The Harbor Report: Dredging may be a drag

Sail straight and sail fast.

With the Fourth of July quickly approaching, harbor use appears to be at an all-time high.

Junior sailing has begun with Lido Isle and Newport Harbor Yacht Clubs having to adjust their racing areas because of the dredging. The larger dredge, Palomar, was still working at the east end of Lido and the smaller dredge, 180, was in front of the Lido Isle Yacht Club.

While watching the dredging in front of Lido Isle, the cynic in me pictured a sabot mistakenly being picked up out of the water and placed on the barge. There is no way this would ever happen, because every time the bucket lifted out of the water, the kids would immediately tack away to safety. It must be the C3 parent in me left over from last season.

The Newport Harbor Yacht Club students have moved closer toward the Pacific Coast Highway bridge, while the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club and Balboa Yacht Club kids are still unaffected by the dredging for now. The dredge should show up in front of the Harbor Patrol office and the Balboa club sometime soon.

Once all of the contaminated sediment is removed and barged up to Long Beach, the dredge will next appear in front of "M" and "N" marks, at the east end of the harbor. This will have a rather large impact on the east side Harbor users.

In the grand scoop of things, I am just glad we are dredging the Upper Bay. We all need to keep in mind that the dredging of our harbor is very similar to painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Once the dredging is completed, it will be time to start again, and if I heard Duffy Duffield correctly, the key to starting again is permitting. The Tidelands Committee has been informed of this, which means the City Council has also been informed.

Now it's up to us, the "Harbor Users" to remind our Council members that the first step in maintaining the harbor is obtaining the permits to start dredging again. The only way to receive the permits, in a timely manner, is to have a full-time employee who is dedicated in obtaining the necessary permits to maintain the harbor. This is a huge topic and cannot be coved in one column, so just keep this in mind when it's time to vote and we have the ears of our Council members.

There is also a little known secret within our harbor. Let's say your child has not taken to sailing, yet there is another option to keep them on the harbor. That secret is the Newport Aquatic Center located in the Back Bay with Kids Paddle Camp, Novice Rowing Camp and Advance Rowing Camp. There are three camps that run through the summer and appear to be the best value in town. For more information, go to newportaquaticcenter.com.

I have a couple of other observations that you should keep in mind or keep a look out for. The first is our harbor's visiting anchorage area, located on the east end of Lido in the turning basin. With the dredging going on, the anchorage has been temporally moved up to "Z" mark in front of Lido Village.

Our Harbor Commission is looking into making this the new area for visiting yachtsmen or possibly adding this as a new anchorage. If you have any comments or concerns, please contact our harbor commissioners.

Personally, I like the idea of having two guest anchorages in town, otherwise we will have to keep visiting time the same and discourage people from moving from one anchorage to the other, assuming that the clock will reset each time they pull their hook.

My last observation is the storm brewing regarding the increase of our harbor's tidelands permits. The contaminated sediments will be hitting the fan soon and I will be reporting more on this topic in upcoming columns. Now it's time to head over to Catalina for a couple of days.

Sea ya.

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

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