2018-10-11 / Community

City supports yacht club petition to USACE to address harbor navigation issues

By Ben Muir


The seawall was built by the city this spring. 
Photo by Ben Muir The seawall was built by the city this spring. Photo by Ben Muir CASEVILLE - Higher water begets larger waves, and fewer boats choosing Caseville as its harbor, though a recent petition is looking to change that.

A yacht club in Caseville got the support of the city council Monday to address navigation issues at the mouth of the Pigeon River. Prevailing westerly winds have become more prevalent since waters have risen in recent years, making the waves drive farther up the river. Those waves crash into docked boats with more force, causing damage and safety issues, said Jamie Learman, City of Caseville Clerk.

“If that wind blows just the wrong way,” Learman said, “which it does a lot out of the west, it shoots right up the river and all those boats – they all get rocked.”

Learman said the Huron Yacht Club has started a process to petition the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to review the issue in Caseville and to possibly construct a second break water to stop the waves from driving up the river.


The mouth of the Pigeon River in Caseville in May. 
Courtesy Photo The mouth of the Pigeon River in Caseville in May. Courtesy Photo In the spring, the city built a handicap-accessible entrance at the base of the existing break water, which included the removal of a sloped shore with rocks that would absorb waves and dissipate them as they crashed in. The project installed added a seawall that runs across from the docked boats.

“Someone thought the seawall would cause issues with reflecting waves,” Learman said, versus what the rocks did. But, the problem existed before we put that seawall in this Spring. I was down here one day before we started that project and videoed the boats here, and they were just rocking.”

Rob Covers, a member of the yacht club, said the addition of the seawall is a factor, but above all the driving contributor is the rise in water levels.

“The harbor is not protected well enough,” Covers said. “It’s only protected from one direction. It’s been like this for years.”

Covers said that in rough conditions the boats will bump into each other, causing fiberglass and hull damage. There’s also a danger in getting in and out of a boat when the waves are prevalent, as well as unsureness with sailing back into the harbor in rough weather.

“We’ve lost several members,” Covers said, “also we’ve had members that stay on but are simply not putting their boats in.”

On Monday, the council approved a resolution to send a letter to the corps of engineers that would outline its support of the club’s petition to have this issue addressed.

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