Sea Base Opening Festivities Tomorrow

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Ahoy!

The Newport Sea Base’s opening day is Saturday (April 14) and everyone is welcome to visit the facilities and join in on the fun. You can going sailing or take a pontoon boat ride – and, of course, the Newport Beach Firefighters Association will be serving a free barbecue lunch donated by Smart and Final.

This year, the base will have a special guest with U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary’s “Coastie” the talking tugboat that you have to see to believe. The historic “Old No. 9” fireboat will be on display, and you will the opportunity to tour the vessel. The opening ceremonies will be at noon.

Did you know that the first Sea Scout ship in Orange County was in 1929? In 1937 the base signed its first 25-year lease, and the original facilities were built in the late ’40s and ’50s, then replaced in 1980 with a new $7 million teaching center. Now the Sea Base is home to the Del Mar, Renegades, and the Triton Sea Scout ships as well as the Chapman University crew and sailing teams.

However, there is much more to the facility: multiple classrooms, nautical library, workshop, conference center, and housing for the facilities’ ranger. Additionally, the base provides aquatic classes to the community, and summertime is filled with activities for as young as 6 years old.

There will be a lot happening on Saturday at the base, and my advice is to take the free shuttle from Newport Harbor High School at the 15th Street parking lot. While you are at the base, you need to try the licorice knot tying, because you can eat your mistakes.

The Sea Base’s website is NewportSeaBase.org, or sail over to 1931 West Coast Highway, which is next door to OCC’s sailing base.

Now, to update a recent column, the plan in the governor’s budget to eliminate the California Department of Boating and Waterways has been sent to the Little Hoover Commission. Boaters need to remember that Cal Boating is a self-sustaining state agency that is directly paid for by the users (boaters), and no general fund dollars are in Cal Boating’s budget.

Boaters pay the bulk of the monies via a boating fuel tax, plus registration fees and interest payments on infrastructure loans. These funds are to be spent on boating projects, nautical education, and for infrastructure like marinas and restrooms.

The governor’s plan is to merge Cal Boating into the Parks and Recreation Department, but this is so the dedicated funds can be used for other purposes. Boaters need to know that their dedicated dollars are being spent as promised and not used to fund another agency.

The meeting is scheduled for April 25 – 9 a.m. for the hearing and 11 a.m. for public comments. Recreational Boaters of California is encouraging boaters to attend and testify in opposition to the governor’s proposed elimination of the department. Since the meeting will be held in Sacramento, local boaters also can submit comments to the Little Hoover Commission at lhc.ca.gov/reorg/comments.html.

Tip of the week is for all boaters to plan on visiting Minney’s annual marine parking lot sale. Boaters know Minney’s parking lot sale is held on the first Sunday in June, and the tradition keeps growing. This swap meet is known for only having boat stuff for sale, including items that are hard to find at your local marine hardware store.

The sale will include new and used items, and I have purchased most of my paper charts from Minney’s. The sale will run from sunrise until noon on June 3, and Minney’s is l at 15th Street and Newport Boulevard in Costa Mesa. You can call 949-548-4192 for more information or email [email protected]

Lastly, Day at the Docks is Sunday (April 15) at the sportfishing landings in Point Loma, San Diego. This is a great event for the fisherman in your family with over 200 exhibitors with the latest fishing gear. Additionally, there will be how-to seminars narrated by expert fishermen to help improve your techniques. There is ample free parking to learn more go to www.sandiegofestival.com/DAD.

And don’t forget: Tune in to the No. 1 boating radio talk show in the nation, Capt. Mike Whitehead’s Boathouse Radio Show, broadcasting coast-to-coast on the CRN Digital Talk Radio syndicated network every Saturday at noon, Pacific Time and replayed on Sunday at 10 am Pacific. Join Chandler Bell and me as we talk about “all things boating.” You can find the station listings, cable TV channels, live streaming on the Internet, and now available are apps to listen to the show for your iPhone, Blackberry, Itouch, Android, Palm, and Windows Mobile at www.BoathouseTV.com or www.BoathouseRadio.com.

Until next week, Safe Voyages!

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