Town of Fairhaven, MA
Bristol County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Annual Town Meeting of the Town of Fairhaven 5-3-1997 by Art. 10, amended in its entirety 6-8-2002 by Art. 13. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Harbor pollution control — See Ch. 132.
Union Wharf — See Chs. 177 and 225.
A. 
This chapter applies to all persons, vessels, objects or structures on or using the waters of the Town of Fairhaven.
B. 
The Harbormaster is authorized to prescribe regulations to carry out this chapter.
C. 
Failure of the Harbormaster to prescribe regulations or a legal declaration of their invalidity by a court of law shall not act to suspend or invalidate the effect of this chapter.
The following words, for the purposes of this chapter of these bylaws shall, unless another meaning is clearly apparent for the way in which the words are used, have the following meanings:
VESSEL
Every description of watercraft, other than a seaplane on the water, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on the water.
A. 
Speed limit and no wake.
(1) 
Vessels shall not exceed five miles per hour and shall make no wake, in posted areas.
(2) 
Vessels shall make no wake within 150 feet of: bathers, divers, piers, docks, floats, small vessels propelled by means other than machinery, vessels not underway or the shore.
B. 
The number and location of five miles per hour and/or no wake posted areas may be changed at the discretion of the Harbormaster.
[Amended 5-2-2009 STM by Art. 16]
A. 
No vessel, mooring, or other object shall be abandoned, sunk, or placed where it may constitute a hazard to navigation. All vessels, moorings, or other objects shall be properly secured, properly moored, and properly permitted.
B. 
Any vessel, mooring, or other object constituting a hazard to navigation, or not properly moored, or not properly permitted, and any vessel or object improperly secured, swamped, sunk, washed ashore, or found in a restricted area, may be removed or relocated at the direction of the Harbormaster or an Assistant Harbormaster. If the owner can be identified from registration numbers on the vessel, mooring, or other object, the Harbormaster or an Assistant Harbormaster shall provide notice to the named owner by mail posted to the registered address, seven days prior to removing or relocating the vessel, mooring, or other object. No other notice shall be required.
C. 
The expense of such removal or relocation and liability incurred therefor shall be the responsibility of the owner, and shall constitute a lien upon said vessel, mooring, or other object removed.
D. 
Nothing in the above subsections shall restrict earlier action by the Harbormaster or an Assistant Harbormaster, with or without notice to the owner, if, in their judgment, such action is necessary to protect life or property, which shall include, but not be limited to, removal of a vessel, mooring, or other object located in a navigable channel, illegally located on a mooring designated for someone else, or in the event of an emergency as determined by the Harbormaster or an Assistant Harbormaster.
A. 
The Harbormaster or an Assistant Harbormaster shall assign the location and approve the type and adequacy of every mooring in the waters of the Town of Fairhaven.
B. 
The owner of the mooring shall comply with all reasonable requests of the Harbormaster, all mooring and mooring permit regulations, and shall insure that:
(1) 
Each mooring owned by him meets the requirements as established by mooring regulations and any other requirements of the Harbormaster or an Assistant Harbormaster for the service intended.
(2) 
That each mooring owned by him is maintained in good and serviceable condition on the assigned location for the mooring.
(3) 
All mooring buoys, markers, mooring spars, vessels, or similar objects attached to a mooring are clearly visible at all times, and properly and clearly identified as prescribed regulations adopted under this chapter,
(4) 
Mooring spars shall be painted, and at any state of the tide be at an angle of not less than 45° with an exposed length of not less than 18 inches.
C. 
The owner of a mooring may sell or transfer the ownership of mooring tackle owned by him, but does not constitute a sale of the mooring location.
D. 
The assigned location of the mooring shall not be transferred to anyone else without the written approval of the Harbormaster or an Assistant Harbormaster.
A. 
Before placing in the water or using any mooring, the owner of a mooring shall obtain from the Harbormaster or an Assistant Harbormaster a mooring permit.
B. 
The permit application shall require information as to the type of the mooring tackle, a description of the vessel or object to be moored, and the location of the mooring.
C. 
Proof of ownership of the mooring tackle may be required before a mooring permit is issued.
D. 
The Harbormaster shall adopt regulations regarding the period of time that a mooring permit is valid, procedures for renewal and the issuance of new permits.
E. 
A mooring permit may be revoked by the Harbormaster at any time for failure to comply with the requirements of this chapter, or the regulations prescribed by the Harbormaster regarding moorings or mooring permits.
F. 
When a mooring permit is revoked, expires, or when a mooring permit holder/owner sells or transfers ownership of a mooring he shall, within 30 days, surrender the mooring permit and remove or dispose of the mooring.
G. 
Discontinuance of use.
(1) 
When a permit holder/owner of a mooring discontinues the use of a mooring for the vessel described in the mooring permit, the permit holder/owner may retain the mooring location for a period not[1] to exceed two years after the end of the calendar year after its discontinuance, and the mooring may be used by another vessel as prescribed in § 145-10.
