Summarized from Harbormaster Kurt Borsting’s report to the Harbor Commission on June 12.
Information and Enforcement Efforts on Public Docks
Public information and enforcement efforts continued with the local boating community at the harbor’s public docks. Informational sandwich boards were relocated to different docks at the start of May. The signs inform users of dock time limits, use expectations, and state that non-compliance with the posted time limits can result in vessel impounds.
In May, time limit notices were placed on 201 vessels (106 boats at 15th Street; 60 boats at 19th Street; and 35 boats at Fernando Street). Staff reported that 97 percent of the boats that received these notices made use of the docks as intended, departing the docks within posted time limits. Six boats overstayed the posted time limits and were subsequently impounded by the Harbor Department.
Approximately 24 feet at the 15th Street public dock was reallocated as a “24-hour zone” (formerly designated as a “72-hour zone”). The change of the time zone is meant to encourage greater use of the dock, Borsting said. The entire dock has also been repainted, he added.
Expanded Summer Schedule
On-water scheduling of Harbor Department staff was expanded, effective May 1. Sunday through Wednesday coverage is now being scheduled until 7:30 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday coverage is being scheduled until 8:30 p.m.
This change results an additional 17 hours of weekly Harbor Department on-water coverage vs. the former winter/spring staffing schedule. The department’s Marina Park office hours remain unchanged; however, customer service phone calls are forwarded to field staff when the office closes at 5 p.m.
Anchorage Raft-Up Activities
Two raft-up events (each comprised of 10 to 12 participating vessels) took place in the Harbor’s anchorage area during the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
“Both were successful, and took place without incident,” Borsting said.
Scheduling two large-scale programs concurrently within the anchorage, during what was expected to be a busy weekend, allowed Harbor Department staff to evaluate a standing operational practice of hosting no more than two large raft-ups on any given day, Borsting explained. Adverse weather conditions during the holiday weekend made it difficult to fully assess overall use of the anchorage between casual users and scheduled/permitted activities, he added.
Customer Satisfaction Survey
During May, a dozen customer satisfaction surveys were completed by boaters using Marina Park guest slips and returned to the Harbor Department office, nine were visiting boaters and three were local.
“We’re doing really well with this,” Borsting said. “People that visit Marina Park are enjoying themselves, they’re having a good experience, they’re reporting quality experiences with the staff and the appearance with the facility.”
Overall, they listed their satisfaction as very high, he added.
All 12 checked “strongly agree” that they received the quality and value as expected for the cost. Additional comments (about what they liked best about their stay) were mostly about the friendly and helpful staff.
Fishing Line Recycling Bins Community Service Project
On May 30, four middle-school students from Pasadena’s Polytechnic School, presented the Harbor Department with three monofilament recycling bins, which they built as part of a class-related community service project.
The students proposed this project following one of them having observed fishing line regularly left on the public dock near their Newport Beach home.
Because monofilament fishing line is non-biodegradable, improperly disposed of material can entangle and injury local wildlife and can damage vessel props within the Harbor.
The three recycling bins will be installed on a trial basis at various locations in the Harbor. Staff has identified two additional possible locations.
Staff Recruitment Effort
Part-time Harbor Department staff recruitment efforts were completed in late May, resulting in seven conditional offers of employment being extended. As of last week, six of these new staff members have completed the city’s on-boarding process and are now taking part in orientation and training activities. The remaining new team member is expected to complete their onboarding within the next two weeks.
A diverse set of qualified individuals were selected through this recruitment effort, many of whom bring with them familiarity of Newport Harbor, as well as customer service and operations experiences in various marine settings.
Code Enforcement Activity
During May, code enforcement staff opened 61 new cases and successfully resolved/closed 37 existing files.