2.82.100 Waterways Regulations



General Provisions


Section 1.        Applicability 

The provisions of the ordinance codified in this section and any rules and regulations adopted pursuant to this section shall be applicable, and shall govern the use of waters and facilities under the jurisdiction of the harbor management commission pursuant to the Town of Waterford harbor management plan. The harbor management commission may from time to time amend the rules and regulations of this section.


Section 2.        Invalidity of Provisions

Should any provision or provisions of this section be held invalid or inoperative, the remainder shall continue in full force and effect as though such invalid or inoperative provisions had not been determined.


Section 3.        Authorities

a.  The harbor master, or deputy, if appointed, shall have the authority to carry out harbor management directives and will act in coordination with the Waterford Police Marine Division, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, and other law enforcement agencies as necessary and appropriate to achieve effective enforcement of State and local boating laws and regulations on waters under the Town of Waterford’s control.  The harbor master’s responsibility in this regard shall be carried out in a manner consistent with all applicable federal, state and local laws, statutes, regulations and ordinances including but not limited to Section 15-154 of the Connecticut General Statutes.


b.  The harbor management commission shall review and may make recommendations regarding all applications for permits or approvals for all floats, structures, and other marine facilities within waters and land under its jurisdiction.


c.  With respect to subparagraphs (a), please note that, according to a decision by the Attorney General’s Office, only Police Officer Standardized Training (POST) certified harbor masters may enforce boating laws.  Therefore, harbor masters have no law enforcement powers unless they are POST-certified police officers.  Accordingly, unless the Waterford harbor master is POST-certified, the harbor master may not enforce boating laws.


Section 4.        Violations

Any violation of this section shall be a municipal infraction and is punishable by a fine for each offense per Section 15-133 of the General Statutes. Fines levied under the provisions of this section shall be collected and deposited into the Waterford harbor management fund. Nothing in this subsection shall preclude the imposition of a greater penalty as provided for under federal statues or the laws of the state of Connecticut.


Section 5.        Harbor Management Fund

A harbor management fund is created to receive and expend money for harbor management purposes determined by the harbor management commission. All revenues generated by (a) mooring permits; (b) fines levied under the provisions of this section; and (c) the state boating registration fee returned to the town shall be deposited into this fund. Funds shall be disbursed for purposes directly associated with the management of harbors and implementation of the Waterford harbor management plan. Money from this fund may be allocated to the harbor master or his deputy, if appointed, for the purpose of enforcing the provisions of the Waterford harbor management plan and/or the Harbor Management Ordinance. The harbor management fund shall be established, budgeted, and administered in a manner consistent with the town charter.


Section 6.        Water Use Plan Map

Proposed uses, structures, and activities within the harbor shall be consistent with the adopted water use plan maps. The water use plan maps may be amended by the harbor management commission in accordance with the procedure for harbor management plan modifications in the Connecticut Harbor Management Act. (See maps in Appendix D.)



Harbor Regulations


Section 1.        Liability

          The Town of Waterford harbor management commission, commissioners, and harbor master shall not by adoption or administration of this section assume any risk of personal injury and damage or loss to property on account of accident, fire, theft, vandalism, storm or acts of God.


Section 2.        Vessel Speed

          Vessel speed shall be strictly enforced in accordance with the provisions of Section 15-16 of the Connecticut General Statutes on that portion of the Thames River within the Town of Waterford. On the Thames River, no vessel when operated within two hundred feet of a dock, pier or wharf shall move at a speed greater than six miles per hour or at a speed that causes more than a minimal wake, whichever speed is less. In Alewife Cove vessel speed shall be restricted to six miles per hour.  Vessel speed in all Waterford waterways shall be strictly enforced by state or local police.


Section 3.        Obstruction of Channels, Fairways, and Berthing Space

a. No vessel shall be moored, anchored or berthed so as to interfere with the free and unobstructed use of channels, fairways or berthing spaces per Section 15-133 of the General Statutes.


b. No fixed commercial fishing gear shall be permitted in channels or fairways in accordance with DEP Regulation 26-142a-3a(d).


Section 4.        Swimming Areas

a. Swimming is allowed in designated swimming areas as established by DEP permit as long as the area is maintained as required. Swimming is prohibited in all designated channels and fairways.


b. Vessel operation in and around swim areas permitted by the DEP is regulated by section 15-121-B12 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies.


