Harbor gets mooring field

Published 2:27 am Friday, July 2, 2010

Contributing Editor

In 2006, Washington began looking into the possibility of setting up a mooring field in the city’s harbor, but it appears that won’t happen.
The private sector has beaten the city to the punch — make that mooring field.
Carolina Wind Yachting Center has 10 helical moorings available for short-term or long-term lease. The moorings are on the south side of the Pamlico River across from the city’s waterfront and near Castle Island.
“The mooring field will provide an additional option for boaters who want to keep their boats in the water in Washington, and for those visiting the waterfront,” said David Norwood, president of Carolina Wind Yachting Center, in a press release.
“Apparently not,” said City Manager James C. Smith when asked Thursday if the city continues to pursue establishing a mooring field in the harbor.
“I think the city made a serious mistake in not pursuing it on the city’s behalf,” Smith said.
He said is happy to see the private sector take advantage of the opportunity to establish a mooring field in the harbor.
“The city had the first opportunity to do it. Clearly, there’s a need for it,” Smith said.
The city needs to control its harbor, Smith added.
In 2006, the city began serious consideration of establishing a mooring field in the harbor after some boaters asked why the city did not have one in its harbor. At an informational meeting held for the public in October 2006, the majority of speakers expressed their support for a mooring field in the harbor.
At that meeting of the Planning Board, Bill Sykes, a boater and city property owner, said a mooring field would give the city more control over boats moored in the river than boats riding at anchor. Federal law allows boats to anchor anywhere in water except in navigational channels. Boats using city-owned mooring fields would be regulated by the city, Sykes noted.
“It’s critical you control the quality of what happens in your waterfront,” Sykes told the Planning Board at that meeting.
Others at the meeting expressed concerns about how a mooring field could affect the river’s water quality.
The Planning Board established a panel to explore the feasibility of placing a mooring field in the harbor.
Questions arose concerning whether the city had the authority to enforce its ordinances in the harbor and if the N.C. General Assembly would have to grant that authority if the city did not have it.
Eventually, talk about mooring fields expanded into the city developing a harbor-management plan. In October 2008, the City Council modified the plan, which it earlier endorsed.
For details about the Carolina Wind Yachting Center’s mooring field, call 252-946-4653 or visit www.carolinawind.com.