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Boat Excise Tax
2282005_60736_0.jpgThe Assessing Department of the Town of Winthrop is responsible for determining the value of all real and personal property located within the Town for the purpose of taxation. In addition, the department administers the motor vehicle and boat excise taxes.

The Town of Winthrop Assessors Office yearly receives from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Environmental Law Enforcement a listing of all vessells registered with the Town of Winthrop as their place of habitual mooring or dockage.

Chapter 60B: Section 2 Excise taxes
Section 2. (a) Except as hereinafter provided there shall be assessed and levied by each city and town in each fiscal year on every vessel, and its equipment, for the privilege of using the waterways of the commonwealth, an excise measured by the value thereof, as hereinafter defined and determined, at the rate of ten dollars per thousand of valuation.

(b) Any person who owns such a vessel on July first shall annually, on or before August first, make a return on oath to the assessors of the city or town where such vessel is habitually moored or docked, or in the case of a vessel which has no mooring or docking space, where said vessel is principally situated, setting forth the vessel's registration or documentation number, if any; an adequate description, as well as the owner's estimate of the fair cash value of said vessel and any engine or motor used to propel said vessel, as of the next preceding July first; and the place of habitual mooring or docking or other principal location of said vessel.

(c) For the purpose of computing the excise under this chapter the value of each such vessel, and its equipment, shall be deemed to be the fair cash value as determined by the assessors of each city and town, but not in excess of the following values:

LENGTH OF VESSEL (Overall center line Length excluding bowsprits,boomkins and similar extensions)
VALUATIONS OF VESSELS (based on age of vessel)  

Length of Vessel
Under 4 Years
4 thru 6 Years
7 or More Years
Under 16'  
$ 1,000
$ 700
$ 400
16' but less than 17.5'
17.5' but less than 20'
20' but less than 22.5'
22.5' but less than 25'
25' but less than 27.5'
27.5' but less than 30'
30' but less than 35'
35' but less than 40'
40' but less than 50'
50' but less than 60'
60' or over  
(d) The payment of such excise shall exempt such owner from any other tax applicable to said vessels and their equipment under chapter fifty-nine.

(e) If an owner fails to make such a return within the time herein provided, the assessors may abate the tax otherwise imposed by this chapter if such owner provides the assessors with a reasonable excuse for failure to file such return and if the return is filed on or before October thirty-first of the year in which the tax is assessed; but no abatement hereunder shall reduce the tax otherwise imposed to an amount less than the sum of the excise imposed by this section plus fifty per cent thereof.

(f) Said excise shall be assessed in the city or town where the vessel is habitually moored or docked, or in the case of a ship or vessel which has no mooring or docking space, where the ship or vessel is principally situated; provided, however, that if more than one municipality owns property in a harbor, the municipality which maintains such harbor in which the vessel is habitually moored, docked or situated shall assess and collect said excise; and provided, further, that where more than one municipality maintains portions of the harbor, the municipality which maintains that portion of the harbor in which the vessel is habitually moored, docked or situated shall assess and collect said excise.

(g) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the board of assessors from granting an abatement in any case in which the excise aforesaid is, in the opinion of the board, excessive.

(h) If during any fiscal year ownership of a boat subject to an excise under this chapter is transferred by sale or otherwise, or if during any fiscal year the owner of a boat subject to such an excise removes to another state and registers a boat in such other state and surrenders or does not renew his registration in this state, the excise under this chapter shall be reduced, upon application, by an abatement equal to the proportion of an excise under this chapter on such boat for the full fiscal year which the number of months in said year remaining after the month in which such transfer by sale or otherwise or such surrender or expiration of registration occurs bears to twelve.

(i) All sums received from the excise imposed under this chapter shall be paid into the treasury of the city or town and fifty per cent of said excise shall be credited to the municipal waterways improvement and maintenance fund established under the provisions of section five G of chapter forty.

Assessors Office Boating Requirements
· Yearly payment of excise and waterway fee.
· Copy on file of up to date MA. Registration or Coast Guard Papers.
· Fill out boat form in Assessors Office. Click here for form!
· To drop a mooring call the Harbor Master Chuck Famolare @ 617-798-2100 or Pager 617-839-4000 or call Joe Houghton @ 781-631-9338.
· Notify Assessors Office of any changes to your mailing address, phone number, or boat status.
· If a boat is sold we require a copy of the bill of sale and proof of payment of all outstanding taxes in order to take boat off our records so it does not generate another bill.

· Excise and waterway fees are due 60 days from the date of billing.
· When sending payment by mail include a self addressed stamped envelope or plan on picking up your decals in the Assessors Office.

