Crews to install new mooring field

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Located in the Beaufort River, the field could open for boaters by end of April

Beaufort’s new mooring field could be open later this month as crews from American Underwater Contractors were starting to install the first anchors this week at the bend in the Beaufort River, city leaders said.

The mooring field, in the Beaufort River harbor near the Downtown Marina, eventually will consist of three rows of 16, 16 and 14 moorings for the total 46 allowed by federal permit. Rick Griffin, manager of the Downtown Marina, and the Beaufort City Council agreed to install all 16 transient boat moorings, which will be located at the outer edge of the field.

In addition, the work crews will install 14 long-term moorings, which already have been leased to area boaters, and 16 anchors for future use, Griffin said. Terms of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers grant require that the initial 16 moorings be for transient boats.

Beaufort is using funding from a federal $100,000 Boat Infrastructure Grant (BIG) for the first 16 moorings matched with $31,715 of city resources and $33,408 from Griffin Enterprises for the first 16 transient moorings. Griffin’s marina management company is paying an additional $64,534 to expand the mooring field.

“This is an exciting project that helps reconnect the city and our Waterfront Park with the people who use the Intracoastal Waterway and our local boaters,” Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling said.

Based on plans approved by the city and Griffin, the mooring project will proceed as follows:

• The outer row (closest to the channel) will be designated as Row T for transient vessels. All 16 complete moorings on that row will be installed.

• The other rows (middle and closest to the marsh) will be designated as Rows A and B. The first seven moorings on each of these rows will be installed.

• For the remaining nine spots on Row A and seven on Row B, only the anchors will be installed at this time. When there’s a need to complete those moorings, divers can easily — and inexpensively — attach the buoys and additional hardware.