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Babylon Village to hire icebreaking vessel to clear marinas

Babylon Village Hall in a 2011 photo.

Babylon Village Hall in a 2011 photo. Photo Credit: T.C. McCarthy

Babylon Village will once again hire an icebreaking vessel to clear village marinas in case the canals freeze over, but officials say the winter of 2016 so far looks far gentler than its predecessors.

“We’re getting by pretty easy so far,” Deputy Mayor Kevin Muldowney said. The village board on Tuesday approved a contract for $100 per hour for Islip-based dock builder All Shore, which uses steel-hulled push boats to smash ice that can damage mooring poles if left unattended.

The firm works on an as-needed basis, and last winter — which Muldowney described as “brutal” — the village paid $9,000 over an ice season that lasted from January 8 through February 27. It was the worst ice season since 2001, he said.

As ice rises on a flood tide, it pulls the poles up with it, creating a navigation hazard and hefty replacement costs. The village maintains about 880 poles at municipal boat slips, and each one costs $600 to replace.

Bad as last year was, Muldowney said, it didn’t compare to winters in the 1970s, when he saw thrill-seekers drive off boat ramps near the village pool onto the frozen Great South Bay.

“They were in VWs, pickup trucks,” Muldowney said. “The problem was that clammers cut holes in the ice . . . one year a pickup truck went through. These people were crazy.”

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