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Town of Branford Ordinance

Part II, General Legislation,126-1 Subsection B & C

No vessel wholly or partially propelled by power, but not limited to any vessel commonly known as a "jet ski" shall be operated upon the territorial waters of the Town of Branford set forth in subsections A, B, C and D a speed greater than that specified below:

B) Branford Harbor, a "slow no wake zone" shall exist in the inner harbor area as defined by all waters north of a line from Indian Neck Point to Lovers island.

C) A "slow no wake zone" shall exist in all tidal marshes, marsh channels and estuaries within the Town of Branford.

Stony Creek, 6 mph in the established channel from the reef extension of Linden Point northward to include the town dock, public boat launch area, bathing and dredged turn basin.

All shores, 6 mph within 100 yards of any shore.

Launch: Turn south off Rte. 1 onto Rte. 142 (Short Beach Road), then left on Stannard Ave. to Goodsell Point Rd. Crowded on weekends, steep ramp. Parking:50 cars.

The Branford Harbormaster jurisdiction runs from the Farm River in East Haven to Bear Island in the Thimble Islands and ends at the Guilford town line near Sachem Head. Branford Harbormaster has jurisdiction for approximately 20 miles of shore line ,the largest in Connecticut. The Branford river and Branford Harbor alone has 13 Yacht clubs and Marinas, 1,456 boat slips and 65 Moorings. The Branford Harbormaster has over 300 permitted moorings in his jurisdiction. The Branford Harbormaster is mostly a volunteer position and is supported with a deputy Harbormaster.

Duties of the Harbormaster

In ports and harbors along the Connecticut coast, and especially in the towns where the mix of water uses is most diverse, State Harbormasters and Deputy Harbormasters have a distinct and essential role for ensuring public safety and managing our waterways in the public interest. Theirs is the job of maintaining an orderly haven where all vessels, including commercial fishing boats, tugs and barges, recreational sail and power boats, ferries and excursion vessels, ocean-going ships, and even small, non-motorized craft such as canoes and kayaks, may coexist in safety and harmony.

State of Connecticut Harbormasters and Deputy Harbormasters are appointed by the Governor in accordance with Sec. 15-1 of the Connecticut General Statutes. This section provides for three-year terms of appointment that may be extended until a successor is appointed. Sec. 15-1 also specifies that Harbormasters are responsible for the general care and supervision of the harbors and navigable waterways over which they have jurisdiction; that they are subject to the direction and control of the Commissioner of Transportation; and that they are responsible to the Commissioner for the safe and efficient operation of such harbors and waterways in accordance with other provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes.

There are 39 appointed Harbormasters serving 39 municipalities along the Connecticut shoreline on Long Island Sound and the major rivers that flow into the Sound;. Included are such diverse areas as the ports of Bridgeport, New Haven, and New London, recreational and commercial harbors such as Southport, Branford, and Chester, and urban riverfronts at Middletown, Hartford, and Norwich. Harbormasters and Deputy Harbormasters work closely with a number of Federal, State, and local agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), U.S. Coast Guard, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP and local police and fire departments. The State agency with administrative authority over the Harbormasters and Deputy Harbormasters is the Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT).

The powers and duties of the Harbor Masters and Deputy Harbormasters are established in the Connecticut General Statutes, including Sections 15-1 through 15-9 and other sections. One important responsibility is keeping navigation channels and established fairways clear of obstructions. Harbormasters and Deputy Harbormasters are also empowered to enforce the provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes concerning removal of abandoned and derelict vessels, including Sec. 15-11a and 15-140c.

The assignment of boat mooring locations and administration of mooring permits is a primary function of the Harbormaster's office. It may also be one of the most difficult, since the demand for mooring locations in State waters has grown over the years while the number of vessels most harbors can accommodate is fairly well fixed. Experience shows it is important to establish that, unlike anchoring, mooring a vessel in State waters is a privilege, not a right.

The Corps is the primary agency for granting Federal approval of mooring locations and has delegated to the Harbormaster approval authority for the installation of individual, noncommercial moorings. Section 15-8 of the Connecticut General Statutes gives the Harbormaster authority to assign mooring locations and require all mooring users to apply for mooring permits.

In summary, Connecticut's Harbormasters and Deputy Harbormasters are dedicated officials who strive to perform their statutory duties for the care and supervision of the State's diverse harbors and waterways in the public interest and with the highest level of professionalism. The DOT's Bureau of Aviation and Ports provides information and other assistance to the Harbormasters and Deputy Harbormasters and describes some of the basic attributes required for these important positions: a Harbormaster should be familiar with the local area, its people, and its waters; be skilled in the arts of boat and mooring seamanship; and be a person who can be relied on to uphold regulations in a fair, even-handed manner with an appreciation of the public trust.