A Safe and Well-Maintained Marina Helps Stem Losses, Keeps Insurance Premiums in Line

Marine insuranceAs an owner or operator of a marina, a yacht club, a commercial vessel, or a boat dealership, protecting both one’s customers and the business itself is key to sustainability, growth, and profitability. What’s more, there are number of exposures inherent in operating a marina, all of which affect the pricing of marine insurance, which is why putting safety first is critical for maintaining a safe environment.

Basic Safety Tips

Following are some basic safety tips one should ensure are not only provided to all employees in and around the marina, but are also enforced and monitored regularly.

The marina storage contract should be reviewed, if it hasn’t been in the last five years.
Be sure all boat owners are required to sign the contract annually.
Ensure that all boat owners (including temporary slip users) are required to provide proof of insurance at least annually in the case of seasonal users.
Keep a copy of storage contract.
All subcontractors should be required to sign in, and provide a proof of valid, current insurance with a copy kept on file.

Launch Area

Be sure the marina property is clear of overhead power lines, and that the launch ramps are clean and have good, full-length traction.
Mark the end of the ramp prominently.
The forklift launch area should have adequate guards to prevent over-shooting end.
Each forklift should have a portable fire extinguisher.
Ensure that the travel lift is in good condition and certified annually.


Have appropriate signage at fuel dock.
All fuel nozzles should be grounded and there should be no latch open devices on the nozzles.
Make sure employees are properly trained in fueling operation.
Have a pollution response kit at the pump area and at minimum one size III/60BC portable extinguisher at fuel dock.


Be sure to have adequate lighting on the dock.
Don’t have any cords, water hoses, and so on running across the dock.
Ensure that the dock is free and clear of owner’s belongings.
Access gangways to floating docks should have non-skid surface and/or cleats.
Pier planking should be devoid of bulges, loose planks, popped nails, and so on.
Have a ring buoy with a line attached at each portable fire extinguisher location.
Make sure there are egress ladders provided for fixed piers and docks.
The electrical system should be checked annually for proper grounding of all electrical power pedestals.
Only put marine grade shore power cords.
Unattended portable heaters should be prohibited on boats.
Bulk (larger than 20#) propane bottles should also be prohibited.

Fire Protection

All portable fire extinguishers should be serviced on an annual basis.
Extinguishers should be conspicuously located on all piers, shop areas, restaurants, meeting areas, office, etc.
There should be at least one AIBI portable fire extinguisher at the foot of all piers and along docks and accessible within 75 feet ).
Have sprinkler system services and tagged annually.
The sprinkler system should be inspected and tested every month.
Set up a special area set up for welding and cutting.
Put smoke and fire detection system in all shop areas, office, meeting areas, restaurant, etc.
There should be a central station alarm.
Keep dumpsters and large trash receptacles located away from buildings and stored boats.
Maintain a neat and clean shop.
Keep oily rags kept in fire-resistive metal containers and emptied daily.
Keep flammable liquids kept in fire-proof metal locker when not being used.

These are only general guidelines for some of the areas that require safety precautions at a marina, yacht club, or boat dealership. In implementing and monitoring safety measures, effective loss control protocols will be followed, helping to prevent claims and driving up marine insurance.

Photos Document a Drug-Tainted Life in Bushwick

Though he didn’t think so at the time, it’s fair to say that Andy Velazquez had a difficult childhood. He grew up poor on Dodworth Street, near Malcolm X Boulevard in Brooklyn. It was a block that even in the best years of the latter part of the 20th century was no garden spot. The neighborhood, Bushwick, had never recovered from the looting triggered by the 1977 blackout. And by the time Andy came along, the violent and unrelenting crack trade had commandeered the stoops and sidewalks.

His mother, Rosa Rossy, was an addict, first heroin then crack, and Andy spent more time playing in the abandoned buildings and empty lots on Dodworth Street than he did in school. “We just made everything on the block our playground,” Andy, now 25, said last week. “It was very tough, but being kids we just looked at it that everything we would do was going to be fun.”

It was indeed tough. It was a block that few people walked down unless they had to.

“If you weren’t from there, you shouldn’t walk through there,” Andy said. “Somebody would rob you or beat you up for no apparent reason or make the dogs on the block chase you.”

Brenda Ann Kenneally moved to Bushwick from Miami in the mid-90s, across the street from Andy’s family, so she could complete a master’s degree in art education at New York University. She had a 2-year-old son, a failing marriage and “no money.” Brenda had grown up poor in difficult family circumstances in Troy, N.Y., and struggled with drug and alcohol problems when she was a teenager and young adult.

She wasn’t looking for an exotic place to photograph when she moved to Brooklyn — she was merely trying to find an affordable apartment. Few places were cheaper than Bushwick.

