talk tomorrow, all welcome

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2016/09/13


Ships of Commerce, War, Work & Pleasure

a presentation of NYHarbor doodles by Bowsprite

aboard Nantucket Lightship WLV-612

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
6 to 7pm

Pier 6 Promenade, Brooklyn Bridge Park


take the WaterTaxi ferry or the East River Ferry from Pier 11 across the East River to Pier 1
Brooklyn Bridge Park, walk south to Pier 6,
or, take the trains to the stations shown on the map and walk west to the park and the ship.

Of great note!


“Between 1941 and 1945, Liberty Ships were constructed in 18 U.S. shipyards.
John W. Brown is one of only two Liberty Ships that survive.

“She is docked at Pier 36 on the Lower East Side (299 South St.) and is open for tours and other events ending with a six-hour living history cruise on Sept. 18.
The John W. Brown was built in Baltimore. She was named for a well-known labor leader and launched on Labor Day, 1942.  Her maiden voyage was to New York City where she picked up Jeeps, trucks and ammunition to aid Russia under the Lend-Lease Act and took them to the Persian Gulf. She transported troops and cargo in support of the WWII effort until 1945…

“On both Saturdays the engines will be working at the pier as part of the tour.”

From DowntownPost. For more information:
“She’s been fully restored and is beautiful. I’ve never ever ever seen
such a clean engine room.”   –Schoonertrash Ros


Waterfront Management Advisory Board

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2016/05/03

The New York City Council’s Committee on Waterfronts will hold a hearing on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. in the 14th Floor Committee Room, 250 Broadway, New York, NY.


Hey, Cityfolks! even those living in waterfront condominiums will need food and goods brought in and wastes removed. Can’t keep trucking.


does anybody else in here feel the way I do?

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2016/02/09

“Does anybody here remember Vera K?”


Ship Builder: Main Iron Works, Houma, LA
Year: 1967
Length: 68.8 ft / 21m
Hull Depth: 6.2 ft / 1.9m
Hull Breadth: 22.2 ft / 6.8m
Hailing Port: NEW YORK, NY

Vera K is now Bobbie AnnVera Lynn is still active!  Tough gals, the two Veras.


dare! and tugboat race & contests

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2015/08/31

octopusBlueDarewell, thanks to Pecs for muscling me into drawing mode.

This Sunday! one of the rare chances to see crew inside those tugs come out! in the flesh—and a lot of flesh, at the tattoo contest (which I don’t see on this year’s line up…?)

23rd Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition

Sunday, 6 September 2015
10am -2pm
Pier 84:West 44th Street and Hudson River Park, NYC

10:00am Parade of Tugs from Pier 84 (w 44th st./hudson river park) to the
start line @ Pier I at w 70th st. in Riverside Park South

10:30am Race Starts (runs from Pier I to Pier 84)

11am Nose-to-nose pushing contests & Line-toss competition

Noon Amateur line-toss & Spinach-eating contests

1pm Awards Ceremony

2pm Tugs depart

more information at the Working Harbor Committee’s site.

NY Media Boat’s RHIB (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat)

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2015/06/25


Length: 24 ft / 7 m
Power: 220HP Cummins Diesel // Range: 120nm
Cruising Speed: 25 kts // Top Speed: 30+ kts
Homeport: Liberty Landing Marina, Jersey City, NJ
Capacity: 6 passengers + crew

Built for the U.S. Dept of Defense, Naval Surface Warfare Command, and purchased by Bjoern Kils, these RHIB are hardy, fast vessels. I would see Bjoern all the time, all seasons, all weather. He was there for several rescues, and more, so that Tugster and I would call him the NY Media and Rescue Boat, which Bjoern seemed disinclined to use. I have taken friends out on his tour to celebrate a birthday, and was lucky enough to be a guest, and can attest that you will have an amazing time: Bjoern is knowledgeable, a good captain, and a runs a very good service for zipping about the harbor and being on the water.
Their blog is a fascinating view of the going-ons of NYHarbor.

