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Storm wallops Coupeville wharf

An employee from Anacortes-based Northwest Docks helps move one of the fuel piers normally attached to the Coupeville Wharf from the water and onto a trailer Friday near the Coupeville boat launch. The Port of Coupeville is paying the dock company to repair the floats that were damaged by a recent storm.  - Nathan Whalen photo
An employee from Anacortes-based Northwest Docks helps move one of the fuel piers normally attached to the Coupeville Wharf from the water and onto a trailer Friday near the Coupeville boat launch. The Port of Coupeville is paying the dock company to repair the floats that were damaged by a recent storm.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen photo

A severe storm that hit Whidbey Island left Port of Coupeville officials scrambling to find someone to make repairs to a fuel float.

The high tides and high-speed winds that marked the Dec. 17 storm caused the brackets on one of the two 40-foot, concrete fuel floats at the Coupeville Wharf to fail.

Port staff was able to secure the float before it drifted away.

Jim Patton, executive director for the Port of Coupeville, said the float was taken to Captain Coupe Park near the town’s wastewater treatment facility, where it could be pulled from the water.

A work crew from Northwest Docks, a trailer and a crane, pulled the 13-ton float from the water Friday.

It will be towed to Anacortes for repairs.

Jim Guy, owner of Northwest Docks — the company the Port of Coupeville hired to make the repairs, noted it was a difficult time of the year to complete such repairs.

The windy condition makes it difficult for crews to work and the moisture makes it impossible for the epoxy to cure.

Patton said he doesn’t yet know how long it will take for repairs to be made because of the holiday season.

The fuel floats have failed several times in recent years, and they had been beached near the port office until repairs were made.

The damage this time was more extensive.

“These brackets are so far gone that they have to get ripped off and new ones put on again,” Patton said as a crane lifted the float out of the water.

The Dec. 17 storm battered low-lying areas of Whidbey Island that caused flooding in some areas of Island County.

A renter of a West Beach Road home lost his possessions when the bulkhead protecting it failed and waves severely damaged the structure.

Patton said winds reached 40 knots and the tides were 13 feet.

The emergency repairs come weeks before the port will start looking for a company to construct and install replacement floats.

Patton said the current floats have to be replaced because Penn Cove Shellfish uses the Coupeville Wharf to refuel its fleet.

 

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