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The Harbor Report: Harbormaster an approachable leader

January 06, 2011|By Len Bose
  • Mark Long
Mark Long

I first noticed Lt. Mark Long, Orange County's harbormaster, while attending a Harbor Commission meeting at the end of 2009. He had just arrived in town and his photo had been in the press.

Long was in his street clothes.

"This guy gets it," was the first thing that came to mind. He was reaching out to the community and dressing like his customers. I hadn't realized it before, but it is a lot easier for me to approach and talk to a person dressed like myself than walk up to someone wearing a uniform, gun, radio and bulletproof vest.

I later saw Long at another harbor meeting and at different yacht club functions around town. By mid-summer he was sailing in the beer can races.

It also appeared that the county's Marine Operations had stepped it up by a notch or a few. Sheriff's deputies seemed to be doing more training exercises, such as boat crash simulations with the local lifeguards and fire departments, jumping out of helicopters with dive gear on and participating more with border protection and anti-terrorist agencies.

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Lt. Long, who has been with the Sheriff's Department for 25 years, is quickly becoming one of our best harbormasters. We are all very lucky to have him.

Here's my interview with him:

Q: How do you feel about only receiving No. 94 in The Daily Pilot's 103 list? If it was up to me I would have a least put you in the top five.

A: I'm just honored to make the list.

Q: I noticed a new sea wall has been put in along with some new slips at the Harbor Department. How will these slips be used? Will there also be a new pump out station?

A: The slips will continue to be used as before: as rentals for visiting boaters. The pump-out station will be restored in its original location

Q: At first glance, in this new year of 2011, what appears to be your biggest task?

A: Continue to improve relationships and increase services with reduced budgets.

Q: With all the budget cuts you are facing, is there one item you feel a harbor user will miss the most?

A: We will continue to provide the highest possible service regardless with existing staffing levels.

Q: Can you think of one thing that a harbor user can do to make your job easier?

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