A lift used to carry boats to storage at the Hinckley Company in Southwest Harbor. General Manager Tara Regan said that in an emergency, three lifts would be operating simultaneously. ISLANDER PHOTO BY SAMUEL SHEPHERD

Boatyards prep for swells from storms

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Three scheduled cruise ship visits to Bar Harbor were cancelled last week as the swells from tropical storm Jose passed through the Atlantic Ocean.

Skip Strong of Penobscot Bay and River Pilots said that harbor pilots help keep the ships apprised of weather conditions, even before they come to Mount Desert Island.

“It’s more keeping track of the weather and informing them about what’s coming,” Strong said. “Some ships, based on where they were coming from, couldn’t make it up [to Bar Harbor].”

According to the National Hurricane Center, as of Monday, two storms were active in the Atlantic Ocean. After it pummeled Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria was ambling slowly up the east coast. Another tropical storm, Lee, was in the middle of the sea.

The ramp on the Bar Harbor Inn pier was replaced Friday morning after it was removed last week in anticipation of rough seas. PHOTO COURTESY OF GALEN LOWE

Meanwhile, those who work on the waterfront on MDI were adjusting for wind and swells from the storms.

“We made preparations for storm-generated swells which were anticipated from [tropical storm] Jose this week,” Bar Harbor Harbormaster Charlie Phippen said in an email Friday. “Gangways were removed from the eastern floats, and the chains were made slack with nylon line extensions.”

He said he’s going to leave the floats “rigged for heavy seas” as a precaution for possible surge from Hurricane Maria.

The Hinckley Company has 150 boats in the water between their service yards in Southwest Harbor and Morris Yachts in Northeast Harbor, General Manager Tara Regan said.

With the recent storms, she said, it has been mostly “business as usual.”

“We take extra precautions. Stabilize gear on deck, lash down sails or remove head sails to prevent damage from them.”

Regan said the last time Hinckley used emergency protocol was for Hurricane Sandy in 2012. She said the yard’s employees are ready at a moment’s notice.

“If we were under any sort of an emergency, you would see three [lifts] continuously bringing out boats,” Regan said. “We’ve been keeping a close eye on the paths of Jose and Irma, and now Maria. We’re fairly protected here in Maine, and most hurricanes don’t get beyond the cape.”


Samuel Shepherd

Samuel Shepherd

Samuel Shepherd is a University of Maine graduate and a former Bar Harbor reporter for the Mount Desert Islander.
Samuel Shepherd

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