Uncaring and Uncouth Boaters

Did anyone notice that this weekend just past brought as many or more people to the Island than on the 4th of July? The traffic downtown as the boats came in and unloaded, was the worst that I can remember. We still DO NOT need traffic lights, as the local boys in blue did a real good job of keeping things moving and within five to ten minutes , traffic was all eased up again. Not so for the people "thronging" up and down the sidewalks but mostly in the street!
Looking at all the people in the streets, you might also have noticed all the small boats lined up along the east breakwater. I'm not sure what it is that lures those sized boats to the Island. Maybe it is the free use of the sand and anchorages they encounter over there. Apparently all during the weekend, they buy their beer, booze and food at Ballards and tote it back to their boats to consume. A better bet is that they bring it all with them. But what really gripes my ass is that they don't have the common decency to take it all home with them when they leave! Nope, it is much easier to stuff it in a garbage bag and leave it all in a pile at the north end of the east dock. I went down there this morning after having the pile of trash pointed out to me and I was really pissed that that they couldn't walk another 200 feet and put it in a dumpster. These people in their boats that go for upwards of $50-60 thousand care so little about this place that they feel no compunction about leaving their disgusting crap on the dock and all over the beach to! They even bring their dogs and let them use the dock and beaches as their own personal outhouses. If it was just them and their ilk using the area, I'd say let it happen, they have to walk in it! But there are a lot of other people who frequent the area. So after a lot of discussion amongst a bunch of us there at the dock, we came to the conclusion that there were no town employees who job discription included picking up this stuff. The herring gulls had done an admirable job of spreading it all over hells half acre, so one Captain of Interstates ferries, three or four guys who work for the local Parasail company and myself proceeded to clean up the mess, and it WAS a mess. It is also NOT in the job description of the Harbormaster or the people who rent the few charter spots to be janitors, although throughout the summer, they do this job and keep the docks in relatively sightly condition. Assuredly there is no money in the Harbors Dept for such a person as all the money gets hijacked into the town general fund and spent where ever the TM feels it should go! SO,,, maybe it is time for the town to get off it's collective ass and do something about that area. If a former proposal I had made had been acted on years ago about docks out there and rent charged, it probably would have been all paid off by now. There used to be docks out there back in the 30's and 40's. It is way past time that some sort of order be established out there in the wild wild east. TIFN


Anonymous said...


I am surprised that you haven't commented on the condition of the Great Salt Pond. Bacteria counts up one day and down the other. I hope you aren't letting your grandkids swim in it let alone eat clams from it.

blockislandblog said...

In a surprising coincidence, I too took a walk recently down by Ballard's. I saw a pile of garbage bags on the dock. I heard loud music coming from EVERY boat. I saw trash on the beach, and more boats than I would think could fit in that part of the harbor.
And more drunk people than I have seen in one place that wasn't a bar, all summer. I saw what appeared to be underage girls gettting invited onto a boat for a drink.
It seems like a lawless land in that triangle.
I would think the Filippi's would be doing their best to keep that area clean so their would be no hinderance to their proposed marina. Unfortunately, our "Take your trash with you" policy is doing serious damage to that part of Town.

Anonymous said...

What are you talking about...why should the Filippis clean up the towns dock. The town puts the boats there, and the town collects the money for them. GO and look at Ballard's, it is clean, the Town's responcibility is not.

Look not just to the trash but to the dispicable condition of the docks. If the town was not taking all of the money out of the harbors and putting it into the general fund, there would be money to repair this area.

Everett said...

In regard to the above comment,I neglected to say in my original post that virtually ALL of the "paper trash" was of the variety that is used in the "take out" trade. You know, Foam boxes and the clear plastic cups that just by chance are the same kind that you will find in the alley in back of Ballards.One has to assume , because of the close proximity of ballards to the beach it question, that MOST of the stuff comes from that establishment. As to Ballards keeping the place so pristine, go back in that alley any morning and tell me what you see. Besides the total blocking of the access too the beach, you will find garbage strewn all over the damn place. I know cause I'm back there at least two times a week. They do clean it up but it always smells just like the back end of that big garbage truck.
I know I KNOW, never assume anything, it makes an 'ass' out of 'you and me' Ass-u-me. Old Navy adage impressed upon all Sailors. TIFN

Sam said...

