Sep 14, 2006 — A tanker had gone aground on Whiskey Island shoal on the St. Lawrence Seaway, spilling 100,000 gallons of thick oil. That was the nightmare scenario emergency responders on both sides of the river faced in a drill exercise last Thursday and Friday. 150 people charted the simulated oil's progress downriver, laid booms to contain it, and then reviewed what went right and wrong. As David Sommerstein reports, the exercise demonstrated the first hours after an accident need the most attention. Go to full article
Coast Guardsmen get ready for their Waterway Watch presentation.
Jul 18, 2006 — If you're among the thousands of people making a splash in the St. Lawrence River this summer, the Coast Guard wants you. Its "Waterway Watch" program enlists river goers to keep their eyes peeled for suspicious activity - the kind of things a drug smuggler or potential terrorist might do. David Sommerstein went to a "training session" in Alexandria Bay and filed this report. Go to full article
Coast Guard Auxiliary on patrol. Below, a gap between the U.S. and Canada where smuggling was popular during Prohibition.
Jul 18, 2006 — Among the people most likely to see suspicious activity on the river are members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Formed to patrol America's waters at the beginning of World War 2, the Auxiliary has more than 30,000 volunteers nationwide, more than 1000 across New York. After the Waterway Watch press conference, one volunteer gave his higher-up a tour of spots in the Thousand Islands that used to be popular for smuggling and could be again. David Sommerstein produced this Heard Up North. Go to full article
Oct 06, 2005 — The captain of the Ethan Allen, 74-year-old Richard Paris, gave a blood sample voluntarily earlier this week. Full results of yesterday's tests by the National Transportation Saftey Board won't be available for months. The preliminary report added to mounting evidence that the Ethan Allen may have been top-heavy before it capsized Sunday afternoon. Eyewitness Joyce Cloutier, from Loudonville, told an Albany TV station that the Ethan Allen appeared "extremely unstable" as Paris struggled to keep it upright while making a right-hand turn. Cloutier says passengers started toppling to one side of the boat, which then capsized. She watched the accident from another boat about fifty yards away. Cloutier's voice was heard on a 9-1-1 tape released Tuesday.
U.S. Coast guard officials say they've begun rethinking the weight calculations that determine how many passengers a boat can carry safely. The tour boat on Lake George isn't governed directly by the Coast Guard rules, but safety recommendations influence state guidelines. The rules would also affect boats operating on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Champlain. Brian Mann spoke with Coast Guard spokeswoman Angela McArdle, who says expanding waistlines may force a change in standards. Go to full article