[1]
Editor's Note: The word "not" was added editorially at the direction of the Town. It was not included in the article as amended.
(2) 
If after two years the permit holder/owner does not own a vessel requiring the mooring, the Harbormaster may reassign the mooring location.
H. 
The Board of Selectmen, in consultation with the Harbormaster, shall set the fees for mooring permits.
A. 
In mooring areas that have reached maximum mooring saturation, the Harbormaster may, in order to equitably assign mooring locations, establish waiting lists and procedures for the administration of such waiting lists.
B. 
Failure to comply with the procedures established by the Harbormaster will result in removal from the waiting list.
A. 
Moorings shall not be moved from an approved location without the prior written approval of the Harbormaster or an Assistant Harbormaster.
B. 
If for any reason the approval location of a mooring is not adequate for the vessel, it shall be the responsibility of the permit holder/owner to move the mooring, within 10 days, to a new location approved by the Harbormaster or an Assistant Harbormaster.
C. 
In the event that a mooring is moved from its approved location by storm, ice or other cause, it shall be the responsibility of the permit holder/owner of the mooring to, at the earliest possible opportunity, but in no case later than 14 days from the date the dislocation of the mooring is or could be discovered, relocate the mooring to the location originally approved, or to another location approved by the Harbormaster or an Assistant Harbormaster.
D. 
The Harbormaster or an Assistant Harbormaster may, at any time, inspect any mooring; may remove or cause to be removed any mooring that fails to meet mooring regulations or specifications.
E. 
The Harbormaster or an Assistant Harbormaster may relocate, remove or cause to be removed or relocated any mooring whenever, in their judgment, the safety of other vessels or the maximum use of the area requires such action.
F. 
Inspection.
(1) 
All moorings shall inspected by a qualified person before being placed in service, and at not less than every two years thereafter.
(2) 
A qualified person is an individual who has received written approval to inspect moorings from the Harbormaster or an Assistant Harbormaster.
G. 
Any expenses of such inspection, removal or relocation and any liability incurred therefor, shall be the responsibility of the permit holder/owner of said mooring.
A. 
In the event that a mooring is lost it shall be the responsibility of the permit holder/owner to, at the earliest possible opportunity, locate, mark and properly identify said lost mooring.
B. 
If after six months the permit holder/owner fails to locate, mark and properly identify a lost mooring, he shall have relinquished his right to the approved location, and the mooring may be removed by the Harbormaster or an Assistant Harbormaster.
At times when a mooring is not being used by the mooring permit holder/owner, or when a mooring permit holder/owner has discontinued the use of a mooring (See § 145-6G.), the mooring may be used by another vessel, provided prior written approval is obtained from both the permit holder/owner of the mooring and the Harbormaster or an Assistant Harbormaster, subject to the following provisions:
A. 
When a mooring is used by a vessel owned and operated by an individual who is not the permit holder/owner of the mooring, it shall be the responsibility of the owner/operator of said vessel to maintain the mooring and leave it in the same condition as when first used by him.
B. 
If during the period of use by another vessel the mooring is lost, dislocated or damaged, the owner/operator of the vessel using the mooring shall be liable to the permit holder/owner of the mooring for a sum of money sufficient to recover, restore, renew or relocate the mooring to the approved location, and to the condition it was first used by him.
C. 
In crowded mooring areas, where there are established waiting lists for mooring location assignment, such mooring assignment shall not be assigned by the mooring owner but be temporarily assigned to an individual on the waiting list.
The Harbormaster shall have the authority to sell at public auction on behalf of the Town any mooring removed under the authority of §§ 145-8 and 145-9 of this chapter if the mooring has not been identified and claimed by its owner within six months of its removal.
A. 
Vessel operators are responsible for their wake at all times, and shall not operate a vessel in a reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger the life, safety, or property of any person.
B. 
No person shall operate any vessel in a manner that violates Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 90B, or any regulations adopted thereunder or any other state or federal law that may apply.
C. 
Nothing in these regulations shall exonerate any vessel, or the owner, master or crew thereof, from the consequences of any neglect to comply with this chapter or the neglect of any precaution which may be required by the ordinary practice of seamen, or by special circumstances of the case.
Nothing contained in this chapter shall be held or construed to supersede or conflict with or interfere with or limit jurisdiction of the United States Government with respect to the enforcement of the navigation, shipping, anchorage or other associated Federal laws, or regulations, or any laws, or regulation of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
[Amended 5-2-2009 STM by Art. 16]
The owner of any vessel, mooring, or other object not properly secured or not properly permitted and anyone found in violation of these rules and regulations shall be liable to 1) a noncriminal citation not to exceed $100 per offense; and, if deemed necessary by the Harbormaster; 2) removal of the mooring; and/or 3) removal of the vessel, and the costs associated with such action, including towing of vessel, storage of the mooring tackle or vessel. Unless otherwise specifically provided herein, this chapter shall be enforced by the Harbormaster, his or her assistants, harbor police, or other enforcing officers. Each day of violation shall constitute a separate offense.
