Teen surfer honored for helping rescue man after boat capsized

The teenager who helped save a man whose boat capsized in the dangerous waters of the Jupiter Inlet was recognized with a commendation Tuesday by the Palm Beach County Commission.

Sam Ruskin, 13, got an engraved wooden plaque and a standing ovation when called to the front of the commission chambers to be honored for his actions on Oct. 27 when he saw a man struggling in the water close to the jetty’s rocks.

“I don’t consider myself a hero,” Ruskin said after receiving the honor.

Video from a drone showed the boat slamming on its side into the water as it entered the Jupiter Inlet and shows Sam helping the distressed boater.

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Upscale pontoon boats getting popular in Jupiter – Columbus Ledger

Pontoon boats — those flat-decked vessels used for everything from dancing to fishing to water sliding into the Intracoastal Waterway — are becoming more popular.

“Pontoons fit more passengers than regular boats. They are affordable for more people. They are more comfortable. They have more shade. They sip gas,” said Bret Beach, owner of Beach Water Sports, a company that rents the vessels along the Intracoastal Waterway just north of the Palm Beach County line.

Once thought of as floating lawn chairs, pontoon boats are growing in versatility and popularity. Some have bars. Mini-kitchens. Bathrooms. Televisions. They pull water-skiers.

“The type of boats is constantly shifting. It depends on the price of gas. What type of fishing is popular. How well the economy is doing,” said Chuck Collins, executive director of the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County.

A decade or so ago, pontoon boats were the ugly duckling of the boating industry.

No more, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

Pontoon boats led the recreational marine industry out of the Great Recession and the worst boating sales slump in decades. Sales have been growing steadily. Pontoons now represent about one-third of sales of new boats, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

American builders sold a total of 49,829 pontoon boats during the 2016 calendar year. That’s almost a 10 percent increase over the number of pontoon boats sold during 2015. And in 2015, there was an increase of about nine percent from the previous year, according to the NMMA.

Why?

Price is one reason.

A new 26-foot pontoon boat costs about $25,000. A new single-engine outboard 26-foot motor boat with a center console the same length would start at about three times that much.

“Pontoon boats are introducing younger people to boating. Pontoon boats are very popular with families. They like to go to a sandbar or freshwater lake and totally relax,” said Collins.

Comfort is another reason.

Pontoons are easier to get in and out of from a dock. There’s more room for coolers and other boat stuff. There’s more seating for passengers than a v-shaped boat the same size.

Usually about 22-28 feet long, they rely on two inflatable aluminum pontoons to float. Much of the flat surface is covered by a canopy. They usually have engines that can go about 25 miles per hour.

Then there are boats with three pontoons. They are called — what else? — tritoons. The engines are a little larger. They are more stable than twin pontoons.

The tradeoff is tritoons are not as maneuverable as twin pontoon boats. They require larger trailers. And larger docks.

And there are big pontoon boats, like the 50-foot Manatee Queen that brings up to about 45 passengers for sightseeing tours on the Intracoastal Waterway off Jupiter.

Then there are party pontoons, such as the Pontiki, docked on the Jupiter River just south of Guanabanas restaurant. Advertised as a “floating tiki bar,” the 28-foot pontoon boat has a refrigerator, wet bar, grill, television and stereo. Beer and wine are available. Up to six passengers pay $30 each per hour.

“My most popular events are bachelorette parties,” said co-owner Tom D’aLessandro.

Docking his 26-foot pontoon boat at the public boat ramp at Harbourside Place on a recent afternoon, Jimmy Haywood said price was the main reason he bought his twin pontoon boat.

Haywood, 36, a traffic engineer from Port Salerno, fits up to a dozen people comfortably. They can bring fishing rods, towels, snorkels, fins, coolers and other stuff.

More stability means less people get seasick. He uses way less gas than his pals with V-shaped boats, he said.

“I’m less worried about the little ones falling overboard,” he said, tapping the thigh-high side rails that surround the inside of the craft.

There are disadvantages.

Pontoons don’t go as fast as motorboats. Their turn radius is not as tight. In other words, they don’t handle as well.

