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Southeast News: Waterfront Happenings Around the Region

The Battleship Texas lists to starboard after taking on water in June. Leaks resulted from corrosion of the ship’s 100-year-old steel hull. Photo courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife
The Battleship Texas lists to starboard after taking on water in June. Leaks resulted from corrosion of the ship’s 100-year-old steel hull. Photo courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife

Battleship Texas Patched
Tourists once again began clamoring over the decks of the Battleship Texas on July 7 after a salvage crew plugged numerous leaks that had left the historic vessel with a severe list in June – just over a month after marking the May 18 centennial of its launch. “The leaks are under control and all have been patched. In fact, both the environmental clean-up crew and the salvage crew are wrapping up and should be finished this week,” ship manager Andy Smith said in early August.

The Battleship Texas served the country in World War I and was the only battleship to serve in all theaters during World War II. After its lengthy active military service, the vessel became the first battleship memorial museum in the nation. It was presented to the State of Texas and commissioned as the flagship of the Texas Navy in 1948. The ship is anchored on the Buffalo Bayou and the Houston Ship Channel as part of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s 1,200-acre San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site. Long-term plans call for the ship to be dry docked in place. To learn more or to support the effort, visit www.battleshiptexas.org.

USPS Promotes Sea Tow Radio Check
The United States Power Squadrons are teaming up with Sea Tow to help promote an automated marine VHF radio check service in more than 100 selected areas. Along North Carolina’s Crystal Coast, for example, boaters can tune to Channel 27, key the microphone, speak words such as “Automated Radio Check, this is Rust Bucket, over.” Sea Tow transmits back an acknowledgement that you have contacted the Automated Radio Check service, so you know that you have transmitted something. Then it transmits back to you whatever words you spoke. This verifies that your radio is receiving, and you can evaluate your signal strength and clarity by listening to what you said.

Automated Radio Check service is provided over VHF Channels 24 to 28. To find the right channel in a particular area, visit www.seatow.com/boating-safety/automated-radio-checks and enter the city, state or zip code. An interactive map will open, showing the Automated Radio Check stations in that region.

This service aids the U.S. Coast Guard by reducing non-emergency communications on VHF Channel 16.

Nautical Stress Relief
Looking for another excuse to go boating? The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation has launched a campaign promoting boating as an escape from the daily grind. It cites a study by the National Marine Manufacturers Association that ranked boating as one of survey respondents’ top three stress-relieving activities. “Boating and fishing are not only easy ways to naturally relieve the stress of daily life,” said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. “They are enjoyable activities that allow you to spend time with your family while on a budget.”

Speedboats Race on Waccamaw
In order to maintain competition during the slow economy, North and South Carolina members of the East Coast Drag Boat Association merged into the Outdoor Drag Boat Association earlier this year, joining racers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennesee. In June, the enlarged group converged at the newly renovated Bucksport Plantation Marina on the Waccamaw River just outside of Conway, S.C., for their inaugural Summer National Championships.

Some 40 racers at the two-day event sped along a quarter-mile stretch of the river located at Mile 337 of the ICW, competing in four classes. Racers and spectators enjoyed music each night in the 35-acre complex, which includes the new Captain Seaweed’s restaurant and bar, camping facilities and more than 600 feet of dockage.

Patriots Point to Add Medal of Honor Museum
The Patriots Point Development Authority, located across the harbor from downtown Charleston, S.C., announced plans to add a $100 million National Medal of Honor Museum to its existing attractions. “The National Medal of Honor Museum will play a pivotal role in transforming Patriots Point into a nationally prominent destination,” said PPDA Chairman Ray Chandler. “No other community can claim this unique destination asset, with its powerful, heroic stories.”

Patriots Point was established in the 1970s as a naval and maritime museum with the World War II aircraft carrier USS Yorktown as its centerpiece. Other major pieces are the submarine USS Clamagore and the destroyer USS Laffey. In addition to the naval and maritime museum and its collection of National Historic Landmark ships, the 350-acre site includes a Cold War Memorial, a Vietnam Support Base Camp and more than two dozen historic aircraft.

Hunter Marine Acquired
Marlow Acquisitions LLC acquired the 40-year-old Hunter Marine Corp. on Aug. 1 from Hunter’s prior owner, Morgan Industries Corp., which had file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April. Marlow bought the assets of Hunter and select assets of Mainship Corporation and Luhrs Corporation, according to Hunter President John T. Peterson.

“For the employees, dealers, and suppliers of Hunter Marine, it is indeed a new, great day,” said Marlow Acquisitions Chairman David E. Marlow. “I am pledging my years of experience, 46 to be exact, as a boat builder, dealership manager, and marina operator; and my entire organization, including Marlow Marine Sales of Sarasota, Fla., Merrill-Stevens Boat Works in Miami, Fl. and Norsemen Shipyard in China to assist in continuing what has been and is a great boat brand.”

The Alachua, Fla.-based Hunter has continued to build its 15- to 50-foot sailboats throughout this reorganization and planned a gradual increase of production during August leading up to the introduction of new models at the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis this October.

Tampa Show Next, Orlando Delayed
The National Marine Manufacturers Association will produce the 47th annual Tampa Boat Show Sept. 28-30 in the Tampa Convention Center featuring deals on hundreds of boats from the region’s top dealers and cutting edge marine accessories and electronics.

Activities include a heated 15,000-gallon DEMA ‘Be a Diver Pool’ for anyone who wants to try scuba diving, complimentary boating courses along Tampa Bay, seminars, plus hands-on clinics on boat maintenance, repair and upgrade techniques. For more features and information, visit TampaBoatShow.com.

The 45th annual Central Florida Boat Show in Orlando (www.boatshowflorida.com) has been postponed to Feb. 24-26.

Dead Zone Shrinks in Drought
NOAA-supported scientists have found the size of this year’s Gulf of Mexico dead zone to be the fourth smallest since mapping of the annual hypoxic, or oxygen-free area began in 1985. This is in stark contrast to last year when floods carrying large amounts of nutrients resulted in a dead zone measuring 6,770 square miles, an area of the state of New Jersey. “The smaller area was expected because of drought conditions and the fact that nutrient output into the Gulf this spring approached near the 80-year record low,” said Nancy Rabalais, Ph.D., executive director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium who led the survey cruise.

Six NC Marinas Gain Clean Status
The Coinjock Marina in Coinjock, the Boathouse in Beaufort, and four marinas in Carolina Beach have earned the status North Carolina Clean Marinas for going beyond the state’s environmental regulations, bringing the number of coastal N.C. Clean Marinas to 28 since the program began in 2000. The new Carolina Beach Clean Marinas are Mona Black Marina, Federal Point Yacht Club, Carolina Beach State Park and Harbor Oaks Boataminium.

To earn the certification, each marina’s owners prepare spill prevention plans and conduct safety and emergency planning. Marina operators also control boat maintenance activities to protect water quality. Certified marinas are eligible to fly the Clean Marina flag and use the logo in their advertising. The flags signal to boaters that a marina cares about the cleanliness of area waterways. Marinas must complete the voluntary recertification process every two years. Six recently recertified coastal marinas are Cypress Landing Marina, Harbour Village Marina, Wilmington Marine Center, Joyner Marina, Southport Marina and New Bern Grand Marina.

Clean Marina is a nationwide program developed by the National Marine Environmental Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to clean up waterways for better recreational boating.

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