By Janee Law
Northport Village trustees are considering a proposal that would limit how long disabled boats can be docked in Northport Harbor.
The change would amend current code to create a 24-hour time limit on how long disabled vessels can be left at a public dock or float in the harbor before the village steps in to tow and store the vessel. The tow would be at the owner’s expense, and the owner would also be subject to a fine of no more than $250.
The village board, which held a meeting Tuesday, scheduled a public hearing on the proposal for 6 p.m. on Oct. 18 at Northport Village Hall.
Northport Trustee Ian Milligan said the time limit is intended to prevent boaters from leaving disabled vessels in the harbor for an extended, unreasonable period of time.
Such situations don’t happen often, said Northport Police Chief Bill Ricca. But he did recall a situation where “we had somebody who really overstayed for what we thought was a reasonable time.
“It was a very large vessel and took up a lot of dock space.”
Ricca said officials want dock space to be evenly shared among vessel owners.
Boat owners will still be able to seek “Safe Harbor” status, Ricca said. Boat owners who need more than 24 hours to relocate their disabled vessel can claim the status and then, under the proposed changes, the Northport harbor master and or police chief would be able to determine whether or not an exception should be granted.
“They can tie up to our dock, but they have to get it fixed in a reasonable amount of time,” Ricca said.