They are not safe on rough waters. They are not recommended to be taken out into the Jupiter Inlet or the Atlantic Ocean. That means no dolphin fishing or offshore hunting for lobster.

But fishing is popular on pontoon boats in the Intracoastal Waterway and inland lakes, not only in Florida but other states from Minnesota to Maine. Many pontoon boats come equipped with fishing rod holders, fish-finder mounts, small anchors and other fishing gear.

Many say fishing on a pontoon boat is more productive.

A pontoon boat is stable so it doesn’t spook fish as does a rocking V-hulled boat. And the flat surface gives fishermen more room to move around.

Pontoon boat drafts may be as shallow as eight inches, far less than a motor boat. That reduces risk of running aground and potential hull damage while fishing or stopping at a sand bar.

“Pontoon boats are great for a family or group going out for a few hours on the Intracoastal Waterway or on a lake. I’ve been renting boats for 30 years. I see more pontoons now than ever,” said Beach.

Pontoon boats are a Minnesota invention

Ambrose Weeres in 1951 wanted to make a sturdy pleasure craft more stable than a conventional fishing boat in Richmond, Minn., in Stearns County in the state of 10,000 lakes.

Weeres set a wooden platform on top of two rows of watertight steel barrels. He welded the barrels together end to end. Weeres tested his first boat on Horseshoe Lake in Stearns County.

It floated. His craft was steady.

Weeres took 40 orders in 1952 for his boats. He displayed the boat at a show in Chicago. In the years to come, tens of thousands of Weeres pontoons would be made in Minnesota and sold throughout the nation.

SOURCE: Stearns County Historical Museum

Article source: http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/news/business/article183957941.html

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Upscale pontoon boats, with bars and TVs, getting popular in Jupiter

Pontoon boats — those flat-decked vessels used for everything from dancing to fishing to water sliding into the Intracoastal Waterway — are becoming more popular.

“Pontoons fit more passengers than regular boats. They are affordable for more people. They are more comfortable. They have more shade. They sip gas,” said Bret Beach, owner of Beach Water Sports, a company that rents the vessels along the Intracoastal Waterway just north of the Palm Beach County line.

Once thought of as floating lawn chairs, pontoon boats are growing in versatility and popularity. Some have bars. Mini-kitchens. Bathrooms. Televisions. They pull waterskiiers.

“The type of boats is constantly shifting. It depends on the price of gas. What type of fishing is popular. How well the economy is doing,” said Chuck Collins, executive director of the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County.

A decade or so ago, pontoon boats were the ugly duckling of the boating industry.

No more, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.


Pontoon boats led the recreational marine industry out of the Great Recession and the worst boating sales slump in decades. Sales have been growing steadily. Pontoons now represent about one-third of sales of new boats, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

American builders sold a total of 49,829 pontoon boats during the 2016 calendar year. That’s almost a 10 percent increase over the number of pontoon boats sold during 2015. And in 2015, there was an increase of about nine percent from the previous year, according to the NMMA.

Why?

Price is one reason.

A new 26-foot pontoon boat costs about $25,000. A new single-engine outboard 26-foot motor boat with a center console the same length would start at about three times that much.

“Pontoon boats are introducing younger people to boating. Pontoon boats are very popular with families. They like to go to a sandbar or freshwater lake and totally relax,” said Collins.

Comfort is another reason.

Pontoons are easier to get in and out of from a dock. There’s more room for coolers and other boat stuff. There’s more seating for passengers than a v-shaped boat the same size.


+
 Giada Robinson,12, left, and Corinne McErlain,12, right, celebrate Lily Bucker’s twelfth birthday on one of two Pontiki party pontoon boats on photo
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer


Palm Beach Post Staff Writer


Giada Robinson,12, left, and Corinne McErlain,12, right, celebrate Lily Bucker’s twelfth birthday on one of two Pontiki party pontoon boats on … read more

Usually about 22-28 feet long, they rely on two inflatable aluminum pontoons to float. Much of the flat surface is covered by a canopy. They usually have engines that can go about 25 miles per hour.

Palm Beach County Boat Show starts March 21.

Then there are boats with three pontoons. They are called — what else? — tritoons. The engines are a little larger. They are more stable than twin pontoons.

