July 1, 2022

Debate Brewing Over Unused Moorings in Essex Harbor

Space is available for five more private moorings off the Pettipaug Yacht Club, but the permittees for these moorings have failed to use them.

ESSEX:  A debate is brewing over a proposal to change the rules regarding vacant moorings in Essex Harbor.  A local Essex resident, Jerome Wilson,  will call upon the Essex Harbor Management Commission, at its meeting on Thursday, Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. at Essex Town Hall, to adopt a rule to end the practice of permitting boaters in Essex Harbor to renew their mooring spots in cases where they, year after year, fail to use them.

 Wilson claims there are 49 persons on the official ‘wait list’ for a mooring in the town’s three mooring fields, and that a substantial number of persons holding town moorings simply leave them vacant in the water.

Wilson is urging the Harbor Commission, which, with the Essex Harbor Master regulates moorings in Essex Harbor, to adopt what he terms a “use it or lose it” rule. Such a rule would provide that if a town mooring holder does not put in the water ground tackle, including anchor, chain and a marker buoy, to moor his or her vessel during the boating season, the holder of the mooring would be disqualified from renewal of his or her mooring permit.

After conducting an informal survey in the waters of the Meadows mooring field in Essex in the Connecticut River last July in the peak for the boating season, Wilson found that of the 29 assigned moorings in the Meadows field, seven of them were empty.

Following his survey, which took place in a launch provided by the Pettipaug Yacht Club, Wilson personally called the seven absentee mooring holders, and he convinced a couple of them to put moorings in the water. 

Wilson would like the town harbor authorities to adopt an amendment to the harbor regulations requiring the holder of a town mooring permit to put mooring tackle in the water for his or her boat during the boating season, otherwise the boater’s mooring permit will not to be renewed.  This proposed rule would further call for a boater denied renewal of his mooring to go to the end of the “wait list,” if another mooring permit were requested in the future from the town.

The Pettipaug Yacht Club boat hoist stands ready to help put moorings in the water for five empty mooring spaces.