942, from Arlington, Va., has received the prestigious award, which was awarded on behalf of the unit's impressive record of accomplishments, including 68 days of on-the-water activities last year, a 9-day summer cruise, plus hundreds of hours of community service projects and numerous other achievements. The Sea Scouts and their leader Tom Ballew, skipper of Ship 1942, accepted the award at a ceremony held in Solomons, Md., on August 4. Operated by the Boy Scouts of America, Sea Scouting has 6,500 youths, about one-third female, participating in 475 Ships nationwide. For more information about Sea Scouting, visit:

August 12, 2014

Keeping the James River Open

Dredges are working on two sections of the James River into the fall to alleviate shoaling in the navigation channel, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District. The $3.2 million project will dredge 475,000 yards of sediment in the James at Dancing Point (the western mouth of the Chickahominy River) and Jordan Point (just east of Hopewell, Va.). The goal is to keep the James channel 25-feet deep and 300-feet wide as far as Hopewell and 200-feet wide to Richmond Lock.

August 12, 2014

Oysters Galore

It's about time we got some good news about oysters! Last year's harvest in Virginia was the biggest since 1987. Not that the harvest in 2012 was anything to cry about-that was up 60 percent over 2011. But 2013 followed that with an additional 25-percent rise. That translates to 409,000 bushels in 2012 and 504,000 bushels in 2013. In dollars, that's a rise from $16.2 million to $22.2 million. And that's no small potatoes.

August 12, 2014

Would You Like Crabs with that Centennial?

Phillips Seafood, that juggernaut of the thousand-seat restaurant and six-dining-room-long buffet, celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Known for its Phillips Restaurants, first in Ocean City, then in Baltimore and Washington, and most recently in airports, the enterprise began in 1914 with the founding of the A.E. Phillips seafood packing plant on Hooper's Island. To mark the centennial, Phillips is releasing a cookbook of Phillips family recipes, with the proceeds going to the Maryland Watermen's Association. See

August 12, 2014

Good Pun, Good Exhibit

Some years ago, when the personnel of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration put together a traveling show from odds and ends in the old bureaucratic attic, they saw the opportunity for a play on words and they punced (knee slap) on it. Now the show, Treasures of NOAA's Ark (good one, eh?), has come to the Annapolis Maritime Museum, where the potpourri of 19th century maps, early scientific instruments and other what-knots (sorry!) will be available for viewing through October. Admission is free; there is a surcharge for additional puns. The website with address and hours is

August 12, 2014

Old Dominion Boat Club Capitulates

After years of pressure-including lawsuits and threats of eminent domain-from Alexandria's forces for revitalization of the city's waterfront, members of the Old Dominion Boat Club in July gave final approval to the sale of their King Street property to the city for $5 million. The club's headquarters building and adjoining parking lot have been a prominent feature on the Potomac since the 1920s. Recently, though, the city has been after the property to provide more public access to the river as part of its scheme to spark Old Town's rebirth as a lively maritime hub. Public opinion on the project has been divided and often heated. The boat club will establish its new headquarters in the nearby Beachcombers building.

August 12, 2014

Olivia Constants' Very Special Regatta

In memory of 14-year-old Olivia Constants, who lost her life in a tragic sailing accident three years ago in Annapolis, the Severn Sailing association and the Olivia Constants Foundation, as well as a number of other Annapolis sailing groups, will host the second team racing regatta August 23 and 24. The regatta is open to all, regardless of age, skill or affiliation. The only requirement is a skipper and crew. The boats, local Club 420s, will be provided. Teams will be formed and reformed over the two-day event. You can find event details at Click on "OCF Team Race."

August 12, 2014

Schooner Virginia on the Block

She's beautiful, sleek, fast and up for the sale. The 126-foot schooner Virginia, a recreation of the last Virginia pilot schooner on the Chesapeake, cut her summer schedule short as persistent funding problems led her owners, the non-profit Virginia Maritime Heritage Foundation, to give up the fight and seek a buyer. The Virginia, which receives no state or municipal support, ran into financial difficulties not many years after her launch in 2005. She was deactivated for a couple of seasons, but relaunched for Norfolk's OpSail in 2012. She continued her educational programming along the East Coast until the July announcement by the foundation. For more, see

August 7, 2014

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum Gets New Log Canoe

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md., has increased its collection of historic Chesapeake Bay craft with the acquisition of the historic log canoe Flying Cloud. The generous gift comes to the museum from brothers Allan and John Noble of Oxford, Md., whose father bought the boat in 1955. The Flying Cloud is the second largest log canoe in existence today and is also an active racer in the Bay's log canoe fleet.

Visitors to the museum can see Flying Cloud at the docks when she's not out on the water. The
museum is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. More information and pictures of the Flying Cloud are available

August 7, 2014

Life Jacket Loaner Stands Open Around Annapolis

If you're about to embark on a boating trip from and find yourself without a lifejacket, three locations in the Annapolis area now have free SeaTow Foundation lifejacket loaner stands. There are two stands at Sandy Point State Park, two at Annapolis City Dock and one in Truxton Park on Spa Creek. The life jackets, free for the borrowing, are located on coat-rack-style stands at the three locations. The 350 life jackets were made possible from a donation from Anheuser-Busch and Katcef Brothers.

August 5, 2014

Proposed changes to Aids to Navigation

The Coast Guard is soliciting comments on changing Lusby Point Junction Light LP (LL 18990) to Lusby Point Junction Daybeacon (LL 18990). In your comments, please address the impact this proposal may impose on your operation. Also include in your correspondence the means by which you are navigating this waterway and any electronic used while transiting.

The Coast Guard is soliciting comments on changing the flash characteristic of Island Creek Channel Light 3 (LL 16700) from a quick flash to flashing four second and changing Aquia Creek Light 6 (LL 17995) from a quick flash to a two and a half second flash. Also, change the name of Yeocomico River Entrance Light 2 (LL 16805) to Yeocomico River Entrance Light 2Y (LL 16805).

Due to structural failure of Great Wicomico Light (LL 7475) the Coast Guard can no longer safely access it for maintenance and is soliciting comments on discontinuing it.

Due to structural failure of Tue Marshes Warning Daybeacon (LL 13505) the Coast Guard can no longer safely access it for maintenance and is soliciting comments on discontinuing it.

Due to structural failure of Pages Rock Warning Daybeacon A (LL 13875) the Coast Guard can no longer safely access it for maintenance and is soliciting comments on discontinuing it.

In your comments to any of the above proposals, please address the impact this proposal may impose on your operation. Also include in your correspondence the means you are using to navigate this waterway any electric sensors used while transiting this area. Send comments to:
Commander (dpw)
Fifth Coast Guard District
431 Crawford Street, Rm.100 Portsmouth, VA. 23704
Attn.: Albert Grimes
Or email to:

August 4, 2014

Coast Guard testing virtual aids to navigation in San Francisco Bay

The Coast Guard is now testing 25 electronic aids to navigation (eATON) to augment existing physical aids and mark unique and potentially hazardous navigation features in the San Francisco Bay Area. Commonly referred to as virtual buoys, the eATON are being transmitted through the Coast Guard's Nationwide Automatic Identification System (NAIS) for display on ships' electronic charting systems and radars.

The Coast Guard, in consultation with waterway users, identified a number of offshore and inshore locations to deploy the eATON. These eATON mark reporting points in the offshore traffic separation scheme approaches to San Francisco: the "SF" buoy which serves as the San Francisco bar pilot embarkation point, and Mile Rocks Light and Harding Rock buoy, which mark a critical turn point for ships in the Central Bay.
In addition, five eATON mark the bridge towers on the western span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. This suite of eATON is intended to assist mariners with navigation, particularly during periods of heavy fog or congestion on San Francisco Bay.

While not all vessels are equipped to display the new eATON, the Coast Guard is targeting early adopters of this new technology for testing and evaluation.

For additional information regarding the Coast Guard's eATON initiatives, visit

July 25, 2014

Search & Rescue

Coast Guard rescues unconscious man from boat near Crisfield, Md.

The Coast Guard medevaced a 60-year-old man Friday, July 25, from a 17-foot boat in Little Annemessex River near Crisfield, Md.

A good Samaritan contacted Coast Guard Baltimore  at 2 p.m., saying a boat was doing circles in the water with one person aboard unconscious. Sector Baltimore launched a 29 foot response boat crew from the Crisfield Coast Guard Station.

"When we arrived on the scene, we used heaving lines to foul the boat's props to get it to stop," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Nathan Holt, the coxswain aboard the rescue boat. "Petty Officer Joshua Kump boarded the vessel and began providing CPR. We transferred the man aboard and then to awaiting EMS at City Pier, conducting CPR along the way. In all, the whole response took approximately 30 minutes"

The crew transported the boater to awaiting emergency medical services personnel at City Pier in Crisfield. Maryland Natural Resources Police retrieved the boat.

July 22, 2014

The Game: Baseball. The Cause: Yours!

Public Service Announcement: The Chesapeake Bay Trust is looking for partner organizations to participate in this year's Bay Night at a mid-August baseball game of the Bowie (Maryland) Baysox-the AA farm team of the Baltimore Orioles. Participating organizations at the August 15 game will receive a fundraising code that their supporters can use to buy tickets to the game online. For every ticket sold with that code, the organization will receive a $5 donation from the Baysox. Organizations will also be provided table space at the game, where volunteers can interact with fans and let them know about their cause or organization. For more details, contact Kristin Foringer, 410-974-2941, ext. 113. Hurry! Limited space is available...

July 22, 2014

Want to Help the Bay? Plant Natives.

Did you know that the crape myrtle in your yard, lovely as it may be, is biologically inert? That from a food-chain point of view it may as well be a statue? That's right, since it is not native to the Mid-Atlantic, it does not contribute meaningfully to the food web, according to Doug Tallamy, an entomology and ecology professor at the University of Delaware and author of the book Bringing Nature Home. The primary duty of the trees in our yard, Tallamy says, is to convert solar energy into food. Native plants get chewed by insects, which become the meals of larger bugs and spiders, which feed the frogs or birds or fish, and so on up the food chain. So what should we be planting? Oak! Oaks, of which there are 80 varieties, top the list of 534 native tree species. But there are also willows, cherries and plums, birches, crabapples, blueberries, maples, elms, pines, hickories, hawthorns, spruces, walnuts, beeches and lindens. The lesson: to make your yard part of the life cycle, always go native.

Adapted from the Bay Journal. To read the complete article, go to:

July 15, 2014

Coast Guard searching for overdue boater near Middle River, Md.

The Coast Guard is searching for an overdue boater in Cunninghill Cove near Middle River. Missing is James Jones, 40.

A friend of the missing man contacted Coast Guard Sector Baltimore at 6 p.m. Monday, July 14, saying that Jones was traveling from the Gunpowder River to Pooles Island and was expected to moor at Dundee Creek Marina at 5 p.m.

A good Samaritan located the missing man's boat anchored approximately two miles from Pooles Island with no one aboard.

The Coast Guard issued an urgent marine information broadcast and launched a crew from Coast Guard Station Still Pond.

UPDATE: The body of David Frantzen was recovered on Tuesday in Brewerton Channel near Baltimore. The Coast Guard had begun its search Monday after his boat was found abandoned at Sparrows Point.

July 10, 2014

Name that Crab!

Chesapeake Bay Trust, the nonprofit group behind Maryland's "Treasure the Chesapeake" license plate has launched a "Name our Crab" competition. The contest runs from July 7 o July 21, 2014. The newly named crab will be portrayed on the license plates alongside Wade the blue heron, whose name was chosen in a Bay Trust contest in 2013.

Finalists in the "Name our Crab" contest will be announced on July 23, when the public can vote from the top three names chosen by the trust. Two grand prizes will be awarded-one for the winning name, and another to a randomly selected voter who voted for the name. Grand prizes include Southwest airline tickets, a free Bay plate and tickets to upcoming events. Other prizes will be awarded to runner-up winners and random participants throughout the contest period. For full contest details, visit:

July 10, 2014

Spread the Love

If you're looking for a solid excuse to do a little weekday sailing, the National Sailing Hall of Fame (NSHOF) in Annapolis has a great opportunity for you. The Hall of Fame is looking for sailors to host some of its summer STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) students for some on-the-water fun. Each participating boat will have a trained chaperone aboard, so all you will be responsible for is piloting your boat and having fun introducing sailing to kids who most likely have never been sailing. Upcoming dates are July 21-24 and July 28-31 (pick one or more day). Find all the details, plus register online at

July 9

Enough is Enough

A Talbot County Circuit Court judge has upheld a lifetime fishing ban on a former waterman who has been charged more than 60 times with poaching violations. Joseph Bruce Janda Jr. of Wittman, Md., had his commercial license permanently revoked a year ago by the DNR for repeated convictions of poaching oysters, rockfish violations and harvesting undersized crabs. In June the judge upheld DNR's lifetime ban.

July 9

Anybody Home?

After an all-out, three-day search operation involving a helicopter, thermal imaging devices and about 50 emergency personnel and volunteers, a kayaker presumed lost in the Potomac River, was found at home in Reston, Va., unaware of the chaos he had created. The man had bailed out of his kayak, leaving his gear behind, and swum to shore , hitching a ride home. Eventually a fellow kayaker recognized his gear and police went to his home, where they found him.

July 9

Woman Pleads Guilty in False Distress Call

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia announced in June that a Gloucester woman, Ashley Strum-Smith, has pleaded guilty to making a false distress call. She faces a maximum penalty of six years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 and $82,764 in restitution when she is sentenced in October in Norfolk, Va. Strum-Smith reported that a ship was taking on water in the Severn River, off Mobjack Bay. After an extensive search, the call was discovered to have been a hoax.

July 8, 2014

Superstar Beaches

Grab your sand pail and spade-and hang onto your comical floppy hat-because what we're about to say may surprise you. Both Maryland and Virginia have some of the cleanest beaches in the nation. Say what? Yes, you heard that right. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, some of the best beaches for water quality are to be found right here, some of them on the Chesapeake. Among the NRDC's 35 Superstar Beaches-those considered the cleanest in the country-Maryland can boast two and Virginia four. By comparison, California had only one superstar beach and West Virginia none. (Haha, that one was a joke; West Virginia doesn't have any beaches.) On the other hand, New Jersey had seven superstar beaches. And overall Maryland placed fourth in the nation in number of clean beaches, while Virginia was close behind in sixth place. Delaware rated the highest percentage of clean beaches in the nation, while Ohio brought up the rear, with 30 percent of its beaches exceeding EPA standards.

What are the Bay's superstars? Making the list in Maryland are Assateague State Park on the Atlantic Ocean and (drum roll please) Point Lookout State Park at the confluence of the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River. Three of Virginia's superstars are in Virginia Beach-28th Street, 45th Street and Little Island Beach North. The fourth, Back Bay Beach, is just down the coast at Back Bay Nature Preserve. A number of the beaches along the Chesapeake in both Virginia and Maryland, while not ranking as superstars, returned no water samples that exceeded the health limits.

But not all Bay beaches rated well. Fairview Beach in King George County, Va., on the Potomac River and Hilton Beach in Newport News on the James River fared the worst in Virginia, returning more than 20 percent of their water samples with numbers that exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency's water quality threshold, or "beach action value" (BAV), which is a compilation of bacterial and other health factors. Hilton Beach exceeded it in 40 percent of the samples and Fairview 27 percent of the time. In Maryland, the worst offenders were considerably less offensive, with the south beach at Sandy Point Park on the Chesapeake Bay in Anne Arundel County exceeding the BAV limits 21 percent of the time, and three other beaches over the limit 7 percent of the time: Mayo Beach in Anne Arundel County, North Beach in Calvert County and Cedar Cove Community Beach in St. Marys County. In Sandy Point Park's defense, however, it should be noted that Sandy Point East Beach returned no samples exceeding the BAC limit.

In Maryland, you can check the current status of all the beaches here: For Virginia beaches, look here: For all of the Natural Resources Defense Council ratings and an explanation of the testing, see

July 8, 2014

Got Respect?

We're not sure what the implications of this story are, but we've got our fingers crossed. President Obama in June signed bipartisan legislation that acknowledges that recreational boating makes a significant contribution to the economy both nationally and locally. We know, we all could have told them that. The 2013 Water Resources Reform and Development Act goes on to say that the federal government needs to do more to help small harbors, address long-standing dredging issues, and improve boating and navigation infrastructure. It then directs the Army Corps of Engineers to consider factors other than big shipping in making its dredging funding decisions and to report to Congress on the maintenance needs of the Intracoastal Waterway. Does it provide any funding to do any of this? Well, no. Maybe later.

July 8, 2014

Superstar-Spangled Banner Historic Trail

What better time to mark the finale of the War of 1812, than a cruise along part of the Star-Spangled Banner Historic Trail. Although the trail was established in 2008, it was not dedicated until earlier this year, now that hundreds of markers and other helpful guides are in place. The trail can easily be followed by water, since that was the method primarily used by the "dastardly" British as they sailed the Chesapeake, wreaking havoc from Norfolk to Havre de Grace before finally being turned back in Baltimore. The historic trail makes stops at various sites along the way-familiar and unfamiliar-including Tangier and Smith islands, Kinsale, Va., on the Yeocomico River, Benedict, Md., on the Patuxent and the Kitty Knight House and Mount Harmon Plantation on the Sassafras River. On several of the rivers, the Star-Spangled Trail joins with local water trails-the Potomac, Anacostia, Patuxent and Sassafras, some of which are perfectly suited to exploration by paddle craft. For a map and plenty of background, history and other generally useful information, see

July 8, 2014

Putting a Lid on Jet Packs

While we're on the water, let's talk about jet packs. These crazy water jets, which can be ridden or worn on the back or feet, send their riders as high as 30 feet above the water. As much fun as they unquestionably are, however, these reverse water-fountains can also be dangerous, both to the riders themselves and to those nearby, boaters included. They can also cause environmental and property damage. But because they have only recently made an appearance on the Chesapeake Bay, as well as the Maryland and Virginia coastal waters, they are as yet unregulated in either state. With that in mind, the Department of Natural Resources in Maryland has asked for emergency legislation to regulate jet packs. The proposed rules include a minimum age of 16, and an observer to ensure the safety of each jet pack operator. Also, operators would have to wear helmets and be in at least 6 feet of water, and no "porpoise-like riding" (plunging in and out of the water) would be allowed in less than 25 feet of water. For all the rules, see

July 8, 2014

Photo Courtesy US Coast Guard

Tunnel Vision

After any good rain, boaters will find a lot of things floating down the Chesapeake-logs, refrigerators, and so forth. But earlier this summer, boaters would have been surprised to see large section of a new traffic tunnel bobbing along down the Bay. Of course, this big bit of the new Elizabeth River Midtown Tunnel between Norfolk and Portsmouth was traveling under the close supervision of three tug boats and several Coast Guard vessels. While only a few feet of it rose above the surface, another 26 feet was submerged. Four more pieces were scheduled to follow. The tunnel sections were constructed at Sparrows Point, Baltimore. The first section began its trip in June to Portsmouth, progressing at only 1 knot because of adverse weather. With a number of stops along the way, all of the tunnel pieces were not expected to arrive at the construction site until sometime in early August. The new tunnel is not expected to go into operation until August 2018.

July 8, 2014

Annapolis-Newport Race Changes

The popular Annapolis-Newport sailing race will see several significant changes when it returns in June 2015. For the first time, starts will be divided, with the slower boats leaving Annapolis on Friday morning and the faster boats leaving on Saturday. The Friday classes will also sail a slightly shorter course that does not require rounding Chesapeake Light after entering the Atlantic Ocean. All of the Saturday starts, meanwhile, will sail the traditional 475-nautical mile course. The goal is to have all of the boats reach Newport at roughly the same time. In addition, there will be a new performance cruising class, designed to introduce distance racing to a different segment of sailors, with boats such as Beneteau, C&C, J/Boats, Jeanneau, Sabre, Swan and Tartan. To help launch this group, Annapolis Yacht Club will hold a series of seminars in advance of the race. For more information, see

July 5, 2014

Notice to Mariners

MD: Solomons Harbor Marine Construction Project

Mariners are advised that a bulkhead replacement project is scheduled to occur in Solomons Harbor from July 7 through October 31, Monday through Thursday, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The project is located along the University of Maryland Biological Laboratory Research Fleet Operations bulkhead at Solomons Island, Md. Two work barges will be placed abreast along the northeast side of the bulkhead, in approximate position latitude 38°19'12.84" N, longitude 076°27'05.70" W. The barges will remain in position at all times and will be lighted at night. The waterway is expected to be restricted approximately 100 feet. Mariners are urged to use caution when transiting the area. Charts 12264, 12284.

MD: Severn River Lighted Mooring Buoys Established

Central Marine Construction will be establishing a lighted mooring buoy in association with their authorized living shoreline projects in the Severn River. The buoy will be approximately 680' NW of the 301 Bridge and 310' NW of the entrance to Cove of Cork. Lighted Mooring Buoy A 39 00 21.96N-76 30 25.37W Fl W 4s White with blue band. Chart: 12282

June 27, 2014

Notice to Mariners: Danger Zone

The Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has established a temporary danger zone from July 11 to July 17 around the NASA Wallops Flight Center in Accomac, Va., for the NASA ORB-2 launch. 

June 27

Coast Guard medevacs boater from sailboat near St. Inigoes, Md.

The Coast Guard rescued a boater Thursday, June 26, from a sailing vessel east of St. Inigoes. A crewmember on the sailboat contacted Coast Guard Sector Baltimore Command Center watchstanders at 2 p.m. to report that a 15-year-old boy had fallen and injured his head. The Coast Guard dispatched a 29-foot Response Boat from their St. Inigoes station to assist. The injured boy was then transferred to awaiting MedStar St. Mary's Hospital emergency medical personnel.

June 25, 2014

Wikicommons photo by Wladyslaw

Changes Announced for

Lots of Pride on the Fourth of July

In honor of the summer-long War of 1812 bicentennial celebration, the Pride of Baltimore II is sticking close to home for its  2014 sailing season. For the first time since the Pride II 's commissioning in 1988, she will be in Baltimore's Inner Harbor for the Fourth of July and will be available to the public for deck tours, day sails and a fireworks cruise (visit for tour and sailing schedule). And it's about time--the Pride , after all, is modeled after the Baltimore-built topsail schooner Chasseur, one of the most successful American privateers of the War of 1812, credited with capturing or sinking 17 British-flag ships.

In other Pride news, the ship's longtime captain, Jan Miles, will be honored in a "twilight tattoo" ceremony at Fort McHenry on June 28--in which he will be named an Honorary Colonel. Don't worry, there's no actual tattooing involved. It's an ink-free tradition at Fort McHenry, dating back to the early 1800s, just after the fort was built. Honorary colonels of Fort McHenry are selected for their contributions to society, and past honorees have included philanthropists, sports figures and elected officials. The ceremony is open to the public and free, and will conclude with the folding of the fort's 30-by-42-foot Star-Spangled Banner flag, the playing of "Taps" and an artillery salute. Huzzah, Colonel Miles!

June 25, 2014

Coast Guard rescues boaters

aboard sinking boat near Aberdeen, Md.

The Coast Guard rescued two people Tuesday, June 24, aboard a sinking boat east of Aberdeen.

A crewmember aboard a 36-foot boat contacted Coast Guard Sector Baltimore at 8 a.m. requesting assistance, explaining that his boat had struck a submerged log and begun taking on water. The Coast Guard dispatched a 25-foot Response Boat from the Stillpond station to assist. Arriving at the scene at about 8:30 a.m., the Coast Guard crew helped dewater the boat, plugged the hole and towed the boat to Havre De Grace.

"When we arrived on the scene, the owner was trying to keep up with the flooding by bailing water with a bucket and using the bilge pumps to no avail," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin Crane, the coxswain aboard the response boat.

There were no reports of injuries.

June 24, 2014
Important Notices to Chesapeake Mariners

Wrecked pound nets create hazard to navigation

Lynnhaven Inlet:The pound nets located off of Chesapeake Beach in approximate position 36-54-56.136N 076-04-15.756W were damaged in the recent grounding of a motor vessel. It is believed that many of the piles are sheared off at the water's edge and pose a significant hazard to swimmers as well as small craft. Mariners are advised to stay well clear of the pound nets and use extreme caution when transiting the area. (Chart 12254)

New warning daymark

at Lafayette River oyster reef

Lafayette River, Elizabeth River: The Elizabeth River Project will establish a warning daybeacon to mark their newly established oyster reef just off the southeast end the Hampton Blvd. Bridge. The 36-inch dayboard is marked "DANGER" and "OYSTER REEF". Chart 12245


Hanover Lift Bridge closed for electrical repairs

Patapsco River: The navigation lights are currently extinguished on the Hanover Street Lift Bridge on the Patapsco River and the drawbridge is unable to open due to emergency electrical repairs until further notice. In the closed position to vessels, the available vertical clearance is about 21 feet above MHW.

June 21, 2014

Coast Guard medevacs captain of Bad Cat,

returning Annapolis-to-Bermuda racer

The Coast Guard on Friday, June 20, medevaced the 68-year-old captain of the 37-foot sailboat Bad Cat, which was then 127 miles east of Virginia Beach.

A crewman aboard Bad Cat contacted the Coast Guard 5th District by satellite phone at 12:24 p.m. to report that the captain of the vessel was suffering from a skin infection.

District watchstanders launched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Station Elizabeth City, N.C., to assist.

The aircrews arrived about two hours later and hoisted the captain aboard the helicopter and transferred him to Norfolk Sentara General Hospital personnel an hour later.

Bad Cat had recently completed the Annapolis-to-Bermuda race.

June 20, 2014

Coast Guard suspends search

in Rappahannock River for

possible missing boater

The Coast Guard suspended its search Thursday, June 19, for an individual who may have fallen from a 10-foot boat into the Rappahannock River near Totuskey Creek.

A good Samaritan contacted Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads at 9:42 a.m. to report an unmanned, partially submerged, aluminum skiff adrift with a fishing pole aboard. The boat has a Virginia registration number and the name Quachica on it.

The Coast Guard issued an urgent marine information broadcast and dispatched a crew aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small from Coast Guard Station Milford Haven to search for the boat's occupant. The boat completed its search at 5:15 p.m. without spotting anyone in distress.

Helicopter aircrews from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., and Naval Station Norfolk also helped with the search. They completed their search with no results.

Local law enforcement agencies said that there had been no missing person reports filed.

June 19, 2014

Changes Announced for

2015 Annapolis-to-Newport Race

Balancing 35 years of tradition with a progressive attitude, organizers of the biannual Annapolis-to-Newport Race have made some changes to the 2015 class rules that should make the race a little bit less daunting for slower boats and less experienced crews. First of all, the starts will be divided, with the slower boats departing Annapolis on Friday morning and the faster boats leaving Saturday. The Friday classes will sail a slightly shorter course that doesn't require rounding Chesapeake Light after entering the Atlantic. The faster Gran Prix class, starting Saturday, will sail the traditional 475-nautical mile course.

Find out more:

June 19, 2014

The End of the Car-wash Fundraiser?

A Boy Scout troop in Arlington, Virginia was planning a carwash fundraiser to raise money for a summer canoe trip-a good and harmless cause, one would think. Well, not according to Arlington, which recently tightened up its permitting in order to comply with new stormwater runoff provisions in the federal Clean Water Act. According to Kim Coble of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, car washes may seem to be a small part of the runoff problem, but they add up. "If it was one carwash, we wouldn't be having a conversation," she told the Washington Post's Michael Chandler. "But for every school group in every school in the entire watershed, that is thousands and thousands of carwashes, and it really is considered a problem."

Find out more:

June 19, 2014

Rising Seas Threaten Chesapeake Historic Sites

Some sections of Jamestown Island, America's oldest known permanent European settlement, are already beneath the James River. Across the Bay in Maryland's Dorchester County, one of the most important stops on the Harriett Tubman Underground Railroad Byway will likely be underwater within the next 50 years. Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, the largest contiguous tidal marsh in the Northeast United States, won't survive for long at the current pace of sea level rise. Also at risk are St. Mary's City and the once-thriving town of Crisfield. Though rising seas are a global concern, Chesapeake Bay water levels are rising at roughly double the global rate-likely because here not only is the water rising, the land is sinking. Scientists call it post-glacial subsidence. We call it a good argument against basements.

Find out more:,-says-climate-change-threatens-nation%27s-founding-site/id-6fa8645e41cc41b1aa510ffbc6eb617e

June 18, 2014

Woman pleads guilty to making false distress call

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia announced that a Gloucester woman pleaded guilty Monday, June 17, to making a false distress call.

Ashley Strum-Smith, 29, pleaded guilty to a criminal information filed May 27 in U.S. District Court. Strum-Smith faces a maximum penalty of six years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 and $82,764 in restitution when she is sentenced Oct. 20 in Norfolk, Va.
Dana J. Boente, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Rear Admiral Stephen Metruck, District Commander of the Fifth Coast Guard District, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar.

According to a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement Aug. 13, 2012, Strum-Smith called in a false report of a ship taking on water in the Severn River. Multiple rescue vehicles from the Abingdon Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad, Gloucester Fire Department, York County Fire Department, Mathews Fire Department and the U.S. Coast Guard were dispatched to locate and aid the ship. After a two-hour search costing more than $82,000, it was determined the call was a hoax. Strum-Smith admitted to making the false report.

This case was investigated by the Coast Guard Investigative Service and the Gloucester County Sheriff's Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric M. Hurt is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

"Making a false distress call puts rescuers at risk," said Rear Admiral Stephen Metruck, district commander of the Fifth Coast Guard District. "Responding to reports of distress in the maritime environment always involves risk, and the safety of each of our Coast Guard members is always at the core of every operation. Anyone who compromises their safety by making a false report will be held accountable."

June 17, 2014

Carters Wharf Boat Landing in Richmond County

closing June 17 to August 17

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will close its Carters Wharf public boat landing at the end of State Route 622 on the Rappahannock River in Richmond County beginning June 17. The landing will remain closed until about August 17 while the existing concrete boat ramp and courtesy piers are replaced and the landing dredged. 

June 17, 2014

Expanded Group signs the latest

Chesapeake Bay Agreement

A new Chesapeake Bay Watershed agreement, the third of its kind since 1983 and the "most inclusive, most collaborative" to date, according the Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, was signed yesterday in Annapolis. In addition to O'Malley, signatories include the governors of Virginia, Delaware, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York, as well as Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. Unlike previous agreements, this one stipulates that one of the seven jurisdictions must be designated within 90 days to lead the initiative, and that there will be a formal progress report at the one-year mark. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin were unable to attend the ceremony but support the agreement. For more detail, here's today's article in the Bay Journal, by editor Karl Blankenship:

(Pictured at table, left to right, are EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett and Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. Standing behind Markell is Maryland's Governor O'Malley. Photo by Dave Harp, for the Bay Journal.)

June 16, 2014

ICW cruising guide author Claiborne Young dies in traffic accident

Well-known and well-loved ICW cruising author Claiborne Young died Saturday, June 15, of injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident in North Carolina. He was 63.

Young and his wife Karen, who died last October, had spent a lifetime cruising the Intracoastal Waterway from Virginia to Florida. Young used that wealth of knowledge to publish a series of cruising guides, rich in detail and history. In 2013, he told an interviewer for the Charlotte News and Observer, "Since 1983 my life has been consumed as a cruising guide author. I love it because you never know what's around the next bend. I can't imagine retiring."

He also founded the website Salty Southeast Cruisers' Net, a source of up-to-date information about the ICW for thousands of cruisers. In a statement on, the staff wrote: "Claiborne was Salty Southeast Cruisers' Net and like a giant tsunami, his death has left the staff adrift in a sea of unknowns."

June 16, 2014

Coast Guard monitors fuel spill clean-up in Norfolk

The Coast Guard is monitoring clean-up efforts for a fuel spill in the Elizabeth River that occurred Friday, June 13, at Lambert's Point in Norfolk.

The EPA's National Response Center contacted the Coast Guard's Hampton Roads command center at 3:20 p.m. Friday to report a fuel spill from the 740-foot bulk carrier Ostria S. The Guard responded by sending a pollution response crew to oversee the clean-up. Accurate Marine Environmental Inc., a private clean-up firm, placed 3,000 feet of containment boom around the vessel and pier to contain the fuel. Personnel from the Marine Spill Response Corporation, a nonprofit oil-spill response organization, arrived later in the day to begin clean-up operations.

The quantity of fuel spilled is not yet known, but the source has been secured, according to the Coast Guard, who are still investigating the cause. The Elizabeth River remains open to boating traffic.

June 16, 2014

Coast Guard rescues two after capsize near Kiptopeke State Park, Va.

The Coast Guard rescued two people Sunday, June 15, who were reported missing after their 21-foot fishing boat sank Saturday night a mile west of Kiptopeke State Park on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Rescued were Bonatacio Montalvo, 64, of Machipongo, Va., and Jose Rosales, 27. A third passenger, Eduardo Montalvo, had swum to shore and called 911 dispatchers, who relayed the distress to Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads at 3:25 a.m. Montalvo reported that two people aboard the boat he was on were missing after the boat sank at 9:30 p.m. Saturday. 
The Coast Guard issued an urgent marine information broadcast and dispatched crews aboard a 25-foot response boat from the Coast Guard's Cape Charles station and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from the Coast air station in Elizabeth City, N.C. A Virginia Marine Resources Commission boat crew also responded. At 4 a.m. the Jayhawk crew located Montalvo, who had also made it to shore, hoisted him into the helicopter and took him to Sentara Norfolk General hospital. After returning to the search area, the Jayhawk crew located Rosales two miles west of Kiptopeke State Park at 7 a.m. He too was flown to Sentara Norfolk General hospital.

All survivors were reported to be suffering from hypothermia, but had no life-threatening injuries. Both had been wearing life jackets.

June 13,2013

Most of fleet arrives in Bermuda

Friday morning found nearly all of the fleet in harbor, with only Team Wichard, Breezing Up and The Office still on the water. Corrected times will be released soon.

June 10, 2014

Two die and three rescued in capsize near mouth of James River

The Virginia Marine Police are blaming an overloading for the fatal capsize of a small boat near King-Lincoln Park in Newport News on Sunday, June 8. Three of boat's passengers and a dog were rescued, but two died in the choppy water. Here is the full story from Daily Press.

June 10, 2014

Annapolis-Bermuda boats reach Gulf Stream

After days of light winds, the race fleet is now moving at an average of 7-8 kts and have reached the Gulf Stream. Here's what the Tracer looked like at 10 a.m.

June 9, 2014

Photo Courtesy Dawn Blanchard

To SUP, Perchance to Paddle

You know something is catching on when it starts showing up in Groupon offers. We're talking about stand-up paddleboards-known simply as SUPs by the paddling cognoscenti. The aforementioned Groupon deal (long since expired) was $25 for a two-hour rental at Ultimate Watersports at Gunpowder Falls State Park near Baltimore. Indeed stand-up paddling outfitters are suddenly everywhere on the Bay, it seems-as are paddlers themselves. And SUP (supping, maybe?) is quickly becoming a popular racing sport-organized hereabouts by the newly formed Mid-Atlantic SUP Racing Association (MASRA; Want to see racers in action? Try the Eastport Yacht Club's third annual East of Maui Chesapeake Stand-Up Challenge at the Eastport Yacht Club in Annapolis on July 12-a six-miler for experienced racers and a three-miler for newbies. Or the East Coast SUP Cup in Ocean City, Md., July 19, or the Kent Island SUP races August 2, or the Onancock, Va., 10k SUP Challenge on September 6. Suddenly it's everywhere. You don't have to hit us over the head with an oarlock; we'll have a feature on the surging popularity of paddle sports next month.

June 9, 2014

Megayacht Facility Opens in Cape Charles, Va.

Cape Charles is thinking big these days . . . superyacht big. In May, the doors opened at its newest business, the Cape Charles Yacht Center, with 1,000 feet of dock space and another 1,000 coming in the next few months. As the footage suggests, this is not your average marina. The Yacht Center is designed to accommodate mega-yachts, which are designated as those longer than 79 feet. This is the Bay's first marina designed exclusively for megayachts, according to its developers, Eastern Shore Land Company. The company sees the Cape Charles site as ideally suited about midway between Miami and New York, with easy access from the Atlantic (about 12 miles) and a deep channel. The facility has a 75-ton lift, with a 300-ton lift to come, and a 120-acre maintenance and storage area. Soon, boats will also be able to clear customs on arrival. See

June 9, 2014

York River Yacht Haven Makes Some Changes

York River Yacht Haven, long a popular stopping place on Sarah Creek for visiting Yorktown and the rest of Virginia's historic triangle, is returning to top form under the new ownership of Suntex Marinas of Dallas. Suntex bought the 325-slip marina last year and is planning to spend about $500,000 in improvements and repairs in the first year alone. One of the most obvious changes has been to the restaurant, which is now an outdoor oyster bar, under the direction of Mario Buffa, who owns both the Riverwalk and Water Street restaurants in Yorktown. The website is

June 9, 2014

Catamaran Company Buys Pier 7 Marina

Pier 7 Marina, located at the Route 2 bridge on South River in Edgewater, Md., has recently become a popular place for the dockage and sale of catamarans. Now it is operating under the ownership of the Catamaran Company, which specializes in the sales and chartering of new and used cats and is headquartered in Annapolis. The marina has seven piers (hence the name), with dockage for wide-bodied vessels, as well as traditional monohulls. The marina also has service facilities, and the usual amenities, such as a bath house, restaurant and marine vendors with a variety of services. See

June 9, 2014

Lafayette, We Are Here

In 2012, 65,000 people gathered on the banks of the Charente River in Southwestern France to watch the launch of the Hermione, an exact copy of the French navy frigate that brought the Marquis de Lafayette in 1780 across the Atlantic to help lead the American Revolutionary army against the British. In 2015, the completed ship will set sail from Port des Barques on the Charaente, as Lafayette did, for the United States to reprise that voyage. Its first landfull will be Yorktown, Va. The Hermione will then head up the Bay, stopping at Annapolis and Baltimore before continuing up the East Coast.
For a look at the vessel and its projected voyage, see

June 9, 2014

Help Crew the Pride

Yearning to throw in your lot and set sail in a tall ship? Here's a chance to get your feet wet without jumping in with both feet. The Pride of Baltimore II is offering the opportunity to sign on as guest/crew for a two-, three- or five-night stints during its summer of sailing the Chesapeake and visiting a number of ports along the way. Guest/crew members get to work alongside the Pride's professional crew, doing as much or as little of the work as they choose, including standing watches, taking the helm and doing maintenance. Passages are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. You'll find prices, dates and application at

June 9, 2014

And the State Seashell of Delaware Is . . .

The wait is over. The Delaware legislature has adopted the channeled whelk as the state's official seashell. The designation was proposed by Girl Scout Junior Allyson Willis, who also helped write the legislation, which calls the channeled whelk a beautiful sea creature integral to the ecology and economy of Delaware. The state returns the favor by providing warm estuarine water and sandy sediments in which the whelk can prosper. A win-win situation.

June 9, 2014

National Aquarium May Close Dolphin Exhibit

Ideas about animals, mammals and the way we treat them in captivity have changed over the years, with the result that both zoos and aquariums have become increasingly sensitive to the ways in which their involuntary charges are housed and displayed. Now the National Aquarium in Baltimore is reconsidering its popular dolphin exhibit. Recent studies have shown that enclosed marine mammals can suffer from immune system dysfunction from chronic stress, which can also change their behavior, including increased aggression. The aquarium reacted to the new findings by stopping its regular dolphin shows. That was two years ago. Now it has appointed a panel to consider the dolphins' futures, but has set no time for making a decision.

June 9, 2014

Powhatan Village Site May Become Park

Land along the York River believed to be have been the location of Chief Powhatan's principal city, Werowocomoco, is now under consideration as a national park. The $6 million needed to buy the 250 acres near Gloucester, Va., is in the 2015 budget, but must be approved by Congress. Nearly 60 acres of the land, owned by Bob and Lynn Ripley-who have long encouraged archaeological digs on the site-has already been preserved by the purchase of development rights. If the current proposal goes through, the area would become a national park and interpretive site with the help of Virginia Indian tribes, open to the public. It would also become part of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.

June 9, 2014

Maggie and Woody Courtesy Jill Reyes

Go! Fetch! Pets Aboard!

Summer, Maggie and Woody enjoy a relaxing day on Sue Creek, Middle River, aboard the Reyes family's Stingray Salty Paws. You'll find them and a pack of other four-pawed boaters on the "Pets Aboard" page of our website, Send in your favorite pet-snap to

June 9, 2014

Monday morning Annapolis-Bermuda Race update

Here's what the tightly packed boats looked like at about 10 this morning:

June 8, 2014

Fleet has cleared the Bay

All of the boats have exited the Chesapeake and have chosen their course, with most of the fleet staying below the rhumb line. Bad Cat has retaken the lead, though Chaotic Flux and others are close behind. Winds are still light and the speeds are generally under 4 knots. Here's the tracker.

June 7, 2014

Bermuda race update: What wind?

Light winds are forcing the Annpolis-to-Bermuda fleet to crawl down the Bay, and by noon today the first two boats had made it only as far as Gwynn's Island, Va.

Skipper James Chen's J/120 Chaotic Flux has managed, however, to take the lead from yesterday's frontrunner, Bad Cat, a J/111 skippered by James Whited of St. Leonard, Md. Rounding out the first four boats are Gallant, skippered by Duncan Marner of Annapolis and Poco a Poco, Nate Owens's Beneteau 36.7 First.

Gallant and Poco a Poco were only able to conjure up 1.9 knots a piece at noon today off the Rappahannock River, while not far ahead, Bad Cat was managing 3.4 knots and Chaotic Flux was fairly flying at 4.3.The reminder of the fleet is stretched out up the Bay as far as Point Lookout at the entrance to the Potomac.

Track the racehere.

June 6, 2014

The Annapolis to Bermuda ocean race is under way

Nineteen boats crossed the starting line in Annapolis Harbor with blue skies and light-to-fair winds early this afternoon to begin the Annapolis-Bermuda Race. Stay tuned for updates or track the race here:

June 6, 2014
Digging out the turtle fossil required a chainsaw.

Rare Turtle Fossil Donated to Calvert Museum

The fossil of a soft-shell turtle that roamed (slowly, we suppose) the Chesapeake area 58 million years ago (that would be the Paleocene epoch, for those of you keeping track) was discovered imbedded in rock along the bank of Accokeek Creek in May by retired farmer Bernard Kuehn. He consulted Dinosaur Park paleontologist Peter Kranz, who identified as only the third specimen ever found and in turn consulted with Calvert Museum on how to extract it from the rock. The museum called on a local drilling company, which extracted it with a chainsaw. Kuehn donated the fossil to the museum, where it is now on view in the Prep Lab, where it will be carefully removed from the remaining rock.

May 21, 2014

Severe Winter Takes a Toll on the Bay's Blue Crabs

The Maryland DNR released the results of the 2014 Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey on May 1 and there does seem to be some concern about populations-especially of spawning-age females, which declined to just below minimum safe levels. Low water temperatures were a factor; an estimated 28 percent of adult crabs died from the worst cold-kill since 1990. While the crab harvest remains at safe levels, fisheries managers for Maryland, Virginia and the Potomac River have all indicated they will focus 2014-2015 management strategies on spawning females.

Image Courtesy Bay Journal

May 21, 2014

Giant Solar-Powered Hamster Wheel Tackles Trash Removal in Baltimore's Inner Harbor

Who knows, maybe five or six years from now we'll be able to swim in the Inner Harbor-with help from the newly launched Water Wheel Trash Inceptor. Let's talk numbers: Baltimore's harbor receives up to 1 million pounds of trash in some years, the new contraption will be able to remove 50,000 pounds of trash a day, it will cost $800,000, it is the first of its kind. You can find it working its magic on the pier side of the Marriott Waterfront Hotel, at the base of President Street. The trash inceptor is the brain child of Clearwater Mills, who studied the flaws of its predecessor and is confident that the wheel can handle the really large logs and debris flowing into the harbor from Jones Falls after major storms.

Complete story at:

May 12, 2014

Happy 50th, Bridge-Tunnel!

The mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, where the continent's largest estuary meets Atlantic Ocean, can be a daunting place-ask any boater who has ventured out onto its open waters. Now imagine the task of designing and building a pathway for cars and trucks across that 17-mile stretch of wind-blown and wave-tossed water, to connect southeastern Virginia with the Delmarva Peninsula. That's what Virginia's Chesapeake Ferry Commission did in the early 1960s.

Fifty years ago this past April-after nearly four years of construction, which included a fierce storm that toppled a behemoth pile driver-the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel opened for business. Not long after the first cars and trucks had threaded their way through the world's largest complex of bridges, tunnels and man-made islands, it was dubbed an Outstanding Engineering Achievement by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The above-ground portion was expanded to four lanes in the late 1990s, but a proposal to add parallel tunnels has remained just that: a proposal. In the bridge-tunnel's first half-century nearly 120 million vehicles have traversed its twelve miles of low-level trestle, two mile-long tunnels, two bridges, two miles of causeway, four islands and five-plus miles of approach roads.

May 12, 2014

Lookin' Good, James!

The James River is ready for its close-up, Mr. DeMille. And Mr. DeMille is ready to take the shot. It's going to be one long track shot-or more precisely, 360,000 separate images-for the 340-mile length of the historic waterway, from its burbling beginnings in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where the Cowpasture River joins the Jackson River to form the James, to its end in Hampton Roads. The project is a collaboration between, and the James River Association (, and the idea is to create a river version of the street-view feature on Google Maps. Those 360,000 high-resolution images, captured every 30 seconds by a camera mounted on a pontoon raft drifting down the river, will be stitched together to create a seamless visual tour of the river. Project planners expect to make a single trip down the upper portion of the river and then two trips down the lower sections, shooting first one bank and then the other. The resulting tour will be available on the groups' websites.

May 12, 2014

Bulk Carrier on the Beach

Speaking of the boisterous waters at the mouth of the Bay, a number of anchored vessels in that area were caught by surprise in early April when a storm blew through the area with winds gusting to 70 mph. Two vessels-the 70-foot rig vessel Petite and the 1,065 container ship MSC Charleston-collided, while another, the 751-foot bulk carrier Ornak, ran aground. Beachcombers near First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach were themselves surprised the following morning to see the Ornak hard aground just off the beach, where it had come to rest after being blown off its mooring during the night. In all, a dozen ships dragged anchor during the storm, according to the Coast Guard, but towing vessels and harbor pilots were able to prevent the remainder from grounding. The Ornak was later refloated and, after a safety inspection, was allowed to continue on its way.

May 12, 2014

Storm Surge Warnings Improve

Storms, and in particular, storm surges, are getting more attention from the National Hurricane Center. Next year, they will begin issuing storm-surge warnings for susceptible areas in addition to traditional wind-based warnings. Since the strength of a storm surge is not directly related to the Saffir-Simpson scale that ranks of the strength of the storm (larger, weaker hurricanes can drive more water ashore than smaller, stronger ones), evacuation warnings have not always corresponded to the actual threat of rising water. In addition, the surges often follow the storms, arriving after hurricane warnings have ended. The Hurricane Center's new storm-surge warnings are meant to correct that.

Residents of the southern Chesapeake, however, already have been served in that capacity to a large extent by the storm-surge predictions from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) and its Tidewatch Center ( The VIMS site uses ten locations around the southern Bay to predict extra-tidal water-level changes-in other words, those levels driven by weather. These observations have the extra benefit of being available at any time, for any storm. For the rest of us, the National Weather Service also has the Chesapeake Bay Operational Forecast System (CBOFS) that gives water level predictions for stations throughout the Bay. You can find this at

Beginning this year, however, the National Hurricane Center will change the way it gives predicted storm surge levels from height above sea level to height above ground level, making it easier for people to understand how high the water is predicted to rise where they are.

May 12, 2014

Together Again for the First Time

Old Bay and beer . . . what could be better? Old Bay in beer? Hmm. Well, you'll never know until you try. We certainly intend to give the latest invention from Flying Dog Ales a shot. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Old Bay, the Chesapeake's iconic seasoning used for everything from crabs to popcorn, the brewers at Flying Dog spent six months working with the seasoning company to come up with Dead Rise Summer Ale, a seasonal brew that includes Old Bay among its seasonings. Flying Dog and Old Bay will donate a portion of the proceeds from Dead Rise to True Blue, a program that advocates on behalf of the Chesapeake Bay's watermen and promotes sustainably harvested Maryland blue crabs. In addition, Flying Dog asked 17 celebrity chefs to come up with recipes using Old Bay. The result is the Dead Rise Cookbook. So if you're looking for a good recipe for Old Bay falafel with crab yogurt or Old Bay peanut brittle ice cream, this is your book. Proceeds will also go to True Blue. You can purchase it at the Flying Dog website,

May 12, 2014

Shiny New Calvert Museum

The Calvert Marine Museum, long one of the Chesapeake's major repositories for things nautical, is reopening this season-bigger, brighter and better than ever, having completed phase one of a major renovation and redesign. The museum held its grand reopening at the beginning of May during the annual Solomons Maritime Festival. The museum interior features a new reception center, an improved gallery and a state-of-the-art audio-visual system. The next phase will expand the museum's education space. The museum is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can find details about museum programs and tours on their website,

May 12, 2014

New Captain Avery Director

You'll find another of the Bay's fine maritime museums up on the Rhode River. The Captain Avery Museum recently named Deale, Md., resident Gerry Robertson as its new director. Robertson takes over the post from Jeff Holland. He is graduate of the University of Maryland and was director of relationship management for the U.S. Green Building Council in Washington D.C. He was also executive director of Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research in Delaware. The museum website is

May 12, 2014

On the Water Listening Up

The big three of the waterway management-NOAA, the Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers-will be holding a series of listening sessions around the country as part of their initiative to make the nation's marine transportation system more efficient, secure and environmentally sound. Locally, a listening session will be held May 22, at 5 p.m., at the Renaissance Hotel and Waterfront Conference Center in Portsmouth, Va. According to the Coast Guard announcement, "The intended outcome of these listening sessions is the development of a portfolio supported by multiple federal agencies that will provide coordinated and timely delivery of navigational information and services to promote [waterway] safety and efficiency." We are hoping that means better and clearer announcements of hazards to navigation on VHF Channel 16.

