Head boat ahoy!

The head boat Skylark has arrived in Menemsha and will start charter fishing voyages in June. — Rich Saltzberg

A charter boat operated by former Steamship Authority chief engineer Stephen Broderick arrived in Menemsha recently ahead of fishing excursions slated to begin in June. Broderick said the Skylark will start chartering on June 15 and wrap up Sept. 15. In addition to fishing trips, Broderick said he may offer “oyster cruises” associated with his family’s oyster farming operation.

Chilmark selectmen approved Broderick’s operation of a head boat, an alternate name for a charter boat, on May 16 last year. At a subsequent board meeting on June 6, members of the Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust respectfully criticized the the board’s allowance of a charter boat along the commercial wharf in Menemsha, an area the trust members said was reserved for commercial fishing vessels. At the same meeting, longtime fisherman Karsten Larsen, operator of a sushi hut on the Menemsha bulkhead, said he supported the head boat, but would rather see it berthed at the West Dock, instead of the commercial wharf.

Selectman Jim Malkin, the harbor liaison, told The Times Tuesday that strictures the board placed on the head boat operation last June remain in place — charter boat patrons must park at the old landfill on Tabor House Road, the captain of the charter boat will dock in Menemsha at the direction of the harbormaster, and the harbormaster is empowered to select a new docking area for the charter boat if commercial fishing activity increases in Menemsha.