October: Looking Back At Ten Years, Former Harbormaster's Gallery, What's Up with Dredging


Welcome to October on Manchester’s waters.  We have a lot of updates for boaters this month.

Ten Years

It is time to take a moment and reflect on some of the many projects the community championed for the waterfront. The years pass so quickly, especially when you are busy!  So, what kept us busy?

  • Morss Pier shelter
  • Fishermen’s crane
  • Reed Park Pier deck
  • Rebuilding town floats
  • Ramp to Town Hall docks
  • Area 7 Enviro moorings
  • Boat ramp (challenging)
  • Acquired pump-out boat
  • 100 new kayak spots
  • Conversion to bow and stern moorings (safer navigation achieved)
  • Dredging
  • Reed Park docks
  • Masconomo Seawall
  • Acquired second patrol vessel (stole it!)
  • Rebuilding /permitting condemned Tuck’s docking facility.
  • Expansion of the fishing facility at Morss Pier.

Thanks for all the great suggestions, none of these projects were my idea.  Manchester is certainly committed to the waterfront.

Former Harbormaster Photos Sought

The Harbor Department is looking for some photos of Manchester harbormasters from days gone by. The intention is to create a photo graphic record to display in the harbormaster office. An history would be helpful as well such as when they served and any assistants who served with them.

To date I am aware of Harbormasters McKiel, Ramos, Mains, McDiarmid and Brooks. If anyone is aware of another name and or has a photo of anyone listed here please forward a copy.

Dredge Assessment

As we all know Manchester requires routine dredging to maintain the mooring fields and channel.  Looking ahead to the next project it is clear that funding is a real challenge.  A state program offers 50 percent of the cost up to $2,500,000 per project.  Our next project is estimated at $3,400,000 making our share $1,700,000.  In order to meet this number it is likely a bond will be needed.  To repay the bond the Harbor Advisory Committee recommended a $2.50 per foot assessment on vessels kept in Manchester with a $2.50 per foot match from taxation.  The BOS approved the assessment.  The assessment will be included on your waterway renewal forms.  Feel free to reach out with questions.

Eastern Replacement

After 20 years and 10 dutiful years as the primary patrol boat the Eastern has been retired.  A leak has developed (its second one) and structural concerns raised. 

A commercial grade Eastern hull would be the best replacement to ensure continued shallow water capabilities.  This is a unique capability that should not be lost.

The timing is poor.  It is unlikely funding will be in place before next spring and a replacement unlikely to be in place before 2023.  Until a replacement is found we will make do with our other vessels.  A grant will be submitted to re-place the Safe Boat engines and a dewatering firefighting pump was recently added.  The pump-out boat should receive the Eastern Honda and electronics.

Reminder Of Massachusetts Regulation CMR 323 2.07—“The Use Of Vessels”

(1) Distance

  1. All motorboats must be operated in such a manner and at such a distance to prevent their wash from being thrown into, or causing excessive rocking to other vessels, rafts, or floats.
  2. Water skiers shall ski at a safe distance to pre-vent their wash from being thrown into, or causing excessive rocking to other vessels, rafts, or floats
  3. Motorboats shall not be operated:
  • within 150 feet of shoreline which is being used as a swimming area, whether public or private, or
  • within 75 feet of the seaward boundary of a public or private swimming beach, if designated by markers, floats or otherwise.
  • 323 CMR 2.07 shall apply to motorboats, barges, water skiers, or other devices being towed by power and the operator of the towing vessel shall be responsible for compliance there with.

Marine Mammals

A beached whale, dolphin or porpoise should be reported immediately and left alone pending further instruction.  Call the NOAA 24-hour Marine Animal Hotline: (866) 755- 6622. Please leave your name and a phone number where you can be reached.

Sea turtles in our region do not typically come ashore unless they are seriously debilitated.  Call the 24-hour Marine Animal Hotline: (866) 755-6622.

Seals belong on the beach. It’s normal. 

What should you do if you spot a seal on the beach?

Keep people and dogs 150 feet’ away from the seal.  Does the seal look injured or unhealthy?  If so. please call (866) 755-662 or call your Harbormaster.

All marine mammals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  This law makes it illegal to touch, disturb, feed or otherwise harass marine mammals without authority.

Manchester Draw Hours 0f Operation

Manchester Harbor.  The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Bridge at mile 1.0 in Manchester shall operate as follows:

  • The draw shall open from Memorial Day thru September 30 from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • From Memorial Day and from October 1 to November1 
  • from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 
  • 2 to 6 p.m.

At all other times, the draw shall open on signal with at least four hours of notice.  Call (617) 222-6114

Towing Policy

Manchester Harbormaster only tows those vessels that are in immediate danger or present a potential environmental hazard.  Please contact a towing or salvage operator should you need to be towed.

Towing Insurance

What happens when you breakdown or run out of gas or some other unforeseen event that ruins a perfectly nice boating day?  If you are lucky enough to be in an area where the community allows towing by the harbormaster help is nearby and probably free.  Many communities including Manchester do not allow towing unless there is risk to life or property involved, otherwise you will pay large sums for towing service. 

It would be wise to consider the purchase of towing insurance from your insurance company, Sea-tow or Tow Boat US.  For a reasonable rate you will potentially avoid thousands in towing fees.

October And November Harbormaster’s Hours 

Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Hours will vary depending on training, safe boating classes and meetings.  Feel free to call before coming to the office.

Be vigilant and notify the harbormaster of any missing or off station aids to navigation.  The latest Manchester Harbor Rules and Regulations are posted on the Harbormaster website.

Stop by, say hi, and don’t forget your lifejacket.

Manchester Harbormaster Bion Pike

uss sea gull, uss sparrow, manchester, massachusetts bay transportation authority bridge, harbor advisory, morss pier, tuck, operation manchester harbor, harbor advisory committee, national oceanic and atmospheric administration