Breakthrough Promises to Resolve Issues Stalling Mooring of MS Capt. Red in Haverhill

The Slavit family’s MS Capt. Red is a 105-foot-long, 28-foot-wide vessel. (Courtesy photograph.)

There has been a breakthrough in arrangements to bring the 400-passenger MS Capt. Red to Haverhill this season.

Last Saturday, Haverhill Harbormaster Michael Vets gave preliminary approval for the installation of tie-ups for the 105-foot-long, 28-foot-wide ship at the public mooring area 100 yards downriver from the Crescent Yacht Club. While installation won’t take place until MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program signs off on any necessary sturgeon protections, Tim Slavit said he is grateful for the progress.

“I’d like to publicly thank Harbormaster Michael Vets for his professionalism for how he treated my sons and the Haverhill River Cruises. I take my hat off to him,” he said.

Slavit explains his sons Tim Jr. and Ryan met with Vets and mediators Richard P. Early Jr. and Haverhill Police Sgt. David Currier Saturday morning. Early told WHAV the Slavit family was treated very fairly, adding, “I was very, happy with the outcome.”

What’s more, Slavit said, he received assistance from Haverhill Harbor Commissioner Phil Wysocki and Salisbury Harbormaster Willem Van de Stadt moving the ship from the Newburyport public dock and taking it back to the Salisbury Beach State Reservation.

“They helped us with the line and the tackle to secure the boat so there’s no incident if there’s a storm,” Slavit said.

About a week ago, the ship broke loose in a storm and drifted from Salisbury to the Joppa Flats near Plum Island airport.

Slavit is son of late Harbormaster William J. “Red” Slavit, for whom the ship is named. He said he expects to take passengers this summer from the Capt. Red Slavit Memorial Docks downtown behind Washington Street. Meanwhile, he said, the riverboat will be refurbished in preparation.

Eva Montibello, a local communications consultant, has been working with the family to market Haverhill River Cruises. She told WHAV the public has been quietly hoping for resolution of the impasse.

“We all know that Red was a Haverhill fixture for many, many years as the harbormaster, but I think people from Haverhill are always rooting for Haverhill folks to succeed and keep the business local,” she said.

Montibello said much thought is going into integrating the ship with downtown restaurants. For example, she said, people may have dinner and then take a moonlight dancing cruise and return for coffee, drinks or snacks downtown.

Tensions rose early in March, beginning with a heated meeting between Slavit and the Haverhill Harbor Commission, followed by an order that Slavit remove four concrete moorings near Chase’s Wharf in the Merrimack River.

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