On YouTube, In Photos: 2017 NYS Fair - Sea Grant's Boating, Shipwreck Displays & Demonstrations
Great Lakes Boating & Marine Trades - News


Dave White, NY Sea Grant, Recreation and Tourism Specialist, P: 315.312.3042, E: dgw9@cornell.edu

Syracuse, NY, August 24, 2017 - CNYCentral TV reporter Laura Hand visited The New York Experience, a new exhibit area on the west side of the NY State Fair, features modern boat building, and a look at NY Naval History.

On the boat-building side, SUNY Oswego Professor Rich Bush, who teaches hands-on technology, is building a kayak, one of three 'personal' boats that will be completed during the Fair, and floated on the pond behind the exhibit. He says he wants to teach people that building is not hard, and that having a way to navigate NY waterways is a great incentive for building your own. The Kayak, 13 feet long and capable of carrying up to 225 pounds, should be done by Saturday (August 26th).

In the tent next door, they finished assembling a replica of a 1776 gunship on Wednesday afternoon. The original 'Philadelphia' is in the Smithsonian, this replica is one sixth of the 54 foot long boat's size, but still very detailed. More intriguing, her sister ship, 'Spitfire,' has also been located, also sunk in Lake Champlain. She was discovered 20 years ago, in good condition, with the mast still on, and plans are being discussed to raise her, as well.

The tent with the Philadelphia replica holds other early American naval memorabilia and is lined with posters that explain why this area's naval history was so critical to our country's survival.

One explains the phrase 'don't give up the ship,' still the battle cry of our modern Navy. It came from the War of 1812 and gained original fame in the Battle of Lake Erie.

The boat-building demonstrations are at 11am, 1 & 3pm daily through the Fair's run. They last 45 minutes. The Waterways of War exhibit is near the Cow Birthing Center, on the east end of the pond that extends to the old racing stable barns.

In Photos: Boat Building and Beyond

All photos in this section, Credit: NPhotos by Michael J. Okoniewski-NYS Fair

The boat building demonstrations were just one part of "The Path through Our Maritime History: Waterways of War" exhibit coordinated by New York Sea Grant with the New York State Fair and several partners*
The exhibit includes:

  • 15-foot replica of the USS Philadelphia, the Revolutionary War gunboat that carried General Benedict Arnold and his Continental Army troops in 1776

  • Shipwreck Shack with a display on the proposed Great Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary project

  • Boating and Buoys Shack with information on current era boating

  • 2017 New York Sea Grant Clean and Safe Boating educational vessel, an 18-foot made-in-NY pontoon with an electric motor

  • Great Lakes Research Consortium 24-7 sensing buoy transmitting air and water temperature and wind data into one of the exhibit tents; and

  • Great Lakes Research Consortium in-water remotely operated vehicle demonstrations in the retention pond daily at 12 pm, 2 pm, and 4 pm.

* Exhibit sponsors include the New York State Fair, Great Lakes Seaway Trail, Great Lakes Research Consortium, H. Lee White Maritime Museum, US Coast Guard Auxiliary, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, and the I Love NY Path Through History.

Work is done on a miniature replica of the Revolutionary War gunboat the USS Philadelphia, known for carrying General Benedict Arnold and his Continental Army troops in 1776 during the Revolutionary War, on Weds., Aug. 23 at the Path through Our Maritime History: Waterways of War exhibit at the NYS Fair.

Fair patrons look over an antique brass diving helmet on Weds., Aug. 23, at the Path through Our Maritime History exhibit at the NYS Fair.

In Photos: Boat Launches at the NY State Fair? You Can Build Your Own Boat and Take it Home

Richard Bush of the H. Lee White Maritime Museum paddles a hand-made kayak built with help from fairgoers in the NY Experience Pond at the fairgrounds. There were also water safety tips and demonstrations. All photos in this section, Credit: Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse, NY, September 1, 2017 - As WAER 88.3 FM's Scott Willis reports, the state fair is known for many things, but probably not boat launches. That’s what happened Thursday at the new pond on the western end of the fairgrounds. Richard Bush launched a hand-made kayak he and dozens of fairgoers helped to build during the first half of the fair. It’s part of a family boat building class he coordinates at the H. Lee White Maritime Museum in Oswego.

"They're simple designs, easy to construct, and anyone can do it. A positive attitude is all you need.  We'll work with the rest. We provide the tools, you provide the time, and you get a boat."

Bush says workers range in age from 6 to 87, and hundreds of people stop by per day. The next boat is well underway. New York Sea Grant Recreation Specialist Dave White says the water feature opens up several opportunities to showcase history, shipwrecks, boating, and safety that they didn't have at their former location at the reflecting pond in the state park exhibit.

"It's a nice draw for folks.  We can show water recreation, we can have the ROV buoy in the water [water drone]. We're looking toward next year and the years out to say, with the maritime history exhibit, how can we build upon this. We're talking with our diving partners that are part the shipwreck exhibit about doing some diving.”

White himself demonstrated safety gear on an inflatable paddleboard. Another showed the effectiveness of certain life jackets.

"Type 3 life jackets: You'll note that it doesn't support your head. If  you've been knocked out, you're unconscious, it is not going to right you. So if you end up face down, Mike, if you'll demonstrate the face down float for me please, you'll notice it doesn't pull his head out of the water.”                          

The Pathway to Maritime History, Waterways of War, and Boat Building exhibits are located just off the pond not far from gate 6 on the western end of the fairgrounds. 

Richard Bush of the H. Lee White Maritime Museum paddles a hand-made kayak built with help from fairgoers in the NY Experience Pond at the fairgrounds. There were also water safety tips and demonstrations. Credit: Scott Willis / WAER News

Demonstrating life jackets after "flipping" out of their watercraft.

The next boat is well underway, with one of the hand-made samples (at left) and the finished product (at right).

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program (NSGCP) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NSGCP engages this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training and extension projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our aquatic resources. Through its statewide network of integrated services, NYSG has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources since 1971.

New York Sea Grant maintains Great Lakes offices at SUNY Buffalo, the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark and at SUNY Oswego. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University and Stony Brook Manhattan, in the Hudson Valley through Cooperative Extension in Kingston and at Brooklyn College. 

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG produces a monthly e-newsletter, "NOAA Sea Grant's Social Media Review," via its blog, www.nyseagrant.org/blog. Our program also offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/coastlines for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published 1-2 times a year.

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