No overnight anchoring in Lewis Bay, West Yarmouth - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 15 Old 08-03-2015 Thread Starter
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Thumbs down No overnight anchoring in Lewis Bay, West Yarmouth

Last month I made the 55 mile sail from Westport Harbor, MA to Lewis Bay in West Yarmouth fully expecting to be able to anchor in the bay while I was visiting friends who had rented a cottage there. I found a spot just outside the mooring field near Englewood Beach to anchor which was in sight of the cottage we had rented. Perfect, right? Well no, not really. The next morning I get a call from the Yarmouth Harbormaster's office informing me that there is no overnight anchoring in Lewis Bay and that I had to move my boat (and dinghy that was tied to a dinghy dock) ASAP! I questioned the reason why and all I got was that there is a local ordinance against overnight anchoring and that a resident spends a lot of money to get a mooring. He also stated that West Yarmouth was "the town of no fun." He was nice enough but the message was clear to me. In this town of exclusive land, and private beaches they now want to make sure that they can feel even more exclusive by establishing an exclusive harbor.

How a town can put a restriction like that on public access is beyond me. Although you can day anchor in one place in the whole bay behind Egg Island, there is nowhere else unless you have a mooring permit which I assume is given exclusively to residents. Of course there are no transient moorings available either. I can understand the reasons for no anchoring in channels, oyster beds, swimming areas and such but to ban it completely for no apparent reason should be unlawful.

I did contact an advocate at Boat US who was very helpful but could only acknowledge my frustration with these local snobs and their overbearing regulations to keep people out.
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post #2 of 15 Old 08-03-2015
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Re: No overnight anchoring in Lewis Bay, West Yarmouth

Unlike the never ending discussion on the right to anchor anywhere that revolves around all the Florida threads, most places in the NE are locally controlled far as allowed anchorage outside of charted locations.

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post #3 of 15 Old 08-05-2015
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Re: No overnight anchoring in Lewis Bay, West Yarmouth

My reply would be, "emergency repairs, sir." Will move it when the parts arrive from france. Darn Peugeot diesel....


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post #4 of 15 Old 08-05-2015
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Re: No overnight anchoring in Lewis Bay, West Yarmouth

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaltiNeil View Post
How a town can put a restriction like that on public access is beyond me.
Take a look at what's going on in Florida & you have the answer, frustrating as it is. I just found out last year in NH you cannot anchor overnight on any inland waters without landowner permission. I thought the landowner was just pissed we were there so I looked it up. It's actually a boating law that was passed in 1971.

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post #5 of 15 Old 08-05-2015
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Re: No overnight anchoring in Lewis Bay, West Yarmouth

Quote:
Originally Posted by UnionPacific View Post
My reply would be, "emergency repairs, sir." Will move it when the parts arrive from france. Darn Peugeot diesel....
Chances are all that might get you is an expensive towing bill... :-)

Better get used to this stuff, it's only gonna get worse...
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post #6 of 15 Old 08-05-2015
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Re: No overnight anchoring in Lewis Bay, West Yarmouth

There are three reviews in ActiveCaptain for Lewis Bay East, which is marked as an anchorage. The latest review, however, was July 17, 2013.

Digging deeper, I found this in the Town of Yarmouth Harbor Regulations (Town of Yarmouth, MA HARBOR REGULATIONS);
Quote:
214-4
Berthing.
All vessels entering Town of Yarmouth waters are subject to the direction of the Harbormaster Department, which should be consulted before anchoring or tying up to any of the Town-owned facilities or moorings.
According to section 33 of the CFR;
Quote:
164.19 Requirements for vessels at anchor.
The master or person in charge of each vessel that is anchored shall ensure that:
(a) A proper anchor watch is maintained;
(b) Procedures are followed to detect a dragging anchor; and
(c) Whenever weather, tide, or current conditions are likely to cause the vessel's anchor to drag, action is taken to ensure the safety of the vessel, structures, and other vessels, such as being ready to veer chain, let go a second anchor, or get underway using the vessel's own propulsion or tug assistance.
[CGD 74-77, 42 FR 5956, Jan. 31, 1977]
In researching this, I came across a story of a transient captain in Scituate being told by the Harbormaster that he must rent a town mooring. The seasoned captain suggested the Harbormaster review his maritime law which apparetly allows for transient anchorage for up to 2 weeks, as long as you are out of the way of other boats. The Harbormaster apologized and let him stay.

I suspect that the Harbormaster was upset because he was not consulted before you dropped the hook, and would have raised a fuss over your not displaying the appropriate dayshape, or maintaining an anchor watch (which requires someone to be on the boat).

Also, In MA, where land owners own to MLLW, you have right of way on private property at low tide, if you are 'actively' engaged in fishing, which is why many people carry a pole when they walk the beach.
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Last edited by eherlihy; 08-05-2015 at 08:26 PM. Reason: Changed ;) to );
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post #7 of 15 Old 08-05-2015
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Re: No overnight anchoring in Lewis Bay, West Yarmouth

I've been asking for some free legal advice on this, as this question comes up occasionally when teaching sailing... The BEST answer that I have been able to discern is this;
Quote:
Anchoring is generally permissible anywhere, so long as it is not within the confines of a marked channel, or within the defined boundaries of a harbor master's jurisdiction. Anchoring (absent an emergency) may be restricted in the area under the harbor master's jurisdiction by the harbor master.


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post #8 of 15 Old 08-09-2015
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Re: No overnight anchoring in Lewis Bay, West Yarmouth

Its happening everywhere, Just like in Florida someone has to break the law(overnight anchor) and get the violation before you can fight it in court. Does anyone want to volunteer?

Mike
SV Bay Tripper
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post #9 of 15 Old 08-20-2015
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Re: No overnight anchoring in Lewis Bay, West Yarmouth

The Northeastern US hasn't been a friend to freedom since colonial times. They retire to Florida . . . .
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post #10 of 15 Old 08-25-2015
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Re: No overnight anchoring in Lewis Bay, West Yarmouth

you couldn't pay me to go there.
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