Storm batters Coast Guard boathouse

U.S. Coast Guard Station Depoe Bay’s 47-foot lifeboats are tied-up to the public docks in Depoe Bay after recent storm surges damaged the unit’s boathouse. (Photo by Rick Beasley)

DEPOE BAY — Driven from its storm-battered boathouse, the U.S. Coast Guard has moved a pair of 47-foot motor lifeboats to the public docks, where they dwarf many of the small skiffs and runabouts of the sport-fishing fleet.

Town leaders heard about the plight last week from Senior Chief Adam Murray, officer in charge of Coast Guard Station Depoe Bay, who asked the city council for permission to moor the vessels on busy Dock 1.

“The brackets on the pilings broke off due to the swell from 29- to 30-foot offshore waves in the recent storms,” recounted Murray of the damages, saying the severe wave action ruined the moorings inside the Coast Guard boathouse and another dock next to it.

Dock 1, an all-aluminum pier installed after a 2011 earthquake and tsunami off the coast of Japan destroyed its wooden predecessor, is typically packed with charter fishing boats that pay up to $500 a month for a similar-sized berth.

But city councilors, grateful for the unit’s presence, gave the Coast Guard permission to use the dock and its electric power for free until temporary repairs are made to the boathouse. Murray said the work should be finished by May 1, when pressure for the harbor’s 90 berths is at its peak.

“We can’t appreciate you guys enough,” remarked Mayor Robert Gambino. “If there’s something we can do, we’ll do it.”

Murray said major repairs to the boathouse, a prominent feature in the three-acre harbor, will occur in 2021 with the complete replacement of existing docks.

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