Town of Winthrop Waterways Rules and Regulations
Excerpt from:
Updated through 5-1-2004
Waterways -- See Ch. 130.
Chapter 130, WATERWAYS
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Annual Town Meeting of the Town of Winthrop 5-22-1997 by Art. 18. Amendments noted where applicable.]
§ 130-1.  Purpose.
The purpose of these rules and regulations is to standardize mooring practices so as to fully utilize the limited area in Winthrop Waters, while implementing uniform safety practices, and also to provide adequate space for all types of recreational usage.  
§ 130-2.  Definitions.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:  
HARBORMASTER  -- The Harbormaster appointed by the Winthrop Board of Selectmen.   
MOORING  -- A semipermanent anchorage installation, consisting of an approved mooring system.   
MOORING AREAS  -- Those portions of Winthrop Waters which shall be designated as such by the Winthrop Board of Selectmen and/or Harbormaster.   
MOORING PERMIT  -- A written authorization by the Harbormaster to place a mooring.   
MOORING YEAR  -- Shall date annually from January 1 through December 31 and is the period for which a mooring space is assigned. [Amended 5-22-2003 ATM, Art. 16]   
OWNER  -- The person listed as owner on the certificate of registration or the documentation certificate.   
REGISTERED OWNER  -- The holder of a mooring space assigned by the Harbormaster.   
VESSEL  -- Every description of watercraft, including nondisplacement craft and seaplanes, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water.   
WINTHROP WATERS  -- All waters within the boundaries of the Town of Winthrop.   
§ 130-3.  Mooring and docking regulations; fee.  
A.      No mooring shall be placed in the Waters of Winthrop unless it is in compliance with these regulations.  
B.      No person shall place or maintain a mooring within the waters of Winthrop without first obtaining a mooring permit from the Harbormaster.  
C.      No permit will be issued without prior payment of all appropriate fees or fines by the applicant, including but not limited to annual boat excise tax, if applicable.  
D.      All moorings shall be registered with the Harbormaster each year. The registration period for any year shall end at 12:00 noon, December 31. Any moorings that are not registered before this time may be canceled and the mooring space allocated to the waiting list. [Amended 5-22-2003 ATM, Art. 16]  
E.      The Harbormaster shall post a waiting list in the office and in the Town Hall showing the names of persons desiring mooring space, the date of application, the area in which such space is desired and the length, beam, draft and displacement of the boat for which mooring space has been requested. All new applications and requests for relocation shall be added to this list in order. Upon availability, the Harbormaster will assign moorings on the order of this list.  
F.      An identification sticker will be issued to each registered moored or berthed vessel upon receipt of the annual registration fee. This sticker must be attached to the port bow of each vessel three inches aft of registration numbers on the forward half of the hull so as to be clearly visible for inspection by the Harbormaster.  
G.      The waterways usage fee shall be determined annually by the Board of Selectmen, with the advice of the Harbor Management and Planning Committee, with boats under 12 feet exempt.  [Amended 5-25-2000 ATM by Art. 10]  
H.      Any registered owner shall be deemed to have forfeited his registered mooring space by any one of the following:  
(1)     Removal of tackle by the registered owner and notification to the Harbormaster that the space is available.  
(2)     Failure to reregister for such space by December 31 of any season. [Amended 5-22-2003 ATM, Art. 16]  
(3)     Failure to replace any substandard mooring tackle after notification by the Harbormaster.  
(4)     Failure to buoy or restore mooring within 30 days after being notified by the Harbormaster that the mooring is submerged. In the event that a mooring is lost, the owner must report the loss to the Harbormaster as soon as possible.  
(5)     Failure to comply with the Town of Winthrop's mooring fee policy.    
I.      Abandoned or forfeited moorings, or any mooring installed in the waters of Winthrop without permission from the Harbormaster, shall be considered public nuisances. Such moorings and vessels may be removed by the Harbormaster at the risk and expense of the owner, if the owner fails to remove the same within 48 hours after written notice from the Harbormaster. Said notice shall be secured to the mooring and a copy mailed to the owner's address as recorded on the mooring permit.  
J.      Mushrooms or approved mooring systems must be used.  
K.      Scope shall be determined by the Harbormaster.  
L.      Buoys shall be spherical and white with a one-inch blue band visible above the tide level at all times. Metal buoys shall not be used. All chain flotation buoys shall be plainly and clearly visible above the tide level at all times. The permit number issued by the Harbormaster shall be applied to the mooring buoy with two-inch-high letters for identification and must be visible at all times.  
