Rockport Harbormaster
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Harbormaster & Waterfront Committee Reports

Annual Reports for year ending December 31, 2007.

Rockport Harbor Department
Town Report 2007

The highlight of the 2007 season for the Harbor Department was the October 12-15th visit by the 454 long Frigate USS Boone. Prior to the arrival of the USS Boone the summer had been routinely busy and relatively uneventful.

The harbor department shifted into high gear to end the regular season and start the process for the visit of the frigate USS Taylor. Several months prior to the arrival of the frigate the harbormasters met with US Navy officers and security persons to inspect the area in and around T Wharf and Sandy Bay. There were numerous phone calls/emails for the final arrangements for the arrival of this vessel and the support vessels that accompany such a large "floating city". The sewer barge and water supply vessels, the 85 Privateer out of Gloucester, which was the liberty and transport vessel, were all arranged and ready for the arrival of the USS Taylor. The only glitch was the USS Taylor while enroute to Cape Ann experienced problems and had to return back to its home port in Florida. At that time the USS Boone was dispatched from its regular duties off the coast of Florida to head for Rockport - the weekend was still on. It was full steam ahead at 27 knots to be able to keep their promise to arrive in Rockport on the designated date of October 12, 2007.

The harbor department had alerted the local fishermen of the coordinates of USS Taylor only to find that the USS Boone's captain preferred another area of Sandy Bay. It was anchors away and the USS Boone was secure in a heavy NW wind with the support vessels jockeying for positions around the large Navy vessel. That Friday evening a Meet and Greet Reception was planned, on the USS Boone, for the officers of the Boone and local dignitaries. The weather was still windy and NW which made it difficult for the liberty ship to land along side the Boone with the Rockport Town officials. It was left up to the Rockport Harbormasters to bring in the officers from the ship to the reception which was held at the Sandy Bay Yacht Club. The harbormasters gave the officers a wild and wet ride in from the ship which made for a memorable arrival to Rockport.

In preparation of the ship the main float at T Wharf was designated as the "fleet landing" site. With a great deal of ingenuity the harbormasters secured a third float onto the existing town float and beefed up the anchor system to support the 85' Privateer. The State Police Dive team along with Navy and local police secured T Wharf as the fleet landing site. The Privateer ran from 6am to 2am as the Liberty ship and also transported the public out to the USS Boone on morning and afternoon trips on both Saturday and Sunday. Over 1600 citizens got to tour the Boone along with special trips for Veterans from all branches of the service.

The town's Navy Visit Committee arranged numerous activities for the men and women of the ship ranging from a softball game to kayak races on Front Beach. One of the most talked about and popular activity was hosted by the Pigeon Cove Fishermen which entailed going out on a lobster boat, hauling the traps, bringing in the lobsters and cooking and eating them right on Pigeon Cove wharf. Rumor has it one Navy man managed to eat 8 lobsters. A great time was had by all who participated. Thanks to the Pigeon Cove, Rockport and Granite Pier lobstermen who were able to help with the Lobster Fest.

On Monday October 15 the USS Boone got underway with a little help from the Rockport Harbormasters to sail off into the wild blue yonder. We all look forward to another Navy visit in the fall of 2008.

After the departure of the Navy we continued to wrap up the season by dismantling the Rockport Town float (not an easy task) and securing the rest of the floats and removing Navy anchorage buoys from the water. We then had the good fortune to have the Burlington Scuba Club do a Saturday (in the water) clean up of the north basin, around the Motif and the base of Rockport Harbor. The debris, from years of activity in the harbor, was brought ashore and disposed of by the DPW. This was a great way to finish up the season.

The Harbormasters continue to be active in the Massachusetts Harbormaster Association and North Shore Harbormaster Chapter. Scott Story was elected president of the North Shore Harbormaster Chapter and Rosemary Lesch Secretary. Both harbormasters coordinate the harbormaster training program during the winter months which is held at the Salem Police Department. This is 60 hours a year of maritime and law enforcement training each year with the total number of complete training hours 351. These classes are held on Tuesday nights with on the water training in the spring.

The Rockport Harbormasters would like to take this opportunity to thank local departments for all the cooperation that is needed to safely perform the duties of each department. One example is a recent event in early December (the night of our first snow fall). The Rockport Ambulance was dispatched to the end of Bearskin Neck for a person who had fallen with a possible broken leg. Upon the ambulance arrival it was clear the person was quite a distance out on the ice covered breakwater and more rescue resources were need. The Rockport Harbormasters responded with their boat, the fire department was called for extra help lifting and possible use of a fire truck, the forest fire was considered for lighting (it was now dark). In the end the person was skillfully extricated off the rocks onto to the patrol boat and transported to the only float and ramp available in the harbor. The patient, on a long board and secure in a stokes stretcher, was then safely slid (with the help of many rescue workers) up the ramp to our waiting ambulance. All emergency services were called upon: ambulance, harbor, police, fire, and forest fire - all working together safely and no rescue worker was injured during the event. This is a true testament to all the dedicated men and women of the emergency services in the Town of Rockport.

Harbor Incidents:

Assisted the Public 100+
May Day 6
Search & Rescue 16
Medical 5
Diver in Distress 4
Flare Sightings 3
Assisted Seal/whale 4

Respectfully submitted
Rockport Harbormasters
Rosemary Lesch, Scott Story, Ron Petoff & Story Reed


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