Vineyard Haven Harbor electrical investigation continues

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Tisbury Department of Public Works director Ray Tattersall told The Times he has reached out to industrial electrician Cole Powers for assistance in an investigation of suspected stray voltage in Vineyard Haven Harbor. Based on his work on marine current issues in Menemsha Harbor, Tattersall, an electrician himself, said Powers is one of the few people on-Island with the experience required to look into such an esoteric electrical subject.

The inquiry comes after members of Tisbury’s harbor management committee, including chairman Jerry Goodale, raised concerns about what they deemed an unusually high rate of decay for boat zincs or anodes. Zincs are meant to absorb the electric fields boats generate and prevent current from damaging the boat. Longtime mariner Gene DeCosta previously said he suspected electrolysis stemming from shore power at the Steamship Authority terminal was damaging mooring chain in the harbor.

Steamship Authority general manager Robert Davis informed The Times late in May that a diver had inspected the marine wiring at the Vineyard Haven terminal, and found “no faults.” He also said an electrician examined lengths of black wire running over the sand by the dinghy dock adjacent to the terminal bulkhead, and determined they carried no current. Those wires have since disappeared.

“Following the inspection of the wires by our electrician last week, it was determined that they were not live wires and served no purpose, so they were removed,” Davis wrote in an email Thursday.