Monthly Archives: June 2012

Dock News


At coordinates 40.87754°N and 73.76577°W, you will find Columbia Island; a 150-square-foot-dollop of rock off of New Rochelle, NY in Long Island Sound that is situated between David’s Island and Pea Island. In fact, prior to 1940, it was known as Little Pea. That was when CBS purchased it, and in 1940 began construction of a concrete foundation to support a transmitter building with emergency housing for ten workers, topped by a 410 foot (125 m) antenna tower for WCBS-AM (then known by the call sign WABC). The transmitter remained in operation until the 1960s, when the station was moved to nearby High Island.

Fast forward to today with the romantic notion of living on one’s very own island added into the mix as filmmaker and actor Al Sutton has been preparing to do just that on Columbia Island.There was a hitch, though. The tiny island with its well-known history, had no power or water. That’s where Florida’s St. Petersburg-based Mastry Engine Center stepped in and helped make it possible for Sutton to live there completely off the grid.

Sutton is renovating the facility that housed the aforementioned Columbia Broadcasting’s 410′ radio tower for almost 20 years. Columbia Island is essentially a 75′ x 75′ concrete building protected by a 175′ x 175′ seawall. Employees once lived there, using a well that has since been breached with seawater, and electricity from an underwater power cable that’s now long gone. Sutton’s goal is to create an off-the-grid, green home in this facility.

The Mastry Engine Center was a key player in meeting this challenge, supplying two custom-built, synchronized, 45 kW MasPower generators as part of the home’s power system. The packages feature electronically controlled Yanmar diesel engines, powder-coated enclosures, stainless steel exhaust systems and 100-gallon stainless steel fuel tanks. A DeepSea electronic controller is instrumental in synchronizing the generators; no easy feat on smaller power systems.he house’s 100,000W power demand is fed primarily by a 1,200 sq. foot solar panel array linked to six large Xantrex inverter systems, with overflow sent to a bank of 48V batteries. When needed, the inverters signal the MasPower generators to start, which then simultaneously supply house power while recharging the battery bank. As power levels stabilize, one generator shuts down, leaving one to finish charging the batteries.

Total Electric, a Charleston, South Carolina, alternative power specialist, coordinated the electrical system. To connect the MasPower generators, “All I did was plug and play,” said Total Electric’s Tom Stoudenmier. “Mastry was great, they did all the synchronizing and fine tuning of the circuitry that makes the generators talk to each other.”

The house itself presents its own obstacles. More a bunker than an island estate, its basement is consumed by four half-million-pound concrete pads that once secured the radio tower. To install the generators, Mastry completely disassembled them to fit through a hole cut in the floor, then reassembled and installed them within the sparse basement area.

Project manager Harry Hunt of Marine-Solutions, a Glen Cove, New York-based marine repair and restoration company, said renovation work at Columbia Island, “Is like working on a boat that doesn’t move.  This is a very small, unprotected island. Everything must be watertight to stand up to the elements.  It demands the use of the best available products.”

Water comes from a 1,200 gpd Village Marine reverse osmosis seawater desalinator. Waterproof marine bulkhead doors, hurricane-proof windows, roll-down exterior shutters and two 10,000 gph sump pumps help protect the house from the elements. Sutton is currently creating a documentary about the resurrection of Columbia Island and incorporating its unique history as well.

Mastry Engine Center, celebrating its 50th anniversary, specializes in marine and industrial engines for OEM and repower, use MasPower diesel generators and industrial equipment.

Contact Mastry Engine Center, 2801 Anvil St., N. St. Petersburg, FL  33710.  727-522-9471.
Fax: 727-527-7013.

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Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Dock News


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BoatUS Report

Boaters, Anglers: Gear Up for Summer Boating Season With

BoatUS Towing App

Easily Get On-the-Water Assistance From the Largest Towing Fleet in the World

The summer boating season is heating up, but are you ready to handle a boat engine breakdown, grounding or dead battery far from the launch ramp or marina? Just in case, download the free BoatUS Towing App to your smart phone now at If you do have a problem on the water, you’ll be able to summon assistance from the largest on-the-water towing fleet in the world.

