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Local Coast Guard in the News




June 15, 2010 - nj.com

Coast Guard says N.J. charter boats are safe, although rules vary

CAPE MAY — A Coast Guard inspection chief told the Press of Atlantic City that charter boats are safe, but the report said rules and regulations often vary by size.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported there were 630,000 party and charter boats in the state in 2006, and only 16 incidents were reported. While larger boats are required to be inspected, smaller charter boats are not, and many don't have to carry emergency radio beacons or life rafts, the report said. Excursion boats make up a $457 million industry in the state.

March 26, 2010 - Cape May County Herald.com

Putting "Safe" in Safe Catch

CAPE MAY-- The last man climbs over the rail of the fishing boat and with a swift leap he lands with his feet firmly planted on the deck to join the other three members of his team. Dressed in orange and black survival suits, they make their presence known. They quickly get to work by talking to the crew and checking the fishing and safety gear. Each man is focusing on their part and moving throughout the creaky boat with a sense of purpose.

This is just the first of many at-sea inspections that will be conducted by the members of the Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous’ boarding teams during their patrol. They are just one part of a bigger mission the Coast Guard is continuing to conduct along the coastlines of the Central Atlantic states until April 30, 2010 in support of the cold weather fishing season. It is called Operation Safe Catch.

Operation Safe Catch has a couple different aspects to it. One is the shore side aspect which includes local safety seminars geared towards fishermen and having Coast Guard commercial fishing vessel examiners that perform dockside exams and issue vessel inspection decals. The other aspect is the at-sea law enforcement.

The Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous, homeported in Cape May, N.J., and its crew is part of the operation’s at-sea side and is on patrol enforcing the commercial fisheries laws and regulations and performing safety inspections of the commercial fishing fleet off the coast of New Jersey.

The at-sea boarding teams are led by a boarding officer. He or she is in charge of how the inspection is conducted as well as the safety for the other members in their team.

“The boarding officer is the one who is leading the boarding team to make sure they are directing their efforts appropriately,” says Lt. j.g. Christopher O’Meara, a crewmember aboard the Vigorous and a boarding officer of 18 months. “For an inspection on a fishing vessel the team has to check the fishing gear, properly identify safety hazards and the different fish species and verify their quantities.”

These boardings act as a two-way street of information sharing. Not only is the Coast Guard team sharing information to the fishing boat crew regarding fishery law and regulation, but the fishing boat crew gives feedback on how the laws affect their fishing efforts.

“They can tell you whether or not certain policies are beneficial,” says O’Meara. “We take that information in and send it to Coast Guard commands to let them know how current policies are affecting the fishing fleet and if there is anything to consider.”

The two main purposes for conducting the at-sea boarding are the safety and stability of the fishing fleet and the protection of the living marine resources.

The safety and stability is monitored by checks the Coast Guard team makes on the fishing boat’s safety equipment including survival suits, life rafts and Emergency Positioning Indicating Radio Beacons and also the importance of hull condition, maintenance of critical machinery and equipment, vessel stability, and watertight integrity.

These safety checks can be made before the fishing boat leaves the dock by a Coast Guard commercial fishing vessel examiner at no charge to the fisherman by having a voluntary, no-fault Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Exam. This exam reduces the amount of items the Coast Guard at-sea teams inspect on the fishing boat.

“When they get that dockside examination done and then we conduct the boarding, we just check the major safety things and it eliminates some of the items checked because we know they had a dockside exam completed,” says Petty Officer 1st Class Stephen Miller, who has been a boarding officer on the Vigorous for 6 months. “The exams are not required but, the Coast Guard highly recommends it.”

When the dockside inspection is complete the Coast Guard inspector will issue an inspection decal showing that the vessel has completed a satisfactory vessel dockside examination and was found to be in full compliance with all applicable federal commercial fishing vessel safety regulations. The decal is valid for a period of one year from the date of issue.

“By a fisherman choosing to go through with a voluntary dockside exam and as long as the inspection decal is current we go aboard and check one or two things to verify the gear is still good,” says O’Meara. “It saves us time and saves him time but most importantly it gives him the peace of mind before he even leaves the dock his boat is in good shape.”
In preparation for Vigorous’ Northeast fisheries patrol the command has sent some of its members to specialized training centers.

“We’ve sent four people to the Northeast Regional Fishery Training Center located in Cape Cod, Mass.,” says Cmdr. Brendan McPherson, commanding officer of the Vigorous and a native of Bradley Beach, N.J. “That provides them with the training and experience of conducting living marine resource enforcement. That includes both checking safety equipment to examining the different species and what are the right rules and regulations.”

Since March 1, 2010 was the opening of the scallop season there is an added importance of the presence of the Vigorous and its crew needed to enforce fishing laws and regulations.

“We’re seeing a lot of scallop boats out here,” says McPherson. “Our job will be to get aboard and make sure whatever fisheries they are involved in are being conducted in accordance with the rules and regulations. That helps protect that fish species so there is future opportunities for that species in the region.”

To carry out these at-sea boardings the Vigorous and its crew uses different resources aboard the cutter as well as Coast Guard support from land.

“We use different tools that are at our disposal including our helicopter aboard, air support from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J., and even air support from Coast Guard Air Stations all the way north as Cape Cod and as far south as Elizabeth City, N.C.,” says McPherson.

These aircraft are used to survey the fishing areas.

“That helps us determine where the fishing fleet is and what they are fishing for,” says McPherson. “Then we will go out and come in contact with the fishermen in that area and make a determination of a boarding by need.”

McPherson says there are some factors taken into consideration to determine whether or not a fishing boat is boarded.

“It comes down to the weather conditions, what vessels you have available, when the last time is they have been boarded and the likely hood there may be an issue with their safety or the fisheries that are being conducted,” says McPherson.

Another item that is one of the determining factors is the inspection decal the fishing boat may have if the captain chooses to have a Coast Guard dockside Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Exam.

“One thing we look for is if they have the vessel inspection decal,” says McPherson. “If they have the decal and it was just issued we have the assurance the vessel is safe. If I have another vessel that doesn’t have that decal I don’t have those same assurances. Given the choice between the two I’m probably going to board the vessel that doesn’t have the decal.”

These at-sea boardings and dockside inspections stress the importance of safety and how it can affect the fishing fleet.

“Having the dockside exam and maintaining the integrity of the inspection is the most important thing that is going to preserve the fishing fleet,” says O’Meara. “The ship’s stability is one of the most important aspects of the survivability of the fishing fleet.”

O’Meara mentions how the stability of the fishing fleet impacts the fishing community.

“We have a substantial fishing fleet in Cape May and we have had losses of life this past year in the fishing industry,” says O’Meara. “I think that highlights the importance of the fishing and safety gear. It is a tight knit community and it affects everyone when you lose a shipmate.”

A reality that has to do with one of Coast Guard’s primary and oldest missions: The protection and safety of lives at sea.

The dockside and at-sea boardings are a way the Coast Guard is able to carry that mission out on the high seas and ensure the fishing fleet is safe and fishermen have resources they need to carry out their dangerous job.

“That’s what Operation Safe Catch is about, identifying potential hazards, removing them and increasing the knowledge of the fishermen,” says McPherson.


March 22, 2010 - Asbury Park Press APP.com

Kayakers rescued by emergency helicopters after capsizing


BASS RIVER — A Voorhees couple kayaking along the Wading River capsized Sunday evening, forcing a 2 1/2 hour search and rescue effort by U.S. Coast Guard and New Jersey State Police helicopters.
After Stanley Levin, 62, and Amy Goldman, 56, capsized, the kayak was swept downstream, and Goldman swam ashore and called 911, police said.

She was picked up in the woods by a State Police helicopter from Tuckerton and transported by the Great Bay Regional First Aid squad to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Pomona.

By 8 p.m., a Coast Guard helicopter from the Air Station Atlantic City was dispatched to join in the efforts to locate Levin, who had been walking to find safety after swimming ashore.

The rescue helicopter arrived on scene to find Levin in the woods downstream. He was taken to the Coast Guard's Atlantic City air station then transferred to AtlantiCare in Pomona, where he was treated for hypothermia before being released Monday.

"He was in a severely hypothermic state and was in need of immediate evacuation," said Lt. Paul Laroche, a pilot at Air Station Atlantic City.


March 16, 2010 - Cape May County Herald.com

Villas Man Identified As Victim of Fatal Boating Accident

By Harry B. Scheeler Jr.

CORBIN CITY-- A 9 foot aluminum row boat capsized with two people onboard here on the Tuckahoe river on Monday, March 15, at 9:12 p.m., according to state police detective Brian Polite.

John Carey, 23 of Corbin City made it safely to shore, he said. Alexander Morales-Gonzalez, 25 of Villas, was unable to swim to shore. Search and Rescue units from the Upper Township Rescue Squad responded to the scene to search for Gonzalez, Polite said.

With the assistance of a US Coast Guard helicopter Gonzalez was located and recovered in cardiac arrest. Upper Township EMT's performed CPR and transported Gonzalez to Shore Memorial hospital in Somers Point where despite their efforts Gonzalez was pronounced dead, Polite said.

Carey who was uninjured was lodged in the Cape May County Jail on outstanding warrants.

The Tuckahoe Fire Department also responded to the scene with additional departments from Dennis Twp.

Members of the State Police Marnie Unit responded to the scene with troopers from Buena and Woodbine stations.

The incident remains under investigation by the State Police Major Crimes Unit.

March 09, 2010 - Coast Guard News (coastguardnews.com)

Coast Guard crew assist 4 near Atlantic Ciy

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – The Coast Guard assisted four people 12 miles east of Atlantic City who were aboard a 45-foot boat that was disabled and adrift Monday.
The Coast Guard received a call at 5:45 p.m. from a crewmember aboard the Ms. Mary reporting their boat was disabled, adrift and having stability issues due to generators not functioning properly

A rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Atlantic City arrived on scene and took the Ms. Mary and its crew in tow and moored them safely at Gardners Basin in Atlantic City.


February 17, 2010 - Coast Guard News (coastguardnews.com)

Coast Guard Cutter Dependable to return home after 41-day patrol

CAPE MAY, N.J. – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Dependable is scheduled to return to their homeport of Cape May Friday at 11 a.m. after a 41-day patrol in the Caribbean Sea.

While on patrol, the Dependable’s crew was tasked with enforcing international laws and treaties, as well as coordinating the efforts of several surface and air assets.

The Coast Guard was the first U.S. agency on scene following the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti Jan. 12. Coast Guard crews provided initial response and first aid to Haitians.

The Dependable’s crew arrived shortly after the earthquake and was tasked with patrolling the coast of Haiti to ensure the safety of Haitian lives at sea. The Dependable’s crew repatriated the first 78 Haitian migrants interdicted at sea since the earthquake. The 78 Haitian migrants were rescued by the Royal Bahamian Defence Force, transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton, and then transferred to the Dependable before repatriation in Cap Haitien, Haiti.

Once aboard Coast Guard cutters, all migrants received food, water, shelter and necessary medical treatment.

The Dependable is a 210-foot medium-endurance cutter.