And on the way to tying up on pier 25, they sometimes retrieve the myriad volleyballs/soccer balls clogging the slip, selecting the nicer, less algae’d varieties, ready for barter if you have a cold drink on hand. NY Media Boat does it all.

Book a trip or read more about NY Media Boat here.

Thank you, Kristina, for the inspiration to make these drawings happen!

Fleet Week and the National Stationery Show!

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2015/05/18

Drum roll, please! we are at the convergence here, in this happening city, of both Fleet Week AND the National Stationery Show!

Say it with a war ship greeting card!


Many thanks to the CO of USS CHINOOK (PC-9) for commissioning the drawing of his vessel for his crew.
(Prints were ordered; I just made the greeting card up for this post.)

And much thanks to Sarah Schwartz, editor of Stationery Trends for using Bowsprite cards to illustrate her very good article on the trends in the industry:


Very interesting information, beautifully designed with clever charts depicting the results of survey responses from 299 greeting card suppliers, manufacturers and retailers.

If you go to the National Stationery Show and look out the west exits, you’ll see the Fleet go by! who could ask for anything more? Sarah Schwartz is speaking at 2pm: see you there! going with my dear friend, Anja Kroencke, click to see her gorgeous work.

built: 1993, Bollinger Shipyards, Lockport, LA
class and type: Cyclone-class patrol ship
displacement: 331 tons
length: 174 ft / 53 m
beam: 25 ft / 7.6 m
draft: 7.5 ft / 2.3 m
speed: 35 knots (65 km/h; 40 mph)
complement: 4 officers, 24 men, 8 Special Forces

New York Psychedelic Harbor

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2015/01/11


One anchorage is larger
And one anchorage is small
And the yellow buoys of Bay Ridge
Don’t do anything at all

And you just had some kind of tug food
And your mind is moving slow
Go ask the Statue
I think she’ll know

And the AK bridge lady is talking backwards
And VTS said to go ahead
Remember what the HarborMaster said

Clean your head
Clean your head


Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2014/12/18

The most cheery, Christmasy vessel appeared on the horizon this morning:


ho ho ho.
Twas a jolly way to start a grey morning.

Vehicles Carrier

Flag: United Kingdom (GB)
Home port: Southampton

Gross Tonnage: 61328
Deadweight: 22250 t
Length × Breadth: 199.99m × 33m
Year Built: 2009

Capacity Cars (RT43): 6,354
Hoistable Decks: 4
Maximum  RoRo dimensions:
Height: 5.20 m
    Width: 7.00 m
    Ramp Weight Capacity: 237 tons

anyone know the shipyard from whence this vessel came? am guessing somewhere Korea or China…

tug Sea Lion

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2014/02/01
type: 1400 HP
built: 1980
length: 64.5 ft / 19.7 m
beam: 22 ft / 6.7 m
Many thanks to Bjoern of the NY Media Boat for being there to rescue.  Tugster photos of the tug here.

cgc bainbridge island, southbound

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2014/01/03


USCGC Bainbridge Island (WPB-1343)

Built: Bollinger Machine Shop and Shipyard, Lockport, LA
Commissioned: September 20th, 1991
Class and type: Island Class
Displacement: 154 tons
Length: 110 ft (33.5 m)
Beam: 21 ft (6.4 m)
crew: 2 Officers, 1 CPO, 13 crew
homeport: Sandy Hook, NJ

more stats here. But, what are they serving for lunch?

vhf prose: radio check

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2012/09/24

A captain was in the harbor at anchor when he heard the following over VHF 16:

Boater: “Radio check, radio check this is (name of boat).”


Boater: “This is (name of boat), we are here at Sandy Point. I mean, Sandy Hook…doing a radio check. Please respond.”


Boater, with annoyance: “This is (name of boat), someone please respond to our radio check.”

Mystery Mariner, with just a touch of playfulness: “Ok, sure…FUCK YOU!”

Ah, New York Harbor…I do love this harbor.

it is balloooooon!

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2012/09/09

oh my goodness. I really sat through this: F Troop.

