The Harbor Report: Musing about moorings

I was going through the mooring field in front of the Balboa Yacht Club this week and the thought of doing a mooring update came to mind. So, I headed back into the harbor to make some observations and ask some questions.

One of the first things I noticed was that the members of the Newport Mooring Assn. still feel like their bottoms were cleaned with steel wool pads. They are still feeling the hurt from their loss of time and promises made to them.

"That's old news," I then said to myself.

What's going on now and what is my mooring permit worth? I asked a couple of people around town, and with little to no transactions taking place, the best estimate I can provide is $500 per foot — down from $1,000 per foot this time last year.

The waiting list has not changed, and with two permit transfers allowed within the next 10 years, I do not see that list changing anytime soon. There are now just under 200 people on the list.

I thought it would be a good time to update the list by allowing people on the list to pick a size range and location of the mooring they desire. This way, if you want to be in the vicinity of your yacht club or in front of your home, you might have a better chance of getting a mooring you would use.

For many reasons, I feel that people should pay an annual fee to keep their names on the list. I also wonder how the city is going to determine the value of the mooring equipment, and pass that cost along when a mooring permit has expired. These two topics have been tabled for now but should be reviewed every year to provide clarity and continuity between City Council elections.

While traveling through the different mooring fields, I noticed that the "neighborhood" has been cleaned up since the daily rent increase went from $5 a day to $20 for mooring use. I then noticed quite a few boats with more than one dinghy tied alongside.

This made ask how many dinghies can a mooring permit holder keep tied to their boat. I received two different answers and am still awaiting a ruling on if the city ordinance of keeping one 14-foot vessel tied to your boat, while you are aboard, and to your mooring while you are away, is still in effect.

I then asked the Harbor Department and City/Harbor Resources what the boat owners could do to make their jobs easier.

The Harbor Department said that keeping your mooring floats up to date with the new pad eye, rather than the old system, will keep your boat from breaking free in heavy weather — and cleaning the ball every so often would also be a big help.

City/Harbor Resources answered my question by requesting that harbor users keep an eye open for unusual behavior, and notify the Harbor Resources Department if something looks out of place. Also, try to get along with your neighbors and settle any disputes regarding overhang, rather than just picking up the phone and filing a complaint.

Next month, you will start to notice the dredging equipment arriving in Newport Beach to start on the Rhine Channel on Aug. 1. If you keep your boat in this area of the harbor, you can contact City/Harbor Resources to receive e-mail updates on this project.

Remember that next weekend is the Balboa Yacht Club Championships and the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club's Angelman Series No. 1, part of the Newport Harbor's High Point Series.

The distinguished Newport High Point Series burgee is still up for grabs and it's anyone's race. I will also have the New 2011 Beneteau First 30 on display the next couple of weeks.

So please contact me if you would like to have a look at this pretty new racer/cruiser. I promise I will not clean your bottom with a steel wool pad.

Sea ya!

LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

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