Northshore Harbormasters Association News

Training Schedule 2006-2007

The Training Schedule for 2006-2007 is now posted. For the schedule, go here.

Posted on December 3rd, 2006 by Administrator in North Shore

Stolen Jet Ski

Mr. Ryan Pepe, 144 Whitehall Rd., Amesbury, MA has reported a jet ski stolen from his home on/or about August 1, 2006.

It is a 2001 Bombardier RXDI, 9 feet long, yellow on top with a black bottom having yellow letters.

MS 4177 AE HIN ZZN60310B101

Please keep an eye out for this.

Posted on August 4th, 2006 by Administrator in North Shore

Charles J. Famolare

famolare.jpgFamolare – Charles J., Town of Winthrop Harbormaster, of Winthrop and formerly of East Boston, passed away on Thursday April 20th, 2006.

Beloved husband of the late Mary A. "Patty" Famolare. Devoted father of Charles J. the III and his wife Nancy of Winthrop, Patricia A. Famolare of East Boston, Thomas J. Famolare Det.BPD and his wife Virginia of Weymouth, and Susan C. Guadagno and her husband Frank of East Boston. Loving son of the late Mary D. Famolare and Charles J. Famolare. Cherished ‘Papa Charlie’ to Kelly, Jamie, Lindsey, Cassiopeia, Kayla, Katie-Lynn, Gianna, Mary and Courtney. Loving companion of Janice Freda. Also survived by his many adopted children and grandchildren.

Funeral from the Ruggiero-Mazzarella Memorial Home, 971 Saratoga Street (Orient Heights) East Boston on Tuesday April 25th, 2006 at 10:00am. Funeral Mass in St.Joseph-St.Lazarus Church, 59 Ashley Street, East Boston at 11:00am.

Visiting hours are on Sunday April 23rd and Monday April 24th, from 4:00pm to 8:00pm. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited.

Charles was born in Boston in 1931. He was a retired Boston Police Officer, Station 6 South Boston, serving for over 41 years, and a US Coast Guard veteran of the Korean Conflict. He was very well known and respected in the community, and was the Town of Winthrop Harbormaster for many years as well as past member Winthrop Elks; past member Cottage Park Yacht Club; past Commodore East Boston Yacht Club; past member 1212 Police Explorers for over 25 years; and the founder of Famolare’s Catering Co. South Boston. Charles passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family after a brief illness. He was 74 years of age.

Flowers are appreciated, or memorial donations in Charlie’s memory may be made to the St.Joseph-St.Lazarus Building Fund, 59 Ashley Street, East Boston MA 02128.

The Memorial Home is handicapped accessible and a children’s lounge is available. Courtesy valet parking at the front entrance and ample off street parking is also available. For transportation to the memorial home please call 617-569-0990.

Services will conclude with Charles being laid to rest in the Winthrop Cemetery in Winthrop.

Posted on April 22nd, 2006 by Administrator in Winthrop

1st meeting at Coast Guard Base winds up reorganizing MHA Parent Association

1st meeting at Coast Guard Base winds up reorganizing MHA Parent Association

BOSTON – (12/12/05) The inaugural meeting to enjoin harbormasters in a new Massachusetts Harbormasters Association (MHA) has netted a balance between North Shore and South Shore interests with the Cape & Islands Chapter. Basically, the meeting chaired by MHA president Dave Fronzuto to familiarize the entire MHA with its new by-laws has resulted in a re-shuffle of the parent organization, over-ruling the MHA’s existing By-Laws and creating a new e-board with 3 members each representing three chapters of the MHA. The meeting also voted to go outside the existing Association by-laws to to have the E-Board vote a new slate of MHA officers. The concept Western Massachusetts Harbormasters Chapter as proposed in the By-Laws seems to have been eliminated.

During the day long meeting chapter members agreed to caucus and present the MHA with a new Executive Board with term limits. Voted from the chapters to E-Board were South Shore: Paul Malone (3 yrs), Tim Rothier (2 yrs), Ken Corson (1 yr); North Shore: Rosemary Lesch (3yrs), Jim Caulkett (1 yr), Chuck Famolare (2 yrs); Cape & Islands: Stuart Smith (2 yrs), Dave Fronzuto (3 yrs), Jay Wilbur (1 yr).

