SOUTHWEST HARBOR — The Harbor Committee here is recommending a permanent ban on cruise ships and other large vessels using the waters of the town.
Harbor Committee members Anne Napier, Corey Pettegrow and John Stanley attended a Dec. 12 meeting of the Board of Selectmen to report on three recommendations the committee has regarding cruise ship activity in the town. The committee and the town’s Planning Board have been tasked with developing ordinance changes in response to the 180-day moratorium on cruise ships approved by voters in August.
Regarding the ban on “cruise ships and other large vessels,” Selectman Dan Norwood asked what the committee meant by “large vessel.”
“The general consensus is anything larger than 150 feet,” Pettegrow replied.
Pettegrow said a 240-foot yacht that visited last summer “caused a lot of problems.”
However, he said, the committee recognizes that private yachts bring revenue into the town. “Certainly our main focus is a cruise ship ban.”
A second recommendation is for a permanent ban of the use of private docks, moorings, piers, floats and other water and land access for landings by cruise ship tenders.
Finally, the committee is recommending that the harbormaster be “mandated to specify and publicize required tackle for moorings of different sizes of watercraft.”
The committee is defining a cruise ship as “a watercraft carrying passengers for hire which is capable of providing overnight accommodations for 49 or more passengers.”
Furthermore, the committee is suggesting language for a proposed ordinance. It reads: “Any vessel defined as a cruise ship will not disembark or embark passengers on any public or private facilities in Southwest Harbor; this includes using tenders to transfer passengers. No cruise ship may anchor or dock in the coastal waters of Southwest Harbor.”
Selectmen took no action.
“This is a great first step,” Norwood told committee members.
The Harbor Committee has scheduled a workshop for Jan. 8 and has invited Planning Board members and others to discuss their recommendations.