Last Month's Event
On August 7th, 2014, FLMC Members and guests gathered at the Star Center to take a tour of their 360-degree full mission bridge simulator equipped with the Sperry 2100 Integrated Bridge System and the SIMRAD® Dynamic Positioning control system. After the tours and buffet lunch, the Club also heard from our hosts regarding their not-for-profit maritime training school, their TECH program which provides its graduates a pathway to receive their 3A/E licensing and their in-house modeling capabilities for port development, ship response models, research, and forensic maritime studies.  We hope you will join us for our next luncheon, details on the first page of this Newsletter.

Photos by Star Center (bottom) and Jonathan Dunleavy (top) 
Snapshot of Upcoming Events

September Luncheon ~ September 4, 2014 ~ BIMINI BOATYARD BAR & GRILL, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Comedy Night ~ September 13, 2014 ~ The Improv Comedy Club, Seminole Hard Rock, Hollywood, FL

October Luncheon ~ October 2, 2014 ~ TBD
FLMC Seminar Golf Tournament & Meet the Speakers Reception ~ October 28, 2014 ~ Hyatt Pier 66
(see tab for details)
FLMC Seminar  ~ October 29, 2014 ~Hyatt Pier 66

Click on the Events Calendar for complete details of each event
  Legal Corner

“My Cases Have Shaped My Perspective on Boating Safety”

By James Mercante, Esq.

James Mercante, Esq. is an attorney with Rubin, Fiorella & Friedman in New York City. Jim handles a wide variety of maritime cases, including casualty matters, salvage claims, a member of the Board of Commissioners of Pilots of the State of New York, a retired captain in the Navy Reserve with 20 years’ of service. Excerpt taken from with permission.

Nanking, January to April 1927

Our Consul General, however, did not share their anxieties saying that after many years’ experience in China when revolutions happened, one War Lord walked out and the other walked in, and there was little fear of them attacking foreigners.

I had to insist that we should prepare evacuation plans. At the beginning he declined to take much interest until after Admiral Yyrwhitt’s visit. I imagine he impressed upon the Consul General, Mr. Giles, the necessity to be ready for all eventualities. As I shall relate later on poor Giles was one of the casualties when Chinese soldiers attacked the British Consulate and I confess to thinking that it was just retribution in his case.

Three decades of dissecting accidents on the water has made Jim Mercante a very cautious boater. The New York City-based maritime lawyer has handled such high-profile cases as the sinking of the Silverton 34 Kandi Won in Oyster Bay, New York on July 4, 2012, in which three children drowned, and last year’s accident when a powerboat struck a barge moored at the Tappan Zee Bridge on the Hudson River in New York, killing two people.

Mercante’s cases have shaped his perspective on boating safety, as it affects how he uses Sea Trials, his 23-foot Hydra-Sports. “Because of the cases I’ve had and what I’ve seen—and I’ve seen it all—it definitely makes me a much safer boater,” Mercante says. “I won’t go out on my boat at night. I’m a very, very cautious and even a scared boater because of the cases I’ve been involved in, even though I have a license to drive a tanker. When we go out fishing on my boat and the seas are even a little bit rough, 90 percent of the people won’t turn around. I turn around,” he adds.

Mercante grew up in Garden City, New York and attended the village high school. When it came time to select a college, Mercante says “I had no say in it. I was very proud one night to come home and tell my father that I had a wrestling scholarship to Hofstra University. My father sat at the head of the table and said, ‘that’s OK. You’re going to the Merchant Marine Academy.’” After Kings Point, Mercante shipped out on his third mate’s unlimited license but didn’t like being away from home for long periods of time. So he went to work on tugboats, working the East Coast two weeks on, two weeks off for almost three years. “that I liked,” Mercante says. “I had an ambition to become a pilot in New York Harbor, but it was tough to break into at the time.”

So, he opted for law school. But he wasn’t sure about his proper course even after he was admitted to the bar, so he signed on for a trip to Bermuda aboard a tug. “It was a very rough trip,” says Mercante. “I ended up getting very seasick. That’s when I decided I couldn’t do this anymore.” Mercante got his first hob out of Tulane University law school through the attorney general’s honor graduate program and was hired by the Justice Department’s aviation and admiralty branch to represent federal agencies such as the Coast Guard and was training by the government to be a litigator.

After three years with the government, he went into private practice and has sbeen extremely busy ever since. Mercante sees the irony that his caseload keeps him from spending as much time as he’s like on Sea Trials. “I use it for fishing, clamming,” Mercante says. “I love to cook, so I like to go out and harvest my own clams.” But he’s so busy with work, last season Mercante took the boat out only about eight times. To compensate, he often turns Sea Trials into a floating office. “A lot of times I sit on my boat at the dock and read depositions,” he says.

