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Mooring Regulations

Mooring Regulations | Click on the appropriate section heading below to view the regulations.

Section 1 | Purpose

The Town of Nahant mooring regulations have been established in order to provide efficient utilization of harbor and mooring areas, to improve the safety of moored vessels, and to provide adequate space for the enjoyment of all the users of the harbor and mooring areas. This shall be done by controlling the placement of moorings, establishing standards for mooring tackle, and by establishing regular, systematic mooring inspection.

Section 2 | Definitions

Definitions: HARBORMASTER shall include all assistant harbormasters appointed by the Board of Selectmen and Town Administrator and under the direction of the Harbormaster.

Boat/Vessel: Every description of watercraft, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on the water, including, but not limited to, seaplanes, amphibious vehicles, ships, barges and water crafts and power boats of any type or kind with any means of propulsion.

Mooring: Semi-permanent ground tackle; a place where vessels are kept at anchor.
a. Individual: moorings placed by a vessel owner for his/her private use.
b. Rental: moorings installed for which any type of user fee is charged.

Mooring Buoy: A buoy marking a mooring.

Mooring Permit: Written authorization issued by the Harbormaster Department to moor a vessel.

Mooring Year: January 1st through December 31st. Mooring applications and permits will be available online or in the Selectmen’s Office.

Bow Chock: A rigging fitting on the bow of a vessel, normally mounted on deck or in the toe rail, to control a rigging or mooring line.

Owner: Shall include individuals, corporations, societies, associations. clubs, partnerships, etc.

Pennant: A line, cable, or chain by which a vessel is made fast to a mooring buoy.

Resident: Any real estate taxpayer or year round tenant, non-seasonal tenant (6 months or more of the
calendar year) located within the Town of Nahant. *Proof of residency: Current real estate tax bill, non-seasonal lease or, valid Massachusetts motor vehicle operator’s license, or any other ID issued by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, listing an address within the Town of Nahant.

To Anchor: To hold a vessel in place by lowering a temporary heavy weight or anchor into the water.

Disturbing Wake: Means the disturbing water or waves that a vessel leaves behind while underway which could cause injury or damage to another person, property or vessel due to excessive wave/wake activity.

Public Landing: Includes, but not limited to Tudor Wharf, the Town owned floats and ramp areas located at Tudor Wharf.

Permit Decal: Means the mooring sticker issued on a yearly basis by the Harbormaster.

Anchorage Area: Means any designated area used for the purpose of mooring or anchoring a vessel.

Section 3 | Regulations

Regulations For Nahant Harbor:

  1. No vessel shall exceed five (5) miles per hour or cause a disturbing wake within the mooring areas, Wharf, floats or where posted. 
  2. No person shall operate a boat in any designated mooring area while towing water skiers, aquaplanes or similar devices.
  3. No person shall operate a vessel within three hundred (300) feet of any beach while towing water- skiers, aquaplanes or similar devices.
  4. No person shall operate a jet-ski, wetbike, or similar devices within three hundred (300) feet of any beach, mooring area, swimmer, shore, or where posted, at speeds in excess of headway speed. Headway speed shall mean the minimum speed needed to maintain steerage.
  5. No persons shall skin dive or SCUBA dive in any mooring or anchorage area with out first obtaining written permission of the Harbormaster to do so.
  6. All person skin diving or SCUBA diving shall display or tow the required dive flag while submerged and shall surface beneath such flag.
  7. Abandonment of any boat in Town controlled waterways or placing a boat on an unauthorized mooring shall be prohibited.
  8. No person shall leave a boat at anchor unattended in any mooring area for more than four (4) hours unless prior approval has be given in writing by the Harbormaster to do so.

Section 4 | Permits & Fees

  1. Resident: All boats moored in Nahant waters shall be assessed an annual fee of four dollars ($4) per foot (LOA).
  2. Non-Resident: All boats moored in Nahant waters shall be assessed an annual fee of six dollars ($6) per foot (LOA).
  3. Secondary Moorings: Resident; four dollars ($4.00) per foot (LOA) * Non-Resident; twelve dollars ($12) per foot (LOA) *
    * For vessel owners requesting more than one mooring per boat (secondary mooring) , consideration of application will only be given if such moorings are not in an area deemed full.
  4. No boat shall be moored in Nahant waters without an approved mooring permit and permit decal. A $25 later fee may be applied. The decal shall be placed on the boat’s transom (starboard side) six inches in and two inches down from the gunwale. If such placement is impossible due to hull design it shall be placed where it is readily visible.
  5. Falsifying information on a mooring permit application or failure to submit a completed mooring permit application or failure to pay Town of Nahant Boat Excise Tax shall be cause for non consideration of such permit.

Moorings not renewed by June 30th will be considered illegal.

Section 5 | Moorings

Mooring Specifications: (Effective Jan. 2000)
All moorings shall meet the minimum standards as set forth below prior to placement. These standards are set for normal weather conditions. In the event of gale winds or stronger and/or extreme tides, it is the mooring owners responsibility to ensure certain precautions are taken (see storm precautions last page).

