Biloxi Boaters Say New Boat Launch Is Useless

The Butlers used the Forrest Avenue boat launch for the first time Sunday and they had a little trouble.

"The pier's not deep enough," Steve Butler said.  "Not steep enough to get the boat in."

To launch his boat, Butler had to back his SUV so far down the launch, his tailpipe was nearly underwater. Even very experienced boaters say that's what it takes to get a boat off the trailer.

"When they poured the ramp, they got the angle way too shallow for boats to be launched," Kenny Walker said.

"You gotta draw your vehicle half way into the water just to get the boat off the trailer," David Collie said.

As a result, a lot of locals have stopped using the new boat launch.

"I live two blocks away, and I used this ramp for 40 years and I gotta go other places now because it's too shallow," Gary Morykwas said.

At one time, city leaders planned to expand the parking lot next to the pier because they expected it to be a popular boat launch, but it isn't. There are now no expansion plans simply because there are so few cars there and there just isn't a need.

The fishing pier, on the other hand, is well used and people seem to like it.

"It's nice the way they got it set up now because at night, you can even come out here at night because they got the lights out here now," said Deltber Keyes.

But boaters say the thousands of dollars that were spent building the boat launch was all a waste of money because to use it, you've got to risk damaging your truck.

"It's not good for your brakes, your axles, your fuel tanks, it just goes on and on," said Walker.

Boaters say they'd like to see whomever is responsible for the Forrest Avenue pier to come back and look for a way to fix the problem.

Funding to rebuild the pier came from a variety of sources, including the city of Biloxi, Harrison County and the state. According to the Port Commission Director, who is responsible for maintaining the pier, the Department of Marine Resources was in charge of the project and together the two agencies are looking at ways to correct the problem.