The trade off is tritoons are not as maneuverable as twin pontoon boats. They require larger trailers. And larger docks.

And there are big pontoon boats, like the 50-foot Manatee Queen that brings up to about 45 passengers for sightseeing tours on the Intracoastal Waterway off Jupiter.

Then there’s party pontoons, such as the Pontiki, docked on the Jupiter River just south of Guanabanas restaurant. Advertised as a “floating tiki bar,” the 28-foot pontoon boat has a refrigerator, wet bar, grill, television and stereo. Beer and wine are available. Up to six passengers pay $30 each per hour.

“My most popular events are bacholorette parties,” said co-owner Tom D’aLessandro.


+
 Tom D’aLessandro is co-owner of Pontiki, a party pontoon boat on the Intracoastal Waterway in Jupiter on November 5, 2017. (Richard photo
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer


Palm Beach Post Staff Writer


Tom D’aLessandro is co-owner of Pontiki, a party pontoon boat on the Intracoastal Waterway in Jupiter on November 5, 2017. (Richard … read more

Docking his 26-foot pontoon boat at the public boat ramp at Harbourside Place on a recent afternoon, Jimmy Haywood said price was the main reason he bought his twin pontoon boat.

Haywood, 36, a traffic engineer from Port Salerno, fits up to a dozen people comfortably. They can bring fishing rods, towels, snorkels, fins, coolers and other stuff.

More stability means less people get seasick. He uses way less gas than his pals with V-shaped boats, he said.

“I’m less worried about the little ones falling overboard,” he said, tapping the thigh-high side rails that surround the inside of the craft.

There are disadvantages.

Pontoons don’t go as fast as motorboats. Their turn radius is not as tight. In other words, they don’t handle as well.

They are not safe on rough waters. They are not recommended to be taken out into the Jupiter Inlet or the Atlantic Ocean. That means no dolphin fishing or offshore hunting for lobster.

But fishing is popular on pontoon boats in the Intracoastal Waterway and inland lakes, not only in Florida but other states from Minnesota to Maine. Many pontoon boats come equipped with fishing rod holders, fishfinder mounts, small anchors and other fishing gear.

Many say fishing on a pontoon boat is more productive.

A pontoon boat is stable so it doesn’t spook fish as does a rocking V-hulled boat. And the flat surface gives fishermen more room to move around.

Pontoon boat drafts may be as shallow as eight inches, far less than a motor boat. That reduces risk of running aground and potential hull damage while fishing or stopping at a sand bar.

“Pontoon boats are great for a family or group going out for a few hours on the Intracoastal Waterway or on a lake. I’ve been renting boats for 30 years. I see more pontoons now than ever,” said Beach.

PONTOON BOATS ARE A MINNESOTA INVENTION

Ambrose Weeres in 1951 wanted to make a sturdy pleasure craft more stable than a conventional fishing boat in Richmond, Minn., in Stearns County in the state of 10,000 lakes.

Weeres set a wooden platform on top of two rows of watertight steel barrels. He welded the barrels together end to end. Weeres tested his first boat on Horseshoe Lake in Stearns County.

It floated. His craft was steady.

Weeres took 40 orders in 1952 for his boats. He displayed the boat at a show in Chicago. In the years to come, tens of thousands of Weeres pontoons would be made in Minnesota and sold throughout the nation.

SOURCE: Stearns County Historical Museum


PONTOON BOATS ARE A MINNESOTA INVENTION

Ambrose Weeres in 1951 wanted to make a sturdy pleasure craft more stable than a conventional fishing boat in Richmond, Minn., in Stearns County in the state of 10,000 lakes.

Weeres set a wooden platform on top of two rows of watertight steel barrels. He welded the barrels together end to end. Weeres tested his first boat on Horseshoe Lake in Stearns County.

It floated. His craft was steady.

Weeres took 40 orders in 1952 for his boats. He displayed the boat at a show in Chicago. In the years to come, tens of thousands of Weeres pontoons would be made in Minnesota and sold throughout the nation.

