Archive for » May 13th, 2012«

128-foot fishing vessel burns off Whidbey Island

WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. – Mussel harvesting has been suspended until further notice in Whidbey Island’s world-renowned Penn Cove after a 128-foot derelict fishing vessel anchored there burst into flames late Saturday, officials said.

Richard Walker of the state Department of Ecology said the mussel farm operations were suspended as a precaution while investigators make certain that no pollution has reached the mussel pens from the burning vessel. The investigation is being conducted by the state Health Department, he said.

Rawle Jefferds, co-owner of Penn Cove Shellfish, says the potential for damage is substantial. He said the company will not harvest mussels unless it is 100 percent certain that there is absolutely zero contamination.

“We suspended it. We’re not going to harvest out of Penn Cove until we can get things certified,” he said.

The financial impact is already being felt, Jefferds said.

“We’ve got employees that don’t get to go to work, we’ve got no harvest,” he said. “The actual costs, I couldn’t begin to estimate.”

He said the company has carefully built its reputation for a quality product over the years, and now ships shellfish all around the world.

The fishing boat Deep Sea caught fire late Saturday and continued burning all night and next morning, the Coast Guard reported.

Witnesses said a sheen could be seen on the water’s surface near the boat, and it appeared to be floating toward the mussel pens.

Fire boats and a Coast Guard vessel responded to the scene, in Penn Cove off Whidbey Island, at about 11:45 p.m. Saturday after receiving a report from 911 dispatchers that the vessel was completely engulfed in flames.

Crews attempted to put the fire out but stopped when it appeared that water from firefighting efforts had caused the boat to list. Officials say they were worried that more water would cause the boat to sink.

As soon as the firefighting efforts were ceased, the fire flared up again and was still smoldering as of noon Sunday. The boat is considered a total loss.

A Coast Guard vessel remains at the scene to provide a 200-yard safety zone around the vessel.

Walker said the Deep Sea is classified as a non-operational vessel, without an engine or propellers, and no one was aboard at the time of the fire. The boat was towed to Penn Cove last December.

The owner of the vessel has been notified, and an environmental contractor has been hired to clean up and place a double containment boom around the ship.

The contractor will also attempt to board the ship and pump out 50 to 100 gallons of diesel fuel that remains in the fuel tank, Walker said.


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Market rebounds for area boat builders

OCONTO — Waters have been choppy for many boat and yacht builders since the onset of the Great Recession nearly five years ago.

But builders that weathered the economic downturn are optimistic as the industry makes headway with increasing sales.

“The domestic market is definitely on the rebound,” said Mark Pedersen, president of KCS International Inc. “I think you’re seeing a lot of the used boat market cleaned up and new product is now what consumers are looking for.”

KCS International builds boats and yachts under the Cruisers, Rampage and Azure names

The Azure line — which KCS bought in February and moved from South Carolina to Oconto — rolled the first Wisconsin-produced boat off the production early last week.

With the addition of the Azure line, the company offers boats and yachts ranging from 22 to 59 feet.

The Chicago-based National Marine Manufacturers Association says retail sales of boats are growing for the first time in five years. It estimated the industry saw an 80 percent reduction in production in 2009.

“It’s a lot less bumpy than it was,” Pedersen said about the market outlook. “You still have your worldwide economy issues with what’s going on in Europe and how that affects the stock market and consumer confidence, but overall we feel 10 times better than we did two years ago about the marketplace.”

That’s a sentiment echoed by yacht builder Burger Boat Co. in Manitowoc.

“Around the first of the years things started to rebound and we’ve had the best inquiries we’ve had in the last several years,” said Ron Cleveringa, vice president of sales and marketing with Burger. “These are folks who have been looking to purchase a vessel for quite some time and are feeling a little more confident in the marketplace and the economy.”

Burger generally produces two to three yachts a year, but that number can move based on the size and type of vessels the company is working on.

“We continue to see the right kind of activity that leads us to believe we’re going to have several new contracts coming up in the very near future,” Cleveringa said.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association said the average age of boats was more than 20 years old, up from 15 years old in 1997.

Yacht and boat builders looked at any number of ways to diversify business when demand for the core product dropped.

KCS International sought out the Azure line to break into a new market of consumers — those boating on in-land and secondary waterways.