M.      Winter mooring spars/sticks shall be upright at all times (not less than 40° at any period of tide) and must be clearly visible when no boat is secured to the mooring. The permit number issued by the Harbormaster shall be applied to the mooring float in one-inch-high letters for identification and must be visible at all times. Winter sticks shall be removed on or before the 15th day of May and shall not be set until on or after the 15th day of September of each calendar year. Any winter sticks which are not removed by May 15 may be considered abandoned and may be removed by the Harbormaster. No space may be reserved unless a winter stick/spar or mooring buoy is present at all times marking a mooring. Unmarked mooring chains dropped to the bottom are abandoned by the Harbormaster.  
N.      All Winthrop moorings shall be inspected at least once every five years by the Harbormaster or an approved inspector, appointed by the Board of Selectmen, at the mooring owner's expense. Inspections conducted by the mooring owner are not acceptable. Moorings shall be hauled for visual inspection. If an inspection reveals that any tackle has become damaged or worn by 1/3 of its normal diameter, the tackle shall be replaced accordingly. Failure to correct deficiencies shall be grounds for revocation of the mooring permit by the Harbormaster.  
O.      No mooring permit shall be transferred except within the immediate family. The immediate family shall include mother, father, sister, brother, children, spouse, domestic partner or lineal descendants. The Harbormaster may permit temporary use by another boat upon application by the mooring permit holder.  
P.      Rafting is limited to two vessels on a single mooring and will only be allowed, provided that it does not interfere with adjacent single moorings or anchorages. Boats in raft shall be manned at all times.  
Q.      The placement of temporary floats and/or rafts held by anchors or bottom moorings is subject to written approval of the Harbormaster. All floats or rafts must be identified with assigned registration numbers to the landward and seaward sides of the float or raft in contrasting colors and a minimum of two inches in height.    
§ 130-4.  Rules of conduct.  
A.      No motorboat shall operate at a speed which shall cause a wash or wake that may endanger other property or life, and in no event shall any boat exceed a speed limit of six knots in any mooring area.  
B.      Waterskiing is allowed only off of Front Beach (Winthrop Shore Drive) and Yirrell Beach (Shirley Street). Waterskiing shall be prohibited within 150 feet of bathers, divers, piers, wharves, floats, moored or other boats or of any shore. No person shall operate a boat towing a water-skier in navigable channels.  
C.      No person shall operate a motorboat (a boat with machinery) within 150 feet of any beach or designated swimming area except at a headway speed.  
D.      Personal watercraft shall not be operated at other than headway speed within 150 feet of any moored or anchored boat or vessel, swimming area, dock or float.  
E.      The discharge of oil, sewage, garbage, rubbish or other debris from boats on the Winthrop Waterways is prohibited.  
F.      No person shall operate any vessel on the Winthrop Waterways while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic drug, barbiturate or marijuana.  
G.      The operator of any vessel on the Winthrop Waterways shall provide a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device, Types I, II or III, for each person aboard the vessel (C.M.R. 207: p 15).  
H.      Boating accidents.  
(1)     All boating accidents occurring in Winthrop Waters where damage exceeds $500 or results in death, a missing person or requires medical treatment more than first aid shall be reported to the Harbormaster and to the following address:
Division of Marine and Recreational Vehicles
100 Cambridge St.
Boston, MA 02202  
 (2)    Such accidents shall also be reported to the nearest United States Coast Guard Facility if the damage is over $1,000.      
§ 130-5.  Compatibility with government regulations.
Nothing contained herein shall be held or construed to supersede or conflict with or interfere with or limit jurisdiction of the United States government or limit or conflict with the laws or regulations. In case, the stricter, more rule or regulation shall apply.  
§ 130-6.  Violations and penalties.  
A.      Violation of these boating rules and regulations shall be subject to a fine of $50 for each violation and for each similar subsequent violation within a calendar year. Each day of a continuing violation shall be a separate offense.  
B.      These rules and regulations may be enforced by the Harbormaster, any Assistant or Deputy Harbormasters, any police officer or any other agent or person appointed by the Winthrop Board of Selectmen.  
C.      Any person aggrieved by any decision of the Harbormaster may file an appeal with the Winthrop Board of Selectmen by delivering such appeal, in writing, to the Winthrop Town Hall within 15 days of the ruling of the Harbormaster. Such appeal shall state specifically the nature of the ruling and the reason why such person is aggrieved.    
§ 130-7.  Severability.
In the event that any provision, section or clause of these rules and regulations is hereafter found to be invalid, such invalidity shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of these rules and regulations. Changes may be made from time to time by the Winthrop Board of Selectmen as they deem necessary.  
§ 130-8.  Abandonment of property.
Nothing contained herein shall be construed as giving the vessel owner the right of abandonment of any property or vessel to the Town of Winthrop.  


Winthrop Town Hall 1 Metcalf Square, Winthrop, MA 02152
Phone: 617.846.1852
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