A more scholarly link here

These navy airships have flown over NYHarbor. Spotted by Tugster this year on 11th June, above Sputyen Duyvil, Hudson River, betwixt Manhattan and da Bronx:

And, a parade of commercial ones, spotted by Control Geek just last week…

art show on the lighthouse tender Lilac!

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2012/08/11

“Ships of New York Harbor”

oil paintings of Frank Hanavan and illustrations of Christina Sun

open today! and on view until 31 August

Mondays and Thursday,  4 to 7 PM,

Saturdays and Sundays,  1 to 6 PM.

Reception: Thursday, August 30, 6 to 10 PM.
Music by the Jug Addicts!

Lilac  is berthed at Pier 25, Hudson River Park
at West Street and N. Moore Street

1 train to Franklin Street stop
A/C/E trains to Canal Street stop (exit at Walker Street)

LILAC is a 1933 lighthouse tender that carried supplies and maintained buoys for the U.S. Lighthouse Service and the U.S. Coast Guard.
More information about her here. We hope to see you there! Frank is there sundays, Christina will be there mondays.

lightship ambrose

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2012/07/01

Lightship Ambrose LV 87 / WAL 512
Built: 1907 by New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, NJ
Length: 136ft. (41.5m)
Beam: 29ft. (8.8m)
Draft: 13ft. (3.9m)
Original Illumination Apparatus: three oil lens lanterns
Propulsion: Steam

This lightship was stationed in the Ambrose Channel since 1906, guiding vessel traffic through the main shipping channel just below the Verazzano Narrows bridge, into New York and New Jersey Harbor until 1967. She was given to South Street Seaport Museum by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1968. A light tower replaced it, was hit by ships a few times too many, and, now, the channel is marked by lighted buoys.

Now at the new! improved! South Street Seaport Museum under the fertile wing—nurturing wing?— of the City of the Museum of New York  this lightship was painted in March, and is now being restored and is open for visiting at Pier 16.

The wings of the seaport museum are alive: a new exhibit is up, nautical pieces from another museum I love, the American Folk Art Museum.

And true to the harbor’s spirit, the active gem of the museum, Pioneer, is sailing. Go onboard to sail in the harbor or go and volunteer and learn how to handle lines and many other things that may always serve you well…!

fun with AIS

Posted in AIS (automatic identification system) by bowsprite on 2012/03/07

Say It At Anchor

“You see? now if you had that damn thing on a lanyard, we wouldn’t have to do this.
What am I going to tell the office?”

“I’ll see you suckers on the one!”

Happy Hour

“Party in the Hamptons this weekend! Bring your grill!”

 *NOTE*: all unretouched screenshots (well, maybe the first one is tweaked a bit.)
Some names have been changed to protect the guilty.



Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2012/02/04

Tips from Capt JJ: “One black ball means he’s anchored. After that, the more balls you see, the more f*k’d  he is.”

one black ball:

two black balls:
“Not under command. Underway, but no way on. Adrift.”
Unable to follow any rules.

three black balls:
“Aground. Displayed aloft.”

 two black balls, two diamonds:
“Vessel engaged in underwater work. Pass on diamond side; avoid ball side.”

Another beauty tip from Capt JJ: “You know how I remember it? girls love diamonds, so go for the diamonds. Or, you have to have balls to pass on the side with the balls. But the girls and diamonds one is easier, for me.”

ball diamond ball:
“Restricted in ability to maneuver. Working vessel.”

And, Capt JJ had to go there—“This is no good, either:”

— thanks, Capt JJ. I think.

If hungry for more, the COLREGS International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, published by the IMO, spells out in exhaustive detail the rules for lights, shapes (dayshapes like these), and sound signals.

Note:  *No vessel ever has absolute ‘right of way’ over other vessels.*  You can be the ‘give way’ (burdened) or the ‘stand on’ (privileged) vessel.

veterans day & tea towel for the engine room

Print your own fabrics! re-upholster your bunk, make cool pillows, and frame your porthole with your own designs!  Spoonflower, is a site based in Durham, North Carolina that prints your designs at their ‘mill’. Read more about them here.

