LETTERS: Marina is failing to deal with chronic pump-out malfunction

To Ozaukee Press:

The Port Washington marina is one of the jewels of the city, and vital to the economic success of downtown.

However, a significant problem on the docks has gone unresolved for years by marina management: the city sewage system doesn’t work.

On a Saturday morning last fall I called the marina office to request a pump-out of my boat’s sanitation tank. 

A helpful dockhand arrived within minutes. But as has been the case for years, the sanitation system failed.

I watched as it took the dockhand three hours to pump the holding tank of my boat and those of two of my neighbors.

When a 30-minute task sucks up three hours of a city employee’s time it gives boat owners opportunities to chat with the dockhands on the taxpayers’ dime.

Some stories past dockhands have shared are legendary: one marina tenant allegedly drank eight beers in the time it took to pump out his toilet tank. Let’s hope he cancelled his outing. I wonder if he drove home.

While other marina functions we pay for don’t work as advertised, such as the wi-fi that every other marina on Lake Michigan seems to have figured out, my biggest concern is that the Port Washington marina can’t provide first-world sanitation for seasonal tenants, visiting sailors and guests.

Marina tenants have endured years of excuses by the harbormaster, who frequently attempts to fix the chronic problem.

But year after year, the results are the same.

Excuses mean little to customers who together spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in slip fees paid to the city this year.  

Last winter, Ozaukee Press reported that the harbormaster proposed a 3% increase in slip fees for 2018, while telling the Harbor Commission that no major maintenance projects are slated for the coming years. Pardon me?  

We’re now paying the higher rates, but as of June 2018 we still can’t empty our toilet tanks reliably without going to the fuel dock or, worse yet, illegally dumping them in the water off the beach, which no marina tenant would ever want to do.  

When I requested a pump-out on June 14t as the marina was hosting the Double-Handed regatta, I was told on the phone by marina staff that “the pump-out doesn’t work.”

As of June 17, the pump-out apparently wasn’t working at the fuel dock.

Every paying tenant deserves working sanitation services. And every Port resident should expect the marina to function properly, as it’s one of the city’s most valuable assets.

Bill Prince
Port Washington
The letter was also signed by eight other marina tenants: Russ Chapin, Paul and Sharon Fuerst, Joe and Rose Schaefer, Barbara Walters and Roger and Karen Weigle.



Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login