The Harbor Report: New public docks offer more space, short-time use

Editor's note: Len Bose is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist. This is his first piece for the Daily Pilot.

While cruising the harbor recently, I noticed a change to the public docks on 19th and 15th streets, and at the end of Fernando Street.

All of these public docks seem to have expanded and look new. While talking to people on the docks, I heard some good questions.

The big news is these new docks will offer a lot more room for people trying to get out to their mooring or to the people who are harbor cruising and want a place to tie up for a short time.

It's starting to feel like summertime, so I am off to Catalina this weekend with my son Andrew and three of his closest friends. I also received word this week that the new No. 8 Channel marker is here to stay. Now I assume that everyone in town knows how to recognize the markings of our public docks? No, well the markers are in the shape of a pawn off a chessboard with blue trim; don't ask me why they are this shape.

On my way to Newport Shipyard for a survey recently I noticed that the public dock at 19th Street looked much larger. The dock has grown some 60 feet in the shape of an "L" and has all the appearance of a new dock. Gone are the old wooden docks with all the fishing pole burrows dug into them. Gone are the large wooden splinters and old cleats barely holding on.

After my survey I went over to the 19th Street dock, which appears large enough to hold a 60-foot boat on it, and I am just not sure of the draft there, I introduced myself to boater Patrick. When I asked Patrick what he thought of the new docks, he replied: "Well, they are OK. I like that they are all clean again. I just wish that the harbor department would enforce the time limits."

Patrick has been living aboard his boat, on a mooring, for more than 10 years.

"Those boats over there have been on the dock for over a week and have not moved," he said. "I just feel the whole place will fill up this summer unless the harbor department does something about it."

I asked Patrick about fishermen on the dock and if he has had any problems bringing his boat to the dock while people are fishing.

"No," he replied. "Fishermen are just fishermen. I have no problem with them. Well, maybe only a couple of times over 10 years I have had a problem."

Boater Patrick also had a concern on condition the public leaves the docks in and commented that there is no longer any fishing allowed on the 19th Street dock.

"Although there were two people fishing here this morning," he noted.

I then went down to the 15th Street dock and, again, all the added space was being used. It appears this area is perfect for the people getting to and from their mooring. This area allows for the general public or visiting yachtsmen in any type of dingy or electric boat a place to dock and then wonder into town.

My last stop was at the end of Fernando Street. I found the docks here to be very tight with only enough room for inflatable dinghies, although the advanced electric boat operator looking for a parking place to walk down to the Fun Zone area has a new place to legally park a boat.

In all, this addition to our public docks is one big step forward to improving our harbor.

***

My son Andrew turned 11 recently and last week we were looking for ideas for his birthday party.

My wife, Jennifer, reminded me we have done too many pool parties and I needed a new idea. My first idea was to get the kids to bring their air soft guns and I will take them to Sheep Hills and they could blast each other.

With this idea thrown on the table, Andrew let out a loud "yeah!", but Mom quickly vetoed this motion. OK, how about if we get a couple of friends and load the boat and go to Catalina? Another loud affirmation came from Andrew. This time Mom answered: "OK, but I do not want to go with all you boys. Why don't you ask one of the fathers to join you?"

One thing my son has learned from me is to never oversell; we had the answer we wanted and the two of us quickly retired to the game room to plot our adventure. So if you tune in next week, not only will I tell how we got into trouble, but also how we got out of trouble!

One last note this week: The Coast Guard has agreed to keep the new small No. 8 channel marker. Again, this is good news, I thought we might end up with another large metal obstacle in its location. Now when you run into it, you will not take a chunk out of your boat. Rather, a nice new red pin stripe will be your only indication of your blunder.

I really want to keep this dock space for my column so please take a second and send me an e-mail at boseyachts@mac.com with any of your yachting questions or go my blog site at lenboseyachts.blogspot.com to look up some of my past stories. I look forward to telling you all about the trouble I got into this weekend in Catalina.

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