Historical Derivation of Maritime Words and Phases

“Shiver Me Timbers”

Those of a certain age will remember Robert Newton, rolling his eyes and yarring it up in his archetypal Hollywood pirate role--Long John Silver in the 1950 film Treasure Island.
Robert Louis Stevenson used “shiver my timbers” several times in the original 1883 book, for example: "Well, he [Old Pew] is dead now and under hatches; but for two year before that, shiver my timbers, the man was starving!"
Of course, Newton made the most of such “parrot on the shoulder” phrases and it also appears several times in the film's screenplay. Newton's version, like that of all self-respecting stage pirates, was “shiver me timbers”.

The first appearance of the phrase in print is in Frederick Marryat's Jacob Faithful, 1834: "I won't thrash you Tom. Shiver my timbers if I do."

One meaning of shiver, which is now largely forgotten, is “to break into pieces”. That meaning originated at least as early as the 14th century and is recorded in several Old English texts. A more recent citation, which makes that meaning clear, is James Froude's Caesar; a sketch, 1879: "As he crossed the hall, his statue fell, and shivered on the stones."

So, the sailor's oath “shiver my timbers”, is synonymous with let my boat breaks into pieces. The question is whether any real sailor used the term or whether it was just a literary invention.

  New Member's Corner

We are pleased to introduce our newest members that have joined from January to June 2014:

Janice Almetes                                                                                       Cary Baker
Alliance Marine Risk Managers, a division of Assured AKCG, Inc.    Frank H. Forman, Inc.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida                                                                         Pompano Beach, Florida

Robert L. Bamdas                                                                                   Carlos M. Torres
Kelley Kronenberg                                                                                  Liberty Mutual Insurance Co.
West Palm Beach, Florida                                                                       Coral Springs, Florida

Joseph Dargavage                                                                                   Nidgia Olds
BWA Yachting Florida & Bahamas                                                       Atlass Special Risks
Fort Lauderdale, Florida                                                                         Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Ted Davis                                                                                               Lesley M. Warrick
South Broward High School Maritime Magnet                                     Seafarers’ House
Hollywood, Florida                                                                                Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Brett Jones                                                                                             Joshua Kerrigan
Springboard Ad/Design                                                                        Yacht Management South Florida, Inc.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida                                                                        Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Hedi Marzougui
Sealift Inc.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Please give a warm welcome to our newest members that have joined in the first half of the year. It is great to have you all aboard and look forward to seeing you at our Club events, meeting you and hearing more about you. To that end, we would like to showcase one of our newest members above, Carlos Torres.

Carlos became a member of the Fort Lauderdale Mariner’s Club in April 2014. In his application, he stated that he wanted to become a member of the Mariner’s Club to “learn and share knowledge with others of similar interests.” Carlos’ involvement in the maritime industry is described as the auditing of marine-type losses. Below, Carlos introduces himself to us. Thanks Carlos!

I am a Forensic Accountant. I have been employed in this capacity by Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. for over 35 years. I attended Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA. I am a baseball fan and still root for the Braves and Marlins; I am conflicted when they play each other. I once wore a Marlins t-shirt and a Braves cap to the same game. I am married with two daughters – one a Cornell graduate with a PhD in Pharmacy (Clinical Pharmacist at a hospital in Palm Beach) and the other one a Florida Gator with a Master’s in Education (elementary school teacher). I just recently became a grandfather for the first time. My daughter and her family have decided to move to South Florida for us to help raise the baby. I would like to thank Craig Kartiganer and Jim Whiddon (we met in college) for inviting me to join this great organization. I look forward to being a productive member for a very long time. I have audited thousands of cases over the years including maritime related losses but the one that I still remember in detail was a company that supplied dead rodents to zoos and private individuals to feed to their snakes and other exotic animals. They raise the rats and mice, later gas them, freeze them and ship them in dry ice to customers. The compressor/condenser malfunctioned causing the thawing of the frozen dead rats – the loss was covered by insurance. They had to discard the rats that were already dead before the incident occurred as now they are bleeding through their orifices – not a good sign for dead rat inventory nor good for business. These cannot be sold in this condition; dead yes but not dead and bleeding. Apparently, snakes are very picky about which dead rat they consume. The claim was for the loss of the inventory and some future loss of income as their inventory of dead rats was basically depleted.

  Nautical Dates

September 1, 1985                  September 7, 1776                        September 8, 193

  Wreck of the TITANIC found        World’s first submarine attack        MORRO CASTLE burns off
                                                   When U.S. TURTLE attempts to              New Jersey, 125 die

      Attach time bomb to HMS EAGLE
In New York harbor

    September 24, 1493                                September 26                     September 29, 151
Columbus begins 2nd voyage                 World Maritime Day                    Balboa discovers

    With 17 ships, 1,500 men                                                                             Pacific Ocean 

Items of Interest
-Please submit your newsletter ideas and items of interest
-Please email childhood photos of yourself or other members
Send all items to the 2014 Editor, Michelle Otero Valdez at

The Ft. Lauderdale Mariners Club Proudly Supports:
Boys & Girls Club of Broward County
Marine Industries A
ssociation of South Florida
MIASF Waterway Cleanup
MIASF Plywood Regatta
South Broward High School Skills USA Program
Seafarers House Fort Lauderdale
Shake-A-Leg Miami
Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association
Fort Lauderdale Sea Cadets, Spruance Division