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Calm Waters At Steppingstone Marina

Due to the dedication and efforts of both the board of commissioners and park district staff, the Great Neck Park District has a plethora of beautiful first-rate parks and facilities where residents can play, learn, and enjoy. The professional park district staff’s daily operations are vital to what makes the parks run as efficiently as they do. Steppingstone Marina is a fine example of that. The staff managing the marina make sure it is a well-oiled machine, running as smoothly as possible no matter what the season.

Richard Wolert, supervisor and dockmaster of Steppingstone Marina, is responsible for the ease in which the marina has operated for the past 35 years (employed by the park district for 37 years). Working five days a week, although he has been known to show up on his days off, Wolert arrives at 7 a.m. daily and gets right to work. On a typical day, he first checks out the dock area and moorings for any overnight changes that may have occurred. After a rainy or windy day, all mooring pendants (lines that connect  the mooring chain to the boat) are examined and all boats are checked for extra water. He proceeds to post the weather forecast and tide/wind conditions and tells his staff what jobs to work that particular day. Wolert depends on his staff, which includes year-round assistant Paul Petruzska and in 2012, included his launch service staff of John Kaseta, Jack Scanlon, Thomas Mehmet and Jason Reis Gerzog. 

During the off-season, the staff makes certain to maintain the park district’s dock and fleet of approximately 50 boats. Two 40-foot floats were constructed in the off-season over the past two years. Getting ready for the 2013 spring season, the staff is busy maintaining the dock, making trailer and boat repairs, painting, installing a boarding ladder, setting up the Optimist for the Memorial Day parade, running supply pick-ups and contacting Coast Guard for annual boat inspection on 26’ Oldport launch. There is always work to be done. 

The staff was adept in preparing for Hurricane Sandy this past October as well as the nor’easter a week later. Preparation for Hurricane Sandy took place six days in advance. All of the boats were removed, secured and stored. The three gangways were raised to accommodate the high tide, floats were disconnected and tied to pilings off a storm line. The awning at the end of the dock was removed and placed into storage as were the binoculars, water cooler and work box. When the storms had passed, the marina was in good condition and everything was put back where it belonged. Thanks to Wolert and the Steppingstone staff, the marina runs effortlessly and efficiently.