January 29, 2010 - Shore News Today

Coast Guard Training Center commander advanced to Rear Admiral

Staff Writer

CAPE MAY – The ongoing efforts to help the people of Haiti loomed large at a ceremony for the advancement of US Coast Guard Training Center Commander Cari B. Thomas to Rear Admiral (lower half) on Friday, Jan. 22.
That may not be surprising for a branch of the armed services in which rescue is a major component.
But family, dedication and the chance to redeem yourself were also major themes.
Thomas is the third recent female commander of the training center to be advanced to a flag officer. She remains the commanding officer of the training center, which provides basic training for all Coast Guard recruits in the nation, although it is expected that there will be a change of command in the spring.
In front of a capacity crowd at an auditorium on the Coast Guard base, Vice Admiral David Pekoske, the vice commandant of the Coast Guard, heaped praise on Thomas, on her abilities as a commander and her hard work and enthusiasm.
He said her next step is the six-week CAPSTONE training course with chiefs from the other branches of the service, which will include travel within the United States and overseas to get a wide picture of the world situation.
Friday’s ceremony at the Coast Guard base was not a promotion, but what Pekoske described as a frocking ceremony. It will mean Thomas may wear the symbols of her new rank, including what he described as an extra line of scrambled eggs for her cap, but her promotion, and the change in pay grade that makes it official, will not go into effect until there is a vacancy among the Coast Guard flag officers.
Her family, including her husband, Cmdr. Gary Thomas, her daughter Andi Thomas, and her mother, Kay Batson, attended the ceremony, and came up to pin Thomas’ new rank insignia on her shoulders. They also received a flag from Pekoske, which will be flown when she visits bases or vessels; hence the term ‘flag officers.’
Thomas greeted Coast Guard recruits completing their training who were set to graduate with particular honors. But she told the other members of that graduating class of recruits that they should still strive to do great things in the service.
She read a letter from her mother from when she was in the Coast Guard academy, and did not seem destined to excel in the service. In the letter, her mother lambasted her for failing to apply herself, saying that she had one last chance.
Thomas said she was not always as strong as she is now.
“Don’t worry if you didn’t get an award today. As you heard, I didn’t get many awards, either,” she told the recruits.
Her mother said the moral was to never to write your kids at school.
Thomas’ husband commands the nearby Loran Support Unit, but attended the ceremony in civilian clothes. He had said in a previous interview that he hopes their next assignment is together, possibly in Washington.
During Thomas’ comments, she showed a piece of Haitian art, and said she had spent many hours with Haitians, including on deck when immigrants had been interdicted and were being returned to the island nation.
She said every Haitian she had ever met had carried her or himself with dignity. She asked all those attending to keep the Haitians and the rescuer workers in their thoughts and prayers.
She said the work going on in Haiti, and the Coast Guard mission, should be a source of pride.
“Saving lives, putting bad guys in jail, saving the environment, it really makes you feel pride in our service, and pride in our nation,” she said.
Numerous officials from the local and state level attended the event, along with community members, former and current Coast Guard staff, and members of the other services.
Pekoske praised the work that takes place in Cape May, and said it was time that the training center had a flag officer in command.

January 17, 2010 - Cape May County Herald.com

Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous To Return Home From Patrol

CAPE MAY-- The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous is scheduled to return Thursday to its homeport of Cape May after a five-week law enforcement patrol in the Florida Straits and the Caribbean Sea.

After waving goodbye to family and friends on Dec. 3, 2009, the crew of the Vigorous sailed south to patrol around the southeastern U.S. to interrupt illegal migration and drug smuggling activities.

“Smugglers don’t take a holiday and neither can we,” said Cmdr. Brendan McPherson, the commanding officer of the Vigorous. “It’s been a very busy and productive patrol, but now we look forward to celebrating a belated holiday season with our families and friends.”

The crew of the Vigorous assisted in the interdiction, humanitarian care and repatriation of 45 Cuban migrants attempting to enter the U.S. illegally aboard two separate vessels over the holidays. Four suspected smugglers were also arrested and turned over to agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency for investigation and potential prosecution. The crew of the Vigorous also conducted extensive training at sea during the patrol including several days of helicopter operations and small boat exercises.

The crew of the Vigorous spent the last week of the patrol taking part in Operation Southeast Watch in support of U.S. government efforts in response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti Jan. 12. They joined hundreds of other Coast Guard men and women aboard six other cutters and more aircraft to provide humanitarian relief and disaster response in the wake of the largest recorded earthquake to hit the region. The crew of the Vigorous was strategically positioned to provide assistance, if needed, and deter illegal migration before being relieved by another cutter.

“The U.S. Coast Guard has a long history of working with the Haitian people and its coast guard,” McPherson said. “Hundreds of Coast Guard men and women are now in the region providing rescue and medical assistance and hundreds more are on the way. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and the thousands of victims of this devastating disaster.”

The crew of the Vigorous, a 210-foot medium endurance cutter, routinely patrol the waters off the Atlantic seaboard and in the Caribbean Sea to carry out a wide range of missions, including search and rescue, homeland security, maritime law enforcement and ports, waterways and coastal security.

January 21, 2010 - Press of Atlantic City pressofatlanticity.com

As Coast Guard shuts down Loran, site of Cape facility eyed for piping plover nesting

LOWER TOWNSHIP — The U.S. Coast Guard’s Loran radio navigation center here has helped mariners and aviators navigate safely for more than six decades. It may soon help breed piping plovers.

That’s the hope of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which wants to acquire 520 coastal acres here at the southern tip of Two-Mile Beach, where the U.S. Coast Guard has operated its Loran network since 1947.

The Wildlife Service took over 550 acres of the base in 1999 and used it to create the Two-Mile Beach Unit of the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge.

With the Coast Guard getting ready to scuttle its Loran system under a budgetary move announced by President Barack Obama’s administration last year, the base will close for good sometime this year. The service is considering doubling the size of the refuge, as the law allows another federal agency to have first crack at unused land.

“We’ve made our interest known. It’s the only closed beach and only protection for nesting shorebirds for 40 miles from Cape May to Atlantic City. It’s extremely important to them,” said Howard Schlegel, manager of the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge.

Schlegel said nests of the endangered piping plover already have been spotted on the Coast Guard property and it is a key spot for many other shorebirds.

Such habitat also is important for migrating songbirds who suffer something ornithologists have dubbed “the coastal effect.” Songbirds migrating between the tropics and Canada often get blown out to sea. Those that make it back to shore have a better chance of survival if some wild habitat is nestled between the condominiums and the gravel yards along the highly developed shoreline.

What comes next

The General Services Administration will decide what to do with the site. In 1998, it received more than 50 requests when the Coast Guard vacated half the property, including one from the township to create a fire station.

Cmdr. Gary M. Thomas, who will serve as the last commanding officer of the Loran Support Unit, said the bill terminating the program allows the Coast Guard to at least recover the costs of decommissioning it. After that, other federal agencies are offered the property at no charge. If there is no interest, then state and local governments get a chance, Thomas said.

If the Wildlife Service gets the property, Schlegel said, the beach would be closed from April 1 to Sept. 30 for the piping plovers, but would have public access for the rest of the site. The Two-Mile Beach Unit has a parking lot, visitor contact center, maintenance building and walkways that are accessible to the disabled, and there are plans to build a wildlife viewing platform, Schlegel said.

The service probably would want to demolish the buildings that are part of the Loran Support Unit. The 625-foot-high Loran antenna, one of the tallest objects on the southern New Jersey coast, and one decorated by the Coast Guard personnel at Christmas, also may go, because it could pose a threat to migrating birds, Schlegel said.

Along with another 40 acres the service acquired in 2004 near Middle Thorofare Bridge, it would give the service well more than 1,000 acres that could revert to a coastal maritime forest.

“This would be really adding to what we’ve been trying to do at Two-Mile Beach and certainly a positive for the shorebirds,” Schlegel said.

End of an era

Thomas’ 24-year Coast Guard career has included two stints commanding the Loran unit. Thomas is a little sad about the demise of Loran, which is giving way to satellite GPS systems. The Coast Guard is expected save about $36 million per year.

Thomas said personnel who first turned on the signal more than six decades ago will be invited Feb. 8 to turn it off. The Loran system sends out radio signals that vessels and ships use to fix exact positions over water using a geometric triangulation system.

“It’s sad for me from a historical position. I see it as a passing of time when a bunch of guardians stood watch from Pacific islands to the far ends of Alaska,” Thomas said.

The first system, Loran A, helped win World War II by guiding ships and aircraft. Planes could carry more bombs and less fuel with an accurate guidance system. The planes that dropped the atomic bombs on Japan used it.

“It’s considered one of the top 10 technologies of World War II,” Thomas said.

After the war, Loran C was used by commercial aviation, shipping, the fishing industry and many other interests. There is talk of using a more advanced eLoran system as a GPS backup, but nothing has been decided.

The base here will be the last one to shut down, as it oversaw 24 smaller U.S. Loran stations — many in remote, desolate areas such as a small atoll at the far end of the Hawaiian island chain.

Thomas said the U.S. stations would all shut down by Feb. 19, and within three months, five in Canada would close.

The base opened several decades after Turtle Gut Inlet was filled in, connecting Two-Mile Beach to the Wildwoods, and at one point it had about 250 workers. Since GPS began in 1993, the base has shrunk. Thomas said there are only 45 workers now. The 39 Coast Guard workers will be transferred, but six civilian jobs will be lost.

The base opened on a remote beach used for cattle grazing in the 18th century, a lifesaving station in the 19th century and a “tent city” of sorts in the 20th century. Those seeking a cheap shore vacation came here and stayed in tents, swimming, fishing and camping.

Active and retired Coast Guard personnel still use the beach for recreation, but Schlegel warned that would change if the service acquires it.

“There are too many public beaches in the area in my mind to justify a specific set aside for Coast Guard personnel to use. Just to the north is a free beach,” Schlegel said.

Thomas said he already has received inquires from Coast Guard personnel about the use of the beach. He also noted the Coast Guard allowed public access to anglers fishing off the jetty at Cold Spring Inlet.

January 10, 2010 - nj.com

Coast Guard helicopter rescues man lost in the woods in Atlantic County

HAMMONTON -- The Coast Guard rescued a 53-year-old man who was lost in the woods near Hammonton on Saturday. He was not injured.

The Coast Guard received a call at 6:10 p.m. from a member of the Egg Harbor City Police Department asking for assistance in rescuing a man lost in the woods.

A New Jersey State Police helicopter crew located the man, but was unable to hoist him. A rescue helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station in Atlantic City arrived and was able to pull the man aboard.

He was taken to the Atlantic City International Airport in Pomona and transferred to awaiting emergency medical personnel. His name was not released, and it was not clear how he became lost in the woods


December 30, 2009 - theday.com

Happy 100th, CGA

As the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, one of the region's best-known institutions and most recognizable landmarks, prepares to celebrate 100 years in New London, we join the congratulatory chorus and encourage the public to join in the festivities.

"I do think that we have so much to offer the community, and it's important for the community to understand the goodness that goes on here and the benefit we provide the nation," Rear Adm. J. Scott Burhoe, academy superintendent, said this week.

Starting next month and continuing throughout 2010 there will be a series of special ceremonies, musical performances and exhibits that will pay tribute to the academy, which traces its New London roots to 1910, when the War Department turned over historic Fort Trumbull to the Revenue Cutter Service, the Coast Guard's predecessor. The maritime services were consolidated in 1915 and the school was renamed the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. It moved to its present site in 1932.

From its modest origins the academy has grown into one of the nation's most respected educational institutions. In addition to striving for academic excellence, the academy stresses character, leadership and service, and the community benefits from numerous contributions by cadets who embrace these qualities.

Every cadet must complete eight hours of community service each semester, and by most accounts they typically exceed that requirement by volunteering at nursing homes, mentoring students and cleaning up local parks.

The community benefits in other ways - by attending free U.S. Coast Guard Band concerts at the academy's Leamy Auditorium, as well as lectures, sporting events and other public activities, or simply by enjoying the sight of the training barque Eagle, with cadets aboard, sailing in and out of New London Harbor.