The Town Of Nahant realizes that mooring loads are variable, that it is impossible to say that all boats of equal length require the same size mooring, and such standards can not be applied to all boats.

The Harbormaster of his/her designee (upon harbormaster approval), reserves the right to require a boat owner to increase the minimum mooring standard for any vessel should they feel the minimum standard would be inadequate for the vessel because of unusual design, such as but not limited to, excessive weight, windage, or draft.

Furthermore, the Town Of Nahant shall not be held liable for any damage inflicted if a minimum standard mooring falls.

Boat Length  Mushroom Anchor*Shackle to AnchorBottom ChainShackle to Bottom ChainTop ChainShackle to SwivelSwivel (eye to eye)Shackle to PendantPendant Break Strength
Up to 15’150¾”5/8”½”3/8”½”5/8”½”12,000
Up to 20’200¾”¾”½”3/8”½”5/8”½”17,000
Up to 25’250¾”¾”5/8”½”5/8”¾”5/8”23,000
Up to 30’3007/8”¾”5/8”½”5/8”¾”¾”29,000
Up to 35’3507/8”1.0”5/8”½”5/8”¾”7/8”40,000
Up to 40’4007/8”1.0”¾”5/8”¾”7/8”1.0”50,000
Up to 45’5007/8”1.0”¾”5/8”¾”7/8”1-1/8”60,000
Over 45′ Must Discuss with Harbormaster

*Recommend mushroom anchor with counterweight. Example at:

Mooring: The mooring weight shown above is considered to be the minimum necessary to secure a vessel under normal sea and wind conditions.

The mooring eye and/or shaft must not be deformed, bent, or damaged and must not be reduced more than 33% by wear or defect from the original diameter when new.

Chain: The mooring chain size listed above is considered to be the minimum necessary to secure a vessel under normal sea and wind conditions. Chain links that are deformed and/or worn (reduced) 33% or more from the original diameter when new must be replaced unless otherwise approved by the Harbormaster.

Please note: The top chain (riser chain) must be equal to the maximum water depth plus 5’. Bottom chain (heavy chain) must be at least 1.5 times the maximum water depth.

Shackle pins must be seized with wire and/or wire ties, or welded to prevent accidental removal due to wear. Shackles exhibiting more than 15% wear or a loose fit around the shackle pin must be replaced.

Swivel: Swivels are not required. If installed by the owner they must be mounted at the top of the riser chain for inspection purposes.

Pendant: The pendant size listed above is considered to be the minimum necessary to secure a vessel under normal sea and wind conditions. Pendants that have chafed, been cut, or begun to unlay must be replaced. Chafing gear must be seized in place by cord or wire ties and be in good condition.

The mooring pendant shall be at least 3.0 times the distance between the bow cleat and the water line (via the bow chock) and not exceed 50% of the LWL.

Mooring Ball: Mooring balls must be white and should include a blue band. The mooring ball must be at least 50% above the surface of the water at all times. The mooring permit number must be clearly visible. Note: winter buoys are not allowed between June 1st and November 1st.

Helix Anchor:
The following specifications shall be considered the minimum allowable specifications of a Helix mooring system.

  1. The shaft must be a minimum of 1 1/2″ thick and a least six feet in length.
  2. The shaft and helix must be of galvanized or other non-corrosive metal, such as stainless steel.
  3. The shaft must be designed to allow the bottom chain to swivel around the shaft and to be replaced when necessary .
  4. There shall be a minimum of two helixes attached to each shaft with the lower helix being a minimum of 8. in diameter and the top helix being a minimum of 10″ on diameter.
  5. All chain and pennant specifications will remain the consistent with the mushroom anchor chart.
  6. Installation of Helix moorings must be done by a certified mooring contractor approved by the Harbormaster. The installer must demonstrate knowledge of the proper installation procedures and own the necessary machinery and gauges necessary to properly install the mooring system.
  7. It shall be the responsibility of the installer to assure that the proper size and length helix is used according to the subsoll’s within a given mooring area and for the vessel to be moored.
  8. The installer shall record the position of the helix mooring by a GPS fix and record all the mooring specifications including the length of the shaft, depth of mean high water, torque reading at set, all sizes and length of ground tackle. All information shall be virtuald with the Harbormaster’s Office.

Section 5A | Compliance/Inspection

All Moorings must be renewed no later, than May 1st of each year. Moorings not renewed by June 3Oth will be considered illegal and removed at the owner’s expense and shall be delivered to the possession of the Harbormaster until claimed by the rightful owner or disposed of in accordance with M.G.L. Ch. 91. 

The sale of a boat does not include the sale of the mooring location~ Permit holders must notify the Harbormaster immediately upon sale of vessel.