In honor of Veterans Day (today: 11.11.11) they just held their military fabrics contest which I missed, but inspired me to make a tribute fabric anyway. (I never knew the symbolism of poppies until this contest.)

The Ships Ahoy Tea Towel calendar is now available! The fabric measures 21″ long by 18″ wide, but the edges are raw and will need to be finished:

All ships are denizens or frequent visitors of NYHarbor, and run on their own power. I love our historic vessels, but will save those for the Dead Ships Dinner Napkins series.

Here are past Bowsprite fabrics. I am going to do one with egrets and booms, a la Tugster! Have an idea for a fabric? drop a line!

creatures of the deep

Creatures of the Deep: this one sank in the Cape Cod Canal, was raised in 4 days and went back to work, busy in NYHarbor.

This one sank in the Wicomico River, was raised after 3 years, came to NYC under her own power (at 4kts), and works hard as a restaurant/bar on pier 66.

And this one sinks and rises for a living, and did so in Lower Bay and left, carrying some of our tugs off, away to the East. Type in Blue Marlin or “Ground Hog Day” to see Tugster’s reportage of her ups and downs.

And this one laid in harbor mud, was salvaged, and now is the Waterfront Museum, the host of the Creatures of the Deep art show. Curated by Karen Gersch, the show is currently on view until August 22. The Artists’ Reception will be on July 22 at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Thank you, Tugster for sinking in the sinking/raising idea which gave rise to this post!

Happy July to all! see you in August!

time lapse of new york harbor

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2011/06/28

The great Control Geek, John Huntington, has made yet another incredible time lapse – of Upper Bay!


I love how the sailboats are so unpredictable, making loops, turns and spins. When the wind picks up, they get frenetic.

In contrast, the tugs and barges, plow through, steady and true to their course. It is like that in real time, but speeded up, it is very dramatic.

The tugmen sometimes call the sailboats “mosquitos” or “fleas,” but everything looks like waterbugs to me.

This video was shot on saturday when the high number of commuter ferries do not run. The gay pride sailboats go by at the end.

thanks, John!

CoastLink Hamburg

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2011/05/25

CoastLink. Thank you, David Cheslin. This post is for you.




treasure map

Posted in harbor wildlife, kill van kull, newark bay, NYHarbor by bowsprite on 2011/05/21

The red dots mark the spots! I found thick, lovely oyster shells on the Kill Van Kull and in Newark Bay. They are heavy, rough, but more smooth than fluted. There is no way to tell how old they are, but it is good to hold them and to think they may be coming back.

marion m.

Posted in lighters by bowsprite on 2011/03/25

Marion M. (1932)

Material: Wood hull
Length: 60.6 ft.
Breadth: 22.5 ft.
Gross Tonnage: 41
Depth of Hold: 5.4 ft.

Lovely Greenport, L.I. wooden freighter which carried oysters, potatoes, lumber, cordwood, and stones for jetty construction. She plied the Sound, making trips from as far as Massachusetts to Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. Known also as “chandlery lighters,” these versatile little boats carried supplies and drums of fuel to ships lying at anchor in the harbor. She had simple hoisting gear, an A frame cargo mast. You can see her, floating at pier 16, on the east river.


Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2011/02/21

goodbye, Joe, me gotta go, me oh my oh!
me gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou…

Under the cover of darkness, she sails under the Verrazano-Narrows bridge, heading south. What what was such a behemoth carrying? our upriver correspondent caught her boatload few hours earlier (thank you, Jeff)! Another hefty load here.

jambalaya, crawfish pie and fillet gumbo,
cause tonight I’m gonna see my machez amio

The ship is Dutch. Hm, jenever-infused crawfish, anyone? herring-gulf oyster po’boy?  cajun edam ‘cheesecake’ soufflé?  alligator nasi goreng (indonesian fried rice)? mmm!

Oops! they turned east. If they did a 180°, they could make it for mardi gras!

