A decade in the making, Bristol’s new marina is open for business

By Christy Nadalin
Posted 6/24/22

There’s still a couple of mechanical details to complete, but Bristol’s new marina is officially open for guests — and the public — to enjoy.

The 650-foot breakwater and …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Not a subscriber?


Start a Subscription

Sign up to start a subscription today! Click here to see your options.

Purchase a day pass

Purchase 24 hours of website access for $2. Click here to continue

Day pass subscribers

Are you a day pass subscriber who needs to log in? Click here to continue.


A decade in the making, Bristol’s new marina is open for business

Posted

There’s still a couple of mechanical details to complete, but Bristol’s new marina is officially open for guests — and the public — to enjoy.

The 650-foot breakwater and wave attenuator includes a substantial expansion of slips available to Bristol residents, which has served to dramatically shorten the years-long waiting list. It also includes transient space for visitors, including large luxury yachts. The Seastreak ferry, whose service to Providence and Newport started up last weekend and will run through the summer, will have a space to dock at the southwest corner of the marina. Slips are also being made available to both the Rhode Island State Police and Department of Environmental Management to enhance public safety.

The design of the pier includes low-impact anchoring of the main pier to the seafloor, a five-foot-deep concrete platform held in place by weighted bungee cords rather than chains that disturb the sediments. This clean technology allows the harbor to flush naturally with the tides.

Non-boat owners are welcome to enjoy the marina as well — it’s a nearly two-tenths of a mile walk to the end, and fishing is permitted along the outer-facing side of the 16-foot wide main concrete pier. Town Administrator Steven Contente and Harbormaster Gregg Marsili are committed to making sure the main pier remains open to the public. “That’s what makes a community,” Contente said, citing his his own dear memories of fishing with his grandfather.

“I’ve been using the world infrastructure for several years,” said Contente. “Lately the word has been celebration.”

The roots of this project actually go back to a 1982 development plan; in 2016 voters approved $2 million bond for its construction. Though total costs ended up being closer to $4.2 million, town officials figured out how slip and fuel fees would pay for it so it would not be a burden on homeowners who don’t own boats.

“We are moving forward but we are also returning Bristol to its roots,” said Contente. “We are a port of call…And we are never going to forget our roots in commercial fishing.”

"I thought the idea to expand the Bristol Marina and waterfront for the maritime community, first proposed by the Bristol Economic Development Commission, back in 1981, under the leadership of then Chairman Leo Bandieri, was a terrific one,” said Patrick "Pat" McCarthy, an early and ardent supporter. “In 2015, we resurrected the idea, and as a member of both the Bristol EDC and the Bristol Harbor Commission Advisory Committee, pushed the idea forward. Many, many thanks to those commission members, and all the many other stakeholders since, to get to this fabulous grand opening event."

For Marsili, it’s been an eight-year project, since the moment he started his job as Bristol’s Harbormaster back in 2013. He used his moment at the microphone to thank the many people, from contractors to department heads, who had a hand in this achievement. But Contente made it clear who he feels was the MVP in this game. Addressing Marsili, he said, “You’re the captain, the first mate, the ship’s carpenter…You are a remarkable asset to the town and we are so grateful to have you here.”

2022 by East Bay Media Group

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.