So happy anniversary, Coast Guard Academy, and we hope the school will continue to be an asset to the city, the state and the nation for a long time to come.

December 24, 2009 - Press of Atlantic City pressofatlanticity.com

Coast Guard identifies missing fishermen By DAN GOOD, Staff Writer

Coast Guard members are continuing to search the waters off the coast of Long Beach Island for two missing fishermen whose boat sank.

The missing fishermen are William Brown Jr. and Joseph Bell of Newport News, Va.

A third man on the boat, Robert Mark Cooper of Point Pleasant, Ocean County, was rescued by the Coast Guard and flown to the hospital.

According to U.S. Coast Guard authorities, the men were aboard the 38-foot fishing boat Alisha Marie -- when the boat was hit by a wave and capsized at about 7 p.m. Wednesday, 26 1/2 miles east of Barnegat Inlet.

Coast Guard crews found Cooper in a life raft and airlifted him to the Regional Trauma Unit at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City.

Cooper was speaking and responsive, and he told the Coast Guard he was the only person to get into the raft. The boat is based out of Point Pleasant. Crews from North Carolina, Barnegat Light, Manesquan Inlet and Atlantic City are assisting in the search.

There's no word on whether the missing boaters were wearing survival suits. According to Greg Heavener, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, Thursday's water temperature off the coast of Long Beach Island was 47 degrees.This has been a difficult year for New Jersey's commercial fishing community. Last month, three North Carolina fishermen aboard the Sea Tractor drowned off the coast of Cape May.

In March, the Lady Mary sank off Cape May, taking the lives of six fishermen.

December 14, 2009 - Press of Atlantic City pressofatlanticity.com

Coast Guard rescues injured man from boat off Cape May

CAPE MAY - The U.S. Coast Guard rescued a 29 year-old man with a medical problem from a fishing vessel 60 miles off the coast of Cape May on Monday morning.

The emergency call came in at about 9:18 a.m. from a crew member of the Endurance, a 107-foot boat from New Bedford, Mass., that one of its workers, Brian Amaral, was experiencing internal bleeding from a peptic ulcer, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Jonathan Lindberg said.

A rescue boat crew from the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Cape May was sent out and, Amaral was brought back to the station at about 2:30 p.m., Lindberg said. Amaral was then sent to Cape Regional Medical Center to be treated in the emergency room.

December 13, 2009 - delawareonline (www.delawareonline.com)

Delaware Bay: Ferry stranded on the way to Cape May

The Coast Guard is investigating an incident that left the Cape May-Lewes Ferry stranded Thursday night. While traveling between Delaware and New Jersey, the ferry vessel hit soft bottom and got stuck, Coast Guard spokeswoman and Petty Officer Ann Marie Gorden said.
Anytime the ferry hits bottom, officials are required to file an incident report to the Coast Guard. The agency investigates the incident. Gorden said the Coast Guard had not yet received all of the paperwork from the ferry.
The Press of Atlantic City reported that there were 35 people on board when it became stuck at about 9 p.m. while traveling from Lewes to Cape May. The ferry was scheduled to arrive in New Jersey at 9:15 p.m. It was the last ferry of the day.
The ferry became stuck when the tide went out, lowering the water level, the Press of Atlantic City reported. When the water level increased later, the ferry was able to move and continue to the shore. Passengers were allowed to disembark at 11 p.m., the newspaper reported.
The ferry, which began running in 1964, can carry 100 vehicles and 1,000 passengers between the two shores. The ferry is operated by the Delaware River and Bay Authority, a cooperative funded by Delaware and New Jersey.

November 26, 2009 - Press of Atlantic City pressofatlanticity.com

Coast Guard airlifts man from fishing boat off A.C.

ATLANTIC CITY - A man suffering symptoms of a possible heart attack was airlifted from a boat 85 miles off the city's coast Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

A crew member from the 51-foot Miss Shauna, based in New Bedford, Mass., called the Coast Guard at 2:13 p.m. to report a 30-year-old man was having symptoms, the Coast Guard said. A helicopter crew from Air Station Atlantic City airlifted the man to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, Md.

The man, whose name was not released, is now in stable condition, the Coast Guard said.


November 23, 2009 - The Philadelphia Inquirer

On the job, she's minding the sea

By Linda Loyd Inquirer Staff Writer

Capt. Meredith Austin is the first female commander of the U.S. Coast Guard of the Delaware Bay based in Philadelphia.

Austin, on the job since June, is responsible for everything that happens on water between Harrisburg and 200 miles into the Atlantic Ocean, from the Shark River near Asbury Park to Cape May, and all of Delaware.

She oversees 756 Coast Guard members in 22 stations and on five Coast Guard cutters. The job of the Coast Guard is "very much firehouse," she says. "On a daily basis we deal with things that are planned and unplanned." It can be freezing weather and ice jams, hurricanes and high riptides, VIPs on a ship that require security patrols, boating accidents, ship inspections.

When a brick of cocaine washed up near Sea Girt recently, police asked what to do. "We were able to tell them, 'Here are the numbers to call.' We know that events will happen, and so we're not going to sit back and be surprised by them."

Question: How do you handle ship security?

Answer: When ships are 96 hours out, they have to let us know, "Hey we're coming in. Here's where we've been. Here's the owner of our company" detailing the ship's cargo and names of crew members. The information is sent to a national center. They crunch all the data and send it to us.

From that, we determine if the vessel needs to be boarded prior to coming to port, or if we are going to let it in at all. It's not just security. If the ship has navigational issues, like its radar is not working, or the steering. Typically, if there's a safety issue we say, "Stop at the anchorage further south on the bay and repair it."

Q: These are not terrorist problems?

A: No, they are mechanical safety issues, and sometimes things just break. We physically get on the ship before it gets to the port, in the anchorage. We'll send a team. Every day we are boarding something for some reason.

Q: How has security changed since the 2001 terror attacks?

A: Prior to 9/11 it was probably 4 percent of our time, and now it's on par with search and rescue. We have a huge emphasis on security and safety of the port.

Q: What is the Coast Guard's mandate for security, safety, environmental protection, and commerce?

A: Federal laws and regulations give the Coast Guard responsibility for maritime security, for environmental protection. We are not responsible for commerce, but it is our role to facilitate commerce. So there's a balance between security needs and making sure business can go on.

Q: What is the Coast Guard's role?

A: We have 11 mission areas that include search and rescue, ports, waterways, and coastal security. To make sure that bad guys don't try to use a vessel or try to sneak in. Sometimes it could be a ship that we want protected.

Aids to navigation - the little buoys in the water up and down the river. Ships use them to steer by.

In the winter, we do some ice breaking so that ships can get up and down the river. We respond to oil and chemical spills, and get the people responsible to clean it.

We inspect commercial vessels for safety. We investigate accidents, if someone goes aground, if there's a problem with a mariner, if there's a fight on board. We are responsible for waterways management - if people want to have a fireworks display, or a boat race, they have to get a permit from us.

Q: What is the biggest part of your job?

A: Facilitating relationships between the different port players. We're neutral ground here. We have to make sure each voice is heard. Some of the hats I wear give me statutory authority - it's what I say. But I'm not going to do it in a vacuum because it affects a lot of interests, a lot of moving pieces. I bring people in. I ask for opinions. At the end of the day, someone is going to make the call, and that will be me.

But if there is more than one way to do something, I've recognized over the years the right way is to try to build consensus.

Q: How do you manage your day?

A: It changes. On a daily basis you assess the risks out there. Today the risk might be the wind blowing 50 miles an hour and there are really big seas and we know boats are out fishing. Every day it's, "OK, what are the biggest risks today?" It's usually not singly focused. So it's just constantly rejiggering the portfolio.

Q: Have women been captains of ports for long?

A: No. The Coast Guard Academy first allowed women in 1976. When I graduated in 1985 there were 16 women in my class out of 190. Women began entering the Coast Guard in appreciable numbers, probably in the mid-1980s. We're now working our way through. It takes 20-something years to grow a captain. We have five women admirals. About 13 percent of the Coast Guard are women.

Q: Did you always want to go into the Coast Guard?

A: No, I had no idea. This sounds silly but I wanted to be a pilot. I wanted to fly helicopters. Clearly, I've changed my mind over the years. I applied to the three military academies. I could have gone to West Point, too, but I preferred the Coast Guard's mission - search and rescue, safety, pollution.

Q: Is the Coast Guard concerned about safety and welfare of seafarers?

A: Absolutely. We work very closely with the Seamen's Church Institute of Philadelphia and the terminals where ships dock so it's possible for escorts to take these folks off to go shopping, use the phone, Internet, whatever. "You pull into these ports, and if you can't get off the ship, it's a hardship."
Job: Captain, U.S. Coast Guard of the Delaware Bay.

Personal: Age 46; lives in Cherry Hill; single.

Distinction: Graduate, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 1985; one of 33 female Coast Guard captains.

Background: Grew up in Pomona, N.Y.; earned master's degree in public health in industrial hygiene, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Pastime: Arts and crafts shows.

Best kept secret: Likes to make candy - chocolate truffles for 50. Usually bakes at Christmastime for her staff.

November 17, 2009 - Cape May County Herald.com

Coast Guard Launches New Training Program

By: Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Lindberg

CAPE MAY-- Fast paced steps echo down the halls. The noise of recruits sounding off as they file through the doors to Munro Hall is drowned out by company commanders barking orders at them. The nervous recruits march in step up to the second deck and swiftly make their way to the squad bay.

The sights, sounds and experiences of boot camp at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, are something nearly everyone in the Coast Guard can relate to. Whether you are active duty or reserve nearly everyone’s story starts here. For some reservists a new story is being started by the start of a new program.

The Direct Enlisted Petty Officer Training program is a 20-day accelerated recruit training program designed to replace the 12-day Reserve Enlisted Basic Indoctrination, which trained civilians and prior service members for reserve duty, and the Prior Service Training Program, which trained prior service members for active duty. This decision came after review and feedback regarding the preparedness of graduates from the two programs.

“We found through evaluations, interviews, talking to senior staff members and to recent graduates of the REBI program that it wasn’t quite meeting the needs of the Coast Guard,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Sinclair, instruction design chief of the DEPOT program at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May.

To meet the needs a new curriculum had to be constructed that would contain the necessary Enlisted Professional Military Education qualifications that could fit in the 20-day training schedule.

“Essentially we have trimmed all the fat off the schedule,” said Sinclair. “If it is not required for EPME or by Commandant Instruction it is not in the curriculum.”

DEPOT recruits are still required to attend seamanship classes, pass the physical fitness assessment and the swim assessment. They work from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day with the exception of divine hours on Sunday to get all the needed requirements completed. On top of the training the recruits must also complete the Apprentice Leadership Program, which is an entry level leadership program that is going to be taught at all the schools Coast Guard members attend for initial career training.

“This was an additional 24 hours of instruction that we had to add into the already jam packed schedule.” said Sinclair.

The combining of two training programs into one will benefit the Coast Guard not just by creating more effective training but also by cutting back on resources.

This program will allow the Coast Guard to save money on resources such as company commanders, drill halls and classrooms. Recruits are going to be exposed to more military discipline and instruction than they have in the past programs, said Steve Whitehead, a retired Coast Guard master chief and former company commander now a member of the instructional design staff at Training Center Cape May.

The first DEPOT Company graduated on Oct. 23, 2009, and like each program in its early stages it is going to see some changes along the way.

