With New Vessels, DPNR Plans Increased Enforcement Efforts in Coral Bay Harbor

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DPNR officials said they are planning to inspect a second floating dock and the numerous vessels attached to the shoreline behind Skinny Legs and along the shoreline of neighboring privately owned Usher Cay as part of increased enforcement activity in Coral Bay.

The fate of the floating docks on the Moravian Church-owned shoreline on Coral Bay will not be determined until after a September 9 meeting of church council officials with the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources Coastal Zone Management division, according to Moravian officials.

The church council has reported they had been cited by DPNR for the illegal docks in a preliminary review of plans submitted by a development group for a marina and mixed use residential and retail project on the historic Emmaus Moravian Church waterfront property and nearby ball field. Usher Cay is privately owned. The owners respectfully declined comment.

 ST. THOMAS — There may be more complaints than wisecracks about marine law enforcement in isolated Coral Bay when the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources gets some new resources in the form of two patrol boats — including one just right for enforcement activities in Coral Harbor.

Without a reliable enforcement vessel for months after a troubled history of maritime law enforcement, DPNR will be getting a 32-foot hard bottom inflatable vessel and a 17-foot Boston Whaler by the end of the month, DPNR Chief of Law Enforcement Howard Forbes told St. John Tradewinds on Friday, Sept. 4.

And the new Boston Whaler may be just right for trailering to St. John for Coral Harbor enforcement efforts, Forbes opined.

“And, we are looking to hire additional personnel, especially on St. John,” Forbes told St. John Tradewinds.

Enhanced Coral Harbor Enforcement
One of the first targets in enforcement efforts will be the floating trailer park in the lee of the cay behind the iconic Skinny Legs restaurant which has long been a safe haven to several dozen members of the Coral Harbor liveaboard boating community, Forbes said.

“Most definitely,” Forbes said of enforcement of federal and territorial regulations prohibiting tying to mangroves. “There are lines attached to the mangroves and that’s something we will address.”

“Securing vessels to nearby trees will be done ONLY when necessary and by utilizing proper chaffing material on all lines,” according to DPNR hurricane maritime regulations. “Lines must be removed immediately after the storm.”

A spokesperson for the prominent Virgin Islands family which owns Usher Cay respectfully declined to comment on the shoreline moorings which surround the cay when contacted by St. John Tradewinds on Friday, September 4.

Navel Battle Roils Coral Bay
Meanwhile, DPNR has its hands full as community organizers and marina developers continue the naval battle for control of the future of Coral Harbor, but the territorial agency apparently will be enforcing its rules as competing proposals for marina developments and management of the harbor moorings continue to incite civic discord.

The fate of the floating docks on the Moravian Church-owned shoreline on Coral Bay will not be determined until after a September 9 meeting of church council officials with the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources Coastal Zone Management division, according to Moravian officials.

The church council has reported being cited by DPNR for the un-permitted docks after a preliminary review of plans submitted by a development group for a marina and mixed use residential and retail project on the historic Emmaus Moravian Church waterfront property and nearby ball field.

The church council has notified Coral Bay boaters of the DPNR order they received to remove the docks and boating community activists are hoping DPNR will allow the uninsured dock to stay in place while a permit is sought for its existence.

To report any areas of concern, contact the Division of Environmental Enforcement at 774-3320 or 773-5774.