Archive for the tag 'boating'

Authorities fished the unconscious body of Vladislav Cheloudko, 41, out of the Rockaway Inlet behind Kingsborough Community College yesterday afternoon, in what appears to be a boating excursion gone bad.

Police arrived at the Manhattan Beach-based school (2001 Oriental Boulevard) at approximately 5:00 p.m. Sunday. He was rushed to Coney Island Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

DNAinfo reports:

Police are investigating Cheloudko’s death, but said it was possible the man had been kayaking or sailing and lost control of his vessel, a spokesman said.

The medical examiner will determine his cause of death.

Cheloudko, a Brooklyn resident, was pulled from the waters behind Kingsborough’s Marine Center. According to News 12, he was unconscious at the time of his removal from the water, and police attempted CPR before transporting him to the hospital.

Daily News reports that he was “found upside down in the waters.”


There are few stories I love writing about more than the apparent resurgence of wildlife along our shores, as historically poor water qualities continue to make strides towards a healthy habitat.

The latest is a rare sighting of humpback whales just outside of Jamaica Bay, along Rockaway Beach, Staten Island and Long Island.

Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers President Dan Mundy Sr. sent us the above photo, showing one of two whales that was spotted near the Rockaways getting so close to a paddleboard enthusiast that she probably felt the ocean spray as it surfaced.

Mundy couldn’t say for sure whether or not it was a humpback, but said it probably was. The same day, there were several other sightings, according to news reports out of Staten Island and New Jersey. Earlier in the week, Newsday reported on two humpbacks off of Atlantic Beach on Long Island – probably the same two.

And on the same day and same place as the above photo was taken,YouTube user Mike Leonard caught some cellphone video of a humpback surfacing near Rockaway.

According to Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, humpback whales are common to these waters. But it’s rare that they’d be this close to shore, especially for several days on end as the sightings seem to suggest. The foundation told Newsday that they believe it’s because there’s an unusual amount of food for them in this area, drawing them alongside pods of dolphins.

Oh, yes, dolphins.

They were seen with the whales along Long Island, and Mundy said he himself witnessed an enormous pod of more than 100 dolphins in the same area just three weeks ago. He shared the photo below, and you can see Rockaway in the background.


If you’ve got a boat, it’s a heck of a treat to see the dolphins and humpback whales so close. But keep a safe distance; these are enormous wild animals, so give them their space. Oh, and send us your photos and video.



When boats in Southern Brooklyn get smashed, a certain captain comes to the rescue. The captain in question is Jack Schachner, and he and his lucrative White Cap Marine and Salvage business is the subject of a fascinating report by the New York Times report.

Captain Jack’s activities mainly revolves around the business of salvaging wrecked boats in the waters off Southern Brooklyn, a difficult and dangerous job as the Times details:

Capt. Jack Schachner strained his eyes as the waves crashed over the rail of his towboat. It was a moonless night in Jamaica Bay and a storm had pitched the black water, making the conditions even more dangerous than usual as he sped along a rocky stretch of shoreline in pursuit of his bounty.

And suddenly there it was, illuminated by the flashing orange lights from his boat: a 53-foot fishing vessel listing perilously and quickly taking water from a large hole torn across its hull. The accident had occurred in the dark, prompting a Fire Department rescue of four passengers thrown into the water and leaving the boat dangerously situated on a rock jetty.

Captain Schachner’s job was to tow the boat somewhere safer, where it could be left until he could orchestrate its removal. For an entire night, he worked alone, his boat groaning angrily as the waves slammed it against the damaged vessel. Despite the peril, the thought of leaving never surfaced in his mind, he said. His reward for this salvage, he estimated, would be at least $30,000.

Schachner, who runs the business with his brother, Captain Bernie Schachner, and their first mate Frank Donnelly, sees a lot of action in the summer months when people hit the waters on jet skis, motorboats and yachts, often times getting into dangerous situations. Listening to his radio for any calls of distress, Schachner described just when to head out for a rescue.

