The pilot of a privately-owned seaplane came before the Tisbury select board last week to request a harbor use permit to land and take off in Vineyard Haven’s outer harbor.

“I fly a seaplane that belongs to one of the Island families,” Eric Atkins told the board during an online hearing. The seaplane is not used commercially and is unavailable for hire, he said.

Over the past 20 years or so, Mr. Atkins said, the family has occasionally used the aircraft for travel to and from their West Chop home. The seaplane made no Vineyard flights in 2021 and has flown four round-trips this year, he said.

“In no [year] have we made more than 20 arrivals and departures in one year,” the pilot said.

Outside of July and August, he said, there may be trips about once a month in the shoulder seasons but none at all in winter. Mr. Atkins said he wasn’t aware that a permit was required until the harbormaster’s patrol boat approached his plane during a pickup three weeks ago.

“I have filed an application to continue these infrequent operations in the harbor,” he said.

Harbormaster John Crocker said he spotted the seaplane earlier this summer, but it had already taken off by the time he could get to the outer harbor.

“This is the first couple of times I remember seeing [the seaplane],” he said. “When we saw them, we got after ’em.”

Seaplanes and float planes are specifically allowed in the outer harbor under the town’s waterways regulations, town administrator Jay Grande said.

“I was surprised that in a busy harbor such as this, and being so geographically limited, there was an allowance for that additional activity,” Mr. Grande added.

West Chop resident Art Smith said he moors his boat in the area where the seaplane operates, and has had no problems over the years.

“The noise of the seaplane is less than that of the medevac flights every day,” Mr. Smith said, referring to helicopter flights from Martha’s Vineyard Hospital on the other side of the harbor.

Mr. Crocker asked to continue the hearing until after the town waterways committee meeting, which is expected to provide more guidance on how to handle Mr. Atkins’s harbor use permit application.

Select board members agreed to resume the hearing Sept. 28 at 4:45 p.m.