2012-07-19 / Front Page

Town buys new buoys for West Passage

USCG tells town to replace its substandard markers
BY MARGO SULLIVAN

The Harbor Commission responded to the Coast Guard’s recent complaint about substandard buoys in the West Passage entrance, according to Police Chief Ed Mello.

Mello, who also serves as the panel’s executive director, told the commissioners at their July 11 meeting he has ordered replacement buoys. Mello estimated the new buoys would arrive in three weeks.

Jamestown was required to address the problem within two weeks, Chief Petty Officer Gregg Marsili wrote in a June 4 letter to the commission. Marsili said the Coast Guard inspected the area near Dutch Island and found the buoys did not meet Coast Guard regulations. Marsili said Dutch Island Harbor Buoy 1 was “partially submerged” and the numbers were missing or partially missing. Dutch Island Harbor Buoy 2 had the same problems, plus its color was faded.

Harbormaster Sam Paterson had estimated the total replacement cost at $12,000.

Chairman Michael de Angeli said he had been in the area and noticed a bright red buoy, which seemed brand new. Paterson said he salvaged that buoy separately, and it had since been refurbished. Also, Mello said, new buoys to identify the conservation waters have been delivered and are in the water.

In other business, the town will be reimbursed for law enforcement expenses connected to the Ocean State Tall Ships Festival and the America’s Cup World Series.

According to Mello, local police went out in two boats at the Coast Guard’s request. Jamestown and Newport police, state police and state Department of Environmental Management officers all responded. Mello said he will send invoices to the organizers of the two events to pay for the police costs.

“It was very chaotic out there,” Mello said, ”but both harbormasters assisted to make it a safe event.” de Angeli asked if the police did any law enforcement during the events. “No,” Mello replied, “other than their presence.”

Mello said the America’s Cup World Series caused some congestion for boaters and sparked some conflicts. Some people went out to watch the races and were in the way of other people who went out to sail.

“What drives the chaotic behavior is, the only public passage is along our shores,” he said, when they close the course to start the race.

In a different matter, Mello also reported that the harbor office has installed a second kayak rack at Maple Avenue.

The commission voted at its June 13 meeting to buy another rack to satisfy the demand from boaters. Kim Devlin, harbor clerk, said she had a waiting list for the kayak rack. She estimated a new one would pay for itself in two years based on permit fees, which the kayakers would pay.

“The work was done – complete,” Mello said. “Instead of purchasing a fabricated rack, it was actually manufactured on site at a considerable savings.”

In other business, Devlin said she has received the go-ahead to give laminated passes to boaters at Fort Getty who are renting outhauls there. In the past, Devlin had to put people’s names on a list, which was checked at the gate when the people arrived to see if they were to be allowed in. Devlin said Mello and Bill Piva of the Recreation Department agreed to the change.

Commissioner Ed McGuirl said the passes had been an issue for years. “The 20-year history,” Mc- Guirl said, “you could rent an outhaul at Getty but were not given a sticker to go through the gate.”

All this time, McGuirl said, the campers at Fort Getty received two free stickers for their vehicles each season, but the boaters did not get a sticker. They had to pay $15 to get their names on the list but did not actually receive a pass.

The panel also discussed an incident at West Ferry. Commissioner Larry Eichler, who heads the facilities subcommittee, advised the panel about a recent accident. A boater fell when a rotted step gave way at the West Ferry outhaul.

“Was he hurt?” de Angeli asked.

“No,” Eichler replied. “Just shaken up.” de Angeli said the hazardous situation would have to be fixed.

Also, Eichler said, repairs at the West Ferry bulkhead had run into a problem. “The West Ferry bulkhead repairs were undertaken. However, we had a sinkhole.” He said the next steps would have to wait for Mike Gray, town engineer.

Gray has been on vacation and was not available for a consultation. Eichler said that there is also a new “question about drainage Mike has to address.”

Gray is also taking charge of the other repair projects, including the Fort Getty outhauls. Eichler said he has advised Gray that the Harbor Commission wants to advertise for bids on these projects soon. Jamestown also must apply to the Coastal Resources Management Council for the necessary permits. de Angeli said the commissioners approved the projects last winter and certainly intended to get the work completed this year.

Eichler said the work could still be done in the fall, as long as the applications were in order.

“We really want the applications completed and submitted,” Eichler said. He added that he would get involved in getting the application process going, if necessary.

Return to top