“I can tell when there’s a sense of distress, of panic in someone’s voice, even from sleep, and when I get that sense, I go,” Schachner told the Times.

The Times explained how Schachner brings down big bucks for his actions:

He needs the radios because speed is essential in his business. Maritime salvage laws, created more than a century ago to give mariners incentive to assist a vessel in peril, state that the rescuer is entitled to a salvage reward. The reward, typically paid by insurance companies, is based on a percentage of the vessel’s value and cargo, and on the dangers faced during the salvage. The greater the danger, the higher the reward.

For the brothers, two Navy veterans with a love of adventure and “saltwater running through our veins,” salvaging seemed a natural calling, Jack Schachner said.

The report, which you can read in full by clicking here, is a fascinating portrait of the adventurous stories and humorous anecdotes that Schachner and his crew have faced over the years working as a salvage company. Check it out.


It has been almost eight months since Superstorm Sandy devastated the area and while political leaders, activists and volunteers are doing everything they can to clear the rubble from the streets, boaters are hoping that more action is taken to clear the area’s waterways and creeks. NY1 is reporting that boaters are requesting more government intervention to clean up the trash, sunken boats and broken docks washed into the seas by Sandy.

In Gerritsen Beach, partially sunken boats and old broken docks are still clogging up the waterways and creating hazards for boaters. Recreational boater Buddy Love explained the less than safe conditions in Brooklyn’s waterways.

“Sunken boats that are turned upside down…debris in the water that is washed up…some of the boats are hazards because they are sticking up out of the water,” Love told NY1.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the city Parks Department has claimed that cleaning up the waterways and creeks is not their responsibility, though officials from the DEP did volunteer in clearing a lot of debris blown in the water by Sandy.

Despite the unsafe obstacles, sailors who take off from Sheepshead Bay are reporting that there are still many clear channels available for passage.

Varuna Boat Club (photo by nolastname)

Varuna Boat Club (photo by nolastname)

Eight months have passed since Superstorm Sandy crashed to the shores of Sheepshead Bay and the Varuna Boat Club (2806 Emmons Avenue) is finally finishing the repairs needed to get the club back in pristine condition.

News 12 is reporting that the Varuna Boat Club, which has been in existence for 138 years and started off as a rowing club in Bay Ridge, has faced a long road to recovery. Seven boats were lost in the storm and the docks were heavily damaged.

While the work, shared by fathers and sons whose membership can be traced back through the generations, has been long and arduous, all the effort is finally paying off.

“They show you that no matter how old you are, with a little hard work, you can get anything accomplished,” member Michael Siano told News 12.

Way back in November, just a week or so after Sandy, we wrote about and shared photos of the destruction exhibited upon the Emmons Avenue boating clubs. Since then, we’ve been keeping tabs on their progress, and just about all of them are in the same shape as Varuna – close to recovery, but not there yet. They’ve all gotten back on their feet in the sense that their doors are open and are hosting functions once again, but many still have damaged docks, pools and other problems – and repairs are largely being done by volunteers from within the club.

These clubs, mind you, are hardly the hoity-toity yacht clubs of popular imagination. They’re working-class and middle-class sanctuaries, providing resources like pools for their members (many club members do not own boats), and are part of the community fabric. We hope to see them all running at full steam within the next few weeks.

Community Board 15 helped clear the way for a new storage facility on Knapp Street, voting in support of a waiver to existing zoning restrictions at their meeting last Tuesday despite objections from community groups.

The proposed location. Click to enlarge. (Source: Google Maps)

Metro Storage NY came before the Board in a process to repeal a “restrictive declaration” on the property at 2713-2735 Knapp Street, a wedge of land that juts into Plumb Beach Channel at Voorhies Avenue. The 28-year-old declaration prohibits any use other than a retail and marina development, a clause that has caused the land to stay desolate since the original plans fell through years ago.

“It’s derelict. What do I see here? I see some trucks, I see some cars,” said Metro Storage’s attorney, Howard Goldman, before the Board.

