Duffy Docks

duffy dock in Newport Harbor

Proposed Duffy Dock

Marshall Duffield (Duffy) has recently (and independently of any city or private request) developed a scheme that could replace Newport’s standard, two-point moorings, with two pilings and a dock between them. He also contends the same system would work for single point moorings. This new docking system was displayed on a computer program showing neat rows of docks with boats tied up stem to stern, to scale, according to the engineer that did the computerized drawings.  Duffy's engineer claims to have left adequate room between the offshore docks for maneuvering in and out. However, the amount of sea-room appears scant on the renderings.

Duffy Dock proposal

Click to download the Duffy Dock proposal

Duffy's plan calls for standard sized docks for the various sizes of boats and moorings in the harbor.  Some of these docks would have several boats berthed in line, fore and aft, depending on the size.  These offshore docks would have boats on both sides, boats abeam of each other, sharing the dock along with those in front of, or behind them.  Duffy supports the idea of fresh water being plumbed to the docks and he thinks the idea of having power on the docks should be studied as well.

To address the high cost of construction and installation of the docks, Duffy estimated that in today’s dollars it would cost the average size boat (40’) about $5,000 per year versus the lower cost of the present mooring system (the pricing of which is already challenging for many). He did not address the notion of current mooring owners having any equity in their moorings should this system be adopted by the city in the near future.

He mentioned a form of sealion deterrent which could be incorporated into the construction of these fiberglass docks. In areas that had eel grass, he thought that making the center of these docks clear, so sunlight would transmit through, should answer eelgrass concerns.

Duffy's idea for these docks sprung from the difficulty he has making fast to his two-point mooring when short–handed, or in much wind or current.  He also thought that the convenience of having a dock to tie up to might appeal to others on moorings.  He acknowledged that his idea will not appeal to all, nor apply to all circumstances, but he hoped to gain interest from the Harbor Commissioners, and then harbor stakeholders.

One selling point of the offshore docks, he claims, is that the same number of boats on moorings now would occupy much less area on the bay using the offshore docks. This of course would have to be corroborated by further analysis by qualified entities.

Duffy announced to the Harbor Commissioners that since these Duffy Docks were very similar to fiberglass boats, his company would be a prospective builder of these docks.

Many of the Harbor Commissioners were keen on Duffy’s idea and were interested in feedback from current mooring owners and other stakeholders. The NMA encourages its members, and other visitors, to join this conversation. To join in, please comment below, share with friends, email the NMA with your thoughts, both for and against, the implementation of Duffy Docks. Brevity will be appreciated.

21 thoughts on “Duffy Docks

  1. Michael RomoMichael Romo

    Floating docks will create permanent obstacles for small sail boats and other water craft such as paddle boards or stand-up surf boards. Right now, when folks are using their boats and their offshore mooring floats are free, small sailboats can use the open space. Having floating docks placed where the current offshore mooring are located will be convenient for sunbathing and picnicking, and this would likely result in more trash being dumped in the bay. How would the county decide how many floating docks are permitted? I don’t think having several hundred floating docks would add to the aesthetic appeal of the harbor. I am against this idea.

  2. Dan RunnerDan Runner

    B-181, S-66Adding docks will add more area of floating items in the harbor not less.
    Any effective sea lion preventer is also a people preventer.
    Larger groups of boats will be harder for small sail boats to get around and create larger “wind shadows”.
    A dock between two or more boats may provide a place for a thief to hide.
    It may be difficult to keep a shore boat clear of the mooring area.
    Approaching a two point moored dock in a strong wind could be difficult, but better on a single point mooring.
    I am against the idea except for the single point moorings in front of the BYC and NHYC where the mooring is always approached into the wind.

  3. Michael FowlkesMichael Fowlkes

    BYC-46Love Duffy, and the fact he’s thinking outside the box, but adding floating offshore docks to Newport would be a huge mistake and a waste of time, water space and money. I love being on my mooring, alone, away from the docks and crowds.
    The last thing I’d want to do is side tie to a single-wide offshore floating dock with a bunch of other boats. The logistics of dealing with shore-boats finding room to off-load and pick-up, along with each boat’s tenders needing space, should be enough of a deterrent for anyone familiar with using a mooring from seriously considering the idea. And Duffy, if you have a sea lion deterrent that works, I’d love to see it. Those docks would become floating oases for our beloved furry guest.

  4. Mark SitesMark Sites

    S-103Under the current system, the mooring permit holder pays the fee and the maintenance. If the fees arent paid, the next person on the list takes over. Even if the mooring goes unclaimed, it can be rented by the city or even sit empty at little cost. The system costs the city virtually nothing.

