Rock the boat – Pier and landing improvements should make it a busy season on Winthrop Harbor

By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.
For the Transcript

If the level of activity at the Winthrop landing and pier are any indicator, the just begun boating season is already shaping up to be a lot more active than last year.

“We finally got some good weather last weekend and now that Memorial Day weekend has come and gone, we’re starting to see a lot more activity down around the waterfront,” said Harbormaster Charles “Chucky” Famolare.

Yet, it isn’t just the level of activity that has Famolare optimistic. Other factors, such as the level of boat excise tax already collected, a schedule of pier and landing improvements that will soon be underway, and lots of new tenants at the town pier and marina are also signs of a big boating season.

“My opinion is that people have found that Winthrop is a great place to store [in the off-season], and Winthrop is a great harbor to boat out of during the season,” said Famolare. “At the marina, we have only three finger slips left, and the season really isn’t underway yet.”

Famolare noted that in light of the extra interest, the town decided to rent out three of the slips that are normally kept for transient boaters, and if those slips draw tenants, the marina will have 25 boats this season, more than any prior season.

The Dinghy dock is also full, with 25 to 30 boats already being stored there, and planned improvements are moving on schedule, with the first of two contracts potentially being awarded by mid-June.

“We have a contract to install the water and sewer lines for the dock, install lighting, complete landscaping, pave the parking lot and build a new fishing pier off the south end of the main pier [that’s] out to bid right now,” explained Famolare. “That request for proposals [RFP] closes on June 12, and we could award a contract to undertake those pier improvements by the middle of June.”

The town is also in the final stages of preparing bid documents for the construction of a new terminal and harbormaster office building adjacent to the pier. That RFP could be completed and published by the beginning of July and awarded by mid-July. Famolare noted that if that schedule is kept, the final piece of the pier/marina project could break ground by late August or early September.

Additionally, the state Division of Marine Fisheries’ Public Access Board (PAB) is preparing its application to the Winthrop Conservation Commission for a major reconstruction of the launch ramp at the public landing. The PAB could also be in front of the Conservation Commission by mid-July.

“Things are really taking shape, and I don’t mean just with the construction projects,” said Famolare. “We’ve got a lot of new boaters, including commercial fishing boats, that have moved into the town and are renting space on the town dock.”

Famolare noted that there are already eight charter fishing boats utilizing the town marina as a base of operations and there could potentially be more, meaning that people who want to head out to go deep sea fishing for the day or an afternoon will be able to do so from Winthrop.

In addition, the town has already collected approximately 85 percent of the expected boat excise taxes billed out, and Famolare noted that local yacht clubs and marinas have already been advised to tell their members and tenants that ticketing for those who haven’t paid their boat excise tax begins this weekend.

“We have informed all of the clubs and marinas that we will be out writing citations for late boat excise tax this weekend,” said Famolare.

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