By Mike Lednovich
Property theft and vandalism on boats docked at the city marina is necessitating the installation of three security gates at the docks to limit access to boats.
The city commission voted Tuesday to award the gates contract for $10,000 to the low bidder Hayward Construction of Jacksonville.
Cathy Chapman, assistant manager for Oasis Marina, which manages the marina for the city, said repeated negative feedback from boat owners led to the decision for more security at the docks.
Chapman told the Marina Advisory Board last month that, “Boaters are concerned about (their) safety at night when the docks get really busy.”
Chapman said phase one of the beefed-up security plan is installing the gates.
“These are gates with no locking mechanism or electrical lock systems. That will come later,” Chapman said. “The gates to start only will have signs (that say) boat owners or guests only. Phase 2 will be a code or key card, whatever we think is best for that.”
Interim City Manager Charlie George told city commissioners the gates would be open from “dawn to dusk” and then closed by marina staff.
One boat owner, who asked not to be named, said the gates are an important addition for safety and privacy. “ShrimpFest is right around the corner and the docks get crazy with all kinds of people wandering around,” he said. “It’s also not safe if you don’t know your way around here.”
Chapman said the installation of the gates would also help Oasis keep track of contractors doing work at the marina.
“The fences will be 6 feet high,” she said, “and it will be a way for the marina to corral all the contractors, who (have to) come check in at the marina office.”