“There is going to be some vast differences in what this class saw and what the next class is going to see,” said Chief Petty Officer Judd Reno, lead company commander of the first DEPOT Company and the next one scheduled for Jan. 2010. “For all the company commanders and the staff here, we are going to have to stay flexible and see how this program develops.”

The seven members of the first DEPOT Company may be one of the smallest companies ever to graduate at Cape May, but they are proof how the Coast Guard’s adapting and evolving its training.

November 13, 2009 - nj.com

Coast Guard suspends search for 3 fishermen lost off Cape May STAR-LEDGER STAFF

Joe Rose was sitting in the wheelhouse of his fishing boat at a dock in Cape May Wednesday night when he heard the familiar crackle of his VHF radio.

Like any alert fisherman, Rose's attention was piqued when he heard Coast Guard officials talking about an emergency distress signal they had just received from a boat in trouble.

When they said the name of the boat, his heart sank.The Sea Tractor. His brother's boat.

"It was devastating. It really was," Rose, 62, said of the radio transmission.

Coast Guard officials said the Sea Tractor, a 44-foot fishing boat, sank Wednesday night in the Atlantic Ocean, 20 miles east of Cape May, in big seas and high winds. Coast Guard rescue crews spent the night and most of yesterday searching the rough, chilly waters for the three men aboard the Sea Tractor: Kenneth Rose Sr., 74; his son Kenneth Jr., 49; and crewman Larry Forrest, 55, all from North Carolina.

Late yesterday afternoon, the Coast Guard ended its search for the three men. There are no plans to resume searching this morning, when conditions are expected to be even worse, a Coast Guard spokeswoman said. Seas were topping 20 feet in the search area, with winds gusting to 55 mph yesterday.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Crystalynn Kneen said search teams covered 387 square miles in poor visibility before suspending the search shortly after 5 p.m.

The Coast Guard received a transmission from the Sea Tractor's emergency position-indicating radio beacon at 7:35 p.m. Wednesday, indicating it was in distress, Petty Officer Jonathan Lindberg said earlier yesterday. A rescue helicopter from Atlantic City arrived at the site an hour later and found an empty life raft with a strobe light attached.

Another fishing boat, the Capt. Jeff, went to the scene to help and found a debris field, including a cooler and the Sea Tractor's emergency radio beacon, Lindberg said.

November 12, 2009 - The Philadelphia Inquirer

Coast Guard searching for three missing boaters

U.S. Coast Guard crews last night were searching for three missing persons after their fishing boat sank in stormy waters near Cape May, authorities said.
The 44-foot vessel "Sea Tractor" was 20 miles east of Cape May when it sent out an automatic distress signal at 7:35 p.m., said Petty Officer Crystal Kneen.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew was dispatched and found only an empty life raft when it arrived at the boat's last known location, Kneen said.

Two helicopter crews continued to search the waters and two Coast Guard cutters were on their way to join the rescue operation, she said. - Robert Moran

November 09, 2009 - NorthJersey.com

Coast Guard rescues 5 as boat takes on water off Cape May

CAPE MAY — Five people aboard a 30-foot boat were rescued by the Coast Guard after it started taking on water near the southern New Jersey coast. A crew member aboard the Drifter called the Coast Guard around 2:45 p.m. Saturday, reporting that the troubled boat was about two miles south of Cape May.

Two Coast Guard rescue boat crews soon responded to the scene, and one got a pump to the Drifter, whose crew members were able to control the flood-ing. The second Coast Guard crew then towed the Drifter to Cape May Harbor.

No injuries were reported, authorities said.

November 01, 2009 - nj.com

By The Associated Press
November 02, 2009, 5:53AM

Coast Guard resumes hearing in Cape May on scallop-boat sinking

CAPE MAY -- The Coast Guard today will resume its investigation into the sinking of a scallop boat off southern New Jersey that killed six.The Lady Mary sank 60 miles off the coast here. The Coast Guard has said an incorrectly recorded beacon number from the Lady Mary delayed notification of rescue personnel as the boat foundered off Cape May.The Lady Mary sank 60 miles off the coast of Cape May. The Coast Guard searched for over 37 hours for the boat.Only one of the seven fisherman on board survived by jumping overboard and clinging to a piece of wood in the ocean for hours, until being rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter.

November 01, 2009 - delawareonline (www.delawareonline.com)

Coast Guard rescues 3 from capsized boat

Three people were rescued Sunday after their 32-foot boat capsized in the mouth of the Delaware Bay. The Coast Guard said the crew of the Lady Jane called about 9 a.m., saying they were taking on water at a fast rate and needed help.By the time a Coast Guard boat from Cape May arrived at the scene two miles south of Cape May Point, the Lady Jane had capsized and the three people were sitting on the partially submerged hull.The boat was being recovered by Sea Tow, the Coast Guard reported.

October 22, 2009 - Press of Atlantic City pressofatlanticity.com

Coast Guard to reconvene Lady Mary hearing in November

CAPE MAY - The Coast Guard in November will reconvene its inquiry into the sinking of the Lady Mary, the scallop boat that went down in March and killed six Cape May County fishermen.Officials want to know why the boat sank 65 miles off Cape May.

The hearing was postponed in May, partially to allow investigators more time to gather evidence from the wreck site, which is in 210 feet of water.In early October, the Coast Guard and a U.S. Navy dive team went to the Lady Mary and retrieved "key pieces of evidence," including the rudder, according to the Coast Guard. The rudder, which the Coast Guard called the most important piece of evidence, and other items will undergo laboratory tests with the help of the National Transportation Safety Board.

Earlier this year, a seven-member volunteer dive team took images of the Lady Mary, spawning theories that the 71-foot boat may have been struck by another vessel. That dive team indicated that the blue rudder appeared to have red paint on it, a possible sign of a collision. A Coast Guard spokesman on Thursday said he could not comment on specifics in the ongoing investigation.

The Marine Board of Investigation will reconvene the hearing Nov. 2 at Coast Guard Training Base Cape May. The hearing will continue with the testimony of Royal "Fuzzy" Smith, the Lady Mary's shore side manager and the father of two of the victims. The hearing also will include testimony from commercial divers hired by the Lady Mary's owners. Once the inquiry is finished, the Coast Guard will begin working on a report on what happened, spokesman Petty Officer 2nd Class Chris McLaughlin said.

"We're still investigating the source of the casualty," he said.

On the morning of March 24, the Lady Mary sank in the Atlantic Ocean, killing brothers Timothy and Royal Smith Jr., their uncle Tarzon "Bernie" Smith and Smith's cousin Frank Credle, as well as Jorge Alberto Ramos Arteaga and Frank Reyes. The lone survivor was Jose Luis Arias, who told investigators that the Lady Mary took water over the stern, rolled to port and sank. Arias said water was already in the boat when he woke up, put on a survival suit and went into the ocean.


September 02, 2009 - msnbc.com

Coast Guard debunks ‘Russian sub’ photo
‘Shocking’ image from Jersey Shore is of dredging-related equipment

The Russians are NOT coming. At least not to the Jersey Shore.

That’s the word from the Coast Guard about a photograph that some Internet users believe shows a nuclear-armed Russian submarine surfacing a few hundred yards off Corson’s Inlet near Strathmere, N.J., in the heart of the state’s beach resort area. “They’re doing a lot of dredging in Corson’s Inlet and that’s part of the dredging operation,” said Petty Officer Jesse Ellison of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Ocean City, N.J., station after he viewed the photo online.

The photo has been creating a bit of a buzz on the Web since it was posted on a Philadelphia NBC station’s site last week by amateur photographer Andrew Ferguson. “I was down the Ocean City shore in New Jersey, Corson’s Inlet, on Sunday photographing the wave and surfers,” Ferguson wrote. “When I got back home to view the pics on my computer, I noticed something odd in the background so I enlarged the photo, and there it was: a ‘submarine’ had surfaced.”

A fellow user of the NBC Web site confidently stated that the image was of a “Soviet Typhoon Class Nuclear Submarine.”

Although other users pooh-poohed that notion and mentioned the dredging work that was under way, a reporter with the Web site followed up with a 500-word piece about the "shocking photo" that lent credence to the sub theory by noting recent reports in the New York Times that two Russian submarines had recently been patrolling near the East Coast.


September 01, 2009 - pressofAtlanticCity.com

Coast Guard heading to overturned boat with three reportedly in the water

The U.S. Coast Guard is following up on an emergency call about an overturned sailboat near the Assemblywoman Dolores Cooper Bridge between Longport and Somers Point.

August 17, 2009 - pressofAtlanticCity.com

Coast Guard Training Center Cape May making women admirals

CAPE MAY - It's starting to look like the path to becoming a woman Coast Guard admiral, and
maybe someday the first woman commandant, goes directly through Cape May. Rear Admiral Sally Brice-O'Hara was the first female commanding officer from Training Center Cape May to make admiral. Two more women are following in her footsteps.

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen made the announcement Friday, noting that the last commander here, Capt. Sandra L. Stosz, and the current commanding officer, Capt. Cari B. Thomas, are both up for admiral.

Being an admiral is a prerequisite to becoming a commandant. Brice O'Hara, Stosz and Thomas could all be on the candidate list next year when Allen steps down and a commandant is named to replace him.

If this happens, it would be not only the first woman commandant, but the Coast Guard would
become the first of the armed services to have a woman at the helm.
"All the services have women to choose from. It's only a matter of time," Thomas said.
Some think it will happen in the Coast Guard first as it has the highest percentage of women,
compared with other military services, at its academy and at officer candidate schools. Even the enlisted ranks, where women's numbers have lagged behind the other services, seem to be catching up, said Thomas, who runs the Coast Guard's only boot camp.
"The last two to three months, 25 (percent) to 30 percent of the recruits have been female. It's
made for some challenges for us. We had to reorganize our barracks," Thomas said.
Stosz and Thomas have been approved by President Barack Obama, but they await confirmation by the U.S. Senate. If approved, six female admirals could be in the running to become the 24th Coast Guard commandant. Allen noted that he does not pick his replacement - that is a presidential nomination - but there are plenty of candidates to consider. When Thomas was joining the Coast Guard, a woman commandant was not an option. Even though women had served since the 1830s as lighthouse keepers, the first women admirals werenot named until 2000.

Still, one reason Thomas went to the Coast Guard Academy, graduating in 1984, is that she heard it provided more opportunities to women than the U.S. Navy. The Coast Guard was the first to open all its ratings to woman, doing this in 1978, and its academy admitted women in 1976 before Congress mandated it for the other services. Thomas said she recalls looking into the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., but then heard women faced no restrictions in the Coast Guard. "Part of the reason I'm in the Coast Guard in the first place is because of the opportunities for women," she said.

Stosz said something similar when she commanded the training center in 2008. Stosz said she looked into the U.S. Naval Academy in 1978 when she graduated from high school, but she wanted to serve on ships - which was not allowed in the Navy until the 1990s, but was allowed then in the Coast Guard. She went to the Coast Guard Academy.
"Sandy and I are the first academy graduates to be considered for admiral," Thomas said.
Thomas said she is happy to be "given the honor" of being considered for admiral, but is saddened that it may cut short what was expected to be a three-year command of Training Center Cape May less than halfway through. She probably would be sent to Washington.
"I wanted to do three years here," she said.

August 03, 2009 - pressofAtlanticCity.com

The Coast Guard rescued four people early Monday morning after their 75-foot fishing boat took on water 80 miles southeast of Cape May. The Coast Guard received a call at approximately 3:30 a.m. from a crew member aboard the Alexander II,and a helicoptor rescued the boaters from their life raft. No one was injured.

