The harbormaster and pier manager for Stonington, Raelene Pert is originally from Hancock. She attended Ellsworth High School and later earned her GED.
Raelene married Christopher Pert on May 26, 2003. “We lived in Ellsworth for about two years. Then we moved to Brooklin, and we’ve lived there ever since,” she said. A lobsterman based in Sedgwick, Christopher plows the Brooklin roads in winter while working for Webb’s Excavation.
Hired as Stonington’s shellfish warden in 2008, Raelene soon became the assistant harbormaster, working with Harbormaster Steve Johnson. Appointed harbormaster in 2013, she described the position as “full time between harbormaster and pier manager.”
Deer Isle hired Raelene as its shellfish warden in 2010. This August marked her 25th year as a shellfish warden, including almost 14 years as Brooklin’s.
“We have very good clamming here” in Deer Isle and Stonington, Raelene said. “There’s a lot of area,” with clam flats “all the way around the island. I’m up early, and I stay out late. The tide waits for no man. I put in four to five hours a day.”
Raelene checks harvested clams for legal size and clammers for the proper permits. “We have trouble with poachers,” she said. “I see a few a year. I write them up, and I take them to court in Ellsworth.”
Raelene and Dana Webber, Stonington’s assistant harbormaster, use a 22-foot Ellis with a 75-horsepower Yamaha to “check for wakers, people causing wakes in the harbor. I’ve caught a few.” Raelene and Dana “deal with a lot of emergency calls … sunken boats, a sailboat up on the rocks,” skiffs breaking loose from moorings, and sometimes people dying on their boats or nearby islands.
The busiest commercial fish pier in Maine, the Stonington pier opened in the early 1980s and measures 495 feet in length. More than 300 fishermen “are based out of here,” and 84 fishing boats use the pier, alongside which eight boats can pull up simultaneously, Raelene said.
She makes sure fishermen are permitted to use the pier, keeps it clean and greases the hoists as needed. The town installed new lights in 2013, a new generator to run the entire pier in 2018, and recently replaced three of the six hoists.
An electrician retired from Verso Paper, Dana Webber “does all of our electrical work on the pier,” Raelene said.
The fish pier has 68 parking spaces, with 66 permitted for fishermen. “Sometimes people park where they shouldn’t,” and Raelene sorts out the situation. During Fourth of July festivities, she transports pyrotechnic technicians to where they will launch fireworks over Stonington Harbor, and she “helps police the crowd on the pier, and the sheriff’s deputies are here.”
Raelene “gets called out if there is an emergency with the pier or the harbor.” In mid-April 2014, a Stonington man rowed out to a moored lobster boat, emptied gas cans into the boat and set it afire. Later caught, he was convicted in federal court and sentenced to seven years in a federal prison.
Raelene received an award from the Maine Attorney General’s Office for her role in the investigation.
Raelene and Christopher have a son, Christopher Jr., born on his father’s birthday and now a lobsterman. Their daughter, Anne Eaton, is a CNA living in Stonington. Raelene and Christopher have a 5-year-old granddaughter, Annabell, and an 18-month-old grandson, Solomon.
When not working, “I like to go side-by-side riding” on the Down East Sunrise Trail and, on Sundays, the Central Maine Adventure Trail in Penobscot County, Ralene said. “I like to spend time with my family.”