That segment of boater may someday opt up to one of the larger yachts produced by Cruisers.

“This product line … will give us market penetration in some of the areas we haven’t been in before,” Pedersen said.

Burger Boat Co. began doing new construction and refits for the commercial boat business.

Marquis Yachts in Pulaski began producing trailer-towed mobile offices using its existing boat building expertise and work force while a Michigan-based builder moved into producing fiberglass blades for wind turbines to augment its workload.

Cleveringa said Burger’s foray into commercial work has been — and continues to be — to be a key factor in helping stabilize the company’s work force.

“We’re actively pursuing additional commercial vessels,” he said.

Cruisers, Marquis and other area yacht builders have been players in the global market, a market that’s helped move business forward while the domestic economy sputtered.

“One market complements another” Pedersen said. “In this downturn the Canadian market has been really strong, China has been an emerging market we’ve done well in … When one market is down another is up.

“Being a worldwide boat manufacturer is a necessity these days,” he said.


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Women’s ‘fishing university’ opens doors

Sue Fields Tolliver wants a hobby to de-stress from graduate school at Nova Southeastern University. Belinda Martin would like to go trolling offshore aboard her 23-foot boat in the Turks Caicos Islands. Kathryn Feanny of Fort Lauderdale wants to spend more quality time with her husband.

The three women were among 50 who attended a recent “Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing!” weekend saltwater seminar in Dania Beach. The seminar series, now in its 16th year, is the brainchild of Fort Lauderdale marketing executive Betty Bauman. Billed as the women’s “fishing university;” and the “no-yelling” school of fishing, it has drawn about 6,000 women of all ages who want to learn more about sport fishing in a friendly, noncompetitive environment.

“We get a lot of people who never fished before,” Bauman said. “They need somebody to open the door and give them a helping hand.”

The recent Dania seminar was a three-day affair with a welcome party, a day full of lectures, demonstrations and hands-on skill stations, followed by a half-day fishing adventure.

Students learned basics from captain Lee Lavery — such as the differences between conventional and spinning gear; various effective baits; and why a five-gallon bucket is a vital piece of equipment to carry on a boat.

“You never want to go fishing without a bucket,” Lavery said. “If you need to tinkle, use the bucket. Buckets are 12 inches across; you can measure your yellowtail across the bucket — and it carries a lot of things.”

The women learned about the addictive powers of inshore fishing from part-time captain Lou Volpe.

“I am warning you ladies that you are sliding down a slippery slope,” Volpe said, half-joking. “A lot of family occasions were missed by me because it was good weather for fishing. Fly-fishing is another drug. I’m trying to limit my crazy.”

And captain Tony DiGuilian told the women — after explaining elementary offshore trolling tactics: “Get as much information as you can from events like this. Start with one thing and get pretty good at it before you go on to the next thing. There’s very little luck in fishing. The people who really work at it are the most successful at it. You can be just as good or better than men. Women compete in tournaments all around the world and beat the men’s butts on a consistent basis.”

After lunch and a fishing fashion show, the women divided into smaller groups and visited skill stations where they used various hand-held devices for releasing fish alive; rigged bally hoo for trolling; threw a cast net to catch live bait; learned how to cast spinning and fly rods; tied several kinds of fishing knots; practiced gaffing a fish using a floating grapefruit; and learned how to back a boat on a trailer safely down a ramp, and how to drive and dock the boat.

Tolliver was glad to learn the difference between circle hooks — which hook a fish in the corner of the mouth — and j-hooks, which can injure fish from becoming stuck in their throats or gills. The knowledge is important for releasing unwanted or undersized fish unharmed.

“I plan to go to the piers and Lake Okeechobee,” the doctoral student in trauma psychology said. “I need activities that are de-stressing to me, and I love fishing.”

Tolliver said she grew up fishing in freshwater, but she didn’t learn much because her mother baited her hook, tied knots and handled the fish.

“All I did was reel it in,” she said.

Tolliver said her husband isn’t interested in fishing, but “I think if I’m bringing home eating fish, he will want to come.”

The women looked to be making good progress at the skill stations.

With some instruction from Chuck Baldwin, Martin successfully gaffed a grapefruit bobbing in the canal outside I.T Parker Community Center where the seminar was held.

