Rockport Harbormaster
Search for:        










Harbormaster & Waterfront Committee Reports

Annual Reports for year ending December 31, 2009.

Rockport Harbor Department
2009 Annual Report

In 2009 the Rockport Harbor Department along with the regular duties of running an active department experienced a variety of interesting and exciting events.

Harbormasters Rosemary Lesch and Scott Story continue to run the North Shore Harbormaster training program for harbormasters from Fall River to Salisbury. The curriculum includes 351 hours of continuing education ranging from law enforcement, search and rescue, medical emergencies and boat handling. The harbormasters and assistant harbormasters in Rockport are all certified harbormasters. After 15 years of hard work by the Massachusetts Harbormaster Association a Harbormaster Training Council was appointed by the Governor (12/23/2008). Representatives from the north shore (2) south shore (2) and cape & islands (2) were appointed to the council: the north shore representatives are Rosemary Lesch and Scott Story. The remaining seats are appointed representatives from the USCG, Environmental Police, State Police and office of public safety with a total of 11 persons on the this training council.

Early in January the Rockport Rotary presented the harbor department with a new defibrillator which replace the defib that had been stolen from the harbor patrol boat late in 2008.

In mid January the 40' fishing vessel Alyssa & Andrew in Pigeon Cove harbor experienced a fire. The fire was contained below decks which created smoke and heat which made it difficult to determine what was burning. The Rockport Fire Department was able to fight the fire at the wharf extinguishing the difficult fire within 2-3 hours. The harbormasters and fishermen used the supplies from the Oil Spill trailer (awarded to the town by the State) to do the clean up of any fuel or oil spills.

During the remainder of the winter the harbor patrol boat was sent to the Boston Whaler manufacture for warranty work, training continued and routine office work.

Work was done on the floats in the spring and launched in early May. Over 80 floats belonging to the town and Sandy Bay Yacht club are stored each winter at Granite Pier and launched in the spring by a crane owned by Great Eastern Marine and crew of local waterfront volunteers.

On May 7th 1629hrs the harbormasters received a call and were underway from T Wharf to find a dark blue 42' fiberglass Gulf Star diesel trawler with heavy smoke showing (42 37.637 070 34.928) off Milk Island. Approximately 50 ft from the burning vessel was a small skiff with one male on board. The man was the only person on the burning vessel and managed to get off the burning boat before it burst into flames. All that was left to do was watch as the vessel burned to the waterline with a small amount of debris sinking 4 hours later.

The month of June was spent making plans for the top secret wedding of the year (we were sworn to secrecy). Red Sox owner John Henry, who loves Rockport, wanted to plan his wedding on his 164' yacht Iroquois and have it anchored off Rockport during the ceremony. The plans were made and the day finally arrived and so did the thick fog. The 90' Privateer arrived from Gloucester to transport the wedding party out to the Iroquois (but no one could see them). The Iroquois arrived out in Sandy Bay (but no one could see it). The luxury coaches arrived with the fashionable guests who disembarked and were escorted onto the Privateer at T Wharf (but no one could see them). John Henry arrived to join his guests (but no one could see him). The transfer of the fashionable guests along with John Henry was made out in Sandy Bay from the Privateer to the Iroquois (but no one could see it). The Iroquois weighed anchor and the wedding plans continued with the wedding ceremony taking place while underway from Rockport back to Boston----it would have been wonderful if any one on shore could have seen it!!!

On that same weekend the fog contributed to the disappearance of a 31' sailboat and 10' zodiac both moored in Rockport Harbor. It appeared that the theft had been planned well in advance with the fog being an added cloak as the vessels left the harbor sight unseen. After extensive searching up and down the coast by local, state and federal officials neither boat has been recovered.

The remainder of the summer months was busy with transient boaters, search and rescues and diving emergencies.

The fall was spent making arrangements to have pilings installed along the wall in Pigeon Cove Harbor-12 pilings were secured to the east wall. Special thanks to Chad Ketchopolus and his associates for their time and expertise on this project.

A dramatic rescue took place off Bearskin Neck during a northeast storm with heavy winds and rough seas. Three men in a 20' sailboat were unable to handle the sea and wind conditions. "Everyone was surprised to see them out there" and "it was awful to see them out there". A successful rescue was performed by the harbormasters and local cooks at the My Place by the Sea restaurant, after the boat flipped over and was headed for the rocks.

The floats came out of the water in mid October and still the rescues went on with a 20' power boat going aground on Old Garden beach and a 30' Sea Ray running into problems attempting to get into the Merrimac River and ending up working its way down into Granite Pier being escorted by the USCG and Rockport Harbormasters.
The year came to an end with Santa Clause coming to town the first weekend in December as would be expected the seas were high and the winds heavy. Santa's trip was cut short but the excitement was no less for those braving the elements around the harbor and up to Dock Square.

On December 10th the North Shore Harbormasters assist Senator Bruce Tarr with his Project Up Lift by collecting toys- the Rockport Harbormasters help with the promotion of the project by escorting Santa and Mrs. Clause during the fund raiser.

Thanks you to all town departments for making Rockport a better place to live and work.

Harbor Incidents:

Assisted boaters 100+
Maydays 4
Boat Fires 3
Stolen Boats 2
Injured Seals 4
Divers in trouble 6

Rockport Harbormasters Rosemary Lesch and Scott Story
Assistant Harbormasters Ron Petoff and Story Reed


home  |  contact