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Weather Service to Get Aid of Mariners

The National Weather Service has embarked on a new project to inform mariners of weather conditions in the San Pedro Channel and beyond. It involves the mariners themselves, who will relay information that is not reported in the general roundup broadcast by the weather service from its Los Angeles station.

The project, called MAREP (marine reports), will collect observations radioed from vessels during specific hours. The call for reports will be made over VHF marine channels 16 and 69 three times daily. Reporting times, according to John Henderson, chief meteorologist of the Los Angeles station, will be between 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., noon to 1 p.m. and 4 to 5 p.m.

Mariners wishing to relay weather observations may call WHV 894 in Avalon. This station is being monitored by volunteer Terry Beadle, an Avalon fireman. Beadle will gather all information received and relay it to the National Weather Service in Los Angeles. The service will then screen and synthesize the observations for broadcast.

Channel weather observations have been limited to the monitoring station on an oil platform about seven miles seaward from Huntington Beach. When this automatic monitoring station was installed several years ago by a joint effort of the Richfield Oil Co. and the National Weather Service, it was hailed as a great aid to marine safety.

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Today, several automatic monitoring buoys up and down the coast are in operation, but the devices, though highly useful, are limited to reporting wind velocities and directions and sometimes wave heights.

MAREP can vastly increase the breadth and depth of observations. It is now up to mariners to make it work for greater safety at sea.

Henderson said he hopes to expand MAREP to include the Channel Islands area. Possibly a coordinating station will be established in Santa Barbara.

The concept of MAREP comes from the Coos Bay area, where the wife of a fisherman used to monitor her husband’s and other’s ship-to-ship communications. Much valuable weather information was conveyed.

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Saturday is California Coastal Cleanup Day. Thousands of volunteers are expected to meet on beaches throughout the state and pick up trash. This is the first annual cleanup day, endorsed by the State Dept. of Fish and Game, the California Waste Management Board and private industries. Similar cleanup programs will be held Saturday on the beaches of Oregon and Washington.

Locally, Newport Beach’s beaches will be cleaned under the coordination of Jeff Nichols of the City of Newport Beach Police Dept. Environmental Services. So far Nichols has about 40 volunteers and he is looking for more . Nichols may be contacted by calling 644-3652.

Mel Hazen, Orange County Waste Management Program, is seeking more volunteers to clean up county and state beaches.

Sailing Notes John Christensen of Balboa Island has finished an 11-year labor of love, the complete restoration of a 73-year-old, 31-foot Monterey fishing boat. He says marine insurance companies are loath to insure old wooden boats like his, so he even though he’s launched her, he’ll probably never cruise her to Catalina Island, although the low freeboard Monterey hulls are extremely seaworthy.

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