When Vineyard physician Michael E. Jacobs teamed up with his friend, Dr. Eric A. Weiss, to write a book on marine medicine over five years ago, boating got safer for a lot of sailors. Boaters bought it and stowed it away with their box of bandages and antiseptic. It was a great addition to the required first aid kit.
The book enables all who sail or motor in boats to feel as though they have some expertise onboard to deal with medical situations.
The paperback book was reissued in May, with quite a few improvements (Marine Medicine, A Comprehensive Guide, by Eric A. Weiss and Michael E. Jacobs. 336 pages, illustrated and pictures. The Mountaineers Books, $15.95). It is still small and measures 4 1/4 inches by 6 inches. The earlier version was 288 pages. It has since been bumped up to 336 pages, with more illustrations and more comprehensive help for treatment of injuries. There is expanded coverage for divers and hazardous marine life. There is an update on sunburn and prevention.
No one wants to be injured on vacation, even less on their dream cruise. Help is so far away when a sailor is in a boat. This book is a generous source of information for those seeking preventative medicine as a safe way to sail.
Scallop Boat Runs Aground Off East Chop
The 84-foot fishing boat Kris & Amy grounded two miles east of East Chop on Hedge Fence Shoal on Monday afternoon and required the attention of several salvage firms to free her late that night.
Senior Chief Jamey Kinney of Coast Guard Sector Woods Hole said that a call came in from the vessel at 12:55 p.m. that she had run aground in 11 feet of water. Coast Guard Station Woods Hole responded. The vessel, a sea scalloper with a blue hull and white superstructure, remained stuck through the afternoon.
Mr. Kinney said several salvage firms, including TowBoat and Tucker-Roy Marine Towing, responded. There was initial concern that there might be a fuel spill, but it soon became apparent that the vessel had suffered no damage to the hull. At 9 p.m. the tugboat Co was able to pull the vessel off the shoal.
“Once the boat was deemed safe, she was freed and towed to New Bedford,” Mr. Kinney said.
The Coast Guard is not releasing the name of the captain, and the grounding remains under investigation.
Hedge Fence Shoal is a narrow sandbar that runs approximately one mile long from northwest to southeast in Nantucket Sound. It is well-marked and designated prominently on navigational charts and is a popular fishing spot for recreational, small-boat fishermen.
Divers and knowledgeable mariners already know Hedge Fence Shoal for another reason. After colliding with the tug Covington in November of 1918, the British 380-foot freighter Port Hunter ran aground and sank at Hedge Fence Shoal. The remains of the rusted hull still attract divers. The wreck is known to harbor a nice population of fish, mostly black sea bass.
Considered treacherous for mariners, early in the 20th century there used to be a lightship on location that bore the shoal’s name.
Like all lightships, it carried a beacon that lit the night.
This was the second incident the TowBoat salvage firm responded to in local waters Monday.
The Coast Guard Station in Menemsha received a call early in the afternoon that the 38-foot sailboat Wind Runner had run aground in the Cuttyhunk Channel.
The TowBoat salvage firm pulled the vessel out of the channel and took her to New Bedford.
Striped Bass Alert
In response to rising concern by recreational anglers that they are catching striped bass in Massachusetts that look injured and have skin lesions, the state Division of Marine Fisheries issued an advisory. It says that while the lesions are not likely to be harmful to humans, fishermen should take notice.
“Lesions on the skin of striped bass are a relatively common occurrence and have many causative agents. The elevated prevalence seen in some areas this year may be the result of anomalously high spring and summer water temperatures seen in Massachusetts and more southerly waters. Fish with mild skin lesions are safe to handle and consume,” the advisory states.
Division staff have been “collecting information from anglers on the prevalence and geographic distribution of the skin lesions. At present the prevalence appears to be low, less than five per cent coastwide but higher in fish from southern Massachusetts, primarily Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod Canal. Internal and external examination of afflicted fish has not indicated that these lesions are associated with Mycobacteriosis.” Mycobacteriosis is a bacteria that infects fish in southern waters, such as the Chesapeake Bay and is fairly common there. But it is not common here, the advisory reports.
Fish handlers are urged to observe care in the handling of all fish. However, they add this note: “discard fish with large open lesions or darkened patches in the fillets . . . . Fish with mild skin lesions are safe to handle and consume.”
The advisory is offered more to recreational fishermen than the consumer going into the store, as fish handlers would not sell fish fillets with lesions.
The state reports they will continue to monitor the harvests of fishermen. “We encourage fishermen who observe lesions to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and report the geographic location.”
The complete notice is available at the Division’s website: mass.gov/dfwele/dmf.
Derby Season Approaches
The 67th annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby is only six weeks away and already anglers have an interest in what lies ahead for the month-long contest. This year’s contest opens on Sunday Sept. 9, at 12:01 a.m. The contest ends on Saturday, Oct. 13, at 10 p.m. Recreational fishermen will pursue the largest striped bass, bluefish, bonito and false albacore. They’ll be fishing from the shore and fishing from boats. The contest awards different prizes to those who fish from the shore and those who fish from a boat. For instance, boat fishermen are eligible to win a new Chevy Silverado pickup, while shore fishermen are eligible for a 22-foot center console Eastern boat, outboard and trailer.
Chuck Hodgkinson, chairman of the derby, said this week there have been no significant changes to this year’s contest, including the $45 entry fee.
The derby, which raises money for the scholarship fun through fees collected by registrants, reached a significant milestone this year. Mr. Hodgkinson said the all-volunteer nonprofit organization has awarded $400,000 in scholarships to regional high school students who have gone on to higher learning. There are expected to be close to 3,000 participants in this year’s contest.
There is one big date that many fathers and mothers should write down. The annual free kids day derby will take place on Sunday, Sept. 16, at the Oak Bluffs Steamship Authority dock. Fishing begins at dawn and the contest is usually over by 9 a.m.
The derby’s website, mvderby.com, is idle now but will come alive in the weeks ahead. They are also on Facebook: facebook.com/mvderby/info.
Plenty of fish are being landed by anglers. Striped Bass and summer flounder are coming into Menemsha at a fair pace. The state Division of Marine Fisheries keeps track of the landings statewide. Summer flounder, also called fluke, is moving quickly. The state reports that fishermen have landed 66.5 per cent of the quota, or 577,309 pounds of fish.
Three weeks into the start of the commercial striped bass season and 21.4 per cent of the quota, or 226,789 pounds, has been landed.
The commercial black sea bass season closed on May 24. The state reports that commercial fishermen overshot the quota. They landed 248,105 pounds, which is over the quota of 221,936 pounds.