Harbormaster Division

Mission Statement

The Harbormaster’s Department directs, coordinates, and is responsible for all navigation on the waterways of the town of Chatham and other areas as required or deemed necessary. The department ensures that all waterways and town owned waterfront facilities are used in a safe, environmentally friendly and lawful manner. It is the lead agency of the Town for maritime enforcement and public safety for the waterways of the Town of Chatham, and provides navigational assistance to the users of Chatham waterways and harbors. This is accomplished through applicable legal authority and public education.

Major Functions

Major functions include the following:

  • Aids to Navigation: The department installs and maintains all town-owned Aids to Navigation, and ensures that they are properly licensed by U.S. Coast Guard.
  • Municipal Fish Pier: Operates and maintains the municipal off-loading fish pier at Aunt Lydia's Cove.
  • Assisting Mariners: Responds to mariners in need of assistance and provides assistance to other Town Department and the U.S. Coast Guard in responding vessels and people in distress, search and rescue, and other marine related incidents.
  • Pollution Prevention and Response: Responds to all pollution incidents occurring on the waters of Chatham as appropriate; operates and maintains all town owned marine pump-out facilities.
  • Enforcement: Enforces provisions of Chatham waterways bylaws, and Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) pertaining to harbors, docks, piers, wharfs and waterways, specifically Chapters 90B, 91, 102, 266 and other appropriate state Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMRs).
  • Mooring Permitting and Oversight: Issues and reviews mooring permits each year and enforces all mooring regulations.
  • Mitchell River Bridge: Operates and maintains the Mitchell River drawbridge.
  • Town Landings: Assists with the operation and maintenance of all town landings and waterfront dependant town-owned properties.