“I thought it would be a lot harder than it actually was for the first time,” Martin said.

An organizer of fishing tournaments in the Turks Caicos Islands, Martin says she frequently gets invited on offshore big-game trolling trips.

“The guys like to take me, but they won’t teach me fishing,” she said. “We go out and everything is done. They’ve already chosen the lures and the bait.”

Bauman doesn’t expect women to emerge from her seminars as angling experts. But she hopes they build confidence and become more effective fishing team members.

“When they’re done with us, they’re more confident, going to a tackle shop and saying, ‘I’d like to buy this lure to catch a mackerel,’ ” Bauman said. “If the lady can do a bit more and is part of the team, tying on her own hooks, she gets more respect.”


Similar news:

Market rebounds for boat builders

OCONTO — Waters have been choppy for many boat and yacht builders since the onset of the Great Recession nearly five years ago.

But builders that weathered the economic downturn are optimistic as the industry makes headway with increasing sales.

“The domestic market is definitely on the rebound,” said Mark Pedersen, president of KCS International Inc. “I think you’re seeing a lot of the used boat market cleaned up and new product is now what consumers are looking for.”

KCS International builds boats and yachts under the Cruisers, Rampage and Azure names

The Azure line — which KCS bought in February and moved from South Carolina to Oconto — rolled the first Wisconsin-produced boat off the production early last week.

With the addition of the Azure line, the company offers boats and yachts ranging from 22 to 59 feet.

The Chicago-based National Marine Manufacturers Association says retail sales of boats are growing for the first time in five years. It estimated the industry saw an 80 percent reduction in production in 2009.

“It’s a lot less bumpy than it was,” Pedersen said about the market outlook. “You still have your worldwide economy issues with what’s going on in Europe and how that affects the stock market and consumer confidence, but overall we feel 10 times better than we did two years ago about the marketplace.”

That’s a sentiment echoed by yacht builder Burger Boat Co. in Manitowoc.

“Around the first of the years things started to rebound and we’ve had the best inquiries we’ve had in the last several years,” said Ron Cleveringa, vice president of sales and marketing with Burger. “These are folks who have been looking to purchase a vessel for quite some time and are feeling a little more confident in the marketplace and the economy.”

Burger generally produces two to three yachts a year, but that number can move based on the size and type of vessels the company is working on.

“We continue to see the right kind of activity that leads us to believe we’re going to have several new contracts coming up in the very near future,” Cleveringa said.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association said the average age of boats was more than 20 years old, up from 15 years old in 1997.

Yacht and boat builders looked at any number of ways to diversify business when demand for the core product dropped.

KCS International sought out the Azure line to break into a new market of consumers — those boating on in-land and secondary waterways.

That segment of boater may someday opt up to one of the larger yachts produced by Cruisers.

“This product line … will give us market penetration in some of the areas we haven’t been in before,” Pedersen said.

Burger Boat Co. began doing new construction and refits for the commercial boat business.

Marquis Yachts in Pulaski began producing trailer-towed mobile offices using its existing boat building expertise and work force while a Michigan-based builder moved into producing fiberglass blades for wind turbines to augment its workload.

Cleveringa said Burger’s foray into commercial work has been — and continues to be — to be a key factor in helping stabilize the company’s work force.

“We’re actively pursuing additional commercial vessels,” he said.

Cruisers, Marquis and other area yacht builders have been players in the global market, a market that’s helped move business forward while the domestic economy sputtered.

“One market complements another” Pedersen said. “In this downturn the Canadian market has been really strong, China has been an emerging market we’ve done well in … When one market is down another is up.

“Being a worldwide boat manufacturer is a necessity these days,” he said.


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North Carolina fishing boat brings a rarity to Cape May’s Lobster House: Nearly 13,000 pounds of swordfish

CAPE MAY — Word was out — a transient fishing boat had hit a swordfish bonanza out in the Gulf Stream off Cape May and the North Carolina boat was coming to the Lobster House dock to unload.

The 60-foot Big Eye was loaded with almost 13,000 pounds of swordfish, 3,000 pounds of mahi mahi and 2,000 pounds of tuna. It found the hot spot 160 miles out and caught the fish in just six days. A previous trip got a similar load of fish, but it took 16 days. The boat wanted to unload and get back out fishing.