    That will not be the case if the city makes a large capital investment in “Duffy Docks”. If they don’t turn out to be as popular as Duffy thinks they will be, or if the maintenance is higher, or if a storm wipes out half of them, they could turn out to be a big loser for the city.

  5. Marko PrincevacMarko Princevac

    A-307In principle I like the idea of having fresh water, and possibly power, next to my boat. Of course, the safer she is the better. Would not mind paying a bit extra to have that.

    But my concerns are:

    • sea lions (agree with Michael – there is no effective deterrent or as Dan said – effective ones are also people preventers)
    • not sure that these docks would make her safer
    • not sure it will be easier to tie to
    • not sure how these docks would affect the aesthetic of the harbor (one must admit that boats on moorings are beautiful)
    • what about dock maintenance… I see this to be worse than bi-annual tackle maintenance

    Maybe not such a bad idea but there are several concerns to be addressed.

  6. George HylkemaGeorge Hylkema

    C-81I have several concerns about the Duffy Dock idea.

    1. I spend a lot of time on my boat and enjoy the peace and privacy that my present mooring provides. To think of going out and having immediate neighbors and coming and going of other boats a few feet from me is already a put off.
    2. Again, if I stay aboard overnight I won’t know if my neighbor boats will have people aboard or not and I probably won’t sleep.
    3. I may not feel compatible with my neighbor boaters. I might be stuck in a community I am not comfortable with.
    4. At times there are storms and I am comfortable that there is nothing hard and unyielding that my boat is tied to. With fore and aft mooring lines there is nothing touching my topsides.
    5. I have had my mooring for over 27 years. I have equity in my permit and tackle and do not want to surrender it for something that wouldn’t work for me.
    6. The concern with the tie line being a hazard to boats can be mostly eliminated by properly spaced floats on the tie line. Common sense would indicate that to go through a mooring field between cans might be a hazardous choice. I have personally helped free several Duffy boats from tie lines. Education might be in order here. Plenty of water around the mooring field.
    7. I fill my water tanks at the public dock on Fernando St. I can also wash down the boat there. Also, on board pumps allow a wash down on the mooring. Same with electric power. Two 75 watt solar panels keep the batteries charged and an inverter provides all the power I need.
    8. There may be strangers aboard the dock. If they claim association with another boat I can’t be sure they are authorized. Now my boat is at risk for theft in a way I can’t predict or deal with.
    9. NO Duffy docks for me. Thanks!
  7. Michael RainsMichael Rains

    J-410It is an interesting idea, but it would greatly increase the expense of keeping a boat on a mooring, already too high. As we all know anything the City gets involved in runs many–fold over estimates. The unused Duffy docks would be not only an eyesore but also a hazard. I am against the idea.

  8. Henry ChinaskiHenry Chinaski

    I am surprised to see the overwhelmingly negative comments here. There are certainly some compelling arguments against the idea.
    Personally, I was excited when I first heard about the proposal to install these new style docks.
    I guess if you are one of the fortunate people to have a mooring with some sea room then you are okay with the status-quo, but if you are one of the unfortunate permit holders stuck in a situation where you are already right on top of your neighbor then the attraction of these docks is clear. Whether or not this Duffy “solution” is adopted (which seems unlikely), something needs to be done to clean up and realign the mooring fields that have become congested and confused over the years. Mooring field “C” seems to have improved after the dredging required all the cans to be reset. Too bad it wasn’t done up at “H” and “J”. Unless a real and significant realignment of the moorings occurs this year (fat chance), I would be in support of the Duffy docks and the higher annual cost.

  9. Chris BlissChris Bliss

    C-75I have had my mooring for 20 years. Going to my boat and enjoying the solitude, the peace and quiet and beauty of just being on the water is one of my great pleasures in life. I would definitely not be interested in sharing a floating dock with another boat just a few feet away. I would be worried about possible theft or possibly having a neighbor that was noisy or rowdy or someone that I simply didn’t get along with. This would introduce a whole new host of issues and problems that I would really not want to deal with.
    The mooring system was perfect until a couple of years ago when the city decided to begin changing all the rules to the detriment of all mooring owners.
    This new system would be not that different than keeping one’s boat in a slip, and I can just see how the powers that be would use this fact to raise the yearly rates to a point where the fees would become astronomical. This new proposal would be of no benefit to anyone except perhaps to Mr. Duffield and would give the city an excuse to price us all (except for the very wealthy) out of boating.
    Another major downside to this system is this…what do you do with your dinghy? Now, it is easy to tie your dinghy to the mooring line on either side of your boat when you leave your mooring, and it is easy to get your boat back on the mooring with the dinghy tied to the mooring line. With a floating dock there will certainly not be an extra 8 feet of space for your dinghy, so where will it go? You can’t side-tie it to the dock when your boat is there, and even if you could, the dinghy will be in the way when you return to the dock. It simply won’t work.
    I say NO WAY !

