by scott frame • MPA board member
In recent years, the MPA has received an increasingly large number of complaints related to discourteous boating behavior and the negative impact it can have on other boaters, shoreline erosion, and wildlife nesting grounds. We have also seen a rise in questions related to what is and is not allowed in terms of docks and moorings in front of our properties.
As a part of our investigation into what the MPA might want to do (or at least advocate for) to address these concerns, MPA President Chip Wendler and I met with Shawn Herbert – the Harbor Master and Chief of the Marine Safety Division for the Town of Naples, ME. Naples hired their Harbor Master and established their Marine Safety program back in 1987 when the Town of Naples passed a mooring ordinance. By 1989 their duties expanded to include the promotion of boating safety and the enforcement of safe boating regulations.
The Mission of the Naples Marine Safety Division is to provide proactive education to the recreational boating community, reactive enforcement of the rules and laws of the State of Maine and the Town of Naples, and rapid response services in the event of a water emergency within the territorial waters of the Town of Naples. In 2021, the Naples Marine Safety team logged a total of 1,308 service hours and handled 736 calls for service.
Naples spent nearly $50K on their Marine Safety Program during the 2020-2021 season, and approved expenditures of nearly double that amount in their 2021-2022 budget. A significant portion of the budget dollars used to underwrite the program come from annual mooring fees and one-time inspection fees related to the installation of new docks. The Division is made up of 13 part-time employees / deputized volunteers. Their primary duties include enforcing Maine’s statewide boating laws (do boaters have up-to-date boat registrations/milfoil stickers and the proper equipment on their vessel), are boaters obeying Maine’s boating regulations (no wake zones, etc.), and are property owners following Maine’s regulations related to the number and placement of docks and moorings. Currently, the Moose Pond Courtesy Boat Inspectors at the Route 302 and Denmark boat ramps check for a milfoil sticker and encourage boaters to get one if it is absent. In contrast, Naples visitors are prohibited from entering Long Lake and Sebago Lake if they do not have a sticker on their watercraft.
If Bridgton hired one or more Marine Safety officer(s) and equipped them with a boat, one could envision a scenario where an officer could randomly visit each of Bridgton’s largest lakes (Moose Pond, Highland Lake, Woods Pond, and Long Lake’s northern end) on a weekly basis to monitor compliance with both safe boating and dock/mooring regulations.
- Do you think Moose Pond would benefit from this sort of initiative?
- Or do you think it is a bad idea?
We want to hear from you so that we can develop an informed and well-supported position on this important matter. Please share your thoughts with me at email@example.com.