Harbor Commissioners Undecided as to Whether to Continue Voluntary Training Session for Small Passenger Boat Captains; Transparency a Longtime Issue for Commission

The Bay View Lady Returns to the Marine Trade Center Following Its Training Session on May 5th

By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,134)

In a public hearing held by the Harbor Commission this afternoon at City Council chambers, there was little discussion of the training session for owners and captains of small passenger vessels based in Portland Harbor; little since this was the first meeting of the Commission since the training session happened on Saturday, May 5th. No follow-up discussion was listed on the Commission’s agenda for the meeting.

During the public hearing which deteriorated into more of a private conversation among the Commissioners, it was apparent that the training session had not been as successful as was hoped. About fifteen or so captains showed up for the free and voluntary session, but there was little participation or interest among them. About fourteen of the captains were already seasoned with only one captain new to Casco Bay which may have accounted for the lack of participation and interest. One Commissioner suggested that perhaps the training session could be available during the summer when there might be more new captains working on Casco Bay. The possibility of using a video rather than a hands on training session was discussed by the all male Commission.

With no amplification in use, it appeared that additional discussion and a decision on whether or not to continue the vessel training program just initiated, would be discussed and a decision made by email – thus eliminating public access.

The training session came about because of the concerns of the Commission over the grounds of two different schooners owned by Portland Schooner Co. last year. At an October 27th meeting last fall, Chairman Thomas W. Dobbins asked for recommendations from attendees on how to eliminate such grounds. A lack of knowledge of the waters of Casco Bay was cited as the reason for the groundings.

Portland Schooner Co. registered four of its personnel for the training session on May 5th. However, the Commission could not say how many had showed up for it.

For more background information, please visit Post # 1,006, dated 10/26/ll.

editor’s note: Transparency has LONG been missing from this Commission and it is hoped that this will improve in the future. Agendas are not on-line and when mhn.com does see one, it is so vague as to be useless.