July 29, 2009 - pressofAtlanticCity.com

2 Coast Guard recruits in NJ have swine flu

CAPE MAY, N.J. - The Coast Guard says two recruits at its training center in southern New Jersey have tested positive for swine flu, while 23 others at the base have been isolated with flu-like symptoms.

Coast Guard officials say the two recruits have recovered and resumed their eight-week basic training program at the Cape May facility.

Meanwhile, the 23 recruits and base staff members with symptoms are being tested for the virus.

Officials say they're allowing other recruits to get more sleep and supplementing their meals with an evening snack in an effort to ensure their health and guard against further spread of the virus.

July 29, 2009 - philly.com

Coast Guard rescues NJ man

BRIGANTINE, N.J. - The Coast Guard needed a helicopter to rescue a New Jersey man after his personal watercraft ran aground.

The Coast Guard says Robert Cook was riding his Jet Ski near Brigantine Bridge in Brigantine Bay when the tide went out Tuesday night.

The Egg Harbor City resident used his cell phone to report he was in trouble.

Shallow water prevented a rescue boat crew from reaching Cook.

A helicopter transported Cook to the Coast Guard Air Station in Atlantic City, were he was met by family members.

No one was injured.

July 26, 2009 - NJ.com

Coast Guard airlifts injured man on fishing boat near Beach Haven
by The Star-Ledger Continuous News Desk

BEACH HAVEN -- The Coast Guard airlifted a man who had sustained a cut on a fishing boat off the coast of Beach Haven this morning.

The 22-year-old man, who was not identified, was suffering from a serious cut below the elbow, across the width of his arm, Coast Guard Petty Officer Jonathan Lindberg said. No further details were available on how the man was injured, but the cut was an accident and the Coast Guard is not investigating the incident.

The injured man was airlifted from the fishing vessel Captain Bob to the Atlantic City air station and then transferred to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center mainland Campus in Pomona for treatment.

The Captain Bob was located 110 miles east of Beach Haven when the Coast Guard responded, according to a statement from the Coast Guard.

July 01, 2009 - The Philadelphia Inquirer

Woman, teen drown off North Wildwood

A 27-year-old woman and a teenage girl who went into the ocean after lifeguards had left for the day drowned yesterday in the waters off North Wildwood, authorities said.

Rescuers pulled the 15-year-old girl from the water within minutes of their arrival, but she died later at Cape Regional Medical Center, North Wildwood Police said. She was only identified as a resident of Middletown, Conn.

The other victim was Jamilah Watkins, of South Carolina.

Initial reports indicated the victims were mother and child, but their relationship, if any, is not clear.

Police said officers and members of the Beach Patrol responded to two 911 calls shortly before 6 p.m. reporting three people struggling in Hereford Inlet, near First and Surf Avenues.

When the rescuers arrived, they found one of the three people was safe but were told the other two remained in the water

Joined by U.S. Coast Guard vessels and marine units from the state police and neighboring towns, authorities searched for the woman for 90 minutes before finding her lifeless body.

Officials said the beach was closed to swimming and unguarded at the time.

The Press of Atlantic City in a report on its website said Jamilah Watkins is the daughter of Jesse Watkins, a Middle Township man convicted in February of murdering his cousin, Craig White.

June 30, 2009 - Cape May County Herald.com

Coast Guard Cutter to Hold Change of Command Ceremony

CAPE MAY– The Coast Guard Cutter Dependable is scheduled to hold a change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May in Cape May, Wednesday at 11 a.m.

Cmdr. Laura M. Dickey will turn over command of the cutter to Cmdr. George Lesher.

Dickey has served as the Dependable’s commanding officer since June 14, 2007. During this period, she led the crew through seven deployments throughout the North Atlantic and Caribbean, conducted over 135 maritime law enforcement boardings, halted the illegal fishing operations of six vessels, interdicted or monitored 249 illegal migrants and directed 15 search and rescue operations. Her new assignment will be in Washington, D.C., as the Coast Guard’s liaison to the U.S. Senate.
Lesher previously served as the executive officer of the pre-commissioning crew for the Coast Guard Cutter Waesche in Alameda, Calif. Lesher is a native of Schaefferstown, Pa.

The change of command ceremony is a time honored military tradition signifying the transfer of total responsibility, authority and accountability from one commanding officer to another.

The Dependable is a 210-foot Medium Endurance Cutter based out of Cape May with 75 crew members.


June 18, 2009 - Cape May County Herald.com

LoBiondo Introduces USCG Benefits Improvement Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Coast Guard & Maritime Transportation Ranking Member Frank LoBiondo (R-2nd) today introduced bipartisan legislation to improve the quality of life for members of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and their families.

Currently, members of the Armed Services and their families enjoy several housing, educational and related benefits not afforded to their counterparts in the USCG, which is under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

LoBiondo’s legislation H.R. 2901, the “Coast Guard Service Member Benefits Improvement Act,” seeks to remedy these discrepancies.

“The men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard, like members of the other Armed Services, dedicate their lives to serve their country. They ably serve alongside our Navy abroad and patrol and protect our nation at home. In turn, they should be entitled to the same benefits and the Coast Guard should have the authority to ensure equal opportunities are made available,” said LoBiondo. “This bipartisan legislation would ensure such treatment.”

House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Ranking Republican John Mica (FL-07) and U.S. Representatives Howard Coble (NC-06), Gene Taylor (MS-04) and William Delahunt (MA-10) joined LoBiondo in introducing the “Coast Guard Service Member Benefits Improvement Act.” LoBiondo’s bipartisan legislation would:

Reauthorize housing authorities to enable the USCG to form public-private partnerships to build new housing for service members. Currently, there is $272 million backlog in USCG housing;

Reassert the USCG Commandant's authority to establish child care centers for USCG dependents and to spend funds on teaching aids and supplies;

Authorize legal assistance to USCG reservists and their dependents;

Increase the retirement age for flag officers by 2 years to be consistent with the rest of the Armed Services;

Enable the USCG Commandant to spend funds to support chaplain led activities for USCG members and families, including family and youth retreats;

Enable the USCG to receive admission and services from the Armed Forces Retirement Home;

Ensure USCG service members and assets remain under the control of the Secretary of Homeland Security during a declared public health emergency;

Authorize the award of new service medals to USCG service members who commit valorous acts while under the command of the Secretary of Homeland Security.

The five Congressmen – LoBiondo, Mica, Coble, Taylor and Delahunt - are members of the Congressional Coast Guard caucus.


June 11, 2009 - philly.com

Rescuers search for man who jumped off boat

CAPE MAY POINT, N.J. - The Coast Guard and New Jersey State Police are searching for a man who they say jumped off a boat used for whale and dolphin-watching.

The Coast Guard received a call at 10:17 a.m. Thursday from the crew of the Spirit of Cape May indicating that a male passenger had jumped overboard and was not wearing a life jacket.

Several rescue boats and a helicopter are searching for the man off the coast of Cape May Point.


May 28, 2009 - philly.com

Ship did not hit boat that sank, Coast Guard says

CAPE MAY - The Coast Guard says a container ship did not collide with a scallop boat that sank off Cape May on March 24, killing six people.
Coast Guard and New Jersey state police investigators boarded the Liberian-flagged Cap Beatrice on Sunday in Philadelphia. They interviewed crew members and sent a dive team to examine the hull.

Petty Officer Chris McLaughlin says no evidence was found that the Cap Beatrice struck the Lady Mary. The presence of the cargo vessel less than a mile from where the Lady Mary sank was revealed this month during a Marine Board of Investigation inquiry into the accident.

A possible collision with another ship is one of the leading theories why the scallop boat sank. A Coast Guard inquiry into the sinking is expected to resume soon.

May 26, 2009 - Cape May County Herald.com

Coast Guard Pays Tribute to Fallen Veterans
By Herald Staff

CAPE MAY -- The command staff of Coast Guard Training Center Cape May and local veterans held a wreath laying ceremony Monday, May 25 at Signalman 1st Class Douglas Munro's statue in honor of the men and women of the military who have sacrificed their lives to serve our country.

Munro is the only member of the United States Coast Guard to receive the Medal of Honor. Munro received the award posthumously for his actions during the Guadalcanal Campaign of World War II.


May 24, 2009 - philly.com

Coast Guard rescues injured man in NJ waters

CAPE MAY, N.J. - A man injured while riding a personal watercraft in a southern New Jersey waterway has been rescued by a Coast Guard crew.

The unidentified man was traveling in the Hereford Inlet, near Cape May, around 4 p.m. Saturday when a large wave knocked him overboard and injured his ankle.

A passerby notified the Coast Guard station in Cape May, which quickly sent a rescue boat to the scene. The man was pulled from the water and taken to a marina in Wildwood, where he was treated by awaiting emergency medical personnel.

Further details on his injuries were not disclosed.


May 21, 2009 - Cape May County Herald.com

CG Yeoman from Cape May Leads Women's Team to Victory
By Herald Staff

CAPE MAY — Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Syreeta Bromfield-Kemp, a yeoman at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, led the ALL-Navy Women's Basketball Team to victory in the 2009 Armed Forces Men's and Women's Basketball Championships in Milling-ton, Tenn., May 17.

Bromfield-Kemp, team captain, led the ALL-Navy Women's team to gold with 98 points, 73 rebounds, and 13 assists for the week. She pushed her teammates hard to win their second gold medal in two years.

"We really did a gut check, and everybody brought something to the games; I'm so proud of the team," Bromfield-Kemp said. "It was awesome this week. It was kind of ruff when we started out, but I think we finally realized we could do it so we came together and we won. It feels so good to get my second gold. Woo!"

The ALL-Navy Women's Basketball Team dominated the championship series with a team total of 385 points, 231 rebounds, and 65 percent free-throw average.

Bromfield-Kemp is a native of Kingston, Jamaica.


May 01, 2009 - nj.com

Officials locate wreck of Lady Mary off Cape May
Coast Guard says 4 crewmen who went down with boat remain missingFriday, May 01, 2009


Authorities said yesterday they were able to launch a remotely operated vehicle to verify the final resting place of the Lady Mary fishing boat that sank off the coast of Cape May in March, but found no evidence of the four missing crew members.

The news, issued in a Coast Guard statement, came three days before the public hearing into the sinking of the Lady Mary, which claimed six lives, is set to resume Monday in Cape May. Because the bodies of four of those killed have not been recovered, investigators had hoped images gathered Wednesday by the vehicle, known as an ROV, would shed some light on their whereabouts as well as the exact location of the wreck.

But that does not mean the missing crew members are not with the 71-foot scallop boat. The ROV, owned by the State Police, conducted an external survey of the boat, which the Coast Guard said is sitting upright at the bottom of the ocean. The ROV does not have the ability to go inside the boat.

The sinking of the Lady Mary March 24 about 60 miles off the coast of Cape May killed six of the seven crew members, prompting a Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation hearing. Earlier this month, the Thomas Jefferson, a survey ship owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, located the general spot of the sunken vessel, but weather conditions prevented authorities from confirming the location and taking images of it, including trying to find any of the four missing crew members. Three crew members were pulled from the ocean three hours after the sinking, but only one survived.

Coast Guard spokesman Christopher McLaughlin said the video images taken by the ROV will be reviewed by members of the Marine Board of Investigation in their search for clues about why the Lady Mary sank.

The sole survivor, Jose Luis Arias, told rescuers the boat sank at 5 a.m. His attorney, Sam Rosenthal, has said Arias was asleep when trouble started. After realizing the Lady Mary was going down, he donned a survival suit. The boat sank within minutes of his jumping into the chilly ocean.

