Smooth sailing! New marina will keep choppy seas at bay

Smooth sailing! New marina will keep choppy seas at bay
Photo by Jason Speakman

If the boat’s not a-rockin’, they’ll come a-knockin’!

The new marina currently taking shape off Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park will sport a high-tech system to tame the treacherous waters of the East River, whose choppy seas often discourage boaters from dropping anchor in the city, according to the berth’s honcho.

“A lot of boats that come through New York don’t like docking here because a lot of the waves are very difficult,” said general manager Tim O’Brien, who grew up boating in Cape Cod and now lives in Park Slope.

The boat parking lot — New York’s first in 25 years — will sport floating docks tethered to heavy concrete anchors via bungee-style elastic cords, rather than the standard approach of driving rods into the seabed, according to O’Brien.

The set-up, popular in Florida and Asia, creates an artificial seawall that blocks wakes from passing boats and ferries, bouncing their waves back to the saltwater tidal strait instead of disturbing the docked vessels, according to the skipper.

“The idea is that when the waves come through and impact the dock, it’ll reflect a lot of the wave energy back out,” said O’Brien.

Smaller crafts will still have to evacuate the marina during really bad storms, O’Brien says, but the structure itself will be able to stand up to huge waves, because marina operators can loosen and tighten the tethers to withstand more impact.

“It’s an interesting feat of engineering, it really is quite impressive,” he said.

The marina is set to open in May, and sailors will have to shell out between $10,692 and $145,800 to rent one of the berth’s 102 slips for the summer, depending on the size of their boat. The facility will also host a sailing club — which launched last May — and kayaking classes.

The marina is one of several private businesses — including a mall, condominiums, and a hotel — being built in Brooklyn Bridge Park to fund its construction and ongoing maintenance.

The park itself is renowned for its storm-resistant design, meant to protect the sprawling green space and the neighborhoods behind it from rising waters.

It features rocks known as “rip-rap,” similar to those seen on the New England coast and saltwater marshes, which absorb unwelcome water from the river, as well as plants with high salt tolerance and salt-absorbing soil to suck up future floodwaters.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Photo by Jason Speakman