Category Archives: Blog

Harbor School adds Simulator

On Wednesday the New York Harbor School christened its new Bridge Simulator at the MAST Center on Governors Island.

Students now have the opportunity to hone their ship handling and navigation skills in the same high-tech virtual environment used by many professionals. The main TRANSAS bridge simulator system is set up in a separate room where five large flat-screen monitors line the walls providing a 160-degree view of the scenario. Four additional smaller stations are set up in an adjacent room, also complete with navigation charts, engine and rudder controls, and radar screens. All five stations are networked allowing, for example, a tanker, tugs and law enforcement vessels to simultaneously function within the same scenario.

Of course I had to try this out first-hand and selected a Coast Guard small boat, as it has similar handling parameters as the boats we operate here at New York Media Boat. Running north at 30 knots from Saint George towards lower Manhattan, the harbor looked strikingly familiar. The buoys, barges and skyline all appeared in perfect detail. I threw some hard turns for good measure and the boat reacted as expected. At times I forgot that I was standing on solid ground and even started feeling a bit nauseous, as we dialed the conditions up and encountered heavy seas heading for Buttermilk Channel.

What an excellent teaching tool to add to the already impressive curriculum Captain Aaron Singh and his team have put together for their students.

The $300,000 system was donated by the American Bureau of Shipping.


Captain Mark Phillips at the helm of the NY Harbor School Bridge Simulator

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Quantum of the Seas

At 11 times the size of a full-grown blue whale, Royal Caribbean’s ‘Quantum of the Seas‘ sailed into New York Harbor for the first time this morning, completing her maiden trans-Atlantic voyage.

Once past the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, the ‘North Star‘ glass capsule was raised on her top deck, providing passengers with a 360-degree view extending to the same height as the torch of the Statue of Liberty.

Complete with robotic bartenders, bumper cars, a FlowRider surf and RipCord iFly skydiving simulator, she also features 375 interior staterooms with virtual balconies, projecting real-time views of the ocean. Wifi and RFID luggage tags allow guests to track their bags right from a smartphone.

At 1,141 feet long, ‘Quantum of the Seas’ is now the largest cruise-ship on the Hudson River, a status previously held by Norwegian Cruise Line’s 1,068-foot ‘Norwegian Breakaway‘.

Her homeport is the Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey and she’ll be christened there later this week.





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Rider of the Storm

As the Nor’easter stalled offshore, slamming the Tri-State area with rain and 30+ knots of wind, Dariusz Garko launched his kite.

He’d been waiting for these conditions to kiteboard straight through New York Harbor and under the Verrazano Bridge on a course set for Coney Island — an unprecedented session.

Garko, a professional high-performance athlete, became a ‘Nobile Kiteboarding Ambassador‘ earlier this year. He launches right from his backyard, which slopes into New York Harbor.

For this downwind run, Garko chose a 2015 T5 7.5-meter kite and grabbed his NHP 134-cm board.

Staying clear of barges, ferries, and cargo ships, he shredded past the Statue of Liberty, skipping over the choppy Hudson at a solid 20 knots, occasionally throwing some huge aerial maneuvers for tug boat captains and commuters riding the Staten Island Ferry to enjoy.

We decided to chase him with New York Media Boat to document some of the action, and put our new OUTEX camera housings to the test.









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Expanding the Fleet

If anyone embodies the spirit of adventure, it’s Roald Amundsen. The Norwegian explorer was the first person to reach both the South and North Poles, and he made the first transit of the Northwest Passage.

That’s why we’ve named the latest addition to the New York Media Boat fleet in his honor. We’re happy to welcome the 7-meter NAVY RIB Amundsen to the family!

Two great captains, Ken Cholak and Eric Rosen, will be at the helm for many of Amundsen’s New York City adventures. It may not be the uncharted Arctic or Antarctic (though last winter’s iced-over Hudson was feeling quite polar), but we hope everyone who comes aboard experiences the thrill of discovery in their own way.

New York Media Boat

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Bill Clinton: Props for Pearls

Former President Bill Clinton visited the New York Harbor School on Governors Island to get a closer look at the school’s oyster hatchery.


Each year the Billion Oyster Project grows over 10 million bivalves in the brackish waters around Manhattan, teaching students to collect scientific data, hands-on restoration, and stewardship. The project was founded by the New York Harbor School and is a Clinton Global Initiative commitment to action.

Clinton was greeted by the students and Captain Aaron Singh while boarding the school’s ‘Privateer’ vessel docked at Pier25 in Tribeca.


The NYPD Harbor Unit provided security as the ‘Privateer’ ferried the 42nd President of the United States past One World Trade Center and around The Battery to Governors Island.



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Great North River Race


The tugs raced and pushed on the Hudson, and the crews had spinach eating, tattoo and line throwing contests.
Besides the regular harbor tugs, the ship that brought the biggest guns to the show was the US ARMY LT-803 Major General Anthony Wayne.


She took second in the race, but sure dominated the nose-to-nose pushing competition with her twin 11-foot diameter screws.


The Chief Warrant Officer closely monitored gauges in the engine room…


… as the skipper accepted our nose-to-nose challenge.

20140831_BjoernKils_ARMY_JA_1 20140831_BjoernKils_ARMY_JA_2 20140831_BjoernKils_ARMY_JA_3


For additional write-ups of this event — and cool stuff in general — check these awesome blogs!
- Tugster 1 & Tugster 2
- WindAgainstCurrent

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Rescue at South Street Seaport

On our 2pm Adventure Sightseeing Tour we were just off South Street Seaport when we spotted three people in the water near Pier 15. Although we had passengers on board, we felt compelled to assist. When we arrived, two men were in the water trying to keep an unconscious victim afloat. Apparently, he had been handling lines for a large vessel when a line snapped, knocking him into the water.