Gosh, more grumps! I can't beleive how grumpy youse guys and gals are.

Let's see here, the Town already has a harbormaster and assistants and, hmm, the town can't enforce, collect and manage municipal solid waste products generated by the Rhode Island Recreational Navy. What's wrong with this picture?

Forgive me, Everett, but you seem to think that human nature should dictate that the average joe on a recreational boat knows how or where to get rid of trash in a foreign port. You give far too much credit to Blockislandus drunkus. The Boat Basin by the Oar was nice because they had a huge dumpster, which I used repeatedly and with much vigor, after watching the pros at the game. Other areas may not be so conveniently designed. Heck, we even tried to recycle!


CATT said...

It seems to me that everyone is missing the point on this item. From what I read, the boaters who are leaving their trash, are not paying any docking fees,they are just pulling their boats up on the sand along the breakwater near Ballards. Maybe the town should put up signs prohibiting the landing of any boats or watercraft along that stretch of sand / beach. That would eliminate the trash problem in that area.This should be looked into as a possibility by the Harbors Dept. and the Town Council.

Sam said...

Not to belabor the issue, if you put up a "No Dumping" sign they'll dump trash right under and around the sign. I think we know what we're talking about, and that's hiring more summer help for the harbormasters and dockmasters. Plus, having employees in the area would help act as a deterrent. Oh well, the town won't fix the docks or hire enough summer help or clean up any trash - all this from a town that wanted to create its own port authority. And don't kid me about the landing fee!

Everett said...

Hi Sam, In regard to the dumpster location. The one at Old Harbor is placed as close as it can get to the origins of the trash. It is about 200-400 feet and is six foot tall! They just can't be bothered to walk that far. The water itself around the dock on the day I speak about was, full of plastic and paper bags, cups, old, and fairly new shoes, floating ladies skivvies and even a condom or two! Now you tell me who in his right mind is going to go in the water and retrieve those things? certainly not me with all the nasty little bugs that are out there! And yes I totally agree that the Town should hire however many summer help it needs to get these niggling little jobs done. Someone mentioned the cigarette butts all over the place. The town road crew goes out with the street sweeper every morning real early and manages to get most of the ones along the Front street and environs, but in all the alley ways and parking spots the buildup has become noticeable to any passerby. Most of the store owners on the front street do a good job of keeping the sidewalks there clean, not so the rest of town. I spend an inordinate amount of time keeping my personal and business property looking neat and clean, mainly 'cause I just can't stand "clutter". So yeah Sam I guess my faith in human nature is misplaced as I assume that everyone has the same feelings concerning neatness as I do. But I guess if they are slobs at home, I shouldn't expect their spots to change just 'cause they come here for a weekend of drunkness and debauchery(heh heh)!TIFN

Sam said...

I know what you mean, Everett. But take a look at the people who wake up early in the morning and see what looks like Walmart and a major restaurant exploded all over the place. It's disgusting, and you start pickng up the trash since you just can't stand to look at it. It's not as simple as early versus late risers, clean versus trashy. And, as I said before, there are all kinds of boaties out there, most of them very responsible people.

No, it's the weekend effect and down here in Cicada Land (South Padre) it is almost the same. Throw 20,000 people onto a little island with a population of 2,500 and you've got a Class-A mess.

As a funny aside, I was thinking about starting "Sam's Trash Brigade" down here to help solve the problem. Get a bunch of fiesty old farts armed with trash sticks (a broom handle with a size 20 nail in the end). "I saw ye throw down the trash - and don't deny that young fella!" And then stab the offending recepticle with the pointy tool and make a big show of disposing it correctly.

In about three or four more weekends, though, it will all be over. The boaties will haul ass and the marinas will haul docks. Then you'll sigh and mark the end of yet another messy but profitable season.