  10. IgnacioIgnacio

    D-43Thumbs down to the Duffy docks. I enjoy my privacy and prefer to not add thousands more to my yearly bill which is already going up by thousands. Why can’t the city at least properly align the moorings as they were before? The D Field is a mess. It looks like they put the moorings back after dredging and pretty much guessed where they should be. There are boats that are almost perpendicular to the rows at certain times. This last dredging operation has in my opinion cast a big shadow over the management of a mooring project and adequate project close–out procedures.

  11. Scott RobinsonScott Robinson

    J-414There is no upside to the Duffy Dock. I love the current mooring system. Thumbs down!

  12. Don StoughtonDon Stoughton

    My initial reaction is that the project would be very impractical. I would like to have more information about the docks themselves and see an overall plan and the proposed layouts before rendering a serious opinion.

  13. Monty SnyderMonty Snyder

    H-11At first blush the idea looks feasible and even desirable and I appreciate Duffy’s enthusiasm. No doubt one of his enthusiastic motivators is the offer to be the entity that constructs these docks, and likely maintains them for the city as well. Once again we mooring mavericks, who enjoy the incalculable pleasure of the solitude we find on our moorings, are challenged by questionable motivations. There’s no need to pursue questionable outcomes at great expense for dubious results. Let’s keep our moorings the way they are and merely enforce their regulation within the current guidelines.

  14. Pat GPat G

    Unsafe due to storms & high winds. Boats will hit the docks. They will not improve the look of the bay. They make thieves jobs easier. Lots of big sealions and they will make a mess people will have to clean up.

  15. Dale HeadDale Head

    F-14I have a mooring for four reasons.

    1. Privacy
    2. View
    3. Solitude
    4. Safety
    5. I spend a lot of time enjoying the quiet, private, and peaceful time on my boat. Any change in the way the boat is moored would be detrimental to all of the above-mentioned attributes.

  16. E ConardE Conard

    I am currently looking into acquiring a mooring – possibly for a multi-hull.

    My first thought is how the docks might limit suitable spaces for multihulls, and secondly, who actually believes the City would be content to free up space rather than attempting to increase revenue by occupying the same space with more of the “docks”?

    Finally, it seems as though the CA Coastal Commission might (or should) have a say in any proposed alteration of the existing mooring fields.

  17. KimKim

    I think this would be real mistake – aesthtically speaking. Seals would have access to all of it leaving a horrible mess and more noise than is already there. Sharing a dock with another boat is not why people have moorings. For the neighbor who runs his generator 24/7, it would be a nightmare. And how convenient that Mr. Duffy would make all of the money from this scheme.

    NO WAY!

  18. Chuck LewisChuck Lewis

    D-45Interesting proposal that I appreciate for addressing some of the challenges of being on a mooring:
    1. Water (this is a biggy!)
    2. Power (though my solar panel takes care of everything I need)
    3. Windy days and securing your boat single handed
    4. Having some space for boat maintenance. It is tough to polish and maintain a boat without a dock.

    Among the many draws of a traditional mooring, however, have been captured by other comments. I prefer not being tied too close to others, especially if someone is not properly maintaining their boat. Within D-Field is a boat which is home to dozens of pigeons–not a factor I want drawn up close to my boat on a dock .

    Another factor we would give up is the shear pleasure of being on a moored boat. I did not realize how much I enjoy this aspect until we ended up on a dock last year during dredging. Being tied close to my neighbors took the fun out of time on the boat. There is something awesome about being out in the channel and watching boats, paddle boarders, and harbor life passing by as an ever-changing show. I am not sure how a docking system might change it–especially if you end up in the middle of the docks.

  19. Sam DrazichSam Drazich

    B-44I’m familiar with a place where these type of offshore floating docks are used. These moorings are in rivers with a lot of current some of the time. Appears to be a good idea for that situation.
    After carefully reading all the comments above, I’m going to have to side with the naysayers. The +’s don’t quite out weigh the -‘s.
    Number one in my mind is the privacy problem. I too like the fact that I’m not on a dock next to someone that I may or may not like. Too many headaches.

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