Goldman said the restrictive declaration and the lot’s proximity to the Coney Island Wastewater Treatment Plant means that few plans can get through the process to make use of the property. In 1996, an application was submitted for a two-story retail development was squashed, and, in 2005, a plan for a residential development was opposed by the Department of Environmental Protection.

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The FDNY’s Marine 3 headquarters in 2009. (Source: Vlad Iorsh/Flickr)

The fire eaters of the FDNY’s local marine unit will have to rebuild their summer headquarters – or find themselves homeless, thanks to Superstorm Sandy.

Marine 3

The Marine 3 summer vessel. (Source: FDNY)

The unit – FDNY Marine 3 – operates a summer base at the tip of Kingsborough Community College (2001 Oriental Boulevard) in Manhattan Beach. When the waters whipped through the campus, it ravaged the unit’s four-year-old quarters, rendering them useless.

“Marine 3′s quarters sustained damage from flood waters,” confirmed an FDNY spokesperson.

It wasn’t alone. Several firehouses were damaged and many have not reopened since the storm. All are in the process of being repaired, and trucks have been stationed throughout the affected communities to provide quick response.

Marine 3′s headquarters will also be rebuilt, the spokesperson said, although he was unable to provide a timetable or estimated cost for the repairs.

In the meantime, local mariners need not worry. Marine 3′s vessel – used only during the summer, when boating and other water sports are at their peak – was pulled out of the area ahead of the storm, and was unharmed. When summer rolls around, it will again be stationed at Kingsborough, whether the headquarters are rebuilt or not.

“There is no impact to fire protection or fire service in that area,” the spokesperson said.

The Marine 3 headquarters opened in September 2008, featuring 24-hour security, a new kitchen and bathroom, and a state-of-the-art floating concrete dock. The location also became a training center for members of the Fire Department’s Marine Division, which was given access to Kingsborough Community Colleges’ Maritime Technology Program, a high-tech sailing simulator that puts students at the helm of various vessels to prepare them for careers on the water. It helped grow the city’s small vessel program, which FDNY brass lauded as allowing them to provide faster, more efficient responses to water-related emergencies.

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Local mariners have something to be happy about this New Year: the Department of Environmental Protection reversed course on plans to destroy a 78-year-old navigational aid between Manhattan Beach and Breezy Point that mariners say makes them safer and shows them the way home when gizmos can’t.

According to documents released under a Freedom of Information Law request filed by Sheepshead Bites, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection decided to leave a wastewater diffuser pipe that locals affectionately refer to as the “roundhouse” after sailors and other mariners objected to its removal.

“Comments received questioned whether it would be more advantageous to leave the existing outlet chamber in place,” DEP reps wrote to partnering agencies in a September 2012 letter. “If kept, it could serve as an underwater fish habitat and provide opportunity for sea birds to perch.”

It wasn’t just the environmentalists that the DEP sought to please; the agency determined the now defunct roundhouse served a crucial purpose for navigation, and as a marker for underwater infrastructure that could damage vessels.

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Ah, the simple pleasure of fishing. It’s a peaceful hobby that requires skill and patience. Not everyone is blessed with the skills needed to fish, and even more people aren’t blessed with the time… or the boat for that matter. Lucky for us, these boys in the video above hopped in their party boat, left Sheepshead Bay, set up a time-lapse camera and fished their way to internet fishing glory. Check it out.

According to a release by the New York Times, the city environmental officials lifted an advisory on recreational water activity issued last month after Superstorm Sandy. The environmental advisory applied to the East River, Hudson River, New York Harbor, Jamaica Bay and the Kill Van Krull.

The advisory was put into effect after power outages caused wastewater treatment plants and pumping stations to discharge untreated wastewater in New York City waterways.

The recreational advisory urged against activities such as swimming, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing or any other water activity that would entail possible direct contact with the water.

In related news, the Gateway National Recreational Area announced that it reopened both the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and Great Kills Park, however Floyd Bennett Field is still closed.

None of those advisories stopped the local Brighton Beach resident featured above from testing out the cold waters of Brighton Beach by going for a risky swim six days before the advisory was lifted.

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