Rockport Harbormaster
Search for:        










Harbormaster & Waterfront Committee Reports

Annual Reports for year ending December 31, 2002.


The 2002 season was an exciting one for the Harbor Department with the Town's full management of White Wharf and putting the new 24' patrol boat into commission. Late winter and early spring was spent at White Wharf taking out the floats, making needed repairs, and getting ready for the Towns first season overseeing that facility. The Harbor Department and members of the Harbor Advisory Committee volunteered numerous hours in the spring cleaning up White Wharf buildings and grounds. The rest of the Town's floats, boats and spring work were completed for the Memorial Day weekend.

On May 11, 2002 Town and State officials along with the public were invited to T-Wharf for the christening of the Town's new 24' Boston Whaler, "Alert 2". The ramp to the finger floats in the North Basin was dedicated in memory of Jose Grilo who had donated the ramp to the Town at this ceremony. Mr. Grilo was a dedicated fisherman who enjoyed boating in Sandy Bay.

Donations from friends of the Harbor Department enabled us to furnish the new Harbormaster office with all the essential furnishings and equipment. The Harbormaster office is located on T Wharf giving us a prime waterfront location to conduct harbor business.

The summer progressed with an increase in boating activity both from transient vessels and local maritime activities. The fishing community continues to grow with new boats and equipment in efforts to deal with the changes in fishing regulations.

The Sandy Bay Breakwater and surrounding hazards caught many boaters unaware of the dangers in our waters. The "Preachers Kid" a 55' power vessel started a trend of vessels that went aground and took on water in that area. Several other vessels ranging in size from 22' up to 55' experienced similar tragedies requiring us to respond to minimize personal injury as well as environmental impacts on the area. The Harbor Department also responded to numerous serious boat fires and medical emergencies during the year. These and other cases were dealt with more efficiently and safely for the harbor patrol crews and those in distress because of the enhanced capabilities of the new patrol boat.

The Federally funded "Clean Waters Act" Program is still an on going program that the Town of Rockport participates in yearly. Each season brings more boating activity to our area and the Pump Out boat handles the sewer from transient as well as resident boaters.

Since 911 the Federal, State and local agencies work and train together to provide maximum safety to ports large and small. The North Shore Harbormaster Association continues to train harbormasters with a 351 hour Massachusetts Criminal Justice Program in law enforcement and safety on the water. The Rockport Harbormasters, as Certified Harbormasters; oversee this training and are continually striving to keep all Massachusetts Harbormasters educated and well trained.

Assisted the public 101
Search & Rescue 26
Divers in distress 16
Medical Emergencies 11
Boat Fires 3
Investigate Oil Spills 2
Assisted seal/shark/whale 3
May Day Calls 5

Office Hours Thursday Night 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. at the Harbormaster Office on T Wharf.

Rockport Harbor Harbormasters
Rosemary Lesch and Scott Story
Assistant Harbormaster Ron Petoff


Overview Harbor Planning Committee:
12/10/01 made corrections on pages 1-22 of Municipal Harbor Plan (MHP) for final review with Urban Harbors Institute (UHI) also maps were marked up for corrections. 1/30/02 reviewed letter from BOS regarding berthing of boats at Old Harbor, the Goal was added to MHP to have appropriate size and draft of vessels in all harbors. The committee accepted a proposal to flag all 21E sites on maps in MPH., 2/20/02 The question of the location of storm drains in the Old Tool company and if they should be included on the Pigeon Cove Map. A list was developed as to which Town Agencies should revive the final review of the MHP for their review., 3/6/02 The stone drain question was resolved by a meeting with the Town Engineer. The term" Ocean Sanctuary" previously brought up was partially cleared up by the CONCOM Agent., It was agreed by the committee that the chair should meet with UHI to resolve the amount of work they will be willing to do to complete the first draft of the MHP, 3/3/02 The committee reviewed a list of proposed corrections provided by Alex McKenzie. 4/2002 thru 12/2002 reviewed, corrected, delivered corrected copy to town agencies for input, and incorporated agreed input MHP December 2002 and January 2003 activities include: insert corrections into MHP CD provided by UHI, go over MHP one more time to ensure all corrections have been incorporated the send MHP be printed.

Overview Harbor Advisory Committee:
December 2001 through December 2002 working on Harbor Plan with Harbor Department (HD), Urban Harbors Institute (UHI) and Harbor Planning Committee (HPC).

1/10/02 The following was agreed and voted on: 1-Whether mooring permit holder may moor a vessel of another on their mooring under the present conditions. 2-Request the BOS to consider a BY law change to the following: a. Outlaw leasing moorings, b. Prohibit lending moorings without the Harbormasters consent, c. Prohibit mooring of non-owned vessels on a mooring without consent of Harbormaster. The committee is in favor of a regulation to require permit holders provide proof of ownership (boat registration, title, or certificate of documentation). The committee also agreed with the Harbor Department that lobstering in the harbors is strictly forbidden. A subcommittee was formed to interact with the Town Personnel Board regarding the reclassification of the Harbormasters job. The Harbor Department agreed to request the DPW make signs for the skiff floats stating the float rules.