After a few days unpacking and hanging curtains, Brenda went around the corner from her apartment to Dodworth Street. “I introduced myself to one of the boys who seemed like he had a big presence in the neighborhood,” she said. “He was about 8. Blonde hair, kind of a wild child, always with dogs, always playing with the abandoned kitchen appliances.”

Brenda, then 36, tried to imagine what Andy’s life was like. In the beginning the best she could figure was that Andy, the youngest of four boys, was in charge of taking care of his mother. He seemed to be going out in the middle of the night to score drugs with her, either to make sure that she had company or that she was safe.

She took her first picture of Andy, with his dog, in 1996 (below). Andy was 8.

Andy remembers meeting Brenda for the first time. “Brenda was like the outcast at first,” he said. “It was just Hispanics and blacks on the block, and then this white lady just appears. Everybody was wondering what’s this white lady doing walking around with a camera.”

Andy says that his mother, who knew everybody on the block, told their neighbors that Brenda was O.K. and wasn’t bothering anybody. He also introduced her to his friends’ parents and “soon everyone started getting along.”

Brenda remembers Andy being very nurturing as a youngster. He was kind and gentle with her son, Simon, and took it upon himself to feed, care for and shelter all the abandoned dogs in the neighborhood. “He was incredibly innovative and motivated, but within a very, a very small world,” she said. “He never seemed bored. He was kind of like a grown man even though he was much shorter than the other kids.”

Andy would hang out at Brenda’s house and play with Simon like an older brother. Often he would sleep over, and he eventually split his time between Brenda’s and his mother and father’s apartment across the street. Brenda took Andy to the beach and to her own mother’s upstate house for Christmases.

His mother, who was known as Tata, supervised her four sons and her daughter from the street corner in front of Broadway foods. At times she sold crack. Often she was her own best customer.

When Brenda moved in, Rosa had just returned from a stint in prison for selling drugs. Over the next decade she went in and out several times — once for three years. It was difficult for Andy.

“I knew what she was doing and it hurt me because me and my friends used to joke about other people’s parents who were crackheads,” he said.

For the next five years Brenda photographed Andy, his mother and several other neighbors.

She made extraordinarily intimate, gritty photos that reveal the devastating effects of the crack drug trade from the inside. The photographs were published in The New York Times Magazine in 2002 and eventually, in 2005, in the book “Money Power Respect: Pictures of My Neighborhood” (Channel Photographics). Andy went to the book publishing party with Brenda and Simon and remembers some people asking him for his autograph.

A year after she moved to Bushwick, Brenda separated from her husband. In late 2001, Brenda moved into a house, in the same ZIP code but a 10-minute walk away from Dodworth Street. Andy continued to spend time with Brenda and Simon, sometimes sleeping over. She continued to photograph him.

When Andy was 13, he started to sell crack. He says he had “learned everything he needed to know about hustling drugs by watching my mom.”

She gave him a few tips as well. He didn’t use crack himself, sticking to “smoking weed and drinking too much.”

It took a lot of street smarts just to survive and not get caught by the police. There were, however, some scary moments.

“We were staying in an abandoned building and there were three of us who had been drinking,” Andy said. “I woke up and this guy had a big butcher’s knife to my neck, saying, ‘Give me all the drugs and all the money or I’ll slit your throat.’ ”

Andy responded, “No problem, take it all.” Two months later, it was a different “stick-up guy” — with a .357 Magnum to Andy’s head.

Brenda tried to persuade him to go to school and not sell crack, but Andy made it clear he wasn’t looking for another parent.

“The only thing I was advocating was like, go to school, read a book, take some music lessons,” Brenda said. “Not, you know, anything beyond that.”

But he rarely went to school.

In 2000, Andy talked with Brenda about his mother’s arrest. “One day I came home from school and my mom was gone,” he said. “After that I was afraid to go to school.”

Eventually, he spent more than a year in a heavy security juvenile detention center in Johnstown, N.Y.,  because of chronic truancy.

Brenda had been in the family court system herself. In 1971, at the age of 12, she was declared incorrigible and drifted in and out of group homes and temporary placements. Her father was a sometimes violent, alcoholic and manic depressive and her parents divorced when she was 8. Brenda began drinking and doing drugs and left home, and New York, at 16.

Looking at her later project, “Upstate Girls,” on pregnant teenagers and young single mothers in her hometown, it’s clear that could have been her fate as well. (It was published on Lens in 2009.) She didn’t become clean and sober until she was 26 — about Andy’s age now. But she found photography in her late 20s.

