Open for business, Warren looks to welcome boaters

By Ted Hayes
Posted 7/16/21

The rain had just let up Monday afternoon as Assistant Warren Harbormaster Dawn Rego climbed aboard Warren's Harbor Patrol boat and shoved off from the Town Wharf to patrol the Warren …

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Open for business, Warren looks to welcome boaters

Posted

The rain had just let up Monday afternoon as Assistant Warren Harbormaster Dawn Rego climbed aboard Warren's Harbor Patrol boat and shoved off from the Town Wharf to patrol the Warren River.

Despite the dreary weather, a regular thing this July, it didn't take her long to run into other mariners: A launch from Barrington full of young sailors; a couple in a large cabin cruiser put-putting up the channel. At his slip, another gentleman scrubbed the gelcoat on his center console.

After last year's Covid-stained season, life has returned to Warren's waterways and the town is welcoming all while working on continued improvements to the Warren Town Wharf. Harbormaster Ed Cabral predicts it will be a busy summer season.

"It's much busier than it's been," he said. "Steadily busy."

Mr. Cabral is seeing many of the same boats he always has, but there are new ones this year. He suspects many of them were purchased last year at the height of Covid, when buyers had extra money and a lot of free time on their hands.

"The boating industry was huge last year," he said. "Everybody went out and bought boats. What we found was a lot of people had vacation money that they couldn't use; pretty much all (local boat retailers) sold out of stock last year."

While Mr. Cabral and his assistant harbormasters spend seven days on the water, work is continuing on the Town Wharf, which is in the midst of a renovation that will likely cost up to $3 million when done, much of it coming from the federal government with local, matching funds added.

Following the completion of heavy work to shore up the wharf structure, officials are nearly ready to install new public, handicap-accessible bathrooms on the north end of the wharf lot. While Mr. Cabral had hoped to have the facility in place by now, that was impossible as a key component is a plastic holding tank. A world-wide shortage of plastic is to blame, he said, but he hopes to have it completed and installed over the next few weeks. Add-A-Space, a Bristol fabrication firm that outfits shipping containers, has the contract.

Meanwhile, additional dinghy space has been created to serve those tying up at one of Warren's four transient moorings in the river. And under a second phase of the project not yet funded, Mr. Cabral hopes to expand the docks enough to fit in at least six to eight additional 24-footers, with power and water service at the dock. The end goal is to increase access to Water Street and its many amenities by making Warren a more boater-friendly destination.

"It's good to see" people coming back, he said.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.