MOORING RULES & REGULATIONS
March 21, 2017
MOORING RULES & REGULATIONS
These rules and regulations are adopted by the Harbormaster and approved by the Board of Selectmen acting pursuant to the By-Laws of the Town of Scituate, Section 30920, M.G.L. Ch. 102., section 21 et seq., MGL Ch. 91, section 10A, M.G.L. Ch. 43B, section 13 and 310 Code of Massachusetts Regulation 9.07 and any other applicable legal authority.
A. Mooring – Means a place where buoyant vessels, lobster-cars, floats, or rafts are secured to the bottom of a water body and the mooring tackle used to secure the vessel by permit from the Harbormaster.
B. Mooring Area – Means the eight mooring areas in Scituate: Scituate Inner Harbor, Scituate Outer Harbor, South River Entrance to the Sea Street Bridge, Sea Street Bridge to Julien Street Bridge, Julien Street Bridge to Marshfield Town Line, North River Entrance to Damon’s Point, Damon’s Point to the 3A Bridge, 3A Bridge to the Norwell Town Line.
C. Mooring Service Provider – Means company or inspector certified by the Harbormaster to perform mooring service, installation, inspection and maintenance.
D. Mooring Space – Means a space in the harbor in which mooring tackle may be installed and a boat or other float moored upon the issuance of an annual permit by the Harbormaster.
E. Mooring Tackle – Means the block, chain, buoy, pennant and any other equipment used to moor a boat, lobster-car, float, or raft.
F. Commercial (fishing) vessel – Means any vessel as determined by the Harbormaster principally engaged in fishing and sale of catch.
G. Vessel – Means every description of watercraft, other than a seaplane on the water, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water.
H. Vessel of Record - Means the vessel identified on the mooring permit application.
MOORING ASSIGNMENT PROCEDURE
PURPOSE: The purpose of this procedure is to ensure the fair and equitable assignment of annual permits from a waiting list for the placement and temporary use of bottom anchored moorings, floats, or rafts. This assignment procedure relates to individual commercial (fishing) and recreational/commercial (non-fishing) moorings. Commercial (non-fishing) moorings will follow the same waiting lists, rules, regulations and assignment method as recreational moorings. This procedure is consistent with harbor planning goals. This waiting list procedure shall not discriminate against any citizen on the basis of residency, race, religion, sex, age, disability or other illegal distinction.
A. Waiting List
An applicant for a permit for the placement of moorings, floats, or rafts held by bottom-anchor, in vacant or
new mooring space in Scituate waterways (as defined in Scituate By-Law Section 30910) shall complete and file the Town of Scituate Mooring Permit Application Form with the Harbormaster. The applicant must indicate the boat size range on the application. The application fee of $20.00 must accompany the application. These applications must be renewed in person, by mail, or by email, along with a renewal fee of $5.00 annually. A renewal invoice shall be sent out by the Harbormaster no later than August 1st and must be returned by September 15th with payment by check or credit card only. Failure to pay the renewal fee by September 15th will result in removal from the waiting list. Completed applications will be processed within fifteen days of receipt by the Harbormaster. Placement of the application on the waiting list constitutes action by the Harbormaster.
B. Mooring Assignment Method from Waiting Lists
The following method will be used for mooring assignment. Commercial (fishing) and recreational/ commercial (non fishing) vessel waiting lists will be established and managed by the Harbormaster. As new or vacant moorings become available, the Harbormaster will offer the mooring to the next applicant in the appropriate waiting list. Priority will be given to the applicant within a waiting list with the earliest date and time of application and appropriate size range for mooring space available.
(1) The applicant’s position on the waiting list is determined by the date of the initial application.
(2) Amendment of Application. Boat size, and other pertinent data on file, can be amended on an Mooring Permit Application Form in writing with the applicant retaining priority on the waiting list based on the date of the initial application.
