Liveaboard boaters who have long called Cruz Bay home will soon be shifted to Great Cruz Bay in the collaborative effort between the Department of Planning and Natural Resources and the Department of Housing, Parks and Recreation to turn Cruz Bay into a swimming beach.
DPNR plans to clear derelict boats and illegal moorings from Great Cruz Bay to make way for the “eight or nine” liveaboards currently residing in Cruz Bay, according to Assistant Director of Enforcement Roberto Tapia.
Moving to Great Cruz Bay
“Once we get the derelict moorings out of Great Cruz Bay, those who live aboard in Cruz Bay will be allowed to go to Great Cruz Bay,” said Tapia. “We’re just letting them stay in Cruz Bay until we clear it up and everybody’s happy with what we’re doing”
“We’ve already identified 12 to 15 moorings in Great Cruz Bay that are illegal,” Tapia added.
DPNR’s efforts to turn Cruz Bay into a swimming beach began in June, when boats which were illegally moored were either thrown into a nearby dumpster or taken to the Susannaberg transfer station.
Next, the department plans to install swim buoys, providing two channels for charter boat and diving businesses which operate from the beach.
“We’re waiting for HPR to actually allot the monies to place swim buoys in the area,” said DPNR spokesperson Jamal Nielsen.
“We have plans to widen the channel for the ferry boats, and we are going to create channels on the left and right side for those businesses to traverse, because we don’t want them to come right up to the middle of the beach anymore.”
The idea for the channels was established following meetings between DPNR and beach business owners, explained Nielsen.
“We did sit down with those businesses and took their suggestions into consideration,” he said. “We’re creating those channels so they can pick up their customers.”
Nielsen did not provide a timeline for the completion of the department’s efforts to facilitate swimming at Cruz Bay, but noted progress is being made.
Water Quality Test Failed
“It seems to be coming along fine,” said Nielsen. “As soon as we get those monies, we’ll place the swim buoys, and we have one derelict boat which still needs to be removed.”
Cruz Bay failed DPNR’s weekly water quality test on Friday, September 21. The cause for the failure was likely the result of runoff, which could have caused the levels of enterrococci — a bacteria usually found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals — to rise.
“To be honest, we didn’t do much site investigation because it was raining,” said DPNR Environmental Program Manager Anita Nibbs. “The high results could have been due to runoff, which is what we’re anticipating. If the test came up negative again, we would have set up our investigation.”
The beach has passed the weekly water quality test since September 21.