Town of Falmouth, MA
Barnstable County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Selectmen of the Town of Falmouth 11-24-1997. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Harbor Master — See Ch. 53, Art. I.
Boats and boating — See Ch. 91.
Waterways — See Ch. 231.

§ 269-1 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BOAT/VESSEL
Any water craft, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation.
COMMERCIAL MOORING/RENTAL
Any mooring that does not meet the definition of a private mooring or a mooring that may be used to generate revenue.
COMMERCIAL MOORING/SERVICE
Issued to vessels which are primarily operated commercially or for servicing, repairing or holding for delivery those vessels which have been serviced.
FALMOUTH WATERS
All waters within the Town boundaries.
HARBOR MASTER
The Harbor Master appointed by the Town Administrator and duly empowered by the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
LENGTH OF BOAT/VESSEL
The length overall.
MOORING
An anchor system consisting of an anchor, chain, buoy and pennant by which a boat is secured to the bottom in a location assigned by the Harbor Master under the mooring permit process.
MOORING YEAR
January 1 through December 31. This is the period for which the mooring is assigned.
OUTHAULS
An anchor set offshore of a beach or seawall and used to haul and/or moor a small boat seaward of the mean high water line.
PRIVATE MOORING
Any mooring registered by the Town of Falmouth to an individual. Adequate documentation must be presented to the Harbor Master to ensure true ownership of the vessel. The only vessel allowed on that mooring shall be the one registered to that mooring, with the following exceptions:
A. 
A mooring holder may loan his/her mooring, at any time, for no more than 48 hours.
B. 
If a vessel, other than that which has been assigned to the mooring, is to use that mooring for a period of time not to exceed seven days, the Harbor Master must be notified by the mooring permit holder as to what vessel will be using the mooring.
C. 
If, for any reason, a mooring permit holder does not wish to use his/her paid-for mooring for a season and is willing, the Harbor Master can temporarily assign that mooring to the first appropriately sized vessel on the waiting list. There will be a separate fee charged to the vessel coming off the waiting list. The temporarily assigned vessel will return to its original position on the waiting list after the season, if not otherwise assigned.
QUALIFIED INSPECTOR
Any person approved as an inspector of tackle and moorings by the Harbor Master.
(1) 
Owned by the Yacht Club.
(2) 
Location: must be in the same harbor as the Yacht Club.
(3) 
Functions: provide mooring for privately owned sailboats that qualify as a part of the racing class of that year's yacht club racing program.
(4) 
Transfers: A private mooring (See definition of "private mooring.") may be transferred to the Yacht Club itself, provided that the boat the Yacht Club assigns to the mooring meets the requirements outlined in Subsection C above. No yacht club shall own more than five such transferred mooring permits at any one time.
(1) 
Owned by the Yacht Club.
(2) 
Provide mooring for yacht club owned and maintained vessels that provide normal yacht club services, such as launch service, sailing programs, swimming floats and on-the-water maintenance of club facilities.
(3) 
Provide mooring for privately owned sailboats that qualify as a part of the racing class of that year's yacht club's racing program.

§ 269-2 Registration, reregistration and placement.

A. 
Registration of a previously hold mooring space.
(1) 
Previously registered mooring. The Harbor Master shall mail, during the month of January, renewal forms to all persons who were registered permit holders at the end of the prior year, at the address then listed on their last registration or reregistration. It shall be the burden of the permit holder to notify the Harbor Master of any change of address. Renewal must be accompanied by proof of payment of boat excise tax bill, if applicable, the nonrefundable mooring fee and your current inspection certificate.
(2) 
If the permit holder has no proof of ownership, he/she must surrender the use of the mooring.
(3) 
If a previously approved mooring has not had an approved vessel assigned to it for one year, that mooring space shall be forfeited.
(4) 
No mooring permit shall be transferable, except within the immediate family. The immediate family shall include brother, sister, children, mother, father or spouse.
B. 
Requests for new mooring permits. All requests for new mooring space shall be made by filing a Falmouth mooring application form, along with appropriate fees and paperwork, to:
Falmouth Harbor Master's Office
180 Scranton Avenue
Falmouth, MA 02540
C. 
Relocation application. A registered mooring holder who wishes a new location within the same harbor shall file a written request with the Harbor Master. His name will then appear on the relocation list for that specific harbor. (See § 269-3, Waiting lists.) There is no cost to keep your name on the relocation list, however, you must notify the Harbor Master every year, in writing, by January 1, if you wish to keep your name on the list.
D. 
Assignment of mooring space.
(1) 
All assignments of mooring space shall be made by the Harbor Master or his designee. At such time as space becomes available, the Harbor Master shall assign the space, according to the specific requirements of the particular boat, including its length, draft or other pertinent requirements, to the person who first submitted a completed application.
(2) 
When the applicant is notified the Town has a mooring space, and the space is acceptable, he must set his proper tackle within 30 days. Use of the mooring can be delayed for one year.
E. 
Placement of moorings.
(1) 
No mooring shall be placed in any Falmouth waters without inspection and approval of the Harbor Master. The Harbor Master must direct the placement of the mooring.
(2) 
All moorings shall be placed by someone approved by the Harbor Master.

