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From the Boathouse: Working to slim down mussels

January 23, 2013|By Mike Whitehead

Ahoy!

Good news for boaters is that the new fee increase for vessel registration has been delayed until next year, 2014. I first mentioned AB 2443, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed at the end of September, in my Oct. 5 tip of the week.

"The law is to levy a quagga and zebra mussel prevention fee on the state's boat registration," I wrote in that column. However, the fee will not include boats used only in salt water, as it is meant for fresh-water infestations of the mussels.

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Currently, there are 27 waterways that are infected with either quagga or zebra mussels, and quagga is in the majority. Infected with quagga mussels in Orange County are Irvine Lake, Rattlesnake Reservoir, Walnut Canyon Reservoir, Kraemer Basin, Anaheim Lake and the Black Gold Golf Club pond.

The delay of imposing the fee is because the California Department of Boating and Waterways has to calculate the fee amount, which cannot be greater than $10. You can download a boat-cleaning guide from the Boating and Waterways website at http://www.dbw.ca.gov/boaterinfo/quaggaloc.aspx.

Remember that the hotel rooms at the Hotel Coral and Marina are almost full, so if you are planning to attend the Lexus Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race, you need to make a reservation now.

I will be announcing the start of the race, once again, from the end of the Balboa Pier. Ruby's Diner will host me on its top deck with speakers broadcasting to the pier. In the past, I broadcasted from Peninsula Park with hundreds of people to watch the start, and I expect to recreate the experience from the bluffs of Corona del Mar.

Tip of the week is watch out for the winter storms changing the swell direction from the west to from the south. Very important for boaters to know the direction of the swells if entering a harbor or anchoring in coves that are south-facing. Additionally, the change in swell direction might affect vessels berthed inside a harbor with inside swells or new surges. South-facing entrances and coves can be affected in a couple of ways, like Morro Bay's sand bar, which creates breaking seas at the jetty entrance that can cause the harbor patrol to close the entrance, and coves like Avalon Bay, where the entering swells can snap mooring lines, thus washing the boats into shore or other moored boats.

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