Any person aggrieved by any decision of the Harbormaster may file an appeal with the Fairhaven Board of Selectmen by delivering such appeal, in writing, to the Town Hall within 15 days of the ruling of the Harbormaster. However, said person must comply with the Harbormaster's ruling until a decision is made by the Board of Selectmen on the appeal. Such appeal shall state specifically the nature of the ruling and the reason the person is aggrieved.
[Added 10-29-2008 STM by Art. 12]
A. 
Boat owners using the waters of Fairhaven, MA will be subject to a waterways user fee. The waterways user fee is a fee used to help offset the cost of operating services provided by the Town of Fairhaven, MA. Services include, but are not limited to, dredging, maintenance projects, fire, emergency, police security, boater education, environmental protection, enforcement and harbor management services. Additional services may be provided as the need arises.
B. 
All boats using the waters of Fairhaven, MA for more than 14 days per year (calendar year) are subject to the waterways users fee in Fairhaven, MA. Exceptions to the waterways users fee are boats that are on trailers put in and taken out for each occasion of use, boats less than 16 feet in length, boats belonging to the Town of Fairhaven or used by the Town of Fairhaven, or any other boat used for law enforcement by government agencies and any boat within the waters of Fairhaven for service work provided by a Fairhaven marine service company. The fee schedule is based on a per-foot charge on boats' overall length as determined by the Harbormaster and is set at $1 per foot for residents and $4 per foot for nonresidents as defined herein. This waterway users fee is a yearly fee and is due by June 30 of each calendar year, or immediately after the fourteen-day benchmark is met if after June 30 of the current calendar year. The Board of Selectmen, in consultation with the Harbormaster, may amend these fees from time to time.
C. 
Facilities providing services such as mooring space, docking, slips or summer in-and-out services shall, as a condition of their permit to operate as a business in Fairhaven, MA, notify all of their customers of this required fee to the Town of Fairhaven, MA, when signing a contract or agreements that allows them to keep their boat in the Town of Fairhaven qualifying them for the waterway users fee under the guidelines as described herein.
D. 
Payment is to be made in person or via U.S. Mail to the Town of Fairhaven, Office of the Tax Collector. For those paying in person, a waterways user fee sticker application will be made available by the Office of the Tax Collector. The Office of the Tax Collector will, upon payment, provide a sticker which is to be affixed to the port side stern area of the boat. If payment is made via mail, the boat owner must provide the following information.
(1) 
Name of owner.
(2) 
Address of owner.
(3) 
Telephone number.
(4) 
Registration numbers/documentation numbers.
(5) 
Year manufactured.
(6) 
Length.
(7) 
Color.
(8) 
Place boat kept during the season.
In addition, the boat owner must provide a self-addressed stamped envelope to receive a sticker via the mail.
Checks will be considered receipt of payment for those made via mail. (Do not send cash as a payment.) The Town of Fairhaven's Office of the Tax Collector is located at 40 Center Street, Fairhaven, MA 02719.
E. 
Violators will be subject to a fine in the amount of 120% of the water user fee due the Town of Fairhaven, not to exceed $300. Once paid, the waterway user fee will be considered paid and a waterways user fee sticker will be provided. Fines shall be recovered by indictment, or on complaint before the District Court, or by noncriminal disposition in accordance with § 21D of Chapter 40 of the General Laws.
F. 
Any person aggrieved by any decision of the Harbormaster hereunder may file an appeal with the Fairhaven Board of Selectmen by delivering such appeal, in writing, to the Town Hall within 15 days of the decision of the Harbormaster. Such ruling shall state specifically the nature of the decision and the reason the person is aggrieved.
G. 
(Reserved)
H. 
Definitions.
DOCKING/SLIPS
Space made available to boat owners to secure their boat.
FACILITY
Any business in Fairhaven providing marine services, slips, mooring or any summer seasonal storage and operates by permit issued by the Town of Fairhaven, MA.
MOORINGS
Any type of device that allows a boat to be tied up to it, providing a position to secure the boat within the coastal waters of Fairhaven, MA.
(1) 
A registered voter in the Town of Fairhaven, MA.
(2) 
A person who is domiciled in the Town of Fairhaven, MA.
(3) 
A person who pays real estate taxes to the Town of Fairhaven, MA.
(4) 
A spouse or dependent of any of the above.
SUMMER SEASONAL IN-AND-OUT SERVICES
Any business that provides a service that allows a boat owner to remove or put in his/her boat each time of use within the coastal waters of Fairhaven, MA.