May 12, 2014

Oregon Inlet's a No-Go

Shoaling has become so bad in North Carolina's Oregon Inlet-the first inlet south of Rudee Inlet-that the Army Corps of Engineers has decided to just let it close up. The inlet, at the northern end of Hatteras Island, about five miles south of Nags Head, will be left to the elements, says the Corps of Engineers. A side-casting dredge was unable to operate in the area. The controlling depth is now 2 feet.

May 12, 2014

Dredging in Hampton

A dredge will be operating until late June off the Hampton city waterfront. The dredge will be deepening the basin at the Custom House Marina and the facedock that hosts visiting tall ships.

April 18, 2014

Channa, Channa Bo-Banna...

Following up on a recent Bay News item, the Charles County Commissioners announced the winning name in their recent rename-the-northern-snakehead contest. The winner is (drum roll, please) spotted channa--which is no great reach, because Channa is the fish's generic name. The northern snakehead is Channa argus, but there many other snakehead species. The idea behind the renaming, of course, is to make the fish sound more appetizing--quite literally--so that people will be encouraged to eat them. That's not such a reach either, because a variety of Channa species are considered good eating in Asia; some are even farmed. But of course coming up with a suggested new name is the easy part; the hard part will be getting the public to adopt it. To get that ball rolling, the Charles County folks will submit the proposed new name to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, encouraging them officially adopt it. . . . So, spotted channa is okay, we suppose, but we still think you, our readers, can do better. Send your ideas to, and we'll pass it on to the DNR. Who knows, maybe an appetizing new name will do the trick; maybe a decade from now we'll have eaten this invasive predator into extinction in the Bay (or extirpation, as it's known), and we'll have to import our spotted channa from . . . um, China.  

April 18, 2014

Eyes on Ospreys

Chesapeake Bay Conservancy, Kent Island: This site offers excellent video (and audio) of Tom and Audrey, perhaps the Chesapeake's most prominent osprey celebrities, thanks to the Conservancy. With audio.

Patuxent River Park/Jug Bay: No muss, no fuss, no website, just UStream video and audio of one of the many nests on Jug Bay.

Ospreys of Kent County, Md.: This one dates back to 1996 and is the brainchild of John Wayne, founder of Atlantic Security--which hosts the cam and website. As with other web cams (like the Conservancy's), the exact location of the nest is kept mum. Presumably it's on the Chester River, somewhere near Chestertown.

VIMS Osprey Cam, Gloucester Point, Va.: Operated by the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, now part of William & Mary College, this cam monitors a York River nest just offshore from the VIMS campus in Gloucester Point, Va. It lives on the VIMS website and includes lots of supplemental osprey info. No audio.

Friends of Blackwater, Dorcester County, Md.: With all the streaming video out there now, the web cam at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge seems old school; it's just a still photo, refreshed every 20 seconds. No audio.

Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve, Scotland: True osprey aficionados keep up with Lady, the world's oldest known osprey. She's at least 29 years old and still breeding! Though the bloggers on the Scottish Wildlife Trust website are pretty low-key about Lady, usually referring to her only as "the female osprey," you can find details about her at Lady has been summering in the same nest for 24 years, has reared 50 chicks and just laid her 69th egg. She winters in Africa. The web cam itself is at

April 18, 2014

St. Michaels, For Drinkers with a Boating Problem

Before prohibition, Maryland was the fifth largest alcohol-producing state in the country. Who knew? But by the late 1960s the state's distillery biz had all but disappeared. Enter Lyon Distilling Company, which opened its doors to the public in late 2013. It's only the second new distillery licensed here in over 50 years (the other is Blackwater Distilling on Kent Island, since 2008). Of course this makes St. Michaels a triple threat, booze-wise-a distillery, a winery (St. Michaels Winery) and a brewery (Eastern Shore Brewing). What, no mead? . . . Anyway, the distillery offers several styles of rum (appropriate, given the Bay's rum-running history) and recently released its Maryland Free State Rye Whiskey. Apparently the state used to be well known for its rye whiskey. Again, who knew? Lyon Distilling occupies the historic flour mill on Talbot Street and is now open for sales, tastings and touring. No website yet, but there's lots of info on their Facebook page,

April 18, 2014

Water for the Watermen

There's a Bay access success story to report on the Perrin River, on the north shore of the lower York River. The state chartered Middle Peninsula Public Access Authority (MPPAA) has, according to a recent article in the Bay Journal, turned a run-down wharf in the tiny town of Guinea into a model of how waterfront can be preserved for water-dependent industries and recreation. A once-dilapidated pier on the river now accommodates 15 watermen-who had been left with no water access when a seafood company (Cook's) went out of business. It's also home base to the Gloucester Rowing Club. The donated property is about 97 acres-about 10 percent of the waterfront acreage now owned by MPPAA. Here's the full Bay Journal story: and

April 9, 2014

New Life for an Old Lifeboat

by Jody Argo Schroath

I first saw this nautical oddity sitting among the dozens of nautical oddities that constitute the wonderful and singular yacht yard known as Tall Timbers Marina, located on Herring Creek off the lower Potomac River. Even among the marina's acres of nautical curiosities, this one was a stand-out-a 36-foot Type T Motor Lifeboat, built in 1934, and used for many years as a rescue vessel by the Piney Point Coast Guard Station, before being handed off to the Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship, also at Piney Point. I took photos of it, naturally, and then forgot about it-just as many other visitors to the marina before and since must have done. Then this spring I learned that this oddity among oddities had been yanked from the rubbish heap of history by the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society, who wanted it for their Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

"They're very excited about it, and we're very happy about it," says Rick Meatyard, owner of Tall Timbers. "It had been sitting there for twelve years or so, waiting for someone to come along and love it. We had finally decided to strip it, but then just couldn't do it," says Meatyard, a man who has rarely met a boat he didn't want to save. He had tried without success to get the Coast Guard to take the boat for its museum, but this time one of his customers decided to give it a try. "He found three places, including the Shipwreck Museum, that were interested in it," says Meatyard.

So when the ice finally melts in the Upper Peninsula and the ground in Maryland thaws enough to free the boat-stands, the Shipwreck Society will send a trailer down to Tall Timbers to pick up the vessel for its trip north and new life as a featured museum display.

"We're all invited to come up and see it," says Meatyard, "but I don't know if I'll ever get out of Tall Timbers." And he's right. There are still plenty of nautical oddities that need some love.

April 9, 2014

Lifeboat Story II

While we're on the subject of life-saving boats, here's a brand new one that belongs to the aforementioned Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship. The school asked Tall Timbers to launch it for them this spring so that it can be used as a training aid for the school's seaman students.

The boat is similar to the one made famous when Captain Richard Phillips of the MV Maersk Alabama was taken hostage by Somali pirates in April 2009. The situation ended in a showdown between U.S. Navy Seals on the U.S.S. Bainbridge and the Somali pirates on a lifeboat very much like this one. Three pirates were killed and Captain Phillips was rescued. Phillips's book about the adventure became the 2013 movie Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks.

April 9, 2014

Plenty of Hot Air Over Wind Farms

It seems that there's no clear sailing for wind energy in the state of Maryland. While advocates and opponents argue whether the construction of wind farms should be permitted on preserved farmland, a second controversy is brewing between the Eastern and Western shores of the Bay. This one is over the construction of wind turbines on the Eastern Shore and whether they would disrupt radar operations across the Bay at the Patuxent Naval Air Station, an economic powerhouse for the lower Western Shore. As this issue went to press the Maryland General Assembly was considering a bill that would delay for 15 months a pilot project for construction of wind turbines, some as high as 600 feet. Western Shore opponents want to limit turbine height to 350 feet until a study is completed in 2015. Eastern Shore proponents say that the bill is unnecessary since the Navy would have to sign off on the project before any construction at all could begin. Meanwhile, the state wants to permit wind turbine construction by private firms on preserved Maryland farmland while conservation groups argue that this could open the door to other commercial projects, thereby undermining the idea of preserving land for agricultural use alone. The tie-in is that legislation in the Maryland Assembly to permit the agricultural wind farms includes a section introduced by Southern Maryland representatives that would limit the height of the turbines for 56 miles around the Patuxent Naval Air Station.

April 9, 2014

Natural Gas, Coming or Going

For years, tankers have discharged their natural gas cargo at the Dominion Resources terminal at Cove Point near Lusby, Md. Now with the mining of rich natural gas reserves in the western foothills an economically viable option, Dominion wants to turn the tables and send tankers away from the Chesapeake terminal loaded with liquefied natural gas. In order to do that, a $3.6-billion facility would need to be constructed. Opponents argue that the mining and liquification of the gas would damage the environment, including the Bay and that property values would suffer. What the argument boiled down to, however, was whether the facility's original permit specified delivery only or whether it allowed both import and export. This spring, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled that the agreement could have an either-or interpretation. The project still needs approval from regulators and the Public Service Commission.

April 9, 2014

Sanctuary on the Lafayette River

It might not be immediately obvious how the dredge spoil expansion of Craney Island at the mouth of the Elizabeth River and a new oyster reef on the Lafayette River, a tributary of the Elizabeth, are related, but they are. Here's how: The new 6-acre oyster bed is part of an 10-year, $70 million, 411-acre, three-phase mitigation project by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in exchange for ecological impact of the massive Craney Island project. The expanded east side of the island will serve as a base for a new marine port terminal. The Lafayette River oyster reef, created from 14,000 cubic yards of fossilized oyster shell will be seeded with 6 million spat-on-shell oysters this spring. The new bed is the fourth in a six new sanctuaries to be created. The first phase of the mitigation project, an 11-acre wetlands creation project at Paradise Creek Nature Park in Portsmouth, was completed last year. The third phase will be the remediation of the dredged Elizabeth River bottom after the Craney Island expansion is complete.

April 9, 2014

An Oyster Compromise

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) stands firm in its belief that spat-seeded oyster shells are the best way of replenishing the state's oyster beds. For the spat, it relies on the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Horn Point. But watermen say that the Horn Point facility can't seed enough shells to meet the demand and that other methods will do the job as well. Earlier this year, they asked for oyster-restoration money to purchase 200,000 bushels of oyster shell from a Virginia distributor to be used unseeded on public oyster bars that would not be getting seeded oyster shell. In addition they wanted to clean some of the public bars to make what they considered a better growing surface. The DNR balked, standing by its policy that funds be concentrated on producing seeded shells. Further, DNR officials said, there is no scientific evidence that bar-cleaning works. It was a stand-off between the state and oyster committees from Kent, Queen Anne's and Dorchester counties. In late March, DNR agreed to purchase an additional 20,000 bushels of new oyster shell for a pilot project on a public bed for unseeded shell. Scientists and watermen will then work the bed together so that both sides arrive at the results in the experiment. During this past season, about 400,000 bushels of oysters were pulled from Maryland waters. Watermen argue that at least 400,000 bushels of new shell needs to be set in order to maintain the supply.

April 9, 2014

Caught on Camera

They could deny poaching a Maryland oyster sanctuary all they wanted, the judge told two Somerset County watermen, brothers William and Irving Catlin, but it was all right there on camera. She declared them guilty and imposed a fine on each. The conviction was the first for the state's camera and radar surveillance system, called the Maritime Law Enforcement Information Network. William Catlin of Upper Fairmount, the boat's captain, was fined $1,000, while his brother Irving, serving as mate, was fined $450. The surveillance cameras caught the pair making passes through the Somerset Sanctuary in Tangier Sound. They were chased down by a Natural Resources Police officer, who'd been watching them on his laptop.

April 9, 2014

Shakespeare and the Snakehead

A rose by any other name might smell as sweet, but is that true of the northern snakehead? The Charles County commissioners think that a name change is just what the loathsome and unwanted snakehead needs to make it a popular entrée on restaurant menus . . . and thereby less likely to crowd out native species in local streams. You have to admit they have a point. Changing fish names in mid-stream has a long and successful history. Too successful. Consider the euphoniously named Chilean sea bass. Yummy, popular and as ugly as sin. It lived a long and happy life in South American rivers until its name was changed in 1988 from the Patagonian toothfish. Now it's consumed at unsustainable levels. So too the once abundant slimehead, which prospered for untold centuries until its name was changed to the sweet-sounding orange roughy. That's a change that may spell the end of the species.

So if it worked for slimeheads and toothfish, why not the snakehead? Clearly just what the Charles County commissioners had in mind. Their rename-the-snakehead contest yielded more than 400 entries, including the Chesapeake Bay channa fish (for their Latin name channidae), but we think our readers can do better. What do you think? Send your suggestions to

April 9, 2014

Virginia Listing Puts Tangier in Line for National Register

Anyone who has ever been to Tangier Island-whether by tour boat or on their own-knows that the economically beleaguered and wave-battered speck of sand is a special spot. And now its singularity has been recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia and will likely soon be recognized by the federal government. This spring, Tangier earned a place on Virginia Landmarks Registry, which in turn qualifies it for consideration for a listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The new historic district comprises virtually the entire island-only the airport is excluded. The benefits to be gained from the state and national designations include loans and funding for preservation. And if the thousand-acre island needs anything, it's preservation. Rising water, sinking land and the effects of natural erosion on the low and sandy island have left Tangier's watermen residents watching the Chesapeake close in on them at an annual rate of 16 feet on the west side and 3 on the east, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates. Now residents hope that its new historic register status will help long-planned jetty projects and other land-saving measures become reality before it's too late.

April 9, 2014

Havre de Grace Comes in at Number 12

On a more frivolous, but no-less happy note, Smithsonian magazine recently listed Havre de Grace, Md., as number 12 on its third annual list of the 20 best small towns to visit in the United States in 2014. (Down the Bay, Williamsburg, Va., came in at number 2.) "Mornings in Havre de Grace," the article says,"should be spent meandering along the town's boardwalk, which runs from Tydings Park to the Concord Point Lighthouse. Where the Susquehanna River joins into the Chesapeake Bay at Concord Point, visitors can see beautiful sunrises (if they arrive early enough)." You can read the entire article at

March 30, 2014

Search & Rescue

Coast Guard assists boater from grounded sailboat near Baltimore

The Coast Guard assisted a boater Saturday, March 29, after the 29-foot sailboat he was aboard ran aground in the Patapsco River near Baltimore, east of Rock Creek. Coast Guard Sector Baltimore received notification at 1 p.m. from the man, who reporting he had run aground due to dense fog in the area. A crew aboard a 25-foot response boat from Coast Guard Station Curtis Bay arrived on the scene and transferred the man onto their boat. The man was not injured and was transported to White Rocks Marina in Pasadena, Md. The sailboat is currently aground awaiting salvage. 

March 20, 2014

Lighthouse Sleepovers

Want to give your favorite Girl Scout troop or church youth group a Chesapeake overnight adventure to remember? Consider bringing them to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum on a Friday or Saturday night this summer (except July and August) for one of the museum's Lighthouse Overnight Adventures. Under the supervision of a museum docent the youngsters (ages 8 to 12+) will learn about the daily lives of late-19th and early 20th-century lightkeepers by spending the night in the CBMM's Hooper Strait Light-a screwpile light built in 1879 and rescued by the museum after its decommissioning in the late 1960s. The program can accommodate groups of 12 to 18, including chaperones, and costs $40 per person. The fee covers the costs of the program activities as well as two days' admission to the museum. For details contact CBMM's director of education Kate Livie at or 410-745-4947. More info at for details and registration.

March 20, 2014

Help-the-Bay PR Boosts Blue Catfish Sales

While there's little evidence we've ever been able eat our way out of an invasive-species problem, that very idea has accounted for a significant boom in sales of blue catfish to stores and restaurants. According to a report in the Bay Journal, more than a half-million pounds of blue catfish were sold to the food service industry in the Bay region last year-double the amount sold the previous year. According to the article by Journal contributor Whitney Pipkin, the increase is largely attributable to an aggressive PR campaign used by seafood distributors, suggesting that fish-lovers can do their part to help the Bay ecosystem by eating blue catfish. A native of the Mississippi watershed, blue cat was introduced to the Bay in the 1970s as a recreational species. Big mistake. Now, less than half a century later, the species has all but taken over in some places-for instance, Virginia's James River where the blue cat accounts for an estimated 75 percent of the river's biomass. On the upside, fishermen there have been known to bring in 20,000 pounds of blue catfish in a single haul. Catfish for supper, anyone? To read the Bay Journal article, go to

March 11, 2014

A Zebra Scientist Walks Into a Bar . . .

Tired of the same old sports talk over dinner and drinks? How about inviting a scientist along on your next visit to the local pub? That's the idea behind a new outreach program from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) called "A Scientist Walks Into a Bar . . ." The idea is to foster conversation around a current issue in environmental science by putting together people and scientists in a relaxed setting. The scientist gives a 15-minute talk on a topic, such as new ways other countries are combatting sea-level rise, and then opens up the floor for discussion. It's like science with dinner and a drink-a pedagogy that would surely be a hit on campuses across the country. The first three programs in the series are being held this year at Park Lane Tavern in Hampton. In fact, you might be in time to catch the April 2 program with VIMS Professor Rob Hale, who will discuss how micro-plastics might travel from your tube of toothpaste to the digestive system of a toothed whale. For more about "A Scientist Walks Into a Bar . . ." see

March 11, 2014

Drink a Stout and Plant an Oyster

Speaking of bars, don't you love it when you can enjoy yourself and simultaneously do something good for the environment, especially the Bay? Well, Flying Dog Brewery of Frederick, Md., has put the E in easy with its Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout. Since its introduction in 2011, sales of this rich and foamy brew have helped the Oyster Recovery Program plant more than 3 million oysters in the Bay. Proceeds from the 2013 sales will put an additional 2 million baby oysters in the Chesapeake. Every Oyster Stout sold allows the Oyster Recovery Program to plant ten oysters. So here's to aerial Airdales and Chesapeake oysters! For more information about the program, see or

March 11, 2014

Recycling Oyster Shells

If you have decided to enjoy your beer and oysters at home, you can keep the good work going by recycling your oyster shells at one of the growing number of Oyster Recovery and Chesapeake Bay Foundation drop-off locations in both Maryland and Virginia. Charles County recently became the eighth Maryland county to offer oyster-shell recycling by opening four locations: Charles County Landfill Recycling Center in Waldorf, Breeze Farm Recycling on Cobb Island, Gilbert Run in La Plata and Pisgah Recycling Center in Pisgah. For a list of more site in both states, see the Quick Link box on our website, After you've recycled your shells, go online to register for the $1/bushel tax credit at

March 11, 2014

Kent Narrows Dredge Used to Rebuild Ferry Point Shoreline

This story has nothing to do with either beer or oysters, but it does involve both science and goo, so it's not all bad. Remember the happy news that the dredging of shoal-plagued Kent Narrows should be completed by the time you throw good-old It's Five O'Clock Somewhere into gear for her first outing of the year? Well the other happy news about the Narrows-though in a more cosmic and less practical way for boaters-is that 18,000 cubic feet of unwanted Narrows bottom goo is going into the construction of a living shoreline to protect Ferry Point, located on the west side of the Narrows, from washing away-and possibly into the Narrows channel. The project is a partnership of Queen Anne's County, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Delmarva R&D Council and the Chesapeake Bay Trust.

Planning for the project began in 2006 and it has become something of a textbook case for shoreline restoration techniques, including headland breakwaters, dune stabilization and marsh reinforcement, using a variety of plants, and containment berms made of concrete, sand, and dredged material. This spring, grass will be planted as well. And who knows, perhaps the Narrows will now have to be dredged only half as often.

March 11, 2014

Report Blames Bounty Captain

The National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) released its report in February on the sinking of the tall ship Bounty, which went down October 29, 2012, in Hurricane Sandy off the coast of North Carolina. Of the 16 crewmembers, aboard, one died and three were seriously injured; the captain, Robin Walbridge, was never found and is presumed lost at sea. The board placed the blame for the sinking squarely on the shoulders of the captain, calling his decision to sail into the well-forecast storm reckless because it "subjected the aging vessel and the inexperienced crew to conditions from which the vessel could not recover." The Bounty left New London, Conn., on October 25, a day after the storm had reached hurricane status, en route to St. Petersburg, Fla. "The Bounty's crew was put into an extraordinarily hazardous situation through decisions that by any measure didn't prioritize safety," NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman wrote. The report also criticized the owners of the 50-year-old ship for not trying to dissuade the captain.

March 11, 2014

NOAA Digital Charts Here to Stay

The new high-resolution PDF charts, issued by NOAA on a trial basis, have made the cut. The federal marine mapping agency announced in February that the new charts would be available permanently for download and printing. These charts do not replace officially produced NOAA products (now available from commercial print-on-demand agents) for commercial carriage, but instead provide a low-cost replacement for NOAA-printed charts. Last year, NOAA announced that it would no longer print its own charts. Instead, the new downloadable charts are produced in great detail and are free.

In addition, the digital files provide a convenient way to keep your charts up to date. NOAA is issuing a number of updated Chesapeake Bay charts this winter, including 12280, Chesapeake Bay Northern Part; 12235, Chesapeake Bay Rappahannock River Entrance, Piankatank and Great Wicomico Rivers; 12231, Chesapeake Bay Tangier Sound Northern Part; and 12221, Chesapeake Bay Entrance.

February 28, 2014

Search & Rescue

Coast Guard investigating freighter aground in Elizabeth River near Portsmouth, Va.

The Coast Guard is investigating a 590-foot freighter that ran aground Wednesday night, February 26, in the Elizabeth River near Hospital Point in Portsmouth.

A pilot aboard the Hanze Goteborg, a Netherlands-flagged freighter carrying soy beans, contacted Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads Command Center watchstanders at 10:30 p.m. reporting the ship soft aground with no reported injuries, pollution or damage.

The Coast Guard dispatched a crew aboard a 45-foot Response Boat - Medium, who arrived on the scene at 11:45 p.m. to assess damage and continue to monitor the situation. Though the waterway was partially obstructed, it remained open to vessel traffic with restrictions.

Around midnight, the Coast Guard requested the tugboats hold the ship in place and wait until 5 a.m. for a higher tide and a more complete assessment of damage.

The Coast Guard crew transferred three members from Sector Hampton Roads to the Hanze Goteborg around 2:45 a.m.

Three tugboats were able to free the Hanze Goteborg around 6:15 a.m. The freighter was escorted by the tugboats to Lambert's Point, where the freighter moored around 7 a.m.

The cause of the grounding is under investigation, and the Coast Guard requested any necessary repairs be completed and the ship's hull be inspected before the ship leaves port.

February 17, 2014

New Crab License Requirements

The Maryland DNR has announced two major changes to licensing for recreational crabbers in 2014. Private waterfront property owners will now be required to register their crab pots (for free), and individual recreational crabbers using crab traps, net rings, seines or trotlines will be required to have licenses ($5 for Maryland residents, $10 for nonresidents). Whole-boat licenses ($15) are available for recreational crabbing with trotlines, collapsible traps or net rings. For catch limits, go to

Dip-netting and hand-lining ("chicken-necking") are still permitted without a license, from shore or a boat, around the clock and seven days a week. The daily catch limit for unpermitted crabbing is two dozen male hard crabs or one dozen soft crabs and/or male peelers.

February 17, 2014

Callinectes authenticus

Ever wonder whether the fish you were served was really cod, or that the crabmeat you just bought was really from Maryland? The "Maryland Seafood Authenticity and Enforcement Act" has been introduced in the Maryland legislature and would make it illegal for restaurants and markets to mislabel seafood and also require them to identify the source of their crabmeat. According to a Washington-based conservation group called Oceana, at least one-third of all seafood purchased in the U.S. is mislabeled. The bill requires that species, common name and state of origin be identified on restaurant menus or market signs. In addition to identifying crab products (and where they came from), it prohibits anything not made from the Atlantic crab species Callinectes sapidus from being labeled as "blue crab." The bill will be heard on February 26th at 1 p.m.

February 17, 2014

Scratch that Three-Rod Limit

It's an episode that has many fishing charter captains scratching their heads and wondering if anyone from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Service has ever been out on the Bay on a charter fishing boat. Seeking to bring the regulations for non-tidal and tidal waters into agreement, the DNR Fisheries Service introduced a new regulation for 2014: As in nontidal waters in the state, boats fishing in the Bay's tidal waters would be limited to fishing with no more than three rods at once. You read that right, three rods. When trolling for rockfish, it's not at all uncommon for a charterboat crew to have 12 or 15 rods working at once. Limiting them to three, charter captains say, would completely change the game. The new rule was rolled out with so little fanfare that most charter captains didn't even know about it. But once the word did get out, they . . . um, well, let's just say they spoke up. And before long the Fisheries Service acknowledged that regulation might indeed have a "negative socio-economic impact on tackle shops and sports fishermen," and rescinded the rule. So, that three-rod limit you may not have even heard about? Never mind.

February 17, 2014

Unmanned Blimps Keep Watchful Eye Over Bay

It doesn't really matter whether you consider them a critical aid to the national defense or an outrageous invasion of privacy; the fact remains that two tethered blimps, each the size of a football field (if we tell you which football fields, we'll have to kill you), will have their eyes on you, no matter where you go on the Chesapeake Bay. Beginning later this year, these unmanned, helium-filled blimps, called aerostats, will be floated 10,000 feet above Army property near Aberdeen Proving Grounds, north of Baltimore. From that vantage point, they will be able to track suspicious activity as far away as Raleigh, N.C., Lake Erie and Boston. What they are watching for, according to developer Raytheon, are cruise-missile strikes, threats to shipping, and other attacks on the nation, and Washington D.C. in particular.

Aerostats with high-powered cameras were used by the Army during the Iraq war. Officials say there are no plans to share information gathered by the Aberdeen blimps with law enforcement or government agencies. The aerostats can stay aloft for 30 days at a time before they need to be refilled. According to Raytheon, they can "track hundreds of airborne and surface moving threats . . . including a swarming boat attack-a growing threat in key strategic waterways." A word to the wise: at your next boat-club rendezvous, be careful
not to "swarm."

February 17, 2014

National Harbor to Get Ferris Wheel

Here's a chance to do a little scenic surveillance of your own. The docks at National Harbor will soon feature more than some very nice transient slips. By this April, a 175-foot-tall Ferris wheel will be perched at the end of the 770-foot-long main pier. The $15-million attraction is being built in Kansas and Switzerland by the Chance Company and will be erected at National Harbor early this spring. Though it will be large and elegant enough to fall into the category known as "observation wheels," it's not in the Ferris wheel big leagues. England's 443-foot London Flyer was the world's largest from 2000 to 2006, when the 525-foot Star of Nanking (China) came along, followed in 2008 by the Singapore Flyer-which at 541 feet is the current champ. In Dubai, however, they're working on a $1.6 billion, 689-foot monster that will dwarf them all. But we digress. National Harbor's Capital Wheel will feature 42 eight-person climate-controlled gondolas on a wheel that completes a revolution every eight minutes or so, giving riders a remarkable view of Washington's most famous monuments. The wheel, in turn, will be visible from airplanes landing and taking off at nearby Reagan National Airport and, presumably, from just about everywhere else along that section of the Potomac River. Tickets will be $15 and rides will be two revolutions.

February 12, 2014

Tell Us Your Chesapeake Cruising Tales

Chesapeake Bay Magazine woule like you (the collective you, that is) to tell us some bite-size boating stories! We want to hear your short, sweet tales of cruising and/or exploring and/or finding Nirvana, Chesapeake style. It can be anything you want it to be, as long as it's about a place you love to be (or have loved being) on a boat on the Bay. Maybe it's a tribute to your hands-down favorite cruising creek, or the highlights of a weekend you spent on the hook in Suchandsuch Cove or your favorite trip to that summer-isn't-summer-
till-I've-been-there place. Whatever the case, we want to share it with the CBM family-in our first (and,
with any luck, first annual) "O The Places We Go" feature in the May issue. So settle in on a cold night
with some warm weather memories and get to writing! Send your 300-word (ish) story to, along with any pertinent photos you might have by February 21.
We look forward to hearing your stories, and passing them along to your fellow readers!

February 10, 2014

Oh Say Do You See?

After a couple of years of remembrances and re-enactments to mark the 200th anniversary of the largely inglorious but fascinating War of 1812, it all comes down to this: a final summer of commemorations at waterfront towns around the Bay-and a 10-day star-spangled spectacular of a finale in September. This latter is timed to coincide with the bicentennial of Baltimore's 1814 victory against a British invasion from land and sea, and the penning by Francis Scott Key of "The Defence of Ft. McHenry," the poem that became our national anthem. There will be myriad waterfront activities, including forests of tall ships, flights of Blue Angels, a living flag presentation at Ft. McHenry and the largest fireworks display in Maryland's history. See for details and schedules.

February 10, 2014

Holy Cow, Do You See That View?

Here's a chance to do a little scenic surveillance of your own. The docks at National Harbor will soon feature more than some very nice transient slips. By this April, a 175-foot-tall Ferris wheel will be perched at the end of the 770-foot-long main pier. The $15-million attraction is being built in Kansas and Switzerland by the Chance Company and will be erected at National Harbor early this spring. Though it will be large and elegant enough to fall into the category known as "observation wheels," it's not in the Ferris wheel big leagues. England's 443-foot London Flyer was the world's largest from 2000 to 2006, when the 525-foot Star of Nanking (China) came along, followed in 2008 by the Singapore Flyer-which at 541 feet is the current champ. In Dubai, however, they're working on a $1.6 billion, 689-foot monster that will dwarf them all. But we digress. National Harbor's Capital Wheel will feature 42 eight-person climate-controlled gondolas on a wheel that completes a revolution every eight minutes or so, giving riders a remarkable view of Washington's most famous monuments. The wheel, in turn, will be visible from airplanes landing and taking off at nearby Reagan National Airport and, presumably, from just about everywhere else along that section of the Potomac River. Tickets will be $15 and rides will be two revolutions.

February 10, 2014

New Owner for Two Oxford Marinas

Oxford Boatyard and its next-door neighbor Mears Yacht Haven, both on Town Creek in Oxford, Md., have been purchased by a New England-based company, Brewer Yacht Yard Group. Brewer owns 22 other marinas between Maine and New York, but the Oxford marinas are its first Chesapeake Bay acquisitions. Oxford Boatyard was founded in 1866 and continues as a full-service yard and marina. Mears Yacht Haven has long been a popular marina with both local boaters and for club rendezvous. The two facilities have now been combined under the name Brewer's Oxford Boat Yard & Marina. Coastal Properties Management owner Mitch Nathanson had owned Oxford Boatyard since 1988 and Mears Yacht Haven since 1994.

February 10, 2014

Digging Deep

In addition to the long-awaited dredging of the north end of Kent Island Narrows channel this spring [see Channel 9, February 2014], the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has two significant Virginia dredging projects under way: the entrance channels to Tangier Island and the Little Wicomico River. The Corps has awarded a $991,500 contract to 4H Construction Corporation, a Mississippi-based company, to dredge Tangier's federal channel, which is used by watermen, supply vessels, ferries and recreational boaters and is critical to the island's survival. "It's our lifeline," said Tangier Mayor James Eskridge in announcing the contract. "It's how the supplies come into the island, and how the guys get out working on the water and making their living." The island's east channel is maintained to 8 feet MLLW (mean lower low water); the west channel and turning basin are kept at 7 feet MLLW. Funding is coming from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013.

The second dredging project, at the entrance to the Little Wicomico River, was nearing completion as this issue went to press. The Little Wicomico, on Virginia's Northern Neck, serves as a base for watermen and commercial fishermen, as well as for recreational boaters and anglers. Its narrow channel is subject to frequent shoaling because of its exposed location at the tip of Smith Point, which forms the southern shore of the Potomac River.

January 14, 2014

Notice to Chesapeake Mariners

Contract let for dredging Tangier Island basin and channels

The Norfolk District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a $991,500 contract to a Mississippi-based company to dredge the Tangier Island, Va. federal navigation channel.

The contractor, 4H Construction Corporation, will perform maintenance dredging in the channel, removing 55,500 cubic yards of material, which will allow watermen, supply vessels, ferries and recreational boaters safe access to the island.

"It's our lifeline," said Tangier Mayor James Eskridge said in announcing the contract. "It's how the supplies come into the island and how the guys get out working on the water and making their living." "We are looking at starting onsite operations later this winter," said Jason Flowers, Norfolk District project manager.

The island's east channel is maintained to 8 feet mean lower low water; the west and turning basin are kept at 7 feet mean lower low water. 

Funding for the project is coming from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013.

January 13, 2014

Notice to Chesapeake Mariners

Dredging: Little Wicomico River channel

The dredge "Fuzzy" will be working in the narrow Little Wicomico River channel until about January 24, digging out recently shoaled areas. Because equipment will take up most of the channel during this operation, boaters transiting the area are asked to contact the dredge at least six hours before the desired passage. The dredge monitors channels 16, 13, and 8 or may be contacted at 410-507-0927.

Change to Elizabeth River drawbridge numbers

Telephone numbers have changed at the new Gilmerton/US13/460 (vertical-lift) Bridge, at AICW mile 5.8, and the Centerville Turnpike/SR170 (swing) Bridge, at AICW mile 15.2, across the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River and across the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, both in Chesapeake, Va. The new telephone numbers are: Gilmerton Bridge: 757-485-5488; Centerville Bridge: 757-547-3631. 

January 10, 2014

Stephen Colbert Appointed to NSHoF Advisory Board

Now listen, people. The nation's most satirical nautical person, Stephen Colbert, has been named to the Honorary Advisory Board of the National Sailing Hall of Fame. Clearly taking his new responsibilities seriously, Colbert declared: "I will do my best not to capsize the National Sailing Hall of Fame. Hard Alee!" He joins fellow famous person, actor, longtime sailor and board chair Morgan Freeman.

January 10, 2014

An Unusual Business Opportunity

This is outside our marked channel, but it would mean a lot for the Baltimore area boaters who count on this vital service. Bo Weaver, who has owned and operated Pump Out Boat service for the past 13 years, has relocated and wants to pass the business on. It makes money "on its own scale," he says, and he's asking a modest sum for the business and equipment. Interested? You can contact him at 443-250-6588 or

January 9, 2014

Skipjack Rosie Parks Relaunched

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels could hardly have picked a more appropriate time for the relaunch of what is perhaps the Bay's most famous skipjack, the Rosie Parks. The 50-year-old vessel, built in 1955 by near-legendary Eastern Shore boatbuilder Bronza Parks, was sent down the rails after 3 years of meticulous restoration, during the museum's Oyster Festival on November 2. The skipjack, built by Parks for his brother Orville, and named for their mother, spent the first 20 years of her life oystering. She was purchased from Orville Parks by the museum in 1975 and for thousands of museum-goers has become a symbol of a passing way of life. In 2010, she was pulled to undergo an extensive restoration-her first-under the direction of master shipwright Marc Barto, manager of the museum's large historic fleet and its shipwright program.

At high tide on November 2, as hundreds watched-including members of the Parks family and area watermen-the Rosie Parks was re-christened and then sent down the rails and back into the waters of the Miles River.

January 9, 2014

A Watermen's Museum Launched

Watermen were the focus of another, though considerably quieter, ceremony on December 14, with the official opening of the Eastern Shore Watermen's Museum and Research Center in Onancock, Va. The new museum occupies one classroom of the Historic Onancock School on College Avenue (an easy walk from the Onancock waterfront, by the way). It was spearheaded by Virginia Wesleyan College professor Paul Ewell-the son and a brother of watermen-who has collected thousands of photos and hundreds of artifacts of a culture of Eastern Shore watermen. Featured during the opening ceremony were reminiscences, both sweet and bitter, from Ewell's brother Roy and his wife Mary Evelyn. The couple oystered together for years until she quit to work as a hospital administrator, while he remained--she regretting only that she hadn't left earlier and he vowing never to retire from the water.

For more information and visiting hours for the Eastern Shore Watermen's Museum, call 757-665-5771 or visit

January 9, 2014

Big Oyster Numbers for Virginia

Virginia is clearly doing something right-or perhaps a number of things-because the numbers of last year's oyster harvest are up an impressive 60 percent over the previous year, reaching a level not seen since 1987. According to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, 406,000 bushels of oysters were harvested during the 2012-2013 season, up from 257,000 bushels the previous year. Officials and scientists credited a number of factors, including a steep increase in oyster habitat, better management, harvest rotation, and growing aquaculture operations.

January 9, 2014

Old Oyster Shells for Maryland

While Virginia has turned to digging up ancient oyster shells from the James River, Maryland has turned to Florida and the CSX railroad company to satisfy its demand for old oyster shells-which serve as breeding grounds for new oysters. Beginning with the arrival of the first trainload of 2,750 tons of old shells in December at the Port of Baltimore, the project will supply Maryland with a total of 112,500 tons of fossilized oysters from the Sunshine State over the next nine months. The National Fish and Wildlife Service struck an agreement with CSX to ship the spat-friendly shells from Gulf Coast Aggregates in Carrabelle, Fla., to Baltimore at cost. From there, they will be loaded on barges and delivered to the state's 377-acre oyster sanctuary in Harris Creek. Later shipments will be delivered to a similar sanctuary on the Little Choptank River.

The placement of the shells and production of the new oysters will be supervised by the University of Maryland's Center for Environmental Research and the Oyster Recovery Partnership. Like Virginia, Maryland lacks enough used oyster shells necessary to jump-start the revival of the population.

January 10, 2014

The Definitive Guide to All Things Oyster

While googling around we stumbled upon what appears to be the definitive connoisseur's guide to oysters: The guide covers all North America, but you can easily zero in on Bay oyster "appellations" by selecting the Chesapeake region on the site's main map. The website also includes information on where to buy oysters and -get this-tells you which wines (and even martinis!) go best with each oyster variety.

Here's a list of some up-and-coming aquaculture oysters that "aren't on the map" yet:

Witch Ducks,;
Ruby Salts:
Sweet Jesus:
Pleasure House:

January 10, 2014

Start Your Own Oyster Garden

The Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program, in partnership with the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and other organizations, has produced an excellent guide to oyster gardening with information about permits, supplies, setup, maintenance and harvesting. There are also stories from oyster gardeners around the Bay that just might inspire you to try it yourself.

January 9, 2014

The Air Draft Drops

If a proposal currently on the board goes through, yet a few more outer reaches of the Bay will be closed to medium and large sailing vessels. In the latest instance, the Washington, D.C., District Transportation wants to replace the Frederick Douglas Swing Bridge across the Anacostia River with a fixed span that has a vertical clearance of 42 feet MHW. The mast height on most cruising sailboats would exceed that clearance.

Last year, the Maryland Department of Transportation announced that it wanted to replace the historic Dover Swing Bridge across the Choptank River with a fixed bridge with a 48-foot vertical clearance. This would close the upper Choptank to the few sailboats that can squeeze past the 50-foot fixed bridge at Cambridge.

Perhaps most egregious of all is the new fixed 50-foot bridge at the mouth of the Chickahominy River in Virginia, which keeps tall cruising boats from venturing inside one of the Bay's most beautiful rivers.

For comparison, the minimum air draft for the Intracoastal Waterway is 65 feet MHW, and even that is a challenge for many bluewater boats.

January 9, 2014

And Then There's Kent Narrows

Perhaps the Bay's most anticipated dredging project is yet to get under way, but it is at last on the schedule for this spring. Kent Narrows, one of the most traveled thoroughfares on the Chesapeake has been shoaling badly on its north side, where the channel enters the Chester River. During the past boating season, dozens of boats grounded-some seriously-on the encroaching shoals. Although the Army Corps of Engineers acknowledged the problem, they lacked the funds to undertake the project. Now the Queen Anne's County Board of Commissioners have decided to front part of the funding for the 5,600-foot long northern section of the channel. The remaining money will come from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources' Waterway Improvement Fund. The dredging will be done this spring by the Corps of Engineers, which is expected to complete the task by the beginning of the boating season.

January 9, 2014

Historic James River Powerline?

Fish, fowl and good red herring are fine and dandy for the historic James River, say colleges, conservationists and historians-but not high-voltage transmission towers marching across the river just downriver from Jamestown and the Colonial Parkway. And these opponents are ready to fight the issue. Last year, Virginia's State Corporate Commission approved a request from Dominion Power to erect the 500,000-volt transmission line and supporting towers-one of them nearly as tall as the Statue of Liberty-across the James to beef up the power grid for the Hampton Roads area. Opponents argue that this will create a blot on the historic landscape. Before work begins, the project must be approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and it is here that opponents, which include the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the College of William and Mary, Preservation Virginia and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, hope to make their stand. Dominion, on the other hand, hopes to have the project completed by mid-2015.

January 9, 2014

The Water Draft Rises

While the bridge clearance is being reduced in some instances across the Bay, a much more widespread problem is the persistent silting and shoaling of waterways. Money for dredging has become scarce in the past few years, leaving a lot of areas sketchy for vessels drawing more than two or three feet. The good news is that a number of dredging projects are under way this winter. Here are a few of the ongoing projects: Still Pond Creek on the upper Bay; the Wicomico River on the Eastern Shore; Lynnhaven Inlet in the lower Bay. Lynnhaven Inlet was particularly hard hit by Hurricane Sandy, and some of the money for dredging it out is coming from federal Sandy relief funds.

January 9, 2014

Now Giving Good Advisory Advice

Now listen, people. The nation's most satirical nautical person, Stephen Colbert, has been named to the Honorary Advisory Board of the National Sailing Hall of Fame. Clearly taking his new responsibilities seriously, Colbert declared: "I will do my best not to capsize the National Sailing Hall of Fame. Hard Alee!" He joins fellow famous person, actor, longtime sailor and board chair Morgan Freeman.

January 9, 2014

Now Offering An Unusual Business Opportunity

This is outside our marked channel, but it would mean a lot for the Baltimore area boaters who count on this vital service. Bo Weaver, who has owned and operated Pump Out Boat service for the past 13 years, has relocated and wants to pass the business on. It makes money "on its own scale," he says, and he's asking a modest sum for the business and equipment. Interested? You can contact him at 443-250-6588 or

December 26, 2013

Notice to Mariners

Milford Haven Bridge to be closed December 30

     Will reopen December 31

To facilitate mechanical repairs, the State Route 223 Bridge across the Milford Haven Inlet, at Gywnn's Island, Va., will remain in the closed position from 7 a.m. on Monday, December 30, through 7 a.m. Tuesday, December 31. In the closed position to vessels, the available vertical clearance will be about 12 feet above MHW. Vessels that can pass under the drawbridge without an opening may do so at any time. Mariners should use extreme caution when transiting the area.

This is the first of four separate 24-hour closures authorized until March 31 to facilitate structural rehabilitation and tender house modification. The contractor must provide at least seven days advance notice to marine traffic.

December 24, 2013

Search & Rescue

Coast Guard aircrew rescues boater near Pooles Island, Md.

A Coast Guard aircrew rescued a 39-year-old man aboard a 31-foot sailboat Tuesday, December 24, after he left Edgewood, Md., Sunday and did not arrive in Dundalk as intended.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Baltimore received a call at 10:30 p.m. Monday from the man's friend, reporting that the man had called her Sunday evening and said he was having engine trouble in the vicinity of Pooles Island.

A Coast Guard aircrew aboard an HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J., located the man aboard his boat near Pooles Island and hoisted the him aboard the helicopter. He was transported to Baltimore Washington International Airport, where he was transferred to emergency medical personnel.

"Prior to getting underway, mariners should look at the forecasted conditions and bring sufficient supplies should their voyage last longer than they originally intended." said Lt. Salomee Briggs, the command duty officer at Sector Baltimore.

No injuries were reported.

Coast Guard crews rescue boater, dogs near Little Wicomico River

Coast Guard crews rescued a man and three dogs Tuesday, December 24, after the 59-foot sailboat he was aboard ran aground in the vicinity of Smith Point near the Little Wicomico River.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Baltimore received a mayday call at 11:30 p.m. Monday from the boater over VHF-FM channel 16 reporting he had run soft aground approximately 300 yards from the shore and was taking on water.

After spotting flares, an aircrew aboard a Maryland State Police helicopter located the man aboard his boat at 1 a.m. Tuesday, but did not have hoist capabilities. A Coast Guard aircrew aboard an HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J., arrived on scene and lowered a rescue swimmer to assist the crew aboard a 25-foot Response Boat - Small from Coast Guard Station St. Inigoes, Md.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Kevin Ramirez, the coxswain aboard the RB-S, was able to maneuver the RB-S against the grounded vessel to have the man and his dogs transfer aboard.

"As the conditions worsened and the vessel straightened in line with the seas, we took action knowing that was the best chance to get the master and his dogs transferred safely," said Ramirez. "Operating at near limitations especially that close to shoal was certainly one of the most challenging situations I have experienced on a 24-foot RB-S."

The RB-S crew took the man and dogs to Smith Point Marina, where he was offered medical services, but refused.

"The man did an excellent job maintaining communications and providing situational updates," said Lt. Salomee Briggs, the command duty officer at Sector Baltimore. "He used flares to signal the Maryland State Police helicopter, which allowed us to narrow in on his position and expedite the search and rescue case."

Search & Rescue

December 19, 2013

Coast Guard seeks assistance in identifying Kent Island hoax caller

The Coast Guard is asking for assistance with locating a hoax caller after they received 11 false distress calls between October 19 and December 16 and conducted searches involving multiple air and boat crews from the Coast Guard and local authorities.

All 11 false distress calls were determined to have originated from the same area of Kent Island and involved the same male voice transmitting over VHF-FM channel 16.
The Coast Guard's cost for the searches is estimated to be approximately $45,000.
In addition to cost, there is significant operational impact caused by making false distress calls.

"Making false distress calls limits the Coast Guard and our rescue partners' capabilities to assist those boaters who are in actual emergency situations," said Capt. Kevin Kiefer, commander of Coast Guard Sector Baltimore. "Hoax radio calls also place first responders in unnecessary danger as they work to assist the boating public."

Making a false distress call is a felony punishable by law. The maximum penalty for making a false distress call is six years in prison, a $5,000 civil fine, a $250,000 criminal fine and reimbursement to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard Investigative Service is offering a reward of $2,000 for information that leads to the positive identification of the person involved with the hoax call.

Anyone with information regarding the calls is asked to contact Coast Guard Investigative Service Baltimore at 410-576-2515.

December 13, 2013

Bay Barometer Report : Chesapeake Faces Challenges

The Chesapeake Bay Program released its 2012-2013 Bay Barometer Report on December 3, saying that it "reflects the reality of an impaired Bay, where development and pollution could threaten relatively stable blue crab, shad and striped bass populations." According to the Bay Program press release, the report shows that "more than half of the Bay watershed's freshwater streams are in poor condition, almost three-quarters of the Bay's tidal waters are impaired by chemical contaminants and just 29 percent of the Bay has met water-quality standards."

The complete report is available for download here:

December 13, 2013

Commercial Fishermen Indicted for Illegal Harvest and Interstate Sale of Striped Bass

Remember the abandoned gill nets discovered nearly three years ago off Kent Island, clearly illegal and full of dead rockfish? Well, federal and state investigators last week obtained a 26-count indictment of the four Talbot County men they say were running a striped bass poaching ring that spanned four years and was worth nearly a half million dollars on the wholesale market. According the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Michael D. Hayden Jr. and William J. Lednum, both of Tilghman Island, conspired to over-harvest striped bass and falsify records submitted to the DNR. The grand jury found that in 2011 Hayden, Lednum and two other watermen attempted to catch about 20,000 pounds of striped bass before the start of the 2011 commercial season, using gill nets illegally set and left unattended. Hayden was also indicted for witness retaliation and witness tampering in connection with the grand jury probe.

DNR story here

December 13, 2013

Oyster Poachers Nabbed with High-Tech Network

Maryland Natural Resources Police, using it's high-tech Maritime Law Enforcement Information Network (MLEIN) system, caught two watermen encroaching on an oyster sanctuary in Tangier Sound in late November. A NRP officer watched on his laptop as the system's cameras and radar devices showed 64-year-old William Catlin Upper Fairmount and 55 year-old Irving Catlin of Westover harvesting wild oysters about 150 feet inside a sanctuary.

DNR story here

December 17, 2013

NOAA Continues Big-Ship Speed Limits in Right Whale Habitats

NOAA officials today announced that it would make permanent large-ship speed limits that have been in place since 2008 to protect critically endangered right whales in certain waterways (including the mouth of the Bay). The rule requires large ships (65 feet or greater) at certain times of the year to limit their speed to 10 knots in certain designated areas, where right whales feed and reproduce, and along known along migratory routes. "Since the ship-speed restrictions went into effect, no known fatal ship strikes of North Atlantic right whales have occurred in the management zones," said NOAA deputy administrator Mark Schaefer in the announcement. "This rule is working. Before this rule went into effect, 13 right whales died as a result of being hit by vessels in the same areas during an 18-year study period." Ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear are the two main threats to North Atlantic right whales, the population of which is estimated at 425-making it one of the world's most endangered animals.

NOAA story here

November 18, 2013

The Mystery of the 2013 Blue Crab Harvest-What Happened to Promising Juveniles?

A year and a half ago, there seemed to be no shortage of good news about blue crabs. The annual winter dredge survey estimated 764 million blue crabs were in the Bay, the most in 19 years and a huge jump from the previous year. The governors of Maryland and Virginia issued a joint news release talking about the "extraordinary explosion in juvenile blue crab abundance." The 581 million juvenile blue crabs estimated by the survey were the most ever, and were expected to result in increased catches last year and this year as they reached legal harvest size. But the harvest numbers dropped last year, and fell still further this year. Crab prices hit record highs in 2013, and seafood processors haven't been able to get enough crabs to fill their orders at any price. There seem to be no clear answers, some scientists point to too many predators and not enough habitat. Others say the formula for the counting juvenile population may be flawed. Our friends at the Bay Journal have an excellent piece on all the possible explanations for the mystery, here , as well as another excellent article on a possible solution: giving ownership of the crabs to watermen, here.

