HARRISON — Harbor master Gary Pendexter scours Long and Crystal lakes every day looking for mooring violators in his 16-foot aluminum blue and white motor boat that he describes as an antique.

His personal craft is at least 30, or maybe 40, years old, he said.

“This is a heartfelt thing for me,” Pendexter said of the need to provide the current and future harbor masters with an adequate boat to do the job that generally runs between May 1 and Veterans Day.

Pendexter, a retired Cumberland County sheriff’s deputy, said the issue of buying a boat has been on the table with the Board of Selectmen for the past three or four years. He’s been harbor master the past five years.

While the boat is a practical work boat, it is not that useful for tagging illegal moorings, something that takes up about 90 percent of his work day on Long Lake and the smaller Crystal Lake.

Town ordinance requires every mooring be numbered and registered where its positioned. Thirty percent or more have not been, Pendexter said. Once he tags the illegal mooring, the owner has 10 days to put registered numbers on it or the mooring is removed.

Pendexter also has use of a Pontoon boat that was donated to the town by Henry Hudson, one of Harrison’s Old Home Days organizers. Hudson used the boat to light fireworks during the annual celebration and it has been used by the Fire Department, but it’s not safe in high winds on the lake.

“We need one that would fit the job,” said Pendexter, who pays for maintenance that can run $500 to $600 a year.  “I’ve studied this for four years. I’m not going to do this forever. Someone is going to take it over. We need to give them a boat to use.”

Pendexter met with selectmen last week and told them a harbor master should have a boat at least 18 feet long with a 60- to 100-horsepower engine. The cheapest bid he has received is $25,000, he said. The $25,000 figure was based on numbers using a state grant, Pendexter said. “I was looking at a state grant. You can get a boat for lots cheaper,” he told the board after some selectmen balked at the price.

Selectmen last week agreed that Pendexter should be reimbursed for using his personal boat in his job but said they will wait for more information before deciding on a new boat.

“You can’t have a harbor master without his having the means to do his job,” Selectman Dan Schorr said.

Schorr said a decision will have to be made in the future and it would be wise to begin to build funds into the budget to eventually buy a new boat.

Selectmen also decided to put the fees from the harbor master’s account into the town’s general fund beginning immediately to adhere to a recommendation from the town’s auditors. There is currently $11,658 in the harbor master’s account, of which $6,658 must be taken out for salary starting this year.

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Harbor master Gary Pendexter spends the majority of his time looking for illegal moorings on Long and Crystal lakes in Harrison, but was grounded Monday due to repairs to his personal 16-foot aluminum craft.

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