The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

short work

with 5 comments

Today’s post is part of the Maritime Sunday series.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent business carried me to the tony DUMBO section of Brooklyn, and having accomplished my meeting, your humble narrator made for the East River Ferry stop at Fulton Landing to get home to Queens. It was a foggy day, with the mist seemingly on the edge of unleashing precipitants, and the always picturesque Brooklyn Bridge was vamping for the camera while I waited for the ferry, so…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s when the NYC DEP Skimmer boat “Jamaica Bay” appeared. SV Jamaica Bay was new in 2005, Its service area is reported tersely as “Tributaries,” it is 50 feet long, and can carry a capacity of 3,000 -12,000 lbs of wet material.


Floatable debris consists of a wide assortment of plastic, wood, paper, glass, rubber, metal and organic waste materials that float or are suspended in the water column and may eventually be deposited on shorelines and beaches. Floatable debris originating from street litter, combined sewer overflow (CSO) discharges, storm water discharges, decaying shoreline structures, pleasure boaters, and littering beach goers, can harm the marine environment and cause area beaches to close.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For the benefit of those of you who don’t spend all of your time puzzling out the make and model of things which randomly navigate past you, a “skimmer” is a kind of work boat which travels along and scoops up “floatables.” This can mean anything from tree limbs to trash, and the NYC DEP operates just one several of skimmer fleets on the harbor. NJDEP and US Army Corps of Engineers also perform this task. The gizmo at the front of the thing opens up and forms a boom, and onboard conveyor systems draw flotsam and jetsam out of the water column and into a bin.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Skimmer boat “Jamaica Bay” is one of several “small” skimmers operated by DEP, and the big one is called “Cormorant.” One thing about which jumps at me whenever I look at the NYC DEP… as a department… is just how GIGANTIC it is.

A hearty maritime Sunday shout goes out to the Captain and crew of SV Jamaica Bay.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Want to see something cool? June 2013 Walking Tours-

The Poison Cauldron Saturday, June 15, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

Kill Van Kull– Saturday, June 22, 2013
Staten Island walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Working Harbor Committee, tickets now on sale.

The Insalubrious Valley Saturday, June 29, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets now on sale.

5 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Very interesting. I’ve never seen a skimmer before.
    By the way, what does “DUMBO” mean?

    jaye haviland

    June 2, 2013 at 10:14 am

  2. Thanks for the info. I bet alot of us never know these things…I don’t.

    georgetheatheist . . . highly appreciative

    June 2, 2013 at 10:14 am

  3. Great pictures. I love that bridge 🙂

  4. That is an amazing boat; manufactured by a Wisconsin company. Great pictures!

    Aquarius Systems

    February 3, 2016 at 7:35 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: