Skipjack Wilma Lee Gets USCG Certification
The skipjack Wilma Lee, which was donated to the non-profit corporation Ocracoke Alive on February 29 of this year, was awarded a Certificate of Inspection by the United States Coast Guard on Wednesday, October 3. This document authorizes her to carry up to 44 passengers for hire on sailing excursions in Pamlico Sound and other inland waters of North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland.
Even though the Wilma Lee was probably in far better condition than any existing skipjack when she was donated to the local non-profit corporation Ocracoke Alive this past winter, it took more than seven months of hard work to bring her up to the Coast Guard's rigorous standards for carrying more than six passengers for hire.
Ocracoke Alive has leased the boat to Rob Temple of Ocracoke who will operate passenger trips, private charters and educational programs aboard.
“I'm relieved to get the Certificate of Inspection finally,” Temple said, “even though this first season is pretty well over. The last time I walked a vessel through this process was 27 years ago with my old schooner Windfall. It was less complicated then, only took three months – and I was much younger!"
The Coast Guard inspects all of the boat's systems and equipment. Most of the vessel's nine bilge pumps had to be rebuilt. The entire fire extinguishing system had to be replaced and numerous drawings had to be submitted to the Marine Safety Center in Washington, D.C.
"Certification never could have happened without a lot of volunteer help, especially from Tom Pahl, Bill Monticone, Ken DeBarth and Philip Howard,” said Temple.
In the final Coast Guard inspection before receiving her certificate, the crew had to demonstrate the bilge pumping and firefighting systems before taking the inspectors out on the sound for emergency drills including a man-overboard recovery under sail.
For more information or to book a sail on this historic vessel, contact Capt. Rob at 252-928-SAIL.