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New moorings system proposed

June 12, 2006|By Alicia Robinson

With moorings and boat slips at a premium in Newport Beach, any option to expand the number of spots for boats might seem like a no-brainer.

Two local yacht clubs want to try a new system that would allow up to four smaller boats to tie up where one boat now moors. The Newport Beach City Council on Tuesday will decide whether to allow a two-year trial of the new system.

It's called a multiple vessel mooring system, and it's basically a floating piece of dock about 40 feet long. Two smaller vessels ? likely 20-foot boats ? can be tied to either side.

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If the council agrees, the system could be added in the two mooring areas designated for the Newport Harbor Yacht Club and Balboa Yacht Club.

City harbor resources supervisor Chris Miller said the test is being restricted to those two mooring fields because they're controlled and can be supervised by the yacht clubs.

Yacht club members are excited to see how the pilot program would work. The Newport Harbor Yacht Club has had one multi-vessel mooring in place for more than a year, and it could increase the total to three or four if the council agrees to a bigger test, said Tad Springer, the yacht club's port captain.

The Orange County Sheriff's Harbor Patrol had concerns about the floating docks breaking free and creating a hazard, but safety measures were added to address that issue, Springer said.

"Last winter we had some severe weather systems, and it survived unscathed," he said.

The Balboa Yacht Club also would try out the multi-vessel system, but it's unclear how widely it might be used there, general manager Dave Martel said. It might be used during regattas or on a mooring while its regular user is away.

"It's a lot more flexible," Martel said. "It's just a matter of maximizing space in a crowded harbor."

It remains to be seen whether the new system would be suitable in the rest of the harbor.

Assistant City Manager Dave Kiff said the city should increase the number of moorings it offers if possible, but those who hold city mooring permits might be upset at the devaluation of what is a huge asset.

If the city wants to serve a variety of boaters, Kiff said, multiple vessel moorings could give more people a chance to get on the water.

Or, as Springer put it, "One 40-foot boat takes care of one family. This takes care of four families."dpt.12-docks-C.2PhotoInfo1J1RSJ4E20060612j0px5onc(LA)Two Newport Beach yacht clubs could test multiple vessel mooring systems, which allow up to four small boats to tie up at one mooring.

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