Search Google

Volume 16, Issue 31 - July 31 - August 6, 2008

A Bad Season on the Water Continues …

Eight men died on the water this month including four deaths in three days, between July 13 to 15, according to Natural Resources Police investigations.

Dennis St. Clair, of Baltimore, died July 4 of carbon dioxide poisoning as he napped in his cabin with his engine running.

Jose Alexander, 33, and Juan C. Lopez, 35 drowned July 13 in the Potomac River near Aqualand in Newburg, Va., after setting out on a canoe- fishing trip.

Also on July 13, Mathew J. Mohr, 35, of Baltimore drowned swimming in Chesapeake Bay near the Chester River in Queen Anne’s County.

Stanley Jay Langley, 51, of Indian Head drowned in Potomac River off the Charles County shoreline July 14 after setting out alone for a fishing trip in a 17-foot boat.

July 20, Margarito R. Yglecias, 52, drowned in the Patapsco River in Patapsco Valley State Park.

Claude Michael Simpson, 72, of Hempstead, New York, drowned in the Youghigheny River at Swallow Falls State Park on July 24.

Two days later, on July 26, James W. Stone, 74, of Arlington, drowned after a 16-foot catamaran capsized off Dares Beach in Calvert County.

“Since the Memorial Day weekend, the official beginning of the Maryland boating season, we have investigated seven water-related fatalities, two of which were directly related to swimming,” said Colonel George F. Johnson IV, superintendent of the Maryland Natural Resources Police. That July 25 announcement has since been topped with Stone’s recovery.

Added Johnson: “We urge Maryland citizens and visitors to put water safety at the top of their list for summer outings.”

Alas, such a pattern is not extraordinary for this time of year. “Historically July is the worst month for water fatalities,” says  Natural Resource Police spokesman Sgt. Ken Turner.

Sailor Chris Roper is motoring to his home in Nova Scotia aboard the 30-foot Pleiades, which he bought in Maryland.

But that’s not all the bad news on the water.

Three-year-old Turner Jordan ‘TJ’ Nelson’s body was found on July 12 in the Patapsco River. The boy was missing since February 3, when his father, Stephen Todd Nelson, 37, of Baltimore, claimed to have thrown him from the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

Boat Stories …

For six years, the once-stately Pleiades sat on Death Row, where unwanted boats linger until their end.

But this week, the 30-foot Cruisers powerboat is back on the water, illustrating what can happen in the era of Internet commerce and the deflated dollar.

With new owner Chris Roper at the helm, Pleiades departed Herrington Harbour North in southern Anne Arundel for what he hoped will be a four-day voyage home to Nova Scotia.

Every boat has a story, and so does every boater. After Roper’s 34-foot sailboat was destroyed by Hurricane Noel in November, he began prowling eBay in search of a new vessel. Roper, 58, purchased Pleiades, named for a star cluster visible in the Northern Hemisphere, from a charity to which it had been donated.

A retired electrical engineer, he then made four trips to Maryland, one of them with a V-8 engine in his pickup for the twin-screw vessel. By the time he docks outside his home from his home in Halifax, he will have spent a small fortune for fuel. At Pleiades’ estimated 2.2 miles per gallon, he calculates powering it to Halifax will cost $1,600.

No wonder Roper observed: “I hope my wife likes it.”

Creature Feature …

Comes to us from Western Maryland, where, come one-half hour before sunrise on October 20, 220 big-game hunters will enter the woods to stalk up to 75 of the region’s estimated 426 black bear. This year’s hunt, the state’s fifth since bear hunting resumed in 2004 to manage the population, is again limited to Allegany and Garrett counties. It’s the luck of the draw for both bears and hunters: Any bear is legal; last season’s first kill was a yearling. Hunters are picked by lottery, with applications opening August 1 ( and closing September 1. In four years, 152 bears have been taken in the hunt …

© COPYRIGHT 2008 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.