A mooring is a semi-permanent anchor for securing a boat in a harbor. It looks like an iron mushroom, has a long length of chain, and a rope pennant to a float. It is also the one thing that makes me more paranoid than bird flu, an IRS audit, or turning into a collector of Hummel figurines.
Paranoid? I’m not paranoid about my mooring dragging during a storm, I’m paranoid about forgetting to renew my permit some year and finding myself completely hosed. The waiting list for a mooring is something like two hundred names long and turns over at slower-than-a-glacial pace. My cousin Pete was on the list for something like ten years and only just last year got a slot. I’ve got family members who didn’t get their moorings when the town went to a permit system and they are still angry and screwed, especially over out-of-towners having permits when they don’t. I predict acts of maritime violence some day.
Miss the March 30th deadline and you lose your mooring.
That thought keeps me awake for most of February and early March until I do the same annual ritual. I find the renewal forms, I find the documentation for the boats (I have three moorings), I find the excise tax bills, I find my checkbook, I buy three stamped legal envelopes and self-address them. I drive to town hall and pay my excise tax — in person — and take the receipt on to the Division of Natural Resources where the mooring officer checks off all the required documents, takes my $70 check, and tells me the magic words: “You’re all set. The tags will come in the mail.”
To celebrate I write another $20 check for a new clam license. Instead of 007, my license to kill clams this year is number 0403. I need to check Capetides.com to figure out when the low tides are and sally forth to the super-secret-early-season clam beds that get closed on May 1 and make hay while the tide falls. Spring is upon me and I am positively giddy. Now to just get my taxes out of the way … pay three tuitions … at least the moorings are renewed.
I need to go clamming.