Thursday, January 31, 2008
Welcome back to our three part series with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Harbor Patrol and Deputy James Davis.
Q. I noticed a patrol boat in the Back Bay the other day. Why are you patrolling this area?
A. First, we regularly operate in the Back Bay so we can maintain a familiarity with the area. Second, we are there to make sure there are no violations taking place. We are also ensuring that people are not beaching their boats and getting to close with the wildlife. We also check on the dredging gear whenever we transit the area
Q. What are some of the more common violations you encounter?
A. Speeding has to be the most common followed by lifejackets for the kids and proper registration.
Q. Do you have problems with nuisance radio traffic?
A. We are very fortunate, in that nuisance radio traffic is not large problem. The Coast Guard stays on top of that and we back them up when needed. Most people know to do their radio checks on Channel 9.
Q. What are some common courtesies skippers should keep in mind while operating their boats?
A. Not pushing your right of way would be good start . You could be in a crossing situation with another vessel and notice the skipper has been distracted or does not understand the course of a sailboat. If the skipper would just give way to the other vessel the possibility of an accident could be avoided. Sometimes we see this occurring with the people rowing or skippers making sudden course changes without looking. This minor courtesy would increase all boaters safety while on the water.
Q. Do you have any good launch ramp stories?
A. OOOOOYEAH! A skipper was instructed, to “ JUST FLOOR IT” so they did and placed the boat, not on the trailer, but in the bed of the pick up truck. You can’t help but notice the same mistakes occur over and over again. So we focus on drain plugs, tie downs, and safety issues and inform the boaters of our observastions.
Q. While patrolling, do you ever get out of the boat and walk around?
A. Absolutely! In the summer months we will get out at the ferry lanes and the Rhine Channel and interact with the public as much as possible. The public is really our eyes and ears as to what is occurring in the bay and they are the ones we depend on for information about problem we may not normally encounter during normal patrols. We also maintain a presence in the areas where there is a higher likelihood of people operating their boats while under the influence.
Q. How do you stay focused on the “Dog Watches” when it’s cold and not a lot of activity?
A. We call them the “Midnight Shifts” and there is plenty to do. As you know we are on duty 24/7, 365 days a year with several different shifts throughout the day. We focus on noise, water movement and anything out of place. As for the cold weather we do have an enclosed steering station and heat to help us out.
Q. Do you have other tools to help you out at night?
A. Yes, We have night vision and thermal imaging equipment. There are times when a house has been broken into and Newport Police has asked us to come by and with the thermal imaging equipment attempt to locate people who might be hiding to the rear of the residence or on the docks.
This was part two of a three part series with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Harbor Patrol. So come back next week to hear about patrol techniques, how to keep sea lions off your boat and what call Deputy Davis does not look forward to responding to
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I introduced myself to the Newport Beach Harbor Department, in my continued effort to promote boating safety. Here is a write up:
I met with Deputy James Davis, who has been with the Orange County Sheriff Department for twenty seven years, with the last six years in Operations/Patrol for the Harbor Patrol Division from Dana Point to Newport Beach.
Q. What part of your job interests you the most?
A. . Rescue. That’s why I’m here. We train hard and when everything goes like clock work, there is no better feeling.
Q. What is some of the most difficult and important training you go through?
A. All of our training efforts are important. Fire fighting has to be at the top of the list. All of Southern California understands how fast fire can spread and we plan on being ready to keep that from happening
Q. What are some of the most common mistakes made by Newport Beach boaters?
A. Reading the weather conditions and matching those conditions to their skill levels. These winter and spring months can produce some very challenging conditions that not every boater is prepared for.
Looking forward and proper training for what the day will bring are some of the most common mistakes..
Q, What is your busiest time of year?
A. . There are actually two busy times of the year for the harbor. The first being winter, due to the Christmas Boat Parade and larger weather systems coming through that make for more rescues. The second being our summer season due primarily to the increased boating traffic..
Q. What area of the bay do boaters seem to have trouble navigating through?
A. All in all Newport Bay is a very friendly area to the boater. Skippers will forget to look at the tidal charts and under estimate the distance from the jetty by the height of the rocks. On a high tide the rocks are lower in the water and the jetty distance is closer than it appears. The Back Bay has some shallow areas that the boater must stay focused on while navigating this area. These areas change with the tide flow so what was navigable one trip may be to shallow for a vessels draft the next.
This will be a three part series with the Harbor Department. So come back next week to hear some great launch ramp stories
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Welcome aboard “ The Masthead” this week’s route took us around Newport Bay with some extended legs out for some race results from Malibu, Alamitos Bay and Newport Beach. Like any news story I will save the best for last.
While cruising the bay last week I kept coming up with questions that will take some time to answer and are truly better not asked. But, never being afraid to ask the dumb questions let’s see how hard aground I can go, so full steam ahead! The Castaways area in the northwest corner of the PCH Bridge has been donated from the Irvine Company to the City Of Newport Beach. This is great place for a launch ramp, although the question came up is there enough parking? Well we all know there is never enough parking, so what is the best use for this area? Here is my thought! An enclosed storage area, like what they have in Florida, with boat racks lining the perimeter stacked four boats high. Now here is the part that will throw all the water over my bow. I would like to see slips put in along cliffs, at least up until you reach the homes off Dover. I am sure this will raise the water temperature of a lot of people so let’s continue our cruise around the bay and see if I can’t find some sort of faster moving water?
If the Back Bay Science Center was built for O.C., U.C.I., Fish & Game, Wildlife Foundation, Newport Naturalists and friends? Why is there a big gate, which is closed during the day, with a sign that reads enter by appointment only! OK now that my bilge pump alarm has gone off let me ask one more question this week…
With the “Ecosystem Restoration Project” in the Back Bay and the DD-M Crane & Rigging doing all the heavy lifting who checks in with this contractor? It reads as if we have a lot of Admirals on the bridge, but who is truly running this ship? I am sure the answer is right in front of me like the noise my Co2 alarm is making now. I’ll just stay on course and be happy to have clean moving water. Ecosystem I was also wondering who named all those islands?
Let me get back to the autopilot and give you the race results from this last weekend. Reports from the Malibu and return race was that the energy was high the winds we light and it was cold. Med Man was second boat to finish behind Magnitude 80 and held on to her time to win class A. Results are atDRYC .
ABYC and USC were running the Rose Bowl. This event is one of the larger College and High school events on the West Coast sailed in FJ’s. My sources tell me there are a lot of things going on behind the scene. Meaning that there is a lot of recruiting going on by the East Coast College Teams. I like to check in on the latest sailing fashions so my son, ya right, has all the cool stuff this coming season. For the full report go to Rosebowl As for the Sunkist report I am running out of room. All I can say is energy is high within the fleets and the local sailors are looking forward to the upcoming season. Go to BYC for results.