2007-08-30 / Letters to the Editor

Jamestown's friendly harbor

In the Aug. 9 edition, the Press ran a lengthy and informative article under the heading: "Harbor management becoming more complex." The opening paragraph described the management of Jamestown's harbors as "…a formidable task that involves the harbormaster, the police and fire departments, and a number of town administrative personnel."

This, reporter Sam Bari goes on to say, "…is due to the fact that more than 1,400 private and commercial vessels…tie up to moorings around Conanicut Island each year… (and)…Additional boats tie up to a limited number of docks and piers that are available at various marinas."

While taking nothing at all away from either the Harbormaster, the police, or the fire department for the very capable handling of their administrative and /or emergency functions, I think it is fair to say that this implication of the "limited" role of the marina operations - as well as the thrust of the remainder of the article - leaves an oddly unbalanced picture of the reality at the waterfront.

While I do not have precise figures at hand, I feel reasonably confident in guessing that a significant percentage, and quite possibly a majority, of the boaters who enjoy the waters surrounding our island - including, of course, the hundreds who visit these shores each summer, in everything from dinghies to trawlers, sailboats large and small, so-called "megayachts," and even the occasional "tall ship" - benefit from the availability of excellent marina services. Needless to say, organizing and managing all of those activities throughout our long boating season gives true meaning to the terms "complex" and "formidable task."

For these many boaters, the friendly, welcoming, and efficient amenities - from dockside or mooring accommodations, launch services, mechanical and maintenance assistance, marine supplies, to showers and related facilities, even landside shuttle service -- truly constitute the summertime personality, the "face" if you will, of Jamestown. When you include the additional waterborne services such as the Jamestown-Newport Ferry, charter boating, and sightseeing tours also offered by Conanicut Marine - often providing a real boating experience even for non-boating visitors - it should be evident to the most casual observer that Jamestown would not be the wonderful village, island, and maritime environment it is without this vibrant and vital waterfront contribution to the community and business life of our town.

Joe Vecchione


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