CAMDEN, Maine — The town recently spent $78,000 on wider, more stable docks for boating visitors but can’t install them for the 2012 tourist season, according to harbor master Steven Pixley.
The town ordered a replacement for the 128-foot-long main visitors’ dock and four smaller docks that jut off it. The new dock system is about 3 feet longer, a bit wider and will be more stable because of how it’s secured.
For more than two decades the docks have been chained to the ocean floor. This, Pixley said, allows them to sway.
“So at low tide there is slack in the chain and it can drift around. If you have a yacht on one side and a boat on the other side and two 30-footers, that dock can move around quite a bit,” Pixley said. “With pilings it will be much more secure and the docks will be beefier and more stable for folks to walk around on.”
The town plans to install pilings that are rot-resistant and ward off worms that would eat normal wood pilings. But the size of pilings needed — 55-footers — are not in stock right now, so the town will have to rely on its 8-year-old chain-secured docks for one more season.
The 12 pilings are expected to arrive by fall. At that time Pixley will have to decide whether the town should install them immediately or wait until next spring.
The town gave Pixley permission to spend up to $118,000 on new docks. That money all came from revenue generated from the harbor, which rents the docks. The town owns several docks but the upgrades are being done only at the transient overnight docks — the ones people may dock at for free a couple hours a day in the summer or can rent overnight.
The fishermen’s, small marina and schooner docks are not affected.