After years of discussion, a Marquette dive team should wrap up the installation of a city mooring field this week.
And though we have some reservations about the establishment of the official city field, the project should be a community asset, as a whole.
Most importantly, the mooring field will facilitate the end of the practice of long-term makeshift mooring in the harbor. That process, according to the city's harbormaster, isn't technically allowed by the state, but citizens for years have anchored their boats to homemade weights resting on the bottom of Lake Superior.
While non-rental boats will still be allowed to moor in the harbor for short periods of time, the city will no longer allow boaters to leave boats anchored in the harbor throughout the summer.
This is important from a legal perspective and we agree an official mooring field will "legitimize" the mooring process.
Additionally, the mooring field will provide solid and reliable anchor systems and will limit the number of boats that break loose in rough weather. Renters in the field will also be required to have an insurance policy on their boat.
The city has set the annual fee for the field at $362 per vessel, regardless of size. And while that is a reasonable enough rate, we are somewhat concerned that the city is charging residents anything to tie their boats to the lake bottom.
The fees, according to city officials, will pay for the cost of establishing the field within five years. The fees will then be siphoned into a mooring field fund and set aside for future use.
The city will certainly need some funds to manage the field and handle repairs and maintenance, but we would suggest officials reconsider the rates being charged.
Though already low, user fees should be lowered to a level where income and expenditures balance out for the field.