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 - Rosemary Lesch
Vice President - Ken Corson
Treasurer - Ronald Mott
Secretary/Clerk - Charles Famolare
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
Environmental Police and the
United States Coast
Massachusetts Harbormasters Association, Inc. home