November 18, 2013

Kent Island Four Seasons Project Put on Hold by State

The planned Four Seasons at Kent Island, an already bitterly disputed 55-plus waterfront housing project, has been put on hold by the State of Maryland. State officials say they have discovered a possible "business relationship" between the state's wetlands administrator and an attorney representing the applicant's request for a permit. Back in 2007 Governor Martin O'Malley's administration decided to oppose a permit for the project deeming the Kent Island location (on the Chester River north of US 50) inappropriate for what was originally to be a 1,350-home development. But the builder, the New Jersey firm K. Hovnanian, appealed and won in 2012. Last summer a new application was submitted, this time scaled back to 1,079 units, setting aside some land to the county for use as a park to mitigate the environmental impact on the wetlands. It seemed all the final hurdles had been cleared when Queen Anne County's commissioners voted to approve the agreement on October 8. That is until the impartiality of Doldon W. Moore Jr., the wetland administrator for the state's Board of Public Works, was called into question. Project opponents cried foul, Moore announced his retirement, Hovnanian bemoaned an application process that's taken 14 years and everything is on hold. Stay tuned.

November 18, 2013

John Page Williams Is Newest "Admiral of the Chesapeake Bay"

Kudos to John Page Williams, a long-time contributor to Chesapeake Bay Magazine, for being named the newest "Admiral of the Chesapeake Bay"! The award is the highest honor the Governor of Maryland can bestow on an individual for contributions to the Bay's culture and environment. John Page is senior naturalist with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and has been teaching and writing about the Bay for over 40 years. He has been a monthly contributor to Chesapeake Bay Magazine for nearly 34 years, having written his first Naturalist's Almanac column in April of 1980. He now writes the magazine's monthly Angler's Almanac fishing column, as well as the annual spring fishing forecast, occasional trailerboat destination stories, and regular boat and product reviews. Our heartiest congratulations to John Page! Huzzah!

November 18, 2013

Waldorf Chef Wins the National Oyster Cook-off with Oyster and Chipotle Grits recipe

Debbie Reynolds of Waldorf took top honors in the National Oyster Cook-off on October 19 in Leonardtown. Her Oyster and Chipotle Grits recipe took first place in the main dish category and won the overall grand prize. Fifty chefs from as far away as Oregon entered recipes in the contest, open to cooks of all skill levels. The judges picked one winner in each of the three categories─hors d'oeuvre, soup/stew and main dish─based on taste and creativity.

Recipe and complete story at :

October 21, 2013

Chesapeake the Movie

Oscar-winning Keith Carradine as a waterman? Sure, we can see that! Just give him a tattered ball cap and rubber boots and he's all over it. Word is out from the Virginia Film Office that filming will begin in mid-2014 on Chesapeake, the story of an aging Bay waterman whose solitary life is radically changed when he saves a boy from drowning. No word at this point as to exactly where the movie will be shot, though the Daily Press in Hampton, Va., is reporting the production will be "based" on the lower Eastern Shore. Go to to watch the promotional video, which has interviews with everyone from Carradine to writer-director Eric Hurt (a Virginian) and Chesapeake Bay Foundation president Will Baker.

October 21, 2013

See Pollution? There's an App for That

The Potomac Riverkeeper and Shenandoah Riverkeeper have teamed up with Chesapeake Commons and a data collection company called Viable to create the Bay's first pollution-reporting smart phone app, Water Reporter. It's also an activity-reporting app--though we're not sure we understand the need to map all the places where random people are or have been kayaking, hiking, etc. The pollution bit, though, that makes sense. If you come across, for instance, a derelict boat sunk at a derelict dock, you just open the app, take a photo, write a quick report and hit "submit." That puts it on a big map at, and then . . . well, we don't know what then. But it's on the map. The project appears to be fairly new; at this writing there were only 34 reports on the map, 18 of them for pollution (cows in streams, algae blooms, etc.) and 16 for activities--which ranged from kayaking to "checking out SAV" to two reports of "living the dream." Again, we don't get that bit. Water Reporter is available for free on iTunes.

October 16, 2013

Ida May "Keels" Over While Leading Race

The first thing you should know is that the idea of racing skipjacks is kind of nuts . . . but very cool. After all, here you have an old technology, developed to do one thing, and to do it well and inexpensively-harvest oysters. Then, you should know that they have a lot of sail relative to the size of the boat. And, finally, they have no keel. No, none. The keel, as you know, is the heavy bit underneath a boat that keeps it going where it's pointed when the wind is trying to shove it sideways. And, more important to this story, it's also what makes the boat pop back up like an inflatable clown punching bag when it's heeled over in a big wind. So this fall, when the venerable skipjack Ida May got caught by a big gust of wind just as she was coming about under full sail at the head of a pack of hell-bent-for-leather skipjacks during a race off Cambridge, Md., it was unfortunate, but not unexpected, that she toppled over like a three-legged card table, sending her crew into the Choptank River. They were all fine, though one of her owners, Gordon Gladden, dislocated his shoulder in the process. The Ida May, you'll be happy to hear, is fine too, though it took some doing to persuade her to sit upright again. In fact, writes CBM's Diana Prentice, who happened to be watching the race, after several agonizing attempts to right her failed, she was towed to nearby Yacht Maintenance on Cambridge Creek, and by 6 p.m. she was right-side-up again.

The Ida May, built in 1906 in Virginia, had won another skipjack race held earlier this year in Deal Island. When she capsized she was leading the annual Choptank Heritage Skipjack Race.

October 16, 2013

Eagle Drops Anchor in Curtis Bay

Now here's a ship with keel to spare, with a draft of 16 feet, and enough sail to cover a small city, 22,300 square feet of sail in all. She's the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's cutter Eagle, based in New London, Conn., and used as a training ship for cadets. This September, however, she made her way up the Chesapeake, stopping in Norfolk and anchoring off Annapolis on her way up to Baltimore. There, she entered the Coast Guard's shipbuilding and repair facility at Curtis Bay, where she will undergo repairs and a major refurbishment over the next couple of years. She will not be out of service altogether, however, and will continue her training mission while using the Curtis Bay yard as its temporary home base. Families of the ship's permanent staff will relocate to Baltimore for the duration of her stay.

October 16, 2013

Perrin Pier Improvements

A happy combination of government agencies and local contractors has made the Perrin River's public pier a better place for local watermen, with new slips and tie-ups. The Gloucester (Virginia) Board of Supervisors, the Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority, the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program and the Virginia Department of Transportation were all involved in the project. But much of the work was carried out with labor donated by local companies. More than a dozen Gloucester's watermen were dislocated in 2010 when Cook's Seafood on Sarah Creek shut its doors after many years of operation. The Perrin improvements are part of an effort to preserve Gloucester's working waterfronts. The pier now has six slips with finger piers, two without and one large side tie-up.

October 16, 2013

Clean-Up Gets Green Light

Despite challenges from the American Farm Bureau, the Fertilizer Institute, the National Pork Producers Council and the National Chicken Council, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can proceed with its plan to reduce pollutants entering the Chesapeake Bay through the regulation of water run-off from both municipalities and farms. Claiming that the new EPA rules would cost more than cities and farmers could afford, the American Farm Bureau et al. filed suit in Pennsylvania's U.S. District Court to stop the EPA. But federal judge Sylvia Rambo declared in a September ruling that the importance of the Chesapeake Bay overweighed the burden imposed by the new regulations and allowed the EPA to go ahead.

October 16, 2013

Calvert Museum Grant for Exhibit

In Solomons, Md., the Calvert Marine Museum will be opening a new exhibit on the ecosystem of the Patuxent River and the Bay, thanks in part to a $142,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences. The new exhibit, called "River to Bay: Reflections and Connections," will open in the summer of 2014.

October 16, 2013

Virginia Gets Tough

Declaring that oyster poaching on public and private beds has reached epidemic proportions, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) and Virginia Marine Police have declared war on the perpetrators. "We mean business," Marine Police Chief Rick Lauderman said in a statement just before the October 1 opening of oyster season. "Oyster poaching in Virginia will stop," he said. The Marine Police are prepared to fight poaching in the air, on land in sea, Lauderman said, prosecuting those caught to the full extent of the law. In addition to existing penalties, including revocation of oystering permits, followed by a year's probation, a new law allows for revocation of all saltwater fishing privileges. This means that violators could be banned from any type of commercial fishing activity, even packing fish caught by someone else, according to VMRC Commissioner Jack Tavistead. "They'll need another line of work for awhile."

Thanks to years of effort and millions of dollars of investment, Virginia's oyster harvest has gone from 23,000 bushels in 2001 to 250,000 bushels in 2012 and is once again a multi-million dollar industry.

October 16, 2013

Solid Progress in Deltaville

Deltaville, Va., was buzzing with excitement and the rumble of cement trucks in late September as the first of the footers were poured for the new Deltaville Maritime Museum. The original museum building was destroyed last year by a fire that started in the adjacent boatbuilding shed. Many of the boats under construction, a few old boats and some of the museum displays were lost, but the many friends of the museum began planning and raising money for new and larger building.

October 16, 2013

Dominion Can Expand LNG Exports

Expect considerably more tanker traffic in the coming years around the Dominion LNG terminal at Cove Point, Md. The federal government this fall said the company, Dominion Resources, may expand its export of liquefied natural gas to countries that do not have a free-trade agreement with the United States. Approval had already been given to export to free-trade countries. The company plans to spend more than $3 billion converting its terminal, which sits just offshore north of the Patuxent River, to export rather than import the resource. The conversion includes construction of a plant to liquefy natural gas.

October 16, 2013

Cape Charles: What Better Spot for A Megayacht?

Things have not always gone just right for Cape Charles on Virginia's Eastern Shore. Despite its strategic location near the mouth of the Chesapeake and its deep-water basin, this architecturally rich town has seen more extravagant development plans fail than succeed. But lately the town has been on a roll. With its new floating docks and popular restaurant at the city marina, as well as the burst of energy at Kings Creek Marina and big new clubhouse under construction at Bay Creek, the success of its main street shops and restaurants, the town has taken on a new glow of prosperity.

And now, it seems that one of the grandest of plans-at least from a boater's point of view-is about to be realized. It was a year or so ago, that father and son owners of Eastern Shore Land Company proposed a megayacht facility for the Cape Charles basin, arguing that the town's location midway between the Caribbean and the Northeast, its easy access and its 18-foot depth made it a natural stopping-off place for large pleasure craft. This fall, the pair-Eyre and Furlong Baldwin-told a group of local officials that the first phase of the facility should be ready for the 2014 boating season. And according to civil engineering firm and marine specialists Langley & MacDonald, permits have been secured for the full-service complex, including dredging, floating slips and three travelifts of 75-, 150- and 600-tons.

October 16, 2013

What's Better than Free?

If you boat or operate a personal watercraft in Maryland and were born after June 30, 1972, you are required to complete a recognized boating safety course. That's a good thing indeed, or course, and now it's a free thing as well. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources recently recognized the BoatUS Foundation's free online boating safety course as meeting the requirements. The course has also been approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the U.S. Coast Guard. Of course, completing the safety course even if you don't have to is an excellent idea, and can even mean lower premiums on your boat insurance.

The course features interactive animations, videos and photos. How to use distress signals, how to get help in an emergency and the best way to fit a child's life jacket. Boaters who pass the course can print their own Certificate of Completion, which will have the boating safety association logo on it. You'll find the course at

October 3, 2013

Search & Rescue

Coast Guard rescues two boaters aboard sinking boat near Crisfield, Md.

The Coast Guard rescued two boaters aboard a fishing boat Wednesday, Oct. 2, that was taking on water in Ape Hole Creek near the Pocomoke Sound Wildlife Management Area.

After the 41-foot fishing boat Carolyn Jeanne began taking on water, the operator of the boat contacted his father. The father arrived at Coast Guard Station Crisfield and notified watchstanders of the situation. Two people were aboard the fishing boat.

A boatcrew aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small was launched from Station Crisfield and arrived on scene within approximately 15 minutes of the notification.

"When we met up with the Carolyn Jeanne, the crew had made it to Broad Creek Gut," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicholas Hupp, the coxswain aboard the RBS. "The crew aboard the fishing vessel said they had re-routed their raw water intake to aid in dewatering their engine room. Unfortunately, their engine was beginning to overheat, they were still taking on water when transiting and they were in danger of running aground. I decided to transfer two of our crewmembers with a dewatering pump to assist."

The cremembers, Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Grove and Petty Officer 2nd Class Timothy Tererri, aided in dewatering the engine room. The RBS crew then towed the boat back to Crisfield.

September 20, 2013

2012-2013 Maryland Fishing Challenge Winners Include First-ever Diamond Jim Capture

Blair Wheeler of Herndon, Va., became the first person to win a $25,000 cash prize for catching Diamond Jim, one of a number of rockfish tagged and released by the Department of Natural Resources at various times during the summer. All but one of the tagged fish in each release are Diamond Jim "imposters" and earn cash prizes-though nothing close to the $25,000 that's offered for the real Jim, if he's not caught until the final round, late July to early September. That was the fortunate Ms. Wheeler, 25, who caught the 19-incher on July 28 while fishing aboard the charterboat Hook Mash out of Deale, Md. The fishing trip was part of a birthday celebration for her brother and husband. She was the first in the contest's history to catch the real Diamond Jim. In addition to $25,000 in cash, Wheeler received a pair of one-carat diamond earrings from Zachary's Jewelers of Annapolis, and $6,000 in gift cards from participating Maryland tackle shops.

The tournament's grand-prize winner was Roy Easter Jr. of St. Mary's County. He won a of a boat, motor and trailer from Bass Pro Shops and Tracker Boats. Easter caught an Angler Award qualifying 48.5-inch striped bass in the Indian Head area of the Potomac River in late April.

Cary Murray, of Essex, won an all-expense paid fishing trip to the Bahamas from the World Fishing Network, with his 23-inch brown trout from the Gunpowder River in March.

Debbie Walbert of Levittsville, Va.; Noah Tomasik, of Lusby; and Michael Remmell, of Baltimore all won Bill's Outdoor Center grand prize fishing gear/tackle packages.

The 2013-14 edition of the Maryland Fishing Challenge has begun. More information is available at

September 20, 2013

Dolphin Mortality Numbers Continue to Rise

The total number of deceased dolphins recently reported by the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center's Stranding Response Team has reached 300. NOAA Fisheries has concluded that the dolphin deaths are most likely morbillivirus. The deaths were mostly concentrated in the Chesapeake Bay, but as water temperatures decline more strandings are being reported along Atlantic beaches.

The Stranding Response staff advises citizens not to touch stranded or dead dolphins and to wash thoroughly if they come in contact with the animal. They ask that you report the animal's exact location by calling their 24-hour hotline, 757-385-7575.

September 19, 2013

A Lifejacket by Any Other Name

The Coast Guard is a wonderful organization, and, aside from consistently selecting personnel who have trouble with English as their marine radio announcers, they do a lot of good things for American boaters. And they worry a lot about our safety. What's worried them recently is "lifejackets." Not, as you might think, whether they work or are comfortable or should be bright orange or a nice Lindsey plaid, but rather what they should be called.

After being called "lifejackets" for a fairly long time, the Coast Guard decided several years ago that they should instead be called "Personal Flotation Devices" or PFDs for short. "Lifejacket" was just too, well, informal, like something you would wear to a pool party. Then last year, they decided that "PFD" was too, well, formal, so we should all refer to them again as "lifejackets" because, well, everybody still did anyway.

But they weren't done worrying. This year, they are worried that we everyday boaters are confused by "PFD type codes" Since PFD Types I, II and III all meet the same requirements, they said in a recent statement, "our regulations for recreational vessels need not differentiate PFDs based on type codes." So now all of these will simply be called "wearable PFDs" and the "Type IV PFD" will now become a "throwable PFD."

Well, so much for going back to "lifejackets." Still, it does make sense . . . and, besides, there's nothing to keep you from sporting a "wearable PDF" to your next pool party. Yeah, it's not the same.

September 2013

First-Timer Headed South?

Hampton, Va., will be hosting an inaugural Cruisers Rendezvous for southbound boaters October 18-20. The event is free and includes seminars on anchorages, route information and weather tools. The host marina will be Hampton Public Piers, and dockage will be a bargain 75-cents a foot. You can reserve a spot by calling 757-727-1276 or emailing For more information about the rendezvous, see

September 2013

West Marine Mega-Store

West Marine is supersizing its new Virginia Beach store. Located in Loehmann's Plaza, the new store encompasses 23,000 square feet, larger than the Norfolk area's other three stores combined. West Marine plans to phase out the smaller stores.

September 2013

Paddling South?

This might seem a little ambitious, but if you've got the kayak/canoe and an overwhelming desire to head south, there's now a kind of intracoastal paddleway that connects Virginia Beach with the Georgia/Florida line. That adds up to approximately 800 miles of paddle-friendly waterway that takes you along the coastal waters of four states. On the north end, the Southeast Coast Saltwater Paddling Trail begins at Pleasure House Point on Lynhaven Inlet and follows the Lynhaven River through Virginia Beach and points south until it finally reaches the Florida line. From there, if you haven't worn your paddle down to a toothpick, you can pick up the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail. And up at the Virginia end, you can, of course, pick up the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. You'll find all the information you need at

September 2013

Navionics App Goes Sonar

We've said it before. We here on the CBM editorial bridge have a slew of navigation apps on our mobile devices, but our go-to app has long been Navionics. Now we're even more impressed. The company recently released an upgrade (at the not-inconsiderable sum of $24.99 for one year) that not only provides daily upgrades to its clean and clear vector charts, but also adds its new sonar charts, high-def bathymetric maps of the bottom contours in remarkable detail. The sonar charts too are constantly updated as Navionics users download their sonar logs, which are then integrated into the existing data for everyone's use. It's an excellent example of crowd-sourcing. Here's an iPad screen shot of Harris Creek on the Choptank to show you the remarkable detail of these new charts. A button on the screen allows users to toggle back and forth between regular and sonar charts.

September 2013

Virginia May Reopen Winter Dredge

For five years, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) has held firm: No winter dredge until the crab population recovers. But late this summer, bending at last to pressure from winter dredge proponents, the VMRC opened the door to the possibility of reinstituting the state's long-standing practice of scraping up dormant female crabs during the winter months. On August 26, the panel set a hearing date of October 22 to listen to public comments on the change before taking a vote. If the commission does reopen the dredge, however, it will be on a limited basis, with a pound-per-pound offset against the crab limits over the entire year, so that the total crabs taken would remain the same. Facing a crashing crab population, the VMRC joined Maryland in 2008 in severely limiting the crab catch, and it took the historic step of closing the state's traditional winter dredge. Since then the crab numbers have increased dramatically, though the 2012 numbers seem to have dipped below 2010 and 2011's highs.

September 3, 2013

Coast Guard to establish security zone for NFL Kickoff event in Baltimore

The Coast Guard will establish a temporary security zone Thursday in designated waters of the Baltimore Inner Harbor. The security zone will be in effect Thursday, September 5, from 5 p.m. until midnight, and will limit navigation by commercial traffic and prohibit recreational waterway users. The security zone will include all waters of Baltimore Harbor, Baltimore's Inner Harbor, from shoreline to shoreline and has an eastern boundary extending from the Baltimore National Aquarium to the Rusty Scupper.

Entering or operating in the security zone is prohibited unless authorized by the captain of the port of Baltimore. Vessels already at berth, mooring or anchor at the time the security zone is implemented are not required to depart the security zone.

"Recognizing the temporary safety and security zone will affect mariners transiting the Inner Harbor: we have coordinated closely with our inter-agency and port partners to minimize the impact during the NFL Kickoff event," said Lt. Michael McGrail, the Enforcement Division chief at Coast Guard Sector Baltimore.

To seek permission to transit the area, call 410-576-2693 or use marine-band radio via VHF-FM channel 16.

August 19, 2013

Gwynn's Island bridge closed

The Gwynn's Island swing bridge is closed until further notice. The bridge mechanism broke recently in the open position and had to be pulled shut by a couple of workboats. The bridge had been scheduled for work next month, with several 24-hour closures, but now will remain in the down position until repairs are completed. That leaves the only access from the Bay through the shallow Hole in the Wall.


Photo courtesy Stratford Hall

August 2013 Channel 9

15-million-year-old Whale Skull Found on Banks of the Potomac

People are delighted to discover a shark's tooth or two while beachcombing along the shores beneath the Potomac River's cliffs, which stretch about five nautical miles from Nomini Bay to Westmoreland Park. These ancient formations, which once lay under a vast salt sea, are a treasure trove of the past, giving up evidence of life that existed here millions of years ago. But this summer, Jon Bachman, Stratford Hall's events manager, hit the paleontological jackpot. Walking along the beach with two scientists doing sediment research, Bachman spotted a very large fossil indeed: the one-thousand-pound skull of a baleen whale believed to date from the Miocene Era. After it had been altogether uncovered, the fossil was put on a boat and taken to the dock at Westmoreland Park, where it was loaded by tractor onto a truck and taken to Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons, Md. There it will stay, on loan from Stratford Hall, for study and display.

Update: In addition to dating the fossil as 15 million years old, the dig has continued and in addition to the skull, all the post-cranial material-the vertebrae, the ribs, and the flipper bones have also been recovered.

August Channel 9

Taking Conowingo's Owner to Task

As energy powerhouse Exelon continues to work its way through the long relicensing process for the continued operation of its Conowingo Dam, it is facing a growing number of organizations that want to make mitigation of the millions of tons of sediment trapped behind the dam part of the package. The Conowingo is the last-and largest-of the lower Susquehanna River dams to fill up its reservoir with sediment washed downriver from as far away as New York. Compounding the problem is that much of the hundreds of millions of tons of sediment is laced with life-destroying pollutants. While the Conowingo's reservoir has up to this point largely kept these pollutants from washing into the Chesapeake Bay, the sediment level has risen so high that heavy storms can push a near catastrophic amount of it over the dam. In addition, continued run-off will soon fill the reservoir entirely. Exelon has consistently maintained that since the sediment pollution did not originate with the dam, it is not their responsibility. Now a coalition of Chesapeake Riverkeepers and members of the Stewards of the Lower Susquehanna have filed a motion calling for Exelon to help mitigate the sediment as part of the relicensing agreement, arguing that level of sediment and pollutants would not have accumulated if it weren't for the dam. Another group, the Clean Chesapeake Coalition, made up of seven local Maryland governments, had earlier filed suit to force mitigation of the dam's sediment. The problem is that, so far, estimates and plans for getting rid of the Conowingo sediment have failed to materialize in the face of the sheer scale of the effort.

August Channel 9

New Mystery Thriller Set on the Bay

There's a new mystery thriller from one of our own-occasional CBM contributor Robert Blake Whitehill, author of our August issue story "The Homecoming Queen," which tells of his brother Michael's love affair with a long expatriated buyboat, Winnie Estelle. A film and television writer by profession, Robert Whitehill is an Eastern Shore native, so it should come as no surprise his thriller is set on the Bay (Smith Island) and has a familiar Bay word as its title: Deadrise. Containing the perfect mix of waterman culture, Smith Island life, suspense and political intrigue, it is the first installment of Whitehill's "Ben Blackshaw series," (another, called Nitro Express, is in progress), following the adventures of a former Navy S.E.A.L. who now lives on Smith Island. Familiarity with Chesapeake vernacular will be helpful in the first chapter, which may send the uninitiated running to their Google machines on a regular basis. But not to worry, even without a Bay glossary, the reader is quickly drawn in, following chapter after chapter of plot twists and knuckle-biting action. Without giving away too much, we'll tell you that the story begins with Blackshaw diving for oysters. Instead of finding oysters, however, he finds a sunken powerboat, millions of dollars worth of gold bullion, a corpse and a dirty bomb.

August Channel 9

Virginia's Oyster Replenishment Program Is Paying Off

Zooming forward a few million years, but still plenty old, fossils of a very different kind-fossilized oyster shells-are being dug out of the sediment of the James River near Kingsmill, where they have lain for the past 10,000 years. The state of Virginia, ever in the hunt for oyster shells to serve as hosts for spat, has decided to dig deep to meet the demand. An estimated one billion of the fossilized oysters are being dredged this summer for relocation to state-owned public oyster grounds to give the new oyster babies a place to call home.

Virginia has been planting oyster shells since the 1920s. This year, the state legislature appropriated $2 million for oyster replenishment, the state's largest effort ever. And the ongoing replenishment program seems to be paying dividends. Late in July, oyster replenishment officer Jim Wesson reported that this year's harvest was on its way to being at least as good, if not better, than last year's, which was the largest in nearly 25 years.

August Channel 9

Snakeheads Carry Virus Harmful to Bass

The northern snakehead--the gift that keeps on giving. According to a report published recently in the Journal of Aquatic Animal Health, a virus that can cause disease in largemouth bass has now been found in otherwise apparently healthy northern snakeheads taken from Potomac River tributaries in Virginia. This is the first time the so-called largemouth bass virus has been detected in the snakehead, an Asian top-level predator inadvertently introduced to the Bay watershed over a decade ago. The find raises concerns that the snakehead, while apparently not susceptible to disease from the virus, may be a carrier or "reservoir" species and therefore a threat to bass populations where the two species overlap. The disease makes some largemouth bass unable to submerge, forcing them to swim at the surface of the water. There are no other obvious symptoms directly resulting from the virus, though large fish kills have been associated with it in other parts of the country

August Channel 9

The J/27 North American Champions

Congratulations to CBM's associate publisher and advertising director, John Stefancik, for trimming aboard Super G, the winner of this weekend's J/27 North American Championship! Congrats too, to boat owner/skipper Erik Fridley, tactician Deke Johnson, bowman Mike Stefancik and pit man Rick Burley. The regatta was held August 8-11 in Oakville, Ontario. A total of 16 teams competed, five of them American. The Super G team are all from Severna Park, Maryland.

Search & Rescue


Harrowing night on Tangier South ends happily for five survivors of capsized boat


At 7 p.m. on July 9, a 16-foot Carolina skiff with five aboard was swamped by waves during a storm about three miles off Deal Island in Tangier Sound. The water, entering over the stern, caused the boat to partially sink and then roll over, sending all of the boat's occupants into the water. All had put on their life jackets when the boat first began taking on water, and after they had been thrown into the water, all held on to the partially sunken boat. At about 7:30, one of the passengers, John Franklin Riggs, 46, decided to swim for help. At about 1 a.m.-five and a half hours later-Riggs reached shore and knocked on the door of the closest residence to call for help.

At 1:10, members of the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP), Maryland State Police (MSP) Aviation , Deal Island VFD, Mt. Vernon VFD, and the U.S. Coast Guard were dispatched to search for the four remaining people in the water between Haines Point and Shark Fin Shoal in Northern Tangier Sound.  MSP aviation Trooper 4 was the first to locate the overturned vessel near the mouth of the Wicomico River at about 3 a.m. Trooper 4 then directed the responding boats to the overturned vessel. The occupants were still holding on the vessel when the Mt. Vernon VFD rescue boat located them.  The occupants were transferred to a larger NRP vessel and taken to Deal Island Harbor, where they received medical attention from Princess Anne EMS.  All were treated at the scene and released.

In addition to Riggs, of Rock Hall, Md., the occupants of the boat were John Riggs, 70, of Salisbury, Contessa Riggs, 43, of Washington D.C., Conrad Drake, 3, of Washington D.C. and Emily Horn, 9, for California.  Drake is the son of Contessa Riggs, and Horn is her niece. 

August Channel 9

Stuart Walker Inducted into National Sailing Hall of Fame

We could say we were surprised and pleased at the selection of Annapolis's Dr. Stuart Hodge Walker as one of this year's inductees into the National Sailing Hall of Fame, but really, we're just pleased. Very pleased. But not surprised. After all, it would be difficult to find anyone more imbued with the whole notion of science of sailing and the pure joy of bashing a boat around a race course than good old Stu Walker. 

A pediatrician and the author of 10 books and hundreds of articles on sailing, as well as a champion competitor many times over on International 14s and Solings, Walker is what Sports Illustrated's Hugh Whall described, in a 1970 article, as "the dilly-down-daffiest small-boat skipper in the world," So, really, we weren't surprised.

Other inductees this year were Olympic gold-medalist Star world champion Bill Buchan of Medina, Wash.; Catalina yachts founder Frank Butler; seven-time international Penguin champion Runnie Colie Jr.; seven-time Etchells world champion Dave Curtis; three-time U.S. Women's Sailing Champion Timmy Larr.

August 2013

Channel 9

Del. Don Dwyer Cited for Illegal Crabbing

Maryland General Assembly delegate Don Dwyer can't seem to stay out of trouble. Currently awaiting appeal on a drunken boating conviction, stemming from a Magothy River accident that injured several people, Dwyer has now been cited for the far less serious crime of illegal crabbing on Sillery Bay in late June. The citation was for violating a state of Maryland regulation banning recreational crabbers from setting crabbing gear or crabbing from boats on Wednesdays.

August 2013

Channel 9

Good-bye to the Inside Passage?

The Coast Guard wants to "disestablish" about 100 miles worth of the narrow shallow channel known as the Virginia Inside Passage. This would mean the removal of 135 aids to navigation between Chincoteague and the northwest wide of Fisherman Island. The Coast Guard says extensive shoaling along the channel has made navigation nearly impossible even for boats with very shallow draft and that the Army Corps of Engineers lacks the funding for the necessary dredging. This disestablishment would not affect the routes east-west routes or the inlets. Antidisestablishmentarians argue that the passage is part of the Inland Waterway system and that, as Accomack Supervisor Ron Wolff put it, it would be like abandoning part of an interstate highway. Abandoning the passage will hurt the communities economically, they argue, by discouraging visiting boaters and anglers. The Coast Guard is asking for comments on the proposal before August 5. If you want to chime in, write to Albert Grimes at or 431 Crawford St., Room 100, Portsmouth, VA 23704-5004.

August 2013

Channel 9

Kent Narrow's North Channel Stops 'em Dead

The popular Kent Narrows channel between Eastern Bay and the Chester River is notorious for its frequent shoaling. Last year, the Coast Guard shifted a couple of the markers in the north channel to reflect the shift, but it hasn't been enough to prevent dozens of recreational boaters from grounding in the area this summer. In an informal poll on our Facebook page in late June, respondents said they had seen 4 ½ feet and less at high tide; some said they were now using only the south channel in Eastern Bay. Happily, dredging is anticipated mid- to late-summer, but as of press time, no word where or when.

August 2013

Channel 9

Leading Causes of Boating Accidents

According to the U. S. Coast Guard's 2012 Recreational Boating Statistics the leading cause of boating accidents is not alcohol use, but boater inattention. This is not to diminish in any way the seriousness of boating while intoxicated, which is the second  highest cause, and the one with the highest percentage of fatalities. A staggering 581 boatings accidents last year were caused by what can be broadly described as boating while distracted. The number three cause was keeping an improper lookout for objects on the water; number four machinery failure; and speeding was the number five cause. Download PDF of report here.

August 2013

Channel 9

Vote Maryland Crabs Best Iconic American Food

Our friends at Maryland Seafood would like you to vote for Maryland Crabs as one of the 10 Best Iconic American foods. Our favorite bay cuisine is one of 20 finalist foods selected by readers of USA Today and 10Best. We're competing against other iconic foods like shrimp and grits, southern fried chicken, San Francisco cioppino, and Seattle's Dungeness crab. Final results will be announced July 24th. You can cast your vote here.

Photo courtesy Bay Daily, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

August 2013

Channel 9

Cats vs. Otters on Tangier Island 

Watermen on Tangier Island are having problems with thieves--thieves who sneak into the crab tanks in the middle of the night and wreck havoc. These thieves, however, are four-legged and have been living and fishing on Tangier Island longer than the human "newcomers." They are otters. Thankfully, this crime problem has been solved without the need for bloodshed. The mere presence of Felis catus (the domestic cat) is enough to deter the clever otters on Tangier Island from their marauding ways. You can read all about this drama of cat and otter in the July edition of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's  Bay Daily.

August 2013

Channel 9

Abandoning-by-Sinking Conviction

A Crisfield, Md., man was sentenced to 45 days in jail in Somerset District Court after he was convicted of polluting the Chesapeake Bay. With a boat. Police charged that Gregory Sterling of Crisfield had abandoned his sinking and engineless 21-foot cabin cruiser at a private dock.

August 2013

Channel 9

Maryland Abandoned Boat and Debris Program

Speaking of abandoned boats, the Maryland DNR provides reimbursable grants and expertise to assist public agencies in the removal of abandoned boats and debris from state waters. Funds for the program come from the state Waterway Improvement Fund, which is generated from the one time five percent excise tax paid to the State when a boat is purchased and titled in Maryland. 

To report an abandoned vessel or debris, contact the Maryland Natural Resource Police (NRP) by calling 410-260-8888. An NRP officer will follow up and contact you and if deemed appropriate, an investigation will be conducted and the officer will provide additional guidance. To report normal floating debris in a waterway, such as trees, brush and trash, call the NRP Communications Center at 1-877-224-7229 and select Option 3. To report hazardous debris, such as fuel or propane tanks, call the Maryland Department of Environment at 1-866-633-4686.

August 2013

Channel 9

Curtis Bay Yard Comes Clean

It was a pollution nightmare 100 years in the making, but 11 years, $16 million and 50,000 tons of contaminated soil later, the Environmental Protection Agency has given the Coast Guard's Curtis Bay Yard its seal of approval. The 113-acre ship building and repair yard was put on the Superfund list in 2002. Although the Coast Guard began studying the problem in the 1980s, it threw itself into the job after making the list of super-polluted sights. Paint blasting, bilge dumping, oils, batteries and burning had left much of the ground polluted with dioxin, pesticides, metals, PCBs and a laundry list of other health-endangering materials, some of which had leached into nearby Arundel Cove and Curtis Bay. The process of getting the site off the Superfund list is expected to take an additional year.

June 24, 2013

Bay News

Runaway barges strike Jordan Bridge on Elizabeth River

Two grain barges broke away from their pier early on Monday, June 24, and struck the Jordan Bridge across the Elizabeth River in Chesapeake, Va. The 260-foot barges hit the bridge just after midnight, according to the Chesapeake Police Department.

The Coast Guard sent a crew from Station Portsmouth aboard a 25-foot response boat to investigate, and about two hours later, tugboats Sea Coast and Eleen MaCalister were able to pull the barges away from the bridge and take them to the Perdue Farms Grain Wharf.
There was no damage to the bridge, and both river traffic and road traffic was uninterrupted.

July 2013's

Channel 9

NOAA Has New Chart App (in Beta)

The techno-gnomes at NOAA's charting division are having a busy year. First up is a beta-version of a new NOAA chart app for Android tablets called MyNOAACharts. For several years now, smart-phone and tablet users have been downloading NOAA charts for use in independent navigation applications, such as SailTimer and iNavX, but this marks NOAA's entry into the field. The program has GPS capabilities, geotagging of major locations and swipe zoom. Android tablet owners are encouraged to try out the app, which can be downloaded at Google Play, and then let NOAA know what they think. The beta test ends on Labor Day, September 2. If it gets good reviews, the app will be extended to other tablet systems.

July 2013 

Channel 9

National Weather Service Gets Major Upgrade

Bringing up the rear in our impromptu government round-up this month is NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS) division, which may have the biggest news of all . . . or will by 2015. Our story started last year with the NWS projections for the path of Hurricane Sandy, based on its Global Forecast System (GFS) computer model. Oh, the shame as the nation watched our own model consistently predicting that Sandy would wander harmlessly out to sea, while the European model, the awkwardly named European Centre for Medium Range Forecasting (ECMWF), accurately predicted that it would make a sharp left turn and wreak havoc on the New Jersey shore. The problem was that our GWS modeling computers are woefully old and inadequate-not enough terraflops (the number of trillion calculations a computer can do in a second). But now, as a result of Sandy, the NWS will receive about $24 million to remedy that situation. This means that by about 2015, our computers will be bigger and faster-and thereby ostensibly more accurate-than the ECMWF. Terraflop that, Europe!

July 2013 

Channel 9

Best Cities for Old Gaffers

Residents of Annapolis know they've got a good thing going, so they likely considered it merely icing on the crabcake when BoatU.S. in June named the city one of the nation's top ten for retired boaters. Yes, it's expensive, and, yes, its hot and windless in the summer, BoatU.S. said, but the Chesapeake Bay is a "gunkholer's paradise." Other cities on the old-gaffer's list were Traverse City, Mich.; Port Townsend, Wash.; Tarpon Springs, Fla.; New Bern, N.C.; Portlands Oregon and Maine; San Diego, Calif.; Camdenton, Mo. (Lake of the Ozarks); and Gainesville, Ga. (Lake Lanier).

July 2013 

Channel 9

Northern Snakehead Heads South

Oh dear, yet another river has fallen victim to the clever northern snakehead. First it was the Potomac, then the Patuxent. Now it's the Rappahannock that is hosting this unwelcome guest from Asia. The first was caught a year ago in Ruffins Pond, a feeder for Massaponax Creek. That creek was the next to fall, and before you could say Channa argus, fishermen were pulling them out of Drake's Marsh and Hick's Landing, well downriver. Snakeheads are a top-of-the-food-chain species that can out-eat their competitors, survive on land by breathing air, adapt quickly to new environments and speak six languages (okay, just kidding on the last one).

July 2013 

Channel 9

Swim Guide App Lets Swimmers Know If Beach Is Safe

Wondering if your local beach is safe for swimming? The Waterkeeper Alliance Swim Guide is now available for free on iPhone, Android and other smartphones. Just enter your location and the app will provide a list of the closest beaches and their status. A green swim icon means the beach has passed a test that measures the amount of bacteria in its water and has determined that the numbers are safe and the beach is open. Red means the beach is closed for swimming because it's unsafe. Gray means there is not enough monitoring data to make a determination about the beach. The beaches are periodically tested and their status changes as bacteria levels shift. The app also provides historical data on how often the beach has been open over past years. To download the Swim Guide, visit

Note: Residents of several Anne Arundel County beaches have been monitoring their beaches' health for 39 years. For information on that effort, visit

July 2013 

Channel 9

Omega Protein Fined for Polluting Bay

A federal judge has ordered Omega Protein to pay fines of $7.5 million and serve three years of probation for the polluting the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The pollution consists of fish waste and oil-fouled wastewater from the menhaden processing plant and fleet in Reedville, Virginia. Omega was permitted to discharge waste water three nautical miles from shore, provided it was not mixed with any other chemicals or waste. But Omega Protein officials admitted to routinely combining the bail water with pollutants generated by the processing operations and another caustic substance and dumping it into the sea within 3 miles of shore, in violation of the federal Clean Water Act. U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride said Omega Protein's conduct both harmed the environment and violated federal law.

July 2013 

Channel 9

Driving Terrified Drivers Over Bay Bridge Is Booming Business

The William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge spans nearly five miles of the Chesapeake Bay to connect Maryland's eastern and western shores. The structure, 186 feet tall at its highest point, is regularly subject to violent storms, dense fog, and high winds, instilling fear in thousands of drivers every time they cross it. The bridge was rated by Travel & Leisure Magazine as the ninth scariest bridge in the world! But an entrepreneurial Maryland man has come to the rescue of the white-knuckled fearful. Kent Island Express will drive you over for $25 each way, allowing you to relax and enjoy the view (or put a blanket over you head if you prefer not to observe the vertigo inducing drop). Alex Robinson, owner of the business, hires only upbeat drivers, and instructs them to talk about anything but the bridge for the 10-15 minutes it takes to cross. Some 5,800 people use the service.

May 30, 2013

Search & Rescue

Coast Guard rescues four from Back River near Poquoson, Va.

The Coast Guard rescued four people from the Back River on Wednesday, May 29, after a 12-foot sailboat overturned near Poquoson.

A crew aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small from Coast Guard Station Little Creek in Virginia Beach notified Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads watchstanders of an overturned sailboat with four people in the water at about 3 p.m.

Crewmembers aboard the RB-S conducted a search and found people in the water waving their arms. The crew pulled up near the people in the water and the four people swam to the Coast Guard boat. The RB-S crew took them to the Poquoson Yacht Club in Poquoson.

"I'm glad they were all wearing their life jackets," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Tonya Smothers, the coxswain aboard the RB-S from Station Little Creek.

There are no reports of injuries. The vessel has been salvaged by the owner.

Bay News

Maryland NRP reports busy Memorial Day weekend

The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) concluded a successful Memorial Day weekend with no reported boating fatalities.  NRP officers were out in force over the Memorial Day weekend patrolling Maryland's waterways and public lands. Natural Resources officers made contact with 2,500 boaters and conducted 1,300 boating safety inspections.

As a result of these patrol efforts, NRP officers issued over 350 citations, 900 warnings and arrested six boaters for operating under the influence (OUI).  There were six boating accidents throughout the state, including the explosion of a 32 foot vessel in the South River that injured eight passengers.

Oil containment boom surrounds nearly submerged vessel at Ocean Marine Yacht Center in Portsmouth, Va. (Coast Guard photo by Lt. Scott Williams)

May 24, 2013

Bay News

Coast Guard initiates clean-up response to sinking of boat at dock in Portsmouth

The Coast Guard responded Thursday, May 23, to a partially submerged 50-foot recreational boat at the Ocean Marine Yacht Center in Portsmouth, Va.

The Marine Environmental Response Branch from Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads attempted to contact the boat's owner but was unsuccessful.  Because of the possibility of pollution, crews from the Coast Guard Hampton Roads Maritime Incident Response Team and the Portsmouth Fire Department responded to investigate, and as a precautionary measure, deployed containment boom around the boat.

Because it was unable to contact the boat's owner, the Coast Guard federalized the response. A federalized response allows the Coast Guard to use the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to assist with clean-up efforts. Hepaco Environmental Services has been contracted as the oil spill response organization.

Members of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Virginia Department of Transportation have been notified.

May 19, 2013

Search & Rescue

Virginia Marine Police divers recover the bodies of two missing boaters in Rappahannock River

A search by the Coast Guard and other agencies for two men in the Rappahannock River near Tappahannock was suspended Saturday, May 18, after divers with the Virginia Marine Resources Police (VMRC) recovered the bodies.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the deceased," said Capt. John Little, the commander of Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads.

A Good Samaritan had noticed a capsized vessel in the Rappahannock River from his home and got underway aboard his boat to assist. Once he arrived, he was able to rescue a man from the water.

The rescued man then told him that two other men were missing and not wearing life jackets. Once the Good Samaritan and the survivor arrived on shore, they called 911 to report the missing men. Shortly after, the survivor reportedly suffered a heart attack and was taken to a hospital in Richmond.

An emergency dispatcher contacted Sector Hampton Roads Coast Guard at 10 a.m. reporting a 15-foot boat had capsized in the Rappahannock River.

Sector Hampton Roads watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast, launched crews aboard two 25-foot Response Boat - Smalls from Coast Guard Station Milford Haven, diverted two Coast Guard Auxiliary boats and an aircraft and requested an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., to search. A fire department boatcrew from Lancaster County and divers with the Virginia Marine Police also assisted in the search.

VMRC divers located the bodies of the missing men at about 3:30 p.m. near the capsized boat.

Channel 9 for June 2013

Renovated Docks on Annapolis City Docket

The city of Annapolis has received a whopping $1.5 million federal grant-the largest ever made for such a project and the largest amount allowed-to renovate its City Dock bulkhead and slips. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Sport Fish Restoration Boating Infrastructure Grant (appropriately abbreviated B.I.G.) was made to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources on behalf of the city, which itself will chip in $2.7 million toward the project. The money will be used to rebuild 700 feet of bulkhead, 18 slips and 80 feet of dinghy dockage. The city has already received a $600,000 B.I.G. grant to restore other sections of the bulkhead and slips.

This latest grant is unrelated to a larger and controversial proposal to redesign the entire City Dock area, including taller buildings and the elimination of many of the dock's parking spaces. Tied in with that proposal is the sale of the old Fawcett building near the head of the dock, which would be demolished to make way for a larger and taller building, set back from the water and repositioned. This also would encompass two adjacent parking areas. The Annapolis City Council is expected to take up the proposal later this year.

June 2013 Channel 9

Time to Navigate to Air and Space Museum

A new exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution's Air and Space Museum tackles nothing less than the development of navigation, first by sea, then by land and air, and finally in space. The ambitious show, called Time and Navigation: the Untold Story of Getting From Here to There, explores three centuries of making timekeeping increasingly accurate, a necessity for reliable navigation. The section of greatest interest to boaters is no doubt the first one, on maritime navigation, based on walking around a 19th-century sailing vessel. It includes the earliest seagoing marine chronometer made in the United States, produced by Bostonian William Cranch Bond during the War of 1812. The aeronautical exhibit features the work of Philip Van Horn Weems, who taught Charles Lindbergh how to navigate, advised polar explorer Robert Byrd and invented the "hack" watch-which could be set precisely to a radio signal. For more on the exhibit, see

June 2013 Channel 9

Good News for Chesapeake Bay Oyster Slurpers

There's a new oyster on the block. It's the Skinny Dipper and is coming to a restaurant near you this summer. The Skinny Dipper is brought to you by the True Chesapeake Oyster Co. of St. Mary's. It was named the "preferred oyster" for the Preakness, where it was introduced this past weekend. Rumor has it it is plumb and sweet, with a hint of salt.

June 2013 Channel 9

New Legislation for Large Raft-Ups

Here is Maryland's new rule on really big raft-ups, which was passed by the General Assembly last year: Any marine gathering that intentionally congregates one hundred or more boats in an area of water that may create a hazard to navigation, life or property for three hours or more, must first get a permit. The idea is to give law enforcement and rescue services enough notice to provide for the safety of the participants of such gatherings, as well as that of innocent passers-by. It is also meant to encourage event organizers to provide their own security.

April 21, 2013

Search & Rescue

Two die after boat capsizes off Point Lookout

The Coast Guard does not yet know what caused a 20-foot boat to take on water and then capsize on Saturday, April 20, just south of Point Lookout, but the incident resulted in the death of two of the boat's six passengers. The victims were David Chase, 55, and David Fletcher, 43, both of Lexington Park, Md. The remaining four passengers were rescued and treated for hypothermia.

Saturday was the first day of rockfish season, and the vessel was one of a large number in the area taking advantage. But the winds at the time were gusting to 30 knots and the seas were reported at from 3 to 5 feet out on the Bay.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Baltimore Command Center overheard a broadcast on VHF-FM channel 16 at 8:30 a.m. by a local charter captain asking for any assistance looking for the overturned boat. The watchstanders learned the charter captain had received a phone call from a family member of one of the people aboard the boat saying she received a call from her sibling saying they were taking on water and then lost communications.

Responding to the accident were the Coast Guard, the Ridge, Md. Volunteer Fire Department and Patuxent Naval Air Station.

In second incident, Coast Guard rescues three near Smith Point in Reedville, Va.

The Coast Guard rescued three boaters six miles northeast of Smith Point in Reedville, Va., Saturday, April 20. Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Baltimore Command Center received a mayday broadcast on VHF-FM channel 16 at 1:30 p.m. Baltimore watchstanders dispatched the same 45-foot response boat, based at the St. Inigoes station, that had responded to Point Lookout incident.

"We heard the mayday call come in, but received no further information after responding on channel 16," said Petty Officer 1st Class Jason Stanley. "Approximately ten minutes later we received a report from a good Samaritan aboard the Anna C, stating that he had a visual of three people standing on the hull of an overturned vessel. That report correlated to the position that we had triangulated from the original mayday call. The crew from St. Inigoes arrived on scene just 15 minutes after the initial mayday call."

Bay News

New Vodka Tastes Like Old Bay

It's not available everywhere yet, but Chesapeake Bay vodka fans are looking forward to this new vodka's arrival, just in time for the 2013 crab season. (A quick call to an Annapolis store suggests sometime in May). It's called "The Bay" seasoned vodka and is produced by Philadelphia Distillers. Fritz Hahn of the Washington Post describes it as more inspired by Old Bay seasoning than a clone. "The flavor is much lighter. Served neat, it has a nose of celery salt and black pepper. The taste is dominated by red and black pepper, allspice and a bit of cardamom, with a wave of salt in the finish."

Bay News

Join the Fun for the Kickoff of the Legend of Kitty Knight Weekend

Tickets are now available for the second dinner and lecture sponsored by the Friends of Kent County Maryland War of 1812 and the Kitty Knight House, kicking off the Legend of Kitty Knight weekend.

The dinner is set for Friday, May 3, with cocktails at 6 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. in the main dining room of the Kitty Knight House, located at 14028 Augustine Herman Highway. During cocktails guests will be treated to a complimentary sparkling wine toast and mini sirloin hors d' oeuvres, followed by a sumptuous five-course meal.

Following the dinner Ralph Eshelman, historian and author, will give a talk titled "War on the Chesapeake." Eshelman has authored or co-authored a number of books that include most recently, "The War of 1812 in the Chesapeake."

Following Eshelman's presentation, dinner & lecture guests will have premium deck seating for fireworks over the Georgetown Harbor symbolizing the British burning of Georgetown and Fredericktown 200 years earlier.  In addition, Miss Kitty and Admiral Cockburn will make an appearance giving guests a sneak preview of Sunday's re-enactment, The Legend of Kitty Knight. Immediately following the fireworks there will be a dance and ball under the waterfront tented pavilion on the lawn.

To order tickets, go to Proceeds from the event support the efforts of the not-for-profit Friends of Kent County, Maryland, War of 1812 in sponsoring events associated with the War of 1812 bicentennial.

May Channel 9

Virginia Goes After Oyster Rustlers

A few Virginia watermen are getting too much of a good thing, according to the Virginia Marine Police, who say oyster poaching has reached near-epidemic proportions. "We have worked long and hard to rebuild the oyster stocks, and we will not see them pillaged by unscrupulous thieves and watermen who are willing to cut corners," declared Virginia Marine Resources Commissioner Jack Tavelstead this spring. 

The bivalve banditry ranges from exceeding catch limits and poaching from sanctuaries to stealing from privately leased ground and illegally harvesting at night. Over the past two years, the Virginia Marine Police have issued 500 citations, 110 of them in one weekend alone. 

Thanks to the expenditure of millions of dollars, the work of thousands of volunteers and a government program of rotating harvests, the Bay oyster in Virginia waters appears to be making a comeback at last. It's not a big one-numbers are still at about 1 percent of historic highs-but the improvement has been significant and heartening. The Virginia harvest in 2011 was 23,000 bushels. In 2012 it was 250,000 bushels.

