Wind Farm issues rules for mariners

Fri, 07/10/2015 - 9:15am

There are going to be some rules for boaters once the work starts on the wind turbines this summer.

A timetable of the work and a brief set of guidelines for mariners has been released by Deepwater Wind and the Coastal Resource Management Council (CRMC).

According to the timeline, all gear must be removed from the from the designated 2015 work area by Friday, July 17. (See map on page 28.)

Beginning in mid-July and running through September, the foundations for the five turbines will arrive from the Gulf of Mexico and offshore construction will begin. It will take eight weeks for the foundations to be installed, according to the timetable.

In the summer of 2016, cable vessels will arrive to install the offshore cable. In the late summer of 2016, the turbine components will arrive at the wind farm site. Their installation will take about four weeks.

In the fall of 2016, the turbines will be tested and commissioned and the wind farm will be operational.

According to the information issued by Deepwater and the CRMC, “multiple offshore construction vessels will participate in the project, including large derrick barges, crane barges, tugs and supply vessels.”

It also states that “The Block Island Wind Farm team has worked closely with mariners, including commercial and recreational fishing groups, to minimize impacts to the extent possible. To protect public safety, state and federal government agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the CRMC have imposed the following rules, or approved implementing the following restrictions, that are applicable to all mariners:

All fishing gear must be removed from the 2015 work area by July 17, 2015. The gear must remain out of the area for the duration of the construction period. Notification of the end of construction will be posted to and sent to the fishing community by the fishery liaison, Elizabeth Marchetti.

A 500-yard Safety Zone has been established during construction. All vessels, except vessels working on the BIWF, are excluded from entering the Safety Zone.

Two designated Standby Areas for construction vessels have been established. Vessels may temporarily moor in these areas throughout construction. (See map.)