A boat is moored Tuesday in Maranacook Lake near the state boat launch on Route 41 in Readfield. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

READFIELD — The town hasn’t seen an influx of boat moorings along the state boat launch on Route 41 as some feared might happen in the wake of controversial rules enacted recently in neighboring Winthrop.

Readfield’s town manager made the comments at a recent public hearing during which residents also asked town officials to approach the mooring issue with care and caution.

Municipal officials said their Friday public hearing was pleasant, and agreed with residents.

“I was actually told by someone associated with the group of boaters concerned about the issue in Winthrop that they don’t have any interest in coming up to this side of the lake,” Readfield Town Manager Eric Dyer said Tuesday. “That was one of the points made at this hearing, that folks potentially being displaced don’t have any interest in coming our way.”

The town first discussed the issue in July, when Dyer said he was approached by about 15 to 20 residents who asked that the town do something proactive in the wake of Winthrop’s mooring ordinance, which went into effect on July 8. Winthrop’s ordinance, which requires people to own shorefront property in order to set anchor, proved to be controversial among residents. Boaters based in Winthrop continue to question the legal basis of such a rule, and are circulating a petition that they hope to present to the town’s council in September.

In July, Dyer said residents were primarily concerned with a potential influx of moorings along the state boat launch on Route 41. But on Tuesday he said he hasn’t seen a substantial increase in the amount of moorings in town.


For the past 20 years, he said the launch sees on average maybe three to five moorings at most, and that this number has not changed much.

Both Dyer and Select Board Chairman Dennis Price said the consensus among residents seemed to be that the town should pursue any mooring ordinances cautiously.

“Most folks certainly felt that we wanted to approach this incrementally and very carefully and not to overdo it, not jump in and have excessive regulation or do something that had unintended consequences, as we may have seen in Winthrop,” said Dyer. The public hearing on Friday “was one of the highlights of my summer, being able to sit there and talk about the lakes, which are one of our most important resources.”

A boat is moored Tuesday in Maranacook Lake near the state boat launch on Route 41 in Readfield. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Price said residents want something in place that is “different than Winthrop.” He said nearby residents want to make sure the state boat launch doesn’t become crammed full of boats next to their property, but that residents were also concerned with how this type of ordinance could be enforced.

In addition to discussion of the mooring ordinance, Dyer said residents also discussed proper boating safety, including making sure that boaters don’t exceed boat weight limits or operate while intoxicated.

“The safety piece was part of it,” Dyer said, “and then there was the environmental piece of wanting to make sure that anything that we did around management of the lakes was done to improve and protect the water quality and prevent the spread of invasives.”


The town’s next steps are to discuss the topic more in-depth during an upcoming select board retreat in September, that will also involve general goal-setting.

“We’re just going to be approaching this carefully over the next several months and any action that’s taken would have to take the form any action that’s taken or any ordinance that’s put together — because this would have to take the form of an ordinance — would need to be approved at town meeting, and the next one we have is in June of 2023.”

Overall, both Price and Dyer were satisfied with the outcome and discussion at the recent public hearing, attended or viewed by nearly 40 people.

“I would say that it was a very, very positive meeting,” said Price. “It was well-attended. We had folks via Zoom and we had folks in person, and overall I felt like the conversation was very positive. There was very little oppositional back and forth.”

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