May Channel 9

The Market House, One More Time

Over the last several years, we've seen Annapolis's iconic Market House go through quite a string of closings, re-openings, false starts and disappointing setbacks. So we can only hope that this newest announcement about the City Dock icon will stick, and that it will indeed open "sometime this spring." Along with this news, the city has announced the market's newest lineup of vendors, all of whom have signed leases to last through Dec. 31, 2017, and have begun their architectural design, permit and review processes.

So, without further ado, the new vendors will be: Yellowfin Seafood and Oyster Bar, Hard Bean Cafe (which will combine Hard Bean Coffee, Carl's Corned Beef & Delicatessen and the Midship Fresh Bar), the Annapolis Organic Market, the Good Life Smoothie Bar, Firenzes Gelateria, and Amsterdam Falafelshop. Here's hoping that folks visiting Annapolis this summer will find actual markets in the Market House!

May Channel 9

Chesapeake Boating Club Opens New Office in Baltimore

Annapolis-based Chesapeake Boating Club (full disclosure: CBM's editors are members)has announced that they will be opening a second location, this one in Baltimore. The new site, formerly occupied by Getaway Sailing, is on Boston Street at a private marina in Canton. The Baltimore fleet comprises 14 sailboats, from dinghies to small cruisers. If you're interested in membership, visit

Bay News

Baltimore Chef Wins National Oyster Cook-off

Josean Rosado, executive chef of the Harbor Court Hotel in Baltimore, took top honors in the National Oyster Cook-off, held on October 20 in Leonardtown. Rosado's Chesapeake Oyster Rockfish Ceviche and Cucumber Granita, took first place in the main dish category and won the overall grand prize. Click here for the recipe.

April Channel 9

Coast Guard Cup Returns

The Coast Guard Foundation will repeat its Annapolis-based cup regatta this month after a successful first running two years ago. The foundation decided to switch from its traditional fundraising venue-golf-to something more in keeping with its maritime mission: a sailing regatta. No argument here.

Scheduled for April 27 and 28, the cup comes five weeks before the start of the Annapolis-Newport race, also biennial, scheduled this year for June 7. The Coast Guard Cup is open to boats 30 to 90 feet, PHRF or One Design. The Annapolis Yacht Club, which is hosting the event, will set the races for each class and weather conditions. Races will begin and end in Annapolis.

April Channel 9

Cold Comfort for Baltimore

If you're keeping score in the Mega-port Super Bowl between the bookend Chesapeake shipping powerhouses, Baltimore and Norfolk, we guess you'd have to score this one for Norfolk. On February 26, the mercy ship USNS Comfort pulled away from her Baltimore berth for the final time and sailed down the Bay to take up residence in its new home. Norfolk. For Baltimoreans accustomed to watching this iconic white ship with its huge red crosses pass down the Chesapeake on her way to one mercy mission or another, it was almost like losing a football team. Well, maybe not quite that bad. But the Comfort was a source of pride to the city for the past 25 years. And now it's gone. Of course the move makes perfect sense. It cuts 12 hours of steaming time (and fuel) off every mission; it saves having the ship stop in Norfolk anyway to take on supplies and personnel at the Navy facility there; and, finally, it saves $2 million a year in berthing costs because she will be using a Navy dock.

The current USNS Comfort is the third ship to serve with that name. The first was built in 1917, and it transported wounded U.S. soldiers back from Europe during World War I. The second was launched in 1943 and operated throughout the remainder of World War II as a hospital ship, evacuating and treating wounded in the Pacific Theater. On April 29, 1945, she was struck by a Japanese suicide plane, killing 28 people (including six nurses) and wounding 48 others. She was decommissioned in 1946.

The current Comfort began life in 1976 as an oil tanker, but was purchased by the Navy as a hospital ship in 1987. She was deployed to Kuwait during the first Gulf War and to the Persian Gulf during the second. She has served as a migrant processing center for Haitian and Cuban migrants, and a hospital ship for victims of Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico and the earthquake in Haiti. She was activated on September 11, 2001, to help victims of the World Trade Center attack. She sailed the following afternoon, cutting her usual deployment time by four days.

April Channel 9

MOB App Could Be a Lifesaver

We have dozens of nautical apps on our smartphones here at magazine central, but here is one that we're going to have open and ready to go from now on, whenever we leave port. It's the Man-Overboard app from Intelligent Maintenance. This has got to be the world's simplest app to use. And that's a good thing, because the last thing you want to do in this situation is to fool around setting things up. 

The opening screen is a big red MOB button. Touch anywhere on the screen and the button switches to green with a big arrow that will continue to point toward the spot where you activated it. It also gives you the lat-long coordinates for that spot and keeps track of your distance from it, as well as elapsed time. Touch the information icon at the top right and you get both the boat's coordinates and the MOB coordinates, plus the bearing back to the MOB. What could be easier?

It occurs to us this would also be great for MOB drills-which we all do every season. . . . Right? Right. The cost is $1.99. Search "man overboard" at your app store.

April Channel 9

Say it Ain't So, Ellen!

Talk about the end of an era! It's our bittersweet duty to report the retirement of CBM Associate Publisher Ellen Honey, who has been selling advertising in these pages since . . . wait for it, wait for it . . . 1975! 

Wow. We promised Ellen we'd be nice here, but 1975? We're pretty sure that was only a few years after the whole Guttenberg thing. (Okay, Ellen, no more wisecracks, we promise.) Ellen grew up in Woodbury, Ct., and, after graduating from St. Mary's Hospital School of Nursing, worked as a nurse for several years at a VA hospital in West Haven, Ct. She moved to Annapolis in the early 1970s and, not long after her daughter Erin was born, she met CBM publisher Richard Royer, by approaching him to buy an ad in her community newsletter. Little did she realize it was her audition for a long career at CBM. "He asked me if I wanted to sell ads on the Eastern Shore 'a couple of days a month,' " Ellen recalls, "and I said, 'Oh, I don't know if I want to work that much.' But I did. My first issue was December of 1975, and my son Sean was born two years later."

In addition to working every part of the magazine's coverage area, except Virginia, Ellen was a 20-year member of the Marine Trades Association of Maryland, serving as secretary, vice president and president. She was also a member two other area marine trades associations and served on the Boat Act Advisory Committee for many years.

Ellen will continue to do special projects for the magazine, but in the fall she'll be moving to Austin, Tex., to be with her granddaughters Lindy and Lilly. She looks forward to spending more time with them, and also having more time for practicing QiGong, traveling, writing and reading.

Good plan, Ellen. Thank you for being so good at what you do, and for being such a good friend to all of us. We miss you already!

March 15, 2013

Larry Simns, champion of Maryland watermen, dies at 75

Larry Simns founded the Maryland Watermen's Association in the 1970s and served as its only president. According to Del. Jay Jacobs, Simns was on the job until his final moments. "Even in his final days he was working hard on waterman issues and with the fisheries. His devotion to the waterman and the heritage of the industry was evident right up until the very end."

In January Gov. Martin O'Malley bestowed the honorary title of Admiral of the Chesapeake upon Simns, and on news of his passing O'Malley released a statement:

"For more than four decades, Larry Simns served as the voice of the men and women who tirelessly work our magnificent waterways, bringing Maryland's storied seafood to market and table.

"It is difficult to picture the Maryland Watermen's Association without Larry at the helm or to imagine our watermen's community or seafood industry without his leadership. It is impossible to put into words the deep personal loss being felt by so many across our State, including our staff at the Department of Natural Resources, where Larry was a revered partner for so many years."

Note: In case you missed it, dear readers, in the March issue we ran an excerpt from Larry Simns's recently published memoir, The Best of Times on the Chesapeake Bay. Click here to read it in our online archives.

March 7, 2013

Search & Rescue

Rescued dog aboard a Station Cape Charles 45-foot Response boat-Medium. Photo by Fireman Michael Quigley

Coast Guard rescues man and his dog from disabled sailboat near Hampton, Va.

The Coast Guard rescued a man and his dog Wednesday, March 6, after his sailboat became disabled in the northwest branch of the Back River, half a mile northwest of the Bell Isle Marina in Hampton.

The 41-foot sailboat was disabled, adrift and dragging its anchor.

Towboat U.S. notified Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads watchstanders of the disabled sailboat at 10:15 p.m. Tuesday. Towboat U.S. reported that due to weather conditions, they could not safely approach the sailboat and requested additional assistance from Sector Hampton Roads.

Sector watchstanders dispatched a crew aboard a 45-foot Response Boat - Medium from Coast Guard Station Cape Charles. The Poquoson Fire Department aboard Fire Boat 1 also responded to assist.

Once on the scene, the Coast Guard crew transferred the man and his dog from the 41-foot sailboat to their boat at 2 a.m. Wednesday and took them to the Langley Air Force Base marina.

There are no reports of injuries, and Towboat U.S. is scheduled to salvage the sailboat.

Coast Guard temporarily suspends search for two missing men off Eastern Shore

The Coast Guard temporarily suspended the search Wednesday for two missing men 15 miles east of Assateague Island, Md., because of low visibility from clouds, rainfall and on winds of 50 to 60 mph. The search was to restart Thursday, March 7.

Coast Guard 5th District watchstanders initially received an emergency position indicating a radio beacon alert from the 67-foot fishing vessel Seafarer at 10:39 a.m. Watchstanders contacted the vessel's owner, who believed that the Seafarer had become disabled and that the vessel's sister ship started towing the Seafarer. It was reported that the ship lost the tow and sight of the Seafarer when weather conditions worsened.

Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City launched a Jayhawk crew to the Seafarer's reported position. Once on the scene, the aircrew rescued a man from a life raft and took him to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, Md. Afterward, the Jayhawk crew continued their search for the two missing men.

A 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew from Coast Guard Station Chincoteague also searched the area.

March 1, 2013

Bay News

Small fire aboard Coast Guard cutter Bear

The Coast Guard and Portsmouth Fire Department responded Thursday, February 28, to a fire aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Bear, while moored at Coast Guard Base Portsmouth.

The fire was reported at 11:58 a.m. in the damage control shop aboard the cutter.

Personnel aboard the Bear, the Coast Guard Cutter Forward and Base Portsmouth responded to the fire. Portsmouth Fire Department personnel arrived to assist at 12:02 p.m.

The fire was extinguished at 12:48 p.m. and was contained within the damage control shop.

"I was on the pier when the fire started and personally observed the rapid response of Portsmouth emergency services," said Cmdr. James "Brett" Millican, the executive officer of Base Portsmouth. "I appreciate their professionalism and support for the Coast Guard."

There are no reports of injuries and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Coast Guard Cutter Bear is a 270-foot medium-endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth.

February 17, 2013

Search & Rescue

Low water makes for challenging rescue of father, son near Tangier Island, Va.

A helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., rescued four people from a grounded vessel near Tangier Island, Md., just after midnight Saturday.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Station Crisfield, Md., received a distress call at approximately 6 p.m. Friday, February 15, from the owner aboard his 36-foot boat reporting he had run aground with his son aboard, near Tangier Island.

Station Crisfield watchstanders coordinated the rescue with the Virginia Marine Police in Newport News, Va. Both agencies arrived on scene at 6:30 p.m., but the Coast Guard crew aboard a 41-foot Utility Boat was unable to reach the distressed boaters due to low water depth around the island. The marine police 25-foot response boat crew was able to transfer the two stranded boaters onto their boat; however the vessel was made heavier by the added passengers and also ran aground.

The Coast Guard crew from Air Station Elizabeth City was dispatched aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and arrived on scene shortly after midnight, hoisting the two boaters and the two marine police boat crewmembers from the police vessel.

Rescued were Barry Walker, 34, and his 14-year-old son. The two were transferred to awaiting Emergency Medical Services at the Tangier Island Airport. No injuries were reported.

"Before we go out on a patrol, we do a course layout," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicholas Hupp, the Coast Guard's responding coxswain. "Boaters should take measures to layout their course beforehand taking the draft of their vessel, water depths and preferred channels into consideration. Boaters should also be sure to have all the necessary equipment for a voyage, not just a GPS and a radio, but the proper protective equipment in case they find themselves in trouble. In the winter months it is imperative that boaters have the proper gear to keep them warm in case they have to await assistance or end up in the water. Lastly, boaters should always pay attention to weather and tide conditions."

Weather conditions at the time of the rescue were reported as having an air temperature of 46 degrees, water temperature of 43 degrees and 10 to 15 knots winds with two to three foot seas.

February 2013

Capping State Excise Tax on Boats in Maryland

Boat brokers have contended that purchases in Maryland have fallen behind neighboring states Virginia (2% tax with $2,000 cap) and tax-free Delaware. Maryland is currently at 5%, no cap (on any boat that is kept in Maryland longer than 90 days).

The Department of Natural Resources has been resistant to capping the tax since they use the money for the Waterway Improvement Fund. But proponents of the bill claim that the cap could actually increase revenue by making Maryland more competitive with its neighbors.

February 2013

Improving Access to the Bay

The National Park Service has put the dots on the map of the Chesapeake Bay watershed and found that, as far as public water access is concerned, the Bay is a few dots short. Although there are currently 1,500 spots throughout the Bay and its watershed tributaries where you can drop a fishing line, launch a canoe, or just take in the view, there are long stretches where access is unavailable-for example, a stretch of 60 miles along the northern shore of the James River. Long sections of the Potomac, Rappahannock, Susquehanna and Nanticoke rivers are closed to visitors as well. In its study released in January, the Park Service made note of the problem and then identified 320 potential new access points. More than half of these are on public property but would take varying amounts of preparation to make access possible.

In response, a network of Bay boaters, businesses, organizations and government representatives has formed the Freedom to Float campaign to make increased access a reality. The group is looking for volunteers to help build these new points. Their website is You can find a copy of the NPS study on our website,

February 2013

Baltimore Wins, Then Loses Bid for Volvo Ocean Race Stopover

Robert Housman, executive director of Ocean Racing USA, was  more than disappointed when his successful bid to have Baltimore be the East Coast stop for the Volvo Ocean Race was scuttled by irreconcilable scheduling differences. The race organizers wanted to stop over the weekend of the Preakness, asking Baltimore to either move the horse race to another weekend or have it share the limelight with the sailboat race. That was a deal breaker for Baltimore and the stopover was subsequently awarded to Newport, R.I. 

February 2013

Bay Creek Marina Has New Owner

Bay Creek Marina Village in Cape Charles, Va., has been purchased by Bob Occifinto, a New Jersey businessman who put in the winning bid when Marina Village-marina, restaurant and shops-was put up for auction December 28. The marina has remained open throughout, with Joel Habel its the new director of operations; Aqua Restaurant is expected to be open by Easter.

February 2013

Renewed Effort to Crack Down on Poaching and Fishing Violations in Maryland

Under Governor Martin O'Malley's leadership, increased law enforcement is part of an overall effort to deter poaching and toughen penalties for those who violate fishing laws in Maryland, under the Fisheries Management Reform Act of 2007. A noteworthy part of this effort is the launch of new enforcement initiatives and enhancements including the installation of a network of radar and camera units to assist the NRP in monitoring sensitive areas that are prone to poaching. DNR, the Office of the Attorney General and the District Court of Maryland have also expanded a successful program that sets aside specific days to try only cases dealing with natural resources violations.

February 2013

New Law Prohibits Drunken Sailing

A new law making its way through the Maryland legislature would make sailing drunk a crime. It isn't already, you ask? No. When legislators outlawed boating under the influence some years ago, they neglected to include non-powered sailboats. Oops. The new law would rectify that oversight. Here's the Washington Post story:

Wolf Trap Lighthouse for Sale

The lighthouse is for sale for $249,500 by a private owner. It was first offered for nonprofit and historical properties under the Lighthouse Preservation Act, but it was auctioned when it received no offers in 2005. Laura Pierce of ERA Bay Real Estate explains, "You would have to restore it and update it, but someone could live there full time or part time."

The home measures about 1,500 sq. feet, according to Pierce, with five floors, including the top floor, which contains the light. As an added incentive, Pierce mentions that because the home is a historic property, it's tax-exempt, and the state of Virginia will offer tax credits to the next owner who restores the home to its former glory.

Excerpted from NBC news, here.

Editor's Note: Want to read more about the trials and tribulations of owning a decommissioned Chesapeake lighthouse? You can read our full-length feature, Got A Light? online.

Channel 9

Is Your Maryland Crab Cake "True Blue"?

Only a small number of restaurants in Maryland reliably make their crab cakes from local crabmeat and the state does not require restaurants to identify the specific source of the meat. True Blue, a new labeling and promotion initiative from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), is going to be your way to find out which restaurants are serving this local delicacy.

"Customers can look at a menu and know right away that they're getting what they think they're getting," said Steve Vilnit, Director of Fisheries Marketing for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The 'True Blue' certification program allows restaurants serving Department-verified Maryland blue crab product to use a special logo (above) in marketing or advertising the product. 

For more information and for a map showing which businesses serve Maryland crabs and crabmeat, click here.

Channel 9

How Bad Is Winter Crab Dredging?

WHILE THE VIRGINIA MARINE RESOURCES Commission (VMRC) voted to continue its moratorium on winter dredging for crabs for a fifth year, they also approved a 4-month study that hopes to determine just how harmful the practice is to the crab population and to the environment. The winter dredge, long blamed by many as a contributing factor to the declining blue crab population, has nevertheless been a traditional source of income for many Virginia watermen. With the crab population now rebounding, pressure from those watermen has been increasing to reinstate the practice, which rakes mainly female crabs from their winter hibernation in the bottom mud. The study will have four watermen dredge up to 40 bushels a day, while researchers watch the process onboard.

Meanwhile, in addition to continuing its ban on the winter dredge, the VMRC modified the state's crab season by allowing watermen an extra two weeks at the end of the 2012, but establishing a new sliding scale that will allow watermen to keep a limited number of crabs each day, based on the number of traps they set.

Channel 9

Zebra Mussels Off Havre de Grace

THE INVASIVE AND HIGHLY DESTRUCTIVE zebra mussel is continuing its march down the Bay. After discovering the invader a few years ago, first north and then south of the Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna, officials put boaters on alert to wash their vessels and boots carefully-to prevent the critters from hitching a ride and spreading south. Now 20 young zebra mussels have been found attached to buoys off Havre de Grace, Md. Biologists know that these are recently spawned, since the buoys are pulled at the end of each season. Zebra mussels in the Great Lakes have caused millions of dollars of damage and wrecked havoc on the native wildlife populations.

Channel 9

Charges in Magothy  Boating Accident

THE MARYLAND NATURAL RESOURCES Police have charged the operators of both vessels in the August accident between a vessel towing a skier and a powerboat driven by state Representative Don Dwyer Jr. 

Dwyer, of Pasadena, Md., was charged with a Rules of the Road violation, failure to obtain annual certificate of number (registration), negligent operation of a vessel and reckless operation of a vessel. He was also charged with operating a vessel under the influence. His flood alcohol content was .24. (A level of .08 is considered under the influence.) Mark Harbin, of Pasadena, was charged with a Rules of the Road violation and failure to obtain annual certificate of number. 

The NRP found both drivers contributed to the accident when neither changed speed or took action to avoid a collision. Dwyer and six others, five of them children, were injured, though all are expected to recover fully. No date has been set for the trial.

Channel 9

Dredging the Nanticoke

IT'S NOT A BUSY RIVER BY RECREATIONAL boating standards, but the Nanticoke River remains an important river for commerce. A new $2.3 million dredging project is meant to keep it that way. In January, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was scheduled to begin a four-month project to dig out the river channel from the Delaware-Maryland line as far upstream as Seaford, Del., to restore the controlling depth to 12 feet. Silting in recent years has made portions of the upper river difficult for the barges that move up and down the river with grains, gravel and fuel. The river was last dredged in 1990.

Channel 9

Oak Creek Landing Improved

TALBOT COUNTY AND THE MARYLAND Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have completed a major makeover of the Oak Creek Landing boat ramp and pier in Newcomb. The single ramp, which regularly sees more than 5,000 launchings each year, has been has replaced with a double ramp with a floating boarding pier. The 100-foot fixed pier has been replaced with a 142-foot pier with 10 slips and a pump-out facility. In addition, the parking lot has been resurfaced and solar-powered security lighting added.

Channel 9

2012 State of the Bay Report

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation's 2012 State of the Bay report shows the health of the Bay improved one point over the last report in 2010, and is up four points since 2008, a 10 percent improvement in less than five years. Of the 13 indicators that make up the report, five improved, seven stayed the same, and only one declined. The indicators are: oysters, shad, crabs, striped bass (rockfish), underwater grasses, wetlands, forested buffers, resource lands, toxics, water clarity, dissolved oxygen, and phosphorus and nitrogen pollution

"Continued progress shows what can be done when governments, businesses, and individuals work together to save local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay," CBF President William C. Baker said. "While the Bay is still dangerously out of balance, I am cautiously optimistic for the future. 

Excerpted from Chesapeake Bay Foundation press release; results of the report.

January 11, 2013

Coast Guard to convene hearing for tall ship Bounty sinking

The Coast Guard will convene a formal hearing February 12 to 21 at the Renaissance Portsmouth Hotel and Waterfront Conference Center, Portsmouth, Va., to investigate the sinking, with loss of lives, of the tall ship Bounty, which occurred Oct. 29 during Hurricane Sandy.

The investigation will examine the facts and circumstances relating to the sinking of the vessel and will develop conclusions and recommendations to improve the safety and operations of similar vessels.

The National Transportation Safety Board is also participating in the investigation and can make recommendations on issues to consider, identify and examine witnesses and submit or request additional evidence in the course of the investigation.

The Bounty sank approximately 90 miles southeast of Hatteras, N.C.

January 3, 2013

Maryland planning for sea level rise and flooding

Governor Martin O'Malley has signed a landmark initiative to increase the State's long term resiliency to storm related flooding and sea level rise.  He signed the Climate Change and Coast Smart Construction Executive Order, directing that all new and reconstructed state structures, as well as other infrastructure improvements, be planned and constructed to avoid or minimize future flood damage. Click here for the story.

December 12, 2012

Marylanders asked to share high tide photos

Maryland is set to experience some of the season's highest tides December 12 through 15 and the CoastSmart Communities program is asking for citizens' help in documenting the tides by taking pictures of high water and flooding around their neighborhoods and submitting them here. King Tides as they are often called, give researchers a potential look at what future sea level rise may look like

These photographs will be used in educational and outreach materials to build awareness on how coastal flooding affects Maryland's shoreline. Building a photo library will help researchers understand how floods are impacting area schools, homes, harbors, beaches, public access points and other public infrastructure. CoastSmart will then use this information to create a plan for communities that may experience coastal hazards and increased flooding in the future.

King Tides are not sea level rise and are not related to climate change. If the State and its citizens do not take action however, these tides show what communities could experience as a result of future sea level rise. As sea levels continue to rise, these areas will become more at-risk to the impacts of storm surge, flooding and other coastal hazards, such as Hurricane Sandy. An Environmental Protection Agency fact sheet on King Tides is available here.

For more information on the Maryland King Tides Initiative, including a chart showing when and where tides will be highest and instructions on how to submit a photo, participants should visit  To check out the photo submissions, visit

Those with questions or comments may contact Maryland Department of Natural Resources' CoastSmart Communities Planner, Kate Skaggs, at 410-260-8743 or

December 7, 2012

Army Corps of Engineers photo of dredge Currituck

Emergency dredging at Rudee Inlet

The weather is never kind to Rudee Inlet, a man-made harbor directly off the Atlantic at the southern end of Virginia Beach. But recent storms and winds have pushed sand across the channel to such an extent that dredging is required to keep the opening navigable for the hundreds of commercial and recreational fishing vessels that use the inlet during the winter. The Army Corps of Engineers dredge Currituck will begin operations today to clear 20,000 cubic yards of sand from the channel and deposit it just off the beach north of the entrance jetties. Cost of the project is estimated at $175,000. About 72 percent of this will be paid for with federal funds, with the remainder coming from the city of Virginia Beach.

December 6, 2012

Funding for Tangier Island Jetty Announced

Governor Bob McDonnell and Col. Paul Olsen of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have just signed an agreement to build a seawall and jetty to protect Tangier Island's endangered harbor. It would be a joint endeavor involving both state and federal funding.

"This is fantastic news," Gov. McDonnell said. "The harbor is the economic heart of Tangier Island, and the center of a significant commercial fishing industry worth millions to Virginia's economy. As Hurricane Sandy demonstrated all too clearly, it is critically important to protect the harbor with this barrier to clouding and coastal erosion. Also, this project will enable us, at the same time, to continue to preserve a culturally significant way of life that has changed little over centuries. Tangier Island is an important part of Virginia's past and Virginia's future. I applaud the Corps of Engineers with moving forward with this vital project."

The project includes construction of a 430-foot-long seawall, a 50-foot spur jetty and the armoring of 170 of shoreline with stone revetment. The purpose is to protect the channel and shield the harbor from direct wave impact and iceflow. The project also will reduce erosion of the shoreline and sediment flow into the navigation channel. Construction is estimated to be completed by 2017 at a cost of $4.2 million.

For more about the project and link to related video click here.

November 19, 2012

Most of Chesapeake Bay Area Spared by Hurricane Sandy

While our neighbors to the north are still recovering from Super Storm Sandy that plagued the East Coast, the Chesapeake Bay area was relatively unaffected by the storm. There were two known reports of sewage overflows, one in Savage, MD and one in Hampton Roads, VA. Shellfish harvesting is still off-limits in sections of the James and Lynnhaven Rivers due to high levels of contaminants. You can learn more about the ecological effects of Sandy outside the Chesapeake Bay here.

November 19, 2012

Report Card Gives Failing Grade to Baltimore Harbor

While Baltimore City has been making excellent strides in reducing the Healthy Harbor pollution that heads into its waterways, the Baltimore Harbor faced some tough times last year. Sewer overflows and old leaking sewer pipes are still allowing pollutants to enter local streams and the Harbor, causing algae blooms, dead zones and fish kills. To learn more about the status of the Baltimore Harbor and ways you can help, read the full report card here.

Channel 9

HMS Bounty Goes Down in Superstorm Sandy

The discussion will continue for years over the wisdom of sailing into a hurricane, but indisputable facts are that the replica ship HMS Bounty sank off the North Carolina coast, beaten by Hurricane Sandy and whatever hand of fate caused the 180-foot 3-masted ship to lose power and take on water. Fourteen of the 16 aboard were pulled from lifeboats and pulled aboard two Coast Guard helicopters. The body of Claudene Christian was found later; the ship's captain, Robin Walbridge, was still missing as we went to press.

The Bounty was on her way from New London, Conn., to its frequent berth at the Pier in St. Petersburg, Fla., trying to sail around the massive storm. According to several reports Walbridge believed that the worst of the storm had moved north when he turned in toward the coast. Instead, the vessel was caught in high winds and seas. The ship began taking on water, but when the generator and engines failed, she was unable to keep up with it and the she foundered and sank. The Coast Guard is investigating the sinking.

The Bounty was built for the 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty, which starred Marlon Brando. She also appeared in the 2006 movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.

Channel 9

Rip-Snorting Horror Movie About the Chesapeake Bay

Happily this is one horror story that is fiction-well mostly. The movie The Bay, released in early November, is based on just enough facts to give a person the creeps, even without the gross and gory bits. Director Barry Levinson (Diner, Rain Man, The Natural, etc.) has pulled out all the stops to produce a film about the health of the Chesapeake Bay, in which the sum of its ills-a huge dead zone, poultry-waste runoff, a nuclear leak, pharmaceutical drugs leaching into the water, and so forth (you know, the usual stuff)-combine to form evil isopods endowed with Godzilla delusions and an Alien predilection for human internal organs. Add to all this a government cover-up, a carefree family cruising down the Bay in their boat (Watch out! Watch out!), an ill-fated fictional Maryland Eastern Shore town called Claridge, and you have yourself a rip-snorting horror movie with just enough truth to make your toes curl up in your Topsiders.

October 16, 2012

Search & Rescue

Coast Guard rescues two off sinking boat near Point Lookout State Park, Md.

The Coast Guard rescued two boaters Sunday, October 14, after the boat they were on began taking on water while off the coast of Point Lookout State Park.

Watchstanders from Coast Guard Station St. Inigoes received notification from members of TowBoat U.S. stating a 55-foot boat named Tara was taking on water and the operator was having difficulty steering the boat.

A crew from Station St. Inigoes launched aboard a 41-foot Utility Boat (UTB) to assist.

"We were a half a mile from the boat, and I could see, even being that far away, that the boat had a pretty good list to starboard," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Carlo Masi, the coxswain who piloted the UTB. "We got alongside, put two lines over and immediately sent petty officers Shelly and Erickson over with the dewatering pump."

The owners, a man and woman, were transferred to the UTB while salvage efforts continued. Attempts to plug the source of flooding and dewater the boat were unsuccessful.

"I noticed their boat was listing at about 25-degrees when I decided to bring my crew and the pump from the Tara back aboard, and pull away," said Masi. "It was approximately 20 to 25 minutes, and the boat went underwater."

"The owners had purchased the boat the day before, and as new boaters they were prepared for the emergency by wearing life jackets, which is very important," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert Erickson. "Other things new boaters can do to be prepared include getting a free boat inspection by the Coast Guard Auxiliary to make sure they have all the proper safety equipment and to take a boater safety course."

November 2012 Channel 9

Menhaden Plan, Draft 2

The long-awaited atlantic Menhaden plan from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, currently in Draft Amendment 2, is not a plan at all, but rather a list of options that may or may not be used to rebuild the menhaden population. The draft asks the public to choose whether it wants to leave the current limits in place and or cut harvest levels up to 50 percent. The menhaden harvest has been the source of controversy between environmental scientists and the menhaden industry. You can read the plan at Public comment may be made through November 16. 

November 2012 Channel 9

Hunter Marine Changes Hands

Marlow Acquisitions of Florida has completed the purchase of Hunter Marine, builder of popular Hunter sailboats, in addition to assets of powerboat builders Mainship and Luhrs. Hunter, located in Alachua, Fla., was founded in 1972 by Warren and John Luhrs, New Jersey-based powerboat builders. Its most recent owner, Morgan Industries, filed for bankruptcy in April. Hunter has continued to build its popular sailboats throughout the bankruptcy proceedings, though with a reduced staff. Buyer Marlow Acquisitions owns Marlow Marine Sales of Sarasota, Fla., Merrill-Stevens Boat Works in Miami and Norsemen Shipyard in China.

November 2012 Channel 9

Are There 10 Good Sailing Movies?

No. Are there any good sailing movies? Possibly not. But that doesn't stop people from putting together lists anyway. Here is one of the most recent, a top ten countdown put together by the folks at Sailing Anarchy ( Do you think they've over-looked anything?

10 Morning Light (a Disney documentary)
9 180 South: Conquerors of the Useless (documentary)
8 Dead Calm (Nicole Kidman gets tough)
7 Pirates of the Caribbean (just the first one)
6 White Squall (Jeff Bridges loses the Brigantine Albatross)
5 Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
4 Masquerade (Rob Lowe and the 70-foot Obsession)
3 Deep Water (documentary of Donald Crowhurst and the first solo round-the-world race)
2 Captain Ron (docking 101)
And the Winner: Wind (the Whomper, the America's Cup and sheer silliness)

October 2012 Channel 9

Ancient Dolphin Fossil Found at Calvert Cliffs

Excerpted from, by Michelle Basch

Apparently the weather conditions set up perfectly for the discovery of a nearly 3-foot long skull of an extinct dolphin. High pressure had pushed the water out and the winds were blowing from the right direction exposing large portions of the beach along Calvert Cliffs. The amateur collector who spotted the skull called the Calvert Marine Museum from his cellphone and the excellent specimen was transported to the museum immediately, which was fortunate as the next high tide could have damaged it. According to the museum curator the skull is about the size of a modern day killer whale and this dolphin could be considered a great great grandfather of the killer whale.

You can find out more about the fossils from this area at the Calvert Marine Museum and the Calvert Cliffs State Park is a local favorite place to find shark teeth. Read the complete article here .

Sponge Bob Square Pants?

Has anybody else been wondering, like us, what this thing is, moored just below the Route 50 bridge over the Severn River in Annapolis? . . . Turns out it's the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office's new "vertical profiler," designed to automatically and continuously test water quality at multiple depths. They're testing it in the Severn, but it will ultimately be deployed at the new 22-acre artificial oyster reef in Harris Creek, off the Choptank River, along with a similar profiler managed by Maryland DNR. (Photo by Jackson Stefancik)

At Last! A Field Guide to Plants of the Chesapeake

Buttonbush. Hercules' Club. Panic Grass. Tearthumb. Beach Spurge. Sea Rocket. Ladies' Tresses. These name a few of the wild and wonderful plants found in this quick reference guide to native plants of the Chesapeake Bay. Written by wetland scientists with decades of experience in the Bay's waterways, Plants of the Chesapeake Bay includes detailed descriptions and beautiful photographs of the plants most commonly found in the Chesapeake. Grasses, trees, wildflowers, aquatic vegetation-if it grows in the tidal or nearshore regions of the Bay, chances are it is in this book.

Sarles Boatyard Sold

After remaining in the same family for 98 years, Sarles Boatyard in Annapolis has now changed hands twice in 12 years. Founded in 1907 by Benjamin E. "Pop" Sarles, a professional fighter, the marina is the area's oldest continuously operating yard. When Sarles Boat and Engine Shop opened, the Eastport shoreline of Spa Creek was lined with boatyards, from Hellers on Second Street all the way upstream to Sarles on Boucher Avenue. Pop's son, Benjamin R. Sarles, born and raised at the boatyard, took over from his father. Then came his son Benjamin O. Sarles, who also grew up at the yard, and ran it until 2005, when he retired at age 73, and sold the marina out of the family-to Debra A. Smith.

In August of this year, Smith sold the marina to real estate developer Bret Anderson, president of Pyramid Builders of Annapolis. Anderson told the Annapolis Capital newspaper that he has a passion for Annapolis harbor and wants to maintain and improve the boatyard. Anderson also told the Capital that he had an agreement to buy next-door Petrini Shipyard, another small but venerable boatyard.

Point Crab House Opens

Stopping by Ferry Point Marina for a crabcake is once again an option. After a brief stint as a no-crabcake-zone, the Magothy River marina announced in August the opening of the Point Crab House & Grill. The seafood restaurant, owned by Arnold residents Bobby Jones and Michael S. Neall, specializes in local fish, served with locally grown produce. Ferry Point Marina is located on Mill Creek on the Magothy. The restaurant will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Free dockage is available for diners. Here's the restaurant phone number: 410-544-5448.

Schaefer's Canal House Does Too

There's good news for hungry boaters at the top of the Bay, as well, with the reopening of the completely rebuilt Schaefer's Canal House. That longtime popular eating establishment-located on the north side of Chesapeake City, Md., at the western entrance to the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal-has been closed since 2005. Now the Giordano family, (who own Giordano's Restaurant in Kennett Square, Pa.) have rebuilt everything, including the docks. The restaurant and marina were due to open in early September. The Canal House fuel dock has been open since mid-summer. Here's the phone number: 410-885-7200.

NSHOF Class of 2012

The National Sailing Hall of Fame (NSHOF), based in Annapolis, has announced its latest class of inductees. They will be honored this month at the Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans, the second-oldest yacht club in the country. The 2012 inductees are: navigator Stan Honey, winner of the 2006 Volvo Ocean Race and the 2010 Trophée Jules Verne for the fastest non-stop circumnavigation; yacht designer Bruce Kirby; America's Cup tactician John Kostecki, Solent Olympic silver medalist and winning Volvo Ocean Race skipper; and three-time Star Olympic medalist and two-time Star World Champion Mark Reynolds. This year's posthumous inductees are: Olympic gold and silver medalist Peter Barrett; America's Cup competitor and journalist Bob Bavier; rules expert Gregg Bemis; yacht designer and Medal of Freedom winner Rod Stephens; and founder and first commodore of the New York Yacht Club, John Cox.

September 4, 2012  Search & Rescue

Coast Guard, local agencies search for man overboard near Bayside Beach, Md.

The Coast Guard and local responders have been searching for a 27-year-old male approximately two miles off Bayside Beach, since Monday, September 3.

A crewmember aboard the sailing vessel Phoenix contacted Coast Guard Sector Baltimore watchstanders by VHF-FM radio at approximately 12:30 p.m., reporting a crewmember overboard. The reporting source said that two crewmembers, a female and the missing male, had both fallen overboard. The female was rescued but they lost sight of the male.

Sector Baltimore watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast, launched a crew aboard a 45-foot Response Boat - Medium from Coast Guard Station Curtis Bay and a crew aboard an MH-65 Dolphin Helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J. The watchstanders also notified members of the Maryland Natural Resources Police and the Anne Arundel County Police Department. The RBM crew from Curtis Bay arrived on scene at approximately 1 p.m.

August 28, 2012 Search & Rescue 

Coast Guard searching for missing boater near Baltimore

The Coast Guard and local agencies are searching for a 52-year-old male who was reported missing Tuesday at Frog Mortar Creek near the Martin State Airport. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Baltimore received notification via marine radio at approximately 4 p.m. from a good Samaritan who reported seeing three people in the water.

Coast Guard watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast, launched a crew aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small from Coast Guard Station Still Pond and notified the Maryland Natural Resources Police.

Two of the individuals were swimming when they became separated from their boat. The missing boater entered the water in an attempt to assist the two swimmers and also got separated from the boat. Two of the individuals were rescued by a good Samaritan and were transferred to the Coast Guard crew.

Crews from the Baltimore County Police Department Marine Unit, Baltimore County Fire Department and a crew aboard a Baltimore County helicopter are assisting with the search.

August 20, 2012 

Deltaville Maritime Museum Fire Update

The origin of the fire remains unknown, but it appears to have started under the pavilion, perhaps an electrical fault. The nearly century-old W.A. Johns, a historic three-log-bottom canoe stored under the pavilion burned in a flash. The boat had been donated to the museum by the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md.

Museum shop director Chuck McGhinnis has reported that the museum has insurance coverageInsurance adjusters and investigators have been on the scene and a settlement statement is expected soon, he said.

After the fire was almost extinguished, some wooden boat models in the museum were saved. Also, a fire safe had protected the museum's main documents, and the hard drive on the museum's computer appeared to be okay. The portrait of John Coe in the front portion of the building was saved and many of the family artifacts of the Wright family and Willis Wilson were saved, along with some antique tools.

excerpted from an article in the South Sentinel News by Larry S. Chowning

The Deltaville Maritime Museum friends and supporters have already sprung into action. While awaiting word about insurance, volunteers are clearing trees in preparation for taking down the remainder of the main building. Collection jars for donations are also being placed in businesses all over town. If you'd like to help, go to or call 804-776-7200.

August 16, 2012

Sarles Boatyard in Annapolis changes hands

Look for changes soon to the century-old Sarles Boatyard on Spa Creek in the Annapolis. Just what those changes will be, however, is merely a matter of conjecture at this point. According to an August 11 story in the Capital newspaper, the venerable Eastport marina recently was purchased by Bret Anderson, president of Pyramid Builders. According to the Capital, Anderson is also in negotiation to purchase Petrini Shipyard, next door to Sarles. Read the full Capital story here.

August 16, 2012

Crown Grants


A case working its way through a Virginia court has raised the question of whether landowners can restrict anglers, boaters and others from using what many perceive to be public waterways in the commonwealth, and potentially in other mid-Atlantic states as well. The owners of 2 miles of land fronting the Jackson River have sued two anglers for $10,000 for allegedly trespassing on their portion of the river. Their case is based on an ownership claim that goes back to a land grant issued by the king of England in the 17th century, before the United States was created. Called crown grants, these land grants from the King of England are fairly common in Virginia and some other Eastern states. There is no official list of crown grants, according to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, the state agency with jurisdiction over riverbeds in Virginia. crown grants may be on file in multiple county courthouses across the commonwealth with most riparian landowners having no idea that they even exist. Such grants are known to exist on venerable waterways such as the Jackson, York, Elizabeth, Cowpasture, James and Shenandoah rivers.

While Virginia law claims that ownership of riverbeds lies primarily with the state, there are exceptions, a crown grant being one of them. In 1996 the Virginia Supreme Court ruled in Kraft vs. Burr that crown grants trump state ownership. While river lovers can float down navigable rivers like the Jackson, the court held no one can touch bottom or fish in these areas without the owner's express consent.

"With little more than a rumor of crown grant ownership or of pending civil litigation, a landowner could prevent most people from using perfectly open and public stretches of their favorite river," says Jeff Kelble, an avid paddler and the Shenandoah Riverkeeper.  "Most citizens do not want to jump into controversy on their days off," he said, adding, "I'm saddened by all this and see this type of privatization as a dark path that only leads us to the sad situation which exists in Europe, where most of the commons are gone, and most citizens have very little access to wild and public places." 

Virginia is not unique. Other mid-Atlantic states also have Crown Grants in their history. Anglers from across the country are paying attention and considering the implications of North South Development v. Crawford for access to their own waterways. Outdoor giant Patagonia, based in California, recently donated $5,000 to the Virginia Rivers Defense Fund set up to defray the Jackson River anglers' legal defense fees, which the anglers suggest top $80,000. Other contributors include the Izzak Walton League, several individual Trout Unlimited clubs from Virginia as well as the James River Association.

Whether the case will clarify the issue remains to be seen. A date for a full trial has not been set and it may never go to trial if the anglers in the case decide to forgo further legal fees. Full story here.

August 15, 2012

Schaefer's Returns to Chesapeake City

The new Schaefer's restaurant and marina is set to open at the end of this month, giving visitors to Chesapeake City at the western end of the C&D Canal a new place to stop, eat and spend the night. The former Schaefer's was a popular spot for many years, but closed some time ago. The new owners have rebuilt the docks as well as the facility buildings. I snapped this photo when I stopped by in mid-August. The fuel dock (gas and diesel) is already open, and is located at the bridge-end of the dock. - Jody Argo Schroath

August 2012 

A New Lighthouse 

It's not often that a new lighthouse comes onto the scene, but on September 22, the newest edition to the Cambridge, Md., riverfront, the replica Choptank River Lighthouse, will officially open. The new lighthouse, under construction since late 2011, is an exact replica of the light that stood off Benoni Point and was removed by the Coast Guard in 1964. The replica screwpile is located at Cambridge's Long Wharf Park, at the city marina, and will become the new dockmaster's office. The September 22 opening will include a dedication ceremony and reception. The public is welcome to Long Wharf Park for the official lighting at dusk, and there will be a ticketed reception dinner afterward. To order tickets for the grand opening, call the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce at 410-228-3575. To learn more about the light, visit

August 2012 

A New Water Trail

And speaking of openings, the National Park Service in July officially launched the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail at a ceremony in Baltimore's Fells Point. The trail highlights the movement of both British and American forces during the War of 1812. It is structured so that it can be followed by boat, bicycle or automobile. Kiosks, wayside signs and highway markers will fill visitors in on various aspects of the conflict. On the water, the trail begins at the Tangier Island History Museum and then goes up the Bay to include the Potomac, Patuxent, Patapsco, lower Susquehanna, Sassafras and Elk rivers. For information on the trail, go to, where you can download a brochure with map. There will also be an app available for smartphones.

August 2012 

New Virginia Rockfish Regs

Let's see . . . new lighthouse, new water trail, new rockfish. Huh? Okay, we admit it, we don't have a segue here, but we'll forge right ahead anyway. In July, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission decided to lower the recreational rockfish possession limit for this fall. And to "simplify" the rules. Maybe you should write this down: The new regulation removes the no-take slot limit of 23 to 35 inches. This means that when the fall season opens (October 4) recreational fishermen will be allowed to keep two rockfish a day with a minimum size of 18 inches and a maximum size of 28 inches, although one of those two fish may be greater than 28 inches. Is that clear? 

August 2012 

New Rescue Boat For Salisbury

Salisbury, Md., can boast a new 36-foot fire and rescue boat. The MetalCraft Marine vessel entered service in June and will provide a rapid response to boating accidents along the Wicomico and nearby rivers. The boat can be used for fire, rescue, dive and emergency medical services.It was paid for with a $896,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security and $50,000 in matching funds from the Maryland Waterway Improvement Fund.

August 2012 

New Old Boat for Baltimore Coast Guard

Coast Guard Baltimore has a new boat to call its own as well, although "new" only in the sense that they didn't have it before. The venerable harbor tugboat Chock was built in 1961. She was moved up to Baltimore from Portsmouth and will be used for law enforcement, ice-breaking and homeland security duties.

August 2012 

New Admiral of the Chesapeake

Robert Gaudette recently retired as director of boating services for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources after 32 years with the department. This summer he was designated Admiral of the Chesapeake for his leadership and service to the improvement of the Chesapeake Bay. The honorary rank is awarded by the governor for lifetime achievement. Gaudette joined the DNR in 1981. He was raised in Cambridge, Md.

July 25, 2012

Bay News/Search & Rescue

Coast Guard seeks assistance in identifying Middle River hoax caller

The Coast Guard is asking for assistance with locating a hoax caller after they received six false distress calls between May 1 and June 1 and conducted four searches involving multiple air and boat crews from the Coast Guard and local authorities.

All six false distress calls were determined to have originated from the area of Middle River and involved the same male voice transmitting over VHF-FM channel 16 saying "mayday, mayday."

The Coast Guard's cost for the searches is estimated to be approximately $70,000.
In addition to cost, there is significant operational impact caused by making false distress calls.

"Making false distress calls limits the Coast Guard and our rescue partners' capabilities to assist those boaters that are in actual emergency situations," said Capt. Kevin Kiefer, commander of Sector Baltimore. "Hoax radio calls also place first responders in unnecessary danger as they work to assist the boating public."

Making a false distress call is a felony punishable by law. The maximum penalty for making a false distress call is six years in prison, a $5,000 civil fine, a $250,000 criminal fine and reimbursement to the Coast Guard.

Anyone with information regarding the calls is asked to contact Coast Guard Investigative Service Baltimore at 410-576-2515.

July 24, 2012

Search & Rescue

Coast Guard searches for possible missing boater

The Coast Guard is searching Monday, July 23, for a possible missing boater after an unmanned and adrift dinghy was located in the vicinity of Lynnhaven Inlet in the lower Chesapeake Bay, near Virginia Beach.

The owner of the recreational fishing vessel, Heather D, reported an unmanned dinghy to Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads watchstanders while en route to fish near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

The Coast Guard contacted the owner of the dinghy, and the owner stated he believed the vessel was stolen.

A crew aboard a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium from Coast Guard Station Little Creek towed the vessel back to Little Creek and is continuing to search for anyone who may have been aboard.

Those with information regarding the vessel or the operator may contact Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads Command Center at 757-638-6637.

July 2012

Smart Buoys

Up until now, there were two principal ways to track nettles' summer progress up the Bay: check the nettle predictor map developed by NOAA, or peer intently into the water before jumping in. Now NOAA's Chesapeake Bay office has enlisted its special ops buoys in the nettle search. In addition to giving highly useful, real-time information on wind and wave height (a feature we use regularly before setting out on a rough day), water quality and a brief history lesson, these multi-tasking smart buoys now tell you how likely you are to find nettles nearby. Go to and choose a buoy near you, or download the smart buoy app from the app store and get the information on your smartphone or tablet. As an example, the probability of running into sea nettles near the Patapsco smart buoy at 12:17 p.m. on June 26, was only 2.5 percent; the wind was gusting to 22.5 knots from the NNW; and the waves were 1.8 feet to 2.8 feet, 3 seconds apart, also from the NNW. Good stuff!

But wait, we hear you say, hasn't funding been cut for the smart buoy program? Yes, President Obama has asked that the program not be refunded in fiscal 2013, but fiscal 2012 funding continues, and funded programs routinely continue until a new budget passes Congress. And that is yet to happen. So meanwhile, the smart buoys are just taking on a little extra work-like a lot of people these days.

DNR Updates Noise Regulations 

Maryland boaters, are you concerned that your boat is louder than the legal limit? If you boat on the Bohemia, Elk or Northeast river or their tributaries, or on the Maryland section of the C&D Canal, you should be aware that the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has updated its noise regulations for these areas in particular because their high banks tend to magnify sounds. These areas also account for more than 50 percent of noise complaints in the state. 

So what's new? For engines manufactured before 1993, the level may not exceed 90 decibels; for engines manufactured after 1993, the level can't exceed 88 decibels. Boats made after 1989 must have a continuous muffler and not use bypasses that reduce the effectiveness of the muffler. The Natural Resources Police are offering free, no-penalty sound tests. For a schedule, see

July 2012

Tornado Rips Through Hampton Roads

The pirates were nearby at the Grand Pirates Ball when the waterspout came ashore and turned into a tornado. Boats on the hard at Hampton Yacht Club toppled, while diners and Southern Bay Race Week partygoers huddled in interior rooms as the tornado ripped through the Hampton waterfront. The 12-member crew of the Pride of Baltimore II took cover below decks, holding on tight, as their tall ship heeled 10 degrees . . . maybe 15 . . . at Hampton Public Piers. The mast of a nearby boat crumpled under the strain of the 80-knot winds and snagged in the Pride's rigging. Another boat broke loose and bumped her hull. Nearby, vendors setting up for the next day's Blackbeard Pirate Festival in Mill Point Park headed for the hills, figuratively (the parking garage, literally) as the tornado tore through their tents before crossing the Hampton River, toppling trees and damaging homes as it went. 

It could hardly have happened on a busier weekend. It was just before sunset on Friday, June 1. The Hampton waterfront was jam-packed with boats in town for the gala pirate weekend. The following Friday would mark the beginning of OpSail, and many of the visiting tall ships, including the Pride of Baltimore II, were already in the area. It was a big weekend for Hampton Yacht Club too, the beginning of Race Week. All over Hampton harbor, boaters were kicking back. Pretty soon, though, their attention was riveted on the sky as it darkened, and it became clear that the waterspout was coming their way. A five-blast danger signal came from one of the boats, then another and another. Boaters at Joys Marina scrambled ashore, taking refuge in the shore-side bathrooms. Soon, pieces of aluminum filled the air as the roof of Amory's Seafood's ripped and shredded as the waterspout-turned-tornado passed overhead. Piers at Custom House Marina were rearranged. The Pride was pinned hard against the bulkhead, gouging its railing, and toppling two guns on the port side.

