Crab Corner swimming safety discussed at the Chilmark selectmen’s meeting

The safety of kids crabbing and swimming at what is called “crab corner” in Menemsha harbor provoked a spirited debate at the Tuesday night meeting of the Chilmark selectmen. There was almost complete agreement that it should be allowed.

Chairman Warren Doty opened the discussion about the safety of young swimmers playing too close to motor boats in the northeastern corner of Menemsha harbor, between the breakwater and the boat dock. It is also a popular crabbing spot for young children.

There was a collective sigh of relief when Chilmark harbormaster Dennis Jason began by making it clear that while he had instigated the discussion he was not proposing a ban on swimming in the spot. He said he was worried about kids playing too close to the motorboats that use the dock. He noted that it is illegal for motorboats to operate within 150 feet of a swimming area.

He said the newly rebuilt docks are much more attractive to the kids and they have easier access to the water now that rocks were removed during the dock work. There were suggestions that screens be used to block the swimmers from swimming under the dock and increase the number of warning signs. Mr. Doty suggested a committee be formed to make recommendations for improvements to the area to keep it open.