What was described as a possible “considerable weather” event by city officials blew through Gulfport on Friday, April 19 causing enough wave-action damage to the Casino pier to result in full then partial closures.
On Saturday, April 20, the entire Casino pier was “closed due to rough conditions,” said Cultural Events Supervisor Justin Shea.
By Sunday, April 21, due to improved weather, the dinghy dock area and the four western slips on the floating dock were reopened, he said.
Of the eight total slips on the floating dock, the four on the east side, located closest to Williams Pier, remained closed due to weld breaks on the sub-structure and multiple deck boards coming loose in the storm, said Marina Director Denis Frain. “We barricaded the slips off and put yellow caution tape over them but the public just went underneath.”
Then, on Monday morning, April 22, it was found that a transition metal panel that connects the stationary dock’s pedestrian access ramp to the floating dock was missing causing about an eight-inch “step-down” area to be exposed, said Frain.
For safety reasons, “the entire floating dock was closed again,” he said. And additional caution tape was added to the four eastern slips “so people could not access them and hurt themselves.”
During this time, two groups of boaters and a dog returned to their vessels and were advised by staff that the dock was closed.
A diver will try to locate the plate so staff can replace it and if that doesn’t work, then “one will be overnighted from the company that built it so we can get it in,” said Frain on Monday afternoon.
By about 11 a.m. on Tuesday, the pedestrian ramp was repaired and the western half of the floating dock was reopened, according to a Facebook announcement by the city.
Pending repairs by a marine contractor, the eastern half of the floating dock that sustained the most damage will remain closed, said Frain.