Don’t know the song? ah, but he’s the king!!!

pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-oh
son of a gun, we’ll have big fun down on the bayou!

vhf prose

Posted in Uncategorized, vhf by bowsprite on 2011/01/30

These lines were heard on various channels of  VHF (very high frequency) marine radio. Vessel names (where possible) and times were jotted in sketchbook margins or envelopes. All tugs have been changed to protect the innocent. or guilty.

“Coming to you as quick as my little propellers will take me.”

“We’re standing by, and we’ll keep knocking the fish outta the water until you get by.”

vessel 1: “Cap—you hanging out here?”
vessel 2: “No, this is my warp speed, believe it or not. You go ahead, I’ll take your stern.”

vessel X: “Oh, Yooooohoooo!”
vessel Y:  “Yeeeeeep?”
vessel X: “I gotta go move the buddha, so I’ll be right back.”
vessel Y: “Ok.”
vessel X: “And he’s gonna move it boat style, not boom style.”
vessel Y: “As long as he don’t get used to it.”

Ah! translation in the comments section! thank you, Yooohoooo!

vessel A (very cheerfully): “That you, Stupid?”
vessel B (equally cheerfully): “Cheeeeck!”
vessel A (in cartoon voice): “I’ll gitchoo…!”

middle of the night, buddy 1: “Look at at that moon!”
buddy 2: “Ah! I forgot what it’s like to do oil.”
buddy 1: “You still smoking?”
buddy 2: “Ha ha…well…I quit today. But I think I’ll go back now that you mention it.”


My absolute favorite VHF moment is here, “Are you angry?”

harbor and river shipping

Posted in new york harbor, short sea shipping by bowsprite on 2010/06/22

Short Sea Shipping is the use of small vessels to transport containerized cargo by water, using coastal and inland waterways. It is also going under the name of Marine Highway, the Blueway, Harbor and River shipping.

Waterborne freightage of cargo takes it off the roads, bridges and out of tunnels; it is the more economical, environmentally sound, and healthier method of goods transportation.

source: Texas Transportation Institute

Many people have envisioned and worked for this. What are SOME of the obstacles in NYHarbor?

I can’t imagine. We have bollards in place:

Trucking companies might get miffed and will want to shake a fist at the boats, but there are very few to target. As per the Jones Act, all vessels must be American made. That’s fine. We have shipyards that could use the work. It will cost more than a ship built in Asia. Yes, it will. And, not to fear: we have tugs & barges. We have schooners. We have intrepid kayakers.

We have the bollards, but few working piers or docks. Getting them built will run you into city, state and federal red tape, depending on the piece of waterfront you are looking at. Many town communities do not want traffic or riffraff like working mariners to mar their riverfront and views. One could float an eco-dock. Or, one could toss boxes of goods over the railing and run before the police come. You get fined $60 for biking on these walkways pictured above. How much would the fine be for cluttering it with baskets of apples and other produce from upstate, crates of dairy goods and wines from up the Hudson Valley, kegs of amazing Brooklyn beer, Christmas trees?

SO: boats, piers, docks, harbor tax, fines, TWIC fees for crew, dough to bail out crew (of course, US citizens!) when apprehended…money can handle those.

City, state, federal resistance…we’ll tweet you and let you know where to meet us with guitars and bongos, or to hold hands and sing “We Shall Overcome.” The absolute largest obstacle is cheap fuel. Invisible subsidies favor trucking and hide road-bridge-tunnel maintenance expenses. Trucks will bring food in from Florida to meet the cruise ships that left Florida to dock in our harbor. True true: florida oranges and grapefruits are better than our local varieties, however we have better dairy than them just upriver, and what farmlands we still have excellent produce, meats, beverages. How can it be that trucking goods that are available locally from across the nation is legal? or even profitable?

Changing people’s mindset that trucking is easier…oh, we will need a real miracle here. Join here if you’d like to help (still fledgling).

clearwater’s great hudson river revival 2010

This weekend: Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival 2010
A musical and environmental festival; the venue looks amazing!