“We got some special fish because we got big fish. Nobody else has got them,” Big Eye Capt. Chris “Chompers” Hanson, 39, of Wanchese, N.C., said.

Hanson, who has been swordfishing for 14 years, and is featured on Discovery Channel’s “Swords: Life On The Line”, has seen the good days and the bad days. Friday was a good one for him and the Lobster House dock.

It’s a side of the commercial fishing industry the public doesn’t know much about. The Lobster House has its own boats, and buys some seafood for its fish market and restaurant patrons, but sometimes other boats, some from a long way away, fill their holds off the New Jersey coast and head to the nearest dock to unload, or as they call it, “pack out.” When they cash in, so does everybody else.

“It’s the trickle-down effect,” dock owner Keith Laudeman said.

A local trucker will haul the fish to market. The boat needs fuel, ice for freezing fish and food for its crew. There are handling fees, and the crew of the Big Eye will likely spend some money in the local economy.

On Friday morning, the dock was buzzing with activity as dockworkers hauled swordfish, the largest weighing an estimated 550 pounds, out of the Big Eye. Forklifts moved the fish around as workers iced them down. A refrigerated box truck came in to haul the fish to market.

A fish broker from Boston arrived to check out the catch and get ready to move it up a chain that will mean a healthy payday all around.

“By the time it gets to the plate, a dinner table or a restaurant, it could be six different hands going up the chain,” said Charlie DiPesa, who works for F.J. O’Hara Sons, the Boston wholesaler buying the catch.

The federal government says seafood will generally increase sixfold in value as it makes its way from boat to consumer. It can depend on the condition of the fish, the current market price and how much it gets moved around.

DiPesa said this catch will head to Boston on Sunday morning but some could be then be sold to markets in New York, Baltimore or Philadelphia. He could only give approximate values for Big Eye owner/operators Hanson and Anna Strawser, who will then dole out shares to the four members of the crew.

“It depends on the condition and the market. I’d say $5 to $6 per pound back to the boat for the swordfish, $3 a pound for the small tuna and $10 for the large tuna, and $3 to $3.25 for the mahi mahi,” said DiPesa.

At $6 a pound, the largest fish would be worth $3,300 to the Big Eye and almost $20,000 by the time it is eaten.

Fishermen will unload in their home port if they are fishing nearby. Swordfish have a pretty large range, heading south in winter and north in summer, so boats often unload in other ports. Hanson said he fishes as far south as Puerto Rico in the winter and north to the Grand Banks off New England in summer. He uses a method known as long-lining that employs lines of baited hooks set out from the vessel.

The scale wasn’t big enough to weigh the largest fish. Hanson said he had six swords over 400 pounds and 10 more than 200 pounds. The port of Barnegat Light has a swordfish fleet and is used to such sights. Hanson noted the Barnegat Light boat Frances Ann is also catching big swordfish offshore. But the port of Cape May doesn’t have a large long-line fleet and Laudeman said he hadn’t seen so many big swordfish since the 1970s. It drew other fishermen to the dock.

“It’s been 20 years since we saw fish like this,” Peter Hughes, of Atlantic Capes Fisheries, said as he took pictures on his cell phone.

Penny Rickenback, a Pennsylvania artist who comes to the dock in the mornings to paint watercolors, was also excited, though she said she has seen gigantic halibut unloaded from a boat in Alaska.

“I think it’s tremendously exciting. It’s amazing they still catch them that big,” Rickenback said.

That could be part of the swordfish success story. The fish was in trouble a quarter-century ago, due mostly to overfishing by other countries. Swordfish are caught by about 50 different countries and managed by an international body called ICCAT, or International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas. In 1987, the average swordfish caught was just 56 pounds and they don’t spawn until they reach at least 100 pounds. In 1991, spawning stocks were 40 percent of 1978 levels.

The U.S. was at the forefront of conservation efforts and now stocks are fully restored. U.S. catches are up 40 percent since 2006, though landings are still about 1,000 metric tons below the country’s 3,907 metric ton annual quota. A lot of boats stopped fishing for them during the lean years and have been slow to return.