While Brenda and Andy stayed close, they agreed that when he was 16, she would stop photographing him for a while. But then in 2004, his father, Andres Velazquez, died of a heart attack and Andy’s brother Jose — nicknamed Pepe — was shot four minutes before midnight on Dec. 31 of the same year. He collapsed on the street right outside the family apartment and died a few hours later. After the deaths, Andy began drinking pretty much nonstop.

He says he didn’t care any more after his brother was murdered. Brenda said everything that had happened to him to that point made him “feel and act hopeless. And he lost a lot of that ingenuity. He became bored and sort of laconic.”

But his girlfriend became pregnant, and when she gave birth to his daughter, Jelena, he swore off selling drugs and says he hasn’t since. It was Christmas 2006.

For a while things looked better. Andy worked as a laborer and was living with his brother in Queens, so he wasn’t on the block as much, though he would still visit. Then last year he lost his job.

“He was pretty much back on the block all the time, living in his friend’s basement,” said Brenda, now 52. “Kind of just the way I met him, except for now he was grown and he was drinking. He can’t seem to get away from the block, it’s like he’s tethered.”

On July 8 of this year, Andy was with some friends and got into an argument with a neighbor over a bottle of liquor. Andy was shot in the back. The bullet is still lodged near his spine and he has some nerve damage. He recently left his wheelchair, but struggles to stand using a walker.

He’s back living with his brother in Queens, without any income or job prospects. He uses Access-a-Ride, a sort of group taxi for disabled people, to visit Brenda, or she drives out to visit him. He’s waiting to be approved for Social Security disability payments

When he first saw the book “Money Power Respect,” it was a source of pride. He enjoyed the recognition. Now, when Andy looks at the photographs of him as a child, he mainly thinks of his daughter: “I see all the troubles my family went through,” he said. “I don’t want my daughter to go through that.”

Andy is injured and doesn’t have a meaningful education, and most of the friends he played with in the abandoned buildings on Dodworth Street are dead or in jail. For Andy, the gravitational pull — of the world he grew up in — to Dodworth Street has been inexorable.

Brenda somehow escaped the fate of her upstate girl subjects — though many of her childhood friends did not. She left at 16 and didn’t really return until a New York Times Magazine assignment took her there more than 25 years later.

When Andy gave up selling drugs, the Christmas his daughter was born, he also gave up playing video games. For him the two were intertwined.

“I looked at selling drugs as if it were a video game,” he said. “To end the game — to win the game — you had to be the last one standing.”

Brenda Ann Kenneally’s photographs and videos of her old neighborhood can be found on a blog she co-founded with the producer Laura Lo Forti, The Raw File. New work includes a video that follows a drug-addicted mother whose three children were placed in the foster care system. Additionally, these photographs of Andy and Dodworth Street are featured on the Web site of the documentary project, Facing Change. Facing Change was featured on Lens in 2010 and again last year.

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Kids Draw the News: Spider-Man in Brooklyn

New Assignment

Kids Draw the News

Children depict current events.

Spider-Man has moved to Brooklyn, at least for now. In a new Spidey comic book, the web-spinner lives in a brownstone with his superhero friends, the Brooklyn Avengers, and deals with problems like bedbugs, pollution and eviction.

The Avengers got their superpowers when their landlord used radioactive bug spray to kill the bedbugs. But now the landlord wants to toss them out so he can tear down their building to make way for a giant strip mall or a sports arena.

Here is an article about the new Spider-Man comic. You may illustrate any part of the story you wish.

To submit drawings by children 12 years of age and under, follow the instructions here: Submit Artwork »

The Last Assignment

Thanks to all of you who illustrated our story about a 107th birthday party.

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Subway Teamwork

Dear Diary:

In transit: on the subway.

Across from me is what looks like a very small, red water bottle with a silver thing attached that resembles the top of a wine opener, and something else I can’t make out.

I look at it. The man sitting two seats away looks at it. We all look at it. He reaches out and touches it briefly. We all feel relieved. Two stops go by. We all look at it some more, with “If you see something, say something” thrumming through our collective heads.

The man reaches out to pick it up, then changes his mind and pulls his hand back sharply. I take out my phone to take a picture of it. At the next stop he grabs it and throws it out the open door. It doesn’t explode.

But a young woman utters a small cry and runs out the door. We think it’s because of the object. But she’s just realized this was her stop.

The man sitting next to her stands up and yells, “MA’AM!”

Note to men: Women under 60 never turn around when you yell, “Ma’am!”

He holds up her laptop in its pretty pink metallic case. She’s just realized she left it and starts back toward the train. Doors close. He gestures “next stop” to her. She begins running as if to outpace the train.

He gets off at the next stop, pink case in hand, and … a rueful smile that the trajectory of his day has just changed.

Another day in motion.

