The MVMS pilot project will test about six floats in a few areas of the harbor. The committee will test the most basic configuration of floating dock, a simple long rectangle which will accommodate boats on either side. These would be floats about 50 feet long by about 5 feet wide. A very tentative number to build such floats is about $50/sq. ft., or $12,500 each just for the float.
How Much for the Rest?
If a rough number for the float alone is $12,500, how much would the tackle or anchoring system cost? This is a question for a subsequent meeting of the ad–hoc committee. The City code has no standards for this size of floating dock with multiple vessels attached, and Harbor Resources would need to ask City Council for funding to generate them. Research and engineering, possibly from outside sources, are required to determine the numbers which could then be used to estimate costs of the anchoring tackle. So look for these costs as the project unfolds.
For the pilot project, the committee decided to avoid using pilings to secure the floating docks. Instead, several of the floats will utilize screw–type anchors and several others will use conventional chain and ballast. The City will make public the specifications and design standards for the floats and retaining gear to be tested. It may utilize outside contractors to generate these figures, hired with City Council approval. The pilot project would test the floating docks for one year, after which the gear in place on the mooring before the project would be returned to service.
Any Gains on Side by Side Spacing?
One of the goals of the pilot project will be to study how boats negotiate docking or leaving floating docks placed adjacent to one another. This will address the question of whether the floating docks save space. Initial hypothesis is that the screw–type mooring system may retain floating docks within a tighter footprint than conventional chain and ballast gear, thus possibly enabling closer placement of moored boats. To test this hypothesis, three adjacent City–owned moorings in C Field (east end) will be changed to floating docks secured with screw–type moorings. These would be offered to anyone seeking mooring rental, visitor or local. These floating docks would be near the Fun Zone and public–serving infrastructure which maximizes utility for visitors. The exact types of screw, whether Chance™ or other, and connection system, whether Hazelett™, Seaflex®, or other, has yet to be determined.
A mooring permit holder in the H Field has volunteered his 60 foot mooring for the test as he is not currently using it. That mooring, H-81, will probably be configured with a floating dock on conventional chain and ballast gear. The committee is hoping to test a floating dock on one or two moorings in D Field, near the City–owned Balboa Yacht Basin. Because this location is adjacent to the Harbor Resources office, staff could readily observe it in use at any time. This location might also be less problematic in terms of connecting the test floating dock with fresh water for boat washing or tank filling.
Shore power is an important reason people who can afford it choose a slip over a mooring. People choose a mooring over a slip because of cost. We can all dream, but not all of us can afford a slip, and most of us are quite happy with what we have and thankful for it. Despite the mayor’s wish, the committee thinks that the expense to furnish floating docks with utility power (electricity) would be onerous, so the moored floating docks will be
off the grid for the pilot project, as moorings are today. What about solar? If pilings will not be used to secure the floats, unsightly columns or posts would be required to support solar panels. But even the solar panels themselves would be unsightly, not to mention extremely vulnerable to damage, theft, and bird fouling, so neither will solar panels be tested on the floats.
Sea Lion Deterrents
One model of floating dock, built by Duffy Duffield would incorporate sea lion deterrents in its outer perimeter, molded in place, as reported by a Mr. Allen Wallace, who claimed to speak for Mr. Duffield, who did not attend the meeting. Other deterrent measures were also discussed, such as are currently available in the market, or
home made deterrents of simpler (and cheaper) design. It’s clear that Harbor Resources will be among the first to know if the sea lion deterrent devices selected are not working!
Stay Up on This
The Harbor Resources section of the Newport Beach city website has a page devoted to the activities of the MVMS ad–hoc committee; future agendas are published there at least 72 hours before committee meetings. The next meeting will take place in two weeks. The public is invited to participate; meetings are open. Mooring permit holders: Please join our mailing list!
It’s Not Broken But City Wants to Fix It
The pilot project will take place. While participation in the meetings, or using your mooring for one of the test sites, is voluntary, the ad–hoc committee chairman, Brad Avery, affirmed there is no guarantee eventual harbor–wide adoption of floating docks will be voluntary. It is possible that at some point in the future, it will only be possible to use a floating dock–which will be yet more expensive than a Newport Harbor mooring is now. The Newport Mooring Association and your fellow permit holders need your support so please join or renew your membership. Your comments below are welcome.