Finally, a real boat launch ramp

We don’t want this!

Re: Redondo Beach waterfront revitalization could be on tap (Sept. 25 issue). The residents of Redondo Beach voted down this measure. The increase in traffic and congestion would be overwhelming. But of course, the developers and city don’t care what the voters decided and will continue to force this down our throats.

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My friend John

Re: ‘World’s Best Racing Navigator’ explores the far corners of Earth (Aug. 14 issue).  have sailed in, as well as to and from Hawaii with John, raced against him in Mexico and California. He is a fine gentleman.

Treasure Island, FL
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Rules in the harbors

Re: Comments (Sept. 25 issue). The gentleman above brings up a great point about the paddleboard revolution, there is absolutely, “no control, education or intercession on the part of Harbor Patrol.” Here in Redondo Beach it’s supposedly illegal to swim in the harbor, and the channel was a pathway to the ocean, with rules of the road established by the Coast Guard. Now it is the destination, sometimes even of organized paddleboard yoga classes. It seems that anything goes. There is a woman who paddles by here towing her small child on an inflatable pool toy. People swim their dogs as they paddle along. Where is the Harbor Patrol? In their nice new building not even looking out the window much less patrolling. Ok, why not? Should the harbor be the property of the elite people who own boats? Why not just let the harbor be a big recreation area with no rules? We see this in our society, like on the bike paths, where the path, instead of being for bikes and transportation, are where you bring toys, some of which are blatantly illegal (like powered skateboards as one example). The beach cruisers weave and go slow, the spandex guys are too fast, the toys take to much space, and no bike, or anyone else, follow any of the rules, if there are any.

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Keep our harbor safe!

Five short blasts from the horn of a vessel underway is the designated U.S. Coast Guard signal required to be blown when there is immediate danger. I’m surprised that in our harbor [Dana Point] we don’t hear this all the time on weekends!

The explosion of stand up paddleboard (SUP) enthusiasts is providing a way for more and more people to enjoy the water on a very low cost basis. However, because most of the paddlers (and many boaters) don’t have an understanding of the Rules of the Road, as written by the Coast Guard, there are a lot of near misses each weekend. The following is a personal example.

Last weekend, I was one of 12 guests, all members of Dana Point Yacht Club, on a beautiful 48 foot powerboat for a cruise and lunch at sea. It was a delightful time, until we returned to the harbor. It could have been a “Three Hour Tour” – Gilligan’s Island all over again!  As often happens at this time of year, the wind had picked up to between 18 to 20 knots, making maneuvering a large boat like this, at slow speed, with virtually no keel, very difficult. Two attempts were made to dock the boat in its slip, but because of the wind and SUP’s in the way, the skipper decided to use the large empty slip at Dana Point YC as a temporary haven until the wind subsided. As we approached the slip, there were two paddlers – one with a baby – coming across the entrance of the slip, so one of the guests on the bow of our boat told them to move out of the way but they moved towards the slip! After another verbal warning, they hastily got out of the way, but in the meantime, we were even more restricted in our ability to maneuver because we were sideways to the wind. Thankfully, our skipper/owner has extensive skills in boat handling, and was able to slide into the large slip, but it was like docking a large sailboat, with the sail up, and no keel to counteract the wind! The two paddlers probably had to go home and change their underwear!

Adding to the stress of this time, a man began yelling at us from the docks at the Sailing and Events Center. He told us to go somewhere else – that the SUPs had right of way. We replied that they have no right of way. At that point, the heckler jumped into a Whaler and roared across to us, still yelling! When he got to our dock, his boat scraped the stern of Hu-Nu, sitting innocently in its slip. No apology. The man said he worked at the Sailing and Event Center and his name is Chris, and he knows that SUP’s have right of way! Two of our group currently have 100 Ton Masters Licenses, and I had one of those for 15 years, but let it expire two years ago. We know the rules. To get this license, you must have extensive time on the water, and pass four difficult written tests. Many other guests onboard knew the rules, because there are ongoing seamanship classes at the yacht club.

Pleasure craft boat owners are not required to take any kind of test. They just buy a boat and go! We refer to that as ‘more money than brains.’ It’s the same with human powered craft. At the very least, the SUP and kayak users should read the large sign for human powered craft posted at the launch area on Baby Beach. The first sentence says “You do not have right of way.”  This is followed by a diagram of the best routes to take inside our harbor, avoiding boats.  There are stickers available to go on paddleboards and kayaks that have these rules.  Boat owners need to be prepared to use the Danger/Doubt signal given to them by the Coast Guard. A better understanding of rules and right of way could save a life in our harbor.  

Barbara Merriman

Follow up: According to Merriman, Harbor Director Brad Gross has sent out a new rule to all who rent paddleboards and kayaks. From now on, they must ask each renter to read the published rules for human powered craft, and initial the rental manifest.


Corrections, Clarifications

Re: Angler reels in 45.6-pound yellowtail at Mission Bay (Sept. 25 issue). We mistakenly identified the yellowtail as a tuna. 

Re: Balboa Island Yacht Club: No adults allowed (Sept. 25 issue) was to read membership is limited to 220 and not 20. 

Re: Rezoning parcels at Newport Harbor YC (Sept. 25 issue). We mistakenly reported the Coastal Commission approved a group of parcels of land associated with Newport Harbor YC’s property to be rezoned from “residential” use to “private institutions.” The item was in fact withdrawn and not discussed or voted on.  

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