Coast Survey’s little known role in the case of the Amistad


A bit of hidden history from the NOAA Archives

Originally posted on NOAA COAST SURVEY:

Coast Survey Brig Washington Coast Survey Brig Washington

Lt. Thomas R. Gedney, a U.S. Navy officer commanding the U.S. Coast Survey Brig Washington on August 20, 1839, was surveying the area between New York’s Montauk Point and Gardiner’s Island. He “discovered a strange and suspicious looking vessel off Culloden Point, near said Montauk Point,” according to his statement to Connecticut District Court Judge Andrew T. Judson. Gedney and his officers took possession of the vessel. The ship captured by the Washington proved to be the Spanish schooner called L’Amistad – the ship carrying Africans who revolted against their captors and tried to sail back to Africa… Thus began a little known piece of U.S. Coast Survey history. (It is so little known, in fact, that the 1997 movie Amistad did not mention Coast Survey.)

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is presenting a new exhibit of six murals at the Smithsonian’s…

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New Feet for the Knot Boards


Knot boards being used in a boating class, showing the new feet holding up the knot boards.

These low-cost simple Do It Yourself feet make class aides like Knot Boards or other displays stand up for students in class or at public events.

A standup display is easier for students to use and for those passing by a booth at a public event to see and draw their attention to your booth.

Using these feet displays can be made of any 1/4 inch thick material that is the proper size.  No need to buy special displays with built-in stands.

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NOAA Ship Rainier surveying the waters off Washington


If you have been wondering what the NOAA Ship Rainier has been doing driving back and forth like a burglar casing the neighborhood around Protection Island and Lopez Island, Washington.

They are part of a project to completely update the nautical charts of the waters from Port Angeles to Port Townsend and north to Bellingham, including the San Juan Islands.

Originally posted on NOAA COAST SURVEY:

A NOAA ship plying the waters off the coast often inspires public curiosity. This is especially true when boaters and others see the ship or her launches just go back and forth, back and forth, all day. It’s not a surprise, then, that NOAA Ship Rainier’s latest project is generating questions from the areas around Protection Island and Lopez Island, Washington.

Don’t worry, there is no problem! NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey is collecting bathymetric data to update nautical charts that are currently displaying depth measurements acquired from surveys conducted from 1940 to 1969. Survey vessels go back and forth, in a maneuver that is similar to mowing the lawn, as they use multibeam echo sounders to measure the depths and to “see” the ocean floor. If any of the vessels discover a danger to navigation – an uncharted wreck or other obstruction, for instance – Coast Survey will immediately inform…

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DIY – Historical NOAA Charts & Maps Place-mats

1898 Alaska Klondike Gold Rush Map Place-Mat

1898 Alaska Klondike Gold Rush Map Place-Mat

NOAA has made it easy for you to make Place-mats for gifts to friends.

You can download Historical Charts, maps and current Nautical Charts and for no charge from NOAA.  The charts and maps can easily be cropped to place-mat proportions and printed then clear laminated.  Coasters can also be made.  Total cost was less than $ 5.- for each mat.

These make great gifts for boaters, make a place-mat of their favorite sailing area, historical aeronautical charts can be made for pilots and historic charts for history buffs.  NOAA’s library goes back to the late 1700’s and includes city plots and Civil War Battles, in addition to the marine charts we associate with NOAA today.

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Let There Be Light – Testing the Streamlight Siege LED Lantern

Streamlight Siege LED Lantern

Streamlight Siege LED Lantern

I have used the Streamlight Siege LED Lantern for several months and have been quite impressed by it.

For boaters, the Lantern floats, has multiple light levels, should survive a 2 meter (6 foot) drop), has a nice handle to hang the light from a lifeline or similar object and D rings on the top and bottom of the lantern for hanging the lantern from the overhead.  If the lantern is hung from the lifeline, putting a cord on the lantern is prudent.

It has three white light levels, high being bright enough to read with and low lasting near forever.  There is also a very low-level red light that helps preserve night vision or give a low-level mood lighting.  The low red level should not wake a second person up at night when turned on.

The lantern is about 7 1/2 inches tall with the handle down and just over 3 3/4 inches in diameter.

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26th Annual Fisherman’s Fall Festival

Seattle Fisherman's Memorial, Fisherman's Terminal

Seattle Fisherman’s Memorial, Fisherman’s Terminal

What does a Lutefisk Eating Contest, Japanese Drummers, International Guild Of Knot Tyers, the U.S. Coast Guard, Wooden Boat Building and more seafood than most people can dream of have in common??

The Fall Fisherman’s Festival celebrating the return of the North Pacific Fishing Fleet at Fisherman’s Terminal in Seattle, this year the Fisherman’s Terminal is celebrating 100 years of serving the Commercial Fishing Fleet held last weekend.

Fisherman’s Terminal was alive Saturday October 4, 2014 with kids of all ages from very young to WW II veterans, entire families out enjoying a great weather day and activities for every interest.  The International Guild of Knot Tyers (yes that is a real group), the Pacific Americas Branch had a booth with hundreds of fancy knots, demos on how to make a door mat or make your own Turk’s Head  bracelet.

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The Untold 9/11 Boat Lift Story


A short tribute to the volunteer civilian flotilla that helped 500,000 people get home across the water from Lower Manhattan after the attacks on the World Trade Center

Originally posted on Boating Safety Tips, Tricks & Thoughts from Captnmike:

Evacuation of 500,000 people from Lower Manhattan on 9/11 by boat Evacuation of 500,000 people from Lower Manhattan on 9/11 by boat

Following the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers in 2001, a problem faced by many New Yorkers was how to get home.

I remember pictures of people walking across bridges and other images of mass migration as people tried to get home.

The boat lift of half a million people from Lower Manhattan was done by a volunteer civilian flotilla that just showed up when the call went out.  The flotilla just materialized when the Coast Guard put out a Marine Assistance Broadcast asking any vessels that could help, to please report to Lower Manhattan to help evacuate stranded commuters.

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2014 – Special Notice To Mariners

Coast Guard District 13, Special Notice To Mariners

Coast Guard District 13, Special Notice To Mariners

The Special Notice To Mariners is an annual safety publication for all Mariners, published as a 116 page PDF document by the Coast Guard District 13.  D-13 has included information from many sources in one handy place.

The Special Notice to Mariners in intended to help all Mariners in the Pacific Northwest and has information useful to all Mariners from recreational boaters to Professional Mariners.  This collects in one place, important contact information (Radio Frequencies, phone numbers, email and web sites) for the Coast Guard, proper procedures to follow if you have an on-board emergency,

There is a section on Search and Rescue, what to do if you are the object of a SAR or need to declare a May Day (you can contact the Coast Guard even if you don’t have a May Day situation, but are having difficulties of some sort).  Procedures to follow for towing, Helicopter Rescue, abandon ship procedures and other emergency situations.

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