BELMAR, NJ — Regulations for dry-dock boat storage at commercial facilities are now on the books in Belmar.

The borough council approved the new rules on July 11 after there were no comments during a public hearing on the ordinance, which was drafted in the wake of February’s fire at Seaport Inlet Marina. Until now, storage regulations only applied to the storage of boats and recreational vehicle on residential properties for personal use.

Since the Seaport marina at 610 Fifth Avenue is the only commercial operation in the borough with dry-dock facilities, it is following these newly adopted setback and safety standards for boats and boat storage systems:

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  • All boats must be stored and all boat racks located at least 10 feet from all property lines, except if that property line is next to a waterway.
  • Boats and boat parts must be properly secured on any type of racking or storage system.
  • Boat racking or storage systems can be no higher than three levels, and they must be equipped with a fire extinguishing system designed for the storage system.

The new rules were drafted in response to the February 14 fire at the marina, which occurred when shrink-wrap material caught on fire while a marina worker was using an open-flame torch to apply the material. While no one was injured in the fire, it destroyed 12 boats stored in a racking system and prompted an evacuation of the surrounding residential neighborhood.

Shortly after the fire, nearby residents raised safety concerns over operations at the marina, which sits on the banks of the Shark River — sandwiched between residential homes and the new Riverwalk at Belmar, a three-story building of condominiums and professional offices that stands at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Main Street.

Meanwhile, Belmar Fire Marshall Ryan Dullea reported that Seaport marina currently is in full compliance of the fire safety code, including the submission of site plans for both seasonal and winter operations at the marina, which detail the number of vessels being stored at any given time.

Since the fire and numerous but relatively minor violations were found during its annual inspection in April, marina owner Robert Gerzsenyi has implemented a host of corrective actions, including establishing a formal procedure for the shrink-wrap operation of boats in storage and purchasing new fire extinguishers. He also plans to make a $100,000 investment to voluntarily install sprinkler systems on the facility’s boat racks.

 

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