Strawser said they would head back out as soon as they can get ready. She also said they wouldn’t hesitate to pack out here again.

“It’s a nice fish house — a really nice set-up,” she said.

Contact Richard Degener:

609-463-6711

RDegener@pressofac.com


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Budget-minded Boat Improvements that Increase Resell Value

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iBoats - Everything Boating

Salt Lake City, UT (PRWEB) May 12, 2012

Boating season has begun and replacing boat furniture this year is one of the best ways to increase the value and appeal of an older boat. Whether preparing to sell a used boat or simply looking for an economical way to get that new boat look and feel, officials at iboats.com say refurbishing a boat’s interior is the answer to save money and increase the value and enjoyment of an older boat. Whether selling or renovating, these boating professionals say upgrading the boat seats may be the perfect option for a boater on a budget.

For years, pontoon boat owners have been known for replacing entire seat layouts to revitalize older pontoon boats. However, this isn’t just an option for pontoon owners. In recent years quality marine seat manufacturers have begun to offer matching boat furniture pieces for bass boats, ski boats, offshore boats and many other boat styles. It is now a considerably easier process to replace old, faded, worn out boat seats by choosing from a wide selection of seat styles and colors.

Bruno Vassel, president of the online boating store iboats.com, which carries literally hundreds of different style replacement boat seats in numerous colors, says “iboats hosted an Ugly Boat Seat Contest a while ago, and from the many photos of ratty, old seats submitted and comments from boat owners, there is interest by boaters for an economical way to upgrade the look and functionality of their older boat, and installing new boat seats is the answer for both value and ease.”

As any Realtor will tell you, there are certain home improvements that can directly increase the home value. The same is true with boats. Boat seating is one of those features that can make or break the sale of a used boat. The layout, style, color and condition of the seats determine both the feel and function of the boat. Replacing seats that have been stepped on far too often can turn an old, worn out boat into one that will look and feel new to its next owner.

The U.S. Coast Guard reports over 17-million registered new and used boats in the United States, with approximately 81% of the boats being 5 years or older. According to Info-Link, which monitors the recreational boating industry, the average age of pre-owned boats has grown over the past few years from 15 to 20 years old.

Many first-time boaters would love to have a new boat to enjoy time on the water, but often that expense isn’t in the budget yet. Fortunately, new seating provides a new boat look and feel at a cost of hundreds, rather than thousands. Through years of use the foam padding in boat seats breaks down and a day boating becomes a day of sore backs and backsides. New marine grade seats use all virgin foam with high compression properties. Replacement seating options offer choices from ergonomic styles and high-back options for the best support and comfort.

Installing new seats on a boat is a fairly straightforward project that most boaters feel comfortable tackling as a do-it-yourself project. Different tools are required depending on the seat style being replaced, but typically the most advanced tool that is needed is an electric drill. There are many online resources to answer questions about installing boat seats, such as the iboats Forums.

Most of the aftermarket seat manufacturers, such as Wise, Attwood, Tempress and Garelick, also provide seats for boat builders. This means that aftermarket seats are equal, or sometimes even better in quality, to the original equipment seating. The top manufacturers use marine grade frames, foam, hardware and marine vinyl. The components and construction methods for replacement seats are the same as those used for new boat seats, but at very reasonable prices.

Replacing boat seats is the perfect way to keep an older boat looking sharp and remaining functional. Replacing old seats isn’t a tough job. For the boater on a budget, now is the time to think about replacing older seats, so the boating season can be enjoyed in comfort and style.

About iboats.com

iboats.com, located in Salt Lake City, Utah is a Internet company that focuses on building the sales and profits of marine retailers, and providing new and used boat information and classified listings and online shopping of boat parts and accessories to consumers. More information on iboats.com products and services is available at http://www.iboats.com.

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Fishing boat runs aground near Neah Bay

The operator called for help about 3:30 a.m. and said he had fallen asleep and that the 37-foot vessel was taking on water.

A 47-foot Coast Guard motor lifeboat from Neah Bay responded but was unable to pull alongside in the shallow water, so the three fishermen had to swim to the boat. They were checked paramedics on shore and released.

A Coast Guard spokesman, Chief Robert Lanier in Seattle, says no fuel leaked from the fishing boat. It did not sink and can be salvaged.


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