Nahant harbormaster hopes to replace burned boat


Nahant’s harbormaster boat sunk, was hauled from the ocean, then burned down. Now, the town is hoping to replace it to safely patrol the harbor when summer activities heat up.

“As a coastal community, making sure that our harbors are safe and that we’re able to respond to emergencies on the water is at the top of our priority list,” said Town Administrator Tony Barletta. “This type of thing is always a big hit on a small community.”

Recreational activities in town range from kiteboarding to fishing and boating.

There are also about 100 boats moored in the harbor, he said.

The 22-foot Eastern, the town’s only harbormaster boat, sunk on Dec. 20 while moored in the harbor.

“There are so many different reasons as to why a boat could sink,” said Barletta. “I just think it was the way that the wind was facing. It took on water and it wasn’t able to drain it as fast as it was coming in. Once it gets to a certain point, there isn’t much that can be done.”

Nobody was on the boat when it sank, said Barletta.

It was pulled from the water and hauled on a trailer to Ryan Marine in Marblehead. The vessel was waiting to be assessed by insurance companies when a fire broke out at the boatyard shortly after midnight on Nov. 30.

Nahant’s boat was one of six burned in the blaze. Marblehead Fire Capt. Thomas Rice estimated the damages were between $500,000 and $750,000.

“The cabin where you actually would operate the boat burned,” said Barletta.

Barletta expects an insurance settlement to come through in the next month. In the meantime, he said he is applying for additional funding in case the town doesn’t receive as much money as it needs.

Barletta estimates that a new boat could cost anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000.

This week, the town applied for a grant through the Humane Society of the Commonwealth. The administration is also looking at surplus boats on the state contract, he said.

“Sometimes there are boats out there that other towns no longer have use for or have traded in,” he said.

But he doesn’t want the replacement boat to lack in quality.

“With an emergency response boat you want something that’s going to be reliable,” he said. “Not just some old boat that needs work.”

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