Dredging survey good news for Darien boaters
Some good news for Darien boaters is that silting in Darien Harbor is not as bad as it could have been after Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Irene, according to a recently completed dredging survey.
The first survey of Darien Harbor since before Hurricane Sandy and Irene found the average depth of the harbor’s various areas is between 6 and 6½ feet, an adequate depth for boating, according to Tom Bell, the state’s harbormaster for Darien.
The $3,500 survey was paid for from town funds with contributions from the Darien Boat and Noroton Yacht clubs.
“I was pleasantly surprised that we survived Sandy and Irene with no notable difference in depth,” Bell said.
Ideally a dredged channel would be 8 feet or more deep, Bell said.
However, there remains an issue with the angle and alignment of the town-controlled public boat launch ramp in the parking lot of Pear Tree Point Park, which prevents boats above a certain size from launching during mid- to low tide, Bell said.
The boat ramp is the responsibility of the town’s Department of Parks & Recreation.
“I’m not recommending what should be done because it is not my issue,” Bell said. “But there is an issue with launching boats outside of mid- to high tide from the ramp because of the angle of the ramp.”
Mary Flynn, chairwoman of the Darien Parks & Recreation Commission, said there isn’t a plan in place to fund reconfiguring the boat launch ramp but it will be dealt with during an upcoming master planning process for Pear Tree Point Park.
By 2016-2017 budget year, Flynn said she expects the commission will request budget money for a consultant to create a more comprehensive plan to fix the park.
“What we’ll do this year is probably start the process and discussion and form a committee …,” Flynn said. “It is not imminent that the boat ramp will be completed but in the next year we’re going to get started on a plan, with the boat ramp as part of the plan.”
In the more immediate future, Bell said he is spending $800 apiece out of his budget to replace and relocate buoys in the Darien Harbor channel to better identify the no-wake zone where boaters should slow down.
Speeding in the harbor channel is a worsening problem, and is at least partially due to the placement of the buoys, Bell said.
“Nine out of 10 people who went by me on recent weekends were violating the no-wake zone,” Bell said. “But in fairness part of the problem is the placement of the buoys in the water to make them more visible.”