Philippe levels Davis Park marina
This photo of the Davis Park marina shows the entire boardwalk, or catwalk, of the fixed dock lifted off the supporting pilings along the harbormaster dock. Most of the substructure was completely damaged and stayed with the deck floating to the right of the pilings.

Photo courtesy Brookhaven Town

Philippe levels Davis Park marina



Philippe’s wrath, which pounced on Suffolk County last weekend, dumping torrents of water then hurling wrenching winds, leveled the Davis Park marina, destroying, or significantly damaging, virtually all 2,075 linear feet of the fixed dock decking, as well as cross members of the support systems and pilings, said Brookhaven Town chief of operations Matt Miner.

Miner said a rough estimate of the damage was within $2 million to $3 million.

“This was worse than Sandy and Irene and, in my opinion, was worse than the two combined,” he said. “I was out at Davis Park after Sandy and Irene helping with the cleanup and at least the marina sustained damage those two times. The dock master station — that’s an island right now. The north and east walls where people dock their boats were destroyed, although a couple of floating docks were intact. The power of the water heaved the wood and destroyed it. A lot of the sand that surrounded the backside of the docks and walkways, the tidal surge washed a lot of the sand away. The concrete apron by the garbage area was undermined and the electrical system by the transformers was flooded.”

Miner, with commissioner Ed Morris, assistant waterways management supervisor Tom Carrano, councilman Neil Foley and an engineer from L.K. McLean Associates, were ferried over by the bay constable on Wednesday, Nov. 1 to assess the damage.

Stephanie Sherman, co-owner of the Davis Park Ferry, said at first sight, “it looked like someone blew up the dock.” Customers were calling like crazy after the storm hit. “They hadn’t closed up their homes yet,” she explained. The Shermans worked out an agreement with the town after discovering the ferry dock’s pummeling on Tuesday, to the point they couldn’t pull in at the east end of the dock. “So we went in to the west end instead, where we can pull in the normal ferry,” she added. The town at first insisted they shut down because of safety concerns. “But we went over the next day and discussed what we could do. Councilman Neil Foley met us with a crew and they said, ‘OK, we can fix this.’ They rerouted the path people normally take. The ferry will be on the west side of the Davis Park dock now.” They’ll continue to provide service until the end of November, she said.

National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Ciemnecki commented the storm was a battering event. Suffolk County got smacked with 3-5 inches of rain within 24 to 36 hours Saturday into Sunday, then Sunday night the winds surged. “We were getting gusts of 60-70 miles an hour,” he said. “So you had strong winds on the water and the seas were very rough.”

Miner said the town was in the process of getting a detailed assessment. Two boats docked on the north side of the marina didn’t appear to have damage from the debris, although one vessel, he was told, had mechanical damage.

“I’ve had discussions with the supervisor and he probably will be discussing it at the work session on Nov. 13,” he said. “Our parks department and engineers are looking at a detailed cost estimate. We’ll do everything we can to move this along for Memorial Day.  A lot has to be ripped out; we have to reach out to the DEC and have to work with them as far as a work plan for permits. Commissioner Morris has his crews out there now and they’ll do testing of the electrical system. Some of the decking has to be removed, loose debris in the water sheared off and whatever else that makes the area unsafe had to be addressed and also substructure that has to be removed. We’ll look at what’s safe for now and will move forward with removing the debris.”

Miner said once they have the final estimate from the engineer, “we’ll have a timeline and costs.”

“We have to make sure the ferry terminal is safe for anyone using Davis Park,” Miner added. “We’ll do everything we can, but it’s a big project and we’re heading into the winter. Morris is putting a team together and we’ll supplement with an additional work force, but it will take time.”