(3) Applicants will be notified via email or phone and will have seven business days to contact the Harbormaster and make a decision. If the Harbormaster is not contacted within seven business days this will be considered one refusal. If the applicant refuses a mooring checked off on the application the next year or any year beyond, the applicant will be removed from the waiting lists. This includes failure to contact the Harbormaster as stated above.
(4) Request for Upgrading of Existing Mooring. At any time during the year a mooring permittee may request reassignment based on proposed changes in boat size. The Harbormaster will determine if the proposed vessel can fit on the existing mooring. If not, the permittee’ s application will be taken for the new boat size and placed on the waiting list based on date and time of submittal. A fee of $20.00 must accompany the application. The permittee may continue to renew the existing mooring permit with the existing boat on an annual basis until a permit is granted for a new mooring location.
(5) Newly assigned moorings shall be inspected by the Harbormaster, or his designated agent within thirty (30) days of acceptance, except those moorings assigned after Oct 15th will be inspected by May 15th of the following year.
(6) No individual can apply for a mooring, be assigned a mooring, or a slip in Cole Parkway Marina or Scituate Marine Park Marina, unless they are 18.
(7) It is the applicant’s responsibility to know the mooring rules, regulations and waterways bylaws. It is the applicant’s responsibility to provide the Harbormaster with correct and updated contact information.
C. Registration of Newly Assigned Mooring Permit
(1) Upon acceptance of a newly assigned mooring, the permittee must complete the registration process within thirty (30) days. Registration includes:
- Payment for mooring.
Completed, signed Mooring Permit Application Form. The new permittee must be the sole or majority (51% or more) owner of the vessel of record or the sole or majority (51% or more) owner of the corporation that owns the vessel of record. A copy of the vessel of record’s registration, certificate of title, USCG documentation, certificate of insurance and other documentation as may be required by the Harbormaster must accompany this form. The mooring owners name must be first name on USCG documentation/state registration/title, first name on excise tax form and first named insure. Falsifying information on a mooring permit application or failure to submit a fully completed mooring permit application and supporting documentation that satisfies the ownership requirements in this section shall be cause for non-consideration of the application.
- Approved mooring inspection form.
- Proof of paid boat excise.
(2) The new permittee’s vessel must be placed on the mooring by July 1st of the year in which a mooring permit was assigned or the mooring permit will be forfeited. The new permittee must notify the harbormaster’s office via email or phone that the boat is on the mooring. The date for placing the vessel on the mooring may be extended by the Harbormaster in writing, but in no case extended beyond that year’s boating season ending October 15th.
(3) The new permittee has the option, but no obligation, to purchase mooring ground tackle from the previous permit holder within seven business days.
(4) If the ground tackle is not purchased by the new permittee the previous permittee must remove the ground tackle at his/her own expense. If the ground tackle is not removed within seven business days it will be considered a public nuisance and the Harbormaster may remove it after notice to the previous permittee and shall become the property of the Town of Scituate’s Harbormaster’s office.
MOORING RULES & REGISTRATION
A. A moorings shall be registered with the Harbormaster each year. A renewal invoice shall be sent out by the Harbormaster no later than March 1st and must be returned by April 15th with payment by check or credit card only. Permittees who fail to register their mooring by April 15th are subject to penalties provided in By-Laws of the Town of Scituate, Section 31000. Permittees who fail to register their mooring and pay the penalties by May 15th will be considered to have abandoned their mooring and the space will be allocated to those on the waiting list. In the event of a hardship the Harbormaster may extend the deadlines in this section to a another specific date.
Annual Registration includes:
- Payment for mooring.
Updating of mooring permit application information. The permittee must be the sole or majority (51% or more) owner of the vessel of record or the sole or majority (51% or more) owner of the corporation that owns the vessel of record. A copy of the vessel of record’s registration, certificate of title, USCG documentation, certificate of insurance and other documentation as may be required by the Harbormaster must be submitted annually. The mooring owners name must be first name on USCG documentation/state registration/title, first name on excise tax form and first named insured. Failure to satisfy the ownership requirements in this section shall be cause for non-renewal of the mooring permit.