SOURCE: Stearns County Historical Museum

Article source: http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/local/upscale-pontoon-boats-with-bars-and-tvs-getting-popular-jupiter/ej38iQP5aM3ayk4kvQYN7I/

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NEW: Ethics Commission rules on officials’ role in Love Street plan

Two Jupiter planning and zoning commission members, accused by the town of potential conflict of interest in voting on an amendment to the approved Love Street plan, have been cleared by the Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics.

The investigation was prompted by a July 11 memo from Town Attorney Tom Baird to commission members Cheryl Schneider, MB Hague and Brett Leone.

The Love Street project, about 18,000 square feet of retail, office and restaurant space on the Jupiter Inlet, was approved last year. The project by Charles Modica has been controversial since it was proposed three years ago.


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The potential conflicts were:

- Schneider is president of COOLS, the Citizen Owners of Love Street, a non-profit organization formed in 2016 to promote citizen involvement in Jupiter’s jurisdiction over public land. A web page called “Stop the Swap!!!!,” a Gofundme page, was created in 2016 to raise money for judicial review of the Love Street project. Cheryl Schneider was listed as the creator of the site, on behalf of Charles M. Baron. The site has been taken down.

- Hague is a member of COOLS.

- Leone’s was employed with Cotleur Hearing, the Jupiter planners representing the Love Street project.


READ: The memo from Tom Baird to Cheryl Schneider

“…your participation and vote on the Love Street Project could reasonably be considered to be prohibited conduct because your vote whether for or against the Love Street Project could be of benefit to Cools,” according to Baird’s July 11 memo.

Schneider and Hague asked the Commission on Ethics for an opinion following Baird’s memo. Leone did not ask for an opinion.

Hague, Schneider and Leone recused themselves in August on a vote for the amendment on the outdoor marketplace plan. The amendment passed, 4-0.

There is no improper benefit to Schneider or Hague, according to the Nov. 2 letter from the Commission on Ethics.

“The fact that an official holds a well-known position on a controversial issue, and takes that position in discussions or votes concerning that issue, does not make those actions a “corrupt misuse” of their official position…” according to the ruling.

While she feels “completely vindicated,” Schneider says the memo from Baird creates the perception that anyone opposing development plans from Modica will be face town opposition. Modica also plans development of the 10-acre Suni Sands property. He owns the former Rustic Inn on the Jupiter Inlet.

“If you go against (Modica), you will get pressure to be silenced,” Schneider said.

Baird denied his memo was intimidation. Neither Modica nor his representatives contacted him before he wrote the memo or urged him to write it, Baird said.

“(Schneider and Hague) cannot be expected to act impartially when they have acted against the project. The applicant is entitled to an objective hearing,” said Baird.

The memo from Baird was “legal bullying,” Jupiter councilman Jim Kuretski said. “This could have a chilling effect on public opinion.”

Mayor Todd Wodraska countered that there were “legitimate concerns” that needed to be investigated.

“This is a learning process. Sometimes it gets awkward and ugly. Now we have an opinion to go by,” said Wodraska.


Article source: http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/local/new-ethics-commission-rules-officials-role-love-street-plan/PzgwYrwd33Nk4oHTVHnPsO/

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Teen surfer honored by Palm Beach Co commissioners after rescuing boater in Jupiter


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Jupiter teen given special award on Tuesday





Sam Ruskin, a teenager who risked his own life to save a boater at Jupiter Inlet Park is being recognized for his bravery.


Sam Ruskin



WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – A teenager who risked his own life to save a boater at Jupiter Inlet Park is being recognized for his bravery.

On Tuesday, the Palm Beach County Commissioners presented an award to 13-year old Sam Ruskin. The Jupiter teen saved the life of a man who capsized his boat two weeks ago.

“It feels great that they made this award. And I’m glad they’re honoring me for doing that,” he said.

The video — captured on camera by a local boat photographer — went viral.

