MAINE, Maine — What even is a harbormaster? Or what do they even do? Why should I care?
If you live in Maine and enjoy the beautiful views of Bar Harbor, or if you've visited the state on a cruise ship, or took a vacation to the several breathtaking harbors, you've indirectly seen a harbormasters work.
With today being National Harbormaster Day, it allows all Mainers to take the time to honor the hard, and mostly forgotten work.
John LaMoine has been a Harbormaster for nearly thirteen years. He patrols the waters of Northeast Harbor any time of day or night.
“It’s a twenty-four hour, 365-day job, I never know when my phone can ring in the middle of the night, you know a boat has broken loose, or its, you know you hardly ever see the same thing twice," LaMoine said.
Harbormasters spend most of their time dealing with fisherman. The Lobster trade is one of Maine's leading exports which means dozens of boats at dozens of harbors around the coast.
Although their work and the work of the harbormaster is all business, LaMoine hopes the fisherman on his docks look at him as a friend.
“I just want them to feel like they can stop by and have a cup of coffee anytime, and you know ask questions, if they have problems," he said. "You know a lot of times I might not know something that’s going on and it helps to have someone stop by and give us a heads up.”
Harbormasters also have another unique tool on their seemingly endless tool belt. Many are Coast Guard Captains, which comes in handy if any of the nearby stations need an extra hand or an extra boat.
A difficult part of the job? Maintaining the beauty of the harbor. Many of the marinas and docks are located in some of Maine's prettiest areas which cause for a lot of tourists, and foot traffic.
“I feel its my job to keep it looking the way it does, and make sure it operates smoothly," LaMoine said.
The boats that enter the harbors are also like the duties of a harbormaster...far and wide.
“Anything from a 16-foot Boston Whaler to a 150-foot power Yacht, you never know what’s going to come in from day to day," LaMoine added.
Take the time to thank your local Harbormaster for all they do for Maine's beautiful, and unique harbors.