- Proof of paid boat excise.
(1) An identification sticker bearing the mooring permit number will be issued to each registered mooring holder upon completion of the annual registration process. This sticker must be attached to the outside of the hull of the boat, aft on the port side, prior to placing a vessel on a mooring. Failure to display said sticker will result in a penalty as provided in the By-Laws of the Town of Scituate, Section 31000. A mooring seal/band will be placed on the mooring each year by the Harbormaster or a designee.
B. Mooring permits and mooring applications are not transferable except to the permit/mooring applicant holder’s spouse.
C. The payment of a mooring registration fee does not give the permit holder any right, or claim, to any particular location. It does give him/her the right to a location in Scituate waterways and a proof of authorization for a mooring that is suitable for the boat specified on file at the Harbormaster’s office. All such moorings and permits granted, including assignment of locations, are of a temporary nature and no property or vested rights are created or granted.
D. Permittees leaving their moorings for seven or more consecutive days must notify the Harbormaster of their estimated departure and return dates.
E. Without written permission of the Harbormaster, no mooring permit shall be renewed unless the boat owner has regularly moored his/her boat on a mooring for a minimum of 30 days during the previous calendar year.
F. Permittees who register moorings that are lost, non-compliant, and/or are not usable in their present state, shall have their mooring registrations voided and not renewed. Any mooring that is not visible by May 15th shall be considered abandoned, unless recently (1 week) lost, and the space allocated to those on the waiting list.
G. No mooring may be rented for any period of time. No mooring shall be utilized by a boat not registered to that mooring permittee for a period in excess of seven days. However, that any yacht club or boat club or other non-profit organization having membership of at least fifteen persons may register not more than five moorings for the use of transient guests. These moorings shall be located outside the Federal Project Mooring Areas. Occupancy of such guest mooring for more than seven consecutive days by any one vessel shall be presumptive evidence of violation thereof. Temporary mooring assignments may be made by the Harbormaster from the waiting list for any mooring that is not being used by the permittee with his/her boat on file with the Harbormaster. The owner of the boat on the mooring as of July 1 shall be assessed an excise tax for any year(s) the boat is on the mooring.
H. Any permittee who has not used his/her mooring for one calendar year shall forfeit his/her permit.
I. A permittee may not move their mooring from one designated area to another without following the wait list for the requested mooring area.
J. It is the permittee’s responsibility to know the mooring rules, regulations and waterways bylaws. It is the permittee’s responsibility to provide the Harbormaster with correct and updated contact information.
A. Each mooring buoy shall be painted white with a horizontal blue stripe around it and marked with the permit holder’s name and mooring registration number with a minimum 3” letter size to be legible from the helm of a Harbormaster patrol boat. In addition, the registered boat length shall be enclosed in a minimum 3” diameter circle.
B. Moorings that are not properly marked as stated above are subject to removal as being illegal. A charge of $50 will be assessed to the owner for removal regardless if the mooring is returned to its permitted location or not.
C. The length of the mooring pennant on moorings equipped with boxes, or floats attached to the mooring chain shall not exceed ten feet from the box chock to the float, unless express permission from the Harbormaster is granted.
D. All moorings shall have affixed to the chain approximately two feet from the top, a tag permanently marked with the mooring number.
E. Mooring weights and specifications are listed below:
Class of Boat
(1) to less than 16’
Min. 1000 lb.
Granite Block or reinforced with 1” eyebolt
(2) 16' to less
Granite Block with
1 1/4" eyebolt
(3) 26' to less
Granite Block with
1 1/4" eyebolt
(4) 33’ to less
Granite Block with
1 ¼” eyebolt
(5) 40’ and Over
Granite Block with
1 ¼” eyebolt
All chains, shackles, eyebolts and all related hardware shall be hot-dipped galvanized.
Shackles shall be properly wired to prevent the pin from backing out. With permission of the Harbormaster, a concrete block may be substituted for granite.
