Sunday, April 26, 2015

2015 Spring De-Winterizations


By the number of phone calls I have been receiving, it can only mean one thing. Spring is here.

We began installing ramps and floats on the high tides the week of April 15th and are currently in the big push to get everyone installed in a safe and efficient way.

As usual we started in the more protected areas (Quahog, Gun Point Creek, and Bethel Point) and are just now beginning to branch out (currently doing some work in the New Meadows River). In the coming weeks as the weather continues to improve we will expand to Gun Point Cove and also start making our runs across town to Orr's and Bailey Island.

Winter Damage

It was a tough winter. For those of you who were not around, you really lucked out. We had long stretches of very cold weather which resulted in the build up of sea ice the likes we have not seen in a long time. We also had a number of significant storms. Wind and ice combine to create a damaging force on the coast.

In best case situations moorings were dragged off location by the ice flows, in much worse situations they have been lost entirely, wharves have been toppled, and floats ripped free and lost at sea. I lost two of my own junk floats this winter (junk because both because they are retired floats in poor condition and because we store our garbage materials on them until we have a junk yard load).

With this in mind, I have been warning folks not to have too high of expectations for their equipment. If you expect the worse and your gear turns out to be fine, then everyone will be a winner. But the truth is no one is safe and I know of at least 4 wharves that have sustained catastrophic damage (2 belonging to SOS customers) and another two on which we have had to complete minor repairs.


Prioritizing our work schedule is extremely critical this time of year. Everyone wants to be out on the water as soon as possible. We appreciate that, but as I've said many times, our schedules are driven by tides and weather. Our plans are always changing and we don't usually know what we are actually doing for the day until we are pulling away from the dock and have had an opportunity to judge the wind. But here is a general idea of our order of priorities:

1. Ramp and Float De-Winterization (no repairs)
2. Mooring De-Winterizations
3. Ramp and Float De-Winterizations (emergent/temp repairs)
4. New Mooring Installations
5. Seasonal Mooring Inspections
6. Major Repairs

1 and 2 are our top priorities, being low hanging fruit and the easiest to get accomplished and get out of the way. If a system has only minor damage then we will do repair work on an off tide and get you worked back into the schedule as quickly as possible.

2 and 4 happen on off tides, so there is a lot more flexibility in getting them accomplished.

There should be no big rush on moorings that are regularly inspected, so 5 usually begins in June.

We do repair and construction work, but it is not our primary business. Any major repairs or constructions will be done during the summer, after we have accomplished our regularly scheduled work.

An SOS dock tipped over by the ice

Minor repair required for this cracked piling

A non-SOS wharf collapsed

Minor repair required to fix a gantry ripped apart by a dragged mooring.

Launching a new float built over the winter

Another new float installed

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