Marshall Duffield (
Duffy) has recently (and independently of any city or private request) developed a scheme that could replace Newport’s standard, two-point moorings, with two pilings and a dock between them. He also contends the same system would work for single point moorings. This new docking system was displayed on a computer program showing neat rows of docks with boats tied up stem to stern, to scale, according to the engineer that did the computerized drawings. Duffy's engineer claims to have left adequate room between the offshore docks for maneuvering in and out. However, the amount of sea-room appears scant on the renderings.
Duffy's plan calls for standard sized docks for the various sizes of boats and moorings in the harbor. Some of these docks would have several boats berthed in line, fore and aft, depending on the size. These
offshore docks would have boats on both sides, boats abeam of each other, sharing the dock along with those in front of, or behind them. Duffy supports the idea of fresh water being plumbed to the docks and he thinks the idea of having power on the docks should be studied as well.
To address the high cost of construction and installation of the docks, Duffy estimated that in today’s dollars it would cost the average size boat (40’) about $5,000 per year versus the lower cost of the present mooring system (the pricing of which is already challenging for many). He did not address the notion of current mooring owners having any equity in their moorings should this system be adopted by the city in the near future.
He mentioned a form of sealion deterrent which could be incorporated into the construction of these fiberglass docks. In areas that had eel grass, he thought that making the center of these docks clear, so sunlight would transmit through, should answer eelgrass concerns.
Duffy's idea for these docks sprung from the difficulty he has making fast to his two-point mooring when short–handed, or in much wind or current. He also thought that the convenience of having a dock to tie up to might appeal to others on moorings. He acknowledged that his idea will not appeal to all, nor apply to all circumstances, but he hoped to gain interest from the Harbor Commissioners, and then harbor stakeholders.
One selling point of the offshore docks, he claims, is that the same number of boats on moorings now would occupy much less area on the bay using the offshore docks. This of course would have to be corroborated by further analysis by qualified entities.
Duffy announced to the Harbor Commissioners that since these
Duffy Docks were very similar to fiberglass boats, his company would be a prospective builder of these docks.
Many of the Harbor Commissioners were keen on Duffy’s idea and were interested in feedback from current mooring owners and other stakeholders. The NMA encourages its members, and other visitors, to join this conversation. To join in, please comment below, share with friends, email the NMA with your thoughts, both for and against, the implementation of Duffy Docks. Brevity will be appreciated.