June 6, 2021 by Carol Britton Meyer
Harbormaster Kenneth Corson's proposed new mooring regulations for World's End, which he will present to the Select Board for their review and input during an upcoming meeting, have raised concerns among some boaters.
The COVID-19 regulations of last year have already been rescinded by the harbormaster. The proposed revisions would replace the current regulations and add up to 13 new moorings to the existing 41 for increased access to the mooring field, along with other changes. A boater doesn't have to live in Hingham to obtain a Hingham mooring docking permit, although there is a lengthy waiting list for World's End moorings.
World's End has four transient moorings, and that number would increase as part of the proposal for more than a dozen new moorings. Currently these spots can be reserved ahead of time through the Harbormaster's office.
Not all boaters who read about the proposals Corson shared in an email sent to Hingham mooring permit holders are pleased with what they've heard so far. Marco Boer, who moors his boat at World's End, calls the proposed new regulations "extremely restrictive." He is a member of the Harbor Development Committee but spoke as a citizen.
Corson explained to the Hingham Anchor what the proposal involves. "We have a waiting list of 65 people. Adding new moorings would move some of those boaters off the waiting list and provide more transient moorings [the number is as yet undetermined]."
Boer believes that the proposal to allow anchoring at World's End only with a current Hingham Mooring Permit "would shut out Hingham boaters and anyone from out-of-town who would like to anchor a boat but doesn't have such a permit," he told the Hingham Anchor.
What happens, he wonders, if other boating communities such as Weymouth and Marblehead start implementing the same rules? "One of the reasons people have a boat is to take trips to explore the area. You go to World's End to sit in the sun for a couple of hours, have some lunch, and then leave," Boer noted.
While he doesn't take issue with the proposal to allow only one mooring permit per person, whether a resident of Hingham or another community, he does, however, raise concern about the proposed limiting of tying or rafting on moorings to a maximum of three boats, allowing anchoring at World's End only with a current Hingham Mooring Permit, and not allowing any rafting at anchor.
Corson said that the one mooring permit "per person" could apply to an individual, organization, or a corporation.
He also explained that setting a regulation that boats can anchor only with a current Hingham Mooring Permit would allow anyone holding such a permit, including non-residents, access to the mooring field.
Boer shared another concern that has been voiced to him. "These moorings are very expensive, and three boats seems like a very small number to allow for people who would like to have get-togethers out on the water. World’s End is one of the most heavily patrolled waters in the area, with enforcement by the Hingham Harbormaster, the Coast Guard, State Police, and the Environmental Police," he said.
Corson explained his reasoning. "Adding the additional 13 moorings would make the mooring field tighter and would affect the number of boats that could safely raft and anchor," he said. "Allowing a maximum of three boats to tie or raft would leave more room in the mooring field for vessels to navigate and to safely moor their boats."
Corson further noted that if the 13 additional moorings are approved, the total number would then be 54, and that if three boats were tied or rafted to each one, there would be a total of 162 boats in the mooring field.
Under the proposed new regulations, anchoring would still be allowed, but no rafting off an anchored boat. "World's End is the only mooring field in town where anchoring is allowed, because there is not room at the other locations," Corson said. "If we add 13 new moorings, there would be limited space for rafting off anchored boats in the World's End mooring field, either."
This was a contentious subject two years ago when something similar was proposed, "tabled during the pandemic, and is still an issue," said Boer, who thinks a study linked to the proposed changes should be done before implementing one or more of them. "These changes as proposed could potentially have very consequential negative impacts."
According to Boer, "Many calls have been received by the Select Board and the HDC by people unhappy with the proposed changes who are sharing similar concerns as I have," he said. "This is still in the early stages, and I encourage everyone who is interested to attend future meetings about this subject."
Looking back to the 2020 boating season, new COVID-19 regulations for the World's End mooring field were put in place in addition to overall COVID-19 boating safety precautions, including physical distancing.
The town followed all state COVID-19 boating regulations, and at Corson's recommendation, took them a step further on the local level by allowing only 2020 Hingham mooring docking permit holders, for anywhere in Hingham waters, to anchor in the World's End mooring field. These include, but are not limited to, private marina, Inner Harbor, and yacht club permits.
Boaters and other interested parties may send their comments, concerns, questions, and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check the town website, hingham-ma.gov for Select Board agendas.