We threw a life-ring and float-line to the guys struggling to keep the victim’s face above the water, pulled them alongside our boat, and hailed the NYPD boat stationed below the Brooklyn Bridge. Other bystanders threw life-rings and lifejackets in the water to place beneath the victim.

The NYPD Scuba Unit arrived within moments and immediately deployed rescue swimmers, who pulled the victim onto New York Media Boat to assess injuries and administer oxygen. EMS and FDNY brought a backboard, stokes basket and stretcher and helped transfer him ashore and into a waiting ambulance. The whole response happened very quickly and was handled adeptly, with the victim ending up at Bellevue Hospital. He’s reported to be in stable condition.

We’re very thankful to our passengers for their patience while we assisted in this emergency, and as always impressed by the NYPD’s response and professionalism. They’re on the scene within minutes, even in the wee hours of the coldest days of the year — like this past New Year’s Eve, when a young guy drove his car into the chilly waters of the Morris Canal, or when a tugboat sank off the Long Island coast.




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Around Long Island Regatta 2014

NEW YORK, August 2 — Once again New York Media Boat covered the start of ‘The Around Long Island Regatta’, hosted by the Sea Cliff Yacht Club. The boats started six miles southeast off Rockaway Point, in twenty knots of wind, course set for Montauk. After rounding the eastern end of Long Island, they headed through ‘the race’ and west to cross the line in Mannhasett Bay. The gallery below may take a short while to load; 2013 photos here.

Full-resolution photos are available for purchase, please inquire with sail number or vessel name.
Photos by: Bjoern Kils / New York Media Boat ( / +1 732.586.7394)



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Finding Ourselves in Politico

It’s always fun to see yourself through someone else’s eyes — especially those of a well-known New York media reporter. Joe Pompeo at Capital New York (it’s the NY “bureau” of Politico) held me up to a giant mental mirror and for a second I almost didn’t recognize the reflection.

Who is this girl that lives in a “beachy two bedroom” and gets personally ferried across the Hudson to her job every morning by the Captain of New York Media Boat? Sounds spoiled. I don’t think we’d get on well.

Oh, wait … that’s … me.

Anyway, I take up a mere two lines in the piece. The story — rightly so — focuses on Bjoern’s ground-up construction of a niche media business. Pompeo nails every detail, from Bjoern’s early sailing experience and his training in journalism and marine science to a foray into yacht photography that grew into welcoming terrestrial and waterborne customers aboard.

Pompeo’s writing flows like a rising Hudson tide, and he captures Bjoern’s passion for his work, summed up in an awesome kicker: “This is pretty fantastic.”

I have to agree.

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Race Weeks: Busy Months in New York Harbor

May and June have been jam packed will all kinds of boats and regattas.

First to show her sails after a long winter was the Super-Maxi luxury yacht Leopard 3. She can entertain 20 guests, reach speeds of 30+ knots under sail, and was docked at North Cove Marina.

The Class 40 Atlantic Cup boats completed Leg 1 with a spectacular slow finish, as the wind died and the tide switched (the yellowbrick tracker screenshot shows a trying last mile). They also docked at North Cove Marina and restarted a few days later on Leg 2, course set for Newport.


The $6 million French MOD70 trimaran ‘Virbac-Paprec’ stayed at Liberty Landing Marina to host corporate sponsor sails around Manhattan.  New York Media Boat was the official photographer and we provided all transfers for their clients. The MOD70 got a mention in Sailing Anarchy when she was struck by a careless transient captain exiting Morris Canal. ‘Virbac-Paprec’ departed New York on June 1st for Kiel, Germany.


Fleet Week 2014 brought a couple of NAVY ships to town, most notably the USS Cole (DDG-67), which unfortunately didn’t make it up the bay to Manhattan and instead docked at Sullivans Piers on Staten Island. It was interesting to watch a Willard Marine 7 meter RHIB — the same craft we use here at New York Media Boat — being lowered off the USS Oak Hill (LSD-51).


North Cove Marina hosted the first OCEAN MASTERS regatta. All five IMOCA’s crossed the start line, as the canon was fired at 12:10 EST on June 1st. The Hungarian team retired within minutes and returned to port to refit their boat. They couldn’t do a 24hr turn-around after a very delayed arrival to New York.  The 60 foot boats  compete in this new dual handed race as part of the World Championship Series. It was great seeing Ryan Breymaier on (Hugo Boss) and Mark Guillemot (Safran Sailing Team) again. SAIL FAST!


Elliott Dale and Chris ‘Darby’ Walters launched their 19 foot long carbon/kevlar foam composite boat at Liberty Landing Marina to row the North Atlantic Ocean in under 55 days in an attempt to raise money for the Children’s Hospice South West.You can follow their voyage here.


The Clipper Round the World race finished Race 13 from Jamaica to New York with the fleet spread over a hundred miles apart. ‘GREAT Britain’ was the first boat to arrive Manhattan and we welcomed them at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. It’s an interesting concept as each boat is skippered by one professional sailor and the rest of the crew made up of paying passengers — no experience required.


Our friend Giovanni Soldini is also in town with VO70 ‘Maserati’ for some PR sailing and is currently on stand-by for a North Atlantic record attempt. Also awaiting the right weather conditions is the 130 foot offshore-racing maxi trimaran ‘Banque Populair’. They hope to break their standing record of 3 days and 15 hours from Ambrose buoy in New York to Lizard Point in the UK.


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