current-affairs-11Dale DuPont
Dale DuPont has been a correspondent for WorkBoat since 1998. She has worked at daily and weekly newspapers in Texas, Maryland, and most recently as a business writer and editor at The Miami Herald, covering the cruise, marine and other industries. She and her husband once owned a weekly newspaper in Cooperstown, N.Y., across the alley from the Baseball Hall of Fame. A South Florida resident, she enjoys sailing on Biscayne Bay, except in hurricane season.

Blog Activity

A break for passenger vessel operators

A provision in the Coast Guard Authorization Act does away with one-size-fits-all survival craft, but the reviews aren't over yet. Passenger vessel operators dodged a potentially costly equipment requirement thanks to the recently signed Coast Guard Authorization Act. A provision in the act requires small passenger vessel operators to have survival craft that keep passengers from being immersed in water if their vessels are built or significantly altered after January 2016 or if...

Confronting gunmen on passenger vessels

The PVA wants to help operators prepare for a live shooter threat.     At its annual convention this month, the Passenger Vessel Association (PVA) has an item on the agenda that’s sure to draw a crowd. – a “live active shooter exercise” onboard a boat. The drill, involving the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Intermodal Security Training and Exercise Program (I-STEP) and the Coast Guard, is a first for PVA. “This is a logical topic, given the state of the...

Cape May ferry gets an overhaul

New engines for the Delaware – and upgrades coming for other Delaware ferries. With more than 40 years and close to 100,000 operating hours, the engines on the Delaware River and Bay Authority’s (DRBA) Delaware were ready for retirement. The Delaware sits at Caddell Dry Dock in Staten Island, N.Y. Dale DuPont photo.So the 301’x68’x16.5’ ferry is now being repowered at Caddell Drydock & Repair Co. Inc., Staten Island, N.Y. The other two vessels in the Cape May (N.J.)...

Turning up the heat on icebreakers

It's time for a firm decision on the future of U.S. icebreakers.   Weeks before President Obama weighed in on the Coast Guard’s icebreakers, Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, noted at a hearing that other polar region countries such as Russia have good icebreaking fleets, but “I don’t want to be leasing from them.” The Polar Sea. USCG photo. Hopefully, no one else in Congress does either. Maybe they’ll be persuaded by a new Congressional Research Service (CRS) report that concludes that...

Deadline looms on survival craft

The Coast Guard and Congress are debating survival craft regulations – and passenger vessel operators are caught in the middle. Passenger vessel operators are caught between the Coast Guard and Congress as the deadline looms for a potentially costly equipment replacement. The nail-biting comes courtesy of several laws and pending legislation. The most recent is the Coast Guard Authorization Act, which passed the House and is now in the Senate. It requires small passenger vessel...

Coast Guard bill would streamline medical reviews

Coast Guard legislation would streamline medical review process for mariners. Tucked into the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015 is a provision that gooses the agency to streamline the often frustrating and time-consuming medical review process mariners go through for credentials. Section 310, Subsection 7509 entitled “Medical certification by trusted agents” bears a striking resemblance to a Designated Medical Examiner (DME) proposal that’s been under discussion for several...

Towing vessel inspection: OK for RCP?

Will the Coast Guard accept AWO program for towing vessel inspection rule? With increased emphasis on accountability and responsibility, the American Waterways Operators (AWO) is moving closer to having the Coast Guard accept its Responsible Carrier Program (RCP) as a Towing Safety Management System (TSMS) under the new Subchapter M regulations. At a webinar recently, AWO outlined some recent changes to strengthen the RCP and get the Coast Guard’s OK. The changes are effective January...

Puerto Rico and the Jones Act

A recent report on Puerto Rico’s financial straits cites the Jones Act as one of the structural obstacles to growth. For Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rico’s sole member of Congress, changing the Jones Act is still important, but it’s not the big fix he’s eyeing for the financially struggling territory right now. He has sponsored legislation allowing foreign-built vessels to carry energy supplies, agricultural products and other bulk cargo between the island and the U.S. mainland, arguing...

Old ferries can be hard to unload

What were once thought of as state-of-the-art ferries have fallen on hard times. They can languish on the market for years or, when they finally go at fire sale prices, take on a whole new life. Case in point — the Delaware River and Bay Authority’s (DRBA) ferries, Twin Capes and Cape May. The former’s most recent appraisal was $3.3 million — down from $5.5 million in 2012, and the latter is now a barge with bowthrusters intact. Berthed at the Cape May (N.J.) Ferry Terminal, Twin...

Patrol cutter tops Coast Guard’s wish list

When it comes to needs and wants, the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) tops the Coast Guard’s list. When it comes to needs and wants, the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) tops the Coast Guard’s list. “Certainly, adding another NSC (National Security Cutter) would increase our capability, but we can’t afford it,” Vice Adm. Charles Michel, Coast Guard Deputy Commandant for Operations, told the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation last week. “We don’t need a...