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Author: Deputy Harbormaster

Notice of Continued Shellfish Closure – North Padanaram Harbor

The annual re-opening of Dartmouth’s north (Apponagansett Bay) harbor will not occur on
November 1st this year (2022). Recent water qualities testing results showed at least five areas
of concern and require that the north harbor remain “closed” to all shellfish harvesting.
Possible sources of the sub-standard water quality include a late season influx of birds and
waterfowl feeding upon an abundance of baitfish, as well as several recent heavy rain storms
following an extremely dry summer season.


The State Division of Marine Fisheries is responsible for testing water samples from specific
sample sites. The Dartmouth Harbormaster Staff assists with collecting water samples, but the
State laboratory ensures the safety of the water quality from which all shellfish are harvested. It
is anticipated that another round of water samples will be collected and tested ASAP.


The entire north side of Apponagansett Bay, Padanaram Harbor will remain “closed” to all shell
fish harvesting until the water quality is ensured. The areas that have been open to the south
of the Padanaram Bridge Causeway (Smith Neck Road, south of Bush Point, and the outer
harbor) will remain open to harvesting at this time. Only the North harbor is impacted with this
continued closure.

Weekly Pumpout List Concluded

The weekly pump out list has concluded as of today, 9/23/2022. Pump outs will continue to occur on an as needed and as available basis. We will continue to pump out vessels until we are projected to receive below freezing temperatures. Please plan accordingly and request remaining pump outs well in advance when possible.

Feasibility Study for Boating Facility at Arthur F. Dias Landing

The Arthur F. Dias Landing is one of the most popular access points for the public to Padanaram Harbor.  Managed by the Town of Dartmouth Harbormaster’s Department with support from the Waterways Management Commission, each year thousands of boats are launched at the boat ramp and hundreds visit the site for the view of the northern end of the Harbor.

In the recent past, there have been a number of improvements made to the site.  Security lighting and cameras have been installed, new dinghy and kayak racks are in place, and parking lines have been repainted. 

Now the Waterways Management Commission is considering a sizable increase in floating dockage—primarily to support dinghies and other small craft.  A recent Feasibility Study highlights the need for additional small craft dockage in the harbor and, with competitive pricing, can be self-supporting. 

The Dias Landing Feasibility Study is available for download at the bottom of this page.  If the Waterways Management Commission moves forward with the project, funding will be sought through grants for design and construction costs.  A final design is expected to be prepared in 2022 and construction could be completed in time for the 2023 boating season.

2021 Mooring Renewal

The 2021 mooring permit renewal period has ended.  Late registration remains open until May 1, 2021 with the required additional late mooring registration fee of $170 per permit. 

Mooring permits cannot be renewed after May 1st of any year.  Please email if you have misplaced the renewal reminders that were mailed to the last known address on file  in February.

Waiting list renewal is also required by March 31st of each year to maintain active positions on the waiting list. 

Arthur F. Dias Landing Update

All dock floats associated with the Town Pier and launch ramps at the Dias Landing located at 75 Gulf Road have been installed for normal seasonal use.


Season launch/parking permits are available for $60 each at only the Town Collector’s Office at Dartmouth Town Hall.  Daily use permits are available at the orange box at the launch ramps for $7.00 per day.  A permit is required to launch and/or to park in that facility.

Pumpout Service during COVID-19

Our pumpout service is up and running again. This service was temporarily suspended while we addressed the safety of our staff and the boating public. We have learned that the Coronavirus may be transmitted through aerosolized sewage emitted from our vessel tank vent. COVID-19 can be transmitted through sewerage systems. SARS, a similar coronavirus, has been detected in untreated sewage for up to 2 to 14 days.

Please see the attached Update on Pumpout Protocols during Covid-19 HERE.