§ 269-3 Waiting lists.

The Harbor Master shall post two waiting lists in his office for each harbor in the Town of Falmouth. The first, known as the "waiting list," is for your original application for a mooring in that specific harbor, and the second, known as a "relocation list," is for a current mooring holder who wishes a different location within the harbor in which he is located. The Harbor Master will fill all vacancies from the relocation list first, then go to the waiting list.
A. 
The waiting list.
(1) 
This list shall show the name of the applicant, date the application is received and the size of the boat for which mooring space is requested.
(2) 
Each applicant may be on no more that two waiting lists at one time.
(3) 
For each list you wish to be on, a one-time, nonrefundable fee, equal to the appropriate mooring fee for the boat listed in Subsection A(2) (above) will accompany the application.
(4) 
When the applicant is notified the Town has a mooring space available and the applicant accepts the space, this fee will be applied to the first year's fee payment and will not be prorated.
(5) 
The person at the top of the waiting list shall have priority to obtain the next available location but may waive the right to the next available location without loosing his/her place at the top of the list. In the event of the waiver, the next person on the list shall be offered the location etc. Notice to the person entitled to the next available mooring shall be in writing.
(6) 
Wait list applicants shall be required to annually renew their wait list request in writing to the Harbor Master in order to remain on the wait list. An annual renewal fee of $10 shall accompany the renewal request. The renewal time period shall be January 1 to March 15 annually. Renewal requests received after March 15 shall be placed at the bottom of the wait list. No renewal reminders will be issued by the Town.
[Added 4-22-2002]
B. 
The relocation list.
(1) 
This list shall show the name of the applicant, date the application is received, the size of the boat for which mooring space is requested and the reason for the request.
(2) 
Applications are for the same harbor only.
(3) 
No deposit is required to be on this list.

§ 269-4 Forfeiture of mooring space.

Any registered owner shall be deemed to have forfeited his or her registered mooring space by reason of any one of the following:
A. 
Removal of the tackle by the registered owner and notification to the Harbor Master that the space is available.
B. 
Failure to complete reregistration by May 1 of any season.
C. 
Failure to replace, within 14 days, any piece of mooring tackle not in compliance with the mooring tackle standards set forth in § 269-5 of these regulations.
D. 
Any mooring may be inspected and its owner may be ordered, by the Harbor Master, to remove or relocate it whenever, in the judgment of the Harbor Master, the safety of other vessels or the optimum use of the area requires such action. The expenses of such removal or relocation shall be the responsibility of the owner. Except in emergency situations, an owner shall have 14 days to relocate or remove a mooring when so ordered by the Harbor Master.
E. 
Failure to pay the annual mooring fee and excise tax when applicable.
F. 
Failure to comply with any of the requirements of this chapter.
G. 
Unauthorized changing of mooring location. (See placement.)
H. 
Rental of a private mooring. (See definitions.)
I. 
Current mooring is considered illegal. (See registrations.)
J. 
All persons shall be notified by certified mail when they have forfeited their mooring spaces. After notification of forfeiture, the owner of the tackle shall remove same. If, after 14 days, the tackle has not been removed, the Harbor Master shall have said tackle removed at the owner's expense.

§ 269-5 Mooring specifications.

A. 
Mooring anchors, other than the Mushroom and Dor-Mor pyramid anchor, shall be permitted at the discretion of the Harbor Master.
B. 
Anchor chain shall be galvanized Grade 30 proof coil chain. Minimum total length shall be two times the water depth at mean high tide. Maximum total length shall be 2.5 times water depth at MHT.
C. 
Swivels, if used, shall be one size larger than the chain to which they are connected. Shackles shall be the same size and strength as the chain.
D. 
Mooring pennant length shall be two times the height from the water line to the bow chock, plus the distance from the chock to the deck cleat.
E. 
The mooring pennant shall have adequate chaffing gear at the bow chock and shall be shackled directly to the chain.
F. 
Mooring buoys shall be molded, formed or fabricated from rubber, plastic or fiberglass.
G. 
The buoy shall be of sufficient buoyancy to float at 50% of its mass at mean high tide. Each buoy shall be a minimum diameter of 12 inches, shall be white with at least a one-inch horizontal blue stripe, black three-inch numbers and, on commercial buoys only, include the weight of the mooring anchor.
H. 
The specifications outlined in this chapter are minimum standards and are not intended to withstand the weather extremes.
Anchor Weight
Chain Size
Boat length (feet)
Mushroom (pounds)
Dor-mor (pounds)
Bottom
(inches)
Top
(inches)
Pennant
(inches)
Up to 13
100
703/8
3/8
1/2
14 to 19
150
1351/2
3/8
1/2
20 to 25
200 plus
2001/2
1/2
5/8
26 to 29
300 plus 75 shaft weight*
375 plus
5/8
1/2
5/8
30 to 39
500 plus 75 shaft weight*
5003/4
5/8
2 at 5/8 or 3/4
Over 40 feet
700 to 1,000 plus 135 shaft weight*
1,0003/4
5/8
1

