Marina damage from tough winter means delays for some boaters

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BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Now that spring is finally here, a lot of boat owners are thinking about getting their boats back in the water, but a lot of marinas in the state are running way behind schedule because of damage left behind from our brutal winter.

Many marinas, like Birbarie Marine in Branford, are still reeling from damage done by a a huge amount of ice this winter. The owner says they had three feet of ice this winter, and it caused a lot of damage.

“What happens is the ice forms landside and with the tide cycle here, it pushes the docks out and away from land,” said Skip Birbarie. “It also clamps onto the pilings, which lays them over, which requires us to have them removed and reset.”

At his marina, 60 pilings will need to be reset. There is also a lot of dock damage. That means boats will hit the water there about five weeks later than normal.

“We normally have the marina open by April 1 for the early boaters, especially the early fishermen who like to get out on the water even though it’s cold,” said Birbarie. “We just won’t have that ability. We won’t be back together again until early May.”

He says it is the worst ice damage he’s seen in 30 years, and it is affecting a lot of marinas in Connecticut. Damage at Birbarie Marine runs into the thousands of dollars. There is dock insurance for marinas, but it is expensive, and a lot of marinas don’t have it.

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