Byline: Ambrosia Brody
NEWPORT BEACH — Visiting boaters securing a guest mooring or locals with questions about the bay may soon get to know Orange County Sheriff’s Harbor Patrol Deputy Sean Scoles. The South Bend, Ind. native now serves as the point person for everything mooring-related in Newport Harbor, replacing recently retired Deputy Carlos Contreras.
As the Harbor Patrol’s new mooring deputy/boat accident investigator, Deputy Scoles is the liaison between the city and the Harbor Patrol, and he interfaces daily with boaters and mooring holders. He also works with city Harbor Resources staff members on harbor-related items, oversees haulouts in accidents and follows up on all accidents that deputies respond to in the bay.
Deputy Scoles began his career with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in 1991. He joined the Harbor Patrol in 2006 after working eight years in the Central Jail Complex Men’s Main Jail in Santa Ana and after patrol duty in the unincorporated north area.
Scoles, a father of three, said he enjoys spending time on the water aboard the family trailerable boat, when he’s not on duty.
The Log: Have you always enjoyed boating?
Deputy Sean Scoles: “As a kid, I would enjoy spending time on boats, but spent more time on rivers and lakes. Since I’ve moved here, I love being out on the ocean and on the boat.”
What drew you to the Harbor Patrol?
“I’ve always loved the water — and then you throw in getting to be in law enforcement on the water and fire training on the water.”
What was your job prior to being promoted to mooring deputy?
“When I started with the department in 2006, I did all my training with Chris Corn, who worked in the training office. When Chris was promoted to sergeant two years ago, I took over as training officer, where I was responsible for setting up all of the training and making sure we kept up with requirements — and that everyone was trained in what was required.”
What are the most common mooring questions you get?
“We get a lot of calls referencing the moorings that are out of alignment. The mooring fields are always a moving environment. The realigned fields are still settling, and we are getting calls on C and D mooring fields.”
Do you foresee any future changes?
“Carlos had everything running really smoothly, and I’m trying to keep everything the way that it was. We are always trying to make everything better and to make the mooring fields more user-friendly.”
Any new policy changes that mooring users should be aware of?
“Nothing has really changed. Guests come into the harbor, and they come to the office and with their boat’s registration paperwork. Many people ask why we can’t just assign them a mooring when they come in. One of the rules of assigning a mooring in the harbor is that you have to prove boat is operational. If we look out and have concerns of seaworthiness, we can come down and do an inspection before we rent a mooring.”
How many names are on the mooring waiting list?
“There are two lists: offshore and onshore moorings. I think there are around 200 names on it. The city contacted us about one offshore mooring coming available, so there are people turning them in.”
What else is happening in the department?
“We will be purchasing two new Boston Whaler Justice model boats. We are hoping the boats will be built by the end of September, and then there will be some shop prep that will be needed prior to having them in service.”