Uglyships has its Flashbacks, BibliOdyssey has its Image Dumps. Here is mine, for John Sperr’s old Instant Button Machine in the Dutchess Outreach booth this weekend. He asked for a few images to represent river and harbor activity, so I collected a few together. I have to draw more tugs! According to Roberta Weisbrod, since 1991, there is a 37% increase of tugs operating in NYHarbor. Taurus is foist on the list!

All artwork is ©2010, but is available upon request for altruistic, beneficent, benevolent, charitable, eleemosynary, good, humanistic, philanthropic, public-spirited causes, and for birthdays and ship anniversaries.

cool charts

I love charts & maps, and here are some of my favorite sites:

Wikimapia: I like labeling, and it’s maddening to find someone’s beaten me. Clicking on the site will often lead you to the current occupier’s website, history, and other information. I’m always impressed with how thorough and fastidious my anonymous co-mappers tend to be. Map mode is easier to read street names. However, I like the satellite mode as some folks like to outline and label their boats! I’m still looking for the surveyboat–she was not at her slip the day of class photo. Please label resp0nsibly (anyone can label)! Friends don’t let friends label drunk.

Sturgeon Bay‘s out, Katherine Walker‘s out on the beat…everybody’s out working.

Google Distance Calculator / DaftLogic: Disclaimer claims that all distances are estimations, but this is great for measuring crumbling piers (in satellite mode).

So with this handy website,  you can see that the distance between Atlantic Salt and the DSNY Marine Transfer Station is, as the seagull flies:


and yet we insist on rumbling over potholed roads, congested bridges, and through backed up tunnels to truck it, schlepping the salt through three four boroughs:


when we could it tie it on seagulls’ legs and fly it!! duh!!

Antipodes Map: could we dredge our way to china? not by going straight through! we’d end up due west of Tasmania!
If It Was My Home:  this is a new find. You only feel like playing with this one once. Thanks, BitterEnd & RedRightReturning!

© 1987 D.Jouris/Hold the Mustard. All rights reserved. The copyrighted image may not be reproduced, altered, or transmitted in any format

Hold the Mustard: You in Funk? at War? in Hell? They have very fun maps! Thank you, David, for permission. Take a peek, place an order!

Upside Down and Unusual Maps: the last time I felt this disoriented was when I was driving the survey boat south, away from one of the many basins in Jamaica Bay. I was so confused: the chartplotter was north up, the manhattan skyline seemed east of us, the channel seemed south, my boss was checking our data, and I was tearing along at 20 kts headed straight for a shoal 1’depth at low water.

And! the Source—NOAA: Ode to 12327, Hommage to 12334!

¡Hola, fellow ChartLover! I have BOTH charts and Katherine Walker on here por te!

do you like your TWIC card?

Posted in Fleet Week, hydrosurveying, twic, vhf by bowsprite on 2010/06/03

Evaluation time! How are you liking it?

good things about having a TWIC:

• you feel like VIP breezing past long lines to get into Fleet Week at PST pier 90. You get to keep your metal water canteen and knife.
(if you do not have a TWIC, please do not bring nice water bottles or knives to see warships. The trash cans outside were full of caught contraband and it was a sad sight.)

• finally have something to hang on the Fleet Week swag ribbon.

• theoretically can attend barbecue on girlfriend’s tanker at Atlantic Basin (sorry I missed it, Carolina.)

bad things about the TWIC:

• though issued by Lockheed Martin, no airport security personnel will recognize what it is. (It has been pointed out that because of errant airplane activity, all working mariners are required to have TWICs, but not airport personnel nor pilots.)

• actually, no one who has requested ID from me knows what it is. Or worse, they got the nerve not to card me anymore.

• it does not grant you access to public restrooms or the concession stands on Liberty Island, even though you are on a survey boat that had a full security sweep with two policemen and a police dog before you began the job, and you were surveying their piers all morning for 4 hours, expertly dodging (boss did) the ferries laden with tourists going to the Statue of Liberty. The officer saw us making our long, slow runs all morning. When we docked to let me off (no head on the boat), he barred my way, saying I could not disembark because I did not pass through a metal detector.

