Summarized from Harbormaster Kurt Borsting’s report to the Harbor Commission on Nov. 13.
Public Information and Departmental Outreach Efforts
Outreach to community stakeholder groups continued during October. 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, Borsting reported.
On Oct. 2 the landing page and multiple sub-pages of Harbor Department’s website were updated. These efforts are on-going, with additional sub-pages of the site now under review.
On Oct. 9 a mass email was sent from the Harbor Department to all city mooring permittees. The message provided information about expected high wind conditions, predicted as part of local weather forecasts
“Our goal here is not to spam our permitees, but to try and be more effective,” and informative, Borsting said Wednesday. “Not doing it too often is…key.”
Borsting, along with Assistant City Manager Carol Jacobs and Harbor Commission Chair Paul Blank, co-presented overview information about the Harbor Department to participants of the Leadership Tomorrow program, as part of their “Water Day” workshop on Oct. 17.
It was a very interesting group, Borsting commented. Leadership Tomorrow is a nonprofit organization that brings business and civic leaders together from across several local communities for a series of monthly workshops and seminars on topics of shared interest.
Code Enforcement Activity
During October, city code enforcement staff opened 84 new cases and successfully resolved/closed 69 existing files.
In that same time period, four pre-dawn patrols of Newport Harbor were organized by code enforcement and harbor service worker lead staff, Borsting reported. These activities, which began at 4:30 a.m., “focused on collecting follow up information associated with potential unauthorized live-aboard activity in the city mooring fields,” according to the report. Staff plans on continuing the early morning patrols in November.
On Oct. 16, code enforcement and Newport Beach Fire Department personnel conducted inspections of all commercial docks in the harbor. Borsting reported that staff observed 10 violations associated with improper vessel storage, which, if left unaddressed, would have fire safety implications. All dock operators were notified of these violations, requesting timely correction non-compliant issues.
Re-inspections of the docks will take place in the coming weeks to ensure the identified areas of concern were brought back into compliance, Borsting noted.
Follow Up Meeting with US Coast Guard Representatives (LA/LB Sector)
On Oct. 21, Harbor Commissioner Ira Beer, Public Works Manager Chris Miller, and Harbormaster Kurt Borsting attended a meeting with various representatives of the U.S. Coast Guard, at their LA/LB Sector Base in San Pedro. The purpose for the meeting was to seek clarification and direction in connection with a previously submitted proposal to establish a permanent anchorage area adjacent the Harbor’s Turning Basin immediately West of Lido Isle.
“The consultation yielded valuable insights about potential modifications that the city may wish to incorporate into its previously submitted proposal, prior to resubmitting the West Anchorage concept for further USCG review,” Borsting wrote in his report.
It’s fair to say the feedback received was to reconsider the overall size of the anchorage and develop a public outreach program, Borsting explained.
They are following up on those suggestions, he added.
Abandoned Vessel Auction
On Oct. 30, an abandoned boat auction was held at the Marina Park guest slip facility.
The public sale featured 23 previously impounded and abandoned vessels, including 16 small kayaks, row boats, and other human powered crafts, one 15-foot Bayliner with outboard, and four sailboats ranging from 14-foot to 34-foot in length.
The program was well attended, Borsting reported. Twelve of the smaller human-powered craft were sold, yielding $890 in revenue to the department. Boats which did not sell will be removed from the harbor and dismantled, following a required ten day hold period. Competitive bids for their removal are in the process of being collected.
As has been done with other recent boat sales, the auction 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 versus hosting individual events at different times.
It’s a good partnership event, he added.