And then it was gone. The Pride's crew began repairs. Hampton Yacht Club called off Race Week. Vendors restored their tents, and the pirate festival went on. And life on the Hampton waterfront returned to normal. Except for cleaning up the mess. Categorized as an EF1 tornado, the lowest level of twister--it caused nearly $4 million in damages.

July 2012

Fire Burns Deltaville Maritime Museum

Lower Middlesex Fire Department responded to a fire at Deltaville Maritime Museum on Wednesday July 18 at 6:12 p.m. The blaze had consumed the rear pavillion of the complex, and spread to the roof of the main building, which collapsed. After the blaze was extinguished, an effort to recover the Museum's contents was undertaken by volunteers and firefighters on the scene. Salvage efforts now continue as the collapsed roof is removed and items below the debris are recovered. The cause of the fire is unknown, but Virginia State Police investigators do not believe foul play to be a factor. Click here for more information.

July 2012

Drought Not a Bad Thing for the Bay

The severe drought that is affecting the Midwest and West is also having an impact on Maryland and Virginia, which are currently experiencing moderate drought conditions. While the lack of rainfall has a negative impact on area farms and agriculture, it actually has beneficial effects on the Bay's waters. Without storm runoff moving pollution from land into the water, the Bay's oxygen levels have improved this year. Fertilizers and pesticides that wash into the Bay increase the nitrogen and phosphorous levels of the water. This leads to "dead zones" and pervasive ecological problems for the Chesapeake. The oxygen level of the Bay has improved by about 18 percent this summer, according to the DNR. 

June 26, 2012

Search & Rescue

Coast Guard rescues three swimmers in Chesapeake Bay

the Coast Guard had to come to the aid of three swimmers near Kent Island on Monday, June 25, after they were pulled about a mile from their boat by a strong current.

According to the Coast Guard, five men were on the boat Speak Easy, a cabin cruiser, near Kent Island in the Bay when three decided to go swimming and jumped off the boat.

About 2:45 p.m., one of the men on the boat called the Coast Guard in Baltimore for help, after realizing his friends could not make it back to the boat because of the current and he nor the other man on board did not know how to drive the boat to them, said Petty Officer Jonathan Lindberg, of the Coast Guard.

A crew from the Coast Guard Station Annapolis found the men about a mile south of their boat, Lindberg said. They'd been in the water for less than an hour, he said. The three were returned to their boat. There were no injuries.

June 24, 2012

Search & Rescue

Rescue of injured passenger near Milford Haven

The Coast Guard responded to a call for help from a boater aboard a 33-foot pleasure craft near Milford Haven, Va., on Friday, June 22.

At 6:30 p.m., a crewmember aboard the Blue Dolphin contacted watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads to report that his wife had bumped her head and was in and out of consciousness.

Crewmembers from Coast Guard Station Cape Charles in Cape Charles, Va., responded aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small and transported the injured woman to an EMS unit at Williams Wharf.

"We received notice that there was someone aboard the Blue Dolphin who had suffered some head trauma, so I decided to launch the 25, so that we could respond quicker," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Luis Oropeza. "On the way I received a second call stating that one person had fainted.

"Once we got on scene I was trying to determine what we were going to do," said Oropeza. "The conditions were rough, four to five foot seas, high winds and severe lighting. Transferring a crewmember was challenging, but I was able to place fireman Wade Giarratano aboard despite the rough conditions. We quickly reacted and set the anchor since the vessel was disabled, drifting to shallow waters, and would have made the rescue very difficult."

The Blue Dolphin was left at anchor until a second crew from Station Cape Charles aboard a 41-foot Utility Boat arrived on the scene to tow the vessel.

June 19, 2012

Channel 9

Baltimore moves toward East-Coast deep-water port supremacy with four new gigantic cranes

By the time you read this, Baltimore should have received some big new guns in its battle for East Coast deep-water port supremacy. According to Candus Thompson writing in the Baltimore Sun, the four colossal cranes, destined to go into service at Seagirt Marine Terminal, left Shanghai on April 14 aboard the Zhen Hua 13. Each crane weighs 1,706 tons and has a boom that can clear a 14-story building and extend from the edge of the wharf across 22 containers on a docked ship. When the Panama Canal expansion project is completed in 2014, super-size ships will be looking for ports large enough to accommodate them. Right now, Baltimore and Norfolk are the only East Coast ports that can and both are positioning themselves to profit from the expected uptick in business.

June 19, 2012

Channel 9

Four new rivers added to the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail

Well, he might have gone there if he'd had time. No, Captain John Smith and his merry crew didn't make it all the way up the Susquehanna River. Instead, they were stopped in their tracks by shallow water and numerous rocks in the river just below the present Conowingo Dam in Maryland. Nor did the famous explorer make it past the fall line of the James River. Nor the upper Nanticoke. Nor any part of the Chester River. But that is apparently no hindrance to those areas becoming part of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, the nation's first virtual national park.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, in the company of Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a healthy sprinkling of governmental and organizational officials, and a solid representation of local Native American tribes, announced the addition of the four waterways at Sandy Point Park (which Smith did pass by in his shallop) this May. The original national water trail was established by Congress in 2006 and traces the path of Smith's two voyages of exploration on the Chesapeake in 1607 and 1609. For details on the trail and the new sections, see

June 19, 2012

April river flows to Bay lowest on record

The USGS monitoring for the month of April showed that freshwater flows from Chesapeake Bay's major rivers averaged 56,100 cubic feet per second. The average for the month of April is 144,000 cfs, making this years rate 40% down from the average. According to Joel Blomquist, a USGS hydrologist, flows from the Susquehanna River, the Chesapeake's largest tributary, were the 75th lowest out of 76 years of monitoring; flows from the Potomac, the second largest tributary, ranked 73rd during the same time period, and flows from the James, the third largest tributary, ranked 59th.

Under normal circumstances low flows are beneficial to the Bay, as it means fewer nutrients coming in. Scientists are less certain this year, though, due to the massive amounts of nutrients and water that flowed into the bay from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee late last fall.

June 19, 2012

Virginia Wind Power Project Scrapped

Several months ago Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell announced that Virginia would be home to the first American offshore wind turbine. The 5-MW Gamesa offshore prototype was to be located off Cape Charles and construction was expected to be completed by 2013. But Gamesa, the company responsible for building the project, announced in May that it was cancelling the project.

Gamesa's explanation for pulling the plug: "While there have been improvements to siting in federal waters, regulatory issues still affect the level and speed at which projects can be approved. The pace of growth is further delayed by the lack of an offshore grid. In addition, uncertainty surrounding the Production Tax Credit, which will expire at the end of the year without congressional action, and the lack of a federal energy policy, hamper companies' ability to secure financing for projects."

There are still plans to lease 113,000 acres of federal waters off the coast of VirginiaBeach for wind power development. Eight companies have expressed interest in the leases.

June 10, 2012

Search & Rescue

Coast Guard, good Samaritans rescue 10 people near Cape Charles, Va.

The Coast Guard and good Samaritans each rescued five people after a 24-foot boat capsized near Cape Charles, Saturday, June 9.

A good Samaritan contacted Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads watchstanders at approximately 7:15 p.m. and reported a capsized 24-foot boat with 10 people in the water.

A crew aboard a 41-foot Utility Boat from Coast Guard Station Cape Charles launched to assist the good Samaritans.

When the UTB crew arrived on the scene, they transferred five people from the water onto their boat. The good Samaritans also removed five people from the water onto their boat. The 10 people that were rescued were all taken to Station Cape Charles.

A fishing vessel towed the capsized boat to Cape Charles Harbor.

There are no reports of injuries or pollution.

May 29, 2012

Search & Rescue


Missing boater recovered in fatal accident

The Maryland Natural Resources Police reported Monday, May 28, that the body of the missing boater from the Kent Narrows boating accident was recovered at 12:30 p.m. David Whitlow, 43, of Hebron, Md., was recovered near the scene of the boating accident by the Charles County Dive and Rescue unit using side scan sonar. NRP, Coast Guard, MSP aviation, Anne Arundel County Fire Department and the Charles County Dive and Rescue Unit had been searching for the victim. The search began after a 21-foot vessel struck a concrete jetty on Sunday at 11 p.m. with four people on board the vessel.
Two people on board the vessel were transported to Shock Trauma and are in stable condition.  They are John Perry, 50, from Crownsville, Md., and Brenda Werner, 47, from Riva, Md.  The fourth occupant, John Bowlin 49, from Linthicum, Md was not transported.

Missing swimmer found

NRP has recovered the body of Brandon M. Greene, 21, from Edgewood, Md.  Greene disappeared Sunday, May 27, in the Chesapeake Bay, one-half mile west of Howell Point when he jumped off the vessel to go swimming. Greene's body was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for autopsy.

May 27, 2012

Search & Rescue

Search for missing boater in Chesapeake Bay, Kent County

On Sunday, May 27, at 1:30 p.m., the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) began searching for a missing boater in the Chesapeake Bay, one-half mile west of Howell Point, Kent County.
Preliminary investigation revealed that four people were on board a 35-foot power boat when the vessel stopped so the occupants could go swimming.  A white 21-year-old male jumped off the vessel, feet first, and went under the surface of the water and did not reappear.
NRP, Coast Guard, Maryland State Police aviation and fire department vessels are searching the waters for the missing person.  The name of the victim is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

NRP Special Operations Division is continuing the investigation into the accident.

Boat explodes in Bohemia River

The NRP responded to boat fire in the Bohemia River on Saturday, May 26, at 4 p.m.  Investigation revealed that Douglas M. Pinnard,52, from Morgantown, Pa., was operating a 28-foot Columbia cabin sailboat near Scotchman Creek on the Bohemia River when his engine stopped.  While Pinnard was attempting to restart his engine, the engine exploded setting the vessel afire.
Pinnard and his 3-year-old son were rescued by a passing Good Samaritan in a vessel. Fire companies from Hacks Point, Cecilton and Chesapeake City responded to the scene. The vessel was a total loss.

May 21, 2012

Search & Rescue

Coast Guard rescues four injured boaters near Francis Scott Key Bridge

The Coast Guard rescued four people from a boat near the Francis Scott Key Bridge, Sunday, May 20.

A good Samaritan notified Coast Guard Sector Baltimore watchstanders of the distress via VHF-FM radio hail at 9:44 p.m., after seeing a 40-foot recreational vessel strike a piling near the bridge.

A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium from Coast Guard Station Curtis Bay arrived on the scene and brought three of the four injured aboard. The fourth person was stabilized before being transported. All four were transferred to awaiting emergency medical services personnel.

Crews from Maryland Natural Resources Police, Baltimore County Police and Fire departments along with a Syscom helicopter were assisting in the rescue.

The condition of the boaters is not known at this time.

June 2012 Channel 9

Welcome home, Matt Rutherford

Bands played, horns blew, cannons fired and a thousand people shouted and clapped like mad as Matt Rutherford, aboard his battered and barnacled Albin Vega 27, St. Brendan, slipped into City Docks in Annapolis on a sunny Saturday afternoon in April. It was the end of an epic voyage that had begun in virtual anonymity the previous June. Three hundred nine days and 27,077 miles later, Rutherford had done what no one else had done before--sail nonstop, single-handed around North and South America. And he had done it, not in a well-equipped modern boat, but in a nearly 40-year-old Swedish sloop with nearly standard equipment. Equipment that, by the time he had negotiated icebergs, squalls, storms and tropical heat, was pretty much beyond even Rutherford's wunderkind ability to repair. It's no wonder then that the crowds cheered and boaters stared in awe at the man and his boat. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley shook his hand, news reporters crowded around and television cameras hummed.

Rutherford had done it for the mad adventure of it, yes, but principally to raise money for Annapolis-based C.R.A.B. (Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating), which helps make boating possible for people with disabilities. Before setting out on his next adventure, Rutherford says, he'll take the next few months to write a book. It's bound to be a great one! 

June 2012 Channel 9

Banner Year for Blue Crabs

The news is nothing but good for the Bay's blue-ribbon crustacean.  Strict restrictions on crab harvests--especially a moratorium on the winter dredge--appear to have brought the predicted results: a resounding rebound in the number of blue crabs. The winter survey indicated that an estimated 764 million crabs spent this winter in the Bay--nearly 66 percent more than last year. The juvenile crab numbers looked even better, with an estimated 587 million, three times last year's count and a record high.

The overall population numbers are the highest since 1993. There was one less-than stellar number, however: the number of spawning-age females was down from 190 million to 97 million. Even that number, though, is considered within the safe threshold number.

It remains to be seen whether the states will now ease restrictions on crab harvest. Virginia has been under pressure from some watermen to end the ban on winter dredging, which targets female crabs, which burrow into the sand during the cold months. 

June 2012 Channel 9

Big Deal: Bay Gets Nation's First Offshore Turbine

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission has given unanimous approval to construction of a wind turbine that will stand in 50 feet of water, three miles off Cape Charles, Va., in the lower Bay. The project still needs to be approved by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard. 

The prototype turbine--a joint project between Spanish energy company Gamesa and Newport News Shipbuilding--is scheduled for completion by the end of 2013. This will make it the first offshore turbine in the United States. A project to build 130 turbines off Massachusetts has been approved, but won't be started until 2013. The 497-foot turbine will produce five megawatts for the local grid, which will come ashore by way of a 15,200-foot cable laid six feet below the seabed. You can plot the turbine's location at N 37-14'37.4", 

June 2012 Channel 9

Baltimore's Healthy Harbor Initiative

The goal is to make the Baltimore Harbor swimmable and fishable by 2020. A big order for such a sadly polluted body of water. But if the Healthy Harbor Initiative fails in the end it won't be for lack of trying. The Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore in April enlisted students and volunteers to create 2,000-square feet worth of floating wetlands. The resulting four-by-six-foot platforms, 56 of them, were towed into the harbor and deposited in front of the World Trade Center to begin doing their work. It will take a few months for the marsh grasses and other plants to grow and put down roots into the water, where they will begin doing their job of cleaning the water, a little bit at a time. These new wetlands will also attract fish and birds, helping to bring life back to the harbor. And, says Waterfront Partnership President Laurie Schwartz, remind the thousands of people who see the new wetlands, of the importance of a clean harbor.

June 2012 Channel 9

Buying Time at Annapolis Docks

This summer--or at least until June 30 (if successful it will continue through the season)--maritime visitors to Annapolis can take advantage of the city's new Dock & Shop program, sister to the already successful Park & Shop deal. Here's how it works: Boaters start with one hour of free docking at the slips and moorings managed by the city's harbormaster. Then for every purchase made at participating shops and restaurants, boaters can request validation stickers that give them additional free hours of dockage, up to four stickers at any one visit. For a list of participating merchants, check out the Quick Links box on our homepage. 

May 15, 2012

Missing Boaters Found on Lower Hoopers Island

Two boaters, Richard Moore and Daniel Graves of Delmar, left Nanticoke Harbor on 3 PM Saturday for an evening fishing trip in an 18-foot Polar craft boat. Relatives of the men realized Sunday morning that the men had not come home. They searched all day, then notified the authorities that the men had disappeared. A Coast Guard vessel, two patrol boats, Maryland State Police and Coast Guard aviation helped with the search of the Wicomico and Nanticoke Rivers, Tangier Sound and Fishing Bay. The missing men were spotted by fishermen early Monday morning, waving a flag on the banks of Lower Hoopers Island. The island is only accessible by boat. The men had gotten lost Saturday night and ran out of fuel. They spent two nights on the island, where their major problem was that "the gnats really got to them."

NRP Sgt. Art Windemuth suggests boaters take a radio and tell someone their route and when they'll return. He said it's also helpful to alert authorities as soon as possible when someone goes missing.

reported by the Star Democrat and Associated Press

May 4, 2012

Bay News

Norfolk Inner Harbor inset

NOAA releases new chart of Norfolk Harbor

NOAA's Office of Coast Survey has released an updated chart of Norfolk Harbor in time for Virginia's War of 1812 Bicentennial events, when boats of all shapes and sizes descend on the area for twelve days of maritime activities. The updated chart includes a new inset of the Norfolk Inner Harbor, which provides updated depth measurements and more details than the current chart.

The new inset on existing NOAA chart 12253, Norfolk Harbor and Elizabeth River, is at a 1:10,000 scale. The improvement incorporates data acquired by two hydrographic surveys: one last year by NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson and another by a Coast Survey navigation response team in 2010. The re-surveys of the Norfolk Inner Harbor updated more than 600 charted features and provided new bathymetry along the entire Norfolk waterfront.
"The surveys and the new chart inset will help ensure the navigational safety of the hundreds of boats coming in and out of the harbor during the War of 1812 Bicentennial events," explained NOAA Captain Doug Baird, chief of the Office of Coast Survey Marine Chart Division. "But this serves a broader economic need as well. The downtown area of Norfolk has developed as a multi-purpose port area, which requires a larger chart scale to support it."

The larger scale coverage of the inner harbor area was requested by the Virginia Marine Pilot Association, which works closely with the Office of Coast Survey to ensure the safety of ships and mariners.   NOAA's nautical charts come in a variety of formats, to meet the needs of different navigational systems. The updated chart is now available to all mariners as a traditional paper chart from vendors, or as a Print on Demand chart through OceanGrafix. Additionally, recreational boaters are able to download and print free BookletCharts designed especially for small boats: the War of 1812 Commemorative BookletChart and the updated regular edition for chart 12253 will be released later this month. NOAA's electronic navigational chart will also be available shortly.

May 2, 2012

Bay News

Acting VMRC Director Travelstead named new director

Governor Bob McDonnell on Thursday, May 2, announced the appointment of Jack G. Travelstead as commissioner of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. Travelstead has served with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission since March 1, 1981. He has been chief of the Fisheries Management Division since 1984, and deputy commissioner since 2006.

Travelstead was appointed acting commissioner by McDonnell on March 22, when former Commissioner Steven G. Bowman retired from state service.

He earned a Bachelor's degree in Biology from Old Dominion University and a Master's of Arts in Marine Science at the College of William and Mary. He lives in Toano with his wife, Ellen.

April 26, 2012

Search & Rescue

Coast Guard recovers missing boater near Pasadena, Md.

The Coast Guard recovered the body of an overdue boater in Rock Creek near Pasadena, Md., on Wednesday, April 25.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Baltimore command center received a call at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday from a source reporting the boater overdue aboard a 14-foot sailing vessel. The reporting source stated that the boater usually makes local sailing trips returning prior to sunset. The boater had departed at 3 p.m. and had been expected to return at 5 p.m.

A 25-foot Response Boat-Small crew from Coast Guard Station Curtis Bay, Md., along with an MH-65 Dolphin Helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J., and assets from Anne Arundel County, Baltimore Fire and Rescue, Annapolis Fire Department and Maryland State Police responded.

The crew aboard the helicopter located the overturned sailing vessel but did not locate the boater. At 7:30 a.m., the crew from Station Curtis Bay located the man, about a half mile from where the sailing vessel had been found.

He was transported to Stoney Creek Marina and the local EMS.

April 25, 2012

Search & Rescue

Coast Guard rescues two boys near Little Cove Point, Md.

The Coast Guard rescued two boys after their 14-foot sailboat capsized approximately three miles off the coast of Little Cove Point, Tuesday.

At approximately 4 p.m., a 25-foot Response Boat-Small crew from Coast Guard Station St. Inigoes responded after they saw the capsized sailboat and retrieved the 14 and 17-year-old boys from the water.

They were transferred to the sailboat Josephine, where their father was aboard. The crew of the Josephine took the small sailboat in tow.

"The boys were wearing life jackets when we got on scene, which probably saved their lives," said Petty Officer 2nd Class James Walters, a member of Coast Guard Station St. Inigoes. "The water temperature was 58 degrees, and that is still cold enough to make a person hypothermic if they are exposed to it long enough."

April 18, 2012

Police Blotter

Summons for oyster violations

On April 17, Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) served a criminal summons to Robert S. Nelson Jr., 29, of Hollywood, Md. He was charged with five counts of possessing unculled oysters, five counts of failing to put shellfish harvesting tags on oyster containers, possessing oysters more than two hours after sunset, operating his boat without proper navigational lights and failing to notify NRP when his boat encountered an emergency which prevented him from landing oysters during legal hours.
On March 16, at 2:41 a.m., NRP officers saw Nelson's 18-foot boat on the Wicomico River near the Chaptico Wharf. They watched Nelson meet a truck and trailer at the Chaptico Wharf with five bushels of undersized oysters on board his boat. Oysters cannot be on a vessel more than two hours after sunset or anytime before sunrise. NRP seized Nelson's boat and returned the oysters to the water. A preliminary hearing has been set for May 25 at 1 p.m. in the District Court of Maryland for Saint Mary's County.

Striped bass violations

On March 31, NRP charged Siamion Kremer, 48, of Feasterville, Pa., and Anatoly Pogoretsky, 55, and Youri Serko, 50, both from Philadelphia, Pa. with possessing striped bass during a closed season. Serko and Kremer were also charged with fishing without a license. The violations took place on the Susquehanna Flats near Turkey Point. Officers seized and donated 16 striped bass to a local food bank.

April 19, 2012


He's done it!

Matt Rutherford entered the Chesapeake Bay at 10:38 a.m. on April 18 to complete his around the Americas challenge. The celebration will be held at the National Sailing Hall of Fame on City Dock in Annapolis on Saturday, April 21. Everyone is invited! See the story below for more details.

The photo above was taken by Mark Duehmig just before Matt entered the Bay. For more photos, go to

April 16, 2012

Matt Rutherford's Landfall & Homecoming Scheduled for April 21st

Poseidon willing, Solo the Americas circumnavigator, Matt Rutherford will be arriving in Annapolis Saturday, April 21st. Anyone and everyone is invited to witness this historic event and join Matt's family and C.R.A.B. in welcoming him back to land.

He will be arriving around noon at the Annapolis City Dock/National Sailing Hall Of Fame dock. He will be escorted by boats of supporters, spectators, the U.S. Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary Annapolis, and the Annapolis Fire Dept. boat all starting from Thomas Point Lighthouse just south of Annapolis. A crowd, including media, will await him on the dock. He will step onto dry land for the first time in nearly a year and after over 25,000 non-stop and record setting miles alone at sea. Once Matt steps on the city dock, he will be greeted first by his family and then be welcomed back by Don Backe, C.R.A.B. founder and Lance Hinricks, C.R.A.B. Board of Directors' President. Following that welcome, accompanied by the music of a local drum and bugle corps, Matt and his greeters will form up and move to the stage, where he will be greeted by local, regional and national dignitaries and elected officials. He will be recognized by various groups and individuals for his accomplishments and his bravery, dedication and commitment to the cause of those who are physically challenged. Afterwards, Matt will be available to the media for interviews, questions etc.

For updates, or for those interested in reading all about Matt's historic circumnavigation of both North and South America, you can visit his website,

April 11, 2012

Search & Rescue

Two boaters rescued near Point Lookout, Md.

The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) and Ridge Volunteer Fire Department personnel rescued two people from a sailboat at the mouth of the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay after being battered around by strong winds and high seas.
On  April 10, 2012, at 10:30 p.m., Robert G. Weber, 59 and Adam J. Marshall, 33 both of Boston, Va., were sailing south in the Chesapeake Bay in a 1962 28-foot Pearson sailboat. The vessel went aground on a sandbar after the men mistook a lighted hazard buoy for a channel marker.
The strong wind conditions and incoming tide produced 2- to 4-foot seas in the area of the shoal, which April 11, 2012

Search & Rescue

Two boaters rescued near Point Lookout, Md.

The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) and Ridge Volunteer Fire Department personnel rescued two people from a sailboat at the mouth of the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay after being battered around by strong winds and high seas.
On  April 10, 2012, at 10:30 p.m., Robert G. Weber, 59 and Adam J. Marshall, 33 both of Boston, Va., were sailing south in the Chesapeake Bay in a 1962 28-foot Pearson sailboat. The vessel went aground on a sandbar after the men mistook a lighted hazard buoy for a channel marker.
The strong wind conditions and incoming tide produced 2- to 4-foot seas in the area of the shoal, which prevented them from freeing themselves. At 1:20 a.m., fearing for their safety, the occupants called 911. Rescue units from the NRP, Maryland State Police Aviation, Coast Guard, and Ridge Volunteer Fire Department responded to the area. High winds prevented both Coast Guard and helicopter units from reaching the boaters after multiple attempts.  A 41-foot Coast Guard cutter from Station St. Indigoes was unable to reach the vessel due to sea condition and shallow water.  After three attempts, an NRP officer and two Ridge Fire Department personnel aboard an 18-foot NRP patrol boat were able to reach the vessel and retrieve the stranded mariners.
NRP officers stood by the vessel until 7 a.m., when the sea and weather conditions subsided enough to allow them to retrieve the vessel and tow it to Point Lookout State Park.

April 9, 2012

Search & Rescue

Coast Guard rescues boater near Annapolis

The Coast Guard rescued a man from a capsized sailing vessel in the Severn River near Annapolis at 9 a.m. on Sunday, April 8.

A Maryland pilot aboard a bulk freighter contacted Coast Guard Sector Baltimore watchstanders at 8:30 a.m., after spotting a waving man on the overturned vessel one mile north of the Annapolis anchorage.

Sector Baltimore dispatched a 25-foot Response Boat-Small from Coast Guard Station Annapolis and were aided in the search for the man by two SYSCOM helicopters, Maryland Natural Resources Police and Anne Arundel County Fireboat 19. The Coast Guard Station Annapolis crew arrived on the scene and found the man sitting atop his vessel. They transferred him to Anne Arundel County emergency medical services.

The man was reported to be suffering from hypothermia and was flown by SYSCOM Trooper 6 helicopter to the Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center. He was reported to have been atop his vessel for over nine hours.

"We like to emphasize that boaters try to stay with their vessels if at all possible," said Lt. j.g. Salomee Fisher, Sector Baltimore command duty officer. "It gives the first responders a larger object to look for during their search. Also, file a float plan and give it to someone so that they can make a report as soon as you're overdue. These things greatly aid the likelihood of being found in an emergency."

April 2012

Channel 9

Local Fish Co-ops

HOW FAR WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO GO to eat local fish? It may seem like a contradiction, but often the most readily available fish and seafood comes not from the Bay but locations such as the Gulf of Mexico and Asia. It wasn't always this way, of course, when local catches were sold to local residents. Now a partnership between Virginia Sea Grant and the College of William and Mary is exploring the idea of creating a community-supported fishery that would benefit local watermen and make Chesapeake-caught fish and shellfish available in local communities-creating, in effect, a kind of fish co-op. Customers would pay a flat fee for membership and then benefit from the locally caught fish and oysters. Interested? Take the online survey at

Growing Native Oysters on Harris Creek

HARRIS CREEK ON THE EASTERN SHORE is the new center point for efforts to rebuild the Bay's native oyster population through large-scale reef-building. The creek, near the mouth of the Choptank River, is one of the sanctuary areas designated by Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley for rebuilding the population. Harris Creek has long been a prime source of oysters. Now the DNR, NOAA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are joining forces to rebuild the creek's oyster reefs. The Corps of Engineers will begin by laying down 22 acres of substrate this summer. When the reefs are completed, they will then be planted with seed oysters from the University of Maryland's Horn Point Lab hatchery.

Record-Breaking Blue Catfish

CATFISH MAKE UP IN VOLUME WHAT THEY lack in good looks. They are fast-growing and long-lived, and eat just about anything they bump into. Which is not a good thing for the Chesapeake's tributaries. Blue and flathead catfish are invasive, non-native fish that threaten local fish populations. Introduced into the James and Rappahannock rivers during the 1970s for sportfishermen, these come-heres have spread into rivers over much of the Bay. They have also been the target of the Chesapeake Bay Program's Sustainable Fisheries Goal Team, with representatives from Virginia, Maryland, NOAA and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, who are trying to prevent their further spread. For example, it is illegal to transport blue and flathead catfish to introduce them into another body of water. Catch and release is also strongly discouraged.

When Shawn Wetzel of Orrtanna, Pa., landed an 80-pound 12-ounce blue catfish this past February, he had no intention of throwing it back. It was all the 27-year-old could do to get the whopper aboard. The jumbo cat, caught in the Potomac River near Fort Washington, Md., was quickly confirmed as the biggest one ever caught in the state, beating out the old record by 13 pounds.

Osprey Staying the Winter

HERE'S A NATIVE SPECIES THAT IS NOT only thriving, it's showing a tendency to take up year-round residence. The Bay's signature fish hawk, the osprey, has made a landmark recovery from its low-water mark in the 1970s, quadrupling in numbers since the ban on DDT. But now that the osprey is back, some of its population are showing a disinclination to head south for the winter and instead are staying the year through.

Bryan Watts, director of the Center for Conservation Biology at the College of William and Mary and Virginia Commonwealth University has noted 15 to 20 osprey living in the southern Bay all winter. "There are more and more reports of osprey overwintering in the Bay," Watts says. He attributes the change in habit to a warmer climate and the continued availability of fish. Men-haden, one of the birds' favorite foods [see "Food Fight," page 34], has also shown a propensity for staying in the southern Bay instead of migrating to the Carolinas.

Other birds, including songbirds, are following the trend, as well. However, this means that some waterfowl, such as mergansers and diving ducks, are staying on northern lakes rather than wintering on the Chesapeake.

April 2, 2012

Bay News

Matt Rutherford set to arrive in Annapolis on April 14

Around the Americas solo sailor Matt Rutherford is nearing his goal of circumnavigating the Americas nonstop on his Albin Vega 27. He has survived the Northwest Passage, Cape Horn, gales, and a near collision with a freighter. Now he is opposite the coast of Florida and headed for the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay, with an arrival date in Annapolis of April 14. The press is expected to be there, as are a crowd of well-wishers, including members of the International Albin Vega Association. Rutherford will be landing at the National Sailing Hall of Fame on City Dock in Annapolis. He set sail from Annapolis last June to make his record-breaking round the Americas nonstop trip to raise money and awareness of Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (C.R.A.B.). You can keep up with his progress and read his exciting story here. And you can see longtime sailor Sen. Tom Harkin's (D.-Iowa) praise of Rutherford on the Senate floor here.

Bay News

VMRC Chief Retires

Steven G. Bowman, who has led the Virginia Marine Resources Commission since 2006, stepped down this March to take the job of police chief in Smithfield, Va., where he and his family live. Bowman joined the Virginia Marine Police in 1992. Jack Travelstock will serve as Acting Commissioner until a successor is named by Gov. Robert McDonnell.

March 30, 2012

Bay News

Outstanding in Solomons

The five-year-old Sail Solomons has been named an Outstanding School for a fourth year running by the American Sailing Association (ASA). The award recognizes the top 20 of more than 300 ASA schools worldwide. Co-owners Andy Batchelor and Lisa Batchelor Frailey were both also named Outstanding Instructors for 2011, an award given to the top 1 percent of the ASA's 2,000 instructors. Sail Solomons is located at Zahniser's Yachting Center in Solomons.

March 29, 2012

Bay News

All for Living Classrooms

The Great Chesapeake Bay Swim organization is donating $10,000 to support Living Classroom's environmental programming at the Masonville Cove Environmental Education Center on the Patapsco River. Living Classrooms uses in-school programs and field experiences to help Baltimore students understand the Bay by studying local pollution problems in Baltimore. The Great Chesapeake Bay Swim is held in June between the spans of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

March 28, 2012

Search & Rescue

Natural Resources Police rescue boaters in Middle River

Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) rescued two boaters from 53-degree water out of the Middle River near Wilson Point in Baltimore County at 6 p.m. on Monday, March 26. NRP rescued Dwayne W. Abbott, 28, of Essex, and Jonathan M. Miller, 11, and William H. Miller, 34, both of Middle River, after their boat capsized.
NRP received the call from Baltimore County 911 and found the three boaters in the water, with help from the Baltimore County aviation unit.  The boat had capsized from waves and 20-knot winds. NRP transferred the boaters to a Baltimore County Fire Department vessel and then to Franklin Square Hospital for evaluation.
All of the boaters were wearing life jackets at the time of the accident.

NRP reminds boaters that current water temperatures are still dangerous and can cause hypothermia.  Boaters should dress accordingly. Boaters should use good judgment and take precautions before they depart from the dock.

March 27, 2012

Bay News

All for the F.D. Crockett

Sometimes it takes a community to restore a boat. The F.D. Crockett, an 88-year-old log-hulled buyboat, is a case in point. In addition to thousands of volunteer hours donated by friends of the Deltaville Maritime Museum, the restoration project recently received a donation of bottom point from Deltaville Boat Yard. Over the past few months the Deltaville Boat Yard has donated 266 technical hours to museum projects, as well as haul-outs, launches, and repowering of the museum's Lillian B, in all about $20,000 in goods and services. Farinholt brothers at Chesapeake Marine Railway has donated the use of their railway and equipment for hauling the Crockett for the bottom work. Now the museum is looking for skilled volunteers to paint the buyboat's topsides and decks to prepare for her 2012 cruises. For more, go here or call 804-776-7200.

March 23, 2012

Police Blotter

NRP charges recreational and commercial anglers

The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) charged four recreational anglers and one commercial angler with possession of striped bass during closed season in two separate incidents.
On March 14, NRP officers charged John Edward Smith III, 57, of Shadyside, Md., with possession of striped bass during closed season, commercially possessing striped bass without a striped bass allocation card, failing to display tidal fish license on his vehicle while transporting seafood and failure to attend to his drift gillnet. Officers saw Smith commercially fishing a drift gill net for white perch in the Rhode River, near Shadyside, Anne Arundel County.  Officers watched Smith leave the nets and return to his house.  Officers contacted Smith at his home and recovered six striped bass that were in his possession.  A court date has been set for April 20th, in the District Court of Maryland for Anne Arundel County.
On March 16, at 12:30 a.m., NRP officers charged Adrian Bonilla, 42, of Lanham, Rayes Martinz, 53, of Brentwood, Bonilla Glorismel, 27, and Enrri Salamanca, 34, of Greenchapel, all Maryland residents, with possession of striped bass during closed season and fishing without a Chesapeake Bay sport fishing license at the Kent Narrows Bridge in Queen Anne's County.  NRP found the individuals with seven striped bass from 22 to 38 inches in length.  A court date of April 25 has been set in the District Court of Maryland for Queen Anne's County.
NRP reminds anglers that it is illegal to possess striped bass taken from the Chesapeake Bay or its tributaries.  The striped bass season opens on April 21 in selected portions of the Chesapeake Bay.  Anglers can consult the following web site for more information regarding striped bass season here.

March 15, 2012

Bay News

Boating Registration Fees

DNR is proposing amendments to the bill to raise boating registration fees. The amendment is now suggesting $50 every two years to register boats 16 to 21 feet; $75 every two years to register boats of 21 to 32 feet; $100 every two years to register boats of 32 to 45 feet; $200 every two years to register boats of 45 to 65 feet; and $300 every two years to register boats of more than 65 feet. You can read more about it at here.

Bay News

Luxury Tax

A bill introduced in the Maryland legislature this month would impose a luxury tax on boats, planes and motor vehicles costing more than $35,000. A further 2 percent would be added to the amount above $90,000. A petition, which is opposing the tax, argues that this would drive business out of state to Virginia and Delaware, penalizing Maryland yacht brokers, dealers, and marinas.

Channel 9

Drama Around the Americas

After learning that Matt Rutherford--who is 20,000 miles into his 25,000-mile nonstop solo trip around the Americas--had lost virtually all his equipment, friends and followers put together an emergency resupply expedition out of Brazil.  This took place February 29 in six foot swells as Rutherford continued his journey back to the Chesapeake. Rutherford left Annapolis in June 2011, aboard an Albin Vega 27 provided by Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating, to raise money and awareness for the Annapolis-based organization that makes boating accessible to those with handicaps. In September 2011, Rutherford negotiated the Northwest Passage; in January, he rounded Cape Horn and began the long trip back. 

Writing in his engrossing blog (which you'll find at, Rutherford has reveled in the challenges and hardships that came his way. All the while, however, he has been losing one piece of equipment after another to the weather or the general contrariness of machines. On February 21 he wrote: "Now I'm down to just my old wind generator for power. I spent 3 full days converting a human-powered generator into a hydro generator. It was quite the task. My hack saw is broken so I had to make many cuts through metal holding the flimsy rusty blade in my hand slowly sawing away hour after hour. I felt like a cartoon character trying to break out of jail using a nail file. I built a paddle wheel out of an old boat hook a broken piece of whisker pole some starboard. It looks cool but it is high maintenance and I don't have much faith in it lasting very long. . . . Two out of my three water makers have broken and the last one was giving me some problems. I was able to lube it up with some olive oil but if that were to break . . . I don't even want to think about that."

The resupply provided Rutherford with solar panels, a handheld VHF, water, diesel and a motor crank. Rutherford's projected arrival time in Annapolis is sometime in mid-April at the National Sailing Hall of Fame. You can keep up with Rutherford's progress at the website above. When you do, we recommend you begin at the beginning and read Rutherford's story all the way through. It's a whale of a tale!

Smart Buoys Casualty of Budget Cuts

The first item on the cutting board this month is NOAA's Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System, better known as "smart buoys" because they know their local history and can report local water quality information. "Hey, wait a minute," we hear you say, "didn't this program just get started?" Yes, the first smart buoy was deployed just five years ago to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, and since then nine more new buoys have been deployed around the Bay. But smart machinery doesn't come cheap, and the buoys have incurred additional costs because of damage from weather, careless boaters and joyriding sharpshooters. So this year, as the Obama Administration looked for cuts in federal spending, the buoys proved vulnerable once again, this time losing their $300,000 per year funding. No word yet on when they will go off-line, but we'll keep you updated.

Snakehead Found on NY Menu

According to a story in the Huffington Post, the bad boy of the Potomac River, the Southeast Asian snakehead, has found its way onto the menu of the tony Grammercy Tavern in New York City, where it was declared "delicious" by customers. But can New Yorkers eat enough snakehead roasted over a wood-fire grill and served with charred and raw sunchokes and pickled cippolini onions over a bed of baby mustard greens, drizzled with blood orange vinaigrette to stop its spread across the Bay? All we can say is, "Bon appetit!" 

USNS Comfort Finds New Home in Norfolk

Item number two on our list is a loss for Baltimore but a gain for Norfolk. The Navy, in the midst of making spending cuts of its own, announced in February that it would no longer keep the Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort in Baltimore, where it is docked at private facilities. Instead, Comfort will be relocated in March 2013 to Norfolk, where it can be berthed at a Navy facility for no charge at all. The Navy estimates that this will save $1.7 million the first year and $2.1 million in the following years. 

Integrity of GPS Signal Protected

After thousands of boaters, pilots and other users of GPS devices expressed their concern over a proposal to allow LightSquared, a start-up cellular broadband company, to use bandwidth that bumps up against GPS signals, the Federal Communications Commission last fall ordered further tests. When these showed that the LightSquared network would indeed interfere with GPS, the FCC withdrew its approval. Happiness among boaters all round. 

Bashing Big Raft-Ups

A bill in the Maryland Senate would prohibit gatherings of more than 50 boats at a time anywhere in Maryland waters of the Bay without a permit and a plan for private security. This legislation came at the request of the Natural Resource Police (NRP), who argue that gatherings of large numbers of boats-- such as last year's 800-boat Bumper Bash on the Magothy River--are dangerous to boaters and put a strain on police and rescue agencies, costing them thousands of dollars and pulling personnel away from other duties. As we went to press, the bill was stalled in Senate committee after a single hearing, awaiting revisions before further consideration.

Outlawing Gill Nets

One more item of interest has hit the Maryland state house this year--a bill that would outlaw the use of gill nets. Proponents of the bill argue that misused gill nets are responsible for the loss of thousands of pounds of fish each year and point to illegal gill nets pulled from the Bay by DNR officers last year that contained 12 tons of rockfish. Also last year, a recreational boater discovered a 600-yard-long abandoned gill net that contained hundreds of pounds of rotting fish.

Boatbuilder Jack Owens

John "Jack" Owens, of the famous Owens Yacht Co. family, died in Naples, Fla., in February at the age of 96. In 1925, Owens's father established a custom boatbuilding business on Spa Creek in Annapolis. In 1936 Jack Owens and his brothers moved the business to Bear Creek in Dundalk, Md., where they used mass-production methods to produce hundreds of highly praised cabin cruisers a year. During World War II, the company built 2,500 landing craft for the Army, then returned to recreational boats, including the 40-foot Owens Cutter, a sleek and speedy sailboat. In 1961, the brothers sold the company to Brunswick. Jack Owens stayed on as president of the Brunswick Owens Division until 1964, when he joined his brothers in founding Trident Corp., a real estate company. Owens was also a competitive yachtsman and member of the Gibson Island Club.

Boatbuilder Alvin Walden

Alvin Russell Walden, who was born, raised in Deltaville, Va., and spent a lifetime building boats there, died in January at the age of 86. In 1946 Walden, his father and two brothers bought land at the entrance to Broad Creek that had a small marine railway on it and established Walden Brothers Marina. The Waldens soon became well known for their skill in boatbuilding and repair, specializing in deadrise workboats, but later building pleasure boats and fishing boats, as well. The three brothers divided the work, with Alvin the boatbuilder, Milton "Moody" Walden the waterman and Raymond the engine mechanic. Raymond Walden died in 1972, and Alvin and Moody sold the business ten years later. Moody died in 2009, but Alvin continued to work part-time as long as he was able. 

Good Oyster News

Yes, we said "oyster" and "good news" in the same sentence fragment. This past year, the oyster industry in Virginia had its best oyster season since 1989, with watermen harvesting 236,000 bushels in 2011, according to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC). That's 10 times the amount harvested 10 years ago, the best harvest since everything went from bad to terribly wrong in the 1980s. The increase is credited to rotating harvest areas, "seeding" oyster beds and creating oyster sanctuaries.

More Good Oyster News Maryland

We know that this is almost too much to take in, but there is actually good news about oysters in Maryland as well. Maryland's baby oysters are healthier and more plentiful than they have been in a long time. The DNR's fall oyster survey found an impressive 92-percent survival rate of young oysters, double that of 10 years ago and the highest rate since 1997. Damage from the Bay's two oyster diseases, MSX and dermo, was less this year thanks, at least in part, to heavy rains in spring and late summer that lowered the salinity levels in the Bay. On the down side--you knew there had to be one--salinity levels were so low in the upper Bay that entire oyster beds died.

Sturgeon Officially Endangered

The federal government--NOAA's fisheries service to be specific--has acted on a petition by the Natural Resources Defense Council, and classified four kinds of sturgeon, including that found (rarely) in the Bay, as endangered. Sturgeon was once abundant in the Chesapeake--as elsewhere--but was nearly wiped out by overfishing, largely for its roe, and by the damming of most of the species' spawning grounds.

Channel 9

Two For the Books

For some reason, this was a whale of a good winter for big fish. Correction, it was a whale of a good winter for catching big fish-the fish involved probably didn't look at it in the same rosy light. First off the mark was Charles Donohue of Philadelphia, who got the better of a 23-pound tautog on January 11, 12 miles east of Ocean City, Md. This broke the state record of 20 pounds 11 ounces set in 2007. Donohue caught his 33-inch fish over an artificial reef using a whole green crab as bait.

A few days later and a few miles farther south, Cary Wolfe of Prince William County, Va., landed a 74-pound rockfish off Cape Henry, Va. Wolfe fought the fish for 15 minutes before pulling it aboard. When certified, the big rock will break the existing Virginia record of 73 pounds set four years ago.

February 16, 2012 

Channel 9

Follow that Flotilla!

Looking for a cruise of an entirely different kind this summer? Here's just the ticket. As you might have deduced, even without your smartphone calculator app, 2012 marks the bicentennial of the War of 1812. To mark the occasion, OpSail and the U.S. Navy, as well as dozens of other organizations worldwide, are determined to collect the largest fleet of tall ships and international navy vessels ever gathered for OpSail 2012. Five ports have been singled out for a visit in 2012 (the fleet will be on the Great Lakes next year): New Orleans, Norfolk, Baltimore, New York and Boston-though many other cities like Cape Charles and Yorktown will benefit from tall ship visits, as well. These ports will have weeks of events surrounding the ship-gathering, with plenty of opportunities to visit, watch ship parades, listen to lectures and, of course, eat lots of food (hey, that's important!).

Sounds like fun, you say, but what has all this to with me and my boat? Just this: For the first time ever, the tall ships and navy vessels will hold a colossal parade up the Chesapeake . . . and you and your boat are invited to come too. The fleet will leave Norfolk on Tuesday, June 12, proceed in formation out of Elizabeth River, past Fort Monroe in Hampton and then head up the Bay to Baltimore. The fleet will be maintaining about 6 knots, which is doable for nearly everybody, power or sail, so all of us should be able to stay with the pack. We'll have lots more details for you in the next couple of issues, but we thought you might want to pencil this in on your summer cruise calendar now. We certainly are! Meanwhile, here are three websites to whet your appetite:;; and 

Two For the Books

For some reason, this was a whale of a good winter for big fish. Correction, it was a whale of a good winter for catching big fish-the fish involved probably didn't look at it in the same rosy light. First off the mark was Charles Donohue of Philadelphia, who got the better of a 23-pound tautog on January 11, 12 miles east of Ocean City, Md. This broke the state record of 20 pounds 11 ounces set in 2007. Donohue caught his 33-inch fish over an artificial reef using a whole green crab as bait.

A few days later and a few miles farther south, Cary Wolfe of Prince William County, Va., landed a 74-pound rockfish off Cape Henry, Va. Wolfe fought the fish for 15 minutes before pulling it aboard. When certified, the big rock will break the existing Virginia record of 73 pounds set four years ago.

2012 Maryland Ghost Pot Retrieval Program

In March, the Maryland ghost pot retrieval program is scheduled to resume operations for the 2012 season. Conducted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Oyster Recovery Partnership, the program will remove thousands of abandoned crab pots and other debris from the Chesapeake Bay.

Maryland Geological Survey and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Chesapeake Bay Office conducted side-scan sonar surveys several years ago and estimated that there were thousands of ghost pots at the bottom of the Bay and its tributaries. Crab pots become lost when buoy lines are cut by powerboat propellers or during storms when the lines may chafe through.

Target areas for the 2012 effort include the North East River, Fairlee Creek, West River, Rhode River, South River, Severn River, Magothy River, Patapsco River, Patuxent River, Upper Tangier sound, Lower Hooper Island, and the  Big and Little Annemessex Rivers.

Maryland's ghost pot retrieval program was launched in 2010 as part of a federally-funded crab disaster recovery grant. In 2010, about 360 watermen removed more than 11,800 pieces of debris from Bay waters.

With one million dollars available, the 2012 program will expand on the 2010 effort, employing more watermen and targeting additional areas.
Source: MD DNR

February 13, 2012 

Police Blotter

Illegal oystering charges and using false identity

On February 10, the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) arrested Robert J. Benton, Jr., 44, of Stevensville, on conservation and criminal charges after he was caught illegally harvesting oysters and then tried to avoid the charges by using another waterman's identity.

On February 3, Benton was stopped while he was illegally diving for oysters in the Little Choptank River. When asked for ID, Benton gave NRP Officers a tidal fish license in another waterman's name, representing himself as that person.
Benton was charged with fraud, fraud to avoid prosecution, fraud to avoid payment greater than $500 and theft. Benton was also charged with taking oysters without a commercial license, failure to pay oyster surcharge and taking oyster for commercial purposes by diving in an area reserved for hand tongs. Benton faces penalties that range from $250 to $25,000 and 15 years in prison.  Benton was jailed in the Dorchester County Detention Center on $10,000 bond.

Five charged with oyster violations

On February 10 at 7 a.m., NRP Officers charged five individuals with harvesting oysters in the Tangier Sound Oyster Sanctuary. NRP officers were aboard a Maryland State Police helicopter when they noticed three commercial fishing boats illegally dredging for oysters in the sanctuary.
Officers charged the following individuals with unlawfully harvesting oysters in an oyster sanctuary:
    1. Steven P. Benton, 43, from Deale Island, and Darin K. Ford, 46, from Princess Anne, aboard the Donna Lee.
    2. Andrew A. Benton, 37, and Ulyses Seawright Jr., 33, both from Wenona, aboard the Gentle Breeze.
    3. David T. Wheatley Sr., 47, from Wenona aboard the Just Faith.
NRP Officers seized Wheatley's oyster dredge from his boat. This was the second time this season that Wheatley was apprehended in the oyster sanctuary. His previous violation occurred on January 20.

St. Marys River violations

On February 9 at 3 p.m., NRP charged three individuals with removing oysters from an oyster sanctuary and possessing undersized oysters in the St. Marys River near Great Mills.

Officers charged Migdael A. Trujillo, 32, Lorenzo A. Regalado, 32, and Jose M. Vaquers, 42, all from Dameron, Md.  A trial date of May 18, 2012 has been set for the District Court of Maryland for St. Mary's County.

February 3, 2012

Police Blotter

NRP charges five with oyster violations

The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) on Friday, February 3, charged five watermen with oyster violations in Dorchester County.
At around 9 a.m., NRP officers observed Bryan R. Grimes, 36, of Chester, Edward E. Grimes, 61, of Stevensville, Mason T. Coursey, 19, of Centerville, and Christopher L. Marvel, 19, of Grasonville, illegally diving for oysters in a hand tong only area of the Little Choptank River.
The men were charged with catching oysters for commercial purposes by diving in an area reserved for hand -tonging.  Officers seized four bushels of oysters and returned them to water.
At 9:30 a.m., NRP officers observed Nelson B. Goslin Jr., 42, of Cambridge, illegally power dredging for oysters in Fishing Bay. He also had undersized oysters (14 percent) on his boat. NRP charged Goslin Jr. with possessing unculled and undersized oysters and power-dredging in an area reserved for hand tongs. Three bushels of oysters were seized and returned to the water.
A trial is set for April 18 in the District Court of Maryland for Dorchester County.

