USM's GCRL public boat launch closed for construction

USM's GCRL public boat launch closed for construction

This is a news release from the University of Southern Mississippi

The boat launch at the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, which has been open for public use during weekends, will close March 11 due to the beginning of a construction project.

"As GCRL proceeds with much-needed improvements to our Halstead campus harbor area, access to our boat launch will be impacted," said Read Hendon, interim associate director of GCRL. "We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause to those who use our launch on the weekends."

Construction began today (March 7) with an anticipated completion date of May 29. The project will include replacement of bulkheads at the western end of the harbor, reconfiguration of pilings to accommodate the R/V Jim Franks, and dredging in the immediate area of construction. This is the first step in a larger plan to improve the GCRL harbor basin and provide increased public access for water-based activities.

During construction, the boat launch will only be available for use by USM researchers and approved agency partners.

"We are working with the contractors to make sure construction moves as quickly as possible so we can resume public access on the weekends and bring our new research vessel, the R/V Jim Franks, home," Hendon said. "We would like to thank our coastal delegates and those who administer the Tidelands Trust Fund for the support for these improvements."

Ocean Springs city officials said the Fort Bayou boat launch is the alternative launch for the public.