Arias made it off the Lady Mary with two sons of the boat's owner. However, when the Coast Guard arrived shortly after 8 a.m., only Arias was alive.

The Marine Board of Investigation was into its second day of the hearing on April 15 when the boat's owner, Roy Smith Sr. of Bayboro, N.C., said he wanted time to seek an attorney. In addition to an NOAA representative, he was to have been called as a witness that day.

The NOAA representative was scheduled to discuss how emergency position indicating radio beacons work. The beacon from the Lady Mary sent out a distress alert shortly after 5 a.m. on the day of the sinking, but the Coast Guard was not alerted until after 7 a.m.

Smith's two sons, Roy Smith Jr., 42, and Timothy Smith, 37, were among three crew members plucked from the ocean, but neither survived. His brother, Bernie "Tarzan" Smith, 59, along with Frank Credle of Lower Township, Frank Reyes of Middle Township and Jorge Ramos of Cape May, remain missing.

Ramos initially was excluded from the list of the missing because the Coast Guard first reported fisherman William Torres of Wildwood as the seventh crewman. However, the Coast Guard later confirmed Ramos had taken Torres' spot on the boat.

April 20, 2009 - Cape May County Herald.com

Crew Member Onboard Cutter Dependable Medevaced
By Herald Staff

CAPE MAY-- The Coast Guard medevaced a 23-year-old man Saturday from the Coast Guard Cutter Dependable seven miles off the coast of Cape May.

The Coast Guard received a call at 10:52 p.m. from a crew member aboard the Dependable reporting a crew member was experiencing abdominal pains.

A rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Cape May arrived on scene and transported the man to Station Cape May.

The man was transported from Station Cape May to Cape May Regional Medical Center for treatment.

April 16, 2009 - pressofAtlanticCity.com

LATEST NEWS: Hearing on sinking of Lady Mary still on hold as captain seeks attorney
By RICHARD DEGENER Staff Writer, 609-463-6711

Published: Thursday, April 16, 2009

CAPE MAY - The third session of a Marine Board of Investigation inquiry into the sinking of the scallop vessel Lady Mary was postponed on Thursday.
The board stopped the proceedings on Wednesday when the next witness, Lady Mary owner Royal “Fuzzy” Smith Sr., asked for more time to hire an attorney. As of Wednesday night a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said Smith had still not found an attorney so Thursday’s session would not take place.

The Coast Guard said it will make an announcement when the inquiry is set to resume, which could be as early as Friday. The board has called four witnesses thus far and has a list of 11, although more can be added as the inquiry proceeds.

The three-member board is looking into why the scallop vessel sank on March 24, leading to the deaths of six Cape May County fishermen. The board will issue a report about six months after the inquiry concludes and it could include recommendations to make the industry safer.

April 15, 2009 - NBC40.net

Greg Browne ( gbrowne@nbc40.net ) - 4/14/09 11:26 pm
Last Updated - 4/15/09 05:48 pm

CAPE MAY--- The Coast Guard is investigating a collision that happened 47 miles southeast of Cape May, Tuesday afternoon, between a 71 ft. fishing boat and a 965 ft. container ship.

"...We got a call at 2:21 (p.m.) from the fishing vessel Dictator, it's a 71 foot fishing vessel," said Coast Guard Petty Officer Jonathan Lindberg.

According to the Coast Guard, the fishing boat -- from Southwest Harbor, Maine -- was struck in the stern by the giant ship, "....they lost their steering capability so they were dead in the water."

The United Kingdom flagged, 965 foot container ship named Florida, was en route to Savannah, Ga. when the collision occurred.

First on the scene was a Coast Guard C-130 search plane from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., followed by a helicopter from Atlantic City. The Cutters Dependable and Finback were also launched from Cape May.

Although none of the eight crew members of the Dictator, or 25 crew on board the Florida were injured, the 71 ft. fishing boat was being towed back to shore by the Finback as of late Tuesday night.

Coast Guard officials say they're not sure how the collision happened or who was at fault, but the incident is under investigation.

April 14, 2009 - nj.com

Lady Mary owner criticizes Coast Guard response to fatal sinking off N.J. coast
by MaryAnn Spoto/The Star-Ledger Tuesday April 14, 2009, 12:51 PM

The owner of a fishing vessel that claimed the lives of six people when it sank off the coast of Cape May last month expressed frustration this morning at the rescue response time and the Coast Guard's inability to locate four of the men on board.

In the opening of the hearing on the sinking of the Lady Mary, Roy Smith Sr. questioned the rescue helicopter commander, Tina Pena about the Emergency Position Indicating Radiobeacon, or EPIRB, and survival suits that all seven aboard reportedly donned before the wreck.

"So, if the EPIRB did exactly what it was supposed to do, I'm still thinking somebody else ain't doing what they was supposed to do,'' he said, referring to the emergency position indicating radio beacon of the ship. "There would have been three survivors instead of one.''

But Pena, the first witness, said EPIRB is not her area of expertise. "I can't speak to that, sir,'' she replied.

As the owner of the 71-foot scalloper that sank on March 24, Smith is allowed to question the witnesses called by the Coast Guard's Marine Investigation Board that is conducting the hearing at its training facility in Cape May.

Pena said the lone survivor, identified as Jose Luis Arias of Wildwood, told the rescue swimmer all seven on board were wearing survival suits when the Lady Mary went down around 5 a.m.

But the Coast Guard did not receive an emergency signal until 7:30 a.m. Smith said tests of his ship's EPIRB indicated the equipment was in proper working order.

Pena testified a rescue swimmer plucked three people from the water, two of whom died. She said the visibility was clear enough for her to locate anyone else in the bright red suits if they were in the area.

"If everybody got in a survivor suit, then my question is, where are they?'' he said.

That question prompted a response from Commander Kyle McAvoy, head of the four-member panel.

"Mr. Smith, unfortunately all Commander Pena can attest to is about what she saw,'' he said. "Unfortunately, we don't have some of those answers and I don't think Ms. Pena is going to have those answers.''

The hearing is expected to continue into the latter part of the week.


April 08, 2009 - pressofAtlanticCity.com

LATEST NEWS: Coast Guard to convene formal hearing of Lady Mary sinking

Published: Wednesday, April08, 2009

CAPE MAY– A Marine Board of Investigation into the sinking of the fishing vessel Lady Mary on March 24, is scheduled to convene at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 14 at the Coast Guard Training Center here inside the Oceanside club.
The sinking claimed the lives of six crewmembers.

The board is investigating the facts and circumstances relating to the sinking 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 they can make recommendations on issues to consider, identify and examine witnesses, and submit or request additional evidence in the course of the investigation.

The Lady Mary sank 60 miles off the coast of Cape May. The Coast Guard launched an intensive 37 hour search covering 3,417 square nautical miles after receiving an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon alert. Recent attempts to use Remotely Operated Vehicles to survey the wreck and the wreck site were unsuccessful due to weather and ROV capabilities under the existing circumstances. The board did, however, gain some valuable sonar from the wreck site using sonar data obtained by NOAA. The board is currently examining future opportunities for another ROV survey attempt.


April 05, 2009 - pressofAtlanticCity.com

Hunt for scalloper Lady Mary called off due to wind
By KEVIN C. SHELLY For The Press, 609-272-7239

CAPE MAY - Federal agencies on Saturday called off an on-site investigation of a scallop boat that sank last week, killing six men.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard used sonar to find the wreck of the Cape May scallop boat Lady Mary about 70 miles southeast of Cape May.

The agencies hoped to launch a small submarine called a Remotely Operated Vehicle to investigate the wreck. The 71-foot boat sank March 24. But strong wind Friday night and Saturday morning interfered with the submarine and its onboard camera, said Petty Officer Chris McLaughlin of Air Station Atlantic City.

Sonar equipment aboard the NOAA research vessel Thomas Jefferson located an undersea wreck Thursday a half-mile south by southwest of the Lady Mary's last emergency signal. The Coast Guard was reasonably confident the wreck in 180 feet of water was the Lady Mary.

The agencies hoped to obtain pictures using the submersible to confirm the identity of the wreck and investigate the accident.

But in the face of rough seas, the Thomas Jefferson returned to its home port in the Chesapeake Bay. Meanwhile, Coast Guard crew members also returned to shore, McLaughlin said.
He was not sure when or under what circumstances the agency would resume the investigation.

Wildwood resident Jose Luis Arias was the sole survivor of the sinking. He was plucked from the water by the U.S. Coast Guard. The bodies of Middle Township brothers Royal Smith Jr. and Timothy Smith were recovered.

Four crewmen are missing and presumed dead. They are Frank Reyes, of Middle Township; William Torres and Bernie Smith, of Wildwood; and Frank Credle, of Lower Township.


March 25, 2009 - NJ.com

Coast Guard suspends Lady Mary crew member search
by The Associated Press Wednesday March 25, 2009, 9:55 PM

The U.S. Coast Guard said tonight they are suspending their search for four missing fishermen from the Lady Mary, which on Tuesday sunk off the southern New Jersey coast.

The Coast Guard said it suspended its search at 7:51 p.m., after searching for 37 hours.

Rear Adm. Fred M. Rosa, Jr., the Coast Guard's district commander, said this afternoon that "time and environmental conditions are against us" in looking for survivors.

Two crew members of the 71-foot scallop boat have died, and four others remained missing more than a day after the boat sunk in rough seas off the Cape May coast.

Killed were brothers Roy Smith Jr. and Timothy Smith.

Missing are Frenki Credle, Frank Reyes, William Torres and Tarzan Smith.

Only one crew member, Jose Ariese, is known to have survived.


March 24, 2009 - NYTimes.com

Two Dead, Four Missing as Fishing Boat Sinks Off N.J.

Two men were reported dead and four were still missing after a fishing boat sank 65 miles southeast of Cape May, N.J., before dawn on Tuesday.

The United States Coast Guard said it was continuing to search a 15-square-mile swath of the chilly Atlantic for the four crewmen.

Petty Officer Steve Carleton of the Coast Guard said that of the three people who were plucked from the water after the Lady Mary, a 71-foot vessel originating in Cape May, sank, one man was found without vital signs and later declared dead, another died hours later at a local hospital and the third, identified José Luis Ariese, was able to walk off the rescue helicopter..

According to Petty Officer Carleton, Mr. Ariese said that all seven aboard the Lady Mary had time to put on red neoprene survival suits, which provided a moderate layer of insulation from the 40-degree water temperatures.

The Coast Guard received an emergency beacon alert — sent automatically from a type of buoy required on fishing vessels — at 7:30 a.m. The initial rescue, Petty Officer Carleton said, took place at 8:30 a.m. The helicopter found an empty life boat and the three crew members floating nearby.

Currently, there are two helicopters, a C-130 rescue plane, and two Coast Guard cutters searching for the four missing crew members, he said, though he added that the conditions were not ideal: waves surging 4 to 7 feet, winds gusting to 35 miles an hour, and the air temperature at noon was 33 degrees.

“Certainly, we want to make sure that we’re covering the area as soon as possible because there could be contributing factors — such as injuries — that could complicate the conditions,” Petty Officer Carleton said.

He later added: “We’re still searching. We have a few good hours of light left, so we have to continue.”


March 18, 2009 - Press of Atlantic City pressofatlanticity.com

Scallop boat saves crew as vessel sinks offshore
By RICHARD DEGENER Staff Writer, 609-463-671

LOWERTOWNSHIP - "Mayday" is the one radio call a fishing boat captain never wants to receive, but when Walt Hill Sr. heard it early Tuesday morning, he knew just what to do.
Hill, aboard the 87-foot Port of Cape May scalloper Amy Marie, arrived just in time to rescue the three-man crew from a North Carolina scalloper that was burned and sank about 30 miles offshore. There were no injuries.

