Bliss updates readers on Port meeting

February 15th, 2011

By: USCG Licensed Captain Jay Bliss
Seat 5, St. Augustine Port Waterway and Beach District

Greetings Historic City News readers,

Our meeting went beyond 6:00 p.m. so this is the condensed version. After the minutes are approved at the March 15th regular meeting, they’ll be online at

There’s $1.9M in the treasury. Less available by the end of the meeting; we committed about $220,000 today.

Taylor Engineering reported the south Salt Run deposit of sands of a 3-day pipeline break in 2005 or thereabouts was here to stay. We’ll exercise more oversight in future dredging events.

Regarding the Summer Haven River massive deposit of sands from the Atlantic, Taylor felt permits would be forthcoming for a multi-phase project.

Phase one, some four months, means getting bathymetrics and land surveys to determine the mass of sand washed in, and the applicability of that sand to go back into a more substantial barrier than what exists now between Atlantic and the sometime-to-be-restored SHR. Goal will be to determine what’s acceptable to DEP and what’s acceptable to SHR residents (This Com. advocates a full restoration to the pretty constant contours that prevailed 1880’s to 2008; and probably prevailed two or three centuries prior).

Board approved $39k to Taylor for that first phase. Bliss spoke up for some competitive bidding and RFP’s, which might be forthcoming in phases 2 and 3. Rippe asked for partnering funders; Benjamin felt there might be private residents able to help. Phase 1 will be the least expensive.

Will Smith (SJCo) and Vivian Browning (Vilano) spoke up for a floating dock at Vilano to accommodate boaters accessing Vilano and the site-ready Publix.

Will we see tourists leaving the Hilton, boarding a launch to Vilano to pick up snacks and appetizers at Publix, then launching back? Board approved the concept of as much as $155K for that 10′ x 150′ dock to match funds from FIND for the floating dock and its installation.

Board had pre-approved $20k for more fish reef along the St. Johns/Flagler county line.

A mix-up between City and FWC has left the beached derelict just north of the Camachee Yacht basin entrance in legal limbo until tonight. Hopefully by week’s end it’ll be “in the system” which means we might see F&A Marine haul it out soon. Hope beateth eternal…. Port Consultant Ken Krauter will be assembling a flow chart, procedure manual, so that derelict boats get funneled through the legalities and into the landfills pronto.

FWC has a new program, “At Risk” tags that you might see affixed to someone’s vessel. The tag will have the contact officer’s name and phone and indelible notes on violations–anchor light, registration, wrapped/frayed anchor lines, etc. No response and the vessel moves into the derelict category pronto.

This Commissioner remains committed to the fact that our waters are public waters and we enjoy freedom to navigate those waters–which includes anchoring, albeit not dropping the hook in a mooring field. With that freedom, we have the responsibility of keeping a tight ship.

Chairman Dixon was indignant that the Lighthouse was attempting to copyright the phrase “Nations Oldest Port”. Our attorney will look into it; we’ll see much more of the same in the coming years to 2015 when everyone is in the merchandising mood.

Next month: dredging the inlet?

Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News staff photographer

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