Ex-Haverhill assistant harbormaster's 105-foot-long tour boat breaks free from mooring, is trapped at Joppa Flats

Courtesy photoTim Slavit's 400-passenger tour boat, the SS Capt. Red, broke loose from its moorings offshore from the Salisbury Reservation Friday afternoon and was pushed by high winds across the river. Here it sits late Friday afternoon in the Joppa Flats salt marsh across from the Plum Island Turnpike.

A 400-passenger tour boat that former Haverhill Assistant Harbormaster Tim Slavit hopes to use for river tours ended up in the Joppa Flats marsh on Friday afternoon, after it broke loose from a mooring offshore from the Salisbury Reservation.

Witnesses said that as of late Friday afternoon, the 105-foot-long boat — named the "SS Capt. Red" in honor of Slavit's father, the late William J. "Captain Red'' Slavit — was in Joppa Flats opposite the Plum Island Turnpike and across from the Plum Island Airport.

Salisbury Harbormaster Willem Van de Stadt said the boat broke free from its mooring on the Salisbury side of the Merrimack River during a period of high tide and that strong winds pushed it across the river to the Newburyport side.

He could not provide additional information at the time of this report.

A local boating expert said the boat could be freed during the next high tide, else it may need to be towed by a boat rescue company.

Friday's high tide was at 3:29 p.m. and the next high tide would be at 3:41 a.m. Saturday, according to the U.S. Harbors website.

Attempts to reach Slavit were unsuccessful. 

Slavit has been battling with Haverhill officials to give him the necessary permits and approvals to dock the tour boat in Haverhill so he can launch a river tour business as early as next month.

City officials say they have asked Slavit for several documents related to licensing from Slavit, but that he has not complied with their requests. 

Slavit moored the tour boat offshore from the Salisbury Reservation late last month. On March 27, he took the boat on a trip upriver to Haverhill, where crowds were waiting behind the Tap restaurant downtown. There he turned the boat around and moored it offshore from the public boat ramp next to the Crescent Yacht Club in Bradford.

A few days later, Slavit returned the boat to the Salisbury mooring, where it remained until it broke free Friday afternoon. 

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