|Harbor Commissioner and Cruiser director Paul Blank “Eel Grass, the more we have the more we can disturb” |
About fifty people attended the last Harbor Commission meeting of the year that was convened on Saturday, December 10th at 8:30AM aboard Seymour Beek’s car ferry “Admiral.”
Harbor Commissioner Paul Blank was assigned the task of cruise director and outlined the cruise around the harbor. Our first topic was derelict vessels on the different offshore mooring around the harbor. Commissioner Joe Stapleton took over the mic and defined what a derelict boat is, according to Stapleton, a vessel must propel itself too and from the Harbor Department docks. By completing this task the vessels owner is proving the boat is operational. Other definitions I have heard over the years also included that the vessel is not taking on water and or in disrepair. Stapleton went on to praise Harbor Resources Analyst Shannon Levin on all her hard work she has done maintaining the Vessel Turn In Program (VTIP) which is a grant from the state of California with a value of $120,000 per year. This grant allows boat owners to relinquish their vessels title to the city for demolition and to date the City of Newport Beach has removed twenty-eight boats over the last two years. It is my understanding that the City has applied again for the VTIP program for next year. Mooring permit holders by now should all know that they do not have to keep a vessel on their moorings any longer.
Next topic up was our harbors ten waste pump out stations. Commissioner David Girling explained that the problem the city is having is that boats operators are using the waste pumps to pump out their bilge’s. Quite often these bilges have toxic waste in them along with shape objects. The shape objects are breaking down the pump systems and is the number one cause for their malfunction. Please note that while operating the pump system to note and follow the written instructions. My opinion is that we should have marine recycling centers around town so that boat operators have a place to dispose of types of hazardous waste rather than using our waste pump out stations.
About this time the ferry was approaching channel marker 11 off of Bay Island. When City Council member elect Brad Avery was asked to talk about the navigational markers around the harbor. Avery was quick to point out that the Coast Guard is responsible for the maintenance of these channel markers and are the only ones that have permission to remove them when damaged. We have seen this problem twice now over the last ten years with the Coast Guard taking over a year to remove these damaged markers. These oversized commercial markers truly are a threat to our local boaters and need to be replaced with a smaller buoys around our harbor Avery explained.
As we made the turn heading west around the number 11 channel marker Commissioner West was asked to review the new RGP 54 and Eel grass mitigation plan. “ This project has been done with no little expense with as many as six or seven state agencies involved. “ said West. Today Harbor Resources has received fifty applications with only a hand full of residents able to complete the process. “ There is still some red tape in the process and more work to be done, the devil is always in the details.” said West. Because of the RGP and the Eel Grass Medication plan dredging companies are willing to return to our harbor, at this time there are only two companies working our harbor. What now needs to be remembered is that Eel Grass is now our friend and as Commissioner Blank asked the crowd to repeat a number of times during the cruise “ Eel Grass, the more we have, the more we can disturb!” I am tempted to make some T- shirts with this saying on them and give a couple to Blank.
|Why are these boats in our Harbor?|
Alternative Anchorages was the next topic on the agenda and of course we are referring to the temporary anchorage in front of Lido Village or Z Mark. Over the last two years it has been very successful and with the addition of a public dock off of Central Ave, right next to the Elks Club, I am going to assume it will not be temporary much longer. Please note that this anchorage will not have raft ups and the noise levels will be closely monitored.
Other topics that where discussed was the public walk way starting from the previous Ardell property heading west rapping around the harbor and ending up by the Cannery. Harbor speed limits, boat overhang and all the different harbor users meeting together and reviewing their individual needs with each other was also discussed on the cruise.
|Why are these boats in our Harbor?|
Next up was the four acre Lower Castaways property that is designated as a Marine Protected Area by our States Department of Fish and Wildlife and will most likely be turned into a park. The only access to the harbor will be for manual propelled crafts. You might not know it, there is access to the harbor now on this site and from what I have heard one of the hottest fishing spots in the harbor.
Our last topic was Launch Ramps and where can the city place another one in our harbor. Commissioner McIntosh is chairing this task and said “ I have no clue, we have been talking about this for years. The problem is not only the ramp it is the parking. If you have any ideas please let me know.” The need for a second launch ramp in town is tremendous and the only way I see it happening is we are going to have to want it. The only place that I have found is next to Newport Aquatic Center. Told you we are going to have to want it! On a side note, the launch ramp at the Dunes was a night mare the first night of the boat parade this year. With the low tide at an extreme many people where not able to launch their vessels. I feel we need to do better at this matter.
Boat name of the week “Admiral.”