Boat Launch Won't Be Fixed This Season - - The News for South Mississippi

Boat Launch Won't Be Fixed This Season

Seeing the Forrest Avenue boat launch empty is not unusual. Biloxi boaters say it's because the ramp isn't steep enough. Last September, we did find one couple trying to launch their boat from there for the first time with little success.

After WLOX reported on the problems last September, DMR met with the engineering firm that designed it and said the problem would be fixed by this spring. So far, nothing's been done.

"It's a good looking pier, good looking boat ramp, but it's just not able to function as it's built," Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway said. "I don't want to put the blame on anyone, but someone wasn't paying attention, I guess."

But the public relations director for DMR says the launch was simply designed for small boats. After our report about boaters complaints, Lauren Thompson says DMR met with the engineers to make the ramp steeper. Last November, DMR announced that work would begin that winter and be finished by this spring.

"What we found was the cost was more than we anticipated, so in order to have the funding to be able to make those changes to the boat ramp, we're going to have to put it off now until this coming winter when the tides are low," Thompson said.

That means another boaters face another season with a launch they can't use. But the Biloxi Port Commission Director says even when the grade of the ramp is increased, many boaters will still have problems.

"One of the principal problems we're facing is that the bay area is very shallow and on low tide it's impossible to get a boat off or get it back up," Larry Manuel said.

The Forrest Avenue pier was destroyed during Hurricane Georges and was re-built a little more than a year ago at a cost of nearly $600,000. Before the hurricane, the boat launch was very popular, and boaters say they had no problems with it.

Most of the money for the construction of the Forrest Avenue Pier came from tidelands funds. Harrison County and the city of Biloxi also chipped in money for the project.

By Amanda Jones

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