* Maximum length may be changed subject to Harbormaster approval.
CARE, MAINTENANCE AND USE OF MOORINGS
A. No mooring, after being set shall be moved or in any way be changed without advanced approval of the Harbormaster.
B. Mooring permit holders are forbidden to change the size of a boat on their mooring without advanced approval of the Harbormaster.
C. The care, maintenance, and registration of moorings are the responsibility of the permittee.
D. Winter logs shall be removed by May 15th of each year and replaced by a proper mooring buoy and all moorings shall remain identified with a proper mooring buoy through October 15th. Any mooring that is not visible by May 15th shall be considered abandoned, and the space allocated to those on the waiting list. The winter logs shall not be replaced before October 15th of each year. Those logs not removed by May 15th shall be considered a hazard to navigation and will be removed by the Harbormaster with no addition of a floating buoy. The top two feet of the winter logs shall be painted white and marked with the mooring number.
E. All moorings shall be inspected on a three-year basis under the direct supervision of the Harbormaster and/or his designated agents up to and including the lifting of the mooring itself, if conditions warrant. A mooring inspection report describing the existing condition of the mooring and any corrective measures taken shall be filed with the Harbormaster within seven days of said inspection. Inspection reports will not be accepted after seven days of inspection.
MOORING SERVICE PROVIDERS
A. All mooring service providers shall be certified annually by the Harbormaster.
B. No mooring service provider shall inspect, place, or service a mooring for a vessel owner without proof of a current mooring permit issued by the Harbormaster.
C. Non-compliance with any regulation herein will be sufficient cause for the suspension or revocation of the certification of a mooring servicing provider issued under these regulations, following notice and an opportunity to be heard.
CONFORMANCE WITH EXISTING REGULATIONS AND DISCLAIMER
A. These mooring regulations are not an assurance of a safe mooring due to variations in weather, individual boater use, and other factors over which the Harbormaster has no control. The responsibility and liability for safety of persons and property rest on the individual vessel owners and permit holders. It shall be the responsibility of the vessel owners and permit holders to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, including these mooring regulations. Specifications and actions of the Harbormaster and the Town of Scituate are not to be considered assurances of safety.
B. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to conflict with the jurisdiction of the United States Government with the respect to the enforcement of navigation, shipping, anchorage, and association laws of the United States, or any lawful regulation of the Division of Waterways of the Department of Environmental Protection, or the Environmental Police or any of the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
C. The invalidity of any section or provision of these mooring regulations shall not invalidate any other section or provision thereof.
PENALTIES AND REVIEW OF LOCAL DECISION
A. Whoever violates any provisions of these Rules and Regulations shall be penalized as provided in the By-Laws of the Town of Scituate, Section 31000.
B. Any person aggrieved by a refusal to permit such temporary mooring, or by any condition or restriction imposed relative to such mooring, may appeal to the division of waterways of the department within thirty days after receiving notice of such refusal or of the imposition of such condition or restriction. Said division shall review the circumstances resulting in such appeal and shall render a ruling either confirming the action of a harbormaster, setting such action aside, or amending such action and imposing its own conditions and restrictions as deemed necessary.
Scituate Board of Selectmen
Approved June 5, 1979
Revised February 21, 1984
Revised April 1993
Revised June 4, 1997
Revised September 9, 1997
Revised December 16, 1997
Revised May 21, 1998
Revised July 2004
Revised April 2012
Revised July 2013
Revised March 2017
30900 WATERWAYS BY-LAWS
In construing this by-law the following words shall have the meaning herein given unless a contrary intention clearly appears.
“Scituate Harbor” – the waters between the flashing red light on Cedar Point breakwater and the flag pole at the Scituate Coast Guard building on First Cliff and all the waters inside this line.
“Scituate Waterways” – the waters within the limits of Scituate Harbor and that portion of the North River and South River lying within the town of Scituate and all other waterways within the jurisdiction of the Town of Scituate; as defined in N.O.A.A. map dated February 1979.
