The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

Rocking the Boat


The following is from the editorial page of the June 14, 1990 Seward Phoenix LOG.

GO FOR IT... The city has been approached by the University of Alaska and the Alaska Department of Transportation about expanding the small boat harbor. The university wants better moorage for research vessels and DOT wants a better parking space for the ferry Tustumena. Seward wants more space for small boats and a cruise ship dock. The plan unveiled Monday would do all that while preserving the silver salmon spawning route and preserving Waterfront Park.

This is a project where everyone wins. Seward’s future is tied to marine research, tourism and its fleet of recreational and commercial boats. With more room for small boats, we can provide places for some of the people on the 10-year-long waiting list for moorage. With a cruise ship dock we can begin to develop the kinds of amenities passengers expect from a world class tourist port. With decent moorage for IMS, we can look forward to the day when Seward and marine research are synonymous.

As an added benefit, the location of the expansion brings the harbor closer to downtown, splitting the difference between harbor and downtown merchants and unifying our commercial sector.

There are still problems to be worked out, not the least of which may be where everyone is going to park in a greatly expanded harbor, and we can see the day when there will be double-decker parking lots at the harbor and a steady stream of shuttles taking people to more remote lots. But overall, the proposal would solve a lot more problems than it creates, and move Seward a long way toward its destiny as a major Alaska port of call.

We can only echo Councilmember Ray Burgess’ advice to the city: Go for it. This project is a winner and deserves the whole community’s support. When you can wake up a weary crowd near midnight with a simple presentation, you know you’re onto something great.

ONE LAST DRINK... There’s no confirmation yet, but a recent drowning victim in the Small Boat Harbor may have been drunk when he fell in the water. If alcohol was involved, it wouldn’t be the first time alcohol led to a drowning, nor, sadly, will it be the last.

Why some people think they can get knee-walking drunk and still operate a boat – or even negotiate a boat ramp – is one of those mysteries of nature. We all know about the dangers of drinking and driving, but some people don’t transfer that to running a boat. Maybe that’s because there are no center lines out on the water, no speed limits and not as much traffic. But the winds and currents, the waves and rocky shores present hazards to even the most alert boater. To a drunken mariner, they are just plain killers.

Leave the booze ashore, or have a designated skipper who will stay sober and pilot the boat back. Remember, if you get blotto at Thumb Cove or Cape Aialik, you can’t exactly call a cab. In fact, just leave the booze ashore, because even if you aren’t at the wheel, those tricky waves have a way of flipping an unsteady boater right over the side. It doesn’t take long to drown, and if your partners are drinking too, they just might not notice you’ve disappeared until it’s too late. That “one last drink” could end up being a deadly dose of saltwater... on the rocks.


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