Harbormaster & Waterfront Committee Reports
Annual Reports for year ending December 31, 2001.
ROCKPORT HARBORMASTER DEPARTMENT
The Rockport Harbor Department opened the boating season by
launching the patrol boat at T-Wharf at the beginning of April. The floats for
all three harbors were put in the water at the end of April. The season seemed
to get off to a slow start due in part to the higher price of fuel. Boaters
were not as eager to travel long distances. As the season progressed these
same boaters came to Rockport to spend the weekends.
The spring Town Meeting vote insured that White Wharf would
be purchased from the Trust for Public Land and officially belong to the Town
of Rockport. The boat slip holders at White Wharf remained the same for the
2001 season. The building on White Wharf was secured and parking permits were
issued to all slip holders to use in designated areas on the wharf.
The voters at the Spring Town Meeting also approved the
purchase of a new patrol boat. Our present 20' Boston Whaler has served us
well, but after 18 years it was time for an upgrade. In the best interest of
the boating public we chose to continue with a Boston Whaler. This vessel
provides the durability and reliability that is is needed for all types of
work. We choose the 24' Boston Whaler, Justice model. This boat is
specifically designed for commercial use with high freeboard, an extra wide
beam for increased stability, a large locking electrical box, dry storage in
the console and leaning post, an anchor locker, two bow lockers and three
in-deck storage compartments. After "sea trials" in Florida the new Boston
Whaler was delivered to T-wharf in late October and will be put in commission
in the early spring of 2002.
As the summer progressed so did the boating activity. From
the 4th of July to mid October, Rockport Harbor was filled to capacity with
visiting boaters. Most of these boaters had made reservations for their stay
well in advance. On any given day during the summer and fall seasons, Sandy
Bay, out off Front and Back Beach, could be host to any number of boats. Some
nights there were 30 or 40 boats anchored in that area in a wide range of
The Rockport Harbor Department continues to work closely
with Gloucester Coast Guard Station, the Environmental Police and local
authorities to insure boaters a safe passage in and around the Rockport area.
We continue to be active in the North Shore Massachusetts
Harbormaster Association with legislative changes, education, on the water
training and monthly meetings.
Over the 2001 season we encountered a large number of
different boating situations, from search and rescue, medical emergencies,
assisting the public and May Day calls. We met numerous people from all over
the world who found that Rockport is all that they had read about and more.
The Rockport Harbor Department continues to participate in
the Massachusetts Clean Vessel Act Pump Out Grant Program. This program
provides cities and towns the equipment to pump out vessels holding tanks.
After Labor Day work was started on the old Forest Fire
Station on T-Wharf to create a much needed Harbormaster Office. We look
forward to having an office on the wharf, which will enable us to conduct
daily activities in one central location.
|Assisted the public
|Search & Rescue
|Divers in distress
|Investigate Flare Sightings
|Investigate Oil Spills
|May Day Calls
Office Hours Thursday Night 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Rockport Harbor Harbormasters
Rosemary Lesch and Scott Story
Assistant Harbormaster Ron Petoff
HARBOR ADVISORY COMMITTEE
January through April: working on Harbor Plan with Harbor Department (HD),
Urban Harbors Institute (UHI) and Harbor Planning Committee (HPC).
May: Received a request from the Board of Selectmen (BOS) for a cost estimate
to run White Wharf for the remainder of the 2001 Boating Season. This required
an inspection of the property with the Harbormasters and a sub-committee to
determine what needed attention right away and what could be done at a later
time. The sub-committee consisted of J. Gardner (Fincom). R. Lesch, C. Nichols,
S. Ouellette, B. Story & S. Story. We made up a list of possible uses for White
Wharf to be included with the cost estimate to be delivered to the BOS in June.
June: June 5, 2001, a letter from C. Nichols, chair HAC was sent to the BOS
with a detailed cost estimate of $20,523.00. This cost estimate was a cost to
bring White Wharf up to a standard worthy of $100.00 at foot rental fee.
At the June 12, 2001 meeting of the HAC the committee was informed that the
responsibility of running and managing White wharf was the Harbor Department's.
This was included in June 5th letter to the BOS as a $6,500.00 line item. The
Committee was also shown the letter sent to the BOS.
A discussion of the possibility of the town charging mooring fees for
moorings off Front and Back Beaches.
A discussion of a way to apply the enforcement of the loss of a mooring when
the Harbor Department discovers an infraction of the Town of Rockport Official
Harbor Rules and Regulations was completed. Such an infraction would be a boat
not being on it's assigned mooring for at least 30 days of the mooring season.
This will result in the loss of the mooring unless there are hardships involved.
Meeting June 21, 2001. The Harbor Department requested advise from the HAC
regarding the issuing of mooring permits for moorings off Front and Back
Beaches. After a long discussion, the HAC voted not to allow any moorings of the
beaches. This was mostly due to the danger of severe Northeast storms which have
caused many boats to go on the rocks in the past. The chairman was advised to
send a letter to the BOS recommending this decision be included in the Harbor
Rules and Regulations.