January 23, 2012

Police Blotter

Five charged with oyster poaching

The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) charged five watermen, on three boats, with power-dredging for oysters in the Tangier Sound Oyster Sanctuary.
On January 20, at 7:30 a.m., an NRP officer aboard a Maryland State Police helicopter saw eight commercial boats power-dredging for oysters within the sanctuary. The officer was able to identify and plot locations of three of the boats before they scattered among the other commercial vessels working outside the sanctuary.
NRP charged the following individuals with oystering in an oyster sanctuary;
 John Earhart III, 32, and Jason Abbott, 30, both of Princess Anne, aboard Miss Terry.
 David Wheatley, 47, of Deale Island, and Stephen Webster, 58, of Wenona, aboard Just Faith.
 Daniel Benton, 49, of Deale Island, aboard Chantilly Lace.

January 17, 2012

Be Careful Out There; It Was a Deadly Year on the Bay

Maryland Natural Resources Police have identified the body found washed ashore yesterday morning at Chesapeake Harbor, just south of Annapolis, as that of 25-year-old Tyler Cordrey of Somerset County on the Eastern Shore. Cordrey had been missing since the afternoon of December 17, when the 18-foot Precision sailboat he was aboard with two others capsized and sank near the Sandy Point. Cordrey's girlfriend, 25-year-old Taylor Rogers, survived the accident, after being rescued and treated for hyperthermia. The couple's friend, 46-year-old Daniel Denike of Laurel, owner of the boat, was also rescued but later died in the hospital from complications of hypothermia.

This incident capped what had already been a very bad year in the way of fatal boating accidents in the Bay and its tributaries. In Maryland waters alone there were 25 boating fatalities in 2011, beginning with a pair of unusual watermen deaths last January-one who fell overboard in Fishing Bay and died of hypothermia, and another who was killed when his boat collided with navigation marker in the Gunpowder River. All others were recreational boaters and anglers and all were male-except for 14-year-old Olivia Constants, who drowned June 23 when she was trapped under her capsized Club 420 during a lesson with the Severn Sailing Association's Junior Sailing Program.

Things weren't quite as bad in the Virginia portion of the Bay, according the Tom Guess of the Virginia Department of Inland Game and Fisheries, who says there were 16 boating fatalities in the commonwealth last year-a little higher than the average number of recent years, but not as much of a spike as in Maryland. That's a total of 41 for both states, close to twice the typical annual number (20 to 25) over the last decade. It was the worst year in Maryland since 1992, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Maryland NRP spokesman Art Windemuth attributes the increase to the excellent boating weather of the 2011 season. "We started out with a bang and went right past spring to summer," he told the Sun in December. "It was one perfect weekend after another. With the increased level of activity came the fatalities."

January 2012

Channel 9

Fort Monroe Gets Its National Designation

WITH THE STROKE OF A PEN, PRESIDENT Obama in November acceded to the wishes of tens of thousands of southern Bay residents by declaring Fort Monroe a national monument. Immediately, more than half of the 570-acre former Army base was transferred to the stewardship of the National Park Service. The remainder will continue to reside with the Fort Monroe Authority, a state-run agency established after the Army declared it would be abandoning the facility in September 2011. A strong grassroots effort by local citizens, as well as statewide bipartisan support, proved strong enough to tip the scales in favor of national park designation. Presidents have the power to establish national monuments under the Antiquities Act of 1906.

Fort Monroe easily falls within that category, with a long, rich history. Long before the present fort was constructed, it was the site of the first landing in 1619 of a slave ship in the Colonies. Work began on the 63-acre fort shortly after the War of 1812 to protect against another invasion by an enemy. The fortress remains the largest stone fort in America and the only one surrounded by a moat. A young U.S. Army engineer by the name of Robert E. Lee was stationed there in the early 1830s. It became a refuge for slaves during the Civil War. Edgar Allen Poe, during his brief and weird military career, is said to have written the poem "Annabel Lee" within the fort's walls. Harriet Tubman worked in the fort's hospital, and after the war Confederate president Jefferson Davis was held in one of its cells.

The present-day facility includes the Casemate Museum and the historic Chamberlin Hotel, now an independent living facility, as well as a number of historic homes and churches. Of particular interest to boaters, Old Point Comfort Marina, once open only to military personnel, is now open to all and has transient slips available.

Fort Monroe National Monument's new website is The marina site is

Annapolis Gets a Spring Sailboat Show

HOORAY, IT'S A NEW BOAT SHOW! UNITED States Yacht Shows, which produces Annapolis's jumbo fall boat shows and the Bay Bridge Boat Show, announced in December that it was introducing a sailboat show to the spring schedule. This new show will follow the Bay Bridge Boat Show (a powerboat venue) by a week. While the Bay Bridge show will be held April 19-22 on Kent Island, the new sailboat show will follow April 27-29 in the usual Annapolis boat show location-the city dock, aka Ego Alley. There will be 2,000 feet of floating docks for up to 80 sailboats and vendors booths on the adjacent land. Admission will be $10. A Cruisers University will run in conjunction with the boat show, with classes and demonstrations in long-range cruising, such as diesel maintenance, navigation and electrical systems. 

For more information on the spring show and Cruisers University, go to or call 410-268-8828. 

Canal Lock Closed

IT'S NOT LIKELY THAT YOU'LL BE PACKING the boat for a trip on the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) in the next month or two, but just in case, we thought you'd better know that the Dismal Swamp Canal route is now closed, and will be closed for the next few months. The doors slammed shut on the alternate ICW route between Norfolk and Albemarle Sound, N.C., on January 4, for repair work on the South Mills Lock at the North Carolina end of the canal. While work is under way, the lock at Deep Mills, on the Virginia end, will remain closed as well. Repairs are expected to take 60 to 90 days, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The principal ICW route, the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, will remain open. 

Wenona Harbor Renovated

IT'S ALL GOOD NEWS FOR BOATS IN Wenona Harbor, after the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Somerset County completed work on the Wenona Harbor boating access facility, which includes a double-wide boat ramp, central boarding pier and 600-foot bulkhead. There is also a 200-foot pier and 12 slips with utilities. The $545,000 project was funded by Somerset County and DNR-administered State Waterway Improvement Funds. 

Downtown Sailing Center Too

ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BAY, AND UP north, the newly renovated Downtown Sailing Center in Baltimore was completed this fall. The project took exactly a year to complete. The principal addition to the facility is a series of concrete piers, made from recycled material from the Inner Harbor Marina. The new docks are larger and allow easy wheelchair access to vessels and more space for larger boats. The Downtown Sailing Center provides boating opportunities to Baltimore-area young people and to people with disabilities. The $300,000 project was also paid for by grants from the DNR Waterway Improvement Fund.

And West Ocean City

THE DNR HAS BEEN BUSY THIS PAST year. A third project that reached its conclusion in 2011 was the rehabilitation of the West Ocean City boating access facility, which provides access to the Atlantic Ocean as well as Maryland's coastal bays, such as Sinepuxent and the Isle of Wight. The busy West Ocean City facility, which was last rebuilt in 1988, reopened with a six-lane boat ramp, ADA compliant floating docks and upgraded piers. The cost was $472,000.

Oak Creek Landing Just Under Way

JUST ONE MORE. THE $439,000 renovation of the Oak Creek Landing boating access facility will be under way throughout the winter and is scheduled to reopen this Memorial Day weekend. The facility is located off St. Michaels Road in Talbot County and gives boaters access to Oak Creek and the Miles River. In addition to ramp and dock work, this facility will also get a new pump-out station.

And Chesapeake Maritime Museum

OOPS, THERE IS JUST ONE MORE renovation in the works after all. And this is a big one. And also partially a DNR project. The Chesapeake Maritime Museum in St. Michaels is replacing a 600-foot section of rotted bulkhead along the museum's Navy Point and Miles River shoreline. The project is expected to take six months. The old wood bulkhead will be replaced and sheathed in vinyl. Also, a new finger pier and three mooring pilings will be added, and the electric and water service will be upgraded. A living shoreline will replace the rip-rap near the museum's harbor-side facilities. The bulkhead from Honeymoon Bridge to the Crab Claw and along Fogg's Cove was replaced earlier. The museum will remain open. 

Menhaden Fishery Reduced

AFTER YEARS OF TALK AND MONTHS OF discussion, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted to reduce the menhaden catch by 37 percent. The vote was a victory for those who have argued that the important feeder fish were being overfished. But Texas-based Omega Protein, the principal commercial menhaden fishery, called the vote. 

Annapolis Gets a Spring Sailboat Show

HOORAY, IT'S A NEW BOAT SHOW! UNITED States Yacht Shows, which produces Annapolis's jumbo fall boat shows and the Bay Bridge Boat Show, announced in December that it was introducing a sailboat show to the spring schedule. This new show will follow the Bay Bridge Boat Show (a powerboat venue) by a week. While the Bay Bridge show will be held April 19-22 on Kent Island, the new sailboat show will follow April 27-29 in the usual Annapolis boat show location-the city dock, aka Ego Alley. There will be 2,000 feet of floating docks for up to 80 sailboats and vendors booths on the adjacent land. Admission will be $10. A Cruisers University will run in conjunction with the boat show, with classes and demonstrations in long-range cruising, such as diesel maintenance, navigation and electrical systems. 

For more information on the spring show and Cruisers University, go to or call 410-268-8828. 

Menhaden Fishery Reduced

AFTER YEARS OF TALK AND MONTHS OF discussion, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted to reduce the menhaden catch by 37 percent. The vote was a victory for those who have argued that the important feeder fish were being overfished. But Texas-based Omega Protein, the principal commercial menhaden fishery, called the vote "swatting a gnat with a sledgehammer." The company, which operates out of Reedville, Va., had called for a 23-percent reduction, and said the 37-percent cut would likely lead to job losses at the Reedville plant. Virginia is the only East Coast state that allows commercial menhaden fishing in its waters.

When it Rains . . .

Efforts to bring back the oyster industry on the Chesapeake had another setback this year-in the form of record rainfall lowered salinity levels in the upper Bay. The result was oyster bars full of dead oysters. A November survey of upper Bay oyster populations uncovered the loss. When biologists collected samples from 15 oyster bars north of the Bay Bridge, they discovered that the four northernmost bars on the Eastern Shore had suffered a mortality rate of nearly 80 percent, with no live oysters at all in the two bars farthest north. Higher than normal mortality rates were also found in the Western Shore oyster bars north of the bridge.

January 12, 2012

Police Blotter

Waterman Charged for Oyster Sanctuary Violations

Annapolis, Maryland (January 11, 2012) - On January 10, 2012 at 9:30 am, the Maryland Natural Resources Police charged three people for oystering with in the Tangier Sound Oyster Sanctuary. The Officers were on patrol in an 18 ft Boston whaler in the fog on Tuesday morning and found five commercial workboats in the oyster sanctuary. The foggy conditions enabled the Officers to get within about 200 yards of the vessels before the Officers were spotted. Upon seeing the patrol boat, the five vessels attempted to flee the area. Officers were able to stop two of the vessels and identify the occupants.

 Officers identified the two occupants of the commercial vessel Lady Victoria as Thomas L. Ford, 51 and Ryan S. Ford, 32 both from Princess Anne. The second vessel was identified as the Miss Emily II and was operated by Albert Hoffman, 37 from Princess Anne. All three individuals were charged with oystering with in an oyster sanctuary and face a $3000 fine and a suspension of their tidal fish license. Five bushels of oysters were seized from each vessel and returned to the sanctuary. A trial date of March 13 has been set in the District Court of Maryland in Somerset County.

January 11, 2012

Bay News

Military ordnance, believed to be World War II-era, has been washing up recently at Newtowne Neck State Park in St. Mary's County, Md. Divers on Tuesday found even more bits of ordance just offshore.

December 16, 2011

Search & Rescue

Good Samaritan rescues three near Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel

A good Samaritan rescued three people near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel on Thursday, December 15. 

Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads watchstanders were notified at 2 p.m. of three people were in the water after their vessel sank. The Coast Guard issued an urgent marine information broadcast and launched a crew from Coast Guard Station Little Creek aboard a 45-foot Response Boat - Medium.

The Good Samaritan aboard the fishing vessel Official Business was near the scene and able to recover everyone. The Coast Guard crew arrived on the scene and escorted the people aboard the Official Business to Coast Guard Station Little Creek to awaiting EMS.

Coast Guard searching for boater in Potomac River near Indian Head, Md.

 The Coast Guard and local authorities on Thursday were searching for a 31-year-old man in the Potomac River after the boat he was aboard capsized about a half mile off the coast of Indian Head, Md.

A member of Charles County Fire and Rescue contacted Coast Guard Sector Baltimore watchstanders at 6:20 p.m. reporting a boat capsized in the river with two people aboard. A Charles County boatcrew was able to rescue one of the men who went into the river.

A crew aboard a 25-foot Response Boat - Small from Coast Guard Station Washington, a Maryland Natural Resources Police boatcrew, crews aboard two Maryland State Police helicopters and a Charles County boatcrew responded to search for the other man.

Police Blotter

December 15, 2011

Waterman faces $28,000 in fines for oyster violations

On December 14 at 12:30 p.m., officers from the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) charged Joshua T. Tieder, 23 of Taylors Island, Md., with numerous oyster harvesting violations near Wingate Harbor in southern Dorchester County.
Officers saw Tieder leaving the Wingate boat ramp with bushels of oysters in the bed of his truck and later placing them in a nearby marsh. After inspecting his catch, NRP found 13 of the 14 bushels were undersized. The percentage of undersized oysters in each bushel ranged between 42 to 55 percent. Tieder also exceeded his daily catch limit by two bushels and failed to tag the containers of oysters with their location of harvest. The maximum fine for each violation is $1,000.
NRP charged Tieder with 13 counts of undersized oysters, 14 counts of failing to tag oyster containers before leaving the oyster bar and one count of exceeding the daily oyster catch limit. A court date has been set for February 15, 2012 in the District Court of Maryland for Dorchester County.

December 14, 2011

Oyster violation charges

NRP has charged the following individuals for oyster violations.

On December 6 at 3:30 p.m., Richard N. Roe Jr., 32 from St. Michaels, was charged with possession of undersize oysters at the Nanticoke Harbor.

On December 9 at 11:16 a.m., Ralph L. Kraft Jr., 61 from Princess Anne, Md, was charged with possession of undersize oysters on the Middle Grounds Natural Oyster Bar in the Wicomico River.

On December 9 at 11:15 p.m., David T. Messick, 27 from Parsonsburg, was charged with possession of undersize oysters and commercially harvesting oysters without a license on the Middle Grounds Natural Oyster Bar in the Wicomico River.

Trial dates for the above cases have been set for February 7, 2012 at 1:30 pm in the District Court of Maryland for Wicomico County.

The Maryland Natural Resources Police would like to remind citizens to report conservation violation, maritime emergencies and criminal activities occurring on public lands to the Maryland Natural Resources Police Communication Center at 800-628-9944.  Callers that wish to remain anonymous and be eligible for cash rewards for information that leads to an arrest and conviction of a violator should call the CATCH-A-POACHER hotline at 800-635-6124.

December 11, 2011

Search & Rescue

Suffolk authorities have recovered the body of a 60-year-old boater who went missing over the weekend.

According to Debbie George, a spokeswoman for the city, the man's body was recovered around 2:53 p.m. An autopsy is going to be performed. While police did not provide the man's identity, friends at the scene said the missing man was Tim Davis, of Hampton.

December 9, 2011

Search & Rescue

A kayaker was pulled out of the waters of Long Point Channel, just off the Eastern Shore of Virginia early Friday morning after he fell from his boat and spent more than two hours in the water.

 The man has been identified as 49-year-old Johnny Bussart, a Pennsylvania resident who was visiting a resort on the Eastern Shore. Bussert was airlifted to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition on Friday morning.

December 8, 2011

Police Blotter

The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) charged the following individuals for oyster violations in the past two days.

    * On December 6 at 11:45 a.m. in Deale Island Harbor in Somerset County, NRP charged Patrick B. Murphy, 49 of Tilghman, with possession of undersized oysters.
    * On December 6 at 10 a.m. in Broad Creek in Talbot County, NRP charged George F. Pepper, 49 of Tilghman, with power dredging for oysters in an area reserved for hand tonging. A trial date has been set for January 19, 2012 in the District Court of Maryland for Talbot County.
    * On December 6 at 12:30 p.m. in the Choptank River in Talbot County, NRP charged Alan R. Layman, 47 of Royal Oak, with possession of undersized oysters and failing to cull and return oysters to the natural oyster bar from which they were caught. A trial date has been set for January 19, 2012 in the District Court of Maryland for Talbot County.
    * On December 7 at 11:30 a.m. in the Broad Creek in Talbot County, NRP charged David A. Hambleton, 47 of Bozman, with possession of undersized oysters. A court date has been set for January 19, 2012 in the District Court of Maryland for Talbot County.

December 9, 2011

Search & Rescue

Coast Guard searching for boater near Tangier Island, Va.

The Coast Guard and local authorities were searching for a 46-year-old man aboard a 30-foot sailboat approximately two miles south of Tangier Island, Va., Thursday, December 8. The boater contacted Coast Guard Sector Baltimore watchstanders at 3:54 a.m. and reported that his boat had sustained damage, and that he was requesting assistance.

A crew aboard a 41-foot Utility Boat from Coast Guard Station Crisfield, Md., crews aboard two MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J., crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Cochito, homeported in Little Creek, Va., a crew aboard a Virginia Marine Resources Commission boat, members of the Tangier Island Fire Department and a crew aboard a Maryland State Police helicopter responded to search.

Coast Guard retrieving barge near Walsey Creek in Queenstown, Md.

The Coast Guard on Friday, December 9, was responding to a barge that broke away from a Coast Guard cutter during a storm Wednesday.

The 100-foot barge was alongside the Coast Guard Cutter James Rankin, which was anchored three miles north of the Chester River when it broke free at 10 p.m. and drifted toward Winchester Creek and Walsey Creek near Queenstown.

No one was injured during the incident. The barge is carrying 25 seasonal buoys and posed no threat to the environment.

The Coast Guard issued a safety marine information broadcast after the barge broke free and continues to broadcast the alert every 30 minutes on VHF-FM channel 16.

The crews of the Coast Guard Cutters Sledge, homeported in Baltimore, and William Tate, homeported in Philadelphia, were on scene responding to refloat the barge and take it in tow.

November 22, 2012

Police Blotter

Illegal oystering changed

On November 17, at 8 a.m., the Maryland Natural Resources Police charged Ben H. Marshall, 35, of Newcomb, Md., with power-dredging for oysters in an area reserved for hand-tonging and with possession of undersized unculled oysters. The incident occurred near Batchelor Point, on the Tred Avon River. The officers seized a bushel and half of undersized oysters and returned them to the water. 

A trial date of January 19 has been set in the District Court of Maryland for Talbot County.

November 17, 2011

Police Blotter

Men charged with over-limit and under-size rockfish

On November 6, at 2 a.m., the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) charged Rene O. Pacheco, 29, and Edy N. Arias, 30, both of Riverdale, Md., Luis A. Rivera, 32, of Brentwood, Md. and Jose A. Hernandez, 41, of Manassas, Va., with possession of over limit rockfish, possession of undersize rockfish and possession of rockfish between midnight and 5 a.m.

The Defendants were found with 58 rockfish over the limit (the legal limit is two per person). Fifty-five of those fish were under the legal size of 18 inches.

The incident occurred on a vessel near the Ferry Bridge on the Honga River.

November 15, 2011

Bay News

Coast Guard investigates sunken boat at Norfolk marina

Coast Guard The Coast Guard is investigating a sunken boat at a marina located near the 4300 block of Colley Avenue in Norfolk, on Monday, November 14.

Norfolk Fire Rescue notified the Coast Guard at 9:45 a.m. that the 40-foot boat was partially submerged and releasing a sheen from residual oil products aboard.

Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads members of the incident management division assessed the situation, including the potential impact to the environment, and then placed a containment boom around the boat and the sheen.

The cause of the incident is under investigation by the Coast Guard.

November 14, 2011

Channel 9

A Boom in Baby Rockfish

Both Virginia and Maryland have reported that 2011 was a bumper year for young rockfish. Both states conduct annual young-of-the-year striped bass surveys from June through September at key sites on the Bay. The Maryland DNR said its survey found the fourth highest measure of rockfish spawning success in the survey's 58-year history. The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), which conducts the Virginia survey, said that this year's results too show a significant increase in young-of-the-year populations over recent years, which had remained at average levels. Since rockfish are at the top of the food chain, their health is considered an important measure of annual and long-term trends for the Bay.
The Maryland survey also indicated an increase in young blueback herring and in juvenile white perch.

A New Honorary Spokes-Sailor

Actor and longtime sailor Morgan Freeman has been named the Chair of the Honorary Advisory Board of the National Sailing Center & Hall of Fame in Annapolis. Freeman fills the position left vacant by Walter Cronkite, who passed away in 2009. Freeman first sailed aboard a Lightning on a reservoir near Stowe, Vt., in 1967. But he soon moved up to bigger boats and to ocean sailing. The Hall of Fame inaugurated its first members in at San Diego Yacht Club. The ceremony was dedicated to Walter Cronkite.

A Chilling Bust in Baby Osprey

The survival rate for osprey chicks on the Chesapeake--at least in Virginia--has been anything but good this year. A biologist at the College of William & Mary reported in October that the although nine of every ten osprey eggs hatched, only four of every ten chicks survived to fledge. "Chicks were hatching, but they were starving in the nest," Bryan D. Watts, director of the college's Center for Conservation Biology wrote in a Richmond Times-Dispatch op-ed piece. Virginia biologists have connected the poor survival rate with the decline in the Bay's menhaden populations, which make up a large portion of the young osprey's diet.

Funding for Newtowne Neck Park

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has received a matching grant of $400,000 from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to develop outdoor recreation facilities at one of the state's most extraordinary parks, Newtowne Neck. The 776-acre peninsula that makes up Newtowne State Park in St. Mary's County, Md., is some of the most beautiful, least disturbed land in the state's portion of the Chesapeake Bay. The peninsula is bounded by Breton Bay, St. Clements Bay and the Potomac River, with seven miles of waterfront. Maryland purchased the land, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, in 2009 from the Jesuits, who had held it since 1668, when they bought it from William Bretton for 40,000 pounds of tobacco.

The DNR will use the money to help fund construction of hiking, biking and equestrian trails, camping sites, mini-cabins, swimming, picnicking and shelter areas, as well as boat-access areas.
You can find more information on Newtowne Neck at

Power to the Poultry

Meanwhile, Maryland is looking to its own back yard to boost energy production. As part of the its Clean Bay Power project, promoting the use of clean and renewable energy, the state has announced that it is looking for companies that will build a plant that uses animal waste to produce power. For the Eastern Shore, where poultry farms abound, that would mean burning some of the billion tons of chicken manure produced each year. Much of that byproduct has traditionally been used as farm fertilizer, but the nitrogen-rich run-off that can result from manured fields has been linked to the Chesapeake Bay's algae blooms and high bacteria levels. So a power plant that burns chicken manure would seem to be killing two birds with one stone (if you'll pardon the expression). However, the plan does have its detractors, who fear that the burning process may release excessive amounts of carbon monoxide into the air.

One company that may well be interested in taking the state up on its word is Fibrowatt LLC, which has operated two poultry-waste power plants in England for more than a decade and a turkey-manure power plant in Minnesota since earlier this year. Fibrowatt first proposed a chicken-manure plant on the Eastern Shore ten years ago, but the state was not then enthusiastic about the idea.

November 12, 2011

Search & Rescue

Coast Guard aircrew rescues two near Hooper's Island, Md.

The Coast Guard rescued two people aboard a 36-foot sailboat after they had run aground near Hooper's Island, Md., Friday morning, November 11.

A crewmember aboard the Little Star contacted Coast Guard watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Baltimore at 5 a.m. and reported they were hindered by the weather and had run out of food.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J., arrived on the scene and hoisted the two people aboard the helicopter.

The people were transported to Crisfield Municipal Airport in Crisfield, Md., and transferred to awaiting emergency medical personnel.

November 10, 2011

Bay News

New Menhaden Limits Pass

At yesterday's Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission meeting in Boston, states voted to set new limits on catching menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay and coastal waters. The target is to reduce the menhaden harvest by up to 37 percent and to "set a harvest limit that will ensure menhaden reproduce to at least 15 percent of its historic spawning potential," a goal that the Chesapeake Bay Foundation pushed hard for.

It will take another year of studying, debating and planning before new measures are implemented, but the commission intends for new regulations to be in place by July 1, 2013.
For the full story, visit

November 7, 2011

Search & Rescue

Coast Guard coordinates rescue of adrift sailing vessel

The 5th Coast Guard District Command Center in Portsmouth, Va., coordinated the rescue of four people 180 nautical miles northwest of Bermuda with the assistance of a ship, Sunday evening, November 6.

The Rescue Coordination Centre Bermuda contacted Coast Guard watchstanders at 3 a.m., reporting that one person aboard the Elle had sustained injuries to his ribs and that the vessel had lost steering and was now adrift.

The Oleander, a vessel belonging to Bernhard Schulte Ship Management, was diverted to the Elle's location and at 11 a.m. rescued the four people aboard the Elle. The Oleander then set a course for Bermuda.

"The RCC Bermuda was the only agency that had good communications with the vessel," said Lt. Victor Almodovar, a search and rescue controller at the 5th District Command Center. "Without the coordination with the rescue center, we would not have been able to relay the information to the Elle."

November 5, 2011

Search & Rescue

Coast Guard suspends local mariner's license for negligence

Coast Guard officials have suspended the license of the operator of a commercial assistance towing vessel who was involved in a fatal boating collision last October.

The collision occurred Oct. 17, 2010, when the operator aboard the commercial Sea Tow vessel passed underneath the James River Bridge and upon exiting, collided with a recreational fishing boat.

Lance Brewer, 13, of Gloucester, Va., a passenger aboard the fishing boat, lost his life as a result of the collision.

The Coast Guard's investigation into the incident found that neither operator maintained a proper lookout or operated their vessels at a safe speed. As part of a settlement agreement approved by an administrative law judge, Wayne A. Espinoza, of Virginia Beach, Va., the operator of the Sea Tow vessel, has agreed to a 36-month suspension of his license and will attend a Coast Guard approved training course.

"The simple precaution of reducing speed when operating in the vicinity of the James River Bridge could have prevented this tragic accident," said Cmdr. Jerry Barnes, the chief of the prevention department at Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads. "Mr. Espinoza failed to exercise the standard of care expected of a licensed operator and the due caution required under the navigational circumstances. It is my hope that this suspension will serve as a reminder to all licensed operators to maintain a safe speed and be ever vigilant."

Espinoza and Phillip E. Brewer, of Newport News, Va., the operator of the fishing boat, have been charged with involuntary manslaughter by the Newport News Commonwealth's Attorney's office and await trial.

October 24, 2011

Channel 9

What Comes Down in the Watershed . . .

We all knew nothing good was going to come of it. When Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee tagged-teamed us and left more than 30 inches of rain on some areas of the Chesapeake Bay watershed within a period of a couple of weeks, all that water had nowhere to go but downhill . . . literally. Runoff from over-taxed urban sewers, from manured agricultural fields and from fertilized suburban lawns flowed into the Susquehanna River to create a torrent of nutrient-rich water--778,000 cubic feet of it per second by the time it reached the Conwingo Dam. It was the third-highest flow in the dam's history. At the Conowingo itself, the roaring water scoured out hundreds of thousands of tons of silt collected over the years behind the dam, pushing it into the Bay. Satellite images show where it went from there. Just how bad will this be for the health of the Bay? We won't really know until next spring and summer, but it's a good bet that more than a little damage was done.

. . . Leaves No Boater Unaffected

That's not to say that the storms have not already played havoc with life on the Bay. Take watermen, for example, particularly Maryland watermen. Not only were they hampered by the wasteland of debris that littered most of the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake, they suddenly had a hard time finding crabs, at least in the short-term. Whether the crustaceans had been buried by silt or had decided to pack up and leave town until things improved, the result was the same: Where there had been crabs before the storm, there were now few or none. Recreational boaters too saw their boating season cut short by dangerous debris, everything from natural gas tanks to the remains of ancient oaks.

Storm Loss Brings Interesting Discovery

Speaking of ancient oaks, the Mariners' Museum in Newport News suffered damage to about 40 of its trees during Hurricane Irene, including its oldest, a 335-year-old white oak, which was toppled by the high winds. In examining the fallen giant, museum personnel discovered long slabs of concrete about six inches inside the bark. Facilities director John Cannup speculates that the tree had been struck by lightening more than 100 years ago and repairs were made by pounding forged nails part way into the trunk then covering those with concrete. Over the years, the tree grew over the repair work, hiding it completely. Incidentally, the loss of 40 trees in the museum's 500-acre park was considered comparatively light damage. The park lost 3,000 trees to Isabel in 2003.

Attack of the Stinky Potatoes

One of the odder things to come out of Hurricane Irene was the sudden appearance of small green stinky tuber-like objects on Virginia beaches and even in a few inland neighborhoods. What were these things that looked like Yukon golds way beyond the edible stage? Scientists at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science had the answer: they're called sponge potatoes. These marine animals make their home in the shallow waters of the southern Bay, filtering water for food and taking life as it comes. However, winds from Irene came along and dislodged a good number, pushing them up on beaches and then blowing them inland, where they soon began to smell like . . . well, rotten potatoes.

DNR Turns Attention to Recreational Anglers

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has been busy this year going after commercial watermen who break the state's laws by poaching, catching fish out of season or undersize. Now the DNR has turned its attention to recreational fishermen who flout the law as well. This fall, the agency announced that it had begun proceedings to suspend the licenses of 60 recreational anglers. Among the infractions cited were taking undersize fish, fishing out of season or in closed areas and exceeding daily catch limits. The anglers have the right to a hearing before a judge before the suspension take effect. The action follows legislation pass in 2009 that allows the DNR to seek stiffer penalties for recreational fishermen. Licenses can be suspended from a month to a year.

AC 45s Around the World and on YouTube

While not exactly careening around the course with the speed of unlimited hydroplanes, the foil-wing AC 45 catamarans of the America's Cup World Series are putting on a darned good show as they travel around the world with their quick, close-in racing and speed matches--and, occasionally, spectacular crashes. All of this of course is leading up to the big-deal America's Cup race between the Louis Vuitton Cup winner and the last cup winner, Oracle Racing, in San Fransisco in 2013. The AC World Series began in Cascais, Portugal, then moved to Plymouth, England. From there it will move to sailing sites around the world, ending in Newport, R.I., which was home to the America's Cup races for many years.

Oracle has two boats in the Series, and traditional rival Emirates Team New Zealand is back, but young teams from Spain, South Korea and China, as well as a team composed of Olympic one-design racers are making the whole affair much more interesting. Which is the idea: to generate fan enthusiasm. Since the races are not televised in the

Audio Guide to the Bridge-Tunnel

Here is something that was developed for people traveling over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, but there's no reason that boaters shouldn't be entertained and informed as well. The folks at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Authority have put together an audio tour of this engineering wonder of the world that comes in two forms--east to west or west to east. And the audio is timed coincide with the average one-way driving time. If you're listening to this on you boat, however, you can make up your own itinerary. Download the mp3 files from the bridge-tunnel website,

October 19, 2011

Navigation Update

Section of Lynnhaven channel to be dredged

The Army Corps of Engineers reports that the City of Virginia Beach proposes to dredge the Western Branch of the Lynnhaven navigation channel. The channel was originally dredged to a design width of 30 feet and to a depth of -4.0 feet MLW, with a -1.0 foot over-depth allowance. The new work dredging includes the removal of 15,000 cubic yards of material and the widening of the channel from 30 feet to 40 feet and deepening of the channel from -5.0 feet MLW to -6.0 feet.

October 18, 2011

Navigation update

Shoaling in Havre de Grace Channel

The Coast Guard has received reports of shoaling to a depth of 4.0 feet MHW across the channel between Havre de Grace Yacht Basin Buoy 4 (LLNR 27685) and Havre De Grace Yacht Basin Buoy 5 (LLNR 27690). Chart: 12274.

For more navigation updates, go to the Notices to Mariners page here.

October 17, 2011

Search & Rescue

Coast Guard rescues two near Smith Island, Va.

The Coast Guard rescued two kayakers Saturday night, after the group they were with reported them missing near Cape Charles, Va.

One person from the group called the Virginia Marine Police after the overdue kayakers failed to arrive at their designated meeting point before sunset.

A crew aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small from Coast Guard Station Cape Charles and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., were launched to assist the police in their search.
The Jayhawk crew located the couple near Smith Island, Va., at approximately 11 p.m.

The couple was transported to Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital in Nassawadox, Va., with no reported injuries.

October 3, 2011

Search & Rescue

Coast Guard and local authorities searching for 1 near Tangier Island, Va.

The Coast Guard and local authorities are searching for one person after an emergency broadcast was sent on Sunday, October 2, from the plane they were aboard eight miles off the coast of Tangier Island.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Baltimore received a call at 3:30 p.m. from an air traffic controller at Naval Air Station Patuxent River reporting that a single-engine aircraft was declaring an emergency and losing power. The pilot said he didn't think he would be able to make it to Tangier Island Airport.

One person was reported to have made it ashore alive, and the other is still missing.

A 25-foot Response Boat-Small crew from Coast Guard Station Crisfield, Md., a 41-foot Utility Boat crew from Coast Guard Station St. Inigoes, Md., an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Albacore, homeported in Virginia Beach, Va., a Maryland State Police helicopter crew and a Maryland Natural Resource Police boatcrew were searching.

September 29, 2011

Bay News

Coast Guard Cutter Eagle to visit Baltimore

The Coast Guard Cutter Eagle is scheduled to visit Baltimore Inner Harbor's west wall Friday at noon, marking the conclusion of the Fall Training Cruise.

During the training cruise, 63 officer candidates and 22 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Corps officers-in-training aboard the Eagle trained in five functional areas of shipboard life: deck, operations, engineering, damage control and support.

The Eagle will be open for free public tours on the following dates and times:

Sept. 30 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Oct. 1 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

At 295 feet in length, the Eagle is the largest tall ship flying the stars and stripes and the only active square-rigger in U.S. government service.
Constructed in 1936 by the Blohm and Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, and originally commissioned as the Horst Wessel by the German Navy, the Eagle was taken by the United States as a war reparation following World War II.
With more than 23,500 square feet of sail and six miles of rigging, the Eagle has served as a floating classroom to future Coast Guard officers since 1946, offering an at-sea leadership and professional development experience.

A permanent crew of six officers and 50 enlisted personnel maintain the ship and guide the trainees through an underway and in-port training schedule, dedicated to learning the skills of navigation, damage control, watchstanding, engineering and deck seamanship.

September 23, 2011

Search & Rescue

Coast Guard monitoring clean-up efforts after marina fire in Oxford, Md.

The Coast Guard is monitoring clean-up efforts following a three-boat fire at Bachelors Point Marina in Oxford, Md., on Wednesday, September 21.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Station Oxford received a call at 9:47 p.m. from local fire rescue reporting a boat fire with possible pollution in the water.

Members of the Oxford Fire Department arrived on scene and extinguished the fire. Crewmembers from Station Oxford assisted the fire department in placing absorbent boom around the boat to prevent any fuel from spreading in the water.

Crews will continue to monitor the clean-up until it is complete.   

September 20, 2011

Bay News

Former Virginia Beach man sentenced to seven years for conspiracy and making false distress signal

Larry L. Deffenbaugh, 59, formerly of Virginia Beach, Va., was sentenced Monday, September 19, in Norfolk federal court to a total of seven years in prison for his conviction for conspiracy and communicating a false distress signal to the Coast Guard.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Capt. Mark Ogle, commander of the Coast Guard's Sector Hampton Roads, made the announcement after Deffenbaugh was sentenced by United States Senior District Judge Henry Coke Morgan, Jr. Deffenbaugh was previously convicted by a Norfolk federal jury on May 12.

"Mr. Deffenbaugh faked his own death to flee from the law, but it was only a matter of time before the law caught up to him," said MacBride. "This is a just sentence for a man who imperiled the life of his own brother and the lives of those responding to his distress signal - all to escape responsibility for his own actions in court."

"Making false distress calls is illegal, and it endangers first responders," said Ogle. "It pulls Coast Guard and other rescuers from legitimate cases, thereby putting lives at risk while costing the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. This conviction helps stress how seriously this offense is taken."

According to trial documents and testimony, Deffenbaugh, also known as "Mike Meyers," was boating on the Chesapeake Bay on May 10, 2009, with his brother when he led his brother to believe that he had fallen from the boat and into the Bay, thereby causing his brother to contact Coast Guard authorities seeking help. As a result of the false distress call, the Coast Guard deployed resources in an effort to save Deffenbaugh's life, even though he was not in any peril. Despite an extensive search, the Coast Guard search team could find no trace of Deffenbaugh. Deffenbaugh was scheduled to appear in Calvert County Maryland on a probation violation on May 12, 2009. Deffenbaugh failed to appear. In February 2010, Deffenbaugh's story was broadcast on the television program, "America's Most Wanted." Based upon a viewer's tip, Deffenbaugh was located in Baytown, Texas, living under the assumed name, "Mike Meyers."

The case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security, Coast Guard Investigative Service, Chesapeake Region. Assistant United States Attorney Joseph L. Kosky prosecuted the case for the United States.

September 17, 2011

Search & Rescue


Coast Guard responds to grounded barge, boats near Little Creek, Va.

The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of a grounded barge and boat near the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek on Friday, September 16.

Crew of the vessel Cape Charles contacted Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads Command Center watchstanders at approximately 11:45 p.m. Thursday to report the Skanska-owned barge 1208, the tug boat Ranger and crew boat Cape Charles going aground in the sand.

The company Skanska refloated the barge, and boats and towed them into Little Creek Inlet.
No injuries or signs of pollution have been reported. Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the incident. 

September 16, 2011 
Bay News

Can anything good be said for the recent storm run-off?

If there was any good thing to be pulled murky waters of the upper Bay this week, it is the fact that the deluge of rain from Irene and then Lee came at the end of the Bay's growing season. But that was nearly the only glimmer of good news in a week filled with bad news for the fragile Chesapeake estuary. The rest of the story is a litany of bad news:

First, enough fresh water entered the Bay over the period of several days to replenish the entire supply. And fresh water is no friend to much of the Chesapeake's food crops such as clams and oysters. Then there is the fact that the fresh water is "fresh" in name only. As it ran through farm fields, as well as urban areas, covering thousands of square miles on its way to the Bay, the fresh water picked up untold amounts of phosphorous, as well as petroleum products, and the toxic chemicals that are the byproducts of our modern way of life. In addition, as this torrent of runoff descended the rivers on its way to the Bay--most notably the Susquehanna--it scoured tons of silt built up behind behind manmade structures such as dams--most notably the Conowingo Dam, in the case of the Susquehanna--and then deposited that in the upper Bay.

While the amounts of both water and scoured silt are not as great as the near-catastrophic amount produced by Hurricane Agnes in 1972, they are nonetheless sufficient to cause enough damage to aquatic vegetation--and thereby aquatic animal life such as clams, oysters--to set the recovery of the Bay back on its heels for years to come. We won't know how much damage until next year.  

But here we return to our one piece of good news. Because we are at the end of the growing season and the waters of the Bay will soon be cooling, the algae blooms caused by the nutrient runoff generally associated with the warm water and sunshine will probably not get a really good foothold. And that means that the blooms won't have a chance to increase the already record-setting dead zones that occurred this year because of heavy spring rains that sent extra fresh water and nutrients into the Bay. One piece of mildly good news in a sea of bad--and we haven't even mentioned the boat-banging, water-clogging junkyard of debris that came along for the ride. Or the squadrons of water-bred mosquitoes that are making life miserable for man and beast, especially in the lower Bay.

Channel 9


Twenty Fatalities by August


Let's get some bad news out of the way. This August--well before the end of the boating season--the number of deaths from boating accidents in Maryland waters rose to a disconcerting 20. That's the highest number in more than a decade, and officials are at a loss to explain why, since there is no common thread to explain them--though most (18), but not all (2), of the victims were not wearing a life vest at the time of the accident. Alcohol too apparently played a part in some, but by no means all, of the fatalities. Also there were several cases in which the victim was boating alone when the accident occurred. Currents played a role in at least three of the deaths.
As bad as this number seems, however, it is far better than the fatality numbers in decades past, when the total could be two or three times as high. And no one anticipates that this year's numbers are the start of a trend up. New safety rules and improved rescue services have had a large and lasting impact on boating safety on the Bay.

Channel 9

The First of the Best


The National Sailing Hall of Fame in Annapolis may not yet have an actual hall in which to hang its hat, but it does have its first class of inductees. After polling sailors nationwide this spring, the selection committee came up with the first 15 sailors to be named to the hall of fame, including Annapolis sailor Gary Jobson. The class will be officially inducted later this month at the San Diego Yacht Club in California.
Here they are: Betsy Alison (Newport, R.I.), five-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year; Hobie Alter (Laguna Beach, Calif.), surfboard and catamaran pioneer; Paul Cayard (Kentfield, Calif.), 1998 Whitbread winning skipper; Dennis Conner (San Diego, Calif.), four-time America's Cup winning skipper; Ted Hood (Portsmouth, R.I.), naval architect and America's Cup winning skipper; Gary Jobson (Annapolis), sailor, author and commentator; Buddy Melges (Zenda, Wis.), Sailing Olympic gold medalist; Lowell North (San Diego, Calif.), Star Olympic gold medalist and founder of North Sails; Ted Turner (Atlanta), America's Cup winning helmsman and four-time Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. Posthumous inductees are: Charles "Charlie" Barr (Marblehead, Mass.), transatlantic record setter; Nathanael G. Herreshoff (Bristol, R.I.), naval architect; Emil "Bus" Mosbacher Jr. (Greenwich, Conn.) two-time America's Cup winning skipper; Joshua Slocum (San Francisco), first ever solo circumnavigator and writer; Olin Stephens (Hanover, N.H.), yacht designer; and Harold S. Vanderbilt (New York), three-time America's Cup winning skipper. 
Channel 9

Walk All the Way From the Boat? Never!


We just can't wait for our next boat trip to Oxford, Md. Why? Because as soon as we tie up we're calling for a cab to take us to dinner. Not just any cab. We mean the 1958 Austin FX3 London taxi cab owned by the Oxford Inn and dubbed the Pope's Mobile after the inn's Pope's Tavern. Chef Lisa MacDougal and her husband Dan Zimbelman put the big black hack into service to transport guests and diners from Oxford marinas to the inn. After our taxi ride, we'll order the tavern's new Black Cab cocktail, made up of gin infused with blackberries, English blackberry tea, blackberry liqueur and fresh lemon juice, with a twist and a blackberry. Smashing!   

Post-Hurricane Irene Information

August 29, 2011

Navigation hazards


The Coast Guard has received reports of shoaling at the entrance to the Chesapeake between buoys "9" (LLNR 7075) and "10" (LLNR) 7080. No indication of the depth, however.
Also noted in shipping channel, these buoys are reported to be off-station:
# Chesapeake Bay entrance lighted whistle buoy "CH" (LLNR 405)
# Chesapeake channel lighted bell buoy "2C" (LLNR 7035)
# Chesapeake Channel lighted buoy "14" (LLNR 7110)
We'll post all navigation hazards as we receive notice.
As of this morning, all ports on the Bay have reopened to marine traffic. 

Hurricane Irene Storm Alerts
August 27, 2011 

Coast Guard sets Port Condition Zulu for Hampton Roads

The Coast Guard Captain of the Port was scheduled to set condition Zulu at midnight Friday for the Port of Hampton Roads due to severe weather.
The COTP is establishing a safety zone that will close the port to all vessel traffic, including vessel transits within the port. Vessel movement is not authorized without prior approval from the COTP.

The COTP anticipates remaining in condition Zulu until severe weather ceases. All mariners are advised to be extra vigilant as the port can expect sustained gale force winds greater than 39 mph during the next 36 hours. Cargo handling operations at all facilities shall be terminated during this time period.

The Coast Guard requests that the public listen to weather information available from other sources and not call the Coast Guard for weather information. For additional information on the storm, visit the National Hurricane Center Web site at

The Port of Hampton Roads Maritime Heavy Weather Contingency Plan explains all port conditions and is available at
August 25, 2011
4 p.m. 

Maryland drops crab time limits for crabbers to prepare for storm


  Effective immediately, the Department of Natural Resources will not be enforcing the times for removing crabs from commercial crab pots from Thursday, August 25, 2011 through Monday, August 29, 2011. Licensees may keep crabs removed from crab pots during this period. All other regulations pertaining to the commercial harvest of crabs remain in effect. The purpose of this action is to allow fishermen to prepare for Hurricane Irene by removing their gear from waters of the Chesapeake Bay and the Coastal Bays of the Atlantic Ocean. Enforcement of times will resume at 11:59 pm Monday, August 29.
Virginia has also dropped its time constraints temporarily (see below)
August 25, 2011
11:30 a.m. 

Upper Bay now under Port Condition Whiskey


The Captain of the Port of Baltimore has set the condition to Whiskey for the northern Chesapeake Bay, including tributaries and ports along those tributaries due to the expectation that gale force winds generated by Hurricane Irene may arrive within 72 hours.
The ports are currently open to all commercial traffic and all transfer operations may continue while Whiskey remains in effect.

Threatening winds between 39 and 54 mph from a hurricane-force storm are possible within 72 hours.
Pleasure craft are advised to seek safe harbor. Drawbridges may not be operating if sustained winds reach 25 mph or when an evacuation is in progress.
Port facilities are advised to review their heavy weather plans and take all necessary precautions to adequately prepare for the expected conditions.
August 26, 2011
11:15 a.m. 

Coast Guard sets port condition X-ray for Hampton Roads


As predicted, the Coast Guard Captain of the Port has set Hurricane Condition X-ray for the Port of Hampton Roads in preparation for Hurricane Irene. Hurricane Condition X-ray is set when gale force winds are expected within 48 hours.

During the next 24 hours the Coast Guard will identify and track all vessels in port, establish contact with emergency management agencies at the local, state and federal levels, and work closely with port and industry officials to minimize damage in the event the storm impacts Hampton Roads.

Pleasure craft are advised to seek safe harbor. Drawbridges may not be operating if sustained winds reach 25 mph or when an evacuation is in progress. Mariners can view the latest port updates for Hampton Roads on the Coast Guard's Homeport site.

Port facilities are advised to review their heavy weather plans and take all necessary precautions to adequately prepare for the expected conditions.

If and when port readiness condition Yankee is set, meaning hurricane force winds are expected within 24 hours, vessel movement shall be restricted and all movements must be approved by the Captain of the Port.
10:30 a.m. August 25, 1011
Here are storm preparation updates from the lower Bay:

Time of day restrictions on the commercial harvest of crabs have been lifted for the next three days to give crabbers enough time to remove their gear from the water, a news release from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission said. Typically commercial crabbing is limited to 5 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Port conditions in Hampton Roads will change beginning at noon today (see update above), according to the Coast Guard. As winds rise and port conditions are accelerated, mariners will no longer be able to take shelter in port in order to keep vessel inventory at a minimum. Commercial oceangoing vessels and barges over 500 gross tons have been told to make plans to leave.

The Navy has made the decision to take its ships out of port. Fifty-five ships are either headed out to sea or steaming for safer harbors. The move was prompted by predictions of winds of at least 55 mph sustained and a storm surge of 5 to 7 feet.

August 24, 2011
Hurricane Irene Storm Alerts 

Coast Guard sets port condition Whiskey for Hampton Roads


The Captain of the Port for Sector Hampton Roads has set port condition Whiskey at noon for Hampton Roads due to the expectation that gale force winds generated by Hurricane Irene may arrive within 72 hours.

The ports are currently open to all commercial traffic and all transfer operations may continue while Whiskey remains in effect.

Threatening winds between 39 and 54 mph from a hurricane-force storm are possible within 72 hours.

Pleasure craft are advised to seek safe harbor. Drawbridges may not be operating if sustained winds reach 25 mph or when an evacuation is in progress. Mariners can view the latest port updates for Hampton Roads on the Coast Guard's Homeport site.

Port facilities are advised to review their heavy weather plans and take all necessary precautions to adequately prepare for the expected conditions.

Mariners can anticipate the Coast Guard setting port readiness condition X-ray when gale force winds from Hurricane Irene are within 48 hours of landfall.

If and when port readiness condition Yankee is set, meaning hurricane force winds are expected within 24 hours, vessel movement shall be restricted and all movements must be approved by the Captain of the Port.

For information on how to prepare your boat or trailer for a hurricane, please click here.

For information on Hurricane Irene's progress and hurricane preparedness, please visit the National Hurricane Center's web page at the following link -

August 23, 2011
Preparing your Boat for a Hurricane 

Here is a very useful document from Boat U.S. about how to secure your boat before a storm. 

Hurricane Irene Storm Alerts  

Coast Guard advises preparation for Hurricane Irene


The Coast Guard urges mariners and residents to begin planning and preparing for Hurricane Irene.

Tropical systems acquire a name when they reach tropical storm strength with sustained winds reaching 39 mph. They become hurricanes when winds reach 74 mph and become major hurricanes when winds increase to 111 mph.

As storms approach, the Coast Guard urges people to remember these guidelines:

    # Stay informed: The public should monitor the progress and strength of the storm through newspapers, the Internet, and local television and radio stations. Boaters can monitor its progress on VHF-FM channel 16. Small craft advisories and warnings are also available on VHF-FM channel 16.

    # Evacuate as necessary: Mandatory evacuation orders should be obeyed. Coast Guard personnel and other emergency responders may not be able to evacuate people in danger during a storm.

    # Secure your boats and boating equipment: Owners of large boats are urged to move their vessels to inland marinas where they will be less likely to break free of their moorings or to be otherwise damaged. Boats that can be trailered should be pulled from the water and stored in a place that is not prone to flooding. Those mariners who leave their boats in the water are reminded to secure life rings, life jackets and fenders.

