A team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) discovered a World War II (WWII) German U-boat and a freighter in August 2014 off the coast of North Carolina. Unseen for over 70 years, the German U-576 was sunk in 1942 by aircraft fire after it damaged two boats and downed American merchant ship Bluefields. According to NOAA maritime archeologist Joe Hart, the location is “a WWII battlefield that’s literally right in our back yard.” The two vessels lay only a few hundred yards apart and highlight a time when 90 vessels sank off of the Atlantic coast during World War II. A war grave, the U-boat seals 45 deceased German sailors within. Still owned by the German government, it is protected by the U.S. at Germany’s request.

Southport, North Carolina, welcomes transients with extended time at their city dock. Visiting boats may now stay 48 hours, not just 24, permitting more time for provisioning and exploration. Check-in at the police station the Southport Marina. The marina gives free weather and navigation briefings at 6:00PM during fall and spring migrations. southport-nc.com

The new Customs entryway at the Marathon, Florida, airport is delayed. Renovations began in late fall 2014 and completion is expected in spring 2015. Law enforcement will meet mariners entering the U.S. from international waters at local docks and await the arrival of an airport Customs agent.

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The Miami-Dade County Mayor wants three coastal cities and the City of Miami to share fireboats and crews. The use of land-based fire crews to staff boats may have created longer response times to a disastrous boating accident, which left four dead last summer. County boats would serve the northern and southern reaches of Biscayne Bay, and Miami would use its boat in the downtown area.

Faro Blanco Marina Resort in Marathon, Florida, opened its new docks last month following repairs from 2005 Hurricane Wilma to make Marathon a Florida Keys yachting destination. Faro Blanco Resort was a ‘70s and ‘80s icon. Its beloved white lighthouse still guides mariners into the harbor, but a new Hyatt Place hotel with two pools, waterside restaurants and a fitness center replaces original structures. The new state-of-the-art 74-slip Faro Blanco Marina & Yacht Club accommodates megayachts and offers extensive amenities. Fishing, dolphin watching and the Turtle Hospital and Dolphin Research Center provide local diversions, and rental cars at the Marathon Airport are just 10 minutes away. faroblancoresort.com

By Nancy Spraker, Southern Boating January 2015

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