Boats damaged when docks collide in downtown harbor during storm
BY MITCH DUDEK Staff Reporter June 2, 2014 5:06PM
Workers replace chains connected to spikes that secure a dock at DuSable Harbor. The dock came loose during a storm just after noon on Monday, colliding with the dock just to the north. Minimal damage was reported. | Michael Schmidt/Sun-Times
Updated: June 2, 2014 7:13PM
Part of a dock loaded with boats broke loose during a Monday storm and slammed into another dock at DuSable Harbor near downtown Chicago damaging several boats in the process.
Winds blowing north — gusting at nearly 50 miles per hour — exerted such pressure on one of the docks that a chain anchoring it to a steel pile embedded in the lake floor snapped, said Scott Stevenson, Vice President of Westrec Marinas, which contracts with the city to oversee its harbors.
The dock, extending hundreds of feet and holding dozens of boats, swung and hit a neighboring parallel dock. Chains on that dock also snapped, Stevenson said.
The storm struck about noon and brought a brief bout of driving rain. DuSable arbor is east of Randolph and south of Navy Pier.
Contacted at about 3:30 p.m., Stevenson said that divers had replaced several of the chains and the docks were again secure. The job should be complete by Tuesday morning.
“It was an intense little storm. It took us all by surprise,” he said.
Workers were on the scene trying to correct the problem within minutes of the chains snapping.
“There’s some minor damage to three or four boats, nothing too serious, some scratches, really,” Stevenson said.
Nothing like this has happened before at DuSable Harbor, but a similar incident about eight years ago caused damage at Montrose Harbor, Stevenson said.