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billyruffn 04-22-2013 08:49 PM

Informal, unscientific survey
I sit on the board of a quasi-public corporation that looks after the maritime assets of a small New England seaport. One of our corporate responsibilties is to provide harbormaster services to the town. Our Harbormaster has recently come under some criticism by some town officials for not issuing enough citations -- he's issued one or two "moving violation" citations in the harbor in the last five years. He says his enforcement philosophy is to work with boaters, to educate them on the wisdom of doing the right thing and only to use legal sanctions when he has to tell you twice. The police chief thinks he's a whimp and should be busting more people for the marine equivalent of traffic violations.

Three questions for the gathered nautical cognosenti:

1/ Have you ever been cited (ticketed) while boating? How many times in how many years on the water?

2/ How many boaters do you know who have been cited (ticketed) by a harbormaster or harbor police?

3/ What's your reaction when you hear about a harbor where the rules of the road are strictly enforced? Is this the kind of place you want to visit because you know you'll be safe? or the kind of place you'll avoid for fear of a guy with a glock and a flak jacket driving 250 HP of flashing blue lights?

Note: responses will not be attributed to any individual.

Thanks for your help in bringing some hard facts to what can only be described as a political mud slinging contest. :)

PS for CD: this is about politics, but it's also about boating -- so I beg your indulgence!

benesailor 04-22-2013 09:03 PM

Re: Informal, unscientific survey
1) 1 large ticket in a small pond in Ohio, 6 feet deep. Driving a 10 ft jon boat.
Overweight, no life jackets, unregistered, 6-pack hanging off the side; $450 fine. they finally caught me because they got tired of walking in circles around the pond. No kidding. I really tried to lead them in circles for a while.

2)No one

3)That's a place where they are trying to generate revenue rather than good will.

Unfortunately; police forces have evolved from Peace officers to Police officers.

tempest 04-22-2013 09:19 PM

Re: Informal, unscientific survey
1.) never in over 50 years of boating of all kinds.

2.) no one I know. did see a powerboater pulled over for speeding in a no wake zone..he was going to get a ticket for sure.

3.) have never really encountered that level of scrutiny on the water. Did live in a town,where the local PD constantly set up traffic stops and friends eventually told me they were tired of getting pulled over for no good reason when leaving my town after dinner.

FWIW, I think your Harbormaster, sounds fair. Speak to them once...before issuing a summons. Sounds like a good for business approach too. Boaters spend money, So the town's business owners could lose money if people stay away..
Maybe you should elect the harbormaster to office...sounds like has more sense than those in office..

rikhall 04-22-2013 09:45 PM

Re: Informal, unscientific survey
1.) never in over 55 years of boating of all kinds.

2.) no one I know.

3.) I like your guy's attitude. With him there - I would visit, with ticket mad enforcers, there are lots of other places to go.

Pegu club 04-22-2013 09:52 PM

Re: Informal, unscientific survey
Have there been multiple incidents in that location over an extended period? If not where is the problem? It sounds a bit like the police chief is looking to enhance his "law and order" appearance for political gain. You might let him know that he may very well be driving away many tax dollars the town sees through retail and other services concerning the port. By and large those who own boats have some financial wherewithal and will in effect vote with their feet if things get ticky tacky in the way of ticket quotas etc. I don't envy you in this adventure as it were.

chucklesR 04-22-2013 09:57 PM

Re: Informal, unscientific survey
I got a warning for having not updated my registration sticker (it was March). I was deeply ashamed of myself (seriously).
I do my best to follow all laws, rules and regulations.

On the other hand:

I see my local DNR police almost daily on my river (I live water front). If they happen to be there when a violator does something they react.
In two years that has come out to exactly one time.

I've had no friends ever admit to getting a ticket.

As to #3, see above. If the harbor master is a local kid running the poop pump, I'd tell him/her to go away. I'd probably shred a 'harbor master' ticket in front of him.
Harbor masters are not police, at least not in my area.
I'd question his authority to say 'boo'. Just saying.

No Agenda 04-22-2013 10:00 PM

Re: Informal, unscientific survey
1- pulling a water skier on an inland lake where the lake gets to be about 100 yards wide. Officer gave me a ticket for being within 100 ft of other boats. My wife got one on the same lake on a wave runner
2- Every weekend 3 or more at inlaws lake. Its not as bad now they voted out the old police chief

3- We no longer boat at her parents lake. Don't need the trouble or extra "taxes". Great lakes are more fun than boating in a cirlce

Michael K 04-22-2013 10:30 PM

Re: Informal, unscientific survey
Oh, this is a thread which has the potential for a lot of anger and resentment on both sides. I bet some have read it and decided not to "go there" by not responding at all. As I write I am wondering if I should, too.

I guess I'll continue by reminding myself of the context: this is a small New England seaport, not NYC Harbor where harbor security is generally on high alert; all harbormasters have a challenging job that can raise their blood pressure quite easily. I once interviewed for an Assistant Harbormaster position and immediately gained much respect for the fellow who held the top position. He was a young ex-cop with a very even demeanor. His description of dealing with several rowdy and disrepectful boaters who've had at least one too many on July 4th or Labor Day showed his judgement and diplomatic skill (it was around 25 years ago, before DUI enforcement on those waters); his description of potentially having to rescue a senior member of the community suffering a heart attack aboard a boat in the confused seas of a harbor's entrance at twilight showed how demanding things could get. That said ...

1. Never in 38 years.

2. I know of no one, but this isn't something many people would like to admit unless they were clearly mistreated or the harbor police have earned a reputation of being overzealous.

3. Harbors with known "strict enforcement" would likely be less attractive to me. I've met such officers and found their style abusive and offensive. The harbormaster you describe, above, seems to have a good understanding of the "serve and protect" credo and I think that community is lucky to have him. Like Tempest, "FWIW...."

travlin-easy 04-22-2013 10:47 PM

Re: Informal, unscientific survey
1. Never got a ticket in nearly six decades of boating. Did get stopped a couple times in one day. DNR cops wanted to see if the three teenage girls on my boat that were wearing string bikinis resembling a couple Band-Aids and a cork were catching any fish. One of the girls was my 16-year-old daughter. She thought it was kinda' funny.

2. Don't know anyone that was ticketed - ever.

3. Never had a problem with harbormasters, even in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Good harbormasters are hard to come by - count your lucky stars.

Gary :cool:

billyruffn 04-22-2013 10:49 PM

Re: Informal, unscientific survey
Helpful. Thank you.

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