Only authorized companies or individuals may service and/or do mooring work in Nahant waters. A written permit must first be obtained from the Harbormaster’s Office. This shall not prohibit a mooring owner from setting or servicing his/her own mooring.
Any mooring other than a mushroom anchor or helix mooring shall be at the sole discretion of the Harbormaster.

Moorings found to be inadequate with regards to the Town specifications as detailed shall be corrected by the owner within seven days of notice by the Harbormaster. Written notice to the Harbormaster detailing the corrective action taken by the owner and date corrective action was taken shall be required.

All mooring gear shall be inspected and/or serviced annually, by the owner, certified diver, or mooring service company to determine condition of gear and to ensure compliance with these regulations.

  1. Moorings shall receive a full top to bottom inspection every two years. A mooring inspection form must be filed with the Harbormaster to document this inspection.
  2. The inspection must be conducted by either an approved mooring inspector or by the moorning owner.
  3. The full inspection must include lifting the mooring out of the water or, as an alternative, a suba diver may determine the mooring condition without lifting it.

Section 6 | Placement

Moorings shall not be placed, altered, or shifted except under the direction of the Harbormaster or his/her designee.

No person shall move or interfere with moorings belonging to another person except under the direction of the Harbormaster or designee thereof and/or the permission of the vessel owner with a valid mooring permit for that location. No person other than the Harbormaster shall move or interfere with any vessel moored in the harbor who has a permit for that site.

The Harbormaster may limit the size and lengths of vessels moored in Nahant waters if in his opinion this is warranted due to congestion, t~\ease navigation, or as a measure of public safety. The mooring permit may be suspended or revoked by the Harbormaster whenever in his opinion the boat and/or mooring unduly threatens the safety of the mooring areas or the reasonable use of the areas by other boats.

Moorings that are placed in a location other than that as permitted by the Harbormaster shall be grounds for revocation of the mooring permit.

Section 7 | Wait List

In areas that have in the opinion of the Harbormaster in consultation with the Town Administrator, reached the maximum mooring capacity a waiting list shall be established.

For areas where no additional space is available, individual applicants for mooring space shall be placed on a waiting list at the Office Of The Harbormaster.

Entries shall be kept in chronological order according to the date the application is received- The waiting list shall be renewable at the end of each calendar year.

It shall be the responsibility of the applicant to notify the Harbormaster, in writing, between January 1st and March 15th of each year of his/her desire to remain on the waiting list.

When a mooring space becomes available, the Harbormaster shall assign the mooring space to the first individual on the waiting list with a vessel appropriate for that particular location.

Section 8 | Enforcement

Unless otherwise provide for, these rules and regulation shall be enforced by the Harbormaster, Assistant Harbormasters’, and by police officers empowered to patrol the waters of the Town of Nahant.

Section 9 | Severability

In the event that any provisions, section or clause of these regulations is hereafter found to be invalid, such invalidity shall not affect the validity of the remaining regulations.

Section 10 | Compatibility

Compatibility With Other Governmental Regulations:
Nothing contained herein shall be held or construed to supersede or conflict with or interfere with or limit the jurisdiction of the United States Government or the Commonwealth Of Massachusetts, except that in case of concurrent laws or regulations, the more restrictive rule, law or regulation shall apply.

Section 11 | Penalties

These regulations establish the procedures in which moorings may be approved in the Town Of Nahant.

Any person violating these rules and regulations shall, for each offense, be punished by a fine of not more than twenty dollars, each day of the violation constitutes a separate violation. M.G.L. Ch. 45. Sec.24

Section 12 | Appeals

Any person aggrieved by a refusal to permit a mooring, or any condition or restriction imposed relative thereto, may appeal in writing to the Town Of Nahant’s Harbor and Marine Advisory Committee within fifteen days of such refusal or Imposition.

The Town Of Nahant’s Harbor and Marine Advisory Committee shall consider such appeal and render a written determination as soon as practical.

If a mooring applicant is not satisfied with the determination of the Harbor and Marine Advisory Committee, he/she may appeal to the Town Administrator and further to the Department Of Environmental Protection In the manner prescribed in M.G.L. Ch. 91.

Section 13 | Non Payment

Non Payment Of Fees and Taxes:
No mooring permit shall issue until all fees and taxes from previous years are paid in full.

Section 14 | Authority

These regulations are promulgated under the authority of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 102; Sections 21 through 26, and Chapter 91 by the Harbormaster on, 4/1/99) and approved by the Town Administrator on, 4/1/99 and by the Board Of Selectmen on, 4/1/99 .

The Harbormaster using his/her discretion and after consultation with the Town Administrator and the Harbor and Marine Advisory Committee, may deviate from these rules noted above if deemed to be in the best interest of the Town Of Nahant.

Robert W. Tibbo , Harbormaster
Jeffrey Chelgren, Town Administrator
Michael R. Manning, Board of Selectman
Vacant Seat , Board of Selectman
Richard J. Lombard,, Board of Selectman
Approved as to form and content Charles H. Riley Jr. ,Town Counsel