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Harbor Master Ordinance - 1882.
Established maritime protocol along the river in Bay City, MI.

Added Oct., 2010.

The Charter & Ordinance of Bay City, Mich., 1882.


An Ordinance relative to the navigation of the Saginaw River, and the appointment and duties of a Harbor Master.

Section 1. No person shall throw or deposit in the Saginaw river, within the limits of Bay City, any substance which may in any respect tend to injure the navigation thereof.

Sec. 2. No steamboat, or other vessel shall anchor within one hundred feet of any wharf in said city; Provided, always that nothing herein contained shall be construed to prevent any vessel from lying along side any dock, with the consent of the owner of said dock.

Sec. 3. All steamboats, tugs and other vessels, including lighters, shall keep on board during the night a conspicuous light, elevated at least six feet above decks.

Sec. 4. All steamboats and tugs coming to, or going from the docks, shall be moved under a low head of steam and slowly, so as not to endanger the docks or other craft in port.

Sec. 5. No person shall unload any boat or vessel at, or on, any of the public wharves or docks in said city, or otherwise place or deposit on any such wharf or dock, any stone, lumber, timber, firewood, coal or other material, without permission from the Harbor Master of said city.

Sec. 6. The Common Council may annually appoint on the first regular meeting in April, or at any regular meeting thereafter, a Harbor Master for the port of Bay City, who shall take and file with the Recorder the oath of office, and shall hold his office for one year until his successor shall be appointed and qualified, subject to removal under the charter. And in case of the sickness, or other disability of said Harbor Master, he may appoint a deputy, subject to the approval of the Common Council, to perform his duties during such sickness or disability. Such Harbor Master, when so appointed, shall receive for his services such compensation as said Common Council may deem reasonable.

Sec. 7. It shall be the duty of the Harbor Master to enforce the execution of the several provisions of this ordinance and all all other ordinances regulating and preserving the navigation of said river, within the limits of said city, and to make complaint for the violation thereof.

Sec. 8. The said Harbor Master shall have authority to protect the owners and occupants of wharves and docks, within the limits of the city, in the free and undisturbed use of the same; and he is authorized to regulate the anchorage of all vessels lying within said city limits, and to give such orders and directions relative to the location and change of station of any steamboat, tug or other vessel, as shall be for the interest of trade and navigation, having respect at all times to the rights of occupants of wharves and docks; and to this end he shall have full authority to go on board of and move any steamboat, tug or vessel that shall be without right or consent, occupying any of said docks or wharves, or anchored contrary to, or violating any of the provisions of this ordinance; and every owner, captain, master, consignee or other person, having in charge any such steamboat, tug or vessel, shall be liable to the penalties of this ordinance for refusing to comply with such order or direction; and any person who shall obstruct, hinder or resist said officer, in going aboard of any such steamboat, tug, or vessel, or when he has boarded the same in conformity to the powers herein vested in him, shall on conviction thereof, be punished as hereafter provided.

Sec. 9. Whenever the Harbor Master shall receive a written or verbal complaint or information, or in any manner know of a violation of this ordinance, it shall be his duty, forthwith, to repair to the place where such violation has occurred or is occurring, and to exercise any and every power vested in him to enforce this ordinance, and to complain of the person or persons guilty of such violation, and if such Harbor Master shall refuse or neglect to comply with the provisions of this section, he shall be punished by a fine of not exceeding twenty-five dollars and costs of prosecution, or by imprisonment not exceeding twenty days, or both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.

Sec. 10. Any violation of, or failure to comply with the provisions of this ordinance, or any of them, or failure or neglect to comply with any orders or directions of such Harbor Master, given in accordance with the provisions of this ordinance, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two hundred dollars and costs of prosecution, or by imprisonment in the county jail of Bay County for any period of time not exceeding six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court, and if only a fine and costs be imposed, the court may make further sentence that the offender be imprisoned in said county jail, sixty days.

Adopted November 28th, 1881.

Subject Notes

Mouth of Saginaw River
(click to enlarge)

Related Pages:
River Navigation
Names of Harbor Masters
Burr, Eugene -1883
Donohue, Robert - 1891
Fuller, Wm. - 1882
Smith, George - 1884
Tanney, M.J. - 1883
Subjects Referenced
Bay City, MI
Bay County, MI
Common Council
Harbor Master
Saginaw River, MI
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.