2007-12-20 / News

Harbormaster's boat report due next week

By Sam Bari

Harbor Management Commission Executive Director Thomas Tighe said at the Dec. 12 meeting of the commission that the report from University of Rhode Island Professor Otto Gregory concerning the beleaguered harbormaster's boat is expected next week. The boat, purchased early this year, was made by Ribcraft of Marblehead, Mass., and has been out of commission since last July, when it was hauled out of the water due to severe galvanic corrosion.

The hard-bottomed inflatable craft was returned to Ribcraft, where their technicians inspected the boat to analyze the problems. Ribcraft management replied in a letter that the problems were caused by galvanic corrosion that they suspect originated from the area where the boat was docked. Consequently, they did not feel that responsibility for the problems fell on their shoulders.

Ribcraft sent marine surveyor Joe Lombardi to Jamestown to take readings and test the water around where the boat was docked at East Ferry. Lombardi reported that electric current readings "went off the meter."

The town then contracted a chemical engineer, Gregory, to inspect the boat, perform tests, and analyze the source of the damages. Gregory's analysis dramatically disagreed with the Ribcraft findings.

Professor Gregory presented the results of his tests to town officials and Ribcraft representatives at a meeting at the police station on Oct. 23. He explained the methodology of the procedures used. He reported that the measurements of voltage and current tested in the area where the harbormaster's boat was docked were within acceptable ranges and should not have caused the extensive damage to the boat in such a short period.

After much discussion, the group decided that the best course of action would be for Professor Gregory and Lombardi to perform tests together and make recommendations on mutual results. The tests were performed by Gregory and Lombardi last month and the results of their findings are expected next week. Their analysis will determine the next steps necessary to repair the boat and make it operational for the 2008 season.

Tighe also reported that the fire department must inspect all private docks. Additionally, he said that docks over 150-feet long are required to have fire extinguishers.

In an unrelated matter, Tighe said that town solicitor Peter Ruggiero agreed to meet with the commission to discuss the Head's Beach mooring field issue. Harbor Commission Chairman Michael de Angeli said he would call Ruggiero to discuss the matter and confirm if it was necessary to formally address the commission on the issue as an agenda item.

A small group of Jamestown Shores residents are disputing the rights to the area, claiming that the beach is to be used exclusively for swimming and bathing for local residents according to the original deed.

In other business, John Baldwin appealed a denial of temporary exemption for not using his mooring. The commission listened to his request and agreed that his reasons for not using the mooring were reasonable and voted unanimously to grant Baldwin his mooring rights provided he uses the mooring in the upcoming season.

Commissioner Andrew Kallfelz,

* chairman of the technology committee, reported that the new data base for all harbor records and business will be implemented in January.

Facilities Chairman Bob Bowen presented a detailed report on the state of ongoing projects for waterfront improvements that include: the curbs and rails at East Ferry; the Ft. Getty boat ramp; the wood pile pier repairs; the wood pile pier new touch and go dock; the wood pile pier extension; the Ft. Getty pier; and the ferry landing at East Ferry. Chairman De Angeli said he would review the report and discuss the projects with Town Administrator Bruce Keiser.

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