In shallow waters where swimmers frequent, the top of the beams have been exposed due to erosion of late, and can be as little as six inches to a foot below the water at low tide, Keohane said. Swimmers can’t see the danger, he said, but they can get tangled up in it pretty easily.
Keohane sent his email to Murray in August and followed up with a letter. But it took a second email on Oct. 13 to get a response, sent as a lengthy email by Ellen Smith FitzPatrick, DCR’s community relations coordinator.
“She’s the hero in all this,” Keohane said yesterday. “She was great to work with.”
In her reply to Keohane, FitzPatrick explained the historic significance of the Jennie M. Carter, and noted that removing the remnants of the Carter poses challenges. Not only is it a local historical relic many appreciate, it also has state significance, she said,and would “very costly” due to historical restrictions and that the wreck lies in a protected area.
Appreciative of the historical information of which he was unaware, Keohane sent back his thanks with another question, and a resolution to the conundrum.
“I only have one other question,” Keohane wrote. “Since it’s a historical site and cannot be moved, how does that outweigh the fact that it is a safety hazard to swimmers?”
Keohane suggested “the prudent thing to do” would be to mark the site so swimmers don’t continue “to get mauled” by the shipwreck.
Keohane’s idea gained approval, after FitzPatrick unraveled some red tape, running it by the state underwater archaeologist, DCR’s director of aquatics, and the field operations team leader for the Salisbury Beach Complex.
Beginning next summer, she told Keohane, two “hazard” buoys will be placed at either end of the wreck as a warning. The buoys will go in annually from May 15 through Sept. 15.