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The Massachusetts Harbormasters Association is an organization of regional Chapters of harbormasters working together to promote safe boating on the waters of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We endeavor to bring better administration to the waters of the Commonwealth; to assist in the adoption of any new legislative programs which the Association believes would be beneficial to the boating public, and to aid and inform the Harbormasters and Assistant Harbormasters of the Commonwealth.

Role of the Harbormaster

Harbormasters have been on watch since colonial times to ensure that shipping went smoothly and trade was regulated. Two centuries later, Chapter 102, Section 23 of Massachusetts's code on Harbors and Harbormasters still contains the wording that permits harbormasters to direct vessels to "cockbill the lower yards, brace the topsail yards fore and aft and rig in the jib-boom."

Massachusetts Harbormasters Association Officers:
President - Charles Famolare
Vice President - Kenneth Corson
Treasurer - Ronald Mott
Secretary/Clerk - Rosemary Lesch

Nearly all harbormasters in the U.S. are municipal employees, appointed by their village, town or state. Their geographic area of responsibility can cover just one marina, or an entire harbor and acres of mooring fields, transient docks and year-round marinas. Many harbormasters have a staff of dock, fuel and maintenance workers as well as harbor patrol or natural resources staff under their control.

There are a few privately funded harbormasters, but their responsibilities usually only lie with one marina and its boaters, much like a marina manager or dockmaster. They are more solely focused on customer service, rather than having a larger role in the community. The days of the harbormaster sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch with a corn cob pipe are gone. There is much more boating traffic, and in a post 9/11 world where harbor security is a priority, harbors can be "target-rich" - full of bridges, power plants, passenger ships and offloading tankers.

In addition to homeland security, environmental laws are also a big issue now. While enforcing the rules of the road concerning boats operating within their jurisdiction, a big part of the job is to educate boaters on the state's environmental regulations - a harbormaster's responsibilities can be extensive.

Harbormasters are municipal guardians of the waterfront, with duties ranging from Harbor Planning & Management, Mooring & Dockage Management, Education of the Public Regarding Safe & Legal Boating, Law Enforcement (of Statutes and Regulations involving the boating community), and Emergency & Search and Rescue operations. In such a wide range of duties, our harbormasters must work closely with other departments in their community, as well as the Massachusetts Environmental Police and the United States Coast Guard.




Massachusetts Harbormasters Association, Inc.