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Cape Cod The Big Dinghy Flap

For as long as there have been people fishing on Cape Cod, there have been dinghies, dories, skiffs, and the occasional canoe parked in the sand on Chatham’s beaches. Some “wash-ashore” owners of high-end waterfront properties now want that tradition to end, saying the dinghies and skiffs are cluttering up their beach.

CHATHAM - For as long as anyone can remember, homeowners in Chatham have accommodated on their beaches the battered skiffs and dinghies of local fishermen. The dinghies were the only way fishermen could reach their boats moored just offshore. And so, small vessels littered the shoreline, nestled in the sand amid the scallop shells and seaweed, an accepted part of the landscape.

But Chatham is no longer a little fishing village. As in other Cape Cod communities in recent years, its beaches have become coveted addresses for wealthy out-of-towners. And recently, some people with waterfront property and out-of-state area codes have started demanding that locals remove their small boats from their beaches.

The latest demand - made this month in a legal notice by San Francisco homeowners looking to sell their waterfront land for a tidy $10.75 million - has sparked what longtime Chatham resident Ned Webster calls “the big dinghy flap.”

A fishing tradition keelhauled in Chathamsource

Updated: 3/13/08

Dinghy Removal Order Challenged - Cape Cod Chronicle
by Tim Wood
CHATHAM—- For 35 years, Edward Eldridge has moored a boat in Stage Harbor, just east of the Battlefield town landing.  For just as long, he tied his dinghy to a pylon he sunk in the sand above high tide, at the base of a coastal bank near his mooring.  No one ever questioned him or asked him to move the dinghy.

... He may have a case for a prescriptive easement, according to Edward Englander, a Newton attorney who has litigated beach rights cases, including a Wellfleet case that established the right to moor a boat between high and low water as part of the Colonial Ordinances allowing navigation, fishing and fowling in the intertidal zone. ...

Life-long Resident Claims Easement On Private Beachsource

Updated: 9/2/08

Chatham resolves dinghy controversy - Cape Cod Times

CHATHAM — The dinghies can stay, but only if their owners play by the rules.

That is the essence of a new policy that grew out of a confrontation over the winter between a Stage Harbor property owner, the town and the owners of small skiffs used to access boats offshore. The small boats have historically been left on private beaches around town.

Harbor Master Stuart Smith and the owners of the property near the town landing at Champlain Lane, identified as Champlain Realty Trust, have agreed on a solution that will preserve the age-old tradition and allow the owners to have an orderly, clean beach.

Under the new policy, there can be no abandonment of dinghies on the property. Anyone wishing to store their skiffs must have a mooring in the harbor and must get a permit from the harbor master’s office.

Smith said the town will police the area to make sure no one violates the policy. “The restrictions are perfectly reasonable,” he said. ...

Chatham resolves dinghy controversysource

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Cape Cod
Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 09/04/08
Categories: ChathamNews
Keywords: chatham, news, waterfront properties, boating, wash ashore, Colonial Ordinances


No one should be able to own our shoreline.It seems to me, waterfront property should mean “front of the water” which by that definition would be the mean high tide mark.
If someone should want more privacy build back from the water to allow for it.

Posted by Mark from Massachusetts on 05/03/08 at 11:47 AM | #

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