2/14/02 Harbormaster Story advised the committee that the FINCOM has approved the HD request for funds to remove rip-rap from the entrance to Old Harbor. He also informed the committee that 100 letters have been mailed to applicants on the mooring list asking if they would like a slip at White Wharf. Story also agreed to review with other Harbormasters in the Massachusetts regarding the $7.00 per foot mooring fee, which chairman Nichols said is the highest in the State. The committee discussed the benefits of charging those applicants on the mooring list a $5.00 annual fee to defray administrative costs. A letter was sent to the BOS on 2/14/02 regarding an action item to the HAC concerning an E. Hutchings letter to the BOS suggesting limiting the length and draft of vessels in White Wharf facility. A letter was sent by C. Nichols to assure the BOS that such a regulation, drafted in December 2001, already is in effect which is max. Length is 25 feet and max. Depth is 3 feet.

3/7/02 the entire meeting was devoted to discussing the establishing new rates for moorings, slips, skiffs, transient tie-ups a mooring waiting list. The committee recommended the following: mooring fee remains $5.00, slip fees be increased by 40%, skiff fee for skiffs that owner has no mooring be $30.00, transient fee to be $1.00 per foot, floats between moorings to be $10.00 per year and vessels secured to Chapter 91 permitted floats be the same as the recommended mooring fee $5.00 per foot. The chair wrote a detailed description of mooring types, which included, who is responsible for maintaining them and the financial differences between a mooring and a slip. This was sent to the BOS to help them with their decision regarding the cost of a Town owned slip to as apposed to the cost of an individually owned mooring.

4/18/02 After much discussion of the fees voted in by the BOS at a March BOS meeting .At this meeting some members of the BOS thought that the proposal of the Harbor Department was in fact that recommended in March by the HAC. The outcome of this discussion was that the chair sends a letter to the BOS requesting they revisit the vote of the mooring fees.

At the request of the BOS the HAC prepared two policies, one for the rental of Town owned fish shacks and one for the rental of Town owned storage spaces. The committee agreed to consult with the Town attorney before addressing and voting on the rental of fish shacks owned by individuals but sitting on Town land.

The committee agreed to ascertain the total "Waterfront Related Income" the Town received each year. This precipitated as the result of resident stating in a March BOS meeting that the Town taxpayers are supporting the Waterfront. The chair agreed to take on this task.

5/9/02 There was a rehash of a BOS request to suggest uses for the White Wharf Building, all agreed that before anything else the building should be made safe for inhabitants. This of course will require a considerable amount of money. There was also a follow up on the Lobstermen's concerns regarding the condition of wharfs, pilings, floats etc. This was the result of a March 2611 letter to the HAC from Mike Anderson president of the Rockport Lobstermen's Assoc. The committee discussed the possibility of winter gear storage at White Wharf. A proposal to have the Harbor Department use a "Maintenance Check List" every fall to insure that any areas needing attention can be annotated and the cost can be in a request for funds for the spring Town meeting. Tied in to the preceding was a proposal for an annual "Harbors Maintenance and Repair Budget". There was discussion of the sale of the old harbor patrol boat. An assignment from the BOS for the HAC to recommend rules and regulations for Town owned shacks and gear storage areas was announced. C. Nichols sent a letter to the BOS out lining the committee's recommendations voted on at the April 18' meeting regarding the rental policies for Town owned Gear Storage Areas and Town owned Fish Shacks. The letter requested the BOS review the attachments and the matter be scheduled for a vote at a future BOS meeting. The policies were accepted at a subsequent BOS meeting after the chair explained them to the BOS.

6/6/02 M. Anderson presented a list of problems with the wharfs, piles and floats. Mr. Anderson said that these problems were presented to the Town DPW, but to date nothing had been done. Harbormaster Story said that if they would come to the Harbor Department with the list that they would see to it that it would be accomplished. The chair said that he would send the list to the HD from the HAC and he sent a letter that night. Therefore it was decided that in the fixture any complaints will be addressed to the HAC and the HAC will inform the HD by letter. C. Nichols presented the result of his research into how much is deposited in the "Town of Rockport General Fund" from "Waterfront Related Income". The final figure, taken from information provided by the town accounting Department, Harbor Department, Granite Pier Committee, and Selectmen's' records was $235,842.00 for PY 2002.

