Annual Reports for year ending December 31, 2019.
Rockport Harbor Department
2019 Annual Report
The Rockport Harbor Department's goal is to provide safety and accessibility
in and around the waterfront, manage moorings, mooring list, search & rescue
when necessary and most of all make boaters feel welcome in Rockport.
Update: The White Wharf/Old Harbor Community Preservation project was
completed with new and rebuilt floats including utility updates. To complete
this project the harbor department provided a new aluminum gangway & base to
make for a safer total structure.
In the spring NOAA provided First Responder Training for Marine Mammals at
the NOAA headquarters in Gloucester. Later in the season this training was put
into play with the rescue of a minke whale which was entangled in fishing gear
just off the coast of Pigeon Cove.
The season started out with a tragedy near the Dry Salvages, a diver
experienced a cardiac arrest while diving off a local dive boat. The
harbormasters responded to find a diver being brought on to the dive boat; the
harbormasters started CPR and escorted vessel into Rockport Harbor to the
waiting town's ambulance.
The beginning of the season brought routine boating traffic until July 7 when
a 45' power vessel experienced near tragedy while anchored at Front Beach. The
weather turned easterly during the night with 6' to 8' sea conditions. At 4:30am
we responded to a MAYDAY call from "Jammin" a 45’' power vessel that was wrapped
up in a line and unable to get under way. Responding Front Beach we found the "Jammin"
headed for the rocks with 2 people on board, in heavy seas we secured a towline
and worked the vessel out into deeper water and brought "Jammin" to safety in
The end of July & August brought numerous events: a small power boat
overturned near Rowe Pt., a 19' sail boat capsized, these events added to the
daily routines. Transient mooring assignments increased for both day trippers
and overnight vessels. Boating activity continues year round, primarily April
In August the Blackburn Challenge with over 150 participants in different
types of rowing vessels passed through the Sandy Bay and along the coast around
to Gloucester, with only one incident in the Long Beach area of a sea sick
During heavy sea conditions the Thacher's Island launch transported an
injured person from the island boat ramp to T Wharf. The harbormasters assisted
along with the Rockport Ambulance Department.
Illumination Night was once again spectacular; Rockport Harbor and the Sandy
Bay anchorage were filled with visiting boaters who all enjoyed the show.
Harbormaster Appreciation Day - October 8th was the first national
Harbormaster Appreciation Day and celebrated by all harbormasters in the USA.
The Rockport Harbormasters were one of the acknowledged departments in the
On November 1st the harbormasters sponsored "Life Jacket Day for Lobsterman".
This organization travels the New England coast to show case their life jackets
designed for the working lobstermen. These floatation devices are sold at a
discounted rate to make it much more feasible for all lobstermen and their crew
to be safer while working on the water. Over 20 floatation devices were sold to
lobstermen in the area.
According to the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, Rockport ranked
number 3 in the state with 52 active commercial lobstermen in 2018. Rockport's
lobster landings ranked second in the state at over 1.4 million pounds, with an
approximate value of $6.9 million to the Rockport's lobster industry. Rockport
has consistently ranked in the top four in the state for commercial lobster
landing over the past several years.
The Massachusetts Harbormaster Association camera project continues to
provide cameras for coastal security not only to Rockport but from the New
Hampshire boarder to south of Boston.
The Rockport Harbormasters continue to be active with federal, state and
local agencies: Division of Marine Fisheries, Environmental Police, Mass State
Police, USCG Sector Boston and Gloucester Station.
Thank you to local, state and federal agencies who continued to support the
harbor department and the town of Rockport's waterfront.
Rosemary Lesch, Scott Story
Ron Petoff, Story Reed