Haverhill Aims for Greater Use and Enjoyment of Merrimack River; ‘Red Tape’ Delays Passenger Boat

Kayaks along new dock sections in downtown Haverhill. (Courtesy photograph.)

Kayak launch and dock accessory. (Courtesy photograph.)

Haverhill’s recreational use of the Merrimack River is progressing, but what is being described as a “paperwork delay” means a new river boat will not begin service until the first of August.

Progress includes the seasonal reopening of Plum Island Kayak last Saturday at the public docks off Washington Street. “Red tape,” as Haverhill Harbor Commission Chairman Sam Amari put it, has delayed launch of Captain Paul Aziz’s passenger cruise vessel.

“We are moving ahead, but it’s the usual rigorous permitting process,” Amari said.

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s office told WHAV Aziz is waiting for approval from the U.S. Coast Guard which will then be followed by a “stability inspection.” The office added Aziz, owner of Newburyport-based Yankee Clipper Tours, still plans to be in Haverhill and running tours by Aug. 1.

Amari said the kayak and passenger boat businesses as well as the general public will benefit from improvements recommended by the Harbor Commission and approved by the City Council. One is an accessory to help tourists more easily get into kayaks and on boats.

The mayor’s office also noted there is one more piece of docking and gangway needed, but that it will be in place over the next few days.

“The launch allows the general public to get into and out of the boats,” Amari said. He noted kayaks are especially difficult to get into.

He said an upcoming benefit will follow the purchase and installation of surveillance cameras. The Harbor Commission asked for the transfer of about $8,400 from its Waterways Fund to pay half of the camera cost.

“It’s for the public and for protection of businesses. Police will monitor it too. It fits right into their system,” Amari explained.

The city will use money from another account to complete the camera system.

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