Section 5.        Water-skiing

          Water-skiing is permitted in certain designated open water areas only, as delineated by the water use plan.


Section 6.        Discharge of Refuse

          The provisions of Connecticut General Statutes Section 22a-250, inclusive, shall be strictly enforced with respect to discharge of refuse.


Section 7.        Sewage

          The discharge of any sewage, whether treated or not, into the waters within an area designated by the EPA as a no discharge area is prohibited from all vessels.


Section 8.        Lost and Found Property

          The finder of lost property within the harbor shall deliver or report its identity and location to the Waterford police department.


Section 9.        Launch Service Signal

          A "T" flag or radio is recommended. No person shall use an audible signal to call a launch, except when fog obstructs vision to the shore.


Section 10.      Signs: Erection/Maintenance

          The harbor master may place and maintain, or cause to be placed and maintained, either on land or water, signs, notices, signals, buoys or control devices in accordance with DEP regulations established by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection and in accordance with federal statutes and regulations to carry out the provisions of this section or to secure public safety and the orderly and efficient use of a harbor or marine facility.


Section 11.      Abandoned Vessels

          When a vessel has been abandoned in the harbor, the harbor master may take custody and control of such vessel in accordance with Connecticut General Statutes Sections 15-11a and 15-140c and remove it, store it or otherwise dispose of it, all at the expense and sole risk of the vessel owner. Reasonable notice of such disposal shall be publicly given. (See Connecticut General Statutes Sections 15-8a and 15-9.)

Section 12.      Mooring or Berthing

          A person having charge of any vessel shall not make it fast or secure it to any dock, jetty, breakwater, bulkhead, wharf, pier, or mooring without the owner’s permission to do so except in an emergency, in which case such person shall immediately report the emergency to the 911 operator and thereafter act in accordance with instructions.


Section 13.      Unseaworthy Vessels Prohibited in Waterways

          A person shall not moor or berth or permit to be moored or berthed in the waters of the town under jurisdiction of the harbor management commission a vessel which is unseaworthy, in a badly deteriorated condition and which is likely to sink or to damage docks, wharves, floats or other vessels or which may become a menace to navigation, except in cases of emergency.


Section 14.      Fees Incidental to Recovery, Movement and Storage

          Charges may be imposed by the harbor master for recovery and/or movement of vessels whenever a vessel is moved, impounded or held as a result of violations of this section.


Section 15.      Noise Abatement

          No person shall operate, occupy or leave a vessel in such manner as to constitute an audible nuisance.  This prohibition includes, but is not limited to, operating a motor boat without an adequate muffler as provided under Connecticut General Statutes Section 15-129, loud and/or offensive language or behavior, and playing radios, musical instruments or other noise producing devices so loudly as to constitute a nuisance. No person shall leave a vessel without securing all halyards and other noise-producing objects in such a manner as will effectively prevent the production of noise under all reasonable foreseeable conditions.


Section 16.      Open Water Area

          There shall be no moorings or anchorages in any area so designated. Furthermore, there shall be no structural encroachments that would limit the use of these areas. Some uses may be prohibited in certain areas.


Section 17.      Liveaboards/Houseboats

          The use of vessels in the Waterford harbor management area as permanent or long-term abodes is specifically prohibited. Sleeping aboard vessels is allowed as a secondary use to the vessel’s principal commercial or recreational use. Temporary exceptions to this regulation for unusual circumstances may be allowed at the discretion of the harbor master.









Regulations Concerning Mooring, Anchoring, and Securing of Vessels



Section 1.        Placement of Moorings

It shall be prohibited to place any mooring in the waters of Waterford under the jurisdiction of the harbor management commission without a permit from the harbor master. No vessel moored or anchored shall extend beyond the mooring area into any designated channels, fairways, turning basins, or transient anchorages. Unpermitted moorings may be removed by the harbor master subject to the following: owner thereof shall be notified if possible; if not possible, equipment shall be treated as lost items.


Section 2.        Mooring Records

A. The harbor master shall maintain a record of each mooring, its location, and owner’s name, home address and business address, telephone number, date mooring was set, and name, length, draft registration or documentation number, and type of boat to be attached thereto.


B. The harbor master shall maintain in a public place a waiting list for mooring locations and assignment of mooring space which shall be updated periodically.


