Members of the Locust Point Yacht Club are putting their support behind Community Board 10’s request for an upgrade of Hammond Cove.
CB 10 has made the redevelopment of the cove, including the city-owned Hammond Cove Marina, its top budget priority for the Fiscal Year 2013.
The board is looking at the possibility of having the U.S. Army Corps dredge the cove itself. Dredging is desperately needed, said Community Board 10 Parks committee chairwoman Virginia Gallagher.
Silt deposits that have accumulated over the years have make it difficult for boats to enter and exit the inlet at low tide, or even navigate well in the deepest parts of the cove, said Locust Point Yacht Club’s Richard Rethorn, who has been a member of the LPYC for 46 years and is in charge of the equipment that lifts boats in and out of the water.
“About 40 years ago, it was about 21 feet deep in the center and now it is down to 13 or 14 feet,” Rethorn said. “We have three boat slips where you cannot even get in or out during low tide.”
Dredging of the cove, and overall improvements to the area, is something that Senator Jeff Klein will be looking into for the future.
“Since receiving the community board’s request, my office has been in touch with the Department of Environmental Conservation to see what role they can play in future plans for this area,” Klein said. “The marina sits on a point between several different nautical communities who could all benefit by expanded use of the waterfront.”
The part of the cove near the Locust Point Yacht Club, where an inlet is located, is particularly difficult to navigate, with only about three or four feet of clearance for boats at low tide, Rethorn stated.
Access in and out of the cove at low tide or high tide is particularly important since Hammond Cove is designated a safe haven on nautical charts all over the world, said LPYC member Pat Devine.
“If you look at navigation charts, the Locust Point Yacht Club and the cove is a safe haven,” Devine said. “There were two kayaks that keeled over this spring, and the police brought them to the Locust Point Yacht Club. The same thing would happen if there was a plane crash or other emergency.”
When traveling by boat in Hammond Cove, there are about 50 yards of water at low tide where there is only a three foot clearance between the bottom of the boat and the cove, Devine said. The area most in need of dredging is right at the Hammond Cove inlet, where the LPYC is located, Devine said.
“The problem is right where the Locust Point Yacht Club is located,” Devine said. “Right there is a bottleneck where there is about three feet of water at low tide, and that is where the dredging would be most helpful.”
Throggs Neck business leader James McQuade also said he supports efforts to revitalize Hammond Cove. He has docked his boats tat the cove since he was 16, he said.
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393