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Port removes Bush Point dock floats

The Bush Point boat launch ramp is missing the boarding floats installed in April. They were removed late Tuesday because hinge connections had broken due to intense winds and waves as well as the wakes from passing ship traffic, such as the tanker traversing Admiralty Inlet in the background on Wednesday.   - Jeff VanDerford / The Record
The Bush Point boat launch ramp is missing the boarding floats installed in April. They were removed late Tuesday because hinge connections had broken due to intense winds and waves as well as the wakes from passing ship traffic, such as the tanker traversing Admiralty Inlet in the background on Wednesday.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford / The Record

The Port of South Whidbey has been forced to remove the boarding floats from the water at the Bush Point boat-launch ramp to prevent further damage or loss of the floats.

The action was taken Tuesday due to premature and severe deterioration of dock hardware.

The floats were launched in April and have been in use for less than two seasons, but the hinge-type connections between the individual float sections are already collapsing as a result of the large waves at that location. The floats were designed and constructed as part of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s redevelopment of the historic boat launch, in partnership with the port. However, the port has been forced to provide additional funding and conduct substantial repairs and improvements to address numerous design deficiencies compounded by the relentless wind and wave exposure.

Port staff is now investigating repair or replacement possibilities for the critical connection hardware to allow the floats to be relaunched as soon as possible.

“We realize that this has occurred right at the start of the big fishing and boating season and we had hoped to conduct temporary repairs to get through the summer and fall," said port manager Ed Field. "However, despite the best efforts of our new site manager to keep the floats in the water, three hinges have failed in the past two weeks and we had to remove the floats to prevent major damage. We are working to identify a solution so we can fix the floats and re-launch them, but we ask the boating public's understanding until then.”

The next regular port meeting is 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 10 at the Freeland Library.

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