Later in the day the newly formed E-Board met to select (by vote) a new MHA association Board from its group. Voted to be returned as President were incumbant David Fronzuto (Nantucket); a new Vice President James Caulkett (Gloucester) replacing Jay Wilbur; as Secretary Stuart Smith (Chatham) replacing Gary Golas; a new Treasurer Ken Corson (Hingham) replacing Greg Fraser. The new E-Board also voted to transfer $3000 from the existing MHA treasury (balance $7900) to help the fledgling South Shore Chapter get underway.

During the working session the MHA also heard from Coast Guard representatives about Maritime Domain Awareness and the new sector concept for the Coast Guard creating Sector Northern New England, Sector Southern New England and Sector South (to NY). The Association also heard from its lobbiest Anne Lynch of Lynch Associates about the state of various bills in the legislture effecting harbormasters. Lobbiest Lynch also brought up the question of how an amendment in the certification bill might include or exclude the Boston Harbormaster from certification requirements.

The objective of the Massachusetts Harbormasters Association (MHA) is to unify the Harbormasters and Assistant Harbormasters within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in one Association, which in turn are separated in regional Chapters. in Massachusetts, there are four Harbormaster Association chapters as follows, the North Shore Harbormasters Chapter, the Cape and Islands Harbormasters Chapter, and the the Southshore Chapter.

Posted on December 13th, 2005 by Administrator in North Shore

Harbormaster wanted for the Town of Marion

Harbormaster wanted for the Town of Marion, Massachusetts.

Full-time, year-round Harbormaster, responsible for the safe and orderly use of Marion waters, including staff and budget management, environmental, search and rescue, mooring placement and assignment, shellfish management and enforcement. Independent and appropriate judgment essential. Reports to the Board of Selectmen under the direct supervision of the Town Administrator, with the advice of the Marine Resources Commission.

Certification as Mass. Harbormaster and/or Shellfish Officer desirable; required as part of ongoing training, along with CPR and first aid certification. Substantial boat-handling and seamanship experience and knowledge of personal computers, waterway operations, rescue techniques, local waters, applicable laws and regulations, boat maintenance and repair and harbor-planning principles. Ability to deal effectively and diplomatically with the public, government agencies and other Town employees and to enforce rules and regulations firmly and impartially. Ability to operate vessels in severe weather conditions and to respond promptly to emergency calls.

Letter of interest and résumé, which must be received by noon on September 7, 2005, to Town Administrator, Marion Town House, 2 Spring Street, Marion, MA 02738.

Posted on August 22nd, 2005 by Administrator in Uncategorized

Harbormaster Certification a Good Idea

Harbormaster certification a good idea  Local harbormasters are all experienced and competent. But even some of them acknowledge they could use better, more unified training. A bill cosponsored by state Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, to establish uniform standards to certify harbormasters would do that. After a positive committee recommendation, it is expected to be taken up by the Legislature this fall. That is good. It is overdue. Indeed, while most communities have training requirements and standards for harbormasters, they are not consistent. Manchester Harbormaster Ronald Ramos, who is also police chief, says that, "training is often done on a catch-it-if-you-can basis." He and his five assistant harbormasters all come from the Police Department, but none of them are certified by any of the state’s three associations of harbormasters. A similar situation pertains in Ipswich, where Police Chief Charles Surpitski is also the town’s harbormaster. This is too risky, especially in an era when patrolling local waterfronts has homeland security implications and even trained police officers may not be familiar with maritime rules. Tarr, the main sponsor of the measure, is correct when he says uniform training and standards will make the state’s waters safer. And there are provisions in it that should make for a smooth transition. It will not throw out any current harbormasters. It would simply require that any new ones be certified or taking courses leading to that goal. That should give local communities the flexibility they need, since the course work and training can involve more than 350 hours over five years. It will not seek to reinvent standards that are already working. A commission that will include representatives of law enforcement officials and the three harbormaster associations will develop the course and examination requirements based on what the associations already have. A harbormaster is a public safety official. As is already the case with police and fire chiefs, it only makes common sense to establish uniform certification requirements for those in charge of area waterways.

