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Pirates by Christopher J. Seufert, Esquire

If you remember my 9/2022 Article “a bag, a boat, and a block” you’ll remember the new moorings we installed in Portsmouth Harbor last summer. Quite an undertaking and we were very proud of our Yankee ingenuity. The #3 mooring was installed in the area called Little Harbor. It is a nice spot protected from all but northwesterly winds and we used it last summer on many weekends just to hang out if the outside seas were too rough to venture out.

Well, May 2023, upon the marina opening for the season, I took the dingy around to #3 and saw, as with most moorings over the harsh winter, the permit # and name had been washed off the mooring ball by the tides. Each year you must reapply. I did have a new “foam pool noodle”, as those take a beating also, and zip tied it to the mooring line, which helps float the line and keep it from tangling on the chain beneath the mooring ball. I then went home and ordered new decals. The following weekend I went back to apply – and the mooring ball was GONE. I circled and circled, knowing pretty much where it was, it was just not there. I rounded up a few of the captains and we all scoured the harbor, maybe it broke loose and washed up on the beach. Nope. I called the Harbor Master and asked him if he had seen a loose mooring ball – nope. I dove on the area and couldn’t find it – but mostly because with all the recent freshwater rains mixing in the harbor visibility underwater was down to 6 inches.

The following week, I get a call from the Harbor Master that went something like this:

“Captain Chris, I think we have a problem. The owner of the small sailboat just to your southeast, well he called me last week and said there was a mooring ball floating near his boat and it was old and pretty beat so he asked me if he could take it. I told him if it looked abandoned with no visible name or decal and just floating freely that he could have it as I was too busy to come and check it myself. He said yes, it all looked old and rusty – clearly abandoned, and he’d take care of it for me. After your call I called your neighbor back and asked him about that “abandoned mooring ball” and he confessed that he took your mooring ball by removing the shackles and letting your chain drop to the sea bottom and took your mooring ball home and was repainting it with his name and decal #. Don’t take matters into your own hands, I am going to deal with this myself”.

Well piracy on the high seas is a serious matter and Portsmouth Harbor is “navigable waters” so both the State and USCG have jurisdiction. Being a former USCG NCO I rounded up a few of the Captains and we waited for the neighbor to be back on his boat. Once we spied him we all went over for a little “chat”. He had this story and that as to how this was all a big misunderstanding. I asked him about the “abandoned mooring” with a new pool noodle, shackles installed last year still bright and shiny, and how we had waved to each other last summer. He then asked how we could make this right. He was blunted told that my mooring better be reattached in short order or there would be consequences, maybe his boat would be hard to find the following week.

I am happy to report that my mooring is reattached, and our neighbor has not been seen on his sail boat since. *See our Newsletter