Read all recent entries and our updated submissions guidelines. Reach us via e-mail: [email protected] or telephone: (212) 556-1333. Follow @NYTMetro on Twitter using the hashtag #MetDiary.

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An Island of Tranquillity Is Reclaimed in Prospect Park

“I claim this land in the name of the Prospect Park Alliance,” its president, Emily Lloyd, declared after setting foot for the first time on Music Island.

Building Blocks

How the city looks and feels — and why it got that way.

In place of a helmet, Ms. Lloyd wore a soft straw hat. She didn’t plant a flag. Her troops consisted only of two landscape architects and a colleague from public relations. Still, the authority of her claim is not likely to be challenged.

For one thing, Music Island, about one-quarter of an acre in extent, is in Prospect Park, rising along the southeastern shore of the lake. For another, almost no one knows that Music Island even exists. Once again.

The first Music Island was a feature of the 19th-century park design by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. It occupied a small cove that was bordered by a formal esplanade of carved granite posts and iron railings.

Musicians would row out to the island and play concerts for parkgoers. Romantic? Yes. Audible? Barely. Concerts were abandoned and the island was given over to ornamental plantings of red flowers.

In 1959, it was bulldozed into oblivion to accommodate the new Kate Wollman Memorial Rink. The cove in which it sat was filled with hundreds of pilings. The elegant shoreline esplanade was chopped to pieces and dumped into the cove as fill. On top, a 12-inch concrete-and-rebar slab was set on which the rink was built.

Tear Drop Island nearby was spared. But the channel grew so choked by a hard-packed weed called phragmites that land and island fused. “You could walk out to it,” said Christian Zimmerman, the vice president of the alliance for design and construction. “And sometimes, people did.”

By 2000, Wollman Rink was reaching the end of its days. It was clear that it would have to be reconstructed or replaced.

Tupper Thomas, Ms. Lloyd’s predecessor as alliance president, raised the notion of reviving the formal Olmsted and Vaux shoreline. By 2009, it was official: Music Island would be recreated — as a nature preserve, not a concert venue — under a redevelopment plan known as Lakeside. The centerpiece of Lakeside, a year-round recreational center with two rinks, is now under construction, though the project’s budget has ballooned and its timeline has grown. Wollman Rink was demolished in 2011. Lakeside is not expected to open until the 2013 skating season.

For now, the esplanade is closed to the public, and Music Island can be seen only through a chain-link construction fence. However, beginning Oct. 20, the esplanade will be open Saturdays and Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., permitting a much better view.

Music Island will have an enhanced name — Chaim Baier Music Island — honoring the father of Shelby White, a trustee of the Leon Levy Foundation, which made a $10 million grant to finance the shoreline and island reclamation. Ms. White recalled the area from her childhood, Ms. Lloyd said, and believed it was important that it be restored.

To accomplish that, the cove was dammed in 2011. After the fish and turtles behind the dam were relocated, the water was pumped out. About 9,800 cubic yards of soil, phragmites and masonry rubble was removed from the cove and the nearby shoreline. (For comparison’s sake, a large rear-loading garbage truck carries up to 25 cubic yards.) That excavation restored Tear Drop Island’s discrete outline.

Then, 1,300 cubic yards of clean subsoil were brought to the site to create the rough shape of Music Island and two short points on either side. On top of this were deposited 2,000 cubic yards of topsoil and 330 cubic yards of granite boulders. That was when the sculptural work began.

Mr. Zimmerman, the alliance vice president, was the lead landscape architect, working with Crystal Gaudio, another landscape architect, and Joseph Izzo and his colleagues from Ravine Construction on Staten Island. Though they had a general idea of how the island would lay out, they waited until the soil was in place and the boulders were on site to shape its contours for greatest effect.

That meant asking construction contractors who usually work in broad strokes to take the time to flip a single boulder this way and that, to move it an inch to the left or a foot to the right. Rocks were positioned to afford the best sunning possibilities for the large turtle population. The workers seemed delighted to oblige.

“Everyone who has worked on this project would get seduced by it,” Ms. Lloyd said.

Trees and plants were brought in: bald cypress, black tupelo, duck potato, river birch, shadbush, sweetbay magnolia and winterberry, among others. “It’s balanced for habitat as well as to make people happy,” Mr. Zimmerman said.

In May, the pumps were turned off and stitches in the fabric dam were loosened. The waters of the lake embraced the new Music Island. The moment was bittersweet, however, as Mr. Izzo, 46, who worked devotedly on the job, had died two months earlier.

It was not until September that Ms. Lloyd first explored the island, stepping deftly over the small stream bed that bisects it. As she stood quietly surveying her new realm, it was clear that someone else had been seduced by Music Island.

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