“Harbormaster” – shall mean Harbormaster and Assistant Harbormasters duly appointed by the Town Administrator.
“Boat” – includes every description of watercraft, other than a seaplane on the water, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water.
“Persons” – shall include individuals, corporations, societies, associations and partnerships.
“Skin Divers” – shall include swimmers using fins and/or mask and/or snorkel tubes or self-contained underwater breathing devices.
“Commercial Fisherman” – An individual holding a Federal or State commercial ground fish, lobster and/or scallop license whose principal means of employment is fishing and the sale of catch.
30920 MOORING PERMITS
A. The purpose of this section is to preserve the public peace, good order and welfare; to preserve and protect the coastal waters within the jurisdiction of the Town of Scituate and all beaches, flats, tidelands and submerged lands lying seaward of the line of mean high water, and to prevent encroachments therein; to promote, preserve and protect the exercise and enjoyment of the public rights of fishing, fowling, and navigation; to so regulate the use of said coastal waters as to protect and promote the public health, safety, convenience and enjoyment thereof.
B. Mooring Permits: No person shall moor any boat or shall place any block, chain, pennant or other mooring device within the limits of Scituate waterways without first obtaining a Mooring Permit from the Harbormaster.
Such permit must be obtained for each calendar year and a mooring fee, set by the Selectmen, shall be paid for said permit to the Harbormaster on a form prescribed by the Selectmen. The application shall set forth the name and address of the owner, the size and type of the boat to be moored, the size and type of mooring, and if the mooring is already in the water, the location thereof with sufficient details to enable the Harbormaster to locate it. No person shall own more than one mooring, except a Commercial Fisherman, as defined in Section 30910 (Definitions), and an owner of a Certified Mooring Service who may own up to two (2) moorings for the purpose of mooring Commercial (fishing) Vessels owned by said Commercial Fisherman or Commercial Vessels used in the operation of certified Mooring Service. Furthermore, a Commercial Fisherman, as defined in Section 30910 (Definitions), may also own one (1) additional mooring for the purpose of mooring a recreational vessel owned by said Commercial Fisherman, or take any other action relative thereto. No mooring shall be rented. Provided, however, that any yacht club or boat club, or other non-profit organization having a membership of at least fifteen persons may own not more than five moorings for the use of transient guests. Occupancy of such guest mooring for more than seven consecutive days by any one vessel shall be presumptive evidence of violation thereof. The Harbormaster shall not issue mooring permits or slip rentals to persons who have delinquent excise taxes.
Subject to the Town of Scituate Mooring Rules and Regulations and Waterways By-Laws, Subsection Mooring Rules and Regulations (H), a mooring owned by a Commercial Fisherman as defined in Section 30910 (Definitions), with the approval of the Harbormaster, may be used to moor a Commercial Fishing Vessel owned by another Commercial Fisherman for up to two years.
C. The Harbormaster shall prepare regulations governing the use of moorings, applications for mooring permits, the size and specifications for moorings, their hardware and pennants. All such regulations shall be submitted to the Selectmen for approval. Upon approval the regulations shall be published once in a newspaper published in the town and shall be posted for seven consecutive days at the Harbormaster’s office and at the Town Clerk’s office and shall become effective upon expiration of said seven days. Copies of such regulations shall be available upon request at the Town Clerk’s office and the Harbormaster’s office. Such regulations may be amended from time to time in the same manner.
D. Any hazard to navigation or property, or any mooring placed within the limits of Scituate Waterways in violation of the foregoing provisions may be removed by the Harbormaster at the expense of the owner.
E. As far as practical, the Harbormaster shall require all commercial boats to be moored in a common area.
SECTION 30930 TOWN LANDINGS, PIERS,
DECKS, AND FLOATS
A. No person carrying passengers for hire shall embark or disembark such passengers from any boat at the town landings without permission of the Harbormaster.
