Copy of: New launch

Bill Zeitler (
Sat, 20 Nov 1999 09:28:07 -0500

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West Wight Potter Website at URL
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---------- Forwarded Message ----------

From: Bill Zeitler, 74211,1362
TO: INTERNET:Hensnest@onelis,
DATE: 11/20/99 9:23 AM

RE: Copy of: New launch

Morning mates,

Last week while driving around in our van we discovered that the State of
Delaware had built a brand new and beautiful launch ramp facility just
south of Wilmington, Delaware.

If you don't have a chart you can look at a road map of Delaware and see:
Delaware River going north and south....and the C & D Canal [ Chesapeake
and Delaware Canal ] going east and west...connecting the Chesapeake Bay
with the Delaware River.

At the East end [ Delaware River ] of the C & D canal is the small town of
Delaware City. There is a small " short-cut " ditch/canal [ called " the
Delaware City Branch Canal " ] that is sort of like a hypotenuse leg that
cuts right through the small town and enters into the C & D Canal about two
miles inside from the east entrance. If you can get under the 6 foot
clearance fixed bridge across this " branch canal " you cut off about
about three miles.

The brand new ramp is on the property of the Fort DuPont complex ....a
large very old military facility that is open to the public . This new
ramp facility is on this " Branch Canal ".

Joy ! ;-D Three quite long concrete ramps with serrated surfaces,
floating walkways with plenty of cleats, [ note the tidal range here can
be 5 feet (!)....parking for perhaps a hundred trailers, really an
excellent facility on this sheltered branch canal...sheltered from both the
Delaware River currents and the wakes of large ships passing up the river.
Plenty of depth for keel boats as long as perhaps 40 feet which line
the branch canal on the " other side " ...and a nice but small marina [
and a Boat/U.S. rescue launch ] on the opposite side of the canal for fuel,
parts, snacks, etc. GREAT ! ;-D>

Depression: ;-< So...yesterday at half tide [ and falling ] we [ wife
and I ] launched " Amenity " to check out this new ramp...which by the way
we had completely to ourselves . Since the water is quite muddy I first
used my boat hook to confirm just how far out the concrete went out into
the water. I was a bit alarmed when I realized that although the last
half of the ramp was indeed concrete all the way was covered with
about a foot of mud [ silt, muck, et . ]. Since there was plenty of
water to launch we shoved off...but I was worried what the ramp would look
like in an hour of more falling tide. I decided to return early to
see how the ramp looked. Glad I did ! The ramp I needed to use to
retrieve " Amenity " was covered with about a foot of this muck ! I
could almost hear my tires screeming and smoking in this silt....trying to
get the boat and trailer back out ! I quickly nosed into the dock....ran
for my van....and lined up to get the boat out of the water. My rear
wheel drive van tires were in about 12 inches of this muck. With
pounding heart I backed and was able to get out of the ramp ! Whew!
So....this " beautiful " [ and I'm sure expensive ] ramp site has a real
problem with this silt ! ;-<.

I'm sure other boaters will also be agast at this situation when they
discover and try this new ramp.

Any suggestions for Delaware Department of Recreation who put in this
facility? My thought is that they need to put in a high pressure water
pump with a long hose for boaters to push a button [ timed run for say 5
minutes ] to wash this muck off the ramp. Note: The tidal range is
about 5 feet and there is a reversing tidal current of perhaps a knot or so
in this branch canal. Bottom is black mud.

Bill Zeitler
" Amenity "
Wilmington, DE

;-> and ;-<