The 66-year-old Middle Township resident recounted the rescue of the Miss Dollie's crew Tuesday afternoon at Lund's Fisheries.

At 6:40 a.m., the U.S. Coast Guard received a distress call from the Miss Dollie and immediately issued an emergency broadcast. The 57-foot wooden scalloper was taking on water fast after a swinging piece of equipment, a trawl door, had reportedly punched a hole in its starboard side.

Upon hearing the Mayday, Hill pulled in his scallop dredges and turned the Amy Marie toward the direction of the distressed boat."I happened to be the closest boat, and I heard the Mayday. They told me they wanted to get off the boat. She had a hole in her," Hill said.
The Amy Marie was less than four miles away fishing an area known as the Elephant Trunk on the seventh day of a scallop trip. It had about 260 of the 350 allotted bags of the shellfish when crew members heard the emergency call.

Hill has been operating the Amy Marie for two decades and never had answered a mayday before, although the crew prepares for such scenarios under a program advocated by insurance companies and Lund's Fisheries. The Amy Marie is owned by Lund's Fisheries owner Jeff Reichle and Rick Hoff, of Wildwood.

Hill said he even bans loud music and television in the wheelhouse so there is no chance he could miss such calls.

"We have all the training. I was happy we were there, just 45 minutes away," Hill said.

Things got much worse on the Miss Dollie over the ensuing 45 minutes. Winds were blowing from the northeast at 15 to 20 mph, with seas at about 5 feet.

As Hill steamed forward, he instructed crew members of the Miss Dollie to shoot off a flare to help him locate the vessel. The crew members, who were too shaken up after the ordeal to talk to the media, got into survival suits in case they had to go into the frigid ocean and fired off the flare. Hill picked up the signal and arrived to see a sinking boat with all hands on the stern. He instructed them to get into the life raft because it would be easier to pick them up.

"It was a little scary thinking it could be any one of us," said Amy Marie crewman John Bass, of North Cape May.

Bass said the crew members followed their training and got life rings and ropes ready, sure to secure the proper knots they had been taught for such rescues. The wrong knot could result in losing the crewman or squeezing him to death.

The Miss Dollie crew flipped the life raft off the port side as Hill inched up on the leeward side, using the weather to his advantage by allowing the wind to push the life raft toward his vessel.

"The life raft about floated right onto our boat. It couldn't have been executed better," said Paul Yevak, an Amy Marie crewman from Lower Township.

When the Amy Marie arrived, the Miss Dollie was sinking. As the rescue proceeded, the vessel also caught fire, possibly caused by incoming water shorting out electrical systems.

The Coast Guard arrived about 10 minutes after the rescue as the Amy Marie burned to the water line and sank.

"It was a pretty wild thing to see. The Coast Guard helicopter showed up after they were on our boat. You never know what could have happened in those minutes," Bass said.

Hill was hailed at the dock as a hero, but he was having none of it. He said any time a boat is lost, it is nothing to celebrate.

"It's a terrible thing. I've been out there when boats were lost. It was the best feeling in my life that I was able to help someone," Hill said.

The Coast Guard is investigating the sinking, Chief Warrant Officer Rick Gladish said, adding that the Miss Dollie had been docked in the Port of Cape May before leaving for the fishing trip. He confirmed a swinging piece of equipment may have caused the sinking.

E-mail Richard Degener:


March 17, 2009 - Press of Atlantic City pressofatlanticity.com

Three rescued off Cape May as fishing boat takes on water and catches fire

CAPE MAY - A Good Samaritan rescued three people Tuesday from aboard a life raft after abandoning their fishing boat 30 miles southeast of the cape.

The Coast Guard received a call at 6:40 a.m. from a crewman aboard the Miss Dollie reporting they are taking on water and they have a pump that is not keeping up with the flooding. The crewman also reported they have a life raft aboard.

The Coast Guard sent out an urgent marine information broadcast to mariners to request assistance from any nearby boats. A rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Cape May and a rescue helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J., were dispatched to the scene. The crew aboard the fishing boat Amy Marie answered the UMIB and reported they were nine miles from Miss Dollie's location and were en route to assist the crew.

The Amy Marie and its crew arrived on scene and rescued all three people from a life raft.

The Amy Marie and its crew with the survivors aboard are en route to Cape May. Video provided by the Coast Guard appears to show smoke and flames coming from the foundering fishing boat.


March 13, 2009 - Cape May County Herald.com

Cape May Endorses Coast Guard Wind Turbines

By Jack Fichter

CAPE MAY — Never was heard a discouraging word at a meeting seeking public comment on the Coast Guard's plans to construct two wind turbines on their base here.

LCDR Casey L. Chmielewski, staff judge advocate of the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center, (TRACEN) led a meeting Wednesday March 11 in City Hall Auditorium. TRACEN is proposing to construct two, 2-megawatt wind turbines on 328-foot towers at two locations on the base here to provide 66 percent to 70 percent of the base’s energy needs.

Chmielewski said construction could begin in the fall of 2011 with the two turbines to be located on the harbor side of the base about 600 yards apart. He said one of the turbines would be located 200 yards from the home of TRACEN’s commanding officer, noting it would have little impact on any residences.

The wind turbines would be slightly visible above rooftops from Poverty Beach. The harbor side sites would offer the least effect on birds, he said.

Chmielewski said producing power for the base by wind power would save the equivalent of 19 million ponds of carbon dioxide, save the equivalent of almost 21,000 barrels of oil, equal planting over 3,700 trees and taking 2,000 cars off the road. The base is the single largest energy consumer in Cape May, he said.
The Coast Guard will share the data with communities here considering wind turbine projects, said Chmielewski.

Mayor Edward J. Mahaney Jr. said the City of Cape May “strongly endorses the Coast Guard's proposed construction and operation of a wind power project to create a cost efficient and technically feasible renewable energy project at TRACEN.” He said he read a draft environmental assessment (EA) report and noted the wind turbines would have minimal environmental impacts.

Mahaney said while there could be loss of life to bats and some birds including the federally endangered piping plover and state threatened species such as the least tern and the peregrine falcon, he said the EA did not indicate the rate of mortality would be “biologically significant.”
The Coast Guard recommends reduced wind turbine operation during bird migration and life history period of the mentioned threatened species.

Sandy Malone offered a positive endorsement of city's Environmental Commission for the wind turbine project, which she said, would serve as a progressive model for the entire South Jersey region.

Ronda Jackson, director of communications for Fisherman's Energy, which is seeking to build offshore wind turbines, said the group extended its support and would be happy to provide assistance to the Coast Guard.

Resident Kevin Malone said he looked forward to waking up in the morning and seeing the two towers. He asked if the Coast Guard could provide more details on technologies that were available to protect migratory birds and bats.
Malone said the Federal Aviation Administration has radar in Washington State that protects migratory birds.

Mary Ann Gaffney, chairwoman of the city's Historic Preservation Commission and member of the city's Energy Commission, said she applauded the Coast Guard. She said they may find it unusual for a “little old lady” that protects old houses to endorse the project.
“Right on,” said Gaffney.


March 12, 2009 - NBC40.net

Greg Browne ( gbrowne@nbc40.net ) - 3/11/09 11:23 pm

CAPE MAY--- Several dozen Cape May residents attended a public meeting, Wednesday night, to voice their opinions about a proposed renewable energy project that would see two huge wind turbines erected at the Coast Guard Training Center.

"...Cape May was one of several different Coast Guard sites that was surveyed to see the viability of wind," said Lt. Commander, Cassey Chmelewski, "....we were the second best location as far as sustainable wind power."

The turbines -- 2 megawatts each -- would be mounted on towers measuring 328 ft. tall, and each blade would measure 153 ft. long, for a peak height during operation of 481 ft.

The turbines would generate at least 66% of the facility's power, "....it's a tremendous saving, it's a tremendous reduction on our drain from the Cape May power grid."

Noresco, the company that would erect the turbines, would also cover the initial $14 million dollar cost, recouping the money from the energy savings at the base over an approximately 15 year period -- at which point ownership would transfer to the Coast Guard, "....(it's a) tremendous saving to the American taxpayer because this project will not cost them anything yet it will have a tremendous cost saving to them."

The effect that the turbines would have on birds -- a significant concern -- has been addressed according to Coast Guard officials. An avian study was conducted and written by Paul Kerlinger, a nationally known avian expert who for seven years served as the director of the new Jersey Audubon's Cape May Bird Observatory.

At Wednesday nights meeting, the wind turbine project failed to generate only one thing -- opposition -- everyone from the public who spoke, expressed support, including Sandy Maloney from the Environmental Commission of Cape May, "....wind power has proved to be clean, free and a renewable source of energy, as such wind power has a highly valuable role to play in solving the United States concerns about reliance on foreign oil."

Coast Guard officials are hoping that construction of the wind turbines could start in late 2010, with a tentative completion date of fall 2011.


March 10, 2009 - Cape May County Herald.com

Coast Guard Sets Windmill Meeting By Jack Fichter

CAPE MAY — Representatives from Coast Guard Training Center Cape May will hold an open house tonight (March 11) at 7 p.m. at Cape May City Hall, 643 Washington St., to record public comments on the proposed construction of wind turbines on the base.

The Coast Guard is proposing to construct two, 2-megawatt wind turbines on 328-foot towers at two locations on the base here to provide 66 percent to 70 percent of the base’s energy needs. The wind turbines at the training center would be located at sites designed to minimize environmental impacts.

Copies of a draft environmental assessment are available at the Cape May Public Library, Cape May City Hall and on the Web site: www.uscg.mil/hq/capemay

Rich Ker, energy specialist for TRACEN, said construction could begin in early 2011 or late 2010 with a tentative completion date of fall 2011. Initially a half dozen possible sites were considered for the turbines at TRACEN, he said, with two sites directly on the harbor selected for construction, away from any bird habitat.

The proposal contains a lengthy assessment of the effect the turbines would have on birds written by Paul Kerlinger, a nationally known avian expert who served as director of NJ Audubon's Cape May Bird Observatory for seven years.
Ker said the study shows “no significant impact” on birds.

For those who can not attend the meeting, comments may be submitted to the Coast Guard through March 16 by emailing Ker at Richard.D.Ker@uscg.mil or by submitting comments in writing to: Mr. Richard Ker, Facilities Energy Section/Admin Bldg., USCG Training Center, One Munro Ave., Cape May, NJ 08204


March 02, 2009 - newsday.com

NJ Coast Guard rescues stranded fishermen February 28, 2009

TRENTON, N.J. - Four commercial fishermen have been rescued from a disabled fishing boat 28 miles off the New Jersey coast.

The Coast Guard rescued the four-person crew late Friday, after their 56-foot boat, the Miss Dollie, was stranded with engine trouble off Cape May and began taking on water.

The boat had 9,900 pounds of flounder in its hold.

When a Coast Guard Station at Cape May rescue boat arrived around midnight, rescuers found the fishing vessel had no anchor, had lost its generator and was taking on water.

The boat was towed to shore. There were no injuries.

February 25, 2009 - NBC40.net

Greg Browne ( gbrowne@nbc40.net ) - 2/25/09 11:16 pm

CAPE MAY--- The Coast Guard is moving forward with a proposed plan to erect two giant wind turbines at Training Center Cape May, that would provide at least 66% of the facility's power.

The turbines -- 2 megawatts each -- would be mounted on towers measuring 328 ft. tall, and each blade would measure 153 ft. long, for a peak height during operation of 481 ft.

