Summarized from Harbormaster Kurt Borsting’s report to the Harbor Commission on Oct. 10.
Abandoned Vessel Auction
On Aug. 15, an abandoned boat auction was held at the city’s Marina Park guest slip facility.
The public sale featured nine previously impounded and abandoned vessels. Eight of the vessels were small kayaks and pedal boats, along with one 34’ Ericson sailboat.
The program was well attended, competitive bidding took place and all vessels were sold. All boats purchased at the event have since been released to their new owners.
The program resulted in $1,850 in sales revenue to the department.
The auction program was organized to take place concurrent with the OC Sheriff’s Boat Auction, allowing both agencies to share resources and benefit from a larger pool of bidders vs. hosting individual events at different times
California Association of Harbor Masters and Port Captains – Annual Conference
Newport Harbormaster Kurt Borsting attended the California Association of Harbor Masters and Port Captains annual conference event, held in Sacramento from Sept. 4 through 6.
The association’s membership includes management and staff from various municipalities, counties and special districts which operate marinas, small-craft ports and harbors.
Keynote presentations and educational session topics covered an array of issues, including: Port dredging outlook for the Federal fiscal year; projections and response strategies associated with expected sea level rise; programs and grant opportunities available through the CA Division of Boating and Waterways; and other topics of interest.
A trade show was also held as part of the program, featuring retailers and service providers catering to marina and harbor operators.
Early Planning for Harbor Department’s Role in the 2019 Christmas Boat Parade
A planning meeting was held on Sept. 11 with Harbor Department staff and organizers of the annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade to discuss the Department’s role in supporting the upcoming multi-night program.
As with prior years, the Harbor Department’s primary responsibility will be supporting the Marina Park complex (managing access to the guest slips and long dock, assisting with the Grand Marshal vessel’s dock space, land-side assistance to guests at the park, etc.).
In addition, this year one Harbor Department vessel will serve as a parade marshal boat. Staff will be attending marshal training sessions in the weeks ahead.
Public Information and Departmental Outreach Efforts
Outreach to community stakeholder groups continued during August and September 2019. Taking advantage of these ‘get the word out’ opportunities has assisted the department in informing the general public about the Harbor Department and its mission.
In late August, a previously filmed “Day in the Life of the Newport Beach Harbor Department” television segment aired locally on Spectrum News One. The feature focused on two of the Harbor Department leads, one performing typical patrol duties out in the bay, and the other assisting visitors in the Marina Park guest slips.
The Harbor Department developed a quarter page display advertisement to promote short term rentals of Marina Park slips, available moorings, as well as the no-charge public anchorage area. The ad ran as part of the Sept. 20 edition of “The Log” (a bi-weekly newspaper which focuses on Southern California boating and fishing topics). Nine additional ad buys have been made for this same publication, running now through late April 2020.
On Sept. 26 the Harbormaster was extended a speaking opportunity at the Newport Beach and Company Board of Directors meeting. The presentation focused on providing overview information about the Harbor Department, as well as fielding questions from board members. The meeting was well attended and the presentation was well received.
Department Patrol Vessel Procurement
Two 21-foot patrol vessels (make/model – Maritime Patriot 210) recently purchased by the Harbor Department are currently being fabricated by the manufacturer. Regular progress reports are being communicated to the City about the status of the build outs. The vessels are expected to be completed and delivered by mid- to late- November.
Code Enforcement Activity
During August, Code Enforcement staff opened 130 new cases and successfully resolved/closed 165 existing files. In September 2019, staff opened 150 new cases, resolving/closing an additional 152 existing files.
Follow up efforts with mooring permittees whose vessel registration or proof of insurance was not current represented the largest sub-category of code enforcement activities during these two months (55 cases opened in August, and 82 cases opened in September). A growing number of cases associated with permittees needing to establish or improve sea-lion deterrents on their vessels also took place during this period (11 cases opened in August, and 27 cases opened in September).
Outreach to Liquid Waste Haulers – Marine Activities Permits (MAP)
As the Harbor Department continues to roll out the Marine Activities Permit process with commercial operators in the harbor, Code Enforcement staff have begun outreach to commercial liquid waste haulers (mobile pump-out services). There are two firms that currently operate in Newport Harbor.
The first of these two operators has submitted their MAP application for review. As part of establishing this new permit, an inspection of their mobile pump out equipment was called for. City Code Enforcement staff partnered with Orange County Environmental Health Division, as they already have an inspection and permitting process in place for these business types.
On Sept. 9, working with OC Environmental Health Division staff, an inspection of the mobile service provider’s barge and equipment was conducted. Elements of the inspection included: dye tab test to ensure no leaks from the holding tanks; visual inspection of hoses and connections for condition and leaks; confirming operator had a proper spill kit on board; and review of best management practices when using city pump out stations to discharge collected materials.
Orange County Environmental Health Division conducts their inspections of liquid waste haulers annually in January. Moving forward City Code Enforcement staff plan to coordinate with the County so the commercial operators do not have to schedule duplicative inspections.