By admin ~ February 2nd, 2012. Filed under: Gulf Coast-West.
Slow times on the Texas coastBy Capt. Mike Holmes
February is Winter on the Gulf Coast, the month when the coldest days of a mostly-mild winter will occur. In the tag end of 2011, we saw cold weather arrive a bit earlier than normal with light freezes in December as well as a couple of nights with a freeze that was not so light, even mid-way down the Texas coast. With the cool weather and often windy
conditions, those of us spoiled by the temperatures throughout most of the rest of the year will not find it that pleasant to be on the water this month. This is usually no big deal, as boating chores and maintenance must be done sometime, and better now than when warm Spring breezes beckon. Boat yards start to get booked up in February for bottom work, so wise boat owners should plan ahead. We often go a couple of years between having to do a full bottom job, so sometimes a quick haul to change zincs, check and clean props, and pressure wash the hull thoroughly will get the old girl in shape for another season.
There is a recent change in Texas firearms laws: House Bill 25, which became effective September 1, 2011, allows boat operators to carry a handgun on their boat without requiring a concealed carry license, although the weapon must be hidden from view. Prior to this bill, handguns on boats were a subject not mentioned in state handgun regulations.
The State of Texas has also announced the opening of its 34th state paddling trail, the second in the Seguin, Texas area, on a scenic stretch of the Guadalupe River.
Louisiana artificial reef projects
Construction has begun on a new 4-acre artificial reef in Lake Pontchartrain at permitted sites between the Interstate 10 and Louisiana State Road 11 bridges. The reef will be built using materials recycled from rebuilding the IH-10 twin Span Bridges damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and will be known as “The Dudley and Kim Vandenborre Reef,” after the man (a well-known fishing guide on Lake Pontchartrain) who suggested the idea to the State and Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) of Louisiana. Dudley and Kim’s Reef will be phase two of a three-phase reef project. Phase one – the South Shore Reef – was completed earlier this year, and phase three will be a reef system built around the soon-to-be-completed St. Tammany Fishing Pier. This project will be the first of its kind in Louisiana, and will be built by NASDI, LLC.
U.S. Coast Guard eases TWIC
requirement for thousand of mariners
Section 809 of the USCG Re-Authorization Act of 2010 allows the Coast Guard to be exempt from holding a Transportation Worker Identification Card (TWIC) as well as those operating vessels not required to have a Vessel Security Plan, or who are not actively sailing on their Merchant Mariner documents. This action will affect an estimated 60,000 mariners, including those with Operator of Uninspected Vessel (6-pack) credentials.