Boat SINKS entering Jupiter Inlet October 27 2017 5:40pm One man on board and he was Lucky to Survive!!! ____________________________________________________ Phantom Drones don’t record sound so letting you know that he was Off-Throttle when the Following Wave pushed him into the next wave… _______________________________________________ * Jukin Media Verified * Find this video and others like it by visiting https://www.jukinmedia.com/licensing/view/974854 For licensing / permission to use, please email licensing(at)jukinmedia(dot)com. – - – - – - #boat #boats #yachting #boats #yachtlife #yachtcrew #yachts #boatlife #jupiter #boathoes # #jupiterinletpark #jupiterjetty #p3p #dronestagram #dronevideos #dronevideo #dronefootage #flying #phantom3pro #phantom3 #p3 #p3pro #djiglobal #dronesaregood #duboispark #flyingdrone #commercialfishing @hall10r

A post shared by Kevin Cadby (@kevincadby) on Oct 29, 2017 at 8:29am PDT

On Oct. 27, a man’s boat capsized after rough waves swept through the Jupiter Inlet, a spot known for its dangerous currents.

Sam — a longtime surfer — was swimming nearby and quickly pulled the man up on his surfboard as the waves pushed him toward the rocks.

After the video of the rescue went viral, Sam said the past two weeks have felt surreal.

“The past two weeks have been pretty great, a lot of people know who I am. My friends at school think it’s so cool,” he said. 

He said media from across the world have picked up the story. 

World Surf League, an international surfing sports media network, is planning on doing a story on Sam. A crew from a morning show in Japan even came to Jupiter to film an interview. 

“He had his time to shine. He stood up. He’s a leader and a role model,” said Kim Gilardi, Sam’s mom. “I see the joy in him and the joy in us and it’s a good opportunity to celebrate him being a gentleman and a leader.”

Sam says he still hasn’t heard from the man he rescued but is glad that the man is OK.

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Article source: http://www.wptv.com/news/region-c-palm-beach-county/west-palm-beach/teen-surfer-honored-for-bravery-by-palm-beach-county-commissioners-

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Members line up at restaurant partly owned by Michael Jordan in Jupiter

Members get access to the second floor, priority reservations, membership-only seating, access to special wine dinners and other perks, said Fenton.

Article source: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/palmbeachpost/com/members-line-restaurant-partly-owned-michael-jordan-jupiter/5CCaMbDAbdlUy8MsBBIGrO/

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Teen surfer honored by Palm Beach Co commissioners after …


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Jupiter teen given special award on Tuesday





Sam Ruskin, a teenager who risked his own life to save a boater at Jupiter Inlet Park is being recognized for his bravery.


Sam Ruskin



WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – A teenager who risked his own life to save a boater at Jupiter Inlet Park is being recognized for his bravery.

On Tuesday, the Palm Beach County Commissioners presented an award to 13-year old Sam Ruskin. The Jupiter teen saved the life of a man who capsized his boat two weeks ago.

“It feels great that they made this award. And I’m glad they’re honoring me for doing that,” he said.

The video — captured on camera by a local boat photographer — went viral.

Boat SINKS entering Jupiter Inlet October 27 2017 5:40pm One man on board and he was Lucky to Survive!!! ____________________________________________________ Phantom Drones don’t record sound so letting you know that he was Off-Throttle when the Following Wave pushed him into the next wave… _______________________________________________ * Jukin Media Verified * Find this video and others like it by visiting https://www.jukinmedia.com/licensing/view/974854 For licensing / permission to use, please email licensing(at)jukinmedia(dot)com. – - – - – - #boat #boats #yachting #boats #yachtlife #yachtcrew #yachts #boatlife #jupiter #boathoes # #jupiterinletpark #jupiterjetty #p3p #dronestagram #dronevideos #dronevideo #dronefootage #flying #phantom3pro #phantom3 #p3 #p3pro #djiglobal #dronesaregood #duboispark #flyingdrone #commercialfishing @hall10r

A post shared by Kevin Cadby (@kevincadby) on Oct 29, 2017 at 8:29am PDT

On Oct. 27, a man’s boat capsized after rough waves swept through the Jupiter Inlet, a spot known for its dangerous currents.

Sam — a longtime surfer — was swimming nearby and quickly pulled the man up on his surfboard as the waves pushed him toward the rocks.

After the video of the rescue went viral, Sam said the past two weeks have felt surreal.

“The past two weeks have been pretty great, a lot of people know who I am. My friends at school think it’s so cool,” he said. 

He said media from across the world have picked up the story. 

