Seasonal Docks, Floats Stranded in Marblehead Harbor

The Conservation Commission will hold a public hearing next week regarding an application from the Recreation and Parks Commission to haul in floats and docks at Riverhead Beach.

Marblehead Harbormaster Webb Russell said the seasonal docks and floats that populate Marblehead Harbor have been hauled in at Riverhead Beach in the late summer and early fall "for as long as anyone can remember."

The docks and floats, he said, are typically towed toward the beach, anchored near the shore, and hauled out of the water at low tide to be stacked and stored on land for the winter months.

So Russell, and the local marine equipment workers who typically haul the floats this time of year, were surprised Thursday to hear that the Conservation Commission will be reviewing the operations at Riverhead Beach.

"They couldn't have done it at a worse time," Russell said Tuesday afternoon, adding that the removal of between 100 and 120 floats will likely be affected by the order.

On Tuesday, Russell said he was crafting a letter to the Board of Selectmen, seeking their support in dealing with the order as quickly as possible because a lengthy delay "could be dangerous for everybody who is leaving docks out there."

The Conservation Commission will hold a public hearing on Thursday, Oct. 11, at 7:15 p.m., regarding an application recently filed by the Recreation and Parks Commission related to "activities on the land commonly known as Riverhead Beach and Town Beach."

According to the application, filed by the Recreation and Parks Commission:

Proposed Work Activities

  • Winter storage of floats, gangways, mooring blocks, boats, trailers and lobster traps and in areas shown on the plan.
  • Launching of floats, gangways, and mooring blocks in the spring of each year.
  • Retrieval of floats, gangways, and mooring blocks in the fall of each year.
  • Repairs and maintenance of floats and gangways in area shown on the plan.
  • Construction of new floats, gangways, and mooring blocks in area shown on the plan.
  • Installation of a seasonal shelter (ie. Quonset hut) for construction of new floats and maintenance of existing floats.
  • Routine maintenance and repairs to existing buildings and structures at Devereux Beach and Riverhead Beach.
  • Mowing and trimming activities at Devereux Beach and Riverhead Beach parking areas.
  • Routine removal of accumulated sand from concrete boat launching ramp.
  • Beach cleaning activities including removal of trash and accumulated sea weed and debris by raking with a York Rake attached to a John Deere Gator model XUV.
  • Temporary storage of seaweed and debris cleaned from beaches.
  • Routine grading and maintenance of gravel parking areas.
  • Seasonal installation of wooden boardwalks, handicap access mat, signs and lifeguard chairs.


Have you been affected by the Conservation Commission's order? Let us know in the comments section below.

Peter Lake, LAKE Real Estate October 03, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Could we have an explanation, please, of why the CC issued its order?
F.B. King October 03, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Agree! What is this all about? Does the Conservation Commission not have enough to worry about these days??
Petrisse Briel October 03, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Maybe it's the exhaust from the old Marine Truck they use, or the conflict between public and private use? I guess we'll find out on Oct. 11th.
John Buba October 03, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Do they use any leaf blowers when hauling the floats? That could be the problem. This is nuts and again shows how ineffective our Selectmen are at running the town. Never mind that the town charges the float owners the same amount to store the floats as they would if they were expensive yachts - thought no yachts are ever stored at the beach. I complained a few years back about the high storage fee and the answer I got was "well if we don’t raise the rates on the floats I'll have to layoff people." If in some strange alternate universe Walter actually has a point, then he must grandfather the floats for this year and take up the issue over the winter to give the float owners time to find alternatives. I am sure that Winter Island in Salem will be only too happy to accept the float revenue next year and thus deprive Parks and Rec of this funding.
mary p. ayer October 03, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Good heavens!! This IS stupid!! Who on earth votes for these people?? Conservation my eye---conserving what? The parking lot? Salem will be happy to take the "outrageous" $$$. This is not right! Haven't they got better things to look out for?
Joe Whipple October 03, 2012 at 02:53 PM
This is ridiculous. I'd like to hear what the CC have to say for themselves, because it makes it look as if members of the Commission are a bunch of by-the-book bureaucrats. We need people who realize that they are public servants with some common sense and sense of proportion. I hope the CC members fit that bill. This story needs a follow up with the CC for some explanation of why they are doing this to an activity which has been going on for longer than most (all?) of us have been alive. I'd argue that the annual hauling, storage, maintenance, building, and launching of the floats is actually a part of the ecosystem of the area. Stopping it is what would change the system and would more logically require a permit.
Concerned October 03, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Why don`t you all aim your comments towards Peter Noyes and Ted Moore, they are the ones that complained to the CC.
nightfighter October 03, 2012 at 10:25 PM
I'm thinking they're going to be looking to do soil testing after generations have scraped antifouling paint there..... Who is going to take the hit if it is declared a hazardous waste site?
Header October 04, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Blame Peter Noyes, not the ConvComm. They are upholding the injunction issued. And why is the Park & Rec bending over backwards for Noyes? I think the town should give him what he gives us. Grief! Enough is enough. Noyes has the media so afraid they won't even publish his name. Seyon.
Ayala Pignato October 04, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Why don't you list your name when you throw other names out there? And provide facts with your statements!
Ayala Pignato October 04, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Another anonymous writer. If you can blast other people by throwing their names out there, why can't you attach your name to your comments? You are clearly just a rude person, who is also bored with nothing else to do with your time than mind other people's business!
C R October 04, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Trickle-down Government ?
Charlie Ricker October 19, 2012 at 12:12 PM


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