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It’s the sheer diversity of traffic on the sixth boro that keeps me coming back, although diverse does not mean unpredictable.  In summer, mermaids gather, specifically around the very day of the solstice.  In winter, fishing boats come .    In fall, the fishing boats are of a different sort.

Chele-C was fishing on the west side, and


Phyllis Ann over on the east

with Dutch Girl and



this boat I could not identify.

Eastern Welder has been a fixture in winter fishing as far back as I can remember.


Osprey are well known for their fishing ability, so I should not

have been surprised to also have seen HSV Osprey out extracting from the depths.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.


NYC DEP has a diverse set of vessels in its fleet, from sludge tankers to this water quality testing vessel.  It even had a skimmer at one point called Cormorant.

HSV (hydrographic survey vessel) Osprey has been around for a quarter century already.  I caught it being refurbished here earlier the spring.




Here she is under way a rainy morning a few years back.


Now osprey and cormorant are winged creatures.  And I’m posting one hour earlier today so that more of you reading this can still make it to the annual migration of winged and scaly creatures coming ashore on Coney Island, and that’s where I’ll be, documenting my heart out in the name of science, of course.  STEM needs you.


All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Anyone help me with some research: when did a government entity in the United States discontinue the use of its LAST wind powered vessel in law enforcement or other capacity? I presume none are in service today, but I may be wrong. Yet, a century and some ago, most enforcement vessels must have been fast sailers or a combination of steam and sail. I have seen info on “revenue cutters” pre-dating the United States Coast Guard in 1915. And I’m discounting training or museum vessels like USCG Eagle and USS Constitution. Anyone know of wind powered enforcement vessels in another country?



The NYPD version of the USCG rigid inflatable Defender class. The NYPD version lacks the 50mm machine guns.



NY State Police Marine Detail uses this jet-pump vessel.



USCG in the harbor maintains at least one ice breaking tug, like the 140′ Penobscot Bay.



Liberty IV operates for the National Park Service in New York harbor. I don’t know anything about this boat but suspect it started life in a different government service.



HSV Osprey is a lab vessel monitoring harbor water quality.

My opinion: a lot of government boats ply the harbor, maybe a higher proportion than –say — 30 years ago. Agree?

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

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March 2023