With yachts in the summer and fishing boats in the winter, all of the slips at the Northeast Harbor Marina are taken most of the year. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

No vacancy: Marina full 10 months of year

MOUNT DESERT — Sometimes in June and September you can rent a slip at the Northeast Harbor Marina on short notice.

The rest of the year you’re probably going to be out of luck.

“In September, we transition from having all the yachts here to having the fishing fleet coming in,” said Harbormaster John Lemoine. “The same thing happens in reverse in the spring. The fishing fleet leaves around the end of May and we transition to the yachts.

“We have some fishing boats and some yachts here at the same time in June and September. They co-exist for a few weeks on each end, which is never an issue. Our visitors understand that this is a working harbor, and I think that’s part of the charm.”

Lemoine said one reason Northeast Harbor is so popular all year is because it’s so well protected.

“This harbor is considered a hurricane hole, a safe spot,” he said.

Northeast Harbor also has a year-round marina that offers electrical power to the fishing fleet.

“The majority of them, if they couldn’t plug in their engines during the winter, chances are they wouldn’t be able to start their boats,” Lemoine said. “These guys fish year round.”

In the summertime, the harbor is very busy, but relatively quiet.

“A lot of the boaters don’t like the hubbub of Bar Harbor and all the cruise ships,” Lemoine said. “And Southwest Harbor is a really busy little harbor, so a lot of the sail-boaters like to come here.”

Some of the leisure-craft owners and their families have been coming to Northeast Harbor for decades. And since the town spent $2.2 million to build a new harbormaster’s building, visitor information center and yachtsman’s building in 2012, Lemoine said the marina is an even more attractive stop-over or destination.

“A lot of the boaters say we are one of the nicest facilities they visit up and down the East Coast,” he said.

The Northeast Harbor Marina has about 57 slips for rent, “Depending on how you count it.” Lemoine said. He explained that the number depends on the size of the boats: Two or three fishing boats can fit into the space that a 100-foot yacht takes up.

“Some of the fishermen end up out on a mooring for the winter, when they would prefer to be tied up to a slip,” Lemoine said. “I’ve only got so many slips and I won’t have any more. There’s no more room for expansion.”

The Board of Selectmen recently approved the Harbor Committee’s recommendation to increase the monthly and daily rates the marina charges to rent slips in the winter. The monthly rate is going up by $25. The new rates will be $175 for Mount Desert residents and $275 for non-residents for boats up to 45 feet in length, $215 for residents and $300 for non-residents for boats between 46 and 65 feet, and $285 for residents and $385 for non-residents for boats longer than 65 feet.

The daily slip rental rates are going up $3 for residents and $6 for non-residents. Residents will pay $15 a day for boats up to 45 feet and $27 for those over 45 feet. Non-residents will pay $30 for boats up to 45 feet and $54 for longer boats.

The charge for winter moorings on the 13 town-owned floats in the harbor will remain at $5 a night and $60 a month.

Winter rates are in effect from Oct. 1 to May 15.

Lemoine said the Harbor Committee would decide in the fall whether to recommend any changes in the summertime rental rates.


Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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