- Last Updated: 10 October 2016 10 October 2016
The Harbormaster Department promotes the responsible use of all waterways through public education and enforcement of all local, state, and federal environmental laws.
• Responding to mariners and others in distress
• Ensuring safe navigation by the maintenance of aids to navigation (buoys)
• Overseeing maintenance dredging of the waterways
Cape Cod men and boys who hailed from West Yarmouth, Yarmouthport and South Yarmouth, jumped on the maritime bandwagon and soon this crooked arm of a Massachusetts peninsula became known as the "greatest nursery of seamen in North America", according to the historian Henry Kittredge. The tales and exploits of these captains provide rich fodder for maritime legends still told today.
Captain Asa Eldridge, born in 1809, first went to sea as a cook, a common practice for Yarmouth boys who aspired to one day skipper his own ship. Captain Eldridge is perhaps best known for setting a trans-Atlantic record from New York to Liverpool in 13 days, 1 hour and 25 minutes aboard the Red Jacket.
Another well known deep water skipper from Yarmouth The Great Age Of Sail was Captain Bangs Hallet, a 7th generation descendant of Andrew Hallet, one of the first white settlers who came to Yarmouth in 1640. Captain Hallet commanded no less than nine ships during a sea career lasting 30 years. Hallet nearly lost his life when his ship's main mast was struck by lightening, igniting a fire in the cargo hull which was laden with cotton. Fire engulfed the ship off the coast of North Carolina in February, 1840. A passing British steamer rescued Captain Hallet and his men, and true to lore Hallet was the last man to step off his burning vessel.
By the beginning of the 1860's the commercial soul of Yarmouth shifted from Yarmouth Port to South Yarmouth, as the Bass River area population grew, and additional wharfs were built to accommodate the short lived, thriving maritime industry there.
Harbormaster, Karl von Hone and several part time Assistant Harbormasters staff the Harbormaster section. His focus is on public education and public relations to ensure a safe boating environment for all who use the waterways. His office hours vary with the boating season but cane be reached at the Division of Natural Resources office. As with the other sections, the Harbormaster can be reached 24 hours a day through the Yarmouth Police Dispatch. The Harbormaster may also be reached on Marine Channel 66 while on patrol. The Harbormaster provides public safety through public education, maritime law enforcement and search and rescue on all of Yarmouth's waterways. The Harbormaster section manages all town mooring areas. Mooring fees directly correspond with the size of the vessel and broken down into size slots.
Fees can be obtained by contacting the office or on the Department website. The season runs from May 1st through October 31st. All moorings must be inspected and tagged on a yearly basis by the Harbormaster or his designee. All moorings must be out of the water no later than October 31st, and unless otherwise approved with the Harbormaster. A mooring wait list has been established. A $30.00 fee is required to be placed on the wait list for the first year and a $15.00 fee for each subsequent year to maintain placement on the list.