June 16, 2021 by Carol Britton Meyer
Boaters from Weymouth and Hingham and as far away as Waltham who enjoy boating in the World's End mooring field participated in an in-person Select Board meeting last night.
At that time, Harbormaster Kenneth Corson explained that plans to increase the number of moorings at that location by up to 13 are on hold for at least this year, and that the only proposed change for this boating season was to limit the number of boats that can raft off each mooring to five without prior harbormaster approval for more.
Prior to the pandemic, there was no limit, but last summer a three-boat rafting restriction was set.
"Allowing up to five will provide sufficient room to swim and kayak off of the moored boats," Corson said.
He explained to the Hingham Anchor following the meeting that limited exceptions would be allowed with his approval -- "not for day-to-day activities, but for exceptional situations such as a youth regatta or a wedding celebration on a boat."
Select Board members Chair Joseph Fisher and Liz Klein agreed that five was a workable number. Member William Ramsey was not present. Fisher noted that some communities allow fewer boats than five to raft off an individual mooring.
The five-boat maximum comes with the advisory: "Swim at your own risk."
While Corson earlier proposed a change in the current mooring regulations to allow anchoring at World's End only with a current Hingham mooring permit, last night he told the group of boaters who attended the meeting, "We're not looking to restrict anchoring at this time." Anchoring -- which does not require a mooring permit -- is allowed in the horseshoe-shaped portion of the mooring field.
A boater doesn't have to live in Hingham to obtain a Hingham mooring permit, although there is a lengthy waiting list for World's End moorings.
A number of boaters wrote to the Select Board recently expressing concerns about some of the earlier proposed regulations that were later dropped at least for the 2021 boating season.
Fisher gave assurances that every comment was read and taken into consideration.
In a letter to the Select Board, Weymouth resident Eric Dresser, a lifelong boater in Hingham Harbor who moors his boat at the Hingham Yacht Club, noted that he is the fourth generation of his family to hold a mooring in Hingham Harbor "going back almost 100 years."
Dresser, who is in favor of "minimal restrictions," co-founded the World's End Mooring/Anchoring Advocacy Group on Facebook -- now comprised of 516 members -- with the goal of "preserving a free and accessible Hingham Harbor, including World's End."
He noted that the group "has galvanized many individuals who feel this is an important matter and feel what is happening is an injustice [referring mainly to the earlier-proposed changes that are not under consideration at this time]. You have heard from many of our group’s members who already submitted letters opposing these new regulations. There is also a Change.org petition with 865 signatures."
Dresser suggested the formation of an advisory committee to further involve the community in the process.
He believes that input received by the Select Board contributed to allowing a maximum of five boats to raft off a mooring, which he considers to be a positive step.
David Giagrando of Weymouth, who enjoys boating at World's End, suggested that rather than limiting the number of boats that can raft off a mooring, to provide a certain-sized footprint for boaters who hold mooring permits to work within.
"I grew up in this area, and World's End is a wonderful place to boat," he said. "However, it feels like this change will minimize opportunities to enjoy it."
Fisher explained, "We're [just] trying to come up with a manageable policy."
Hingham boater Marco Boer, who holds a mooring permit for World's End, also thinks five is a reasonable number.
During his comments, he asked Corson if there have been any reportable safety issues there recently.
"Yes," Corson responded. "Last weekend we had a hit-and-run boat incident," among other issues that have occurred in the past.
Waltham resident Milton Shull, a member of the Watertown Yacht Club, said the group has had a mooring at World's End since the 1970s. "Five seems reasonable. I've seen eight," which he said made him uncomfortable.
"Let's see how this works this summer," Corson stated, with the idea of revisiting the regulations at a later date. "We need to ensure the area is navigable and accessible."
Fisher noted that this is not a "one and done [discussion]. We have an exceptional relationship with our harbormaster, and we will ensure that a review of the regulations is ongoing."
Fisher went on to say that the board "recognizes the importance of boating, and our goal is to make [the harbor, including the World's End mooring field] a safe and fun place that we can all enjoy."