6/21/02 Management of the White Wharf Facility (WWF) has been deemed the responsibility of the Harbor Department. The BOS tasked the HAC with creating a budget estimate to run the W WWF for the 2002 boating season. This was completed on June 5t' by the White Wharf Sub Committee (WWSC) and sent to the BOS. The WWSC consisted of the following: C. Nichols, S. Ouellette and B. Story HAC, J. Gardner fincom and the Harbor Department. A letter was sent to the BOS requesting seven (7) additional parking spaces as to amend the eight (8) proposed by the BOS in a memo dtd. 4/11/01. This decision was made by the WWSC at the June 5'b gathering at White Wharf. The possibility of the Town charging for moorings off Front Beach was discussed. The enforcement of the loss of mooring if boat had not been on mooring for 30 days in a boating season was discussed. Updating the Harbormaster job description and increasing the salary and benefits was discussed and a letter was sent to the BOS requesting the BOS consider changing the Harbormaster wage category from "Stipend" to "Over 21 hours Salaried".

7/18/02 Those present (C. Nichols, S. Ouellette, and S. Story) discussed up-dating and adding new addenda to the "Town of Rockport Harbor Rules and Regulations". They also addressed letters from past Old Harbor Yacht Club slip renters' reference to slips at Town owned White Wharf Facility. The HAC received a letter from the BOS requesting the committee establish Rules and Regulations regarding Town owned Storage areas and Fish Shacks. The committee, at the Harbormasters request, will revisited the possibility of moorings off Front and Back Beaches at the next meeting. A letter was sent to the BOS, at their request, officially describing what the term "Commercial Fisherman" is.

8/29/02 The committee was presented a proposal from the Harbor Department titled "Summer Moorings". This proposal outlined the possibility of "temporary" seasonal moorings in the following areas: Front and Back Beaches, Coast Guard Cove, and other coves from Folly Cove, to Long Beach. The committee elected C. Nichols as Chairman and J. Lucas as Secretary for another year.

9/27/02 A letter was sent to the BOS by the chair subject "White Wharf Boating Season 2002 and beyond". The letter addressed issuing mooring permits for the White Wharf Slips to those people wishing them on the mooring list and informing the present tenants the slips will not be available to them in the future.

Review the Town Administrator letter dtd. 2 July 2002 regarding Harbor Department Wage Classification Plan a strategy as to how we plan to approach the Town as we move forward in this endeavor. A subcommittee was formed to continue this task.

10/17/02 The issues discussed at this meeting were: Rules & Regulations for Town owned areas, and a fuel facility for boats in Rockport.

10/20/02 The chair attended a meeting at the request of the BOS subject " Chapter 91 issues, including your role, function and involvement in Chapter 91 matters."

11/21/02 The committee discussed the town owned storage areas and fish shacks rules and regulations (R&R) and were given an old Granite Pier Lease which had some rules as part of the lease. The committee voted that the R&R should be included in the leases of the storage areas and fish shacks. The chair met with the Town Administrator with this proposal and it was agreed that the R&R should be included as part of the lease.

12/19/02 The chair presented a draft letter to the committee. The letter was to the BOS stating that the committee voted to include the "Town owned Gear Storage Areas and Town owned Fish Shacks Rules and Regulations" in each area rental lease at the HAC November meeting. The letter contained two attachments, attachment 1 list of possible R&R, not included in vote taken by committee vote at November meeting, but considered essential by chair and some other members. Attachment 2 is a proposed "Lease Agreement" containing all the elements voted in at the November HAC meeting. The committee voted to have the lease retyped and reviewed at the next meeting before submission. Prior to the HAC meeting the Harbor Planning Committee met to vote to change the number required for a quorum from 8 to 5, after some discussion, the proposal was voted in.

C. Nichols, Chairman
Harbor Advisory Committee


The Thacher Island Town Committee consists of eleven members who are charged by the Selectmen with the maintenance, improvement and oversight of activities on Thacher Island. It works in cooperation with the United States Fish & Wildlife which owns the northern third of the Island. The Island is open from the first of June through the latter part of October and when open, four sets of volunteer keepers are in residence.

In 2002, with over $80,000 and hundreds of hours of volunteer labor from the Thacher Island Association, the assistant keeper's residence was refurbished, and the guest apartments readied for occupancy.

Over 1500 people visited the Island in 2002. Noteworthy activities included the overnight camp-out by the Rockport Boy Scouts, the Artists Weekend with over 80 artists and photographers, the Town Officials Visitation, the Council on Aging Day, the Rotary Club Picnic, and 200 children from Coastal Discoveries Youth Group exploring field studies on the Island.

The new Carroll's Campground was completed and used by over 100 campers.

The Island was included in the Essex Heritage Commission Trails and Sails Day and proved so popular that the event became overbooked.

Plans for 2003 expect further improvements and expansion of Island activities at no cost to the Town.

"The volunteer activities of the few will continue to benefit the many."

Sydney M. Wedmore, MD


home  |  contact