Catalina Connection

New boating service available at Catalina Island

AVALON ― An underwater hull cleaning service was awarded a waterside permit to operate in Avalon Harbor, as the Avalon City Council voted Jan. 17 to approve Triton Yacht Services’ request to offer its services to Catalina-bound boaters.

Triton Yacht Services submitted an application to conduct underwater hull cleaning on yachts in Avalon Harbor. Certain conditions had to be met for the permit to be granted.

The yacht service company is now allowed to wash boats at a designated pump-out dock location but only during nonpeak hours to allow other boats to get rid of their waste. Nonpeak hours are defined as “before 8 a.m. and after 5 p.m. June 1 to Sept. 30 and on Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the rest of the year,” according to a city staff report.

The company is only to use desalinated water produced from their own equipment.

To avoid further issues with overcrowding, the company is allowed only one skiff to be secured to a dinghy dock at one time. The company requested two skiffs but will have to find a skiff in another location.

“Is it really necessary to clean the bottom of boats in the harbor,” City Council member Joe Sampson asked at the meeting. “What concerns me are the chemicals when you have swimmers in the harbor. It is an environmental hazard.”

Capt. Alison Osinski addressed City Council members, saying boat bottoms need to be cleaned about every three weeks in the summer.

“You guys make is so difficult for boaters,” Osinski proclaimed.

She explained boat bottom cleaning only becomes a hazard if it is not done frequently.

“When you clean the boat regularly every three to four weeks, the paint holds really well and doesn’t disintegrate into the water,” Osinski clarified. “When you wait six weeks to eight weeks because you can’t get somebody to clean the bottom of the boat, that’s when you have to use more aggressive methods and that’s when you get toxins into the water.”

Osinski said more regular bottom cleaning should be encouraged. She pointed out the more frequent boat bottoms are washed, the less damaging it is to the environment.

“I would like to please ask you to consider the boaters for once,” Osinski implored. “Don’t make it so hard to have a boat here.”

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2 thoughts on “New boating service available at Catalina Island

  • I would challenge Councilmember Sampson to provide any data that backs up his claim that in-water hull cleaning activities introduce chemicals into the water that are hazardous to swimmers. What the city council members fail to understand is that anti fouling paints leach their (typically) copper biocide into the water 24/7/365, whether the boats are cleaned or not. Do in-water hull cleaning activities contribute to copper loading in the marina? Yes. But the amount is miniscule, regardless of the source. And again, there is no evidence that any of this is hazardous to swimmers. Sampson’s statement was made in ignorance.

    In-water hull cleaning is an important part of regular boat maintenenace and thousands of boat bottoms are cleaned every day in California marinas. The ridiculous time constraints the council has put on Triton Yacht Services’ use of the pumpout dock means that very few boats will be able to take advantage of this necessary service.

    Matt Peterson
    FastBottoms Hull Diving

  • Mary K. Riewer

    NIMBY AFLOAT! While Marinas on the Mainland are trying to stop hull-cleaning due to “The Release of Toxins and other Bio-Hazards”, I find it a little awkward that Avalon would allow hull cleaning inside the Harbor. I started my working career on the water cleaning hulls so don’t get me wrong. I know that it is a vital segment of maintenance for any vessel. What I find disturbing is that the operators want to use a float inside the harbor where tidal circulation is reduced by the arms of the two protective groins that now protect the harbor. I remember seeing the aftermath and photos of what a North-eastern wind could do to the boats and structures in Avalon. Perhaps the operators could be encouraged to conduct the Hull-cleaning activity outside the outer line of buoys at Descanso Bay. This would free up the inner float for other activities while at the same time providing a virtual “Free Buffet” feeding station for the bait-fish that eat the debris and growth that is removed from the vessels and falls through the water column and that attract other species such as Albacore, Dorado, and Yellowtail. I sincerely hope that the operators of the cleaning service consider that option and accept that two-fold benefit of a location with greater water circulation- I wish them every sucessl!



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