Captain William "Bill" McHughSalem Harbormaster
Radio: VHF 16
Address: 51 Winter Island Road Salem, MA 01970
In the event of an emergency while in Salem waters hail Salem Harbormaster on CH 16. A mayday call in dire circumstances will bring response from all local harbormasters and the U.S. Coast Guard station in Gloucester. In the event of failed radios you can call 911 from a cell phone or Salem Police Department or the Harbormaster Department.
The Salem Harbormaster Department is unique in that it is a separate city department. under control of the Mayor of Salem but it is also a sub-division of the Police Department answerable to the Chief of Police. The Harbormaster is a full time position held by Captain Bill McHugh, a United States Coast Guard licensed Professional Mariner. Harbormaster McHugh has an extensive background in all aspects of the marine industry. He is aided by a staff of 15 Assistant Harbormasters who are trained in a combination of maritime and law enforcement skills. Our boats respond to any emergency and operate 24 hrs per day.
Salem Harbor is a mixture of commercial and recreational vessels. There are over 1600 permitted recreational boats in Salem waters. Between Salem and the adjacent waters of Beverly, Marblehead and Danvers, there are an estimated 8000 moored or slipped recreational boats using the waters of Salem Sound.
Salem is the second deepest of the five ports in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. International shipments of coal and oil are received by the electric power plant inside the harbor. Especially in limited visibility, recreational boats must be aware that an 800 ft. tanker and escorting tugs may transit the main ship channel without warning. These ships draw 35 feet and have the final right of way over all recreational boats, including sailboats, due to their inability to maneuver or deviate from the channel. Mid-size cruise ships also drop anchor in the harbor several times a year. Construction will begin soon on a new wharf to accommodate larger cruise ships and ferry service to Boston. Scuba diving is permitted anywhere in Salem except the channels. A diver would not survive if a tanker passed overhead. Each diver is required to have his own individual flag.
Transient vessels are welcome to drop anchor on the Marblehead side of the inner harbor just short of the mooring field in approx position 42.31.00N, 070.52.20W. Pickering Wharf Marina and Hawthorne Cove Marina both have transient dockage available. Hawthorne Cove also offers transient moorings.
There are no public fuel docks in Salem and the closest is Port Marina in Beverly, which offers gas and diesel. Palmers Cove Yacht Club, located deep inside the inner harbor, has no fuel facilities. Dions Yacht Yard, Hawthorne Cove Marina and Winter Island Yacht Yard are all equipped with travel lifts and are available for repairs.
Public docks with available water and boat ramps are located at Winter Island Recreational Park at the mouth of the harbor and Kernwood Marina, which is located up the Danvers River. Other public docks are located at the Willows pier in Salem Willows Park and at the Congress St Bridge, located next to Pickering wharf. All have 20 min. tie up limits, which are strictly enforced.
The pump out boat operates 8AM-4PM on weekends and holidays from Memorial Day to Columbus Day. It may be hailed on Channel 9 as “Salem Pump”.