Rockport Harbormaster
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Harbormaster & Waterfront Committee Reports

Annual Reports for year ending December 31, 1998.


P{atrol Boat

The Rockport Harbor Department had a busy season with a great number of visiting boats both in the harbor and out in Sandy Bay. The season had a slow start due to the weather. The weather and the boating season improved as the summer went on. A northeast storm took us by surprise on a quiet Saturday in June. The above photograph shows the Rockport Patrol boat bringing in the victims of a demasted 30' sloop. The sloop from Rockport was participating in an off shore race from Eastern Point into Ipswich Bay. It was off Thachers Island when its mast snapped and became disabled. On that day the winds picked up to 40-50 kts and the seas picked up to a good 8-10. The Rockport Patrol was called to the Thacher Island area to assist the distressed vessel as well as monitor the safety of a dozen other sailboats participating in the race. It made for a very eventful day, all were safely brought into Rockport.

Our Pumpout boat continues to be a benefit to all visiting boaters as well as with those vessels in Rockport with holding tanks that must be pumped. The Clean Waters Act is proving to be a very positive program in Massachusetts water.

The Massachusetts Criminal Justice Harbormaster training program graduated 9 Certified Harbormasters from the North Shore. Those completing the program have accomplished 351 hours of Criminal Justice training which includes: law enforcement, laws pertaining to harbormasters, rules of the road, boating safety, first aid, boat handling and on the water training. These are a few of the topics in the curriculum covered over the 5 years it took these 9 harbormasters to complete the program. Rockport graduated two harbormasters, Rosemary Lesch and Scott Story; Ron Petoff is working to complete the program in the next year. Other communities with Massachusetts Certified Harbormasters are Beverly, Salem, Danvers, Rowley and Amesbury.

The Harbor Department continues to improve the safety of the harbors by maintaining the ladders, floats and wharves. We work closely with the DPW as they do the repairs around the waterfront. At the present time the men of the DPW are building us a "storage shack" at Granite Pier (it has a remarkable resemblance to the Motif #1).

Thank you to all the Town Departments for their cooperation during the year. We need the emergency services to work together at all times whether it is an emergency situation or day to day activity. It is also necessary for us to work closely with the Government agencies on the North Shore. Coast Guard Station Gloucester and the Massachusetts Environmental Police are there when we need them, for a resource or in an emergency situation. Thank you to all the State and local agencies and individuals that make our Harbormaster Department run so smoothly.

Harbormasters Rosemary Lesch & Scott Story
Assistant Harbormaster Ron Petoff


The Harbor Advisory Committee has been continuing work on a Harbor Management Plan with Robert Smith as coordinator.

#1 - An ordinance that gives legal validity to the rules of harbor usage which local officials endorse. Charlie Nichols is presently working on it.

#2 - Harbor Committee made up of knowledgeable and interested citizens who will contribute time and close attention.

#3 - A Harbormaster Department familiar with the harbor, its people, and its waters, skilled in the arts of boating and mooring seamanship, that can be relied upon to enforce regulations with even handed Justice and understanding.

#4 - A Harbor Management Plan, endorsed by the community and its officials, realistic in its goals, thoughtfully written, and carefully implemented.

The Harbor Committee has completed a Harbormaster job description and presented it to the Selectmen.

The Committee received two letters of resignation from the board, in January from Charles Jones and Robert Morris. They both will be missed by the board.

Paul Fuhs Jr., Chairman


1998 has been a somewhat frustrating year! The items that appear over and over on the monthly agenda: SOUTH TOWER SOLARIZATION / PROPERTY TRANSFER / RAMP FUNDING.

The solarization project has been completed and the interior of the South Lighthouse has been restored. The draft copy of the property transfer is being negotiated and should be completed soon.

Thanks to efforts of many people, primarily Representative John Tierney, there has been $250,000 set aside in the Coast Guard's Aids to Navigation budget, specifically toward the Thacher Island ramp, and they have agreed to assist the Town in building the concrete ramp, which should solve that problem for many years.

Paul St. Germain, a Director of the Association, has been working closely with the National Parks Department, to have our island nominated to become a NATIONAL LANDMARK (a step above being listed in the Register of Historic Places). This could open other avenues of funding.

The usual hardy volunteers continued their valiant efforts of on-island care and maintenance whenever time and weather allowed.

We are very grateful for all who have supported this effort with time, as well as money. We still have a ways to go and are hoping for a more productive coming year.

John and Mary Bennett


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