Beaufort wins $190,000 grant, plans $300,000 in dock improvements

emoody@beaufortgazette.comMay 13, 2014 

More Beaufort Downtown Marina dock improvements are coming, with help from a $190,000 federal grant.

The money will be matched with $83,000 from the city, $25,000 from marina operator Griffin Enterprises and $10,000 from Beaufort County, according to city accountant Thomas East.

The work is badly needed, especially on the transient dock, harbormaster Rick Griffin said.

The transient dock is the outermost part of the marina and takes the brunt of wind, waves and wakes. It was built in 1993 and has only had routine maintenance, he said.

The marina has about 1,140 feet of floating dock devoted to transient boats and can handle about 36 boats as large as 26 feet long, according to a city news release. Griffin said the dock is not heavily used, except during two months in spring and two months in the fall when tourist traffic picks up.

The rest of the dock is a year older but in better shape, and marina staff is doing repairs to maintain it, Griffin said.

Work on the transient dock will include replacing pile guides, steel stiffeners and trusses, rubbing boards, and floating cells. Decking, cleats, backing plates and damaged power pedestals will be replaced. The fire suppression for the entire marina will also be cleaned and repaired, or possibly replaced, Griffin said.

No timeline for the work will be set until receipt of the grant, which must be used by Dec. 30, 2015.

The money is part of $14 million in boating infrastructure grants that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced this week.

The city received a similar, $100,000 grant in 2012, for the installation of 16 transient moorings in a mooring field installed this spring. The city paid $31,715, and Griffin Enterprises, $33,408.

Those moorings have been installed, and electrical work and other dock repairs are wrapping up this week, Griffin said. The grant had a June 30 deadline, he said.

Another 14 moorings are being installed by Griffin Enterprises for $43,800, and 16 additional mooring anchors will be installed for $20,700, with the intent of adding mooring balls as the market demands.

While the first 16 moorings have been installed, the city is having to re-engineer plans for the remainder because the river bottom where they are going is too soft to secure the original anchor types, according to a city news release.

The new plan is to drill pipes deep into the river bed and attach the mooring buoys to them.

"We considered using heavier concrete anchors instead of the pipes, but we would need each concrete block to weigh 10,000 pounds or more to safely secure the larger boats," Public Works director Isiah Smalls said in the release. "The experts we've talked to said our approach is better."

Work is expected to be completed by early July.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

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