DeHarts Marina situation dire; $32,000 in patches needed to get tenants through the summer

The condition of facilities at DeHart’s Marina is dire, if the port director’s evaluation is any indication.


Port Director John Stone said his department has spent the past couple months creating a condition report on the deterioration of DeHart’s Marina.

Stone said there area is a high liability and they have come up with several “fixes” they can make to lower the liability of the marina for the next year.

Stone said the electrical system is failing. It no longer meets code, though it met code when it was built.

“It’s in poor condition,” he said. “Everything about that constitutes it being in poor condition. The only real repair alternative is complete replacement of the electrical system. There are some things we can do.”

The system has a relatively poor shore power grounding system, he said, though the shore power ground does tie to land. The facility does not have a direct connection to the outlet type that would meet code today.

“We could have an electrician go through and repair that,” Stone said.

That would cost about $10,000. They could also put a rod in the water as they do for most harbor rebuilds at the main power panel to reduce stray electrical currents in the water. Stone also suggested moving DeHart’s patrons to Statter Harbor in the winter to reduce electrical load issues.

Another issue is a lot of the pedestals in danger of knocking over, and the floats are all rotted.

“It wouldn’t necessarily cause someone to lose their life, but could certainly cause severe property damage,” Stone said. “The anchoring system on the last float here — that anchoring system is very, very old. It’s well past its useful life. The area that’s mostly worn is where the anchor chain comes up into the float system. Anchor chains are basically braided away.”

He said the chain started out at one-and-an-eighth inches and is now less than one inch thick.

“There’s that much wear,” he said. “There is a distinct possibility that a portion or that float could break loose from the bottom and start swinging around and damage the vessels that are there. That is something we can mitigate. We can come up with a system of cables that would do a fairly good job of keeping that in place at least this summer.”
That would involve a lot of underwater work and would cost about $15,000.

Stone also spoke of another float that, like the rest of the docks in the marina, is sinking. The float is comprised of metal pipes that are continuously developing holes. Stone said the diver who scrapes off barnacles to repair the holes ends up creating more holes in the process —just because of the condition of the metal. The short-term solution is to put Styrofoam under the floats and push them back up, which would cost about $5,000.

Stone said the decking boards are rotted and uneven. Carpeting was used to solve that in the past, however things have deteriorated further. Stone said they would like to replace the carpet with a better product to alleviate the trip hazard, which would cost $10,000.

The total cost of the buffer repairs is about $34,000.

“The final item, some of the floats are very low, the finger floats are quite unstable,” Stone said. “Whenever things get low and unstable it has a tendency to throw people out of balance. Someone could basically fall in and not get out. There’s really not much we can do there, other than for the ones that are submerged take them out of service. And the ones we feel are extremely hazardous, take them out of service.”

“I think this will definitely get us through the summer and mitigate liability by moving people out in the winter,” Stone said. “Based on the number of boats in Statter Harbor in the winter, there’s definitely room to move them over.”

The Docks and Harbors board will hold a special meeting next week, time and date to be announced, in order to take action on Stone’s recommendation.

Board member Mike Williams said he was concerned that adding Styrofoam to the bottom would cause stress in the opposite direction on the floats.

“I just am really curious if it can even handle that,” he said.

Williams also said that the marina is decaying and at some point they have to call it. He wasn’t sure they should spend $34,000 on patches for a failing dock system.

The board also approved a plan for Statter Harbor and an updated plan for the Cruise Ship dock Plan B. These will be featured in an Empire article on Sunday.

• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at


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