E m e r g e n c y R e s p o n s e M a n a g e m e n t
Life on the waterfront exposes us to a very dynamic natural environment. Wind-driven debris or vessels are an unavoidable fact of life on the windward shore during storm events in Richardson’s Bay.
In response to concerns, the Richardson’s Bay Regional Agency (RBRA) has developed a program to enhance its vessel and debris interception capabilities. The program does not create any duty on RBRA’s part, but increases the likelihood of intercepting a vessel or debris before it contacts shore.
As Harbormaster for the RBRA, I have put together a response guideline for persons who have waterfront property that is exposed to wind-generated debris or a vessel that is adrift. If you notice a threatening situation, you should first attempt to contact me directly at 415/971-3919. If possible, I will intercept the vessel or debris on the open water. To further RBRA’s response goal of 24 hours or less, we have local contractors who have agreed to be on stand-by for drifting vessel and debris problems at West Shore Road which should enhance response capabilities during storm events.
Our goal is to provide open-water interception at no cost to private parties. However, this program has a small budget and its operation may be limited or curtailed. Waterfront residents bear ultimate responsibility for dealing with any vessel, object, or debris that has drifted onto their property, including damages and the expense of having the vessel or debris removed.
A good look-out can often forestall disaster! If a vessel or debris is spotted adrift and may be threatening, a call to emergency responders can avert property damage and salvage costs as well. Please report any such sightings quickly, even if you are not sure of the situation. The following are local emergency phone numbers to call:
If debris or a vessel is has drifted onto your property, and you are unable to reach any of the above emergency responders, the best solution is for you to promptly contact a local salvage operator and make arrangements for them to remove the debris or vessel. Time is of the essence, because the longer the object stays in place, the more difficult and costly it likely will be to remove.
In the event of an incident occurring, it is important that you always contact the RBRA Harbor Administrator at 415/ 971-3919. Since I am on call most of the week, I may be able to respond directly, keeping everyone’s costs to a minimum. Regardless of the circumstances, I will be coordinating with local agencies and contractors concerning further work. Most of the RBRA’s efforts occur after a vessel is towed.
In addition to notifying the Harbormaster, please also contact the Belvedere Police, the County Sheriff, and the Coast Guard if debris or a vessel drifts onto your property. This will alert responding agencies and allow them to determine the next steps. It is also essential in cases where your homeowner’s insurance requires you to file a police report in order to document the accident.
Please keep an eye on your neighbor’s waterfront area as well. If your neighbor is away and debris or a vessel washes up on their property, you may be the first or only person to notice and be able to initiate a response in a timely manner. Work out a plan with your neighbors ahead of time so that everyone knows what to do if a problem should arise that requires a neighbor’s assistance.