There’s a new Harbormaster in Mattapoisett: Jamie McIntosh on the job

Sep 4, 2019

MATTAPOISETT — Jamie McIntosh took time to reflect on his new role as Mattapoisett’s Harbormaster while working by the water on Wednesday, Sept. 4.

McIntosh previously worked as Wareham’s Assistant Deputy Director in the Department of Natural Resources, and began his new job in Mattapoisett on Monday, Aug. 19.

Since then, he said that he is impressed by how kind and welcoming the residents of Mattapoisett have been to him, with many of them approaching him personally to wish him well, which he said has made his transition into his new job easier for him.

A key difference between Wareham and Mattapoisett is that the former consolidates the harbormaster duties and animal control, involving both domestic and wild animals, while the latter has a separate department for his role. McIntosh said that this allows him to have a more specialized focus in his new role.

Despite starting a bit late in the summer season, McIntosh is already busy at work responding to emergencies, caring for an oyster farm, and performing routine maintenance. 

In the short time that he has worked in Mattapoisett, he has already helped save the property of multiple people. In one incident, a man fell off of a ten foot boat north of the bridge on the Mattapoisett River. In an inter-agency effort, the Fire Department was able to assist the man, and ensure that he was safe, Police and EMS evaluated him after being brought back safely, and McIntosh and the Harbormaster’s Department towed the boat and retrieved the man’s belongings.

In another incident, McIntosh and his crew were on a routine patrol when they saw a boat that was taking water on its stern from a distance and successfully dewatered the boat, preventing it from sinking. 

The oyster farm at Long Wharf is a new development for the Town of Mattapoisett this year. It houses about 20,000 oysters and uses an upwelling system to deliver a constant stream of water to the oysters, allowing them to filter feed and grow rapidly. 

McIntosh said that the young oysters now average about a half inch in length, and have doubled to even tripled in size in the past three weeks. He added that oysters can take up to two years to mature.

He described the oyster farm as a “labor of love,” as the oysters need to be stirred daily to keep sediment off of them, and the large container needs to be cleaned thoroughly about twice a week.

McIntosh said that he plans to build a deck and informational sign for the oyster farm over the winter, and that “our long-term goal is to develop a recreational harvesting area for the residents,” as shellfishing in the town is mostly limited to quahogs now. 

Oysters are also beneficial to the environment as filter feeders which clean the water in which they live.

Much of McIntosh’s daily work involves protection and maintenance of boats at the wharf. “A lot of people put a lot of hard work, time, money, and effort into their recreational activity, and I feel like it’s part of our job to protect and assist with that,” he said.

While owners are away, he ensures that boats are cared for, and properly moored at Long Wharf.

McIntosh’s schedule varies based on the weather, and specific needs of the day. “When you’re needed, you’re here,” he said.

Six Assistant Harbormasters help McIntosh with his duties, most of whom are employed seasonally. He also gets help from a wharfinger, and local businesses like Triad Boatworks,  which contributes knowledge of the Mattapoisett waters and assists with mooring holder issues.