Section 3.        Allocation of Mooring Locations

A. The Harbor Management Commission shall establish and post in a public place a mooring allocation procedure and priority list.


B. As provided in Section 2 (B) above, available moorings shall be offered to the senior applicant on the mooring list, subject to the constraints contained in these rules and regulations.  If the available mooring location is not suitable to accommodate the senior applicant’s vessel or specific needs, it shall be offered to the next qualified applicant on the waiting list. The senior applicant shall retain his/her place on the waiting list in this case. The harbor master shall continue efforts to provide a suitable mooring location for the senior applicant. If the senior applicant refuses a mooring location which is suitable for his/her vessel in the opinion of the harbor master, that person shall be moved to the bottom of the waiting list. In order to obtain the most effective utilization of existing mooring facilities, lists of applicants will be maintained according to the length and draft of the vessels. These lists will be available for public inspection during regular office hours at the office of the town clerk. There shall be no preference granted for residency and any area maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers will be available to all on an equal basis as well.



C. Commercial moorings are to be allocated the same as any other mooring and the maximum size vessel that may be moored on any commercial mooring shall be specified on the permit for that particular mooring. As demand requires, up to seventy-five percent of the moorings in any commercial mooring area shall be made available to private individuals who do not have shorefront property or shorefront property adjacent to water that is suitable for mooring a vessel. The operators of any commercial moorings shall be required to provide proof of sufficient upland support facilities (e.g., parking facilities, sanitary facilities, shuttle/dingy service, etc.) needed to service the moorings. Any new commercial mooring areas require permits from the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and the Army Corps of Engineers.


D. The shorefront property owners shall have the right, upon application to the harbor master, for a mooring permit for one mooring location for their own use within close proximity of their property.  In the allocation of mooring locations, owners of existing moorings shall be deemed the senior applicant for the nearest designated mooring location, if the existing mooring owner is not the shorefront property owner.


E. Mooring locations may be transferred upon proper application within immediate family members: parents, children, or siblings. No other transfers are permitted.


Section 4.        Original Application for Mooring Permit

Any interested person, persons or corporation may apply for a mooring permit by completing in full the application provided for that purpose. In the case of a corporation, association, or other group, however organized, disclosure of the principals of the corporation and evidence of corporate organization may be required by producing current articles of incorporation and a letter of good standing or similar instrument registered with the state of Connecticut evidencing current registration.


Section 5.        Mooring Permits, Duration and Renewal

Mooring permits are valid for a period not to exceed one year. All mooring permits shall expire on December 31st of the year designated, and should be renewed by January 31st of the following year. A grace period lasting until the last day of March is allowed, after which any applications received for renewal permit will be treated in the same manner as original applications.


Section 6.        Mooring Application Fees

All applications for registration or renewal shall be accompanied by a fee in such amount as may from time to time be established by the Harbor Management Commission and approved by the Waterford Representative Town Meeting. All application and renewal fees shall be nonrefundable unless an application is denied or an applicant is placed on a waiting list.  

In the case of applications for newly created mooring space, the fee shall not be due until such time as the harbor master shall assign such a mooring space and the applicant shall accept the same. These fees shall be deposited in the Harbor Management Fund as established for the maintenance and improvement of the harbor pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes Section 22a-113s.


Section 7.        Mooring Location

Permits granted for moorings shall be consistent with all provision of the adopted water use plan. Mooring within any grid area shall be required to conform in location to the grid established by the harbor management commission. Moorings in other areas may be assigned by the harbor master with due consideration to vessel size, draft, water conditions, and other relevant factors including coastal resource protection. No permit shall be granted for areas prohibited by this section.


Section 8.        Vessel Berthing Space Registration

Owners of berthing space shall cooperate with the Harbor Management Commission to obtain an inventory of berthing space to insure safe harbor management.


Section 9.        Transient Anchorage

Space for transient anchorage designated in areas on the water use plan is available on a first-come, first-served basis. These areas are reserved for the exclusive short-term use of commercial and recreational vessels. Accordingly, the following regulations apply to the use and users of designated transient anchorages:


A. Vessels may remain at the transient anchorage areas for a period not to exceed three consecutive days except in cases of special circumstances and after notification and approval of the harbor master.