    # Be cautious of hazardous materials: If you have hazardous materials on or near the water, you are responsible for any spills that may occur. Take the necessary precautions to secure these materials prior to any foul weather.

   # Stay clear of beaches: Even the best swimmers can fall victim to the strong waves and rip currents caused by storms. Swimmers are urged to stay clear of beaches until local officials say the water is safe. Rip currents and undertows can drag swimmers away from their boat or the beach and lead to death by drowning when they attempt to fight the current and become exhausted.

Mariners are reminded that drawbridges along the coast may deviate from normal operating procedures prior to a storm. They are generally authorized to remain closed up to eight hours prior to the approach of gale force winds of 32 mph or greater and whenever an evacuation is ordered. Because of the uncertainty of weather movements and related bridge closures, mariners should seek early passage through drawbridges well in advance of the arrival of gale force winds.

For more information on hurricane preparedness, please visit the National Hurricane Center's Web page at  

NRP advises preparations be made for Hurricane Irene

Here is some good storm preparedness advice from the Maryland Natural Resources Police:

The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) are asking mariners to make plans to safe-guard their vessels from Hurricane Irene. The recent activity in the Atlantic Ocean should cause boaters to make plans to safe guard their property and lives.
Planning is the key to minimize injury and loss of life.  Boaters should make plans well in advance of the storm so that definite docking, mooring or hauling out of the vessel arrangements can be performed quickly and without delay.
When deciding on storm preparation plans, mariners need to consider size, type of vessel, and location.  Current locations may not offer protection from high winds or tides.  Boaters should consider the following when making arrangement for their vessels:

# Removing valuable equipment from your vessel to protect it from damage.

# Consider removing your vessel from the water to reduce damage from storm surge.

# Vessels on land should be properly stored or tied down to prevent being damage by winds. Small open vessels can be filled with water to lessen the effect of the wind.

# Vessels that remain in the water should be moored in safe areas or berths.

# Lines should be doubled and high on pilings. Remember storm surges can cause tides over the pilings.

# Install fenders to protect vessel from pilings, piers or other vessels.

# Ensure that bilge pumps work properly and that the batteries that run them are fully charged.

# Seal all openings to make the vessel watertight.

# Collect all documents, including insurance policies.  Take photographs of vessel and equipment for insurance

# Do not stay aboard vessels during storms.
NRP reminds boaters that advance planning can save property and lives.  These actions should take place at least 48-72 hours before the event to accommodate unforeseen problems. During the storm, occupants should be off the water and in safe shelters. Remember, storm conditions could exist that delay or prevent response from emergency personnel.
Additional information on hurricane preparedness may be found at  and  

August 22, 2011

Police Blotter 

Possession of undersize crabs conviction

On August 19, in the District Court of Maryland for Worcester County, Vernon Edward Bailey Jr., 42, of Salisbury, and Ellis M. Barton, 40, of Westover, were found guilty of possessing undersize male hardcrabs. Bailey was found guilty of 2 counts and Barton of one count. Each man was ordered to pay $1,000 fine for each count.  The Maryland Natural Resources Police stopped Bailey and Barton on June 11 in Marshall Creek off of Chincoteague Bay with 1,211 undersize male hardcrabs. 

Personal watercraft accident on Port Tobacco River


On August 20, at 2:48 p.m., NRP responded to investigate a personal watercraft accident that occurred in the Port Tobacco River. The investigation revealed that Norman Linwood Vassar Jr., of Waldorf, Md., was operating the vessel when he struck a wave and lost control of the vessel. Vassar was thrown from the vessel and then struck by it. He was flown to Prince Georges Hospital and treated for chest injuries. 

August 21, 2011

Search & Rescue

Coast Guard Station Annapolis assists boat taking on water near Chesapeake Bay Bridge

A rescue crew from Coast Guard Station Annapolis assisted three people north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge after their 23-foot boat began taking on water Saturday afternoon, August 20.

The boaters contacted Coast Guard Sector Baltimore watchstanders at 12:50 p.m. reporting that they were taking on water, but were able to keep up with the flooding at the time.

Two 25-foot Response Boat-Small crews from Station Annapolis, Maryland Natural Resources Police and Anne Arundel Fire Department launched to assist.

The RB-S crews transferred three members and a dewatering pump onto the sinking boat to assist in dewatering while the other RB-S crew began towing the boat to Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis.

There were no reports of injury.

Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City crew rescues two near Oregon Inlet, NC

The Coast Guard rescued two people after the 43-foot recreational boat they were aboard sank 45 miles east of Oregon Inlet, N.C., Saturday.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector North Carolina received a call at 1 p.m. from a crewmember aboard the Reel Escape, from Glen Allen, Va., stating that they were taking on water and were in need of assistance.
The boater's call dropped, but watchstanders began receiving an emergency position indicating radio beacon transmission near the reported location.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., arrived on the scene and hoisted the two people aboard the helicopter.

"The Coast Guard wants to stress to all mariners both recreational and commercial that having a properly registered EPIRB aboard saves lives as happened with the Reel Escape," said Geoffrey Pagels, a watchstander with the Coast Guard's 5th District Command Center.

The boaters were transported to Air Station Elizabeth City. The crew aboard the Reel Escape was travelling from Cape Hatteras, N.C., to Rudy Inlet, Va., when they began to take on water.

August 18, 2011
Police Blotter 

Two boating accidents; one fatal, one serious

The Natural Resources police are investigating two boating accidents that occurred Thursday, August 18.
The first boating accident occurred at 1:20 p.m. on the Marshyhope Creek, near Federalsburg, Md.  NRP's investigation revealed that John Miller, 63, of Bridgeville, Delaware, was fishing by himself on a 16-foot vessel.  Miller was thrown overboard when the vessel surged forward after he started his outboard engine with the motor in gear and the throttle wide open.  Miller was struck two or three times by the boat and motor as the vessel circled around him.  Eventually, Miller was able to swim out of the path of the circling vessel and was retrieved by a Good Samaritan vessel.

Miller was transported to Peninsula Regional Medical center with propeller injuries to his head, neck and arms.
The second boating accident occurred at 3:41 p.m. in the Chesapeake Bay just south of the fishing pier at North Beach Calvert County.  NRP's investigation revealed that William Thomas Cole, 42, of North Beach, Maryland, was operating a 10-foot personal watercraft (PWC). Witnesses stated that Cole was jumping waves with the vessel when he was knocked off his vessel by the waves.  Cole yelled for assistance and then was covered by breaking waves. Coles was then observed unconscious on the water.  The sea condition at the time of the accident was 2 to 3 foot waves and winds estimated at 15 to 20 knots.

Cole was picked up North Beach Volunteer fire Company and transported to Calvert Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Cole was wearing a life jacket at the time of the incident.  Cole's body is transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for autopsy.  NRP's Special Operations Division is continuing the investigation into the accident. 

 August 18, 2011

Bay News 

Update: Coast Guard suspends its response to Anacostia River material

The Coast Guard on Monday, August 22, suspended its response to the Anacostia River, based on initial lab results that conclude the reported spill is not petroleum-based or hazardous material.

"We believe, based on the initial lab results as well as expert analysis of the results, that it is not a threat to public safety or the environment," said Lt. Cmdr. Randall Brown, the chief of the response department at Coast Guard Sector Baltimore.

Agencies continue response to unknown substance in Anacostia River


An overflight by a U.S. Park Police aircrew and a District Department of the Environment (DDOE) official along the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C., traced an unknown substance in the river on Wednesday.

Members from the Coast Guard, the DDOE, the Maryland Department of the Environment, the Environmental Protection Agency, the District of Columbia Fire Department and the U.S. Park Service have been working together to identify the unknown substance and its source.

Investigators will use the results of the overflight to attempt to locate the potential source of the substance.

Water samples have been taken from several areas along the river and sent to separate laboratories for testing to identify what the substance is.
"We are working to minimize the impact on the environment," said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Randall Brown, the chief of the response department at Coast Guard Sector Baltimore. "There have been no reports of negative impact on the environment or wildlife at this time."

The spill was first reported Monday evening and initially thought to be an oil spill. Testing however determined that it was not oil, nor even likely petroleum-based. The material is not coating plants or wildlife and is traveling just below the surface. Booms have been put out in a number of locations across the river to try to capture the substance, which is worst in a two-mile stretch between the 11th Street bridge and New York Avenue in  Washington, D.C.

August 17, 2011

Search & Rescue

Update: Body of missing boater recovered


The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) recovered the body of missing boater from Tenthouse Creek on August 17, at 7:30 a.m.  The boater was identified as Dean Dixon, 52, of Harwood, Md.
Dixon's body was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for autopsy. NRP Special Operations Unit is conducting the investigation into the incident. 

August 16, 2011

Search & Rescue

Search for missing boater

The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) were searching for a missing boater in Penthouse Creek, in the area of the 4700 block of Bayfield Road, Galesville, Md.
On August 16,  at 3 p.m., NRP received a call that an unoccupied vessel had been found on shore.  NRP's investigation revealed that Dean Dixon, 52, of Harwood, Md., was crabbing from his vessel and had spoken to his family by cell phone at approximately 11 a.m. that morning.  Dixon has not been heard or seen since that time.
NRP, Anne Arundel County Fire Department, and Anne Arundel County Aviation were searching for Dixon by vessel, air and with the help of divers.  The search teams are employing side scan sonar to aid the search for Dixon.
The NRP Special Operations Unit is conducting the investigation into the incident. 

August 16, 2011

Channel 9 

Mill Creek Residents Learn Hard Lesson about Abandoned Boats


AN ABANDONED 45-FOOT BOAT MADE itself at home on the bottom of Mill Creek in Solomons, Md., this summer, taking on water July 8, and striking bottom the next morning. Unfortunately, this was not an unheard of occurrence on Mill Creek, which hosts several abandoned boats.
"Everybody knew it was going down; it was just a matter of when," said Tom Kody, whose waterfront home is near the sunken boat. Those living and working on the creek had noticed that the boat was vacant at anchor for weeks. The owner of the boat allegedly abandoned it to avoid the costs of storage and upkeep.
Sonney Forrest, a charter boat captain who lives and runs his business on Mill Creek, noticed that the boat was listing to starboard on July 8 and called the U.S. Coast Guard's Baltimore Sector to report it. On Saturday, he called the Coast Guard again, only to be told that they could do nothing about it unless it began leaking oil or impeded navigable waters. Forrest and Kody then called the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, who said they could not act until the boat had been there for 30 days.
When Forrest contacted the county government later that weekend, the local fire department responded by placing a sock around the area to contain any leakage. However by that time, material from the boat had already released onto the water and formed a 100-yard-wide sheen on •the water.
 "It's amazing to me that in this day and age something like this can happen," Kody said. "After 30 days, all the environmental damage will be done."
-- Lizzy McLellan

August 16, 2011

Channel 9 

Queen of the Show


HE WASN'T EXACTLY DUMPSTER DIVING, but when Chris Troy caught wind of an old Matthews double-cabin cruiser that was headed for a North Carolina scrap pile, he smelled an opportunity and jumped on it. He and his two brothers, Phil and Mike Troy of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Richfield, Conn., respectively, were hard on the trail of a project boat, and this one sounded almost too good to be true: 40 feet of solid mahogany and white burr oak, built in 1941 by the Matthews Company in Port Clinton, Ohio. This was back in 1993, and the Charlotte, N.C. lawyer convinced his brothers to chip in a third each to rescue the boat and haul her up to their family place on the Little Wicomico River.

Now, after nearly twenty years, the Carina is a head turner anywhere she goes. "Working on the Carina has kept us in touch as a family," Mike says, "given three aging brothers something to work on together." More than that, it has pulled them even closer into the maritime community of Reedville, Va., where three generations of Cockrells from the Cockrell Marine Railway, legendary in its own right, have chipped in to lend a hand or offer advice as needed.

"There was one time when we were puzzling over how to replace a curved white oak toe rail," Mike says. "Old Dandridge Cockrell [senior Cockrell and founder of the railway, now deceased] was rocking in his chair by the potbelly stove, and we said to ourselves, 'I bet he can tell us what to do.' When we asked him about it he laughed and said, 'I've been watching you. Wondered when you'd come around to asking.' He told us what to do all right, and plenty of other stuff besides. We've learned more about boats and the Bay just by listening to Dandridge."
The Carina is just one example of the meticulously restored vessels that will be on display during the 8th annual Antique & Classic Boat Gathering at the Reedville Fishermen's Museum on Saturday, September 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The boat parade on Cockrells Creek begins at 3 p.m. For more information, go to the museum's website at or call 804-453-6529.
--Jane Meneely 

August 16, 2011

Channel 9 

Red Carpet for a Manatee

ON THE OTHER, FRIENDLIER END OF THE welcome wagon, the return of Chessie the manatee this summer was greeted with front page stories and nostalgic editorials. Chessie was first spotted around Kent Narrows way back in 1994. At that time, there was concern that the warm-water native wouldn't be able to survive the Chesapeake's cooling fall water temperatures. So Chessie was repatriated to Florida by the Coast Guard. A few years later, however, Chessie bypassed the Bay in favor of chilly Rhode Island, and in 2001 vacationed on the Sassafras River in the northern Bay. Now the peripatetic manatee is back, spotted off Calvert County shores in July. Although he lost his tracker device years ago, Chessie was identified from photos. It's estimated that Chessie is 20 years old, which is about twice the life expectancy for a wild manatee. 

August 16, 2011
Channel 9 

John Smith's National Water Trail


SPEAKING OF BOTH PERIPATETIC (SEE Chessie the manatee) and John Smith (see Point Comfort), if we put the two together we get the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, which is a mouthful anyway you look at it. It's also a trail that spans the Chesapeake and many of its tributaries. That's a lot of territory. So where do you begin a visit? Enter another John, this one Chesapeake naturalist, fishing expert and CBM contributing editor John Page Williams, who--with ample help from some spiffy web designers--has put together a snappy and eminently useful boater's guide to the trail. This hundred-some page guide, available only as a downloadable .pdf file, contains live links to charts for each access point to the trail, information on what you'll find when you get there, suggested itineraries, history, natural history and practical information about the tides, currents and other considerations. The guide also explains which kinds of boats will work best for each section. You'll find the guide at

August 13, 2011

Search & Rescue  

Coast Guard seeks assistance in identifying Newburg hoax caller

The Coast Guard is seeking the public's help to identify individuals responsible for possible false distress calls in the Newburg, Md., area.

Coast Guard Sector Baltimore watchstanders received a mayday call reporting a 25-foot pleasure craft with three people aboard taking on water in the lower Potomac River near Morgantown Point July 18. The caller stated there was only one life jacket aboard, and they may have to abandon the vessel.

The watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast and launched a 25-foot Response Boat - Small crew from Coast Guard Station St. Inigoes, Md., and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J., along with a Maryland State Police helicopter, Maryland Natural Resources Police, Charles County Fire Department, Charles County Sheriff and Virginia Marine Police.

Agencies arrived to the reported scene of distress and found no vessels in the area or any signs of distress. The Dolphin helicopter crew logged approximately nine hours of flight time, and the RB-S crew was underway for approximately 6 hours and 30 minutes in response to the distress call.
False distress calls limit the Coast Guard's ability to respond to actual emergencies. They also unnecessarily endanger the lives of responders and waste thousands of tax payer dollars annually.

Making a false distress call is a felony punishable by law. The maximum penalty for making a false distress call is five to 10 years in prison, a $5,000 civil fine, a $250,000 criminal fine and reimbursement to the Coast Guard.

Assistance in identifying individuals such as this have resulted in convictions in the past, as in May 2011, a Norfolk, Va., federal jury convicted Larry L. Deffenbaugh, 59, formerly of Virginia Beach, Va., of conspiracy and communicating a false distress signal to the Coast Guard.
Anyone with information regarding the distress calls are asked to contact the Coast Guard at 410-576-2630.

August 2, 2011

Police Blotter

Two boating accidents on South River under investigation

Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) officers are investigating two boating accidents on the Chesapeake Bay in the South River area.

On July 30, at 5:30 p.m. NRP received a call concerning an overturned vessel in the South River near Annapolis. The occupants of the vessel were picked up by a passerby and taken to Thomas Point Lighthouse Coast Guard Station, where one victim was flown and one victim was transported by ambulance to R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Unit in Baltimore.  NRP is still investigating the cause of the accident.  There was no update on the condition of either victim.
In the second incident, NRP officers responded to a boating accident in the South River near Harness Creek at 12:10 a.m. on Sunday, July 31, after a sailboat and a powerboat had collided in the middle of the river.

Three victims were transported to R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Unit in Baltimore.  Two victims were flown by MSP Medivac and one victim was transported by ambulance.

NRP officers are still investigating this accident.  There was no update on the condition of the victims.


Body recovered in Stony Creek


At about 5:15 p.m. on July 30, Charles Ryder, 48, of Glen Burnie, Md., jumped from a moving Sea Ray vessel into Stony Creek off the Patapsco River, but did not surface.

The Maryland  Natural Resource Police, Anne Arundel Fire and Rescue, the Coast Guard, Maryland State Police Aviation, and the Baltimore City fire boat were notified and searched for Ryder until nightfall.  The search resumed on the following morning, with NRP and Anne Arundel units conducting the search with side scan sonar and divers.

Ryder's body was recovered at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 31.

July 26, 2011

Search & Rescue

July 26, 2011

Search & Rescue

Update: Coast Guard, local agencies end search; missing man near Rappahannock River had returned home safely


Coast Guard, state and local agencies ended their search for a 24-year-old in the vicinity of the Rappahannock River near Sharps, Va., who went missing Monday evening, July 25.

Missing was Richard Davis. Davis had becomes separated from his vessel and returned home safely at approximately 3:30 a.m.

A rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Milford Haven, a Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C. MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, personnel from the Virginia Marine Police, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries as well as Richmond County emergency medical services and good Samaritans were involved in the search. 

Coast Guard, local agencies, searching for missing man near Rappahannock River


Coast Guard, state and local agencies were searching for a 24-year-old man in the vicinity of the Rappahannock River near Sharps, Va., Tuesday, July 26. Missing is Richard Davis.

Davis's boat was found abandoned on the shore with all its life jackets inside.  Davis is a white male with blond hair, 5 feet 10 inches tall and approximately 150 lbs.  He was reported to be last seen wearing a T-shirt and cutoff shorts.

A rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Milford Haven, a Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., MH-60 rescue helicopter crew, good Samaritans, and personnel from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and Richmond County emergency medical services are currently on scene involved in the search.
Searchers are requesting that anyone with information on the whereabouts of Davis call the Coast Guard at 757-638-6641.

July 25, 2011

Search & Rescue

Coast Guard suspends search for missing man in Sassafras River

Coast Guard crews on Sunday evening, July 24, suspended the search for a 34-year-old male, who went missing in the Sassafras River between Ordinary Point and Kentmore Park.

Coast Guard Sector Baltimore watchstanders were notified by the Maryland Natural Resources Police at 9:45 p.m., Saturday of the missing man.

The man was reported to be on an 8-10 foot vessel, wearing blue swimming trunks, no shirt, and no life jacket. A good Samaritan reported finding the vessel adrift and unmanned.

A 25-foot Response Boat-Small crew from Coast Guard Station Stillpond, a Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J., HH-65 rescue helicopter crew, aircraft crews from the Coast Guard Auxilliary and Civil Air Patrol, a Maryland State Police helicopter crew along with personnel and a dive team from Maryland NRP were on scene searching for the man.

The Coast Guard searched 43 square miles in approximately 11 hours for the man.

July 20, 2011

Channel 9

Boat Ramp App

Smart-phone apps nowadays are like stones in a New England field after a rain, they just keep popping up. And sometimes it's tough to tell the diamonds from the duds until you've used them for a while. Here's one that looks pretty good so far, and it has the added benefit of being free: the Boat Ramp app from the Let's Go Fishing folks. You can search for ramps by your current location or a specific area. You can also limit the distance and number of results. The app will then produce the list--closest boat ramp first--and give you basic information like lat and long, and map it for you. This is great for trailer boaters, of course, but also for boaters with pets, since public ramps make easy dinghy stops for Spots in need. Search for "Boat Ramps" at the app store. The only problem we've found is how to get back to the app from the map.

July 20, 2011

Channel 9


Smart Buoys App


Buoy, this is a great way to see what's actually happening out on the Bay before you even leave the dock! All season long, the Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoys are busy collecting real-time data of all kinds while they bob back in forth in their assigned spots. The beauty is that boaters can see that information instantly on their computers or phones. The information has been available for a couple of years on the Interpretive Buoy System website, but this has been redesigned to make accessing the information easier, and there is now a free downloadable app developed with           Chesapeake Conservancy. The website is or search "Smart Buoys" on your smart device's app store. Oh, yes, you can still just pick up the phone and get the information at 877-286-9229.   

July 20, 2011

Channel 9

Gov Cup Adds Class

As we mentioned last winter, [see Channel 9, February 2011] the Governor's Cup, the Bay's oldest overnight race, has been getting a little creaky lately, attracting fewer boats and costing sponsoring St. Mary's College of Maryland more money than it presently cares to spend. To combat those issues, a race planning committee has come up with some changes.
Chief among these are the addition of a more informal cruising class and a 3 p.m. starting time for slower boat classes, to ensure that they make it down to the finish in time for the party. In the past, dying morning winds have left many boats becalmed near the mouth of the St. Marys River. Faster boats will continue to start at 6 p.m. At St. Mary's, there will be more bands, more food vendors and more family events. The Annapolis to St. Mary's race starts on Friday, August 5. For registration information, see 

July 19, 2011

Police Blotter

Man charged with crabbing on suspended license . . . again


The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) has charged Joseph B. Janda Jr., 25, of Wittman, Md., with crabbing on a suspended license, possession of paraphernalia and possession of suspected heroin. On July 15 at 12:30 p.m., officers observed Janda using drugs and crabbing from a 20-foot homemade boat in Harris Creek.

This is the second time NRP has caught and charged Janda since his tidal fish license was suspended for five years January 13, 2010. Janda was also charged with possessing undersized crabs on June 19. Janda's vessel has been seized pending a trial.

Crabbing charges made against Rock Hall man

NRP has charged Travis Lee Cannan, 30, of Rock Hall with crabbing without a commercial license, tidal fish license not available for inspection, failing to display crabbing day off, failing to display tidal fish license on his vessel and possession of undersize crabs. On July 13, officers seized four bushels of hard crabs from Cannan's boat in the Chester River in the area of Durbins Creek. A trial has been set for 1:15 p.m. on August 23 in the District Court of Maryland for Kent County.

July 18, 2011

Search & Rescue

Tug boat and fishing boat collide in James River near Hopewell, Va.


The tug boat Lisa Moran and a 24-foot recreational fishing boat collided while in the James River near Hopewell, Va., at 3 a.m., Thursday, July 14.
The two men aboard the fishing vessel were ejected as a result of the collision. The crew aboard the tug successfully recovered both men, neither were injured.

Members of the Henrico County Police and Fire departments responded to the scene. Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads received a call from a member of the Henrico County Police reporting the incident.

Coast Guard inspections and investigations personnel have responded to investigate. There have been no reports of pollution.

July 15, 2011

Search & Rescue 

Coast Guard, VMRC respond to boat collision near Deltaville, Va.

A boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Milford Haven, Va., responded to a report of a collision near Deltaville, Va., Thursday, July 14.

Crewmembers from station Milford Haven received a call at approximately 10:30 p.m., from a good Samaritan who heard the collision from land between a 46-foot motor yacht and 47-foot sail boat in the Piankatank River.

A 25-foot Response Boat - Small boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Milford Haven and members of the Virginia Marine Police responded to the scene. Members of both agencies conducted a joint boarding of the boats.
There have been no reports of injuries or pollution, but there was a report of damage to the vessels.

Virginia Marine Police took the operator of the motor yacht into custody and is investigating the incident.

July 13, 2011

Bay News

This alert was just issued by BoatU.S. on possibly interference to GPS frequencies from a broadband wireless provider:

Boaters Stand to Lose Critical GPS Navigational Aid
       Voice Your Opinion: Comment Period Closes July 30

As a result of a proposal by a private company to use radio frequency bandwidth right next to the existing GPS radio bandwidth, the future reliability of the GPS system across the United States is now in question. The nation's largest recreational boaters group, BoatUS, says boaters could have a hard time avoiding treacherous shoals or simply finding their way home if GPS signals are interfered with, and is urging boaters to speak out during a 30-day comment period.

"This is a remarkably short comment period for an issue that has such dire consequences for America's boaters and every other GPS user in the country," said BoatUS Vice President of Government Affairs Margaret Podlich.

At issue is an unusual conditional waiver granted in January by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to a broadband wireless communications provider, LightSquared, to permit the dramatic expansion of land-based use of mobile satellite spectrum. This spectrum, or frequency bandwidth, is directly adjacent to the frequencies used for Global Positioning System (GPS) communications.

The company has proposed to build 40,000 ground stations. LightSquared's high-powered ground-based transmissions from these stations have shown to cause interference in hundreds of millions of GPS receivers across a wide range of uses, including aviation, marine, emergency response and industrial users such as delivery and trucking companies. A new report requested by the FCC says, "all phases of the LightSquared deployment plan will result in widespread harmful interference to GPS signals and service and that mitigation is not possible."

Recreational boaters lost their only other viable navigation system, LORAN, when the Department of Homeland Security shut the system down last year. At that time the US Coast Guard urged mariners to shift to GPS-based navigation systems. Boaters rely on GPS-enabled chart-plotters to steer clear of navigation hazards, keep them in the safety of deep-water channels, or even get them home when storms shut down visibility. "They are a critical piece of safety gear," said Podlich. "What will boaters do if they are unreliable, and how will the US Coast Guard's new emergency search and rescue system that stands watch over 36,985 miles of coastline, Rescue 21, remain effective, since it relies on GPS?"

Boaters and other GPS users are urged to speak up now by going to to send their comments to the FCC and their members of Congress.

BoatUS is a member of the Coalition to Save Our GPS, which works to resolve this serious threat to the GPS system.

July 7, 2011

Search & Rescue

Update: Body of missing man recovered from Magothy River


The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) recovered the body of James Robert Kane, 25 of Pasadena, Md. at 7:23 a.m. on Wednesday, July 6, from the Magothy River near Dobbins Island.
Kane had been the object of search since he went missing on July 4 after a boating accident. Kane and a passenger were ejected into the water after steering their 17-foot boat too sharply to the left.  The passenger was picked-up uninjured by another vessel.
Kane's body was recovered by officers during the search and was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for autopsy.

 July 4, 2011

Search & Rescue

Man dies in Magothy River boating accident, NRP reports


The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) are investigating a fatal boating accident that occurred on July 4 at 4:30 p.m. on the Magothy River near Dobbins Island.
NRP units responded to the area after receiving a report of a missing person who had been thrown from a vessel.  Preliminary investigation by NRP revealed that James Robert Kane, 25, of Pasadena, Md., and a friend were thrown from a 17-foot Carolina Skiff after the vessel suddenly turned sharply.  The friend was picked up by another vessel but Kane could not be located.
NRP Officers, Anne Arundel County Fire Boat, and Coast search the area until sunset for Kane.  NRP's Underwater Operation Unit used divers and side scan sonar to search for the victim.  Aviation units from the Maryland State Police and the Coast Guard search the area by air.  The search for Kane will resume tomorrow.
The Maryland Natural Resources Police Special Operations Division is investigating the 13th fatal boating accident of the year.

July 4, 2011

Search & Rescue  

Coast Guard rescues man forced to abandon ship during boat fire


A fire forced a boat owner to abandon his 41-foot vessel, Resolute, and jump overboard into the water 16 miles east of Fisherman Island, on Sunday July 3.

The boater contacted the Coast Guard at 5:07 p.m. via VHF-FM channel 16, before abandoning his boat, and kept in constant communications while in the water with a hand-held radio. Sector Hampton Roads launched an HH-60 helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City and a 25-foot Response Boat - Small crew from Station Cape Charles. Station Cape Charles crew arrived on the scene and pulled the man from the water.

A Virginia Beach fire boat took the man back to shore, and salvage operations are pending. 

June 29, 2011

Search & Rescue 

Coast Guard rescues 3 near Ocean City, Md.

The Coast Guard rescued two adults and one child after their 22-foot recreational boat began taking on water 60 miles east of Ocean City Tuesday, June 28.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay received a call at 8:26 a.m. from a crewmember aboard the Real Deal, homeported in Ocean City, reporting they were taking on water and sinking.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J., arrived on the scene and hoisted the three people aboard the helicopter.

The people were transported to Ocean City Airport in Ocean City and transferred to awaiting emergency medical personnel.

June 27, 2011 

Statement from Severn Sailing Association

Here is the statement issued by the Commodore of the Severn Sailing Association, following the tragic death of junior sailor Olivia Constants in a sailing accident on Thursday afternoon, June 23, when her Club 420 capsized in the Severn River off the Naval Academy. 

Severn Sailing Association, 26 June 2011 

The last several days have been notably some of the most challenging of my life. As the Commodore of Severn Sailing Association, I am faced with great responsibilities relating to the loss of a fellow sailor. Even more difficult for me, as a father of three children, are the haunting emotions and sympathy I feel for the grieving family of Olivia Constants, a young sailor on our junior race team who lost her life in a sailing accident last Thursday. 

I can only reflect on this tragedy with disbelief. Surely we all often think of the dangers of the sea as we venture from the dock. Seldom, though, do we hear of a life-threatening event occurring in our local sailing community. In general, accidents of this magnitude are rare and this one involved experienced sailors and competent instructors.    However, the rarity of such an accident is no comfort to me or any other parent. 

My understanding thus far is that the 420 capsized to windward while sailing downwind, and then rolled into a "turtled" position (mast pointing downward). The coach immediately approached the boat, radioed for additional assistance, and worked diligently to dislodge Olivia, who at that moment appeared to be unconscious. Concurrently, another instructor phoned 911. Once she was retrieved from the water, coaches immediately performed CPR and proceeded to the Naval Academy's seawall,which was the nearest point of land,to meet the emergency response team. Unfortunately, Olivia could not be resuscitated. 

At this point the exact cause of Olivia's drowning is unknown and under investigation by Maryland DNR. 

Conditions at the time were excellent for training, and both sailors have sailed, and capsized, in much rougher conditions. Both Olivia, her skipper, and all coaches were wearing their PFDs, in accordance with our Junior Program Rules. 

The Severn Sailing Association's junior sailing program has a history of over 50 years of producing world-class sailors, from local champions to Olympic sailors; with thousands of students having safely completed the program. The current junior program, consistent with our past programs, is committed to making sailing accessible to the public and to help those wanting to pursue higher levels in the sport. Our sailing program director and his coaches have a passion to teach, and hold safety as a top priority. 

As a result of this incident we are reviewing and critiquing our safety procedures and equipment. As with any incident such as this, a greater light is shown on safety and with this focus good safety measures can be made even better. As this incident has had far reaching impact within the greater junior sailing community, we have reached out to other junior programs to both tell them our current safety thinking and to glean any additional information they may have to contribute. 

We intend to have an independent, expert, organization perform a safety review of our junior program equipment and procedures and will share our findings with the greater sailing community. 

I have been in contact with the Constants family and they are very appreciative of the outpouring of support and love expressed for Olivia. I am grateful for the outpouring of support from the community. There has been a clear message encouraging the club to continue with the current program and its positive contributions to youth instruction and the promotion of sailing. We appreciate your support of our program, and particularly to our staff. 

Olivia will be greatly missed by everyone. Our thoughts and prayers remain with her family. For any further information or questions, contact me at 410-279-2525 or 

   Hal Whitacre, Commodore, Severn Sailing Association

June 26, 2011
Police Blotter 

Man Dies in Boating Accident

The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) are investigating a fatal boating accident involving a 45 year-old man from Westminster, Md.

Officers were dispatched to the Chesapeake Isles Community along the Elk River on June 25 to investigate a capsized vessel and persons in distress. The vessel had taken on water before capsizing in a mooring area near the private community. The operator and three passengers were pulled from the water by witnesses. The witnesses found the operator unconscious and administered CPR until the arrival of EMS. The victim was transported to Union Hospital in Elkton, where he was pronounced dead.

The three passengers were uninjured during the mishap. The victim's name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Saturday's incident is the 11th fatality in Maryland waters this year.

June 26, 2011

Search & Rescue 

Multiple agencies search for missing man in Bush River, Md.

Coast Guard, state and local agencies were searching for a 55-year-old male in the Bush River in the vicinity of Aberdeen, Md., Saturday, June 25.

Hartford County 911 dispatch called Coast Guard Sector Baltimore watchstanders at 6:24 p.m. reporting that the man had fallen overboard from a pontoon boat while crabbing and had not resurfaced.

A rescue crew from Coast Guard Station Stillpond, a Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J., HH-65 rescue helicopter crew, a Baltimore County Police helicopter crew along with personnel from Maryland Natural Resources Police and Aberdeen Proving Grounds Police Department were on the scene to search for the man.

Coast Guard suspends search for missing teen in Rappahannock River
The Coast Guard suspended its search at 6:53 p.m. Saturday for a missing 14-year-old Boy Scout who had fallen into the river from a sandbar in the vicinity of Suggetts Point, Va.

Crews from the Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary and local response agencies searched approximately 17 miles for more than six hours. Involved in the search were personnel from Coast Guard Station Milford Haven, Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Fish and Game, Virginia Marine Resources Commission, Richmond County Fire Rescue, Richmond County Sheriff Department, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Mattaponi Volunteer Dive Team.

Richmond County Emergency Services and Virginia State dive team was to continue operations Sunday morning.

June 25, 2011

Police Blotter/Search & Rescue 

Fatal boating accident in Chesapeake City

The Maryland Natural Resources Police are investigating a fatal boating accident that occurred on June 24 at 8:25 p.m. at the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, Chesapeake City.
The preliminary investigation revealed that Robert Vernon Baron, 27, of Bear, Delaware, fell into the water after jumping from a docking vessel onto a pier. Two people from the vessel jumped into the water and could not locate Baron.
Baron's body was recovered at 10:15 p.m. by the Susquehanna Hose Company Divers.  Baron's body was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for autopsy.
The Maryland Natural Resources Police Special Operations Division is continuing the investigation into the accident. Baron is Maryland's tenth boating fatality of the year.

June 23, 2011

Police Blotter

Clamming violations


On June 17,at 8:40 a.m., Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) officers observed Edward Bruce Lowery Jr., 45, from Tilghman on the commercial vessel Miss Marley II operating a hydraulic clam dredge in the submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) protection zone in Cooks Point Cove, Choptank River near Twin Point Cove Road.  The operation of a hydraulic clam dredge is prohibited in SAV areas, which are set aside for the restoration of submerged aquatic plants.

A trial date has been set for September 14 at 1:30 pm in the District Court of Maryland for Dorchester County.   

Possession of undersize crabs


The NRP charged Vernon Edward Smith Jr., 41, of Salisbury, Md., and Ellis Matthew Barton, 39, of Westover, Md., with 13 counts of possessing undersize crabs. On June 11, officers boarded a commercial fishing boat in Marshall Creek off of Chincoteague Bay, and found Smith and Barton with 1,211 undersize crabs in 13 bushels of crabs.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of $1,000 for each count.  A trial date has been set for August 12, 2011 in the District Court of Maryland in Snow Hill. 

June 20, 2011

Police Blotter

Boater discovers remains near Bay Bridge

On June 19, at 11:42 a.m., the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) was notified that a boater had discovered human remains in the Chesapeake Bay south of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Anne Arundel County.
Units from the NRP and the Coast Guard responded to the scene.  The Coast Guard located the remains and turned them over to NRP.  The remains have been sent to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for autopsy.  Due to decomposition of the body, the age, gender or race of the victim could not be identified.  NRP's Special Operations Division is investigating the incident. 

June 14, 2011

Bay News 


Oyster Thieves in the Night?


 It now appears that one of the major reasons oyster numbers remain low, despite $50 million dollars spent annually in restoration efforts, may be that the young oysters are being illegally harvested. And not just a few of them. Some Bay biologists believe that up to 80 percent of the oysters on managed reserves and sanctuaries are being poached. Donald Meritt is one of them. Meritt, the oyster hatchery director at Horn Point Laboratory near Cambridge, Md., says he bases his 80-percent estimate on the appearance of the oyster beds, which are checked frequently. Larry Simns, however, says the number is much lower. Simns, president of the Maryland Watermen's Association, agrees that oysters are being illegally harvested, but puts the number at closer to one-third. Ken Paynter of the University of Maryland's Paynter Labs also puts the number at about one-third. Whether it's a loss of one-third or three-fourths, it's a significant loss the restoration effort. And to the health of the Bay, since older oysters can filter many times more water than young ones.

Why the problem? Many point to the dramatic reduction in the staff of the Natural Resources Police since 1990 (down by more than 50 percent). Others say that the fines for getting caught are too low. The Maryland legislature this year moved to raise fines, but not to increase funding for NRP personnel. 

June 14, 2011

Bay News 

The Patter of Tiny Sturgeon Feet?


There was cause for rejoicing on the James River after watermen near Newport News recently netted a 7-foot, 200-pound female sturgeon that was full of eggs and nearly ready to spawn. This was the first time in decades that a sturgeon ready to spawn had been found in the river. Ironically, the watermen who caught the sturgeon were taking part in a study of ways to keep sturgeon out of fishing nets. The mother-to-be was quickly equipped with a transmitter and returned to the water. Scientists hope they'll be able to determine where she goes to spawn. The James, like many of the Bay's tributaries, were once full of sturgeon, and scientists and federal and private groups are working to bring the big fish back. 

June 13, 2011

Search & Rescue 


Two kayakers rescued from James River

A Coast Guard boat crew rescued two kayakers from the water near Riverside Beach in Newport News, Monday evening, June 13.

One kayaker had called 911 after their kayak had overturned. Newport News dispatch called Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads watchstanders, who launched a 25-foot Response Boat-Small from Station Portsmouth. The rescue boat crew located the two kayakers. Both were safe, and neither had any health concerns.

Both kayakers and their kayaks have been safely transferred to a Newport News fire boat that was also dispatched for the rescue.

Also responding were the Virginia Marine Resources Commission and Isle of Wight County rescue boats.

June 13, 2011

Search & Rescue 


Capsized boat claims one life, five rescued near Ocean City, Md.


One boater died and five were rescued by the Coast Guard in the vicinity of Ocean City Inlet after their boat capsized Saturday morning, June 11.

A good Samaritan contacted Coast Guard watchstanders at 9 a.m. and reported that an 18-foot pleasure boat had capsized at the mouth of the inlet and that the people went in the water. Two rescue boat crews from Station Ocean City responded and recovered all six people.

One of those recovered was unconscious and unresponsive. The crew performed CPR until they transferred him to emergency medical services personnel waiting at Station Ocean City. He was taken to Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin, Md., where he was pronounced dead.

Rescue crews also responded from the Coast Guard Cutter Shearwater, Maryland State Police and Maryland Natural Resources Police.

Maryland State Police are investigating the cause of the incident.

June 10, 2011

Search & Rescue 


Coast Guard suspends search for missing man near Annapolis


The Coast Guard suspended its search for James Schmidt at 6:50 a.m. Thursday. Schmidt was reported missing in the waters of the Chester River at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday after he jumped in to rescue his nephew, who was swept away by the current. The nephew was rescued by a Maryland Natural Resources Police officer who responded to the emergency call from Schmidt's father, who remained on the boat.

A rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Annapolis, two MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J., along with personnel from the Maryland Natural Resources Police, Kent County and Queen Ann's fire departments, Maryland State Police were on scene conducting the search for Schmidt.

June 9, 2011

Search & Rescue  

Officer rescues child in Chester River; child's uncle still missing

On Wednesday, June 8, at 4:10 pm, Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) Corporal Chris Pavon rescued 7-year-old Aiden Smith after he was swept away from his vessel by the currrent in the Chester River near Chestertown.

Smith was with his uncle, James Joseph Schmidt, 47, and his grandfather, Charles Blevins, 64, both of Millington, who were fishing from a boat on the Chester River near Buckingham landing when the incident occurred.
According to the NRP, Aiden went into the water to cool off from the hot sun and was holding onto the swim platform of the vessel when the current of the Chester River swept him away from the vessel.  James Schmidt jumped into the water to retrieve Smith and was also swept away by the current.  Charles Blevins immediately dialed 911 to call for assistance.
Corporal Pavon heard the distress call and responded in the NRP patrol boat located in Chestertown.  Pavon arrived on the scene within ten minutes of hearing the call.  He quickly located Aiden, who was having trouble keeping his head above water, about three-quarters of a mile down river from the vessel.  Pavon took Aiden to shore where he was transported to Chester River hospital as a precaution.
NRP, Coast Guard, and fire companies from Chestertown, Kennedyville, Crumpton and Kent County continued until sunset to search for Schmidt.  The search resumed at first light Thursday morning.  The search consisted of surface searches by vessel and air, NRP K-9 search, and divers from the fire companies.
NRP's Special Operations division is continuing the investigation. 

June 8, 2011
Bay News 


Mostly sunny with periods of snowy grouper


Roger Burnley of Virginia Beach, Virginia has established a new state record for snowy grouper with a 70-pound, 7-ounce fish caught May 22. The record fish was weighed and certified on a digital scale at the office of the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament, located in Newport News.  The digital scale registered 70.48 pounds, but the weight was converted and listed as 70 pounds and 7-ounces as the state record.

The record-setting grouper bested the existing state record, set by Jere Humphrey of Norfolk on August 17, 2008, by nearly 2-1/2 pounds.  Burnley is filing an application with the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) for acceptance of his catch as the IGFA All-Tackle Record for snowy grouper.  Humphrey's 68-pound snowy grouper currently holds the IGFA All-Tackle Record.

Burnley caught his grouper "deep-dropping" near the Norfolk Canyon in 98 fathoms of water while fishing aboard the private boat Healthy Grin, skippered by Ken Neill, III, of Seaford.  The fish had a length of 48 inches and a girth of 37 inches.  The record fish was caught on a Shimano Trevala rod, mated with a Daiwa Saltist LD40 reel and spooled with 70-pound test Daiwa Saltiga Boat braided line.  The record-setting grouper hit a custom made two hook bottom rig baited with squid and cut fish.

Snowy grouper was added to the list of species eligible for state record recognition by the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament Committee at their fall meeting in 2006 and carried an initial qualifying weight of 38 pounds.  Roger Burnley of Virginia Beach registered Virginia's first qualifying snowy grouper, at 49 pounds, 9 ounces, on April 29, 2007.  Burnley's record was eclipsed within days, on June 10, 2007, by Bob Manus of Ark, Virginia, with a 65-pound, 8-ounce grouper.  Manus' record status held until Chris Boyce of Hampton caught a 66-pounder later that year December 2007.  Boyce's record grouper lasted for 8 months before Humphrey landed his 68-pounder.  The last three fish were later certified as IGFA All-Tackle Records for snowy grouper.  The four prior record snowy grouper were caught in the general vicinity of the Norfolk Canyon "deep-dropping" in over 50 fathoms of water and using either whole or cut fish for bait.  Additionally, five of the six state record grouper were caught aboard the Healthy Grin skippered by Ken Neill. 
June 8 2011

Police Blotter


Maryland NRP charge two with rockfish catch violations


 The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) charged two commercial fisherman with rockfish violations during the commercial hook-and-line and pound-net season. The pound-net season opened June 1, and the commercial hook-and-line season opened June 7.
On June 7, at 7 a.m., NRP charged Dolan Lee Hurley, 67, of Cambridge, Md., with failure to tag rockfish within 200 yards of his pound net. While patrolling the area of Cooks Point in the Choptank River, officers boarded a commercial fishing vessel that was stopped more than 1,000 yards from the pound net, and located 500 pounds of untagged rockfish.
On June 7, at 7:45 a.m., NRP charged Robert Hodge Newberry, 52, of Crumpton, Md., with possessing undersize rockfish, fishing for rockfish without a commercial hook-and-line allocation card and possessing untagged commercially caught rockfish. While patrolling the area of the Chesapeake Bay near Sharps Island, officers boarded the commercial fishing vessel Open Ticket and located 13 untagged rockfish and two undersize rockfish.
Both men are scheduled for trial August 17 in the District Court of Maryland for Dorchester County.

June 8, 2011

Search & Rescue  

One dead and one injured in boat collision near Naval Station Norfolk

A Coast Guard crew from Station Portsmouth, a good Samaritan and local agencies responded to a boat collision that resulted in a death and injury near Naval Station Norfolk, Va., on Tuesday, June 7.

At 1 p.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads received a report of the collision between a 15-foot pleasure boat with two people aboard and the 40-foot fishing vessel Just One More.

The 15-foot boat capsized, trapping one person underneath. A good Samaritan aboard the fishing vessel jumped into the water and pulled the trapped person from below.

The injured boater was taken aboard a Norfolk Police Department boat, where crews performed CPR en route to emergency medical services. A crewmember from Coast Guard Station Portsmouth went aboard the Norfolk Police Department boat to assist with CPR. The boater, however, did not survive.

The second boater who had been aboard the pleasure boat was transported to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

Crews from Station Portsmouth, Virginia Marine Police, Norfolk Police Department and a naval security boat responded.

The Virginia Marine Police is investigating the cause of the accident.

June 6, 2011

Search & Rescue


Maryland NRP recovers body of missing boater


The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) on June 2 recovered the body of Mark Allen Harvison about a mile south of the Chesapeake Bay bridge on the shoreline in Queen Anne's County.  
Harvison, age 40 from Pasadena, Md, had been the object of a continuous search since he was reported missing on Saturday, May 28, at 4 a.m.  Harvison was reported to have fallen overboard near Thomas Point Light in the Chesapeake Bay.
Harvison's body was transported to the office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for autopsy.  NRP's Special Operations Division is continuing the investigation into the accident. 
Disabled sailing vessel back in port after Coast Guard rescue
The Coast Guard has towed the sailing vessel Lancastrian 370 miles to Cobb's Marina in Little Creek, Va., arriving Sunday, June 5. The boat's operator, David Chatburn, had called the Coast Guard 5th District command center on Wednesday, June 1, to request assistance after becoming confused about his position.

"One of the best pieces of equipment that Mr. Chatburn had onboard the sailing vessel Lancastrian was his emergency position indicating radio beacon," said Lt. Scott Farr, a command duty officer at the 5th District Command Center. "After he made his way through adverse weather and remained awake for four days without any adequate rest, he became confused and provided conflicting positions. With the help of his EPIRB, which we directed him to turn on, we knew exactly where he was."

Chatburn was traveling from Little Creek, Va., to Scotland when he encountered bad weather and was forced to turn back after his sailing vessel sustained steering damage. The Coast Guard launched an HC-130 Hercules rescue aircraft crew to maintain communication with the sailing vessel, while a good Samaritan crew aboard the merchant ship Master also kept radio communication with the Lancastrian until the Coast Guard vessel Tampa made its way to the boat.

The Tampa towed the vessel 330 miles and then was relieved by a crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Cochito off the coast of Cape Henry. 
Coast Guard suspends search for missing boater

The Coast Guard and local responders suspended their search Sunday, June 5, for a man who went missing Saturday after sailing from Western Branch Diesel in Portsmouth on his way to First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach.

Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads watchstanders were notified at 7:30 a.m. by a caller from Old Point Comfort Marina in Hampton that a good Samaritan discovered a 28-foot sailing vessel adrift near the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel in the vicinity of Willoughby Bay.

Coast Guard crews aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., Coast Guard Cutter Ibis, and from Coast Guard Station Portsmouth were launched to search. Members of the Virginia Marine Police, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Portsmouth Fire Department, Newport News Fire Department, Norfolk Police Department, Hampton Fire Department and the Navy Sewell's Point Harbor Patrol searched for Jeff Harwood for approximately more than sixteen hours in an area of 465 miles.

Harwood had filed a float plan and intended to sail from Western Branch Diesel and arrive at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach at approximately 9 a.m. Saturday.

June 4, 2011

Search & Rescue

Successive accidents on single boat claim two lives in Rappahannock River


Coast Guard and local agencies responded Friday, June 3, to the scene of a boating accident near the entrance to the Rappahannock River where a pleasure boat struck a break wall at Windmill Point.

The operator was fatally injured in the accident, and the passenger died while rescuers attempted to save her.

At approximately 10 p.m., Middlesex County sheriff's office received a call from a boater in the vicinity of Broad Creek stating that he had struck something with his 25-foot boat and that his female passenger was injured.

Coast Guard Station Milford Haven was notified by Middlesex County and was en route to respond to the initial call. Before Station Milford Haven arrived, however, the boater left the scene of the reported collision and then struck the break wall at Windmill Point.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and Central Middlesex Volunteer Rescue Squad also responded to incident.

Members of Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries are investigating the cause of the incident.

June 4, 2011

Search & Rescue

Search underway for boater near Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel

Coast Guard and local responders are searching for a missing boater near the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel after his boat was found by a good Samaritan Saturday, June 4.••Missing is Jeff Harwood, described as being in his mid-50s with dark hair and beard, approximately 5 feet 10 inches tall and 190 to 200 pounds.
Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads watchstanders were notified at 7:30 a.m. by a caller form Old Point Comfort Marina in Hampton that a good Samaritan had discovered a 28-foot sailing vessel adrift near the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel in the vicinity of Willoughby Bay.••Harwood had filed a float plan and was reported to be sailing from Western Branch Diesel to Portsmouth on Friday night then arriving at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach at approximately 9 a.m. Saturday.
Coast Guard crews responded from Station Portsmouth, Air Station Elizabeth City and the Coast Guard Cutter Ibis. Crews from Virginia Marine Resources Commission, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk and Portsmouth Police Departments and the Navy Sewell's Point Harbor Patrol are also assisting with the search.
Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call Sector Hampton Roads at 757-638-6637.

June 2, 2011

Search & Rescue 

Coast Guard responding to lost, disabled sailing vessel

The Coast Guard responded on Wednesday, June 1, to a call from the operator of the sailing vessel Lancastrian, approximately 340 miles east of Atlantic City, N.J.

