|Jensen Beach Moorings facility explained at public meeting
JENSEN BEACH — Martin County residents – most of them boaters – learned about the proposed $1.83 million Jensen Beach Moorings facility during a public meeting at the Jensen Beach Chamber of Commerce Wednesday.
Tim Blankenship, director of engineering at Coastal Systems International – the company that will build the mooring field if the County Commission approves it – explained the proposal and its benefits to the assembled crowd.
A mooring field, he said, is an area on the water where multiple mooring buoys are installed. A mooring buoy is used to float a chain or cable that’s connected to an anchor secured to the sea floor.
“It’s basically a marina without docks,” Blankenship said.
A 44.5-acre area south of the Jensen Beach Causeway and west of the Intracoastal Waterway in the Indian River Lagoon would be dedicated to the project. The location is considered ideal because of its closeness to the Intracoastal Waterway, the St. Lucie Inlet, the Jensen Beach Community Redevelopment Area, local restaurants and stores, a public boat ramp and vessel repair facilities.
The Moorings would accommodate 61 vessels ranging from 20 to 60 feet in length and help the county reduce or eliminate the environmental impact to seagrass beds, Blankenship said. It would give the county the ability to prevent illegal dumping of waste and take action against derelict vessels, which are boats that have been abandoned and may leak oil.
“All of us are very environmentally sensitive,” Blankenship said. “We’re fortunate to live and boat in Florida’s outstanding waters.”
Residents at the meeting expressed concerns that some boaters would simply anchor at the unregulated north side of the Jensen Beach Causeway, but Martin County coastal engineer Kathy Fitzpatrick said legislation allowing counties to control all anchoring is likely to pass in Tallahassee by 2011, around the time the proposed moorings would be completed.
Security at the Jensen Beach Moorings would be entrusted to a harbormaster, who would monitor the area 24 hours a day.
Fitzpatrick said the $1.83 million needed to finance the project would likely come from state grants. The cost to use the moorings would be between $200 ando $300 monthly, according to Blankenship.
The Jensen Beach Moorings, if built, would be the only mooring facility in Jensen Beach. The only other similar facility in Martin County is the Sunset Bay Marina and Anchorage in Stuart.
“This has definite economic benefits, definite environmental benefits and definite navigation benefits,” Fitzpatrick said.
by: Shawna Gallagher Vega
tcpalm.com - August 5, 2009
Tim Blankenship is the Engineering Department Head at Coastal
Systems International, Inc., located in Coral Gables, Florida. He can be reached via e-mail at: