About Mooring Changes

At its meeting on April 7, the Harbor Commission decided to recommend to City Council an annual mooring permit fee of $25/ft, down from $55/ft, and return to transferability within limits. They came to their decisions after studying and listening to lots of information over a two month period. Four meetings of two hours each were held; between fifty and one hundred citizens participated in each session assuring a diversity of opinion and comments. Dozens of citizens spoke.

The NMA also drafted a position statement describing what we think is fair, responsible mooring management. The task now is to ensure that the public and City Council have easy access to resources so they can come to their own informed opinions. There are important key points that need reinforcement. These are:

  • Tidelands Trust gives City wide latitude for management of harbor with some specific caveats.
    • It says …the city or successors shall make no discrimination in rates, tolls, or charges for any use or service in connection therewith. This means that tideland users using the tidelands to essentially an identical degree cannot be charged differently.
    • Funds generated by tidelands must be returned to tidelands.
    • If management of the tidelands results in net income exceeding $250,000, the City shall return that excess to the State.
  • Mooring transfers, with or without boat, are not illegal.
  • One transfer per person, per year–brokers, speculators shut down.
  • How would mooring permit fees in Newport Beach, if set at $25/ft/yr, compare to other harbors? Here is a snapshot of mooring administration in harbors from Pillar Point to San Diego, CA (source: NMA mooring fees survey):
HarborTransferableTransfer fee ($)Permit fee ($/ft/yr)Transient use ($/day)
Pillar Point (Half Moon Bay)YesNone$19.201$10.50
Monterey, Outer, Res.Yes - assignment$50/mo upcharge2$14.27$2.74 Outer
$10 East
Morro BayYes$1,090 (flat)$24.333$.0.25/ft ($10 - 40′)
Port San Luis (no slips)Yes$80$11.104$10
Santa BarbaraNo5n/a$6.25n/a
King Harborn/an/an/an/a
AvalonYes5%$9.84$30 to $123
Newport BeachYes, limited50% of annual permit fee$55.43$16 low / $27 high season
Mission BayNon/a$27.206n/a
San DiegoNon/a$30.957$7.50


1Pillar Point offers: pay full year in advance, earn one month free rent.
2Monterey’s transfer system is called “Assignment,” until assigned, City charges $50/month rate upcharge. Annual permit fee, flat $510.
3Morro Bay mooring permit for privately permitted moorings is $81.10/mo, or $973.20/yr; $973.20 / 40 = $24.33.
4Port San Luis annual equivalent fee is $444 / 12 months is $11.10; fee collected quarterly.
5Santa Barbara had a lottery system for its open roadstead anchorage area. After several years of disfunction, lottery has been abandoned; first-come, first-served permit issuance with permits available, untaken due to little demand. Flat $250 / year permit fee.
6Moorings in Mission Bay are limited to 25 foot boats, fee is $680/year flat fee. If use same 40′ boat we assume in other harbors, rate is $17/ft/yr.
7Click to Scott Karlin’s comparison of moorings in Newport Harbor to San Diego.

Study Materials

Here is helpful information about Newport Harbor moorings, mooring fees, and transferability for insight.


Reported In Local Papers

Read both the Orange County Register and Daily Pilot articles on the Harbor Commission decision. Both stories mistakenly cite boat length as basis for mooring fee. Fee is determined by full rated size of mooring, which is sometimes greater than boat length.

Please Comment on Those Stories

Your independent comment on either or both of those stories, on those respective sites, is appreciated. Once you open them, either scroll down the page or look for a link to Comments alongside the story.

On the pages of the respective articles, you should see a place to leave your comment similar to the screen capture lower on this page. Although it seems like you will be leaving your comment on Facebook, you are leaving your comment on the newspaper’s site. Note the checkbox. If you leave Also post on Facebook checked (default), your comment will also be posted on your Facebook timeline. If you uncheck the box, your comment will only be posted on the respective article–and not on your Facebook timeline. That is just a matter of your preference.

What’s With Facebook and Commenting Here?

On interactive sites, comment spam is a problem. Third parties, such as these newspaper web sites, deal with comment spam by using Facebook’s publicly–available login verification system. Requiring a commenter to login to his Facebook account greatly cuts down on spam comments, anonymous comments, mischief and mayhem. When you comment using this system, publicly available aspects of your Facebook profile will be visible, such as your name, and, depending on your privacy settings, your profile photo, and of course your comment itself. We think the Harbor Commission has gotten this right. Please share your opinion by contributing to community comments on those articles. Thank you for commenting!


Screen capture of Orange County Register comment widget, while logged in to Facebook

Comment Here

The Orange County Register and Daily Pilot stories will have far wider consumption by an impartial readership who may have little access to facts on this topic. Please help them learn about these proposed mooring administration changes and share your opinion on whether they are workable and fair. You can do that by commenting on those articles’ pages (Please!), but only if you have a Facebook account. If you want to participate in the conversation, but don’t have a Facebook account, you are welcome to comment here.