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Sand Point gets long-awaited upgrade to its small boat harbor

The new lift is a 2021 Marine Travelift and cost $1.1 million. It has a 150-metric ton capacity — about a 10% increase over the old lift.
Courtesy of Jordan Keeler
City of Sand Point
The new lift is a 2021 Marine Travelift and cost $1.1 million. It has a 150-metric ton capacity — about a 10% increase over the old lift.

Sand Point upgraded its travel lift at the Robert E. Galovin Small Boat Harbor. Also known as a boat gantry crane, the travel lift hoists boats out of the water for repairs or storage.

Jordan Keeler is the city administrator for the Eastern Aleutians community. He said the former travel lift was about 40 years old and needed to be replaced.

“It was becoming a situation [of] throwing good money after bad,” Keeler said.

He said fishermen need to be able to haul their boats out of the water for seasonal storage, for repairs, or for insurance inspections.

“The travel lift is key to the operation of the harbor,” he said. “The ability to move your boat from the water to dry land is essential.”

The Eastern Aleutians Borough lands more fish than anywhere in the country besides the Port of Dutch Harbor. But unlike Dutch Harbor, local residents own most of Sand Point’s fleet.

The new lift is a 2021 Marine Travelift and cost $1.1 million. It has a 150-metric ton capacity — about a 10% increase over the old lift. It also has electronic controls that allow it to be operated from inside or outside.

The first lift took place April 11.

“The community was curious. Word spread quickly about the new lift. We had quite a few people down at the harbor to watch it, both during the construction stage, as well as the actual first lift,” Keeler said.

The lift was originally scheduled to arrive last fall, but supply chain issues delayed delivery.

Keeler estimates the new lift should last about 40 years.

Theo Greenly reports from the Aleutians as a Report for America corps member. He got his start in public radio at KCRW in Santa Monica, California, and has produced radio stories and podcasts for stations around the country.
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