World Surf League, an international surfing sports media network, is planning on doing a story on Sam. A crew from a morning show in Japan even came to Jupiter to film an interview. 

“He had his time to shine. He stood up. He’s a leader and a role model,” said Kim Gilardi, Sam’s mom. “I see the joy in him and the joy in us and it’s a good opportunity to celebrate him being a gentleman and a leader.”

Sam says he still hasn’t heard from the man he rescued but is glad that the man is OK.

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Article source: http://www.wptv.com/news/region-c-palm-beach-county/west-palm-beach/teen-surfer-honored-for-bravery-by-palm-beach-county-commissioners-

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Teen surfer honored for helping rescue man after boat capsized …

The teenager who helped save a man whose boat capsized in the dangerous waters of the Jupiter Inlet was recognized with a commendation Tuesday by the Palm Beach County Commission.

Sam Ruskin, 13, got an engraved wooden plaque and a standing ovation when called to the front of the commission chambers to be honored for his actions on Oct. 27 when he saw a man struggling in the water close to the jetty’s rocks.

“I don’t consider myself a hero,” Ruskin said after receiving the honor.

Video from a drone showed the boat slamming on its side into the water as it entered the Jupiter Inlet and shows Sam helping the distressed boater.

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What a Gardens professor is doing to save reefs — and why they matter

The countless critters that dwell in the shallow waters around the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse got three new mini-apartments to call home recently, thanks to Palm Beach State College Professor Jessica Miles and her crew.


RELATED: County makes former drug ship part of artificial reef

They went to work just before dawn, preparing to dive 12 feet to the sea floor, where they bolted down three, 20-pound structures made to mimic coral reefs.


RELATED: Jupiter Inlet comes alive this week: Grouper, turtles, nurse sharks

They’re participating in a global study of biodiversity. Miles calls her research the Reef Hope Project. The status of coral is dire, she said.

Anchor damage, snorkelers who accidentally kick the reefs, warming oceans, coral bleaching and more carbon dioxide absorbed into the ocean all threaten coral, Miles said.









“I can’t emphasize enough how much we need to do more with the issue of climate change and to recognize the value of reefs, because when we have storms come through, it protects us and lessens inland flooding,” she said.


RELATED: State evaluating reported damage on coral reefs off Palm Beach

Coral reefs are the bases of the food chain, and much of the local economy depends on fishing and tourism, she said.

People need to curb carbon dioxide emissions and improve water quality that’s been hurt by pollution and runoff, Miles said.

“We can’t just sit back and hope that Mother Nature will be able to get healthy on her own,” she said.

For now, artificial reefs are sustaining fish populations and adding new niches — but it’s vital to protect natural reefs, Miles said.

Hundreds of Palm Beach State College students at the college’s Palm Beach Gardens campus will be involved by the time her research project is finished, she said.

Anchoring the reefs

Engineering students assembled the structures for her pre-dive.

Two students, a rescue diver and an adjunct professor who captained the boat joined her on a Nov. 3 dive. Other students took water samples and photographs.

Freshman Stephanie Rochefort said she lived for two years in Australia, where she saw the Great Barrier Reef, so the research project appealed to her.

“She caught my interest and sold me on it, and so far, it’s been great. It’s been more fun than anything,” Rochefort said.

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area staff determined the placement of the reef modules and prepared the locations.

At the first spot on the south side of the lighthouse, Miles fought a raging current that threatened to tear away one of her flippers and caused her to drop the module. The rescue diver father of one of her students recovered it.

She was able to anchor it to a cement block with four steel legs that penetrated 18 inches into the sediment. The module, a square frame of stacked PVC plates, will stay submerged for about three years. That will give marine life such as coral and oysters a chance to attach and flourish.

The scientists fastened the second structure in a shallower location on the east side of the lighthouse in a matter of minutes. They had eight- to 10-foot visibility, and there was no current ripping them along, so they could use both hands for work, Miles said.

Natural area staff paddled out to the mangrove lagoon with the third module on a makeshift raft between two paddle boards. Miles and her team sunk the module on the north side of Beach Road, east of the lighthouse, a safe distance from the mangroves and sea grass beds.

