Coast Guard Keeps Eye Out For Harbor Storm Debris
While much of the damage focus has been on land, members of the U.S. Coast Guard are busy looking at the city's waterways which also took a beating. NY1's Adam Balkin filed the following report.
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By now the damage done to the city by the water from the harbor is well documented, but the water in the harbor also took on some damage, so to speak, from the city. Primarily that's in the form of debris that's being found in the waterways.
The U.S. Coast Guard has a checklist of hazards that have to be corrected before recreational boats and commercial vessels can access the harbor again. So several times a day, Coast Guard helicopters and ships are out surveying the damage.
"The priority of the captain at port right now is to ensure the waters are safe. So that includes lots of things: Making sure the ships can get safely in and safely out, all the buoys all the things that tell ships where to go. Not only do we use GPS but we use the buoys and ranges in the harbor," said U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Bill Walsh.
Coast Guard officials say objects that have landed in the water are of particular concern. Something like a wood plank might not be a big deal to a big oil tanker. But if a small sailboat runs into a big object it could sink the boat, or at the very least create enough of a jolt to cause people on board to fall in.
Certainly after any storm there's going to be debris in the water. But after Sandy it's the type of debris, the size of the debris, and sometimes unusual debris that's particularly worrisome for the Coast Guard.
"We ran into a couple of timbers on the water, refrigerators, things like that. There's just a lot of debris in the water, it's just not safe yet," Walsh said.
If you're among those concerned for Lady Liberty who stands in our harbor, the Coast Guard crew says aside from some damage to the docks by her feet, she looks just fine.