              B. Vessels shall be anchored securely and properly.


C. Vessels may be left unattended up to twenty-four hours. The vessel’s operator shall not leave the immediate area without first notifying the harbor master and providing a shipkeeper for the vessel.


Section 10.      Secure Berthing, Mooring and Anchoring of Vessels

All vessels anchored, moored or berthed within the jurisdiction of the Harbor Management Commission shall be tied, moored, anchored, or otherwise secured with proper care and equipment as required to prevent breakaway or damage to vessels or property. It shall be the responsibility of the owner of the vessel, and where applicable, marine facility operator, to ensure that the vessel is properly secured and to provide for periodic inspection, maintenance, and replacement of such equipment at reasonable intervals as determined by the harbor master. (See Connecticut General Statutes Section 15-8.)


Section 11.      Mooring Specifications and Inspection

The Harbor Management Commission shall provide specifications for mooring tackle and procedures or periodic inspection of the tackle.  The color and shape of mooring buoys shall comply with the requirements of section 15-121-A3 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies.


Section 12.      Storm Precautions

Owners may and should, without penalty, add reasonable scope, weights, or extra anchors in anticipation of storm conditions. Prompt return to usual mooring provisions shall be effected within seven days (7) after such storm.


Section 13.      Commercial Moorings

Commercial moorings are limited to designated commercial mooring areas as delineated on the water use maps and charts and the permittee is required to be a waterfront landowner whose land borders the commercial mooring area. (See Appendix D.)


Section 14.      Mooring of Vessels

No more than one vessel may be moored on any one mooring whether the mooring be private or commercial in nature.






"Anchoring" means to secure a vessel temporarily to the bottom of a water body by dropping an anchor or anchors or other ground tackle from a vessel.


"Berth" means berthing space for a single vessel alongside a pier, finger float, or other structure.


"Channel" means any water areas officially marked and maintained to permit unobstructed movements of vessels.


"Commercial mooring" means any mooring that is used for a vessel not owned by the person who is the permittee for that mooring when the permittee receives consideration for its use and the permittee is not an immediate family member of the user--parent, grandparent, child or sibling.


"Commercial vessel" means any vessel used or engaged for any type of commercial venture.


"Distress" means a state of disability or a present or obviously imminent danger which if unduly prolonged could endanger life or property.


"Emergency" means a state of imminent or proximate danger to life or property in which time is of the essence.


"Fairway" means any locally designated and/or maintained water areas reserved for unobstructed movement of vessels.


"Harbor" means a part of a body of water protected and deep enough to furnish anchorage.


"Harbor facility" means any area or structure providing private or public access to the water.


"Harbor Management Act" means the legislation contained in the State of Connecticut General Statutes, Section 22a-113k through 113t, and as may be amended.


"Harbor management commission" means the local municipal commission established under and carrying out the responsibilities authorized by the Connecticut Harbor Management Act.


"Harbor master" means an official appointed in accordance with the Connecticut General Statutes.


"Liveaboards/houseboats" means a vessel whose main purpose is to provide living quarters and is not a vessel whose main purpose is to navigate waterways.


"Marine facilities" means any and all facilities of a harbor either publicly or privately owned affecting the use and operations of vessels located within the area of jurisdiction.


"Moor" means to secure a vessel to a mooring.


"Mooring" means a place where vessels are secured at the bottom of a water body by mooring tackle for long term use.


"Mooring buoy" marks a mooring.


"Mooring tackle" means the hardware and cordage used to secure a vessel at a mooring.


"Open water" means an area reserved and designated on the water use plan where moorings and structures will be restricted to preserve the area for navigation, natural resources, and public recreational purposes.


"Public area" means all areas of any harbor except those areas under specific lease to private persons or firms, or owned privately.


"Shore" means that part of the land in immediate contact with a body of water, including the area between high and low water lines.


Shall and May. "Shall" is mandatory; "may" is permissive.


"State" means the state of Connecticut.


"Structure" means docks, piers, pilings, breakwaters, groins, and seawalls.


"Transient anchorage" means any area reserved and designated on the water use plan for the exclusive short term use of commercial and recreational vessels.


"Underway" means the condition of a vessel not at anchor, without moorings, and not made fast to the shore or ground.


"Vessel" means every description of watercraft, other than a seaplane on water, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water. (R.T.M. 6-5-00; R.T.M. 8-2-99)