Posted on August 5th, 2005 by dan in North Shore

Lawmakers propose mandatory certification for harbormasters

Lawmakers propose mandatory certification for harbormasters

By Claude R. Marx
Staff Writer


Lawmakers are sailing into uncharted waters with a proposed set of standards to certify harbormasters — who say it’s about time.

A legislative committee yesterday created a commission to devise educational requirements for those in charge of patrolling harbors in the Bay State.

While most cities and towns require their own training, some harbormasters say the current system does not provide adequate or standardized training.

"Training is often done on a catch-it-if-you-can basis, there is not enough of a uniform system," said Manchester Harbormaster Ronald Ramos, who is also the town’s police chief.

Ramos, who is not a certified harbormaster, said all five of his assistant harbormasters come from the Manchester Police Department. While they have general law-enforcement training, not enough training is available on maritime rules.

Salem’s acting harbormaster, Peter Gifford, agreed. A Salem police sergeant and a noncertified harbormaster, he said since most harbormasters do the job part time, it is hard to train them in a timely manner.

"They all have other jobs, so it’s hard to take them away from those and give them intensive training," he said. "Generally, those on my (harbormaster) staff are people with some law enforcement training who have a boat."

The state’s three associations of harbormasters administer programs for people on the North Shore, South Shore and on Cape Cod, but cities and towns are not required to send their harbormasters to certification classes.

But Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, wants to change that. Under the bill he is sponsoring, any new harbormasters and assistant harbormasters would have to be certified or be taking courses for certification. The state would make money available to local governments or organizations to help pay for the training. Existing harbormasters and assistant harbormasters who are not certified would be allowed to remain on the job.

The certification requirements would be written by a commission of police and representatives of the state’s three harbormaster associations. It will use the existing training programs as a foundation and build upon them, Tarr said.

Making training mandatory will make the state’s waters safer, Tarr predicted.

"Harbormasters are often by themselves, and it shouldn’t be left to chance the skill level that they have or the training that they may have received," he said.

The idea is being embraced by certified and noncertified harbormasters alike.

Today, harbormaster certification consists of 351 credit hours of classroom and water training over five years, as well as two exams and periodic quizzes. Harbormaster trainees take classes in subjects such as navigation, water-traffic rules and water patrol techniques.

Rockport co-harbormasters Rosemary Lesch and Scott Story run the training program for the North Shore Harbormasters Association.

"It has been proven to work, and by mandating that everyone undergoes the training, it will see to it that more people are exposed to it," said Lesch, who was in the first class of trainees when the certification program began in 2001.

Gloucester Harbormaster James Caulkett, who has had the job for seven years and served in the U.S. Coast Guard for 28 years, said the measure will remove some of disparities in the current training.

While Caulkett is not certified, he has taken courses in law enforcement to supplement his expertise on maritime issues.

Posted on August 3rd, 2005 by dan in North Shore

Town requests help in settling access dispute

Town requests help in settling access dispute

Asks state to enforce its order opening Old Harbor walkway

Town officials have asked state environmental officials to weigh in on a dispute over access to Rockport’s Old Harbor and believe historic tidelands regulations will help them make their case in a court dispute with a private property owner.

Last fall Wendy Stone Ashe went to court seeking an order to prohibit the public from using a short section of sidewalk behind her Four Chimney By the Sea gift shop, which fronts on Dock Square.

The 10-foot-wide concrete path at the bottom of the property’s backyard connects Lumber Wharf off Pier Avenue to Middle Wharf. It passes over a stone pier that provides access to a small beach and mooring area known as Rockport’s Old Harbor.

On June 14, Judge David A. Lowry, sitting in Essex Superior Court, granted Ashe a preliminary injunction limiting public access to town emergency and public utility crews until further orders from the court. A trial is scheduled for Sept. 27 in Salem Superior Court.

