Lincolnville harbormaster responds to official request to move moorings
LINCOLNVILLE — Harbormaster Mike Hutchings is asking for more information from Maine State Ferry Service regarding a request to move three moorings in the harbor farther from the north side of the ferry terminal.
Port Capt. Daniel M. McNichol of Maine State Ferry Service requested in a Jan. 18 letter that the town move the moorings because "the moorings constitute a hazard to navigation for the Ferry Service, especially during a north westerly blow compounded by an ebb tide."
Initially, there was some confusion regarding the source of the request to move the moorings and a letter was mistakenly sent to U.S. Coast Guard officials seeking clarification. The request originated with Maine State Ferry Service.
Hutchings responded Feb. 10 to McNichol and said he does not have enough information to determine if the owners of the moorings need to be assigned new locations. The three moorings are used by the fishing vessels Jireh and Sea Deuced and Pendleton Yacht Yard crews, according to Hutchings' letter.
Hutchings asked if the ferry route or operations could be modified so the moorings do not have to be relocated.
“For the perceived problem to be corrected, what direction and distance would be sufficient for the moorings to be moved?" he asked in the letter.
Hutchings also asked which entity will perform, supervise and pay to move the moorings, and who will be responsible for any claims of damage. Town Administrator David Kinney previously said the town's role – through the harbormaster – is to approve the location of moorings in Lincolnville Harbor, but noted ownership of moorings is private.
McNichol said in January that placement of the moorings has been an issue since the 1990s. He said in past years the moorings have been moved away "a bit," but then seem to "creep back towards the turning dolphin." The "turning dolphin" is a big fender system that helps guide the ferry into the pen.
Hutchings' letter suggests changing ferry approach and departure procedures in Lincolnville Harbor, as well as at the Islesboro ferry terminal. Hutchings states that pulling the ferry straight into the Lincolnville pen and backing the ferry into the Islesboro pen would improve the speed of ambulance departures from Islesboro and improve safety by keeping the ferry propellers farther from the town pier on the mainland.