WESTPORT — The only thing more contentious than land use in Westport is how the town’s waterfront is managed.
Several residents expressed frustration after one of resident Ed Train’s boats washed close to Saugatuck Shores during Monday morning’s storm.
Train’s boat, which has been criticized by residents who call it disheveled, broke free from its mooring and washed close to shore, town Harbor Master Robert Giunta said.
The afternoon after his boat washed ashore, Train met with U.S. Coast Guard officials and the Marine Police, who Train said are concerned contaminants may have leaked from Train’s unmoored boat.
“I’m working with the Coast Guard right now to meet all of their requirements to ensure there’s no further contamination,” Train said, noting the contamination could be from something inside the boat, such as cooking oil or salad dressing.
“When I was down there, I smelled oil. One of the other people down there, a resident, also mentioned smelling oil. It appears the boat is definitely leaking,” said Michael Yormark, who was on the shore taking photos of the boat on Monday.
To remove the boat, Train said he’ll need to get advice and assistance from experts. “I’m at the very beginning of that process,” Train said, adding he doesn’t know when the boat will be removed from shore, but said a plan will likely be in place within the next few weeks.
Three other boats broke free from their mooring on Monday, two of which are Train’s, Giunta said. Train’s other boat washed up near the bridges on Harbor Road, Giunta said.
“They’re not beyond repair. They’re stuck,” Train said of his boats, which were built in the 1970s, but in Train’s possession and docked at the Westport shore for the past 20 years.
When asked how much time he spends on his boats, Train said, “Not much time right now. The boats are essentially being stored on the moorrings this summer, but in the past I’ve spent more time on board.”
Life has gotten in the way of him spending more time on the boat, Train, a musician, said.
“The boat needs some paint and TLC right now. The same boat, if it had some sparkling paint on it, everybody would be oohing and ahhing, but right now everybody says it’s an eyesore,” Train said.
“His boat is not the best-looking boat, I agree with that completely, but he’s taken out a permit, so it’s legal,” Giunta said in response to residents’ complaints on a town blog about the appearance of Train’s boat.
“This is a legal, seaworthy vessel, although it may be cosmetically challenged,” Train said, adding, “There are always going to be people who are understanding and compassionate and there’s always people who are going to be upset, especially on a blog sitting at home on the internet. I’m sorry if anybody is offended.”
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