The Block Island Times

A long, long, long wait is over

A lucky few get a town mooring
By Judy Tierney | Apr 23, 2013
Photo by: Kari Curtis A boat is hitched to a town mooring in the Great Salt Pond. Moorings such as these are a hot commodity and the wait to get one has proved to be a long one.

If you are one of the people on the town mooring wait list, it might seem as though it will take forever for your name to come up. This year, seven residents and two non-residents will receive the coveted moorings. The residents have been on the list since the year 2000.

The non-residents have waited even longer: They signed up in 1991.

Harbors Committee Clerk Beth Rousseau reported some of the recipients expressed surprise when she called them with the news.

Ted Merritt, who can be found most summers piloting one of the water taxi boats, owns a sailboat he plans to use this year. “I’m happy I’m not in an elderly care unit now that I finally received a mooring and I am able to use it,” Merritt said.

Glen Pence was thrilled that he received his notice, even after more than ten years. Pence often lives aboard a boat in summer, and said, “It’s nice to know I have a little bit of something on Block Island, even if it’s just a mooring chain.” He has lived year-round on the island for 15 years.

Pence said having a mooring is better than anchoring, especially when you live aboard a boat, because the bottom of the Great Salt Pond is claylike and not good for holding an anchor. With an anchor, he said, “There is always a little anxiety about the boat not being there when you get home from work,” he said. Pence hopes to get his mooring in as soon as possible.

According to Rousseau, three non-residents were offered moorings as well. One declined the offer. Of the other two, one mooring is going to a yacht club called the Ferry Slip Yacht Club and one to an individual. Of the residents, two declined and Rousseau replaced them with two others.

In 2006, the town instituted a one-time $50 fee to be on the list. About half did not pay and the list was cut down to approximately 300 names. However, the numbers are creeping back up again. “For every five names that come off, 10 are added,” Rousseau said.

There are now a total of 371 people on the non-resident list and 185 on the resident list. “It is a pity,” Merritt said, “that you have to wait so long, especially for a resident. If you live on the island, you should get a mooring.” That, he thought, could be done by expanding the town’s mooring field.

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