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SUNY Maritime professors suggest waterway upgrade

The New York City Economic Development Corporation recently announced the findings of its Maritime Support Services Location Study, which was commissioned to SUNY Maritime College by NYCEDC and the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

After a year and a half of extensive research and study, SUNY Maritime professors Sam Yahalom and Eric Johansson, who co-authored the report, discovered some key improvements that must be made in order to improve the function of the City’s waterways.

Yahalom, who also serves as the school’s director of research, said the first is the City’s dire need for more dry docks.

“The City only has 18 dry docks, while our calculations show they should have 25,” he said, explaining that in order to comply with a state law that requires vessels to be taken out of the water every five years for 63 days for routine maintenance and check up, more docks must be added.

Yahalom said either a floating dry dock, which lifts the boat out of the water from underneath, or a graving dry dock, where the boat enters a pool that subsequently drains, would be appropriate.

Fortunately, he said, the City has already begun the dock instillation process to ensure more boats be serviced on a routine basis.

As for the team’s second biggest find, “There’s not enough space for tie ups,” Yahalom expressed about a lack of areas for vessels to dock.

Much like cars parking on the side of the street to make way for oncoming traffic, Yahalom said it’s essential boats too park out of the way, preserving fluid water transport.

One excellent location that’s already serving as on on-water parking lot of sorts, he explained, is between the Throgs Neck Bridge and Whitestone Bridge, where barges are often seen off shore.

“This is one area the water configurations assist in this respect,” Yahalom said.

While the study alerted the professors of a number of needed maritime improvements, he said it was a completely new and innovative idea that is the study’s biggest accomplishment.

Yahalom explained that tugboats must stop at several locations to change crews, pick up groceries, fuel, etc. “So what we suggested was to have one location that offers all those services.”

The site of choice – SUNY Maritime.

Already having a pier and most of the needed services, Yahalom said it should only take approximately two to three months to transition it into a fully functioning tug boat stop.

The transformation is currently underway.

Pleased with the study’s results, Edward J. Kelly, executive director of the NYNJ Maritime Association said,

“This study is a confirming proof of the vital maritime industry that is thriving within New York City and providing high-paying jobs with career opportunities, while stimulating the economic engine of international and domestic waterborne trade.”

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