Glorianne Wollen in the Harbormaster’s Office

The recent cold snap in Petersburg damaged some boats in the Borough’s harbors. Harbormaster Glorianne Wollen, talked with KFSK’s Jordan Lewis about the impact of the cold weather and some upcoming harbor projects.

Glorianne Wollen: “Well the cold snap you know we have a history of having issues. Back in the old days, we would be real concerned about the temperature as it goes down, people come down and they turn their oil stows warmer and hotter and up, up, up and then when the finally the, the cold snap will break and get warm, then all of that fuel going to the pot in the oil stove we used to have a lot of fires.”

GW: “Now we don’t have so much because we have so much we have such a good energy source the the electric and the electric hookups are so much better than they used to be people have invested in heaters, so we don’t have near the problem with with boat fires that we used to used to be a big thing. But that in turn, we still have a lot of issue when we have a cold snap where it’s a fairly prolonged maybe a week, 10 days, two weeks like we’d had here this year. When things start to warm up, that’s when you notice issues in the harbor.

GW: “We have things like our water pedestals all have heat trace on them, but every once in a while we have you know quite a few have about 100 Water pedestals and if you miss one or one heat trace isn’t working when it starts to thaw that’s when you’ll have the flood of water from a crack or or something like that.

GW: “this year it happened that the warming trend have started really getting some energy behind it Christmas Eve and so kind of all hell broke loose on Christmas Eve for about four boats we caught in the matter of about 18 hours for potential major catastrophes that if we hadn’t caught them, if the boat owner hadn’t caught them, if a neighbor hadn’t heard an alarm, those kinds of things it could have been you know we could have lost a boat.”

Jordan Lewis: “Okay, and then would you say that it’s gotten, like better or worse over the years, or has it been kind of a consistent, like, these are always some of the issues been, they’ve kind of always been this level of difficult?”

GW: “It’s very consistent, like I talked about a little bit earlier, the difference with the lack of, or the difference between not having oil stoves in the harbor has probably been our biggest advantage improve improvement over the years, I remember, as a kid there, there have been a lot of issues with stoves, people would leave their stoves going to, you know, give the boats and heat through the cold snaps. And when the temperature rises, a lot of times it’s you know, in at night or early in the morning, and the owner doesn’t get down there. And pretty soon they have a runaway stove. And that that was really a scare, we don’t have that near as much knock on wood these days. And so that’s been a big improvement. But we still have plenty issues with the cold.

JL: “Okay, and then what are some of the things that are coming up for the harbor? Like what are some things that you’re going to be doing here relatively soon?

GW: “Our big project, of course, everybody knows is this dredge of the South harbor basin and the contractor got back this week, and I think they’ll probably have the equipment in the water starting today. And so we will just that, that progress. It’s it’s not a sexy project, because nobody can really see the improvement but we’ll sure feel it next summer when the boats can traffic in and out of the south harbor in and out of their stalls without worrying about the bottom anymore.

GW: “So I’m, that’s kind of been our whole focus right now is supporting the contractor to get that project done. We need to move move boats periodically so that they can anchor their barge in a specific location. As well as cleaning out the individual stalls, they’re going to dig down to at a zero tide we’ll have an 18.25 Originally, that basin was put in at a minus 18. So everybody will realize a little bit of benefit. But certainly, the bigger boats coming in and out of the harbor will notice that they can do it at any stage of the tide, which will be a nice, a nice feeling next summer when we have those minus four tides and we got a boat full of fish that’s trying to get over to unload. And currently, they have to sit and wait for the tide to come in in order to float over the high spot. So that’ll be a big improvement.”

JL: “Okay, and is it only the dredging? That’s a big thing coming up or is anything else coming out?

GW: “We’ve got some smaller projects but by and large That dredge is our big one, we’re looking at, you know, trying to campaign for an additional harbor out in the scow Bay area. So that politicking will occur. Moving forward on some of the design, work on that looking for grants, just kind of trying to move that project forward is a big one