Large vessels camp out on Spit

Large vessels, weighing more than 70 tons, dwarf Pier One Theatre as they undergo maintenance and repair in the campground area behind the theater. The work illustrates the need for a haul-out and repair area for vessels of that size, according to Matt Clark, deputy harbor master. Inflatable bladders are positioned under the vessels when they are in the water and, as the tide goes out, the bladders are inflated with compressed air. With the aid of heavy equipment, the vessels are moved to the uplands area in the campground. “They come to us with a proposal, a scope of work and a timeline and there’s a general agreement made,” said Clarke. “We’re working on a May 1 back-in-the-water timeline so the campground can be restored.” Fee for the beach landing is $1.50 per foot and a short-term uplands storage rate is 17 cents per square foot per month. Without a haul-out area in Homer, vessels have to go to other facilities, such as those in Seward and Kodiak. Accommodating the work locally means keeping in Homer “dollars that would have been spent elsewhere,” said Clarke. It also means some activities that would have been done on the vessels while still in the water, “where there is more potential for pollution and accidents,” can be done onshore, said Clarke. “It’s really a win-win situation.”