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Smooth sailing includes being COVID-conscious in Marblehead

Coronavirus precautions are in force for Marblehead Harbor this summer. (Olivia Falcigno)

MARBLEHEAD — With the boating season underway, Harbormaster Mark Souza is reinforcing coronavirus precautions in effect for town docks and the harbor. 

“My biggest concern is congregation of people on docks. Most people in town have been good about social distance practices,” Souza said.

With 3,000 permits issued for vessels, Marblehead Harbor is one of the busiest recreational boating harbors in the state, along with Barnstable and Gloucester, Souza said. 

Referencing state boating guidelines, Souza, in a town website post, wrote that anyone on a town dock or pier is required to wear a face covering at all times “until you have properly disembarked or left the area.” 

Docks and piers are also marked with signs describing proper social distancing, with the public expected to adhere to distancing rules in order to keep these access points open.

Gangway rules include mask and social distancing requirements and prohibitions on people loitering.

“Please be respectful of the people around you who want to use the docks to access launches, dinghies or pick-ups/drop-offs. All docks will only allow for loading and unloading only. No vessel will be left unattended during tie-up,” stated Souza.

Docks and piers cannot have more than 10 people at one time, he said, adding that any personal protective equipment (PPE) left behind dockside or on gangways without proper disposal “will result in closure of the facilities.”

“Please adhere to proper disposal of your PPE so we can have a safe season,” wrote Souza.

Anchorage limitations are also in force, with boaters required to maintain a distance of six feet from other vessels. The State Street North docks will be designated for commercial use only. 

State Street South docks are for general use with no long-term tie-ups and use restricted to loading and unloading only. 

For more information call, 781 631 2386, or email harbor2@marblehead.org.

“My department will increase its presence as best we can to help with the difficult process we are faced with. I ask for patience and courtesy to others to help with our challenges,” added Souza.

The harbor is also Sustainable Marblehead’s focus this summer, with local sailor James Ashton leading an “Our Harbor One Ocean” working group to solicit ideas from residents, businesses and other community representatives. 

The group’s mission, stated an online post by Sustainable, is “to commit to working with the Marblehead community to generate awareness and inspire action to protect our harbor and ocean.”

Sustainable Marblehead plans during the next few months to work with the organization, Sailors for the Sea, to share “best practices for clean, green boating,” said Sustainable’s post. 

 

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