”To me it is simply a matter of private property rights," Ashe said as she stood in her gift shop overlooking the harbor. ”I want my children to be able to play on our beach without having to worry about harassment or abuse."

But because Ashe’s sidewalk is essentially a wharf itself, constructed years ago on filled tidelands, Selectmen Charles Clark said he is confident that Lowry’s restraining order will be overturned.

”We were all shocked when the judge ruled against the town but we are confident that once the court hears our full case, we will prevail," Clark said. ”Rockport as a community has traditionally been a strong advocate for public access to the waterfront and so townspeople are vigilant when that access is threatened."

Town officials contend Ashe’s pier was built on filled tidelands and therefore public access is controlled by the state Department of Environmental Protection through the state’s Chapter 91 regulations. Tidelands are defined as the area between low and high tide, said agency spokesman Edward Coletta.

Coletta noted that the DEP put Ashe on notice in a June 23, 2000 letter that she was required to permit public passage under Chapter 91 guidelines. Rockport’s Planning Board voted July 21 to ask the state DEP to enforce that order. Coletta said the agency is reviewing its options.

Additionally Clark said that when the town purchased Lumber Wharf and Middle Wharf in 1975 from Ronald C. Coffin, Coffin granted the town a right-of-way easement across the now-disputed sidewalk.

In June, with Lowry’s order in hand, Ashe erected a plastic fence at either end of the sidewalk along with signs that read ”Private Property: No Public Passage or Use by Court Order." However, Ashe said her efforts to discourage public use have failed.

”The public is pretty much ignoring the fencing," Ashe said. ”Daily they tear it down and ignore the signs. I understand the past history but when my husband and I purchased this property, we made a major investment in Rockport. We have poured hours into completely renovating this property and adding the landscaping and we have a right to peaceful enjoyment of it."

Ashe’s fencing prompted the formation of the Harbor Access Group, an organization of about 40 citizens who appeared at the July 19 selectmen’s meeting and asked town officials to fight for what they contend is a critical right-of-way issue.

”The public has been crossing that pier forever even though it has always been privately owned," said Christina Wolfe, a spokeswoman the group. ”There are any number of private property owners along the waterfront who recognize that public access to the harbor is paramount. Ashe, though, wants to keep this chunk of harbor as her own private beach."

Ashe contends she was unaware of the state’s rules for use of tideland property and the town’s easement when she purchased the property. Furthermore, she contends the easement gives only town employees access, not the general public.

”This situation has harmed my family and my business," Ashe said. ”There is a fine line between supporting tourism and supporting the rights of private property owners. Without the investment of private owners, there would be no tourism."

Clark said the town’s attorneys are researching the terms of the town’s purchase of the Lumber and Middle wharfs from Coffin to better understand the easement he granted over the connecting sidewalk. ”Whether this is a small section of access or a larger one doesn’t matter because all the access to the harbor is strung together across parcels in different ownership," Clark said.

Posted on July 31st, 2005 by dan in North Shore

Editorial: Control of mooring fees should stay local

Local governments ought to have the discretion to set their own fees.

So waterfront communities in the region should applaud a move by state Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, to repeal a law that took that discretion away and gave it to the state. The law, passed last year, required coastal cities and towns to charge equal mooring fees for residents and nonresidents.

Tarr’s bill would put control back where it belongs — at the local level.

The measure was flawed from the start, both in its passage and in its substance. It was inserted by state Sen. Michael Morrissey, D-Quincy, as an add-on to the 2004 transportation bond bill, which meant there was no opportunity for legislators or the public to comment on it. State Sen. Robert A. O’Leary, D-Barnstable, a cosponsor of Tarr’s repeal effort, called it "Senate skullduggery."

Morrissey’s argument that the new regulation creates "equity" for all boat owners rings hollow at several levels. Communities have long charged different fees to residents and nonresidents for various things, ranging from clamming licenses to admission to beaches, state parks or even local museums. Residents have always had preferred access to local services and resources.

