Beaufort adjusts river mooring field, anchor installation plan

"Soft rock" to blame

newsroom@islandpacket.comMay 14, 2014 

A diver climbs back onto the rig after ensuring that one of the anchors was correctly placed before being permanently installed in the mooring field recently in the Beaufort River near Beaufort's Downtown Marina.

DELAYNA EARLEY — Delayna Earley Buy Photo

The City of Beaufort is taking a different approach to constructing the new Beaufort River mooring field after finding areas of riverbed too soft to hold anchors, according to a news release.

"The first 16 anchors went in fine, but as the contractor moved into deeper water, they discovered that the (river) bottom changed and as they drilled, the bottom was too soft to securely hold the anchors," said Isiah Smalls, Beaufort's director of public services and facilities management.

To secure the anchors, the contractor will drive pipes "deep into the riverbed," Smalls said.

"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," Smalls said. "The experts we've talked to said our approach is better."

The system has been used in other areas with similar riverbed conditions, the release said.

The mooring field, in the Beaufort River harbor near the Beaufort Downtown Marina, will consist of three rows totaling up to 46 moorings allowed by federal and state permits.

Thomas & Hutton is re-engineering the mooring field to take into account the different riverbed conditions.

Beaufort is using funding from a federal $100,000 Boat Infrastructure Grant matched with $31,715 of city resources and $33,408 from Griffin Enterprises for 16 transient moorings.

Downtown Marina manager Rick Griffin's company is paying an additional $64,534 to expand the mooring field.

Griffin and Smalls said they anticipate the mooring field project to be completed by early June.

At completion, the mooring field will accommodate boats as long as about 45 feet, depending on the type of vessel, the release said.

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