Jill Simmons, Mattapoisett’s new harbormaster, reported to the Marine Advisory Committee on a number of activities that she has already completed, has underway now, or will have underway in the coming months. But nothing hit a nerve more than her suggestion that the town purchase a camera security system.
The committee members in attendance – Alan Gillis, Jack, Duff, Carlos DeSousa, Mike Chaplain and Jim Broadwater – heard Simmons detail the benefits of this level of security. She said that if cameras were situated at Ned’s Point, Town Landing, Barstow, and the town wharves, then monitoring of these important waterfront areas would curb vandalism, since vandals could be identified and charged. Residents would also be able to watch for themselves what was occurring on the waterfront since the cameras could stream live video to the town’s website where everyone would have access.
DeSousa was impressed with the possibility of this level of security that would give the harbormaster the ability to monitor activities remotely. While the price tag for a sophisticated security camera system was acknowledged as hefty, DeSousa suggested something more modest for now.
Gillis, Broadwater and Chaplain were all in agreement that this was an intriguing asset for the town and something that they felt boat owners would appreciate and desire. They moved to write a letter to the selectmen in support of this initiative.
Simmons also discussed the need for a new boat motor, renovations to the harbormaster’s building, repairs to existing docks from storm damage, dock carts, systems for tracking water and electrical use on the town’s wharves, and the building of new channel markers for recreational areas in the outer harbor areas.
Earlier in the evening, they discussed one sub-committee’s ongoing development of new “rules” for moorings, including fees and permits. One big area of concern, confusion, and consternation was the issue of mooring “grandfathering.” The members were not united in their opinion that grandfathering, as it is currently handled, is problematic, and the majority felt it was fraught with difficulties and led to possible abuses. Broadwater said, “We are doing all of this to make things fair for everyone.” The rules sub-committee is working on this issue as well.
They also established another sub-committee to take on establishing requirements for mooring inspectors and inspection methodology. At the request of the Board of Selectmen, the committee will investigate how other towns – including the town of Marion which has established qualifications for mooring inspectors – handle this critical waterfront activity. There was discussion on the importance of inspecting mooring chains, types of inspections, who has ultimate responsibility for damage caused by a watercraft that comes free of its mooring, and the town’s liability. A decision to include town counsel in any final document was deemed necessary. The sub-committee members are Mike Chaplain, Carlos DeSousa, and Jim Broadwater.
The ‘moorings’ sub-committee will meet on April 17 at 6:00 pm in the town hall or the library. The Marine Advisory Committee will meet again on April 24 at 7:00 pm in the town hall.
By Marilou Newell