Norwalk harbormaster celebrates 20 years on job
NORWALK, Conn.—As longtime state of Connecticut Harbormaster for Norwalk, Michael Griffin has played a major role in helping boaters, promoting boating safety and advancing the dredging of the inner and outer harbors.
Griffin, nevertheless, counts his day-to-day work balancing the needs of fishermen, recreational boaters and industry among his most important responsibilities as harbormaster.
"That's how you make up your day, being here with the equipment that was going out to Sheffield Island (last week) to refurbish the foundation of the lighthouse. And then, of course, the military style landing craft came in and you have to see that it enters the harbor properly," Griffin said. My duties are "a constant moving target of whatever the operations are going on in the harbor."(backslash)
Add to that rowing events, the city's annual fireworks display, overseeing the arrival by barge of three large power transformers and coordinating the massive dredging project that removed 450,000 cubic yards of sediment from the harbor.
This month marks the 20th anniversary of Griffin having been appointed state of Connecticut Harbormaster for Norwalk. Griffin was first appointed March 12, 1992, by then-Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. He since has been reappointed by Govs. John G. Rowland and M. Jodi Rell.
"Mike is an institution out on the harbor," said Mayor Richard A. Moccia. "I don't think there's a person that I know of that cares more about the environment, more about our harbor, more about his job than Mike Griffin."
Griffin recently spoke about his work and its challenges at the David S. Dunavan Boating Center, otherwise known as the visitors' docks at Veterans Memorial Park.
"The biggest challenge in a large harbor like Norwalk has been the heavy mixed use," Griffin said. "The interests of both the commercial fishermen and the recreational fishermen . whether it be a canoe or kayak or a wind surfers."
Griffin said he is thankful to Moccia and the Common Council for their support, the Norwalk Harbor Commission for its role overseeing the harbor and the marine units of the Norwalk Police and Fire departments "for their comradery and safety enforcement assistance."
Protecting the natural environment and boaters safety are central to the job.
Over the years, Griffin helped extend the no-wake zone and replaced the lighting at Peck's Ledge Lighthouse in Westport from white to flashing green. For boaters, Griffin noted, the white lighting was indistinguishable from onshore lights.
David W. Park, among a growing number of kayakers who use the harbor, said Griffin is good at diplomacy with the various types of boaters who use the river and the harbor.
"He has to work with a lot of different people and organizations and he does a very good job at it," Park said. "He's very aware of the kayakers and the rowing clubs."
Griffin, a Norwalk resident since 1965 and married to his wife Joyce Ann for more than 50 years, operated Guaranteed Parts Warehouse in Norwalk before turning the business over to his sons. He is a past trustee of the Norwalk Seaport Association, honorary life member of the South Norwalk Boat Club, a board member of the Connecticut Harbor Management Association and presently CHMA Chairman of the statewide Harbor Master Focus Group, according to his resume.
His past activities include participation in the High Speed Ferry Task Force and the U.S. Coast Guard Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment for Long Island Sound. He has served on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Dredged Material Management Plan, which evaluated alternatives to open-water disposal of dredged materials and provided hands-on experience managing the two-phase dredging of Norwalk Harbor.
Information from: The Hour, http://www.thehour.com