A mooring policy out of whack


To the Editor:

The Vineyard Haven harbormaster has established a private mooring transfer policy without any discussion and review by the harbor committees or the selectmen. This policy is not an approved Tisbury waterways regulation. Under this confusing policy, when a boat owner is awarded a permit for a mooring location, the award states that the new permit holder must write a check for between $500 to $600, made out to the former permit holder, in compensation for the existing mooring tackle. This check must be sent to the harbormaster, who sends it on to the former mooring permit holder. The former permit holder is promised compensation in a letter.

This policy has many problems. It does not take into consideration the condition of the mooring tackle. Under the current Tisbury waterways regulations, every transferred mooring must be inspected. The condition of the mooring tackle is established at that time, and a fair value can be then placed on it. The fee for compensation has not been consistent and fair for everyone. And, why is the town involved in transferring personal checks?

The mooring tackle is personal property. This fee for compensation policy has been in effect for several years, but has just become known this summer, 2011. As it is not in the waterways regulations, mooring inspectors were unaware of this policy. An unscrupulous former mooring permit holder was compensated for his transferred mooring tackle when he still owed money to two different mooring inspectors.

This is not a legitimate policy. Complaints to the harbormaster and the selectmen from former and new permit holders this past summer have gone unanswered. A letter to the Tisbury selectmen, asking to put a hold on the policy, received no response. A request to be placed on the selectmen’s agenda was denied until review by the harbor committees.

The committees only meet once a month, and due to vacation schedules it is unlikely that the harbor management committee will meet for the next two months. This is the time of year when moorings are given up and transferred. The Tisbury selectmen at the very least need to address this issue and stop this policy until the harbor committees have a chance to meet and discuss it.

Lynne Fraker

Vineyard Haven