forecast weather station weather station

It's Sunday October 17, 2021

News From The Village Updated Almost Daily

Letters: More On Oriental's Anchorage
Some Solutions Suggested
July 3, 2013

In May, a letter to the editor to TownDock.net and a subsequent Guest Column sparked what has become a topic of much discussion in Oriental. The subject: Oriental’s anchorage, just inside the breakwater.

Traditionally, Oriental’s anchorage has been a place were visiting boats drop the hook for a day or two, maybe even a few weeks or a month. This winter-spring-and-now-summer, however, three boats have been seemingly permanently anchored. As some have suggested, this has put a crimp on others who want to anchor there.

TownDock.net published a number of Letters to the Editor on the subject through early June. Letters continue to come in. Many of the recent letters offer potential courses of action the Town of Oriental might take. TownDock.net is researching the issues raised in these letters, for a future story on options for the anchorage.

Here are letters from readers — with both suggestions and opinions:

Oriental could consider charging for dinghy dock after three days or so.

St Augustine requires dinghies to be registered upon arrival and charges for tie up.

Oriental could do the same but be our usual friendly way and give a few days free after registration.

Reading Town Dock at anchor in Maine.

Joyce and Tom Russell Oriental 7/6/13

I write in reference to your article “Abandoned Boat Law Passes – But Not For Pamlico” of July 1st. Our family maintains a boat in a local Oriental marina and have happily visited the town for decades.

The extended presence of long-term anchored boats Primadonna, The Shire, and Southern Cross presents an interesting problem – on one hand, the town of Oriental as an entity wants to be welcoming and inviting to travelers and cruisers passing through. This is core to the town’s appeal, charm, and seafaring environment. On the other hand, this welcome mat has been gratuitously exploited by the owners of the three craft currently at anchor in the harbor. They have become the proverbial “guests who would not leave.”

This situation begs three questions 1) who is responsible for the patch of water where the anchorage lies, 2) when does the welcome wear out, and 3) who might inform the over-extended guests maybe it’s best to let others have a turn? The shame of it is that it has come to legislation because exercising good manners has simply not been good enough. As a matter of public safety, the homesteaders should answer to their neighbors about the safety, sanitation, and seaworthiness of their vessels. Additionally, by the length of their stay and the approximate appearance of their vessels, they are discouraging a seasonal revenue stream which supports the economic vitality of the town.

What is reasonable?

1) Do nothing. Leave them be and welcome the homesteaders. However, homesteading has never really been the intent of the anchorage and it continues to discourage other transient boaters who wish to enjoy Oriental.

2) Polite cajoling. Ask them politely “could you let someone else have a turn?” and to please move on.

3) Enforcement. A phone call to the Coast Guard or NC Marine Patrol citing public safety concerns over the visible condition of these vessels and ask for a boarding to assure the safety of the occupants and waste management compliance of their respective craft.

4) Legislate. Legislate time limits or other boundaries by which the hospitality of the anchorage will not exploited to abuse as it appears to be now. A two week limit would be fair, a month, more than reasonable.

No one wishes to be less than welcoming. However, by the length of their stay, visible uncertainty of their crafts’ conditions, and displacement of other willing visitors, these guests have exceeded the boundaries of good manners. Sadly, it looks like it may require yet another law on the books to legislate what has historically been a matter of courtesy for the town and its seafaring visitors.

Thank you.

Ben Matthews
Raleigh/Pecan Grove

To The Editor:

Has anyone asked the owners their intentions? Sure think that’s the place to start. If intentions are to “freeload” as long as possible, then ask the owners to accept responsibility for any damages their vessel might cause when the next ‘cane comes by.

Frequent visitor,

Glenn Holland
Fairfield Harbor/Raleigh

(A letter sent to Town commissioners after the writer went to a meeting of the Harbor and Waterfronts Committee.)

Dear Commissioners and members of the “lets talk about plans and not actually do anything committee”,

On at least 2 occasions you (several of you commissioners) have said, proudly, to me that you do not read The Pamlico News, The County Compass, nor letters to the editor in TownDock.net.