July: A letter was sent to the BOS from C. Nichols chair HAC on July 12, 2001
requesting the changing of the Harbormasters Labor Category. Meeting July 19,
2001. The need for updating and amending the Harbor Rules and regulations was
discussed with the committee and the Harbor Dept.
August: A letter was sent to the BOS from C. Nichols addressing the vote
taken at the June 21st meeting regarding moorings off Front & Back Beaches and
requesting the decision be included in the Harbor Rules & Regulations. Meeting
August 30, 2001. Further discussion of updating the Harbor Rules & Regulations.
Election of officers: Chairman C. Nichols re-elected, Secretary J. Lucas
A letter was sent to the BOS on August 30, 2001, from C. Nichols Chair HAC.
The subject of the letter the boating season at White Wharf 2002 and beyond,
requesting the BOS accept our advice regarding the unanimous vote to assign
slips and White Wharf directly from the mooring list. In addition that the
present tenants be informed of this ASAP As well as those affected on the
September: September 20, 2001 C. Nichols attended meeting requesting by BOS
held in Library to discuss Chapter 91 issues including the HAC's role, function
and involvement in Chapter 91 matters. This was the first of several daytime
seminars on Chapter 91. Subsequent meetings included interaction with DEP
officials. September 20, 2001 meeting: review letter from town administrator
regarding Harbor Dept. wage classification. Perhaps form a subcommittee.
October: October 25, 2001 meeting: Continue to review Town Administrator
letter, interact with Town Personnel Board (set up meeting). The BOS has
requested that the HAC make a list of tasks that must be done to White Wharf for
the 2002 boating season and what the estimated cost will be to carry them out.
This will be done in concert with the Harbor Dept. The Harbor Dept. gave the BOS
the estimate after the agreement of C. Nichols.
November: November 20, 2001 Board of Selectmen Meeting: C. Nichols and the
Harbor Dept. explained their combined inputs to the BOS regarding the slips and
fees at White Wharf. The selectmen voted to take the tenants off the mooring
list and the fee will be $100.00 per foot for each slip.
December: No meeting only the Chairman and Secretary attended, no quorum.
The Harbor Advisory Committee has been working with the Harbor Planning
Committee (HPC) the entire year. A draft copy of the Harbor Plan was given HPC
in early fall by the Urban Harbors Institute (UHI). The committee spent 3 months
editing and correcting the text. On December 12, 2001 the HPC met with the UHI
representatives to go over the corrected text, and to correct the maps. UHI left
the meeting with the marked up corrected copy of the Harbor Plan and plan to
send the corrected copies to the Town in early 2002.
C. Nichols, Chairman
THACHER ISLAND COMMITTEE
The Thacher Island Committee consists
of 10 members who are charged with the oversight, maintenance and
improvement of Thacher Island and its facilities.
The year 2001 was the first year that the Island
was again opened to the public after a six-year hiatus, subsequent to the loss
of the ramp. Four sets of keepers rotated on the Island from April through
October as representatives of the Thacher Island Committee and the Town. They
hosted over 1500 visitors to the Island who came either by the Thacher Island
Committee launch or by private boat. The visitors hailed from 22 different
states and eight overseas countries. Amongst them was Mary Richardson of TV
Channel 5 who did a special program on the Island.
During the season, through the efforts of
volunteer laborers and the keepers, the main building was made habitable and
general repairs implemented. These repairs included making the building more
weather-tight by installing storm doors and putting a rubber roof on the cellar
entryway, as well as correcting problems in the electrical system and the septic
system. The boathouse was repainted, trails were enhanced and improved, and two
boatloads of trash were removed from the Island. The time donated by volunteer
labor of the work crews was in excess of 1000 hours.
The Town Committee has worked with Fish &
Wildlife who send a representative to each of our meetings, and the boundary
line between the Town portion and the Fish & Wildlife portion has been
established and marked.
The Town Committee works in collaboration with,
and wishes to express its profound gratitude to, the Thacher Island Association
for their continued fundraising efforts, volunteer labor, and general enthusiasm
and support of the Island.
During the year 2001, Thacher Island was
transferred from the Coast Guard to the Town of Rockport, thus completing 20
years of effort on the part of the Thacher Island Committee, the Thacher Island
Association, and the Town. The Committee acknowledges the 10+ year stewardship
of John and Mary Bennett as co-chairmen of the Thacher Island Committee. Lastly,
due to the efforts of the Thacher Island Association, especially Paul St.
Germain, Thacher Island was designated a National Historic Landmark in January
Plans for 2002 include upgrading the apartment
facilities on the Island so as to enhance the visitor experience to the Island.
Sydney M. Wedmore, M.D.