TREMONT — Between them, the members of the town’s harbor committee have considerable experience aboard boats. But lately, they find themselves navigating the tricky waters left in the wake of the 2011 federal dredging of Bass Harbor.
The harbor committee is in the process of updating the harbor management ordinance to make changes that include those that would bring the ordinance into compliance with federal requirements regarding federally dredged areas.
The stickiest of these requirements involves service floats and moorings used by boatyards. Federal regulations prohibit a commercial entity, such as a boatyard, from owning floats and moorings in a dredge area.
At the committee’s Feb. 12 meeting, members, with input from the public, struggled to rewrite a section of the ordinance that would sidestep that prohibition.
“The way I feel may not be legal,” said chairman Jon Crossman. “I feel those guys should have their floats.”
Other committee members agreed.
“This town has been very helpful to fishermen,” Art Paine pointed out. “But, I think it should be helpful to boatyards, too.”
Another committee member, Mel Atherton, suggested changing the ordinance to eliminate language referring to commercial floats and moorings in the section of mooring, float and lobster car assignment. As worded now, the ordinance allows floats and moorings to be assigned by the harbormaster to all “except” for commercial use. This would achieve the goal, he said.
The committee voted 6-0 to make the change in the draft ordinance. Any changes must be approved at town meeting before going into effect.
One of the committee’s concerns regarding commercial floats and moorings is the possibility that they might be rented to transient boaters or others. This definitely is prohibited in the federal area.
“It’s very tough to police whether these are being rented out or not,” Crossman said.
Committee member David Schlaefer said a float and mooring agreement could prohibit rentals explicitly. The person or commercial entity using the float or mooring would be required to sign the agreement when they pay for their annual permit. If terms of the agreement are violated, the permit would be revoked, Schlaefer.
Schlaefer’s motion to make the agreement part of the annual fee process carried 6-0.