The boat's operator called the Coast Guard 5th District command center to request assistance after becoming confused about his current position.
The owner was traveling from Little Creek, Va., to Scotland when he encountered adverse weather and was forced to turn back after his sailing vessel sustained steering damage. The Coast Guard launched an HC-130 Hercules rescue aircraft crew to maintain communication with the sailing vessel. A good Samaritan crew aboard the merchant ship Master has also been keeping radio communication with the Lancastrian.

May 31, 2011

Search & Rescue

Search on for missing boater near Annapolis

On May 28, at 4 a.m., the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) responded to the area of the Chesapeake Bay between Thomas Point Light and the Severn River to search for a missing boater. Mark Allen Harvison, age 40 from Pasadena, disappeared from a vessel and it is presumed that he fell overboard.
NRP, MSP aviation, the Coast Guard and Annapolis City Fire Boat began searching for Harvison after they were notified by the operator of the vessel, Charles Martin Carlson, 3rd , age 41 from Riva, Md.   Carlson said that he had last seen Harvison walking toward the stern of the vessel.
Harvison is described as a white male, 6 feet tall and weighing 200 pounds. He was last seen wearing a white T-shirt, tan pants and fluorescent green shoes.
Currently, NRP has three patrol boats, and Coast Guard has one vessel and a helicopter engaged in the search for the victim.
NRP's Special Operations Division is investigating the incident.

May 23, 2011
Bay News  

Blue Angels practice and performance in Annapolis canceled

An eerie silence will fall over Annapolis tomorrow and Wednesday. The Blue Angels practice and performance runs, which had been scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, have been canceled. Instead, the Navy's precision flight team has been sent back to Pensacola, Fla., for further training and assessment after a maneuver this weekend in Lynchburg, Va., was made at a lower-than-normal height. The performance at the Lynchburg Regional Air Show on Sunday was halted and the team sent back to Pensacola. Ordinarily the Blue Angels practice over the Severn River in Annapolis on Tuesday and perform at the U.S. Naval Academy's graduation ceremonies on Wednesday.
The Blue Angels will not perform at next year's graduation either because of a scheduling conflict. 

May 23, 2011 

Police Blotter

Man dies in fall from boat as it leaves dock

The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) Special Operations Division is investigating a fatal boating accident that occurred at 9:45 a.m. on Friday, May 20, at the Tidewater Marina on the Susquehanna River in Havre De Grace.

A preliminary investigation found that a 44-foot sailboat was leaving the dock area of the marina when one of its passengers, an 81-year-old man, fell into the water. The man was not wearing a life jacket.
After being pulled back onto the boat and brought to shore, the man was transported to Harford Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The cause of death is yet to be determined, and the victim's name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.  

May 17, 2011

Search & Rescue

Update 2:

One dead and one missing in late-night sailboat accident on the James River

This is what we know about the tragic accident that took the life of 23-year-old Tyler Lorenzi on Friday, May 13, in the James River.

At about 11 p.m. the preceding evening, Lorenzi and nine others left a party they had been attending to take a late-night sail aboard a 22-foot sailboat. About half-an-hour later, the boat capsized near Old Ghost Point, north of Smithfield, Va., dumping the six men and four women, all in their 20s, into the water. None of them was wearing a life jacket.

According to a spokesman John Bull of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC), five of the people decided to swim the two- to three miles to shore; they came ashore at Aberdeen Farms in Smithfield at about 4 a.m. They awakened a nearby resident, who called 911. The others apparently stayed near the boat, clinging to items that had broken free, like an inflatable fender and a gas can.

Meanwhile, at about 3:30 a.m., the tug Robert Burton, which was traveling down the James, hit the unlit capsized boat and alerted the Coast Guard. It happened that a number of different rescue agencies were already in the area to conduct  maritime response exercises, so they were reach the scene quickly to begin the search for survivors. Rescuers were able to four out of the water, but were unable to locate the fifth. The search for him continued throughout the night and next day before it was called off.

Lorenzi, one of those pulled from the water, died Friday afternoon at Riverside Regional Hospital. Lorenzi, who had been on the sailing team at Northwestern University, was an associate research engineer at the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) in Hampton, and worked at NASA Langley. Six of those onboard were graduate students at NIA.

The boat was towed to a nearby marina and impounded for the investigation. Conditions that evening were described as good, with a light breeze and seas less than a foot.

May 16, 2011

Bay News 

Enter a Snakehead to Win!

But enough of this, let's get on to something really interesting: snakeheads! Yes, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has a contest for you. Catch one of these illegal aliens of the Potomac with hook and line, then kill it (you have to kill it, in fact, because it's against the law to be in possession of a live snakehead), then snap a photo of it next to a tape measure and post the photo on the DNR's Angler's Log. You will automatically be entered in the Kill a Snakehead Contest (we just made up that title . . . it may not have an actual name) and be eligible to win valuable prizes (really), like a $200 rod and tackle package or a free fishing license.
"We do not want snakeheads in our waters," said DNR Inland Fisheries Director Don Cosden in announcing the contest. "This initiative is a way to remind anglers that it is important to catch and kill this destructive species of fish."
Here's the Angler's Log website: •


May 16, 2011

Bay News    


Tiffany Yachts mourns passing of its founder

Tiffany Randolph Cockrell, founder of Tiffany Yachts in Burgess, Va., died Friday, May 13, at his Virginia home. He was 89.

Much of his youth was spent harvesting seafood from the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Here he developed his love of boats and the water. Early in life, he and his father, Otis C.W. Cockrell, built Chesapeake Bay deadrise workboats.

Cockrell served in the Navy from 1942 to 1945, becoming a chief carpenter's mate and learning boat repair and the design of planing hulls. Recalled during the Korean conflict, he was an instructor at the Damage Control School in Philadelphia. He completed his military service in the Coast Guard Reserve.

After he returned from World War II, Cockrell began building pleasure boats, using the knowledge he gained during his Navy career. In the ensuing years, he and his company built more than 150 yachts, many of which are still used and loved today. While Cockrell loved to work in wood, he kept pace with technology and modern methods. In later years, hel was joined in his business by his children and grandchildren.

Last year, a fire destroyed the main shop he had spent a lifetime building, but fortunately he lived to see a new modern facility completed.
He was a member of Fairfields United Methodist Church of Burgess and mentored many youngsters in boat repair and construction.
He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Lee Jones Cockrell; a son, T. Randolph Cockrell Jr., and his wife, Hoppie; a daughter, Rebecca C. Jones, and her husband, Rex; a son, Odis B. Cockrell, and his wife, Ruthie; nine grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

A memorial service was held Sunday.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the RGH Cancer Center Swift-Walker Fund, 101 Harris Drive, Kilmarnock, Va. 22482 or Fairfields Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 656, Burgess, Va. 22432.

May 14, 2011

Search & Rescue


Coast Guard suspends search for missing boater near Smithfield, Virginia

The Coast Guard and local rescue agencies have suspended its search for a man missing in the capsize of a sailboat in the James River after searching about 25 square miles over a 14-hour period.

The operator of the tug Robert Burton early Friday morning had reported to Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads watchstanders that the tug had collided with what appeared to be an abandoned unlit sailboat in the James River Channel approximately six miles north of the James River Bridge.

Subsequently, the Coast Guard responded to a 911 call from one of the people who swam to shore after the 22-foot sailboat capsized. The person stated that some of the passengers swam ashore, their sailboat was adrift and several members remained unaccounted for.

The cause of the incident is under investigation by Virginia Marine Police.

May 13, 2011
Search & Rescue

Coast Guard, local agencies search for missing boater near Smithfield, Virginia


Coast Guard and local rescue responders are searching for a missing male who entered the water after the sailboat he was on capsized with nine others aboard at approximately midnight Thursday, May 12, in the James River near Smithfield, Va. Five of the boaters swam ashore, and four were rescued by responders at the scene.

The operator of the tug Robert Burton reported to Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads watchstanders at 3:43 a.m. that they had collided with what appeared to be an abandoned, unlit sailboat in the James River Channel approximately six miles north of the James River Bridge. Subsequently, the Coast Guard responded to a 911 call from one of the people who swam to shore after the 22-foot sailboat capsized. The person stated that some of the passengers swam ashore, that their sailboat was adrift and that several members remained unaccounted for.

Crews responded with the Coast Guard Cutter Shearwater, the CGC Chock, a 25-foot Response Boat-Small and a 41-foot Utility Boat from Station Portsmouth, an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Elizabeth City, as well as crews from local agencies, including Virginia Marine Resources Commission, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Newport News Fire and Police Departments, Isle of Wight Department of Emergency Response, Suffolk Police Department, Hampton Fire Department, Norfolk Police and Fire Departments, Smithfield Police Department, Virginia Beach Fire Department and the Chesapeake Police Department.

"The Coast Guard recently conducted a joint agency Search and Rescue Forum in March to inform and educate response agencies on what to expect when involved in search and rescue missions with Coast Guard boats and helicopters," said Lt. j.g. Kristen Jaekel of Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City. "The success of the forum resulted in flawless communications to rapidly direct the boats to the people in the water ultimately leading to their rescue."

The boaters were taken to the Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News, Va.
The cause of the incident is under investigation by Virginia Marine Police.

May 5, 2011

Police Blotter  

NRP completes recovery of illegal gill net

The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) located 1,400 yards of illegal anchored gill net containing more than 3 tons of dead rockfish.
On May 1, NRP responded to the Chesapeake Bay near buoy 82, west of Tilghman Island for a report of an illegal anchored gill net. Officers located the net but were unable to retrieve it due to the weight of the dead fish. On May 2, the S. V. Sandusky, the DNR ice breaker/buoy tender, was dispatched to retrieve the net.  Sea and wind conditions prevented the crew from pulling in the net.
On May 3, with much improved sea conditions, the crew of the Sandusky and NRP officers were able to retrieve 1400 yards of anchored gill net which contained approximately 450 striped bass weighing 6,750 pounds.
Nearly all of the fish were dead and had to taken to the landfill.  The net appeared to have been out since January and February due to the condition of the net and fish.
NRP is encouraging anyone with information on this incident, please call the Natural Resources Police Communication Center at 800-628-9944. 

Charges result in fight over cell phone on sailboat

NRP arrested and charged George Lee Vansickle, 42, of Solomon's Island with second degree assault, operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol, operating a vessel while impaired by alcohol and operating a vessel while impaired by a combination of alcohol and drugs. Ashley Lynn Denningham, 28, of Solomon's Island was also arrested on a failure to appear warrant.
On May 3, at 4:30 p.m., NRP had responded to the report of an assault occurring on a sailboat in the Chesapeake Bay near Drum Point in Calvert County.  The officers located the 29-foot sailboat and an investigation revealed that the owner/operator of the sailboat, Vansickle, had assaulted and grabbed the throat of Denningham during an argument over a cell phone.
Both subjects were transported to the Prince Frederick Detention to await appearance before a court commissioner.

Body of Wicomico County boater found
On May 3, NRP recovered the body of a boater who went missing on April 29 after his aground sailboat was found unoccupied.

Edwin Thomas Smullen, 59 of Tyaskin, Md., was found in the Nanticoke River near the location where his sailboat was found.  Smullen had been the object of an intense search by land, water and air that was conducted by NRP, Coast Guard, Maryland State Police, Westside and Allen Volunteer Fire companies. NRP's search employed side scan sonar, K-9 cadaver dogs and dragging operations.

Smullen's body was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for autopsy.

Body of missing houseboater found near Swan Creek

On May 1, at approximately 3:00 p.m., NRP responded to the area of Swan Creek near Tantallon Marina after they had received a report of a deceased person in the water.

NRP's investigation revealed that George Albert Goins, 61, of Fort Washington was living on a 50 foot house boat in Swan Creek and was last seen on Friday, April 29.  When friends were unable to contact Goins, they went to look for him on his house and found him unresponsive, face down in the water.  Goins' body was sent to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for an autopsy.  NRP is continuing the investigation.

May 4, 2011

Bay News/Police Blotter

NRP pulls up stinking mess of illegally caught fish


Thanks to a tip from recreational fishermen, the Maryland Natural Resources on Sunday, May 1, discovered a large illegal gill net between Tilghman Island and North Beach, Md. But finding it was the easy part. The first NRP officials to respond to the tip were unable to haul the heavy and tangled net, weighted down as it was with tons of dead and rotting fish. After several hours, they gave up.

The NRP returned with a bigger hammer-one of its ice breakers, the Sandusky, complete with industrial-sized crane. Even then, fighting high winds and heavy seas, the NRP struggled to retrieve hundreds of feet of twisted net and fish. Even then, the crane was unable to haul up the stinking mess.

The net was located by the fishermen about midway across the Bay after their lines became snagged. The net was not only illegally weighted to the bottom of the Bay it was left far past the end of the rockfish gill-net season.

In the end, the crew of the ice breaker attached a large buoy to the remaining net to warn boaters and fishermen away from the spot. They plan to return in better weather to finish retrieving the net and fish.

The NRP continues its investigation, started earlier this year when a series of illegally weighted gill nets were discovered, to find the poachers.

April 29, 2011

Search & Rescue: Special notice 

Coast Guard seeks information on vessel found near Orchard Beach

The Coast Guard is seeking any information regarding a pontoon vessel that was found with its engine running at a residential pier in the vicinity of Orchard Beach, Md., on Stony Creek at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, April 28.

If anyone has any information regarding persons missing in the vicinity of Orchard Beach and Stony Creek, please contact Coast Guard Sector Baltimore Command Center at 410-576-2525.

For any information regarding the vessel please contact Maryland Natural Resources Police at 800-628-9944.  

April 27, 2011

Search & Rescue


Man rescued near Smith Island after boat runs aground 


A Coast Guard rescue helicopter crew rescued a 70-year-old man near Smith Island after his 39-foot sailing vessel, Hornblower, ran aground Tuesday night, April 26.

Rescued was William Bayliss. Bayliss contacted watchstanders at Sector Hampton Roads at 11 p.m., requesting assistance.  A rescue boat crew from Station Cape Charles was launched at 11:19 p.m., but was unable to help because of the breaking surf and shallow water.

At 11:45 p.m. a Coast Guard HH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew launched from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C. Upon arrival, a rescue swimmer was lowered to help safety hoist Bayliss aboard the helicopter.

Bayliss did not require medical attention and was taken to Norfolk International Airport.

April 25, 2011

Search & Rescue

Four rescued near Breezy Point


Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) is investigating a boating accident that occurred near Breezy Point in the Chesapeake Bay on Friday, April 22. Four people were located and transported to Calvert Memorial hospital. Three were in critical condition, one in stable condition.••At 12:15 p.m., NRP received a call from Calvert County 911 about a vessel that had capsized near marker "79A' in the Chesapeake Bay. The four known passengers of the vessel were located and brought to shore.

The vessel was reported to be between 23 and 28 feet and was not immediately located. Responders included NRP, Maryland State Police aviation and Calvert Fire Department.

The incident is still under investigation and information limited because of the critical condition of the victims. 

April 22, 2011

Police Blotter

Boating accident under investigation


The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) is investigating a boat accident that sank a vessel and left the three passengers with minor injuries. At 7:30 p.m. April 14, NRP responded to Smith Creek off the Potomac River after a VHF radio call reported a capsized vessel.

A preliminary investigation revealed that three men were traveling 40 mph in a 16-foot vessel when it stopped suddenly. The men were thrown into the windshield and sustained lacerations to hands and arms. The vessel sank within seconds of the accident, with extensive damage to the transom, motor and aft, which detached.

Five rescued by Good Samaritan


Five men were recently rescued by a Good Samaritan and NRP after their boat capsized near Bloody Point Light in the Chesapeake Bay. At 8:10 a.m. on April 17, NRP responded to a report of a vessel sinking three miles northeast of Bloody Point Light during a storm with 25 knot winds.

The five passengers of the vessel were picked up by a Good Samaritan fishing vessel, which then began experiencing difficulty staying afloat when the waves began filling it up due to overloading. NRP was able to locate the Good Samaritan vessel and remove the five individuals. The Good Samaritan vessel was able to make it to shore under its own power.

The men, Philip Schlotzhauer Jr., 35, of Centreville; Brian Board Sr., 31, of Denton; Bernard Hajek, 21, of Federalsburg; Christopher Hajek, 20, of Federalsburg; and William Schein III, 23, were transported to the Queens Anne County boat ramp at Matapeake.
Anne Arundel Fire Department, Coast Guard, and Maryland State Police Aviation assisted in the search for the vessel. 

April 19, 2011

Search & Rescue

Coast Guard rescues two near Breezy Point, Md.

A Coast Guard crew rescued two people aboard a 19-foot motorboat that was taking on water while fishing near Breezy Point, Md., on Sunday, April 17.

Rescued were Brenda Scott and Ricky White, both of North Beach, Md.

White contacted Coast Guard Sector Baltimore at 9:42 a.m. by marine radio, reporting that their vessel had begun taking on water while they were fishing east of Breezy Point. Rescue crews from Coast Guard Station Oxford, Maryland Natural Resources Police and Calvert County Fire Rescue launched rescue boat crews to assist.

At 10:32 a.m., the 27-foot Utility Boat crew from Station Oxford arrived on scene and began assisting the passengers. The Coast Guard crew transferred Scott onto the rescue boat while White remained aboard to continue dewatering the vessel. The vessel was reported to be taking on one gallon of water per minute. The rescue crew put the vessel in tow and transported it to the Breezy Point Marina in Chesapeake Beach.

There are no reports of injuries.

April 13, 2011

Sailing Names Needed


It was bound to come sooner or later. After all, it's called the National Sailing Hall of Fame for a reason. And now the time is here. After locating a home city (Annapolis), establishing an education program and attracting a lot of support from yacht clubs, sailors and boatbuilders across the country, the Sailing Hall of Fame is ready to find its first 15 inductees. So search your brain and sharpen your pencils because the floor is open to nominations until June 1. Nominees should be American citizens, 45 years and up, who have made a significant impact on the growth and development of sailing-in design, racing, cruising, coaching, administration or any other area of the sport. Strictly speaking, non-citizens are also eligible, if they have had a particular impact on the American sailing community. Posthumous nominations are also permitted. The first inductees will be honored on October 23 at the San Diego Yacht Club. There will be 15 inductees each year until 2013; after that, there will be not more than five each year. For more information on the nomination process, go to
Clean Boating Act Input
The EPA is holding listening sessions and conducting webinars about the Clean Boating Act. The listening sessions will be held in Annapolis on March 18 and April 29.
They are seeking input from boaters and other concerned parties in order to develop new regulations to reduce water pollution and stop the spread of invasive species in the nation's rivers, streams and bays. The Clean Boating Act specifically empowers the EPA to develop management practices for recreational vessels. Input received at the listening sessions will be taken into consideration in the development of management practices for boat discharges, such as bilgewater, graywater and deck runoff. 

April 12, 2011

Police Blotter

Three found guilty of oyster poaching


On April 6, in Queen Anne's County District Court, Judge Douglas Howard Everngam presided over three Maryland Department of Natural Resources cases with the following outcomes:
Brandon Howard Mende, 22, of Centreville, Md., was found guilty of removing oysters from an oyster sanctuary and oyster fishing without a commercial license. He was fined $800 and placed on 18 months probation.
Benjamin Shaffer Byers, 21, of Bozman, Md., was found guilty of removing oysters from an oyster sanctuary. He was fined $500 and placed on 18 months probation.
Brian Todd Hambleton, 24 of Bozman, was found guilty of removing oysters from an oyster sanctuary. He was fined $500 and placed on 18 months of probation. 

April 11, 2011

Sailing News 

Neutrogena sails into Barcelona, Spain, to a fifth-place finish.


Breymaier and Herrmann finish fifth in Barcelona World Race

Ryan Breymaier (Annapolis), with co-skipper Boris Herrmann (Germany) aboard Team Neutrogena, is back in Barcelona, Spain, after 99 days at sea in the Barcelona World Race. Breymaier, in his first-ever circumnavigation of the globe, took fifth position in the rankings after the keel hydraulic system broke down when rounding Cape Horn.

"We did exactly what we set out to do," said Breymaier. "We said we wanted to be fifth, and we were, and if we hadn't had this keel problem I'm pretty certain we would have actually been third, and that would have been a huge accomplishment."
Team Neutrogena started the competition against an original field of 14 IMOCA Open 60 boats in the 25,000 nautical mile (46,300 km) race, which included 2,000 hours of non-stop competition across three vast oceans, two hemispheres and around three famous Capes.
"I am certainly very happy with where we finished and very happy to have been able to compete against some of the best names in sailing, and against people that I respect very much." 

April 8, 2011
Bay News

Watermen rehabilitating hundreds of acres of oyster habitat

 The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and The Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP) will again this year be working with watermen on oyster bar rehabilitation. The program is a part of a plan to help mitigate the economic impact of regulations enacted in 2008 to help rebuild the blue crab fishery, while also helping to restore the Chesapeake Bay.

The program uses the watermen's experience and equipment to increase the amount of viable oyster bar habitat in the Bay. The rehabilitated areas will create oyster shell habitat for a natural spat set and/or hatchery seed plantings in both sanctuaries and public shellfish fishery areas. The program also provides watermen with income for helping with oyster restoration.

More than 750 Maryland watermen will restore 23 oyster bars over the next four weeks across parts of the Bay to reclaim more than 1,000 acres of buried oyster shell. A number of the oyster bars slated for rehabilitation are located within new sanctuary areas recently established by the Oyster Restoration and Aquaculture Development Plan. These areas include Harris Creek, Eastern Bay, and the Little Choptank, Nanticoke and Manokin Rivers.
Watermen must have paid the 2011 annual oyster harvester surcharge to participate in the program. The captain and crewman cannot have any significant natural resource violations since 2008. The daily rate for captains is $500 with a guarantee of nine days work. A single crew member will receive $150 per day of work.

April 6, 2011

Bay News


Coast Guard warns fisherman of illegal charter boats

The Coast Guard is advising passengers who pay to go fishing in the Chesapeake Bay during the 2011 fishing season to avoid boats that do not have licensed captains, and in some cases, have not been inspected by the Coast Guard.

According to Coast Guard investigators, the number of vessels reported to be illegally charging to carry people has increased over the last two years and is most frequent in the areas of Kent and Tilghman Islands, Rock Hall, Annapolis and the Potomac River in Charles County.

Illegal charter boats are uninspected vessels or are operated by a captain without a mariner's license, or in some instances both. The operation of a charter vessel without the required vessel documents and operator license is a violation of federal law, and if caught, the operator could be subject to criminal or civil liability. The regulations are in place to help ensure the safety of passengers. When all regulations are met a Certificate of Inspection is given, showing that a vessel has met the Coast Guard safety standards in regard to fire extinguishing systems, vessel de-watering capabilities, life saving and navigation equipment requirements.

A boat a captain must also have a mariner's license in order to legally operate a charter. Coast Guard-issued mariner's licenses show that the operator of a commercial vessel has met proficiency requirements in navigation, seamanship as well as steering and sailing rules.
The Coast Guard advises people to ask the boat's captain to show them his or her original Coast Guard license. If the boat is carrying more than six passengers, it is required to be inspected by the Coast Guard, and the Certificate of Inspection should be displayed in an area accessible to passengers.

To verify a captain's license or the inspected status of a vessel carrying more than six passengers, or to report an illegal charter operation, call Coast Guard Sector Baltimore, Monday through Friday, between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. at 410-576-2558.

March 22, 2011

Police Blotter

Oyster violations


On March 19 at 1 a.m., The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) charged Joseph Walker Benton, 21, of Centreville, Md., with removing oysters from an oyster sanctuary, operating a vessel without proper navigational lights, possessing oysters on a vessel more than two hours after sunset and two counts of catching oysters without a commercial license.

NRP officers had received a tip from a waterman on March 18 that a person was poaching oysters at night from the Sawmill oyster sanctuary, located in Prospect Bay.  Officers set up a surveillance detail on the Sawmill Sanctuary and observed a vessel not displaying navigational lights dredging for oysters. NRP identified Benton as the operator of the vessel as it docked in the Kent Narrows harbor. Officers seized five and a half bushels of oysters from the vessel and returned them to the sanctuary.
Benton was already under investigation by NRP for a March 3 incident in which he was observed oystering and presented an oystering license to NRP that proved to be invalid.
A trial has been set for May 4 in the District Court of Maryland for Queen Anne's County.

Gill net charge
On March 19 at 2:30 p.m, NRP charged Travis Lee Cannan, 20, and Benjamin Leonard Reihl, 23, both of Rockhall, Md., with harvesting fish with a drift gill net without a commercial license and possession of undersize white perch.
The charges originated after NRP received a tip from watermen that unlicensed people were gill netting fish in the area of Skinner Landing Wharf.  Officers located Cannan and Reihl at Skinner Wharf Landing taking 1,150 pounds of white perch from a gill net that had been set in Queenstown Creek. The two men had 20 undersize white perch in their possession. Reihl and Cannan both admitted to not having a commercial license.
A trial has been set for May 17 in the District Court of Maryland for Kent County. 

March 21, 2011

Search & Rescue

Coast Guard rescues woman in Georgetown Channel

Coast Guard Station Washington, D.C., crewmembers rescued a woman from the Georgetown Channel near the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Washington, D.C., after her single-person vessel capsized Sunday.

Rescued was Jenie Upchurch, 61, from Arlington, Va.
D.C. Metro Police contacted Coast Guard Sector Baltimore watchstanders at 11:56 a.m. to report that a woman had fallen from a scull near the Francis Scott Key Bridge in the Georgetown Channel and was struggling to stay afloat.

A 25-foot Response Boat-Small crew from Station Washington, D.C., that was conducting training in the vicinity of the 14th Street Bridge received the notification and diverted to the scene along with D.C. Metro Police and D.C. Fire Rescue. At 12:05 p.m. the Coast Guard crew located Upchurch, who was being assisted by another scull. The rescue crew threw a life ring and pulled her aboard their vessel. The crew then placed the scull in tow and transported Upchurch to awaiting EMS personnel at Thompson Boat Center in Washington, D.C.

There are no report of injuries. 

March 16, 2011 

Clean Boating Act Input

The EPA is holding listening sessions and conducting webinars about the Clean Boating Act. The listening sessions will be held in Annapolis on March 18 and April 29.
They are seeking input from boaters and other concerned parties in order to develop new regulations to reduce water pollution and stop the spread of invasive species in the nation's rivers, streams and bays. The Clean Boating Act specifically empowers the EPA to develop management practices for recreational vessels. Input received at the listening sessions will be taken into consideration in the development of management practices for boat discharges, such as bilgewater, graywater and deck runoff. 

A Pretty New Jetty for Sandy Point Park


By the time mid-April rolls around, the Bay's chilly waters will be moderating and so will the temperatures. Out in the garage, all those neatly stowed rods and tackle will be singing their siren song: time to go fishing! Happily for legions of shoreline fishermen, mid-April also means that work should have been completed on Sandy Point State Park's new and improved fishing jetty. The bigger, better version of the pier, located at the south end of the park, will be 18-feet wide and three feet higher than the old one--a jumble of haphazardly spaced riprap. After a winter of work and the expenditure of $548,490 in Waterway Improvement funds, the new stone jetty should be a significant improvement. 

Felt-Soled Waders or Boots? Chuck 'em!

Beginning March 21, felt-soled waders and boots will no longer be legal fishing gear in Maryland waters. Studies have determined that the invasive and destructive non-native algae named didymo (also known by the unpleasant but descriptive name of rock snot) can easily be spread through the mud carried from stream to stream by anglers' waders and boots--even those without felt soles. However, the algae can be removed from non-felt boots by immersion and a thorough scrubbing in a saline solution. Not so those with felt soles. Even long immersion in the salt solution does not pene-trate the inner felt layers to kill the algae.

New Zealand was the first to ban felt-soled boots in 2008, after its streams became badly infected with the yellow-brown slime, which multiplies quickly and carpets rocks and stream bottoms, smothering habitats and destroying native life. Alaska and Vermont have joined Maryland in banning felt boots from their streams.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has placed wader-scrubbing stations at popular access points along the Gunpowder--where didymo has been found--as well as the Savage River and Big Hunting Creek to prevent its spread. 

A Fish By Any Other Name

No question about it, Virginia Beach fisherman Kevin Wong had landed a world record fish. The funny thing was, he nearly got the record in the wrong category. When Wong brought his Norfolk Canyon catch in to be weighed and measured, it was identified as a Darwin's slimehead, a charming fish that looks like a giant goldfish with serious complexion issues. (Another variety of slimehead has found fame and a drastically overfished population under a new name: orange roughy.) As a Darwin's slimehead, Wong's 8-pound 5-ounce example easily topped the existing record of 7 pounds 8 ounces set in 2008. An official of the International Game Fish Association happened to see a photo of Wong's fish and realized that it was not a slimehead of any variety, but rather an alfonsino, a giant gold-fish with better skin. As luck would have it, the IGFA had just approved the alfonsino as a record-worthy fish. So Wong got his record, just for a different kind of fish.

Don't Count Gov Cup Out

After landing on the fiscal chopping block last year, the Governor's Cup now looks as if it may receive a stay of execution--with some modifications. The venerable overnight race between Annapolis and St. Mary's City came under scrutiny by sponsor St. Mary's College of Maryland because it has lost money over the past few years. A planning group of college trustees, staff and members of the sailing community was formed and came up with some changes to make the event stronger and financially sustaining.
Among the proposals are: (1) Participation would be expanded with the addition of a cruising class. (2) The start would be reversed with the slower classes leaving first to allow them more time to enjoy the activities at St. Mary's--and perhaps avoid the race's notorious mid-morning doldrums on the Potomac and St. Marys rivers. (3) Activities at the college site would be increased, with kayaking, a moon bounce, misting tent and more musical entertainment. (4) The number of food vendors would be increased and the formal dinner eliminated. (5) The registration fee would be increased from $75 to $100 a boat. For a look at all of the proposals and to comment on them, go to 

March 4, 2011

Police Blotter

Tug captain charged with assault


The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) arrested and charged William Daniel Ailsworth II, 46, of Deltaville, Va., with first and second degree assault. On February 23, at 12:04 a.m., officers responded to the Wicomico River, Salisbury, for a report of an assault that occurred on a tug boat south of the Port of Salisbury. Officers interviewed Keith Isadore Lippman, 57, of Newport News, Va., who stated that Allsworth, the captain of the tugboat, had struck him on the head with a metal pipe during an argument. Ailsworth was taken to the Wicomico County Detention Center and held pending bond. Lippman was treated at the scene by Salisbury Emergency Medical Services.

Unattended perch gill net

NRP has charged John Robert Abner with failure to remain in his boat and within two miles of his drift gill net.  On February 26, at 8:56 a.m., officers observed Abner set a gill net for perch in the South River and then leave the area. The unattended net remained out all night and Abner returned the following morning to retrieve it. A trial is set for March 18 in the District Court of Maryland for Anne Arundel County. 
Unattended gill net

NRP charged Steven Allen Reynolds, 54, of Chesapeake Beach, Md., on February 25 with failing to attend his drift gill net during the commercial rockfish season. Officers observed Reynolds set a rockfish gill net in the area of Breezy Point, near Chesapeake Beach and then return to the dock. Reynolds then drove to Anne Arundel County and set a perch net in the South River over twenty miles away.  A trial has been set for March 7 in the District Court of Maryland for Calvert County. 

February 24, 2011

Police Blotter 

NRP charges six with removing oysters from a sanctuary

The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) has charged six men with removing oysters from an oyster sanctuary in the Corsica River.
Benjamin Shafer Byers, 20, of Bozeman; Brandon Howard Mende, 22, of Centreville; Brian Todd Hambleton, 24, of Bozeman; Jeffrey Lee Anthony, 29, of Grasonville; Michael Karlis Murphy, 26, of Queenstown; and Christopher Lee Marvel, 18, of Grasonville were all charged with removing oysters from an oyster sanctuary. Additionally, Marvel and Mende were charged with oystering commercially without a valid license.
On February 21 at 11:15 a.m. officers observed two boats hand-tonging for oysters in the Possum Point Oyster Sanctuary in the Corsica River, Queen Anne's County. As NRP attempted to follow the individuals to harbor, the violators dumped the oysters into the river in an effort to avoid being caught. They were apprehended a short time later at the Centreville Warf.
Currently, the maximum penalty for removing oysters from an oyster sanctuary is a $3,000 fine and suspension of tidal fish license for six to twelve months. Under a new bill introduced by Senator Brian Frosh to the State Legislature, the tidal fishing license could be permanently revoked by DNR after a hearing.
The men are scheduled for trial April 6 at 1:15 p.m. in the District Court of Maryland for Queen Anne's County. 

February 23, 2011

Bay News

DNR will open rockfish gill-net fishery for two days only

With an estimated 200,000 pounds of the State's February quota remaining, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will reopen the February striped bass gill net fishery on Friday, February 25, and Monday, February 28; all normal harvest restrictions will remain in effect. The fishery has been closed since February 4, after 10 tons of illegally captured rockfish were confiscated from the Chesapeake Bay south of Kent Island. In all, 12.5 tons of illegally captured rockfish have been found by Natural Resources Police this month.

"While we continue to aggressively search, we have not found any additional illegal gill nets since last Wednesday, and at this time, we are not sufficiently close to the quota to justify penalizing the honest watermen who depend on this fishery during the winter months," said DNR Secretary John Griffin. "That said, those who continue to violate the public trust should be forewarned: We will be stepping up patrols on the water and at check stations as we continue to vigorously investigate these crimes. And, once apprehended, we will prosecute these offenders to the fullest extent of the law."

Maryland's commercial striped bass fishery is managed on a quota system, in cooperation with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission; commercial and recreational restrictions are used to keep the harvest at or below a target fishing mortality rate. Maryland's commercial gill net quota for February is 354,318 pounds; the State's annual commercial quota is 2 million pounds.

"During these two days, Natural Resources Police operations will be stepped up significantly through increased patrols, additional staff at check stations, and the use of our new electronic monitoring capabilities," said Col. George Johnson, Natural Resources Police Superintendent.

State Senator Brian Frosh has introduced a bill that would allow DNR to revoke a license for a specified offense related to unlawfully taking striped bass or crabs. DNR is stepping up law enforcement operations and working with stakeholders to develop and propose further regulations and increased penalties to better address under-reporting of harvest at check stations and illegal markets for untagged and unchecked striped bass, in addition to the use of illegal gill nets. 

February 14, 2011

Bay News

Natural Resources Police located additional illegal nets

Reward for Information Now Up to $20,000
The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) located additional illegal anchored gill nets on Friday evening, February 11. Two 900-yard strings of illegal anchored gill nets were located in Eastern Bay.  One net was found about a mile south of Bloody Point Light and the second net was found about 2 miles northeast of Bloody Point Light in Eastern Bay.
A total of 3,879 pounds of rockfish were removed from the anchored gill nets.  Those fish will be sold and the money will be used for natural resources law enforcement. NRP patrol boat GPS track lines indicated that the area where the nets were found had been previously searched the week before. At that time, there were no indications of nets in the area.
Discovery of the illegal gill nets comes less than two weeks after NRP confiscated more than 10 tons of illegally caught striped bass from four illegally anchored gill nets near Bloody Point Light, south of Kent Island in the Chesapeake Bay. After the initial find, DNR was forced to shut down the striped bass gill net season.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is now offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of poachers involved in illegally catching the first  10 tons of rockfish  DNR, its partners and private citizens are putting forward $10,000 and the Chesapeake Bay Savers is matching that money with another $10,000.

February 11, 2011

Search and Rescue

Lifejackets Save Fishermen After Boat Capsizes


The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) credited life jackets for saving the lives of three fishermen after their vessel capsized at 8 a.m. on Thursday, February 10, at the Calvert Cliffs Power Plant discharge.
"The life jackets kept the men afloat in the frigid water until the nearby vessel could respond and essentially save their lives," said NRP Sergeant Shawn Garren.
NRP's investigation revealed that a 21-foot center console boat capsized after a four- to five-foot wave came over the stern while the men were fishing. The occupants of the vessel, Kevin Lynn Gladhill, 32, of Boonesboro, Md., Michael George Krall, 35, of Keedysville, Md., and Russell Uger Neff III, 55, of Boonesboro, were thrown into the 30-degree water.
A nearby fishing vessel responded to the fishermen's calls for help.  Dennis Charles Fleming, 51, of Mechanicsville, Md., and Grady Terry Warhurst, 64, of Upper Marlboro, Md., were at the scene within ten minutes and retrieved all three men from the water. The rescuing party transported the fishermen to Flag Harbor Marina in St. Leonard, where they were taken to Calvert Memorial Hospital and treated for hypothermia.
"The affects of hypothermia were quickly affecting the victims muscles, speech and their mental awareness. One of the victims could not even remember what happened to him," Garren said. "They wouldn't have made it much longer."
NRP reminds boaters that wearing life jackets saves lives.  Most accidents happen too quickly for life jackets to be an afterthought. Put on a life jacket prior to leaving the dock and wear it continually throughout the trip.
It is also important to check the vessel and its equipment before departure. The cold weather affects battery life, ices fuel lines and vessel surfaces, and clogs bilge pumps.  It also numbs a person's senses, making reaction time much slower.

February 9, 2011

Bay News

NRP seize an additional half-ton of illegally caught rockfish

Reward now stands at $10,000

On February 7, the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) confiscated more than 1,100 pounds of illegally caught striped bass. The discovery came within a week of pulling more than 10 tons of illegally caught striped bass from four illegally anchored gill nets near Bloody Point Light, south of Kent Island in the Chesapeake Bay.

NRP seized the latest 1,159 pounds from 1,200 yards of illegally anchored gillnet at the mouth of Eastern Bay, a mile south of the previously located Bloody Point gill nets. Officers also found 600 yards of illegally anchored gill net near Poplar Island that contained about 300 dead horseshoe crabs and a few live striped bass, which were released back into the Bay.

DNR and stakeholders, including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Humane Society of the United States, Coastal Conservation Association, the Maryland Watermen's Association, the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association and the Maryland Charter Boat Association, have come together to offer a reward of $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of a person or persons responsible for setting these anchored gill nets in the vicinity of Bloody Point Light. Funding for the reward will come from dedicated funding as well as contributions from these stakeholder groups.

Information on this crime may be called into the Natural Resources Police Catch-a-Poacher Hotline at 800-635-6124. Callers may remain anonymous. 


 Aid to Navigation Team heading for Thomas Point Lighthouse  
February 8, 2011

Bay News 

Coast Guard finds SAD state of affairs at Thomas Point Lighthouse 


On Monday, February 7, Coast Guard Baltimore received a low-voltage alarm from the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse near Annapolis. The Guard's Aids to Navigation Team (ANT) was promptly dispatched to diagnose the problem aboard a  41-foot utility boat.

On arrival, the technicians checked the voltage levels, inspected wiring and tested the electrical equipment, but found the light to be working properly. They determined that the alarm may have been caused by lack of sunlight on the solar panels that charge the lighthouse's batteries. In other words, the lighthouse system was suffering from a kind of Season Affective Disorder (SAD).

The low voltage alarm was sent through the Coast Guard's aid control monitoring system, which uses cell phone technology to send messages from the lighthouse to a computer at ANT Baltimore. The system regularly sends status updates and can be "pulled" by technicians to check electrical levels and send commands to the light, such as to reset itself.

The Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse, originally built in 1875, is one of only 10 lighthouses to be named a national historic landmark, the highest recognition that a historic structure can receive. The lighthouse is also the only screw-pile light on the Chesapeake Bay still in its original position.

February 8, 2011

Bay News


Happiness on the half-shell:

Oyster reproduction survival rates at highest levels since 1997
Trends indicate population may be developing resistance to disease

Finally, there is some good news for Crassostrea virginica, the Bay's native oyster. According to the Maryland's recently completed fall oyster survey, the number of spat or baby oysters in Maryland waters is at its highest level since 1997. The survival rate for young oysters is also up.

Since 1939, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and its predecessor agencies have monitored the status of Maryland's oyster population via annual field surveys-one of the longest running such programs in the world. The survey tracks three critical components of the population: spatfall Intensity, which measures reproduction levels (recruitment) and offers a window into future population levels; disease infection levels; and annual mortality rates of oysters.

The 2-month 2010 fall population assessment, which encompassed 260 oyster bars and 399 samples throughout the Bay and its tributaries, concluded on December 18. At nearly 80 spat (baby oysters) per bushel, the 2010 spatfall is the highest since 1997, and about 5 times the 25-year average of 16.

Eleven of the 53 oyster bars included in this index had their highest or second highest spat counts since 1985. The elevated spatfall was a coast-wide phenomenon, with other mid-Atlantic states also reporting better than average numbers.

Equally encouraging was wide distribution of spat throughout the Bay and its tributaries: While the heaviest counts were in the lower Bay's higher salinity areas, where reproduction is typically more successful, a moderate spatfall also occurred in lower salinity areas that generally receive little to no spat sets at all. These included the upper Bay as far north as Pooles Island and the upper reaches of the Chester, Choptank and Patuxent River tributaries. Due to reduced disease pressure, oysters historically have good survivorship in these areas, some of which are now protected sanctuaries under the State's new oyster plan.

Even more encouraging news for the beleaguered oyster is that the frequency and intensity of diseases remains low, based on December's interim report from the Paul S. Sarbanes Cooperative Oxford Lab. Of the two diseases that have devastated populations for decades, Dermo, although still widely distributed, remains below the long-term average for the eighth consecutive year, and MSX appears to again be in retreat after an advance in 2009.

The survey indicates that oyster survivorship-the percentage of oysters found alive in a sample-was at 88 percent, the highest level since 1985, before diseases put a stranglehold on the population; this is more than double 2002 when record disease levels left only 42 percent of Maryland's population alive. Scientists are hopeful that favorable mortality in recent years may reflect an increase in disease resistance.

"These moderate levels of natural oyster mortalities during recent years may reflect increases in disease resistances among oysters and their progeny that survived the severe disease pressures of the 1999-2002 drought," said Chris Dungan, manager of oyster disease research at the Oxford Lab. "Those same disease-selected oysters are the parents that spawned to produce the significant spat set of 2010."

"In this new reality, where disease mortality sometimes exceeds natural and fishing mortality, recruitment has become of singular importance," said DNR Fisheries Service Assistant Director Mike Naylor. "While challenges remain and recovery-particularly development of disease-resistance-will take decades, if the present trend in below average mortalities continues, the combination of the great 2010 spatset and low mortality should bode well for Maryland's oyster population and fishery well into the future."

Since 1994, the Chesapeake Bay oyster population has languished at 1 percent of historic levels. Over the past 25 years, the amount of suitable oyster habitat has declined by 80 percent-from 200,000 acres to just 36,000 acres. Maryland's annual oyster harvest has fallen from an average of 2.5 million bushels in the late 1960s to about 100,000 bushels a year since 2002, while the number of oystermen working Maryland's portion of the Bay has dwindled from more than 2000 to just 550. 

DNR sorting captured rockfish. 

February 7, 2011

Bay News


Maryland shuts off gill net season after Illegal striped bass seizure

DNR, stakeholders offer reward for information leading to rockfish poachers' arrest

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has shut down the February striped bass gill net season after Natural Resources Police (NRP) confiscated more than 10 tons of illegally caught striped bass in two days. NRP seized the 20,016 pounds of rockfish from four illegally anchored gill nets found near Bloody Point Light, south of Kent Island in the Chesapeake Bay.

"Wanton illegal behavior cannot, will not be tolerated," said Secretary John Griffin. "The people of Maryland have invested far too much time, effort and money into restoring striped bass, our state fish."
Maryland's commercial striped bass fishery is managed on a quota system, in cooperation with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission; the commercial gill net quota for February is 354,318 pounds.  When the illegally harvested striped bass confiscated by the NRP were deducted from the quota, DNR was forced to immediately shut down the fishery. The fishery will remain closed until DNR can determine the extent of illegal nets out on the Bay and the amount of striped bass caught in those nets.
"Watermen are allowed to catch about 300 pounds of rockfish per day. We seized 20,000 pounds. That means these poachers are stealing 66 days of work from honest watermen," said DNR Fisheries Service Director Tom O'Connell.
The State, along with the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), The Maryland Watermen's Association, the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association and the Maryland Charter Boat Association, is offering a reward of more than $7,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of a person or persons responsible for setting these anchored gill nets in the vicinity of Bloody Point Light.  Funding for the reward will come from dedicated funding as well as contributions from these stakeholder groups, who are publicly denouncing these crimes.

"Today's announcement demonstrates that illegal fishing that steals the resource from all Marylanders will not be tolerated," said CCA Maryland Executive Director Tony Friedrich.  "We look forward to working with the Department and other stakeholders to insure that the penalties for these types of crimes are strengthened and those responsible are held fully accountable."

"The Maryland Watermen's Association is here to protect the honest fisherman," said Association President Larry Simns.  "We'd like to do anything in our power to catch the person responsible for this and we'd hope they'd lose their license."

"The Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association is extremely disheartened and outraged over the events of the past several days," said Executive Director Dave Smith.  "This type of flagrant disregard for the law and our vital resource must end.  The MSSA is working with the Department and other stakeholder groups to put in place deterrents and meaningful consequences for these types of crimes."
The NRP found the first anchored gill net on Monday, January 31 at 2 p.m., the day before the February striped bass gill net season opened. Officers began a surveillance detail and after 17 hours without activity officers pulled up the net, which was full of rockfish. Officers continued pulling the net and offloading the fish until 9 p.m., when 6,121 pounds of fish were taken out of the 900 yards of illegal anchored gill net; 400 pounds were given to state biologists for use in an expanded gender sampling survey, and 5,721 pounds were sold.
Officers located another net at about 9 p.m. near the first net and began to pull it up immediately. NRP continued to load the net and fish into patrol boats throughout the night. While loading the second net, officers found two additional nets. The NRP worked until 5 p.m. Wednesday evening, landing an additional 13,895 pounds of illegally caught fish.
Officers also recovered 2,100 yards of anchored gill net from the Choptank River on Sunday, January 30, and 100 yards of anchored gill net from the mouth of the Chester River on Thursday. These nets had a few fish that were released alive.
Information on this crime may be called into the Natural Resources Police Catch-a-Poacher Hotline at 800-635-6124. Callers may remain anonymous.

February 3, 2011

Search and Rescue 


Coast Guard, local agencies searching for missing sailboat operator

Coast Guard and local agencies were searching for a missing person on Thursday, February 3, after a good Samaritan reported finding the sailing vessel Wampeter adrift in the vicinity of Little Creek Inlet off Virginia Beach with no one aboard.

At 8:20 a.m., Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads Command Center watchstanders received a report from a crewmember aboard the fishing vessel Markim II that he had seen a sailboat, about 40-feet in length, drifting toward the rocks with its lights on and engine running.

Two 25-foot response boat crews, a 45-foot response boat crew from Coast Guard Station Little Creek and a Coast Guard HH-60 rescue helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., were initially dispatched to the scene. Crews from Hampton Fire Rescue, Norfolk Police Department, Virginia Marine Police, Virginia Beach Police Department and Virginia Beach Fire Department were assisting in the search.

To report any information regarding this case, please contact the Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads Command Center at 757-638-6635. 

January 29, 2011

Bay News


Update: Coast Guard continues response to oil spill in Potomac River


The Coast Guard and local agencies are continuing to respond to a mineral oil spill that occurred Sunday, January 23, in the Potomac River near Alexandria, Va.

Approximately 1,500 gallons of an estimated 5,500 gallons have been recovered from the waters of the Potomac River after a transformer at the Pepco substation began leaking Sunday, with a remaining 4,000 gallons currently unaccounted for.

Coast Guard Sector Baltimore's Incident Management Division members, who were notified Sunday by the National Response Center, have been working with Pepco and the hired contractors, Triumvirate Environmental and Clean Harbors, to continue efforts to contain and collect the oil.

Currently 2,000 feet of hard containment boom, 1,700 feet of absorbent boom and 750 feet of sweep, which consists of pads strung together, have been deployed to the affected area.

The oil sheen is reported to extend approximately 2,000 yards north of the Pepco substation and as far south as the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

"At this point, what we can see out there is mostly oil sheen," said Petty Officer 1st Class Anthony Matulonis a marine science technician at Sector Baltimore. "When oil spreads out, it starts to become unrecoverable because the surface area is too thin. The good news is that over time, nature will start a biodegradation process, which is basically when sunlight, wave action and wind naturally remove the oil." 

January 25, 2011

Bay News


Coast Guard responds to Potomac River oil spill


The Coast Guard and local agencies are responding to a mineral oil spill in the Potomac River near Alexandria, Va.

Pepco employees notified the Coast Guard Sunday at 12:40 p.m. on Sunday, January 23, that about 5,000 gallons of mineral oil were believed to have leaked from a transformer at the Pepco substation in Alexandria. It was also reported that an additional 500 gallons had leaked into the Potomac River.

Coast Guard Sector Baltimore's Incident Management Division personnel arrived on the scene at 2 p.m. Sunday and conducted a shoreline assessment of the area.

Triumvirate Environmental and Clean Harbors have been hired by Pepco to contain and dispose of the oil. The oil that reached the waterway has been contained by boom.

The cause of the spill is under investigation. 

January 21, 2011

Police Blotter 


Waterman charged with dredging oysters in illegal area

On January 19, the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) charged two Dorchester County watermen with illegally power dredging for oysters in Fishing Bay.
On December 31, NRP officers observed two vessels, the Lauren Taylor II and the Mary Grace, power dredging for oysters in a restricted area. An officer aboard an NRP patrol boat ordered the vessels to stop dredging in the restricted area. The officer attempted to obtain license and identification from the occupants of the vessels.
The captain of the Lauren Taylor II, Gary David Hayden, 42 of Toddville, attempted to leave the area after he was asked for his oyster license and identification. Taylor was repeatedly ordered to stop his vessel, however he did not. The Lauren Taylor II was later found tied to a dock in Farm Creek in Dorchester County.
The officer was able to obtain the required information from the captain of the Mary Grace, Jason Bernard Spencer, 34 of Wingate.

Both Spencer and Hayden are charged with power dredging for oysters in a hand-tonging area. Hayden is also charged with obstructing and hindering a police officer, failing to obey a lawful order and failure to have a tidal fish license available for inspection. A trial has been set for March 14 in the District Court of Maryland for Dorchester County. 

Go to Page 2 of Bay News.