The TROPIC OPAL enters the Port of Palm Beach at high tide after the Piolet Boat takes the Harbor Master to bring the ship into the Port.
The Harbor Master is responsible for taking the large ships into and out of the port for the safety of all. The reason that some of these heavily loaded ships must come in on High Tide is because they are concious of the caution that must be taken due to the shallow depth of our inlet. It stands now at only a mean water depth of 33ft. This leaves our port often bypassed by some vessels, and we loose business to other Ports with deeper channels.
This is one of the reasons that the Army Corp of Engineers, and the Port of Palm Beach is desirous of deepening the channel and turning basen to a depth of 39ft. mean sea level, as our production cannot reach it’s maximum potential without the extra depth.
In addition to this the Army Corp of Engineers is refiling it’s permits with the EPA in hopes of having it approved in about 2 years.
For the record, there have been no Manatee strikes of record by the large vessels entering or leaving the Port of Palm Beach in the last ten years. There have been 45 strikes by fast moving pleasure craft, and other Manatee injured by vicious sea animals. As far as the “sea grasses” go, in the proposed deepening venture, there will only be approximately 4.5 acres of mixed sea grasses taken.
It is felt by the Army Corp. of Engineeres, and the Port that this is a small piece of area compared to the acrages of seagrasses in Lake Worth, and that the benefit of deepening the channel and turning basin is of far greater importantance to the United States, and it’s people than 4.5 acres of mixed seagrasses.
Information acquired from a gathering of information from the Port of Palm Beach, and the Army Corp of Engineers. Photos and story by George Black Jr. Editor and Staff writer.