The Wareham Harbormaster/Shellfish Department is responsible for over 54 miles of ocean coastline, 20 ponds (approx. 1,260 acres) and some 30 miles of interconnected streams. During the summer season the Town of Wareham will have as many as 3000 vessels using the waterways at any given time.
The primary duties performed by the Harbormaster Department are, promoting boating safety, enforcement of Federal, State, and Local laws and regulations, along with providing 24hr emergency response to maritime emergencies. The department manages fifty-seven mooring field locations through the harbor service permit system, along with maintaining numerous Coast Guard Licensed town navigational aids. The department oversees a State sponsored Clean Vessel “Pump-Out’ program grant, which promotes better water quality within the Town’s largest natural resource. There are currently seven land based pump-out stations along with four pump-out vessels, within the town. Along with the duties performed as Harbormaster, the department takes on the role of Shellfish Constable, overseeing hundreds of acres of shellfish beds. This consists of the protection, propagation, and enforcement of a variety of species, which use the waterways as their habitat. Water sampling is done continuously throughout the year in conjunction with the Division of Marine Fisheries. The Shellfish Department participates in the State sponsored relay program to acquire adult shellfish in our continued effort to increase shellfish propagation within the town.
The department also oversees the operation and enforcement of the Herring and Smelt fishery. Eight fish ladders located within five river systems, and approximately 30 miles of interconnected streams and passageways are continuously maintained to allow an effective passage for a productive spawning cycle.
The Wareham Harbormaster/Shellfish office is responsible for the day to day operation of maintaining information pertaining to all vessels situated in Wareham, the issuance of a variety of required permits an collection of all fees for harbor service mooring permits, recreational and commercial shellfish permits, transfer station permits, parking permits, herring and smelt permits, and maintaining State mandated catch reports.