• it does not grant you permission to go where commercial vessels with non-TWIC’d folks get to go. During the Fleet Week 2010 parade of ships, ferries and taxis were permitted to cross the line. One hard working harbor tug requested permission of the USCG patrol boat to transit alongside the parade on the east side to watch. Permission was denied, and the tug had to take the stern of the last coast guard boat in the procession, thereby missing the whole show.

Aren’t you glad you have a TWIC?

Before I sound like a total ingrate, many thanks, Hydrographic Surveys, for paying the $132.50 fee for my TWIC.

Short Sea Shipping in NYHarbor!

Posted in harbor shipping, short sea shipping, water access, waterfront by bowsprite on 2010/04/18

I love how that sounds! It would be, more accurately Very Short Sea Shipping, or simply, Harbor Shipping.
And expanding harbor shipping is only one suggestion for the Department of City Planning, who welcomes your voice in their Comprehensive Waterfront Plan for 2020. So, get involved!

Currently, our freight comes in as containerized cargo to New Jersey (Port Elizabeth, Port Newark, Jersey City-Bayonne), Staten Island (Howland Hook), and Brooklyn (Red Hook).  Everything is then mostly trucked around, with only some things moving off by rail.

Short Sea Shipping is the use of smaller vessels to bring goods from the central container terminals to various little ports around our city to get it all off the streets, and to you, via the water.

Your computer. Your clothing. Your chair. Your shoes. Your cup. The beverage in your cup (unless it’s good ol’ NYC tap–the best!). The dinner you will have tonight (unless you grew it yourself on your fire escape or illegally shot it in the park):  all these things we consume do not truly reflect what it cost to bring to you if we were to factor in the work and maintenance on roads, bridges, tunnels alone. (Not even going onto the topic of stress on the Mothership, yet.)

We are behind. Roughly 40% of freight in Europe moves by short sea shipping. And in Hongkong: mid-stream operation. Thanks, Carolina.

We currently have no little ports around our city, no working piers, limited usable docks, nowhere for feederships and lighters to tie up, some stevedores, but, no cranes for longshoremen to operate, nor storage facilities or transit sheds to hold the break bulk. (Notice, above, how many piers there were in 1933? A bit of history here on how we lost it.)

However, we have the water. NYC is richly blessed with waterways that can transport stuff into the hinterlands.

Here is what it might look like. As long as I am allowing my imagination to run amok and it is all theoretical, I shall be generous:

the newtown creek floating market & pick up point

oh, and while i’m fantasizing:

But here are the ones who know much more: America’s Marine Highways and Deep Water Writing‘s good starter package!


Thank you, Department of City Planning, for opening the dialog for  VISION 2020 (clever!)

A very good write-up of the evening’s 4+ hr meeting was made by Frogma, found here, with interesting comments.

I regret to say, their ‘before’ slides were WAAAAAAY better than what they envision in the ‘after’ ones:



They proudly showed slides of “increased waterfront access,” but it looks exactly like the “waterfront access” we have now, which–getting to work for me–is:
• look to be sure no parks police are nearby
• climb over metal rail
• step on boat at the safest moment, or jump down if boarding at low tide.

It was put so well at the meeting from a commentator: we’d like not just ‘waterfront access’, but water access.
Yes! please, and thank you!


where to get it: skysails, trailer bikes, cargo bikes, tallship

(the Le Havre adventure/drawings! coming! coming!!)

Coast Guard Cutter ESCANABA (WMEC-907)

Posted in coast guard by bowsprite on 2010/03/24

Coast Guard Cutter ESCANABA (WMEC-907) – “Medium Endurance cutter”
Built: 1983, R. E. Derecktor Shipyard , R.I.
Class and type: Famous-class cutter
Displacement: 1,800 long tons (1,829 t)
Length: 270 ft (82 m)
Beam: 38 ft (12 m)
Draft: 14.5 ft (4.4 m)
Propulsion: Twin turbo-charged ALCO V-18 diesel engines
Complement: 100 personnel (14 officers, 86 enlisted)I do love deck fittings and ground tackle!

The CGC Escanaba was docked at Pier 17 this weekend.  Her history is here, their blog is here!