Officials address river businesses' mooring issues

COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Coast Guard and Corps of Engineers officials have met with owners of businesses moored along the Ohio River in northern Kentucky after three incidents where structures at least partially broke loose from their moorings.

Coast Guard Lt. Rob Reinhart said the meetings will help businesses and officials better prepare for the future.

The Waterfront restaurant partially broke loose of its moorings in mid-March as water levels rose. The River Queen boat floated downriver on March 13 with one employee on board and then a month later partially broke from the dock and struck the Belle of Cincinnati. No one was injured in any of the incidents.

"We're much better prepared," Reinhart said. "We're making improvements and looking at emergency plans and finding the gaps where we can make adjustments. We've had three incidents recently; let's not have another one."

The Wednesday meeting included representatives with Covington, Newport and Cincinnati, the U.S. Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, BB Riverboats, Waterfront Restaurant and Showboat Majestic among others.

Reinhart told The Kentucky Enquirer that the Corps of Engineers will send out an advisory for owners of structures anchored along the river to inspect their moorings.

A safety committee will be established in the next month to study safety issues and make recommendations to the government, Reinhart said. The committee will look at issues such as the no-wake zone and collisions between recreational and commercial craft.

Dave Bricking, owner of Riverside 4 Marina in Dayton, Ky., said he doesn't know much more the government can do to ensure moorings can withstand flooding.

"I don't think you can prevent an act of God," Bricking said. "The river conditions have been terrible. The wind has been so bad running downstream with the current. It is scary."

Bricking said he still expects to open his restaurant at the marina on Friday for the season.

--- Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer,

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