And, as Tarr points out, local residents help to pay for the maintenance of harbor and mooring services through their property taxes, which reflect generally higher assessments because they are coastal communities. Why shouldn’t those locals get a bit of a break on mooring fees?

It is not as though the split-fee structure was gouging nonresidents. In Gloucester, the difference in the fee between a resident and a nonresident for a 35-foot boat is all of $70 a year. In Salem, the difference is $157.50 — more but not even close to breaking the bank for somebody who can afford a pleasure boat. At today’s fuel prices, that is less than half the price of filling the tank.

Finally, this is not about people who are struggling to make a living being blocked by high fees. This is about recreation for those who tend to be wealthier than average.

The system worked as it was. There was no good reason to change it. So Tarr and his colleagues deserve bipartisan support to undo the damage done last year.

Posted on June 1st, 2005 by dan in North Shore

Senate sinks 2004 mooring law

BOSTON — Lawmakers aim to sink a rule requiring harbormasters to charge the same mooring fee for residents and nonresidents.

Not that local officials paid much attention to the 2004 regulatory change.

Salem Harbormaster Peter Gifford said he still charges residents $1.50 and nonresidents $6 per vessel foot. He had considered a $5 flat rate at one time.

"I was a little annoyed the way it happened," he said. "We knew that they were going to reverse it. I didn’t want to change things and have them change it back two months later."

A strict reading of the law would likely mean a mooring fee increase for thousands of residents on the North Shore alone.

The Senate moved Tuesday to repeal the law.

Sen. Bruce E. Tarr, R-Gloucester, called it a matter of restoring local control. He sponsored the measure as an amendment to the state budget adopted.

"I’m trying to give residents a break," Tarr said. "And harbormasters all up and down the coast have been taking issue with this because it took away their ability to tailor the fee structure."

Critics of the change contend residents deserve a discount because they pay local property taxes and deal with sometimes much higher coastal property values.

The cost difference can be staggering. Based on Salem’s mooring fees, a resident would pay $30 for a 20-foot vessel, while a nonresident would pay $120 for the same craft.

Mooring fees in Gloucester are $4 for residents and $6 for nonresidents, per vessel foot, said Rep. Anthony J. Verga, D-Gloucester. He said his city had considered changing it to a flat rate of $5 per foot for all boats, which would have been a revenue-neutral change.

When the Legislature pushed through the across-the-board fee last year, it sent bureaucratic waves crashing along the coast because many mooring fees for the summer had already been announced.

Sen. Michael W. Morrissey, D-Quincy, added the flat-fee provision to the 2004 bond bill the state uses to pay for transportation projects. A boat owner, Morrissey said he heard from constituents who contend the two-tier fee system is unfair.

"No one charged Christopher Columbus," he said during the floor debate. "More importantly, this is about small boat owners and those wealthy seashore towns ripping off their owners."

Tarr took issue with Morrissey’s interpretation.

"It is not about equity," Tarr said on the floor. "It is about local taxpayers helping to finance the vacations of some of our wealthy residents. This is about the Massachusetts Legislature, at a time when we have been cutting local aid, reaching into small communities and telling them what they can and cannot do with fees."

Last year’s change was so sudden it even caught Verga, the chairman of the legislative recreational boating caucus, by surprise.

"It came under the cover of darkness," he said, shaking his head as he recalled last year’s controversy.

Even as the Senate voted 32 to 5 to repeal the law, the issue remained contentious.

Sen. Robert A. O’Leary, D-Barnstable, called last year’s change "Senate skullduggery." He said neither the Legislature nor the public had a chance to comment on it. He cosponsored the repeal.

"This was done in the 11th hour in the dead of night," said O’Leary. He owns a 17-foot Boston Whaler and estimated he pays about $70 a year in mooring fees.

The change must be resolved in a Senate-House committee before being finalized.

Gifford, the Salem harbormaster, said he collects about $160,000 in mooring fees a year. He said the money goes toward operations, equipment and maintenance.

Posted on May 26th, 2005 by dan in North Shore