Rockport Harbormaster
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Harbormaster & Waterfront Committee Reports

Annual Reports for year ending December 31, 1997.


 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 permitting processes.

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.

Yacht Paraffin
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


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


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.



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 deserves.

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 twin lights"!



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