BAR HARBOR — Changes to harbor rules that town officials say are largely geared toward controlling cruise ship tenders were passed 6-1 by the town council July 17.
Just one resident spoke during the public hearing on the changes. Andrew Keblinsky, who has tried unsuccessfully for years to run a tourist schooner, the Rachel B. Jackson, off the town pier, maintained that because taxpayers built the floats off the town pier, boat owners should be able to use the facility as they choose.
Town manager Dana Reed responded that the new language, which specifically prohibits passenger-for-hire boats from using the municipal floats, only clarifies what the ordinance has intended all along.
“As you’ve been told before, Mr. Keblinsky,” he said, “the intent here is to clearly state that no town float will be used for passenger-for-hire.”
The most significant change, town officials said, adds “excessive and unnecessary prop wash” to a clause prohibiting interference with passage of vessels. The language was added to address problems with cruise ship tenders in the harbor, Mr. Reed said.
“The prop wash actually moves other vessels and endangers their operations in the harbor,” he said.
Mr. Keblinsky countered that the new language is too subjective. “I don’t think that the harbormaster has a merchant mariner’s license…and I don’t think he can tell me what’s safe and unsafe when it comes to loading and unloading passengers,” he said.