DORCHESTER, N.J. — In his three decades servicing oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, boat captain Keith Piper rode out all manner of storms and gales. Still, he had never faced the elements that tested him last winter at a wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island. Subzero temperatures. Snow. A nor’easter blowing 70 miles per hour. Coffee sloshing in the pot and his 500-ton liftboat — propped above the waves on four hydraulic legs — vibrating from the force of the wind.
Not just the wind, also a rocky bottom:
Given the rock-hard bottom of the continental shelf, unlike the Gulf’s forgiving sands, any mistake setting the boat legs down and the impact on board would feel like being slammed head first into concrete. “It shakes everything and breaks everything,” he said.
Got to wonder about using a 500 ton liftboat out there.