Harbor advisory committee tackles clutter and squabble

Fuel tanks on the commercial wharf in Menemsha. Harbor advisory committee member Stephen Broderick complained that one of these was drifting on the dock during a high tide. — Rich Saltzberg

Earlier this month, Chimark’s harbor advisory committee recommended to selectmen that harbormaster Dennis Jason draw up new rules regulating fishermen’s clutter on the Menemsha docks, and work out a posted fine for violations. Committee members noted traps and other hazards litter the dock, and that much of the material belongs to mariners not from Chilmark.

“At high tide today there was a fuel tank floating around on the dock, a 200-gallon fuel tank,” committee member Stephen Broderick said.

In other business, the committee discussed what chairman Everett Poole described as “interference of gas station personnel with the harbormaster and wharagers’ duties.”

A boat came in and tied up at the “very end” of the dock, harbormaster Dennis Jason said, an area known as the “drop-off dock.” Menemsha Texaco co-owner Katie Carroll asked the vessel to move, he said, because it was designated a drop-off spot. The boat operator then had to navigate into a difficult slip, he said.

Committee member Wayne Iacono said that he believed that Ms. Carroll didn’t ask the vessel to move, but informed the operator that the portion of the dock it was berthed at had been designated a spot for fishermen, and that the boater moved by his own volition.

“Regardless, the people in the gas station have no right to think they run the harbor and go down and tell a boat to move,” committee member Jeff Maida said.

“It’s not lost on anybody that the harbormaster department and the gas station are at war,” committee member Scott McDowell said. The harbormaster is the authority on boat matters in Menemsha, he said.

The subject was tabled.

Reached by telephone, Menemsha Texaco co-owner Marshal Carroll said his wife told the boat owner the spot is used by a woman named Judy Bryant. He moved.

In general, “Dennis always puts a boat there because it aggravates fishermen,” he said.