TOUGHER THAN WE THOUGHT?
FIRST, THE BAD NEWS. Ocean acidification is the ongoing phenomenon of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels leaching into the sea and changing water chemistry by altering pH balance. Some 30 to 40 percent of the
CO2 from burning fossil fuels dissolves into the world’s
waters, according to the National Science Foundation,
and scientists around the globe are investigating what detrimental effects this could be
having on the creatures that live in our oceans.
The good news? Sea life might be more resilient than we thought. A study funded
by the European Project on Ocean Acidification looked at the effects of high CO2 levels
on tiny-shelled plants called Emiliania huxleyi. (Ever seen the White Cliffs of Dover?
That’s what they’re made from.) The plants are important because, along with other
phytoplankton, they form the basis of the marine food chain. So, scientists expected
that the increased carbon levels would disrupt the plants’ shell growth, but according
to a paper in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers found just the opposite. Emiliania
huxleyi actually grew larger shells. — C.L.
BOATU.S. AWARDED ITS 11th National Sea Scout Flagship Award over Memorial Day Weekend and, once again, the
honor for the top-performing unit went west,
recognizing Ship 700, Makai, of San Leandro,
California. The Sea Scouts, and their adult
leader Robert Karn, accepted the award May
are no physical signs, so they are often reported as drowning deaths, according to
experts. Last year, four children and a 26-year-old woman were killed in separate
ESD incidents in freshwater lakes during one week in July. In 2009, one informal
survey of boats in Portland, Oregon, showed that 13 out of the 50 boats tested were
leaking potentially deadly current.
In 2010, Kevin Cunningham’s 15-year-old son Michael died while swimming in
West Virginia’s Stonewall Jackson Lake, electrocuted when he reached for the
metal ladder of a boat they were staying on. Cunningham said he learned about
ESD after his son’s death, from an article in BoatU.S. Magazine’s sister publication
Seaworthy, and says education, for boaters, marina owners, and first
responders, is key to preventing more ESD accidents.
“No one knows about ESD,” he says. “There
are more people learning about it every day.
But the sad thing is it’s probably going to
Cunningham is working with the
Oregon-based Electric Shock Drowning
Prevention Association to pass state legis-
lation. In April, the “Michael Cunningham
Act” was passed in West Virginia. The act
requires Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters
(GFCIs), which cut off improperly
grounded circuits, on public docks.
Cunningham is working with other asso-
ciation members toward similar laws in
Missouri and Tennessee.
Seaworthy has gathered compre-
hensive info about electric shock
drowning and how it can be prevented:
www.BoatUS.com/Seaworthy/ESD — C.L.
27 in a ceremony at the 61st Annual Ancient
Mariner Regatta. The event is held every year
at the USS Hornet Museum, a World War II
aircraft carrier moored in Alameda, California,
on San Francisco Bay.
Ship 700 is the fifth California Sea Scout
unit to earn this recognition since BoatU.S.
revived the Flagship Award in 2002 to help
celebrate Sea Scouting’s 90th anniversary. Last
year Sea Scouting marked a century of service
in getting young men and women on the water
in boats, large and small.
With two dozen youth active in the program, Ship 700 operates Boson, a 50-foot
wooden classic motoryacht and another
wooden vessel, the Once Bitten, a 58-foot former U.S. Coast Guard harbor-patrol craft. To
earn the Flagship recognition, the ship and
its crew compiled an impressive record of
accomplishments, with 42 days of on-the-water
activities last year, including a 17-day summer
cruise, plus 15 community service projects and
numerous other achievements.
Sea Scouting is a coed program for young
people ages 14 to 20, operated by Boy Scouts
of America (BSA). With 6,500 youth, about
one-third female, in 550 ships nationwide,
activities range from formal training in boat
handling, Rules of the Road, and safety drills,
to boat maintenance, electronics, and engine
repair, with a good measure of fun thrown in.
Keith Christopher, national director for BSA
Sea Scouts, presented the Flagship trophy on
behalf of BoatU.S. A brass plaque bearing the
name of Ship 700 will be added to a perpetual
BoatU.S. National Sea Scout Flagship trophy
displayed at the National Scouting Museum in
Irving, Texas. For more on Sea Scouting, visit:
www.seascout.org — R.L.