Tracking growth

Three years from now, they will haul up the fish houses — autonomous reef monitoring structures, as they’re formally known — to study the occupants.

Biotechnology students will do genetic testing on the species they can’t visually identify and share the results with the Smithsonian Global Marine Biodiversity Project and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s coral reef monitoring program, Miles said.

Miles and her students track the locations of each of the structures using GPS. Scientists around the world are using the same autonomous reef monitoring systems so they can compare which environments are most attractive to different species of marine life.

Miles previously deployed two other modules 50 to 60 feet deep near the Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation reef about 1 1/2 miles from the Jupiter Inlet.

Miles attached five tiles made of different materials to that reef. They’ll stay under the sea for about a year. Then she’ll examine them under a microscope to determine which material supports the most coral growth.

Recreational divers can also participate; the Andrew “Red” Harris Reef structures have a unique number tag, so divers can provide information and photographs to help scientists understand how the artificial reef changes over time, she said.

The college’s Environmental Science Department staff and students will also analyze data that the Palm Beach County Reef Research Team has collected from all the natural and artificial reefs in the county since 1991, Miles said.

The Geographic Information Systems class is working on mapping the Reef Hope Project, producing data-driven maps that show the research results, she said.

Eventually, Miles wants to work with engineering technology to add electrical stimulation to some of her modules. Corals and oysters tend to settle faster and grow faster near low voltage electricity, she said.

Art and environmental students will work with local organizations to create an “EcoArt,” functional art that benefits the environmental. They will design an artificial reef that adds marine habitat and inspires people to care more about the environment, Miles said.


Article source: http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/local/what-gardens-professor-doing-save-reefs-and-why-they-matter/wKrBFejDM9HB90i8JkPYOI/

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Palm Beach asks: How did buried utilities perform during Irma?

Palm Beach’s plan to bury all overhead utility lines on the island has ignited a debate about the pros and cons of an underground system.

Proponents say that, apart from their aesthetic superiority, buried power lines eliminate service interruptions caused by storm winds or conflicts with tree limbs.

But opponents question whether buried utility lines are worth the steep conversion cost which, in Palm Beach’s case, works out to more than $2 million per mile. Another concern: on a barrier island, are buried lines and on-the-ground transformers vulnerable to outages caused by flooding?

It’s a safe bet that Palm Beach officials were watching closely how other barrier-island towns with buried utilities fared during Hurricane Irma, which roared through on Sept 10. Palm Beach plans to bury all of its overhead lines over the next several years; construction began this summer.

In Palm Beach, all 9,600 customers lost power during Irma and it took a week to get everyone restored. According to Florida Power Light, about 33 miles of lines in Palm Beach are underground, or about 47 percent of the town. But the entire town receives power from main lines that reach the island beneath the Intracoastal Waterway.

Leaders of four barrier island towns contacted for this story — two of which have completely buried their utilities and two of which are working toward that goal – all said Irma affirmed their belief in the superiority of undergrounded systems.



In Jupiter Inlet Colony, power, cable and internet remained in service for all 240 households for the duration of the Sept. 10 hurricane, which thrashed the exclusive residential hamlet with 80-mph winds, Mayor Dan Comerford said.

“We were sitting in our air-conditioned houses throughout the night and it was fantastic,” he said. “Once you go underground, you are a true believer.”

Jupiter Inlet Colony gets electricity from a power station six miles to the south. Power comes through storm-hardened lines – the poles are made of concrete or a composite and are two to three times taller than traditional wooden poles — along U.S. 1.

The town spent $2.6 million to bury all its utilities after suffering power outages that dragged on for days after hurricanes Frances, Jeanne and Wilma, he said.

In Longboat Key, near Sarasota, the 6,000 customers with buried utilities experienced little if any power interruptions, Town Manager Dave Bullock said. But it wasn’t the same story for those with overhead service. Roughly half of those 4,000 customers lost power and some were still without it a week after the storm, Bullock said.

“We let residents back on the island at 4 p.m. on Monday, the day after the storm,” he said. “As far as I know, at that point all the underground-area residents had power, and we had 2,200 overhead customers still without power.”

Tree damage and blown debris was the reason for most of the outages, he said.

