Docks and Harbors Board talks improvements

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) The City and Borough of Juneau Docks and Harbors Board Planning Committee discussed insurance requirements, the removal of boats not deemed seaworthy, federal grant programs and the plans for the Little Rock Dump area at a meeting Wednesday night.

    The committee reviewed possible changes to the insurance they require on boats in the harbor.

    Chairman Bud Simpson said they reviewed regulations from the Port of Bellingham, Washington, "We have a requirement that people in the harbor carry vessel insurance now but we don't have any specific requirements on what kind of insurance, or how much or anything like that.  We were just looking at what Bellingham requires as a possible model for improving our regulation."

    City officials said they worry about liability they face on boats.  Two boat fires recently cost over $100,000.  They estimate that 40 percent of boat owners don't have insurance. Staff was asked to study the issue, and how much it would cost boat owners.

    The city is also looking at about 38 boats that are in the harbor that are not deemed seaworthy.  Simpson says the city is taking steps to remove the boats and are doing a great job.  "The current staff for the harbor department is doing the best job ever for removal of derelict vessels or vessels that are either a safety hazard or a possible pollution hazard.  We are trying to remove those as we can."

    Some on the committee said old boats are now flop houses that are turning part of the harbor into a residential area.

    The committee also endorsed  the application for $25 million in federal grants for a Marine Services Center at the Rock dump area,
    and a project to expand docks, build a new harbor masters office and make other improvements at the Fisherman's Terminal Area.

    Another federal grant will be sought to provide a pedestrian sea walk to the Auke Bay Marine Station.  The city is also seeking interest from groups interested in leasing the marine station, which the city takes over around November 1st.

    The city is also trying to remove an old tug boat, the Lumberman, from the harbor and are encouraging the US Coast Guard to take an interest in the efforts to evict.  The committee said another old vessel, the Challenger, sunk in the harbor.  It cost $2 million to remove and clean up the harbor after it sunk.  The money came from the federal government.  City officials said they can't count on federal dollars should another incident occur.



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