New York City Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Service

...The largest outrigger race on the East Coast...

On June 23, 2012 the New York City Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Service (NYC-ARECS) provided maritime communication support for the Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge on the rivers of New York Harbor in the middle of the Port of New York and New Jersey. [Press Release]

Radio operators were at this Public Service event for 12 hours from 0630-1830 stationed both on rescue and safety boats, as well as on the shore with race officials. The mission of the operators was to be an additional set of eyes and ears on the rescue and safety boats, and to ensure that reliable communications were expediently available in case an emergency condition arose on the water. Team members utilized both UHF and VHF repeaters, simplex, and VHF Marine radios to communicate with each other, to pass messages in regard to race setup, race operations, other safety boats, boats in-transit in the harbor, the Staten Island Ferry and the US Coast Guard Auxiliary.

As always, when we assist with events like this, they are essentially training opportunities for the team. On this day, we were effective especially when one of the rescue boats' VHF Marine radio failed, as well as because distance between the boats made their radios ineffective.

Liberty Challenge racers with the Statue of Liberty behind them headed toward Governor's Island and Brooklyn
Racers powering through the water headed toward Governor's Island and Brooklyn, with the Staten Island Ferry in the distance
NYC-ARECS team members manned the Stop, Caution and (in this case) the Proceed flags, used when ship traffic in the harbor increased
Andrew with a massive cruise ship steering into the port behind him at 6:30am. Andrew took some of these great photos! Thank you!
Racers with the Statue of Liberty behind them
There were multiple helicopters filming the event and broadcasting this race live on television
Team member John (climbing the ladder) on-board 'Safety 1' one of the races' command vessels. The Freedom Tower World Trade Center is in the background
Team member Cesar on 'Photo Boat' passing the NY Sanitation piers approaching the Brooklyn Bridge
Charles manning the flag indicating 'Stop' alerting people to potential danger
John waving from 'Safety 1' under the Manhattan Bridge
NYC-ARECS members switching boats out in the harbor as assignments changed
Our Public Information Officer on 'Rescue 1', watching the racers who had the Statue of Liberty at their back
The team members assisted with deployment of these buoys outside the federal security zones near the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge
Charles near the Statue of Liberty reporting positions of the racers
A restful moment for one of the Safety Boats
The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary assisted with safety, here, we see the 'Lady B'
Team member Dennis
on 'Safety 2'
Team member Bill
on 'Safety 4'
Charles and Shelomo on 'Rescue 1; approaching the Manahttan Bridge from the Brooklyn Side of the East River
The boats were circling on hold as the next race was preparing for launch
The NYPD Harbor Patrol was out with many different boats, this is one of them.
So was the FDNY Marine 6. This is one of the new boats, "The Bravest," built after 9/11, 66' long
This is retired FDNY boat "John J. Harvey" who helped entertain the racers.
This tug and massive barge were typical of the harbor freight traffic which the racers had to negotiate
Statue of Liberty Ferry at Battery Park in Manhattan with the Freedom Tower in the background
A filming helicopter hovering only 20' above the Hudson River!
At the end of the day, there was a luau at Pier 66 for all the racers and the staff...
This was 'Rescue 1' aka the “Blue Classroom,” in an amazing photo taken one month prior to the Outrigger, on the Hudson, as it escorted the shuttle

This regatta has grown in its 16 year history to become one of the most prestigious outrigger canoe races in the world, one that is unique among world outrigger regattas because it takes place in a bustling urban harbor.