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Dock enforcement ramps up
The city is continuing to enforce the rules at the dock at Mary Ross Waterfront Park following the sinking of a shrimp boat there nearly 10 months ago.

Enforcement of existing ordinances means chasing away unauthorized vessels, says Brunswick Dock Master Len Schmauch. It's Schmauch's job to make sure the rules are being followed.

A vessel moored Tuesday at the dock was told to leave because it was not authorized to be there.

"He thought he could pull up there, and he couldn't," Schmauch said. "He had been there a few days, and I asked him to leave without incident."

Not displaying proper insurance documents and proof of seaworthiness keeps unwanted vessels away from the docks and the city safe from liability.

The city was forced to remove the Bossy Betty from the bottom of the East River because its owners had no insurance or any other means to pay to raise and move it from the dock.

Meantime, the city is still working toward updating the rules. Rewriting the city's dock ordinances will take time, Schmauch said.

"It's gotten bigger than it needs to be, so we're still having to do a lot more research," he said. "Insurance practices have to be in accordance with what the commission wants and written and presented to them. Nothing has been finalized yet."

City Commissioner Julie Martin said her initial concerns remain the same.

"We have to do our due diligence to make sure these are insured and safe," Martin said. "We need to protect ourselves, but I don't think our rules should be overly restrictive."

Revised ordinances will hopefully lead to an overhaul of the dock and of Mary Ross Waterfront Park in general, Martin said.

"Overall I think we should work toward redeveloping and including Mary Ross in that," she said. "I think adding things along the waterfront will be much more of a draw to the area."

Although the city is still working on applying for grants and developing plans for the park and docks, Martin feels it's time to begin collecting public input.

"I think there is an opportunity to have the public look at what we could do and what we should do," Martin said. "We need help developing a strong strategic plan."

Making sure boats have proper insurance is important, agreed Mayor Bryan Thompson.

"We're just making sure when we make changes to the ordinances we do it right," Thompson said. "There are many questions and concerns, and I think it's just going to take some looking at."

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