Damage at St. Herman Harbor underlines need for replacement, city officials say

The Coast Guard is still investigating what caused a boat to sink in St. Herman Harbor earlier this month. 

The 48-foot fishing vessel La Mer sank in its slip on Friday, June 2; it’s since been floated and pulled from the water. 

Kodiak’s St. Herman’s Harbor at sunset; June 2022 (Kirsten Dobroth/KMXT)

Kodiak Harbormaster Dave Johnson told City Council members at Thursday’s regular meeting that the vessel destroyed two adjacent finger floats when it went down – meaning two slips are now also out of commission. 

The damage from the sinking is the latest bad news for the aging harbor.

Johnson’s comments were part of a brief update about ongoing infrastructure issues at St. Herman Harbor, which is also known as Dog Bay. The harbor had already been losing about one finger float a year due to wear and tear. A windstorm back in March caused even more damage and ripped out seven finger floats. St. Herman Harbor is at the end of its service life and has been plagued with other issues, too – including corroded pilings and rusted out electrical equipment. 

The city has outlined a total replacement of St. Herman Harbor as its top priority for the upcoming fiscal year with an estimated price tag of $56 million. 

Kodiak city staff submitted a federal grant application to pay for the project back in April. Johnson said via email Monday that the city anticipates it will hear back sometime in late fall, and plans to move forward with permitting and other initial phases of the project to be “shovel-ready” as soon as the grant is awarded.

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