Harbormaster & Waterfront Committee Reports
Annual Reports for year ending December 31, 1997.
ROCKPORT HARBOR DEPARTMENT
This boating season brought a variety of activities to Rockport and it's three
harbors. Boating traffic started early and continued into November. The first part of the
season consisted of routine boating activities that continued at a steady pace throughout
the summer. Along with the daily boating traffic we were busy checking divers and
lobstermen for lobster violations.
Later in the season brought a number of flare sightings, and vessels
aground. One flare call proved to be a 30' sailboat aground on the back side of Milk
Island. Upon our arrival we towed the boat to safety and back to Rockport Harbor.
Gloucester Coast Guard's 47' utility boat and helicopter worked with us on that case. At
another time a vessel was wrecked on the northeast end of Straitsmouth Island at two in
the morning. Rockport Patrol rescued the skipper out of the breaking surf and the vessel
was later removed from the rocks by a private agency.
We work closely with Gloucester Coast Guard, the Environmental Police and other
government agencies for search and rescue and Law Enforcement issues. Our Department also
works with the Army Corps of Engineers, Coastal Zone Management, MEPA and other agencies for the Towns
The Pumpout boat was available for use on visiting boats as well as our
local boats in need of having their holding tanks emptied. The Clean Waters Act Federal
Grant continues to provide our community with funds for this service.
The Harbor Department continues to make the needed improvements around
the harbors. The DPW restored the wharfs' ladders to a safe condition along with the wood
structure on the end of T-wharf.
As in past years, the Harbor Department is continuing their education
with classes sponsored by the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Program. The annual 60 hours
of training was completed this year with the "on the water" navigation exercise
being conducted in Rockport. The Environmental Police and Rockport Patrol provided the
boats to do the training.
This year's highlight was to be invited to be a Security Patrol Boat
for the U.S.S. Constitution's
visit to Marblehead Harbor. We spent two days on the channel in Marblehead Harbor keeping
all size boats from getting too close to "Old Iron Sides". This assignment gave
us a front row seat to all the harbor activities.
Rockport Harbor was also host to its own large vessel, a 143' yacht
from the British Virgin Islands. We believe that this yacht "Paraffin" is the
largest vessel in recent years to visit, tie-up and spend time in Rockport. It was a very
exciting event for our small harbor.
143' Yacht "Paraffin" docked in Rockport
Harbor - September 1997
Once again thanks to all the Departments who work
so hard to make all the emergency services function so well together. And a special thanks
to those in our Department who continue to be highly trained individuals with a strong
interest in Rockport water front activities.
Rockport Harbor Department
Harbormasters Rosemary Lesch/Scott Story
Assistant Harbormaster-Ron Petoff
HARBOR ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Several boats in Rockport and Granite Pier have rafted together with a
float between. This seems to be working very well and makes more room in the harbors.
There has been more discussion about a suitable office for the Harbor
Masters. It was suggested that the Forest Fire Garage on T-Wharf would be a good spot.
The committee voted to recommend to the selectman that mooring fees for
1997 be increased by $1.00 per foot which represents a 25% increase over 1996 fees. The
committee has also been working on a Harbor Management Plan.
Bob Smith of the committee sent out letters requesting information on
regulations, facilities, procedures, staffing, management plans, and government aid to
surrounding Harbor Masters. We have had a very good response.
PAUL FUHS, JR., Chairman
GRANITE PIER COMMITTEE
Throughout 1997, the Granite Pier Committee continued to fine tune the
boat storage procedure. Once again, the winter boat storage areas on the Pier are filled
to capacity and we are continuing our efforts to find even more space for future use.
Granite Pier was also filled to capacity on most good summer weekend days.
We are pleased to report a 15% increase in the revenue collected for
the Town of Rockport in the 1997 boating season.
KATE WEBSTER, Secretary
THACHER ISLAND COMMITTEE
The good news in 1997 is that all permits are in place to build a
concrete ramp, with an appropriate protective rip-rap breakwater! The bad news is that we
have not yet been successful in raising the funds. The committee, with some assistance
from the Association, is continuing to
research grants and make contacts.
A dedicated (and daring) group of workers has braved difficult
landings, making an effort to keep some paths mowed and make minor repairs. It is of great
concern that the buildings are beginning to show lack of care. If weather permits, there
will be work crews attempting to address some of these issues in the coming season.
It took over fifteen years to put the buildings and grounds into the
excellent condition attained by 1995. Thacher Island is the last of the twin lighthouses
operating along the East Coast ... and those who have worked for so many years to make the
Historic Preservation of Thacher Island a reality, hope it will have the support it
The committee extends thanks to all those who do continue to support
its efforts ... and it will continue to attempt to meet the challenge to "save the
JOHN AND MARY BENNETT, Co-Chairmen