Noresco, the company that would erect the turbines, would cover the initial $14 million dollar cost, recouping the money from energy savings at the base over a 15 to 18 period -- at which point ownership would transfer to the Coast Guard.

The effect the turbines would have on birds -- a significant concern -- has been addressed, according to Coast Guard spokesperson CWO Veronica Bandrowsky, "....part of the NEPA process dictates that an environmental assessment that was completed that we have an extensive avian study."

The avian study was conducted and written by Paul Kerlinger, a nationally known avian expert who for seven years served as the director of the New Jersey Audubon's Cape May Bird Observatory.

Construction of the turbines could begin in late 2010 with a tentative completion date of fall 2011.

A public hearing, where local residents can voice the concerns and opinions, is scheduled for March 11th at 7:00 pm at Cape May City Hall.


February 20, 2009 - Press of Atlantic City pressofatlanticity.com

Coast Guard medically evacuates man who fainted aboard boat

From Press staff reports
CAPE MAY - The Coast Guard on Thursday medically evacuated 51-year-old Michael Bandy from a 68-foot boat 8 miles off the coast of Cape May.

The Coast Guard received a call at 9:46 a.m. from a crew member aboard the Beach Comber, home-ported in Cape May, reporting Bandy had fainted while on the roof of the boat observing the antennas.

A rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Cape May arrived on scene and transported Bandy to the base where emergency medical personnel were waiting. Bandy was then taken to Cape Regional Medical Center in Cape May Court House.

February 11, 2009 - Press of Atlantic City pressofatlanticity.com

No dolphins found in N.J. rivers, despite air help from Coast Guard
By ELAINE ROSE Staff Writer, 609-272-7215

Published: Wednesday, February 11, 2009
ATLANTIC CITY - A Coast Guard helicopter from the local Air Station went looking for dolphins Tuesday in northern New Jersey, and came back without spotting any, the Coast Guard said. A helicopter crew took two scientists from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration into the air over the Shrewsbury and Navesink Rivers to look for dolphins that have not been seen in nearly a month. It was the first aerial survey since the rivers froze Jan. 13, the last time five dolphins were confirmed to be in the rivers, the Coast Guard said.

A group of 16 bottlenose dolphins was spotted in the rivers during the summer. Three to five of them were seen swimming into Sandy Hook Bay in mid-January, and the Brigantine-based Marine Mammal Stranding Center said last month it feared the remaining animals had died.

No dolphins were spotted during Tuesday's flight, the Coast Guard said. Anyone who has seen the dolphins since Jan. 13 is asked to report the sighting by e-mail to

February 4, 2009 - Cape May County Herald.com

Upper News Notes

Robert Babezki, Flotilla Staff Officer for Communications Services with Flotilla 81 of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, Ocean City, has announced that a safe boating class sponsored by the Strathmere Fishing and Environmental Club as part of their public education program, will be held on Saturday, April 25, at the Strathmere Firehouse.

The course, About Boating Safety, will be taught by members of Auxiliary Flotilla 81 and is open to the public. The class will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. Cost is $50 per person, and a concise course text will be provided.

The registration fee covers all expenses, including state registration. Successfully completing the course will result in New Jersey state certification.

A recent press release also states, “The government has mandated that all members of the boating public take a sanctioned boating safety class. This mandate is regulated at the state level. In the State of New Jersey, you must be 16 years of age in order to operate a powerboat.

The NJ State Certification is required of all powerboat operators, regardless of age. Rental boats of less than 10 hp are exempt from this requirement. All persons operating a jet ski or other Personal Water Craft (PWC) are required to take this class. There are no longer any age exemptions from this requirement. There is no “test out” option available.”

For additional information, contact Babezki at 609-384-6225 or email him at rbabezki@ 3bnetworks.com. Babezki is also a member of the Strathmere Fishing and Environmental Club, and that site can be accessed at www.strathmerefishing.org.

December 1, 2008 – Philadelphia Daily News

Civilian sailors aid in rescue

CAPE MAY – The Coast Guard and good Samaritans yesterday rescued six people aboard a 46-foot boat three miles off the coast of Cape May. The Coast Guard received a call at 8:00 AM from a crewman aboard the Nor’Easter II reporting the vessel was taking on water and needed assistance. A nearby boat took four passengers to shore. The crew of a Coast Guard rescue boat pumped water and repaired the leak.

November 23, 2008 – Cape May Herald (Rosemarie Whelan)

STRATHMERE – The Strathmere Fishing and Environmental Club, at its November meeting, hosted Lt. Jason Ingram, commander of the Atlantic City Coast Guard Station, and Jessie Ellison, assistant Law Enforcement Petty Officer there.

Ingram, who was introduced by Bob Babezki, Web master of the club, was a dynamic speaker, who exuded pride and a real love for his work with the Coast Guard.

Some of the many topics which Ingram discussed included the Coast Guard Reserves, Auxiliary, safe boating classes, boarding procedures, and the Coast Guard’s present position under the Department of Homeland Security.

In speaking about the Coast Guard Reserves, Ingram said “I feel 100 percent with my reserve contingent’s qualifications and mission capabilities.”

“And the Coast Guard Auxiliary has a tremendous skill set from the sheer knowledge that they have”, he added.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary teaches a safe boating course, and Ingram reminded al that a “NJ Safe Boating Certificate will be required of all boat operators on June 1, 2009. As of now, it is required for all persons born after December 31, 1948,” he added.

In response to a question from a boater in the audience, Ingram outlined survival tips for fishing or boating 100 nautical miles from shore. “File a Float Plan. This is as simple as telling an individual where you are fishing and when you will return.”

Although not required for all boaters, the 406 EPIRBS satellite phone is highly recommended and probably the most important piece of individual survival gear. Also, wear appropriate attire for the seasonal environmental conditions,” Ingram concluded.

Ingram, who grew up in Virginia Beach, entered the Coast Guard in 1991. He completed basic training at Cape May and was the assigned to the Coast Guard Station in Key West Fla. Ingram completed his enlisted career with the Guard, and in 1998, received a Bachelor of Science in biology from Virginia Tech.

Deciding to further his career with the Coast Guard, Ingram completed Officer Candidate School in 2000. He received a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Averett University in Danville, Va. in 2005.

Ellison, a 2000 graduate of Ocean City High School, who grew up in the area and “was on boats my whole life” has just re-enlisted on Nov. 2 for another six years with the Coast Guard. He had been assigned to Portland, Me., during his first three years with the Guard.

October 30, 2008 – Associated Press

1 dead, 2 rescued from sinking sailboat off A.C.

ATLANTIC CITY -- One person was killed and three others injured, including a U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmer, when a 44-foot sailboat began sinking early Wednesday in rough seas off the New Jersey coast about 100 miles southeast of Atlantic City. Phil Rubright, 65, of Detroit, Mich., was pronounced dead by the Atlantic County medical examiner. Rescued were Teresa Garvie, 44, and Kevin Hogan, 52, both of Mount Pleasant, S.C.

The three were aboard the sailing vessel Freefall when it sent a distress signal around 7:15 p.m. Tuesday. A Coast Guard plane and helicopter were launched from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C. The rescue crews located the stricken vessel shortly after 1 a.m., but were unable to hoist the passengers from the craft due to extreme weather conditions, including rain, high winds and 40-50 foot seas, the Coast Guard said.

A rescue swimmer entered the water and attempted to place Rubright into a rescue basket, but a large wave damaged the basket and hoist cable. The helicopter crew then deployed a life raft and Rubright was placed in it. Another large wave hit the raft, injuring the rescue swimmer and tossing Rubright from the raft, the Coast Guard said. The injured swimmer was unable to recover Rubright. The helicopter crew deployed an emergency recovery device to hoist the rescue swimmer from the water, called for assistance and flew to Atlantic City to seek treatment for him. The injured swimmer, whose name was not released, was treated and released, the Coast Guard said.

Additional helicopters were then launched from Air Station Atlantic City and Cape Cod, Mass., along with three Coast Guard cutters. The Cape Cod helicopter crew recovered Rubright from the water and flew him to Atlantic City, where he was pronounced dead by the Atlantic County medical examiner. A second helicopter crew from Elizabeth City hoisted the surviving passengers from the boat shortly before 8 a.m. and flew them to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City, where they were treated for mild hypothermia, the Coast Guard said.

Coast Guard recovers body of Mass. man missing from Barnegat Inlet

ATLANTIC CITY - The Coast Guard has recovered the body of a man who disappeared from his 40-foot sailboat in Barnegat Inlet. The body of Massachusetts resident Clint Vanorsdell, 64, was discovered about 5 1/2 miles south of Barnegat Inlet shortly before 6 p.m., Petty Officer Crystalynn Kneen of the Coast Guard Atlantic City Air Station said.

He was the focus of a search since Monday night after his boat, Second Wind, a 40-foot sailboat, was found in the inlet with no one aboard. Vanorsdell went missing about 6 p.m. Monday while sailing from Connecticut to the Bahamas. He was reported missing by others who were boating with him. A caller had told authorities Vanorsdell was seen taking down the vessel's sails. Coast Guard officials said Vanorsdell disappeared from in the inlet. The Coast Guard, with help from the State Police and other agencies, immediately began a search. But the effort was called off shortly after noon today when officials determined the man could not have survived for more than 18 hours in the water.
Vanorsdell's body was taken to the Coast Guard station at Barnegat Light and transferred to the Morris County Medical Examiner's Office, officials said tonight in a statement.

Friday September 26, 2008– Associated Press

Coast Guard rescues missing boater in Absecon Creek

ATLANTIC CITY - The Coast Guard is reporting that they have located 25-year-old Kevin Showell in Big Fish Thorofare, three miles east of Absecon Creek.

The Coast Guard said they received a call at 11:15 p.m. Thursday from a family member reporting Showell overdue from a trip aboard his 14-foot camouflage boat. A rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City is searching from the sky. The New Jersey State Police, members of Atlantic City Sea Tow and Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge park rangers are also searching for Showell. Weather conditions overnight were poor as a nor'easter buffeted parts of south Jersey with strong winds and heavy rain.

A rescue helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City located Showell in the marsh near his boat in Big Fish Thorofare. Members of the New Jersey State Police aboard a small skiff recovered Showell and transported him to their barracks for questioning. Emergency medical personnel reported Showell had no medical concerns.

Wednesday September 17, 2008 - Cape May County Herald

Coast Guard, Good Samaritan, rescue 3 from ship taking on water

CAPE MAY - The Coast Guard and a Good Samaritan rescued three people Wednesday, Sept. 17 aboard a 33-foot boat taking on water 26 miles east of Cape May.

The Coast Guard received a call at 5:40 a.m. from the captain of the Sea Lion stating the vessel was taking on water and were going down fast. A Good Samaritan close by heard the call and arrived on scene to help control the flooding. A rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Cape May, and a rescue helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City arrived on scene and dewatered the boat with pumps. The rescue boat crew escorted Sea Lion and its crew to Cape May Marina and there were no reported injuries to the crew. The Slammer was the Good Samaritan who helped.

“It's great to see Good Samaritans like the crew of the Slammer out there to help," said Petty Officer 1st Class Jared Meloro, a crewmember at Coast Guard Station Cape May. All crewmembers of the Sea Lion were wearing life jackets. The Coast Guard would like to remind boaters that filing a float plan, which is simply telling friends or family where you are going and when you are expected to return, as well as having safety equipment aboard such as a marine radio, flares and life jackets will improve your chances of being located in the event of an emergency.


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