Chilmark delays seasonal harbor opening

Boats crowd the Menemsha transient dock prior to a USCG helicopter demonstration last summer. — Rich Saltzberg

Chilmark’s harbor department won’t accept reservations for transient slips or moorings until June. Chilmark selectmen voted unanimously Tuesday afternoon to postpone taking those nautical reservations until June 1 and to prohibit transient dockage and boat moornings until July 1. The harbor traditionally opened to transient boaters on Memorial Day. Part and parcel with that vote, the board authorized a mooring fee hike and an amendment to harbor regulations to reflect the fee changes. 

The new transient mooring fees will be $35 per night inside or outside the harbor.

Chilmark Harbormaster Ryan Rossi later said those fees had been $31 for moorage inside the harbor and $21 for moorage outside the harbor, off the beach and jetties. 

Chilmark selectman Jim Malkin, the board’s liaison to the harbor department, later said the annual walk the board takes to review the harbor hasn’t been scheduled this year. 

“I am very confident that our harbormaster will make sure the harbor is secure and in appropriate condition with or without the harbor walk,” he said. 

In other business, the board unanimously voted in changes that permit some latitude for when local tax bills are paid. Excise, real estate, or personal property taxes for payments due April 1 can now be paid by June 1 without interest or penatlies. 


  1. Apparently the harbormaster hasn’t heard of the law of supply and demand, which says when there is no demand and an excess supply the way to create demand is to lower prices, not raise them. I have seen this same process play out in other harbors during the great recession–less boaters meant less revenue, so prices were raised to increase revenue, which further depressed demand, and on and on. There are boatyards full of boats that won’t be able to be launched this summer–where is the demand going to come from?

    • If economics 101 prevailed in Chilmark your analysis would be spot on, but I doubt if the town is particularly concerned about revenue from the harbor.

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