Greenwich Harbor Master’s Report: Shrinking Harbors, Fewer Moorings

ian with grid

Ian MacMillan presents an idea for creating a grid pattern for mooring fields to make the best use of a limited resource. Credit: Leslie Yager

At Wednesday night’s Harbor Management Commission (HMC) meeting, Ian MacMillan the state appointed Harbor Master for Greenwich, delivered the following July Mooring Application Report:

The purpose of our mooring permit application forms is to establish sufficient information to award Army Corps of Engineers Category One, private, recreational mooring permits to our waters once a plan has been adopted.

The criteria spelled out in Chapter 444a, Sec.22a-113r requires the harbor master to keep a record of the location of each mooring and anchorage for which a permit has been issued, the name and address of the owner and a description of the vessel to be moored upon adoption of the plan.

To lay the groundwork for this process, an accounting of the locations of every potential mooring was the first step. In 2012 we located with GPS about 800 possible moorings in Greenwich waters.

Last season a total of 373 moorings were managed by the three private yacht clubs:

Riverside Yacht Club (RYC) =110 moorings

Indian Harbor Yacht Club (IHYC) = 153 moorings

Belle Haven Yacht (BYC) = 110 moorings


This season a total of 347 moorings are managed by the three private yacht clubs:

Riverside Yacht Club (RYC) =112 moorings

Indian Harbor Yacht Club (IHYC) = 125 moorings

Belle Haven Yacht (BYC) = 110 moorings


In 2012 we accounted for 131 mooring applications outside of the private clubs.

In 2013 it was 213 applications and in 2014 we saw 235 applications.

In 2015 we sent out 310 renewal forms to date with instructions and as of May 12 we have 139 returned to Penny Monahan’s office of which I have had copies forwarded to me for inspection by May 15, 203 returned by today, July 15, 2015.

As of July 15, 2015 we have had 550 mooring applications to date.

At $75.00 each that should total $ 41,250.00.

A form that has been completed may have the mooring ball numbered with paint in the field and may be permitted, provided that it does not lie in a shellfish bed or a channel or fairway and is in sufficient water depth and is free from interfering with another moored vessel. Incomplete fields or unacceptable information is circled in red ink.  About a third of the forms are incomplete with red circles.

I advise the Board of Selectmen that vendors often deploy moorings and commission them without permits or notification to the Harbor Master or the HMC. I have enclosed in this report a Nov. 25, 2013 copy of advice from my DOT manager to permit without charge to establish inventory. DOT views vendors as a local issue.

I advise the Board of Selectmen under the special acts 288 and 93 to designate the Great Captain anchorage as a mooring field by the BOS so that NO WAKE buoys can be placed East and West of the anchorage area for safety reasons.

I advise the Board of Selectmen to remove the tug wreck “Kevin B” from the Great Captain anchorage for safety as many vessels have been damaged by contact with its remains. I enclose an email from a boater that damaged his vessel on the wreck a year ago along with a photo of the remains of the wreck.

I advise that a grid pattern be developed for each mooring field to make best use of a limited resource. I enclose a chart of the Greenwich Harbor anchorage demonstrating a grid pattern. I also refer to the DEEP 1984 Old Port Harbor Management plan template for an explanation of a grid pattern.

Silted in mooring fields must be restored and maintained by dredge to meet the growing demand for moorings. Greenwich Harbor, a federal navigation project, alone has lost over 35 mooring locations and half its depth because of silt in the Town of Greenwich’s most protected harbor.

Once the application is complete each mooring location takes about 30 minutes to find, verify location, depth and label. The distance from other moorings is an important variable to establish. Vendors do not stay on station while servicing moorings. Oystermen often move moorings while working their dredges. Mooring floats are often lost.

Attached is an account of time it takes to register a mooring application on an average. Please keep in mind that without a former grid pattern or exact locations already charted, each mooring is unique but similar. Some moorings require a great deal more time than others and cannot be averaged as to how long they will take. 20 hours maybe required when a mooring location is contested or requires more survey work to possibly be relocated.

I and my staff have not been reimbursed for the hundreds of hours or the many dollars we have spent to meet the duties of this task. The current waiting list is for about thirty five locations. Our location inventory is about fifty locations throughout the Greenwich harbors area. Thank you,

Ian Macmillan, State Harbor Master, Greenwich

See also:

The Current State of Planning for Greenwich Harbor and the Mianus River

Mazza Re-Elected Chair of Harbor Commission. Public Feedback Sought on Harbor Plan Draft Chapters

Harbor Management Commission Hoists Delta Flag: Maneuvering with Difficulty

See also:

Harbor Management Commission Denies Parks & Rec Request for $2,900 to Upgrade Key Buoys

Harbor Master Expenses Discussed at Harbor Management Commission Meeting

Tesei’s to Mazza: Live with the Arranged Marriage with Harbor Master

HMC Déja Vu: “Get a Legal Opinion. Get a Harbor Plan”

Comments at Public Hearing Focus on Dredging, Harbor Master and Issue of Authority

Interview with Ian Macmillan, Greenwich’s Controversial Harbormaster

Harbor Management Commission Discusses Harbor Ambiguities

Greenwich First Selectman on State Appointed Harbormaster’s Mooring & Permit Data


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Email news tips to Greenwich Free Press editor Leslie.Yager@GreenwichFreePress.com
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