Small Changes Make Big Difference for Dinghy Docks

            The July 31 Mattapoisett Marine Advisory Board meeting might have been a brief one, but the new business agenda line item is already making a big difference to boaters.

            Opening the meeting a bit belatedly due to technical difficulties with the remote meeting platform, Chairman Carlos DeSousa displayed a graphic for those in attendance. The graphic outlined the addition of new dinghy-dock spaces by adding peninsulas and relocating the Fire Boat. “It’s made quite a bit of difference already,” he said.

            The need for additional dinghy spaces has long been a problem facing the seaside boating community. Long waiting lists were eliminated over the last three years for moorings, but the associated space needed for dinghies to tie-up at the town wharf has grown.

            The new peninsulas are 20 feet by 60 feet, DeSousa said, and once fully installed will also add spaces for transients to tie up. While discussing this matter, member Brad Smith said the length of line used to secure a dinghy to a dock should be a similar to help avoid entanglement of lines. But all agreed setting such a standard would be difficult.

            Harbormaster Jamie MacIntosh was not able to attend the meeting due to his participation in a mutual effort to provide aid to a boat off Woods Hole that was taking on water. “When we got there the Coast Guard was on the scene,” he said in a follow-up.

            Regarding the dinghy spaces he’s been installing, MacIntosh said, “We are working within the Army Corps permit to maximize space.” He said the goal is not only to add spaces but to alleviate congestion. “We still have to make sure there’s enough water for boats to move around.”

            The wharf at Shipyard Park isn’t the only location where additional dinghy spaces will be added. “We are still looking at the Barstow dock, it’s still in the framework,” said MacIntosh. “One of the biggest challenges for boaters is to get out of their boats safely.”

            In other business, DeSousa shared an email he received from Weston “Van” Cantor, who alerted the board that motorboats were still racing through the designated recreation area. He acknowledged that, while the Harbormaster couldn’t catch all violators, such episodes were still taking place. Board members agreed that patrols had increased and that they believed those efforts were paying off. DeSousa added that new channel markers were already on maritime charts. The Harbormaster will be advised of Cantor’s continued concerns.

            Last item to be discussed was the possible confusion boaters have over the necessity to register their boats. “It’s just like owning a car,” MacIntosh told The Wanderer. “You have to register your boat if it has a motor.” That registration is required by the town for boaters seeking to obtain a mooring.

            The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Marine Advisory Board is scheduled for Thursday, August 27, at 7:00 pm; meeting details will be available at

Mattapoisett Marine Advisory Board

By Marilou Newell

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