§ 269-6 Abandonment of tackle.

Any registered mooring holder who abandons or forfeits a mooring space is responsible for removing and disposing of the tackle. Failure of the registered holder to remove such tackle shall constitute abandonment thereof, and such tackle may be ordered removed by the Harbor Master at the expense of the registered mooring holder.

§ 269-7 Moving of tackle.

The moving of any tackle to an assigned space shall be at the applicant's expense, and tackle may not be moved from any registered mooring space without the prior written approval of the Harbor Master. Any registered mooring holder desiring to move any tackle shall make application to the Harbor Master, who shall determine whether such application shall be approved or rejected.

§ 269-8 Mooring inspection.

A. 
Before a new mooring permit will be issued, the mooring owner must submit his/her mooring tackle for an out-of-the-water inspection by the Harbor Master or his designee.
B. 
Each year the mooring buoy, pennant, chafing gear, top chain and all connecting hardware on each mooring must be inspected.
C. 
Each existing mooring shall be inspected, fully, by a registered inspector at three-year intervals either by diving or out of water.
D. 
If, as the result of such inspections, the Harbor Master Division or designee determines that any link of chain, shackle, swivel or other piece of mooring gear has become damaged or worn by one-third or more of its normal diameter, all such chains, shackles, swivels or other pieces of mooring tackle shall be replaced accordingly. Failure to replace worn or damaged gear shall be grounds for revocation of a mooring permit by the Harbor Master Division.

§ 269-9 Qualifications of inspectors.

A. 
Any person can, upon application to the Harbor Master and demonstration to him of his familiarity with the rules and regulations of the Town relating to mooring tackle inspection, be considered a certified inspector.
B. 
Such approval may be revoked by the Harbor Master if he determines that the inspector has failed to exercise due diligence in performing his duties as inspector.

§ 269-10 Winter sticks.

A. 
Winter sticks shall be readily visible in a vertical position at all times, with a minimum of 12 inches showing.
B. 
The mooring permit number must be displayed on the winter stick. The stick shall be white, shall have a one-inch blue stripe and shall be upright at all times (not less than 40° in any tide).
C. 
All winter sticks shall be removed not later than June 15 of the succeeding year.
D. 
Winter sticks shall not be placed earlier than October 1.

§ 269-11 Numbering.

Each mooring in all Falmouth harbors will be assigned a number by the Harbor Master. This number shall be displayed in black, three-inch high letters on each mooring buoy, pick up buoy and winter stick.

§ 269-12 Commercial moorings.

