BlipsNews Briefs

Blips on the Radar: William B fire provides lessons for Harbor Patrol 

What Happened: A fire claiming the life of a World War II tugboat could result in multiple government agencies working together to more effectively respond to similar events in the future, Harbor Patrol Lt. Mark Alsobrook told Newport Beach’s Harbor Commission on Nov. 16.

William B, a 77-foot tugboat built for the Navy during the height of World War II, was lost after it caught fire on Halloween morning. The boat could not be saved despite a valiant effort by several agencies, including Harbor Patrol, Coast Guard and Newport Fire.

The first responder arrived where William B was docked 9 minutes after billows of smoke were reportedly emanating from the tug boat; the vessel was fully engulfed in flames when first responders arrived. Firefighters and other agencies spent the next few hours fighting the blaze, which reignited several times, according to Alsobrook.

“It was a very intense fire. We threw everything we had at this fire,” Alsobrook said.

The harbormaster credited the lack of injury and property damage to a positive multiagency effort.

The vessel was ultimately raised and towed to the Port of Long Beach on Nov. 8.

What’s On Tap: Harbor Patrol will use the William B fire experience to push for more interagency training, Alsobrook said. He hopes different agencies can practice on the water to streamline responses in future fire battles (or other emergencies).

Newport Fire is still investigating the William B fire to determine its cause.

Newport Beach adopts recommendations for public pier management

What Happened: A series of recommendation to improve use of the city’s public piers was approved by the Newport Beach Harbor Commission on Nov. 16. The commission’s ad hoc committee recommended users be granted more time to remain at select piers and against additional size limitations on boats using the public structures. More signs were also recommended to encourage cooperative use of floats and how to use proper etiquette when boats approach.

There are 11 existing public piers in Newport Harbor, according to Commissioner Paul Blank.

What’s On Tap: Harbor Resources and Newport Beach city staff will use the commission’s recommendations as a framework for change and policy implementation. The Log will cover details of the commission’s recommendations and city’s potential policy implementations in an upcoming issue.

Port of San Diego accepts state grant for abandoned vessels

What Happened: The Port of San Diego’s Board of Port Commissioners formally accepted a state grant award to help pay for the abatement, removal, storage, and/or disposal of abandoned or surrendered boats on Nov. 17.

Cal Boating awarded the port $44,900 to clear San Diego Harbor of abandoned, submerged or surrendered vessels during the next two years as part of California’s Surrendered and Abandoned Vessel (SAVE) program. The port district must commit $4,490 as part of the award, meaning $49,390 will be available to fund abandoned, submerged or surrendered vessels during the life of the grant.

What’s On Tap:  Port officials will use the funding to remove and dispose of “abandoned, wrecked or dismantled noncommercial vessels, or parts thereof, or any other partially submerged objects which post a substantial hazard to navigation within the district’s jurisdiction.” The funding will also be used to “remove and dispose of surrendered vessels … in danger of being abandoned and has a likelihood of causing environmental degradation or becoming a hazard to navigation.”

Construction begins on Dana Point Shipyard

What Happened: Hard hats and heavy machinery will be seen regularly at Dana Point Shipyard as a renovation project officially started on Nov. 16. Orange County issued a boater’s notice informing everyone in Dana Point Harbor of anticipated work during the next few weeks.

Workers will replace all in-water docks, gangways and travel piers at the shipyard, according to the county.

“The work is expected to impact boaters minimally with some associated noise on occasion,” county officials stated.

What’s On Tap: The shipyard office will be open during construction. Haul outs will be scheduled during the first week of February 2016. The county anticipates completing construction by Feb. 1, 2016. Contact Dana Point Shipyard’s office at 949-661-1313 with questions or concerns about construction.

Oceanside Harbor receives new bilge pumpout

What Happened: Boaters at Oceanside Harbor will have a new bilge pumpout to help dispose of oil. The bilge pumpout and oil-water separator was installed as part of a public-private partnership involving The Bay Foundation Boater Education Program and city of Oceanside. Santa Barbara and Channel Island harbors are the only other Southern California venues have a bilge pumpout for boaters.

What’s On Tap: The U.S. Coast Guard, city of Oceanside and The Bay Foundation will be hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1 p.m. on Dec. 11 to unveil the bilge pumpout. The ceremony will be held just north of the launch ramp at 1350 N. Pacific Street in Oceanside

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