Attention! Public Meetings on Revisions to Title 17!

 At the Harbor Commission meeting of March 13th, the Harbor Commissioners agreed to a schedule for holding public meetings on possible revisions to Title 17.  

All meetings will start at 6pm and be held in the Linda Isle Room at Marina Park.  Below are the proposed dates and topics.  

Public Meetings: April 8 and May 6:

· 17.01  Definitions 

· 17.05  General Provisions

· 17.20  Vessel Launching and Operation

· 17.25  Berthing, Mooring and Storage

· 17.30  Harbor Use Regulations (almost no changes)

· 17.35  Harbor Development Regulations (almost no changes)

These potential changes will be discussed at the Harbor Commission Meeting on June 12, and the City Council Meeting July 9

Public Meetings: May 16 and June 24:


· 17.40  Live-Aboard

· 17.45  Sanitation

· 17.65  Appeals

· 17.70  Enforcement

· 17.50  Harbor Development Permits

· 17.55  Dredging Permits

These potential changes will be discussed at the Harbor Commission Meeting on July 10, and the City Council Meeting August 13

To Be Determined

· 17.10  Marine Activities Permits 

We would encourage your participation in this process!


Update on Mooring Extensions

 From the January 9th Harbor Commission Meeting - Regarding allowing moorings to be lengthened, the City is very concerned that every mooring permittee will want to extend their mooring just to generate value. We agree that this would be a problem and merits discussion from NMA and the City. However their first try at a solution to this potential problem, which was expressed as "Item K" on the staff report, seemed unworkable and was widely seen as problematic by almost everyone in attendance. This was a plan to have all mooring extensions revert back to their original mooring length when and if the mooring was transferred. This proposed solution was sent back to staff for more work. Stay Tuned for more updates on this topic! 


1/8/2019 City Council Meeting

The main item of note is Item XVIII. PUBLIC HEARINGS - 9. Harbor Fees for the New Harbor Department and Select Rents.  The City intends to raise various rents and fees for guest and transient moorings, and states they will conduct a public hearing to receive comments on such.  There is some interesting language included that mentions premiums for large and multi-hull vessels. 


Here is a link to the City Council agenda:

Staff report related to rents link:

Link to Attachment B – to the Harbor Commission (showing proposed rates and fees):

1/9/2019 Harbor Commission Meeting

Several key items on the agenda include:

Agenda Item 4 - Proposed Language to Amend Title 17 to Allow for Offshore Mooring Extensions

Agenda Item 5 - Harbor Commission 2018 Objectives: Ad Hoc Committee Updates

Agenda Item 6 - Harbormaster Update - December 2018


The agenda for the 1/9 meeting is available on line and can be found here:

January 8th - Upcoming City Council Meeting Featuring NOAA on Sea Lion Deterrents - CANCELLED


NOAA representatives Laura McCue and Justin Greenman will be at the January 8th City Council Meeting to discuss sea lions and deterrents.  NOAA will also have an Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) officer Marcos Nieves present to discuss enforcement.

The agenda for the meeting has not been posted yet, but will be found at the following City web page using a link on the far right. It will probably be posted on Monday before the meeting:

A little background on the Marine Mammal Protection Act - Congress passed the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1972 in response to increasing concerns among scientists and the public that significant declines in some species of marine mammals were caused by human activities. The MMPA established a national policy to prevent marine mammal species and population stocks from declining beyond the point where they ceased to be significant functioning elements of the ecosystems of which they are a part. This was the first legislation to mandate an ecosystem-based approach to marine resource management.

Three federal entities share responsibility for implementing the MMPA:

  • NOAA Fisheries—responsible for the protection of whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, and sea lions.
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service—responsible for the protection of walrus, manatees, sea otters, and polar bears.
  • Marine Mammal Commission—provides independent, science-based oversight of domestic and international policies and actions of federal agencies addressing human impacts on marine mammals and their ecosystems.

The portion of the MMPA that pertains to seals and sea lion abatement (Deterring “Nuisance” Pinnipeds) can be found here:

The specific document that outlines deterrence measures can be downloaded here:


December 11, 2018 - Updates to Title 17

On Tuesday, the City Council approved a series of changes to Title 17, which is the portion of the City's municipal code that governs the harbor.  Many of the changes appear to be “housekeeping” – realigning the language in Title 17 to the reorganization of departments and responsibilities since the new Harbor Department was formed last year.  However there are language changes regarding sea lion abatement that need to be closely looked at.  The NMA has confirmed  these modifications to Title 17 are just the first phase and there will be a second phase that will involve community outreach, NMA and other stakeholder group input.       

The revisions to Title 17 can be downloaded below. It should be noted that the revisions are not shown as corrections to the original Title 17 document:  

November 17, 2018 Harbor Commission meeting / Harbor Tour


The Newport Beach Harbor Commission held a special meeting on Saturday, November 17, at 8:30 a.m., that included a boat tour of Newport Harbor. 

After the Harbor Commission addressed a short business agenda, the commissioners and interested community members boarded one of the Balboa Island Ferries for the harbor tour. On the tour they discussed the various infrastructure projects and policy changes being implemented in the harbor. Similar meetings and tours took place in 2014 and 2016. 

The tour route covered approximately 7 nautical miles. Topics discussed along the way included the current Harbor Commission objectives, City code enforcement efforts, stand up paddleboard safety, Title 17 updates, and dredging solutions. 


