Improved Harbormaster Office and Visiting Boater Center planned
The administration of Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken announced today that the City of Gloucester was awarded a $1 million grant from the Seaport Economic Council (SEC). This grant, and others, were approved at today’s SEC meeting, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.
The grant will be used for final design and construction of an improved Harbormaster’s Office and Visiting Boater Center at 19 Harbor Loop. The enhanced facilities will allow the Harbormaster to meet the increasing community demand on the office including the response of safety calls, staffing special events that take place on the water, and handling of the growing number of visiting and local boaters.
Mayor Romeo Theken said, “An improved Harbormaster Office and Visiting Boater Center will be a huge asset to our City. The City of Gloucester is excited about this substantial investment from the Commonwealth. It allows us to provide safe, efficient, and critical harbor operations while increasing economic opportunities to our thriving downtown. We look forward to welcoming visiting boaters into our harbor with these enhanced amenities. Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration and my colleagues on the SEC for recognizing the critical role that all of our port cities play in the Massachusetts economy.”
This endeavor is part of the Administration’s continued effort to put into action the recommendations of the City’s Harbor Plan/DPA Master Plan adopted in 2014 and as well as the Mayor’s Recreational Boating Ad Hoc Committee. The Plan had several recommendations including: diversifying the harbor’s economic base, including the visitor based economy; enhancing the harbor’s role as a center for community life while connecting the harbor to downtown; and promoting public access to the waterfront for both residents and visitors.
Modifications to the building will include: changes to meet safety codes and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); installation of energy efficient lighting and HVAC; and adherence to Federal Energy Management Agency’s floodplain construction requirements. The expanded space will also create a new training/meeting room that can be used for educational opportunities such as boating safety courses and cross department public safety meetings. ADA accessible public restrooms and space for visitor information that will provide historical and general information about Gloucester to visitors and the public are also planned.
Gloucester Harbormaster Captain TJ Ciarametaro said, “Gloucester is poised to become a premier visiting boater destination in New England. With an improved Harbormaster Office and Visiting Boater Center there will be the support for the increasing transient boating community while addressing critical harbor needs. These shore side amenities will benefit the community and local economy tremendously and I’m excited to help implement these changes.”
Gloucester’s port saw an overwhelming increase in recreational boating this past summer. The Harbormaster’s Department, with the help of Discover Gloucester and in collaboration with the Community Development Department, has successfully attracted a record number of visiting boaters to Gloucester’s beautiful harbor and thriving downtown. These increases have led to job growth potential in both the tourism and maritime sectors as well as new opportunities for downtown and harbor businesses.
This year marks the second full year of implementation of the transient mooring online reservation system, DOCKWA. DOCKWA rents 30 transient/visitor moorings for vessels up to 60 feet. Moorings are located in three areas: The Inner Harbor, in close proximity to downtown shops and restaurants; the Southeast Harbor, which offers views of Eastern Point, sunsets over the Western Harbor and the Boston skyline in the distance; and the Western Harbor, off of Stage Head, where the original settlers landed and dried fish. Reservations for the 2019 season will begin on April 1 at https://dockwa.com/explore/destination/mnc89p8-gloucester-harbormaster. The Gloucester Harbor Launch is free of charge with a reservation and can be contacted on VHF channel 72 or by phone 978-726-0155.
Marinas.com and Northshore Magazine recently published an article placing Gloucester on the top 10 list of places to visit by sea in Massachusetts for the second year in a row. Gloucester also has very favorable ratings on boating sites Active Captain and G-captain.
The Harbormaster’s Office offers 4 hour transient tie-up dockage for residents and visitors, an increased number of transient moorings, an on-line mooring reservation system, and runs a 26 passenger launch, The Gloucesterman, which operates from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m., seven days a week during the boating season. This allows for more boaters to enjoy the restaurants, shops, and attractions located downtown.
The Seaport Economic Council advances the Baker-Polito Administration’s support for communities and residents across the state by leveraging unique economic assets to drive sustainable regional growth. The council was re-launched in August 2015, with a mission to deepen the maritime economy, promote economic development, and support resilient infrastructure in all 78 of Massachusetts’ coastal communities.
About City of Gloucester, Massachusetts
America’s oldest seaport, the City of Gloucester is known throughout the world as an authentic, working waterfront community, a place of spectacular natural beauty, and home to a diverse population of approximately 30,000 residents. Its sharp focus on economic development has helped build its reputation as the ideal location to live, work, and play. An important center for the fishing industry, Gloucester is also proud of its vibrant cultural life and rich art heritage. Gloucester is a destination for thousands of visitors who visit the harbor and its beaches during the summer months. The City will be celebrating its 400th Anniversary in 2023.