On the Waterfront

“Water brings out all sorts of personalities,” says Rockland, Maine, harbormaster Ed Glaser ’73.

And personalities can generate conflict. When the USS Wasp, a Navy warship, wanted to anchor near the Rockland Breakwater during the town’s 2005 Maine Lobster Festival, the 844-foot ship’s associated “security zone” threatened to displace working lobster boats. The lobstermen were outraged.

Glaser entered the thick of the controversy. He shepherded the U.S. Coast Guard (the federal agency in charge of post-9/11 coastal security), the festival folks, and the lobstermen into mediation, wherein they decided upon a different location for the Wasp.

The Navy agreed to the half-mile shift, so the vessel and its 1,100-member crew anchored not at a hard-bottom location favored by lobsters but at a soft-bottom site. “Everybody seems to have given something, and everyone seems happy to live with the outcome,” Glaser says.

An advocate for people who use the working waterfront, Glaser says that “the needs and wants of the lobstermen are different from the needs and wants of the yachtsmen, which are different from those of the cruising vessels. And as for the Coast Guard: If they had their druthers, there wouldn’t be a boat in the harbor.” The quip reflects another headache issue — security — and Glaser recently took a course at Maine Maritime Academy to become a port facilities security officer.

A former owner and captain of the 65-foot schooner Isaac H. Evans, Glaser brings a Bates populism to his job, and he wants to maintain a public-access, first-come, first-served facility where he can help everyone just get along. Helping people go with the flow is what he loves most in his job. “I don’t care what people say as long as they don’t come to blows,” insists Glaser. “I’m always free to offer advice.”