, Newburyport, MA

May 7, 2013

Boating safety class begins tonight

On the water
Ray Pike

---- — A Boat Massachusetts safety course will be offered starting tonight. This course is sponsored by the Massachusetts Environmental Police and the Salisbury Harbormaster Department at the Boys and Girls Club, on Maple Street, Salisbury. Boat Massachusetts is state and nationally approved, concentrating on the equipment and operating guidelines needed to enjoy boating in a safe and responsible way. Successful graduates in the 12- through 15-year-old age group will be issued a Safety Certificate allowing them to operate a motorboat without adult supervision, as required by state law. The same is true for 16- and 17-year-old youth who wish to operate a personal watercraft (jet-ski, wave runner, etc.)

Boaters interested in checking out the Environmental Police website can get more info on their classes. Go to and on the right margin, select the Boat Massachusetts Course Information, where you can learn about courses from the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Power Squadron and Boatwise, as well as Environmental Police courses in other locations.

Each course runs 10 to 12 hours in length. The normal format is five to six classes 90 minutes to two hours each, though this may vary. All classes are free of charge. This class is open to adults and youth. Family participation is encouraged and has proven to be very rewarding. Classes will be held at the Boys and Girls Club from 6:30 to 9 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting today and continuing May 9, 14, 16 and 21.


We will be available near the town pier on Saturday mornings from 9 to 11 a.m. for those wishing to obtain Waterways Permits. We will continue to be in the office at Town Hall on Mondays from 1 to 6 p.m. and Wednesdays, 1 to 4 p.m.


Harbormaster patrols this season will have a new addition. We will occasionally be accompanied by members of the Salisbury Police Department. One goal is to work together to apprehend some of the perpetrators in the waterfront community who seek to borrow (without your permission) your dinghies, outboard motors and/or gas cans. We have also had some incidents of the “low-information” boaters siphoning gas from your gas tanks. If together we can apprehend these individuals, we will make the river a better place to operate for all of us. And we will try to find a safer place for the offenders as well.

In addition, the police will give us a little more experience in curtailing boating under the influence offenders. We all know the problem exists, and whenever we can make the Merrimack River safer, we will make every effort to do just that.


We had several floats that we installed near Ram Island that we will no longer be launching for boaters’ use. We will advertise for an auction at the end of May. Written bids only will be accepted, and the successful bidders will need to remove the floats within a week of the auction. Submit bids to harbormaster at the Salisbury Town Hall. Â They are numbered with Roman numerals at the town pier on Ring’s Island for your inspection. The floats are well used and some of them are near or beyond their end of life cycle, but a good Yankee recycler can salvage some of them.


Ray Pike is Salisbury harbormaster.