A. 
Existing (rental).
(1) 
The owner of the mooring will be registered as the assignee of the the mooring space (mooring permit holder).
(2) 
A seasonal lessee will be registered by boat sticker, and the mooring permit holder must submit a list of seasonal lessees to the Harbor Master's office as of July 1. The deadline for submitting annual lists is August 15.
(3) 
Commercial moorings shall be limited to 35% of the total moorings in any single harbor.
(4) 
The size and type of mooring must meet tackle requirements for the maximum size vessel that would fit in that location.
(5) 
Commercial moorings shall be marked with the company name or logo, as well as the number assigned by the Harbor Master and the weight of the anchor.
(6) 
Commercial moorings permitted by the Town of Falmouth prior to November 24, 1997, and subject to the limitations outlined in Subsection A(3), shall continue to be permitted only if all the required Army Corps of Engineer permits are either in place or are in the application process.
(7) 
Permits will be issued exclusively to Falmouth water front marine businesses who provide the following services:
Number of Moorings Held
Services required
1 to 5
6 to 20
Over 21
Shall be on the water front
yes
yes
yes
Adequate dingy or launch service
yes
yes
yes
Trash removal
yes
yes
yes
Rest rooms
no
yes
yes
Septic pump out (unless other- wise available in that harbor)
no
no
yes
Parking
no
1 space per 4 moorings
5 spaces, plus 1 space per 10 moorings in excess of 20
Parking
no
1 space
5 spaces,
B. 
Application process (rental).
(1) 
Applicants for new or additional commercial rental mooring permits will follow all regular steps as outlined in § 269-2B (requests for new space).
(2) 
See § 269-12A(7) (commercial moorings - existing).
(3) 
Upon receipt of a mooring permit from the Falmouth Harbor Master, the applicant shall initiate the Army Corps of Engineers permitting process.
(4) 
Commercial moorings (rental and service) shall be limited to 35% of the total mooring in any harbor.
C. 
Existing (service).
(1) 
Commercial mooring permits issued in 1996 prior to November 24, 1997, and used for service purposes shall be permitted, provided that the mooring use conforms to the requirements for the commercial service permits (See definition of "private mooring.") and if all the required Army Corps of Engineer permits are either in place or are in the application process.
(2) 
The size and type of mooring must meet tackle requirements for the maximum size vessel that would fit in that location.
(3) 
Commercial/service moorings shall be marked with the company name or logo, as well as the number assigned by the Harbor Master and the weight of the anchor.
D. 
Application process (service).
(1) 
Applicants for commercial service mooring permits will follow all regular steps as outlined in § 269-2B (requests for new space).
(2) 
Commercial service mooring permits shall be issued to individuals whose vessels are primarily operated commercially or for servicing, repairing and/or holding for delivery vessels which have been serviced. The permit holder must prove to the Harbor Master that 50% or more of his income is derived from servicing boats.
(3) 
Upon receipt of a mooring permit from the Falmouth Harbor Master, the applicant shall initiate the Army Corps of Engineers permitting process.

§ 269-13 Appeal process.

Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Harbor Master may file an appeal in accordance with the MGL c. 91, § 10(A).

§ 269-14 Fees.

A. 
Private moorings. All vessels shall pay a yearly mooring fee of $40.
B. 
Commercial moorings. All commercial moorings shall pay a yearly mooring fee of $60.
C. 
Yacht club moorings. All yacht club moorings shall be charged a yearly mooring fee of $50.

§ 269-15 Fee payment policy and schedule.

A. 
The mooring bills will be sent out by January 15 annually.
B. 
Payment is due 30 days from the mailing of the mooring bills.
C. 
Failure to pay a mooring bill by the due date will result in an additional demand charge of $5.
D. 
Failure to pay the mooring fee and the demand charge by the demand due date will result in cancellation of the mooring permit.
E. 
It is the responsibility of the mooring permit holder to ensure payment is received in the Town Collector's office in a timely fashion. If you do not receive a mooring bill, it is the permit holder's responsibility to check on its whereabouts.
F. 
Changes of address must be submitted, in writing, to the Harbor Master's office, 180 Scranton Avenue, Falmouth, Massachusetts, 02540. All outgoing correspondence will be sent to the most current address supplied to the Harbor Master's office. It is the sole responsibility of the mooring permit holder/applicant to ensure that the Town has your proper mailing address. No deadlines will be extended because mail is returned because undeliverable as addressed.

§ 269-16 Boat stickers.

A. 
Each vessel for which a mooring permit has been issued shall have, attached to the hull, in a visible location as designated by the Harbor Master, an annual sticker issued by the Harbor Master. It is the responsibility of the mooring owner to ensure compliance with this section.
B. 
It shall be permissible for an individual to use one mooring for two or more vessels. However, all vessels must be owned by the same individual, have its own sticker, and the mooring location and tackle must be suitable for the second vessel.

§ 269-17 Mooring tags.

Each permitted mooring shall have attached, above the water line and visible at all times, an annual mooring tag issued by the Harbor Master. Again, it shall be the responsibility of the mooring owner to ensure compliance with this section.

§ 269-18 Change of ownership of vessel.

When the owner of a vessel for which a mooring permit has been issued transfers the ownership of the vessel to another person, the mooring permit is not transferable to such person unless he or she is a member of the immediate family of the transferee. [See § 269-2A(4).]

§ 269-19 Change of vessel.

A mooring holder may assign a new boat to his/her mooring, provided that the Harbor Master considers the mooring location and the tackle suitable for the replacement vessel. All change of vessel requests shall be made in writing to the Harbor Master's office.

§ 269-20 Enforcement.

Unless otherwise specifically provided herein, these regulations and rules shall be enforced by the Harbor Master according to the Massachusetts General Laws.

§ 269-21 Harbor management plans.

Certain provisions of these Town-wide mooring regulations may be waived by the Harbor Master for any harbor which has a Selectmen-approved harbor management plan in effect.