B. No person shall tie or secure any boat to any town-owned dock, pier or float for more than sixty minutes without first obtaining tie-up permit from the Harbormaster. Such permit may be issued on a daily, seasonal or calendar basis and a tie-up fee, set by the Selectmen, shall be paid to the Harbormaster or other agent authorized by the Town Administrator. The Harbormaster shall prepare regulations governing the use of such town facilities and applications for tie-up permits. All such regulations shall be submitted to the Selectmen for approval subject to procedural requirements of Section 39020C above. Nothing herein shall prohibit the Harbormaster from issuing a tie-up permit for no fee for any disabled vessel or any transient vessel requiring temporary refuge in Scituate Harbor.
C. No person shall clean or scale fish on town float or piers.
D. No person shall leave any boating or fishing equipment or any personal property upon the town landing places, floats, or piers for longer than is reasonably necessary in the act of loading or unloading same, to or from boats or vehicles without written permission of the Harbormaster.
E. No person shall swim or dive from town-owned piers or floats unless enrolled in organizational instruction permitted by the Harbormaster.
F. No major repairs or complete maintenance work shall be done at town piers, docks or floats without permission of the Harbormaster.
G. The town is not responsible for any loss or damage to boats at town piers, docks or floats. Owners will be held responsible for damage to structures and pilings owned by the Town.
H. No boat shall be left in dead storage at the town pier.
SPEED LIMIT WITHIN TOWN WATERWAYS
No boat shall exceed a speed of six nautical miles per hour or cause a disturbing wake within the confines of Scituate Harbor, North, South and Gulph Rivers.
SECTION 30950 SKIN DIVING
Skin diving shall be permitted in Scituate Harbor only for the purpose of maintenance of boats, moorings, floats, piers, ground tackle and channel markers, and only with permission of the Harbormaster.
All skin divers shall:
- Display an approved diver’s flag.
- Display such a flag on a float or other similar device holding flag upright at a height sufficient to be visible to passing boats, but in any event, not less than three feet.
- Tow the aforesaid float and flag with him while he is submerged in the water and surface thereunder, unless for commercial purposes, permission is granted in writing by the Harbormaster to otherwise display flags for the protection of divers in Scituate Harbor.
No skin diver shall operate in Scituate Harbor and North and South Rivers except from a boat and attended by another person.
SECTION 30960 WATERSKIING
No person shall operate a boat in Scituate Harbor while towing water skiers, aquaplanes or other similar devices except in connection with water carnivals and exhibitions authorized by the Selectmen, or in an area designated by the Selectmen. No person shall operate such boat or equipment within 150 feet of any swimmer or at any of the beaches of Scituate.
SECTION 30970 DISCHARGING
Discharging or depositing, or causing to be thrown overboard, oil, refuse, waste, treated or untreated sewerage into the harbor, waterways or marinas is prohibited. All marinas will display this regulation on their wharf or ramp so as to be in the uninterrupted view of persons using this facility and to be of size to be read at a reasonable distance.
SECTION 30980 SAILING CLASSES
Sailing classes will be allowed to race within the Scituate Harbor area when under the jurisdiction of an authorized race committee recognized by the Harbormaster. Such boats shall not have courses laid out which use government marks for turning buoys or use fairways as a leg of the race course. Such boats shall respect the maneuvering problems of larger vessels in the harbor.
SECTION 30990 TOWN LAUNCHING RAMPS
The proper usage of the town launching ramps shall be determined by the Selectmen. This shall include the proper parking of trailers and motor vehicles at the approach to the ramp. Persons using town ramps for hauling of larger boats requiring cradles shall apply to the Harbormaster for permission. Such cradles and/or boats shall not remain on the town ramps for more than one tide.
SECTION 31000 PENALITIES
Whoever violates any provision of this chapter or any rule or regulation adopted under 30920C. hereof, and whoever fails to obey the lawful and reasonable orders of the Harbormaster, or resists him in the execution of his duties shall be fined up to $100.00 and/or may have their mooring, dockage, or commercial access privileges revoked. This chapter shall be enforced by the Harbormaster.