From the Office of the Harbor Master:
Federal Marine laws are clear in that vessels are authorized to seek refuge during GALE WARNINGS, STORM WARNINGS OR WHEN THE VESSEL IS IN DISTRESS. Immediately after tying up the owner/operator of the vessel must contact the property owner and request permission to do so. Property owners can refuse this request if they feel the pier, wharf, dock, etc, is not safely equipped for safe docking. In Stonington's case, the Public Landing is NOT a safe harbor, and vessels are not authorized to tie up for more than two hours exceeding the town ordinance.
Remember you can tie up to the commercial fish pier while seeking refuge from Gale Force Winds (34-47 knots), Storm Warnings/Watch Winds(48 knots or more), and vessel/ operator distress. Remember to request permission from owner/operator (in the case of the Stonington Fish Pier check with the Pier Manager) prior to leaving your boat.
Vessels left unattended during small craft winds (18-33 knot winds) will be subject to the fees established by existing ordinance and/or fines.
--Photo by Holli Boyce