Edgartown fuel dock is up and running

Mechanical issues shut down the fuel pumps for boaters over the busy weekend.

Pumps at the Edgartown fuel dock were shut down over the weekend. — Brian Dowd

Updated August 7

The gas and diesel pumps at Edgartown’s North Wharf fuel dock were up and running Tuesday after being out of service over the weekend.

For the second time this summer, fuel was unavailable at the dock. Over the weekend R.M. Packer Co., which provides the fuel for the dock, placed signs over the gasoline and diesel pumps saying they were not working. Harbormaster Charlie Blair told The Times the tanks were filled, but there appeared to be a mechanical problem with the pumps, preventing fuel from flowing.

“There’s no fuel again, so that leaves us in a real frigging pinch,” Blair said. “They don’t communicate with us.”

His frustration was at a boiling point. “It’s R.M. Packer Co. — it’s dysfunctional,” Blair said. “You would think they would have a team over here at the crack of dawn.”

R.M. Packer owner Ralph Packer said it could possibly be due to a vapor-lock issue with the pump, but he is still determining the problem. “As of this moment, we haven’t identified the problem,” Packer said. He added that by Wednesday he’ll have a better idea of what is wrong with the pumps.

In May, fuel pumps were shut down due to being out of compliance with Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulations. The DEP issued a prohibition order, and cited Packer for failure to monitor leak detection for piping, demonstrate financial responsibility for the storage tanks, and to respond to leakage alarms. The prohibition order was lifted on July 17.

Meanwhile, boaters had been at a loss on how to fuel their boats. Attendants at the dock have been directing boaters to Oak Bluffs.

Oak Bluffs Harbormaster Todd Alexander told The Times boaters have been coming one after another to fuel up. 

“It’s nothing we can’t handle, but it’s noticeable,” Alexander said. “You just don’t get any lulls.”

Updated to add fuel availability and DEP violations. — Ed.


  1. What a lame excuse. Vapor lock? Its NOT ONE pump for BOTH diesel and gas nor is it ONE tank. Separate tanks and separate pumps. So its a BS answer. Come up with a better excuse. Its 3 busy summer days as of today with no fuel.. This should have been dealt with on Saturday when it occurred. Note to Edgartown: NEXT TIME, award the contract to a RESPONSIBLE bidder and demand a performance bond so when they do not perform, you have the money to pay and get portable tanks installed IMMEDIATELY. Imagine people come here for the day, expecting to be able to fuel up and get back to their home port on the mainland, only to find out due to the deficiencies of the vendor they cannot get fuel to go home. What a disgrace.

  2. Packer has lost all credibility. Two strikes. Edgartown can’t afford a 3rd. Declare Packer in breach, sue for damages and force him to honor the contract he signed or pay all transition costs.

Comments are closed.