Many of Longboat Key’s properties were built with underground utilities in the 1980s. In 2015, town voters approved a $25 million bond issue to finance the burial of all overhead lines.

No magic bullet

Despite their advantages, buried power systems are no panacea against service interruptions. The entire towns of Golden Beach and Gulfstream lost power despite having buried utilities for all or a large portion of their properties. The managers in both towns said that’s because FPL’s main lines, which carry power to them, are overhead.

Golden Beach, in northeastern Miami-Dade County, has a fully undergrounded utility system. But all 390 properties lost power from Sept. 10 until Sept. 14, Town Manager Alexander Diaz said.

“Even though we are below ground, the lines that energize our community are still above ground,” he said.

Those lines come through nearby communities that have overhead power. “If their systems were undergrounded, we would have had no issue,” Diaz said.

When power came back, it was immediately restored to the entire island except for six homes that were served by a damaged circuit, he said. They had power back in another 48 hours.

Golden Beach spent $7 million to bury its utilities five years ago as part of a larger infrastructure project.

“We’re glad we did it,” Diaz said. Had the town’s lines still been overhead when Irma struck, “we would have had to re-wire the community, then re-energize. Because on a barrier island like we are, the likelihood of wires coming down is 100 percent.”

In Gulf Stream, an affluent town along State Road A1A in Palm Beach County, the town is in the last phase of converting all of its 500-plus homes to underground utilities. Voters approved a $5.5 million referendum in 2012 to bury all power, cable television and phone lines.

Town Manager Greg Dunham said that, even though Irma did no damage to utilities in the undergrounded areas, the entire town was without power for five days after the storm. That was because of damage to the main lines bringing power to the island, he said.

Once power was restored, problems remained on the north side of the island, where utilities are still overhead.

“We had a couple of poles that were leaning and being held up by the wires,” he said. “One took six hours to replace … the last streets to power up again were ones where utility poles had to be replaced.”

Dunham said he remains a strong believer in underground utilities. If power fails during a storm, “we will know it won’t be any of our infrastructure causing the power outage.”

Palm Beach Town Manager Tom Bradford said overhead main lines shouldn’t be an issue for the town once island-wide utility burial is completed.

“All lines will reconnect to the mainland (in West Palm Beach) and all of the connection points will ultimately be hardened, from the edge of Lake Worth to the substation where the power is coming from that feeds Palm Beach,” he said.

Flooding not a concern

None of the transformers in Gulf Stream, Jupiter Inlet Colony or Longboat Key were flooded during Irma, their respective leaders said.

“We are a barrier island but have not been under water since the 1920s,” Bullock said of Longboat Key. In any case, “the new systems are designed to be outside and to be exposed to the elements.” Besides, elevation can be added beneath transformers in the lowest areas of the island, he said.

Diaz said Golden Beach’s transformers were flooded during Irma but the water had receded by the time FPL restored power. “Flooding was not an issue,” he said.

The electrical wires are encased in conduit. The only places were the undergrounded system is vulnerable to water intrusion are where the electrical wires connect to the transformers and where they connect to the homes, he said.

Jupiter Inlet Colony’s elevation ranges from 6 to 17 feet above sea level, and averages 11 feet in most places, Comerford said. The town also has a state-of-the-art system for managing stormwater runoff.

“Even with 10 inches of rain in this hurricane, we did not even have a puddle,” he said.

Steven Stern, Palm Beach’s underground utilities project manager, said the town contacted Comerford, Dunham, Diaz and Bullock as part of its own post-Irma inquiry. Stern said he was told that the storm cleanup was simpler, safer and quicker in areas where there were no downed poles or electrical wires to clear.

“The responses were overwhelmingly positive about their underground systems,” he said.

*

Town Hurricane and Utilities Report

What: Public forum on hurricane recovery and underground utilities hosted by the Palm Beach Civic Association

When: 10 a.m. Nov. 16

Where: The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea, 141 S. County Road

For information: Call 655-0820 or visit PalmBeachCivic.org/events


Article source: http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/news/local/palm-beach-asks-how-did-buried-utilities-perform-during-irma/Od33LgBQ4tsq6EdChHf2eM/

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