Harbor Notes 2015

When you have eight miles of harbor to maintain, there’s always something to do. The next major project for the Sitka harbor system will be the complete rebuilding of the Sitka Transient Float, a little to the north of the harbormaster’s office. The transient float makes a small V with Petro Marine’s new fuel dock. The rebuilding is pegged at about $6 million and is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2015.

The 40-year old transient float was originally built as a wave container to protect old Thomsen Harbor, and was laid out in an L-shaped configuration. After the rock breakwater was built, the float was straightened out to be used for moorage.

Harbormaster Stan Eliason said an inspection of the dock prior to the 2011 herring fishery revealed that the infrastructure was failing. The dock required an emergency repair just before the fleet got here.

“The transient float is used all the time during the summer and is critical for our fishing fleet,” Eliason said.

The new facility will be a timber float dock, tied to steel pilings and buoyed by foam-filled polyurethane tubs. As well as transient moorage, a few stalls may be set aside as permanent stalls for boats 40 feet and longer. The final configuration will provide 930 linear feet of moorage.

Skippers of commercial fishing boats using the transient moorage should take note – they are eligible for a 25 percent discount on up to 10 days’ worth of their Sitka stay. Skippers need to show their fish tickets to harbor staff to get the discount.

Eliason said the city is trying to lure more transient vessels to use city floats, instead of anchoring in the channel or using private moorage. He noted that these vessels, as well as paying moorage fees, pay fish tax on their catch, money which goes back to the city to maintain and upgrade harbors.