2006-11-16 / News

Hazelett Marine presents alternative mooring system

By Sam Bari

Commissioners and attendees alike watched and listened intently as Hazelett Marine's General Manager Jeff Lefebvre presented the Hazelett Elastic Mooring System at the Nov. 8 meeting of the Harbor Management Commission.

The high-tech system is engineered for performance in severe weather conditions. The low maintenance system is ecologically friendly and designed to work at 30 percent capacity on specified boat weight classes in winds up to 70 miles per hour. However, the system is not guaranteed in uncontrolled, hurricane conditions.

Unlike traditional mooring systems using concrete block, chain, and nylon lines that can require considerable scope, the Hazelett system eliminates the need for chain, and has the potential for 1 to 1 scope in ideal conditions. With mooring space in the harbors at a premium, the system shows promise of accommodating as much as four times as many vessels in the same area using traditional moorings. Although the system costs approximately twice as much as a traditional mooring, it is engineered to last four times as long. The system, however, does not work well with mushroom anchors.

After the presentation, the harbor commissioners decided to put the item on the agenda for next month's meeting to further discuss its merits and consider changing legislation to allow the system to be used in Jamestown waters. The system has had favorable reports from other towns and area marine operators. By implementing the system, the number of moorings in the now full-to-capacity mooring fields could substantially increase, according to Lefebvre.

In an unrelated issue, Harbor Commission Chairman Mike de Angeli and Commissioner Chris Brown recused themselves when Commissioner David Laurie opened the discussion about commercial

marine operators' business practices. Boat owners who had approached Laurie with complaints about unfair treatment by marine operators prompted the agenda item. The boat owners were afraid to identify themselves because of fear of losing their moorings due to retribution from the operators who control the mooring fields.

At last month's meeting, when Laurie first addressed the matter, several other commissioners said they had similar experiences. "Boat owners have no forum to report their grievances," Laurie said. "They need to have somewhere they can go, or someone they can talk to about their problems without being afraid of losing their moorings, or being intimidated in any way," he added.

Commissioner Andrew Kallfelz said he would get together with Laurie to forward questions concerning the commission's jurisdiction over mooring management to the town solicitor. The panel voted for a continuance on the matter to the December meeting.

In other business, Police Chief Thomas Tighe, the commission's executive director, reported that setting up a Web site for the harbor commission to transact business on the Internet would cost a couple of hundred dollars. "However, we need a webmaster with the proper expertise to manage the site," Tighe said.

Kallfelz called for a sub-committee to be formed to design a Web site and data base management program for that purpose. De Angeli appointed Kallfelz as the chairman of the committee and commissioners Bob Bowen and Brown as well as himself to sit on the panel.

In an unrelated matter, Budget Committee Chairman Chris Brown reported that the proposed rate increases would raise the budget approximately 12 percent. He said that specifics of the increase would be available next month. The proposed rate will be compared to those charged by other marinas around the state.

Facilities Chairman Bob Bowen said that the dock float and signs were being installed at Fort Getty.

In separate incidences Kim Harpool and Terry Jones were both granted their appeals concerning mooring related matters by 6-0 vote with one commissioner absent.

Conservation Liaison Tom Johnson reported that the Hull Cove project was awaiting a wetlands survey to determine the amount of boardwalk that would be required. He said that Eagle Scouts had volunteered to do the work.

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