In loving memory

We’re going to miss you pal, I haven’t quite come to terms with it yet, though I can feel a big empty space all the time. No more hearing you lick the phone when I’m calling from the boat, or hearing you jump down off the bed when I get home. We’ll miss you every day Kobe.

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One Year Later

A year ago I was on a tug anchored in the north river having a shitty day. We had headed to anchorage just south of the GW to ride out weather for a few days with our loaded barge before heading off to New Haven I think. Dropping anchor just as the tide turned I got sideways to the wind vs tide chop and ended up getting us beaten around in the notch quite badly. I tried to back down quickly and then give the boat a shot ahead to straighten out and at that point probably very nearly broke the push gear. Inexperience at its worst, and a lesson I haven’t forgotten.

Of course several thousand miles south of me, 33 mariner’s, had earlier in the morning likely abandoned ship into a hurricane. I was having a bad day, they had their worst, and last day. I spent the next few days glued to news reports of the search, the entire time knowing the inevitable outcome of these situations. It’s a fact of life in our trade, one that never changes, never gets less cruel, and we all say will never happen to me.

One year later as another hurricane, this one a class five, barrels through the Caribbean. As hundreds of sailors have been stranded on anchored ships by Hanjin’s bankruptcy, some running out of food. As in the northeast the home heating oil season gears up, and the Cape Cod Canal once again proves it worth. Please take a moment to remember where 90% of your stuff comes from. Remember that it is people, flesh and blood people, of all races and nationalities. Working away from comfort, safe harbor, and home. Some for a livable wage, and others in near slave like conditions. They make it possible to live our lives of modern convenience.

Until someone writes a song for all of them, and for the El Faro 33, listen to this song about another crew lost, and take a moment to remember them too.

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Anchorages, Agendas, and Ignorance.

A great post on the realities of the the proposed anchorages on the hudson river from a mariner with more miles above kingston going astern than I have going ahead!


The Hudson River is a beautiful stretch of water. It reaches from the Battery to Troy Locks in a roughly 130 mile meander that is wide at her lower reaches and narrow and dark in the ”upper end”. The bridges that cross at various points offer vistas that will take your breath away. The fact that this river has been a conduit for commerce for a few hundred years should come asno surprise. It’s the perfect corridor, with limitations.

This post is inreference to the proposal for expanding the availability of anchoragesalong the river, including my effort to enlightenthe less than well informed resistance theproposalhas met. I will make an effortto mitigate the criticisms that were based on alack of facts. It’s clear to me and many of my colleaguesthat the resistance came with a flood of ignorance and supposition. Those who are screaming the loudest are using arguments that…

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Proposed Hudson Anchorages Part Deux

Well the NIMBY crowd has come out in full force and truly used the wonderful internet propaganda machine to stir up the population with armageddon scenarios, mis truths, and a few out right lies. The comment period has been extended and I urge you the readers, especially if you are professional mariners, to comment in support of the proposed anchorages. Below is my comment and I can only hope it serves as inspiration to some of you!

As a mariner operating in the tug and barge industry on the Hudson River, as well as the Ports of New York and New Jersey, I am writing the USCG to strongly support the creation of the proposed federally designated anchorages. The unofficial use of these area’s as anchorages in times of need has been part of the accepted best practices by mariner’s operating on the Hudson for decades.

The reasons for the use of these anchorages are as many as the vessels that operate. From reduced visibility due to fog, snow, other inclement weather, delays in a berth at Albany, ice, and waiting for daylight transits above kingston during the winter. They are a crucial tool in the toolbox of any competent Master or Mate transiting the Hudson.

Even as I type this, many vessels are making use of the anchorages off of Yonkers and Newburgh in the preparation for the possible impact of Tropical Storm Hermine. Perhaps we should send this vessels to sea to ride out the storm? Or moor them in vulnerable coastal areas?

There has been a massively misleading campaign about these anchorages being used as long term storage for loaded oil barges, with comments implying that companies would buy low, store, and then sell high. This can’t be farther from the truth and is pure propaganda driven by the Not In My Back Yard crowd. None of the minority of vessels that have been moving crude on the river are large enough to make that application economically feasible and more over are seldom anchored upriver on the hudson loaded. It has also been implied that vessels will be anchored farther upriver to avoid docking and moorage fees in New York harbor. Again this is, as the USCG undoubtedly knows, completely false. It costs a company nothing to anchor in the designated anchorages in Bayridge, Gravesend, The North River below the GW, and Perth Amboy. What would cost the companies, not only in fuel but lost time, is steaming a vessel several hours upriver to anchor far away from its intended berth.

Recreational boaters have claimed that having vessels being allowed to anchor in these locations, locations they have been anchoring in for decades, will someone limit their access to the river and create a hazard to navigation. This can not be further from the truth as anchored commercial vessels are manned by professional mariners who’s job it is to comply to the COLREGS and safe navigational practices. This includes proper lighting at night, day shapes, standing a proper lookout, and maintaining a proper radio watch. The onus is on the recreational boaters to due the same, and become a steward of their own safety.

In closing I can only hope that the USCG continues to act in the interest of the safe navigational practices passed down to and put into use by mariner’s such as myself. It should never be in the back of a watch standers mind, that if they anchor due to inclement conditions or for other safety reasons, that they may face fine or censure for doing so. If such a situation is allowed to develop it will only lead to a decrease in safety, and an increase in the close calls that do lead to accidents.

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Photo of the week 9-11-16

Just one photo this week, not that I don’t have another huge uploads worth, I’m just out of storage space on the site at the moment. So buy some of my prints and I’ll upgrade my storage plan!


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Quissett Harbor, a little slice of heaven

The last few days have consisted of a large dosing of sunshine, cape sand, and salt water. All courtesy of a spot called Quissett harbor, and “The Knob” in Falmouth. Just up the coast from the Buzzards Bay side of Woods Hole Passage is the fantastic Quissett Harbor. Lined with beautiful coast, and home to a large fleet (30 plus) of H class day sailors, there aren’t many spots more quintessentially Cape Cod. The entrance to the harbor is marked by a large rock lined outcropping called simply “The Knob”. This is the end of the line for the several paths in the Cornelia Cary conservation area that makes up most of the seaboard side of the harbor. Dogs are allowed and we’ve gotten both the furry children tuckered out on the paths and beaches. We even got in a nice afternoon of paddling and swimming as well. All in all the last few days have us dreaming of an H Class Doughdish of our own to get in on the Wednesday and Saturday racing action during the summer, as well as lazy afternoon sails. If you want to learn a bit more about this wonderful small boat, check out the blog “Take the Tiller” located here.

Anyways, here are quite a few more of my feeble attempts at real maritime photography!

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Photos Of The Week 08-16-16

Some photos from the past hitch, and some from bouncing around on boats closer to home during my off rotation.

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