2003-04-26 / Front Page

No BCHS Boat Ramp This Summer

SCA Claims No Money for repairs
By Brian Magoolaghan
No BCHS Boat Ramp This Summer SCA Claims No Money for repairs By Brian Magoolaghan

No BCHS Boat Ramp This Summer


From Beach Channel Drive, you can see the fencing which closes off the parking lot. Small sign on fence reads "Danger, Do Not Enter."From Beach Channel Drive, you can see the fencing which closes off the parking lot. Small sign on fence reads "Danger, Do Not Enter."

The Beach Channel High School boat ramp, the only one of its kind in the Rockaway area, will remain closed for the coming boating season, according to a representative at the agency responsible for its repair.

The heavily-used boat ramp was closed late last September because it was considered to have deteriorated to a dangerous degree.

Preliminary surveys haven't yet begun, but a ball-park repair figure of half a million dollars has been set by the cash-strapped New York City School Construction Authority (SCA), according to City Department of Education Spokesperson Paul Rose.

"It's obviously unsafe," he said.


Beach Channel Boat Ramp, photographed this month. Notice the thin cable stretched across the dry part of ramp, and the wooden float chained in place to prevent usage.Beach Channel Boat Ramp, photographed this month. Notice the thin cable stretched across the dry part of ramp, and the wooden float chained in place to prevent usage.

Unsafe as it may be, the ramp, located at Beach 107 Street and Beach Channel Drive, was regularly used by many boaters. Locals used it to put their boats in or take them out of the water for the season, and to launch personal watercraft such as a Jet Skis and kayaks. Others trailered boats from surrounding areas.

"It's a real inconvenience," said Buster from Buster's Marine, in Broad Channel.

"It hurts boaters....those who don't have a marina," Buster said, adding that he thinks many will go to Long Island, where there are "plenty of ramps."

He said he was involved in collecting thousands of signatures-but that the agencies that the petitions were forwarded claim no responsibility, and have shown little interest in helping.

One local representative interested in finding at least a partial solution is City Councilman Joseph Addabbo, Jr., who said he is trying to negotiate a limited opening. This could, at least, help locals get their boats in and out this season, Addabbo says.

But the chances that will happen are slim. The SCA's position is that the ramp will not re-open until the repairs have been completed, Rose said.

"We [SCA] don't have the capital," Rose explained, making it sound highly unlikely that any action will be taken soon.

The city is responsible to keep people away from the area to prevent them from getting hurt, said Rose. He cited a crack that is causing the ramp to sink, among other concerns, as the reason for the closure of the ramp and its parking lot.

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation, on its website, lists 350 public boat launches in the state. None are listed for Jamaica Bay. The Beach Channel ramp has been used freely by the public for years, but is actually considered part of private school property.


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