This week’s tropical storms with their impeding northeast winds and related seas signaled a real change of season for boaters. Here are some important updates boaters need to know now. 

Visitor Center / Harbor Office:

The Steering Committee is waiting for feedback from Tetra Tech, the company hired to do site evaluations for this project.

Boat Excise Tax Bills:

Boat Excise Tax Bills are being prepared by the Assessors and Harbor Departments and will be sent in the coming weeks. One of the challenges faced by the two departments are the sheer number of vessels still on the Mass Environmental Police (MEP) database that have been sold, salvaged or transferred without a Change of Status Form being filed with the MEP. The Change of Status Form must be filed with the MEP when you get rid of your vessel if do not wish to keep receiving excise bills, or potentially have some financial liability for vessels you no longer own. If you receive a bill for a vessel you no longer own, please fill out the attached form and send it to the address at the top of the form for MEP, not the Harbormaster or Assessor. 

Change of Status Forms:

The Massachusetts Environmental Police Change of Status forms can be found online here


They will be mailed early this year, probably November.  You are encouraged to use the online payment available on the town website.


Outboards and Covers:

A reminder to boat owners that all outboard motors attached to boats on moorings must be covered or kept in the down position if a neighboring boat could be hit and damaged. Any damaged caused by an outboard without a cover will be the responsibility of that boat owner. We have one damaged vessel already; please get those covers on so I do not have to make a call to you.

Safe Boating Class:

An Environmental Police and NASBLA certified safe boating course will be offered in Manchester this fall. The course will be held at Manchester Town Hall on Friday October 18 and Friday, October 25. Class times are 4–9 p.m. in Room 5, you must attend both dates. Safe boating certificates will be issued to all students with a passing grade. Paddle sport enthusiasts are encouraged to take this course as well. Safe boating isn’t just for sailors and power boaters!

Public Comment:

None at this time (but always welcome).

Smart Boating:

Smart Boating is a locally produced TV show on boating. The show typically contains information to help boaters make more informed decisions and have more fun on the water. Over the past ten years, over 200 TV shows have been produced which air locally on Cape Ann TV, Channel 12, Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. Currently, all shows can also be viewed at any time on the Smart Boating website. 

MHBC Accepting Applications:

The Manchester Harbor Boat Club is now accepting applications. On behalf of the Board of Governors, thank you for taking the time to review the MHBC website. In the meantime, if you have any website questions or general comments, please do not hesitate to contact us. Happy boating. 

Manchester Draw Hours of Operation:

Effective: Tuesday, November 1, 2011. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Bridge at mile 1.0 in Manchester shall operate as follows:The draw shall open on signal from Memorial Day through September 30 from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; from April 1 to Memorial Day and from October 1 to November 1 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. At all other times, the draw shall open on signal with at least four hours of notice. Call (617) 222-6114. The owner of this bridge shall provide and keep in good legible condition, clearance gauges for each draw with figures not less than twelve (12) inches high designed, installed and maintained in accordance with the provisions of section 118.160 of this chapter.

Marine Mammals:

A beached whale, dolphin or porpoise should be reported immediately and left alone pending further instruction. Call the NOAA 24-hour Marine Animal Hotline: (866) 755- 6622. Please try to remain calm and leave your name and a phone number where you can be reached. Sea turtles in our region do not typically come ashore unless they are seriously debilitated. Call the NOAA 24-hour Marine Animal Hotline: (866) 755-6622. Please try to remain calm and leave your name and a phone number where you can be reached. Seals belong on the beach. It’s normal. Please don’t disturb them. Unlike whales or dolphins, seals are semi-aquatic and are comfortable out of the water. Most seals come onto beaches to sleep, nurse or soak up some sun. What should you do if you spot a seal on the beach? Seals are cute, but they are wild animals and should not be disturbed. By getting too close, you could upset the seal or possibly get bitten. Watch quietly from at least 150 feet away. Keep dogs away from the seal. Do not offer the seal food or water. Do not pour water on the seal or try to cover it with a towel or blanket. Do not try to make the seal move. Does the seal look injured or unhealthy? Does the seal have any obvious injuries, gunky eyes, or look skinny or underweight? If the seal does, please take notes on its location, size, coloring and behavior and call the NOAA Marine

Animal Hotline at (866) 755-6622 or call your Harbormaster. Most seals on the beach are perfectly healthy, but sometimes they do need human assistance. All marine mammals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. This law makes it illegal to touch, disturb, feed or otherwise harass marine mammals without authorization.

Community Events:

I’m reaching out to the Manchester Harbor community to invite interested Harbor organizations to discuss participation and ideas for Manchester’s 375th Celebration in 2020. The groups we identified include: MHBC, MSA & MHS Sailing Team, Crocker’s Boat Yard, Manchester Marine, Harbor Master, the commercial fishing fleet, Misery Challenge (Josh Crosby), and Manchester's Cardboard Boat Race (Kim and Bon Rice Hofedt). The target date for next year’s Harbor event is Saturday, July 25at high tide (3:48 p.m.). This is the best mid-summer Saturday high tide day for a fleet parade.

Some ideas that have suggested discussed include: a family picnic at Tucks Point, boats on the gazebo, and MYC floats including: ‘When & If,’ Manchester built boats, Manchester commercial fishing boat, police/harbor master boat, coast guard, maybe a Manchester 17’ if we can find one, Manchester fleet parade of boats — led by the Manchester built Cocker tug and would include everyone from a fishing fleet to a MSA tow of boats dinghies, harbor tours by private boats, cardboard and duct tape boat race, nautical scavenger hunt, kiosk tables with information on: the Manchester commercial fishing industry, boat industry and boat building history, Manchester harbor management (safety, environmental), storm / hurricane history — with photos, photo history of the harbor — with post and prints for purchase, and a 365-day video view of the harbor by the high school sailing team.

Please call (978) 526-7832 if you have any questions.