“We’ve got your back,” said BoatUS Vice President of Towing Services Jerry Cardarelli. “Relax and have a great time knowing that if you do have a problem on the water, we are there to assist 24 hours a day with over 600 TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist response vessels across the country ready to go at a moment’s notice, as well as hundreds of additional towing resources.”

Downloading the BoatUS Towing App is easy, and you don’t have to be a BoatUS member to use it to summon on-the-water assistance.

The App also reduces towboat response times by using the accuracy of the GPS latitude and longitude technology built into smart phones, and also adds helpful location and tracking features. Since its launch last year, over 80,000 boaters, sailors and anglers have downloaded it and over 500 dispatches have been safely completed.

In addition to on-the-water towing dispatch, the App can be used to summon roadside assistance when you’re trailering your boat down the highway. BoatUS has access to over 18,000 roadside service providers with the ability to safely handle boat trailer breakdowns and get you on your way.

BoatUS offers on-the-water towing service plans – much like a roadside assistance club for boaters – for freshwaters for $58 a year and saltwaters for $149 which includes BoatUS or BoatUS Angler membership. Roadside Trailer Assist can be added for an additional $14. Go to or call 800-395-2628 for more information. Boaters can also contact their local tower on VHF channel 16, or by calling the BoatUS toll-free Dispatch Service at 800-391-4869

About BoatUS: BoatUS – Boat Owners Association of The United States – is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing over half a million members with government representation, programs and money-saving services. For membership information visit or call 800-395-2628.


Posted by on June 5, 2012 in BoatUS Report


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BoatUS Report

With the 2012 Hurricane season officially beginning June 1, forecasters are predicting a ”near normal” year of storm activity, which means there’s a good chance that tropical storms will strike the US coastline. However, BoatUS has found a new tactic for preparing for incoming storms — using tie downs with boats stored ashore — that has proven to significantly lessen the impact of storm damage.

“We’ve known for a long time that the most effective storm preparation tactic a boat owner can do is to remove the boat from the water and store her ashore in a location above the anticipated storm surge,” said BoatUS Director of Damage Avoidance Bob Adriance. “That’s why we created the Hurricane Haul-out Coverage overage included in all our boat insurance policies that helps defray the cost to remove a boat from the water.”
“But over the last few years, we’ve now learned that if you add tie-downs on both sides of a boat that are secured to deck cleats and either embedded in the concrete pad or deeply screwed into the earth with helical anchors, you can almost eliminate storm damage from all but the most severe storms. Of course, you also have to include other measures, such as reducing windage by removing roller-furled sails and biminis, and ensuring that jack-stands rest on a firm surface, but if you want the least damage and want to get back on the water after a storm as quickly as possible, pulling the boat from the water and firmly tying her down are a winning plan,” added Adriance.

Using a simple tie-down system for their “Hurricane Club” members, Sebastian River Marina & Boatyard in Sebastian, FL has been successful in preventing hurricane damage to customers’ boats.

BoatUS also offers free online help with the web’s most complete Hurricane Resource Center designed specifically for boaters, clubs and marinas at It includes detailed storm-tracking information as well as the no-cost, downloadable Boater’s Guide to Preparing Boats and Marinas for Hurricanes.

All BoatUS boat policies include “Named Storm Haul-out Reimbursement.” When a boat is in the path of a NOAA-named storm (within the five-day “cone”), a boater is eligible to be reimbursed for 50% of the cost of labor, up to $1,000, to have the boat professionally hauled, prepared and tied-down, or moved to a safe location. With BoatUS, a hurricane haul-out “claim” does not penalize a policyholder.

About BoatUS:
BoatUS – Boat Owners Association of The United States – is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing over half a million members with government representation, programs and money-saving services. For membership information visit or call 800-395-2628
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Posted by on June 1, 2012 in BoatUS Report


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