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The Harbor Report: Is the charter fleet taking too much space?

I am sure everyone noticed all that rain and lighting we had this week. So let me start with the good news.

As you read earlier this week, the city of Newport Beach received confirmation that the Port of Long Beach would accept 150,000 cubic yards of toxic sediment dredged from the Rhine Channel. All the work our City Council and city staff have put into this seems to have paid off and they deserve a " well done.” At Wednesday night’s Harbor Commission meeting, I could hear a sigh of relief in the voice of Chris Miller, our Harbor Resources manager, while reporting on this topic.

“We are shovel ready,” Miller said of the monumental project of dredging the Lower Newport Bay.

Miller now has to obtain permits from the California Coastal Commission and the Army Corps of Engineers to start dredging the Rhine Channel. The window to deposit our contaminated sediment is from May to August 2011 and the Port of Long Beach will only take the Rhine Channel sediment at this time. We all understand that there is a lot more toxic sediment in the Lower Harbor to remove at another date, but it’s a start.


The second half of the good news is that the city and the Irvine Co., along with the residents of Linda Isle, appear to be moving forward in providing guest slips in the Balboa Marina. I went down and looked at what is being proposed. It looks like one 40-foot boat and three 25-foot boats should have room.

This should all work if the Irvine Co. adds a type of electric timing system to the main gate. The proposed availability of the guest slips would be from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The owners of the John Dominis building at 2901 W. Coast Hwy. are proposing to reconfigure their marina for three very large slips in order to support the harbor charter boats they now have and to be able to support an even larger ship.

I went down to take a look around and the owner should able to reconfigure his marina. The place is a dump with some really ugly boats scattered around. The city should have stepped up and changed its overhang rules years ago to keep these ships from overhanging 30 feet into the channel.


If I recall, some rather huge ships have been in this part of the harbor over time and I don’t have a problem with this. But then I started to wonder if the charter fleet is getting too big for our harbor.

Over the last couple of weeks I raced my Lido 14 and Harbor 20. When a line of 150-foot harbor charter boats, which are four stories high, all line up and start to make their way down Lido, it felt to me like the charter fleet is taking more than its fair share of the harbor. I was also surprised to hear that the city only brings in about $200,000 a year from the fleet.

Please don’t take me wrong; I understand the amount of jobs that the fleet generates and the business it brings in. The fleet has the right to share the harbor. But I cannot help but wonder if the city is getting its one dollar per passenger.

Are we monitoring the disposal of waste and safe dock conditions, along with noise in the late hours of the night? Does anyone know who to call to report a problem?

Well, I can hear the thunder coming down the harbor now.

Or is that the charter boat horns?

I had better sign off. You can also e-mail me if you would like to know where I think you should forward your harbor concerns.

Sea ya!


LEN BOSE is an experienced boater and yacht broker.