How do you know what is of concern to the townsfolk? I think you were elected to take care of our town and the concerns of the people in the town. So I send you some of the news about our anchorage that you are pretending to ignore. (In fact one of you asked me to do this, inform of the concerns of the town by email. It was said that if this person doesn’t get an email this person doesn’t know a thing.) Am I a bit testy? you bet.

I was recently at a meeting that I thought would address some of these concerns, and was told up front that the purpose of that meeting was not to address any of these concerns, but to take a poll to find concerns. What the hay? So when you do have a meeting that will actually do something please let us know so that we can attend.

You say your hands are tied, you are not responsible for the harbor, that other governmental agencies are. Well, those governmental agencies do not live here, nor do they care one bit about our harbor. You should care about our harbor because you were elected to represent our concerns. If other towns along the ICW have found a way to monitor their harbors, perhaps you could find a way also. Or are you still trying to poll townsfolk to discover their concerns? Does the cartoon of an ostrich come to mind?

Carol Small

To The Editor:

I’ve been reading about the anchoring/derelict situation in Oriental and thought I’d share a few things that may be interesting from a legal standpoint towards solving the problem. As a former full time live-aboard cruiser (as opposed to “squatter”), I am sensitive to the needs of both the town and legitimate boaters and full time cruisers.

1. Any vessel anchored with people living aboard is federally protected as an in transit vessel. Towns can be successful in enforcing long term (over a month) anchoring limits but the expense might not be worth it. Suggestion is to make the harbor less pleasant to live in by restricting dinghy tie ups to public property to vessels anchored less than 1 month and/or requiring a town sticker with an expiration date 1 month from grant and fines for unauthorized tie up. If you can’t go ashore conveniently…it is hard to sit at anchor.

2. For vessels which are simply anchored in the harbor, two laws are of interest. The House & Senate of NC just passed an ordinance which applies only to Dare and Brunswick Counties but which Oriental might want to get included in. This allows the removal of abandoned vessels which are defined as “left for more than 30 days”. Finally the law which currently applies to Oriental is the state mooring law which defines mooring to include anchoring to affix the boat to the bottom. The only moorings approved in NC are within 400 ft. of a privately owned property (and state approved, paid $200 and registered) and public mooring projects.

Hopefully this will serve to give the town some options while preserving the federal anchoring rights of legitimate cruisers.

G. Barr
Manteo, NC

To the Editor:

It is my understanding that towns can submit a comprehensive “town mooring plan” to the state for approval. When approved by the appropriate state agencies the plan is then law and enforced by the state.

The town can then act as a watch dog for violations of the mooring plan which would be state sanctioned, and rely on the state for enforcement and logistical support.

It is also my understanding that any town can enforce state law. (which the approved plan would be) Town mooring plans are also the prime consideration of the state (CAMA) in regard to applications for new moorings within the town.

Town mooring plans can include details as to where boats may anchor in and around their mooring fields and other details that may help the present situation. For instance, anchored boats must be able to move readily under their own power, even when conditions are not good. (especially when conditions are not good).

The moorings, if the plan specified, could be installed and maintained by boat owners according to the town regulations which may require size & type of moorings, regular inspections, small fees, etcetera.

The town may also install moorings if they wish, in accordance with the plan, and rent them to boat owners who are visiting. A few moorings of that nature would work really well in protecting the inner harbor from those few boaters who are taking advantage of our lack of regulations and the good nature of our town toward boaters.

With some creative thinking the town is totally able to control the nature of their harbor and encourage visitors who provide our town with
revenue, and diversity.

Gil Fontes

Share this page:

back to top

TownDock.net welcomes correspondence on this subject and others. Please limit your letter to 500 words.
Send your letter to letters@towndock.net.
No anonymous letters will be accepted. Well-made, civilly-spoken points welcomed. Please include the city & state where you live.
If you cc TownDock letters you send to government officials, they may be included in the Letters column. (Such correspondence to government – town, county, state federal – is part of the public record.)