To see a full article about the tour from the Log:


October 25, 2018 - Annual Newport Mooring Assocation Meeting

The NMA held their annual meeting on October 25th, with Carol Jacobs, the Assistant City Manager, as the key note speaker. There were approximately 150 NMA members present, and the new City Manager, Grace Leung, was introduced as well. Carol went through an extensive presentation on upcoming improvements in the harbor, the review of Title 17 (the municipal code that covers the harbor), sea lion management, mooring regulation compliance and enforcement, and vessel bottom paint regulations. There was also a lively question and answer session. 

The presentation can be downloaded below:

NMA Newsletter - August 2018 - Key Topics


The City of Newport Beach recently revamped its organizational structure on June 12th and has created a new Harbor Department.  In addition to approving the new structure, the City Council also approved an increased budget for the new Harbor Department which will allow for an approximate 20 percent increase in man hours. The idea behind these changes is to enhance customer service in the harbor. If you are a mooring permittee, you are a customer. 

The old Harbor Resources Department will be moved into Public Works and will retain a couple of employees to deal with primarily Harbor engineering issues such as dredging.

Deputy City Manager Tara Finnigan has stated that: “This year there will be an increased focus on Code Enforcement. The City’s code enforcement supervisor (Matt Cosylion) will actually be on loan to the new Harbor Department for a full year to help implement some changes and to train the Harbor Department staff.”

What this means to Mooring Permittees: It would probably be a good time to make sure the right vessel is on the right mooring, your mooring lines are looking good, and that your current insurance and registration are on file with the City of Newport Beach. If you are living aboard your vessel you might want to make sure you are properly registered with the City as a liveaboard. 

It might just be a good time to review all of Title 17 of the City of Newport Beach’s Municipal Code which is known as the Harbor Code. Section 17.60.040 deals specifically with Mooring Permits. You can easily find these online with a Google search but another good starting point would be the new and well organized City of Newport Beach Harbor Operations website: 

A general rule of thumb to avoid code enforcement citations is that your vessel needs to look good out on her mooring. Think of your vessel as part of the overall beautiful harbor landscape. Your vessel needs to not stand out visually in a negative way. In a well maintained garden the weeds will get picked. Make sure your vessel isn’t perceived as a weed in the garden as most citations that are issued have to do with lack of vessel upkeep - excessive bird crap and/or sea lions, black mold, flaking varnish, even a big hairy growth underwater due to lack of bottom cleaning are all items that will result in your boat being noticed. 

Pay particular attention to the type of sea lion deterrent devices you chose to use. Any device that could permanently harm a sea lion is not going to be legal and you risk being cited - an example might be a wooden batten filled with sharp nails that could break off of your vessel and stay lodged in a sea lion.  

Although this could change in the future, if you do receive a “Notice of Potential Violation”, the process to rectify currently goes something like this: 

  1. You will have a certain timeframe to correct the problem without any monetary penalty. This timeframe is typically 2 or 3 weeks but could be either shorter or longer. 
  2. If you do not correct the problem, you will receive a 2nd notice with a lesser timeframe. 
  3. If you do not comply with the 2nd Notice in the timeframe specified, you will then receive a Citation with a $100 fine. 
  4. Failure to comply with this Citation in the timeframe specified will result in an additional $200 penalty.
  5. Failure to comply with the 2nd Citation and the $200 penalty will result in an additional $500 penalty.
  6. If you fail to comply with the 3rd Citation, you risk the revocation of your mooring permit.

Longer Term Issues and Topics:

Sandline Moorings – This is still a subject of interest and there are plans to engineer and try a few Catalina style sandline moorings to replace a few of the current double moorings in various mooring fields around the harbor. The 10 Visitor Moorings constructed last year are sandline moorings and are working well. Four of them were moved to the eastern edge of the H field and six remain in front of Marina Park. 

Law Enforcement – The Harbor Patrol, which is run by the Orange County Sheriffs Department, remains the law enforcement agency in the harbor. The OCSD Harbor Patrol has no code enforcement responsibility with regards to City of Newport Beach rules and regulations (Title 17), and conversely the City of Newport Beach harborworkers and code enforcement personnel have no general law enforcement capability or responsibility when it comes to criminal activity. It is very probable that sometime in the not too distant future the City of Newport Beach police and fire departments will have a presence in the harbor in the form of a dedicated police boat and a dedicated city owned fire boat.

Changes to Mooring Field Boundaries -- The Harbor Commission is tasked with making the harbor a better and more useable asset for the public at large. In doing this there might be some impacts to the some of the mooring fields but the impacts are expected to be slight and very workable. One Harbor Commissioner has mentioned the following topics: 

  • On the North side of Balboa Island there is a beach known as Ruby Beach that is very popular with young families. It has been suggested that perhaps the onshore moorings currently on Ruby Beach could be moved to another location to greater enhance the charm and useable area of Ruby Beach.
  • In the “G” Mooring field, which is located in a very active part of the harbor adjacent to the turning circle where many sailboat races are conducted, there are County owned moorings that maybe could be relocated to another area of the harbor in order to better open up this body of water.

 Accessibility – Most of the offshore mooring in Newport Harbor do not have shoreboat service and would have more value if they were more easily accessible. Is there a modern solution that would create value for all offshore mooring permittees? Could the “Bird Scooter” concept be applied to several City owned or privately owned electric dinghies? The NMA is researching and brainstorming ideas such as these.