ESSEX — Essex boaters have an extra month to renew their town moorings for the 2020 season and the town harbormaster is urging them to do so online as a health precaution and to become familiar with the town's new electronic renewal system.

Harbormaster Dan Fialho on Thursday said mooring holders now have until May 1 to renew their moorings without incurring the $200 late fee. The extension means the deadline for losing the mooring for non-payment is May 15.

In normal seasons, the deadline for not incurring the $200 late fee is April 1 and the deadline for losing the mooring for non-payment is April 15. But the beginning of this boating season is anything but normal in the midst of the the relentless spread of the novel coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease it causes.

"We're navigating some crazy times and health safety is of primary importance," Fialho said. "So it made sense to push off the deadlines for a month. This will also give us a chance to keep working the quirks out of the new system."

Just this year, he said, the town has introduced an online process for renewing the town's 260 moorings. All mooring holders should have received notification pointing them to the mooringinfo.com website, where they can renew and pay for their moorings.

If online renewal isn't an option, boaters still may renew their moorings at the Essex Police Department on Martin Street after health restrictions are lifted.

Fialho said the new system has provided some of the usual startup quirks, but that ultimately it will streamline the renewal process for mooring holders and the town.

“I can't stress enough how pleased I've been with people being proactive and patient at the same time with the implementation of the new system,” Fialho said. “And I can't stress enough that, with the online system and telephone contact, that there is no need to go to the police station in person until further notice, for our safety as well as their own.

Mooring holders with questions can reach the harbormaster's office at 978-768-6200 and Fialho's email address is dfialho@essexma.gov

Contact Sean Horgan at 978-675-2714, or shorgan@gloucestertimes.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanGDT

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