Orange County Sheriff’s Department reduces public dock use from 72 hours to 20 minutes

Harbor patrol representatives, however, state that docking use will increase to 2-4 hours in the near future.

Editor’s Note: This story has be clarified. Corrections and updates are noted in three locations, where there is strikethrough and bold word/phrase.

NEWPORT BEACH—A group of boaters in Newport Beach expressed outrage over the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), located at 1901 Bayside Drive, decision to limit a public dingy dock time limit from 72 hours to 20 minutes. An unnamed source close to the matter shared a timeline of events with The Log, providing evidence of the change, including a time when, allegedly, docking was not allowed at all.

Carol Jacobs, City Manager for Newport Beach, told The Log in an email, “I understand several folks are concerned about the removal of the 72 [-hour] time limit on the OCSD Dock.  The Harbor Commission and Council are aware of the resident’s concerns however, we have not taken a position on this issue yet.”

OCSD representatives were quick to defend their decision to limit the timeframe. In a phone conversation with Lt. Christopher Corn he told The Log the main reasoning the 20-minute time limit has been instated was due to congestion at the fueling station pumpout station, which is also located at the dock.

According to Corn and OCSD’s official website, the harbor patrol located in Newport Beach is largely preoccupied with Homeland Security.

The website says, “In response to increased concerns about potential terrorism after the events of September 11, 2001, this bureau became part of the department’s Homeland Security Division. Deputies are on heightened alert to any possibility of terrorist activity, and constantly monitor potential targets within the harbors and along the county coastline.”

Accordingly peace officers, like Corn, would be granted the right to implement laws guidelines and policies for purposes related to homeland security.

Corn stated he realized a 20-minute time limit could be inconvenient for boaters and time limits were set to be raised to 2 to 4 hours so boaters could shop for groceries and other activities. He mentioned that at this time, while the changes are coming, there is a procedure for creating the correct signage, which has possibly held up the 20-minute time limit being changed.

An unnamed source mentioned that the in addition to the new time limit enforcement, the docks generally gave off a feeling of being unwelcoming (even though they were public use docks) due to signage that read “authorized personnel only.” Corn in response stated the signage would change.

When asked how many complaints he had received about the time limit change, Corn responded that he had received approximately 10 complaints by email.

As a county-run agency, OCSD reports to Orange County officials. The building OCSD resides in currently is property of OC Parks & Recreations, which the department essentially rents contracts to enforce laws, conduct rescues and respond to fires.

For more information about OCSD, visit the website at

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7 thoughts on “Orange County Sheriff’s Department reduces public dock use from 72 hours to 20 minutes

  • May 19, 2019 at 8:06 am

    My family has been using this dock for years. I think this is a good idea. I have seen many boats docked there for weeks at a time. This will free up the dock for more boaters to use. I’m glad to see that the time limit will be longer than 20 minutes. That way I can use the beach and walk to the store if needed.

  • May 22, 2019 at 9:33 pm

    I can’t believe the Sheriff’s Harbor Patrol is taking away public dock time. It was 72 hours (around 4,000 minutes) and now it is 20 minutes for a dinghy. 20 minutes is useless in terms of dock time. The Sheriff also closed off their visitor dock. How can I approach them for customer service? What a shame………

  • May 22, 2019 at 9:35 pm

    California Coastal Commission just issued a report that stated Orange County Sheriff unlawfully restricted public access. Thank you California Coastal Commission for supporting the citizen’s right to coastal access.

  • May 23, 2019 at 11:13 am

    I’m good with them reducing the time on the dinghy dock. Too many people store their boats on a permanent basis, not allowing others to tie up. No one should get FREE storage. Keep the boats moving so we ALL can enjoy the water.

  • May 23, 2019 at 9:42 pm

    Dear Concerned Boater, you stated 20 minutes is a great time limit because it gives you time to run to the store etc. The problem is the nearest store is a 20 minute walk away. Therefore, your dinghy will be impounded by the time you get back. I am guessing you are not that familiar with the area or simply offering blind support of the Harbor Patrol. According to the Coastal Commission letter dated 5/21/19 the Orange County Sheriff’s Harbor Patrol violated the law and shall be held to task. I believe the manager at the Harbor Patrol made these illegal access changes during his first month on the job. Not good.

  • May 24, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    Local Boater, did you read my post? I said “I’m glad to see that the time limit will be LONGER than 20 minutes.” Agreed, 20 minutes is too short. Also, I assume you also read the CCC letter to the Harbor Patrol. No where did they say it was a violation of law. They are in “non-compliance” with a permit, not a violation of the law. So before you call me out on my post and misstate the CCC letter, maybe you should read the CCC letter and my original post one more time. I’m not saying I agree or disagree with what the HP is doing, but at least we should have the information correct.

  • May 28, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    Dear Concerned Boater,
    The Coastal Commission Enforcement letter against the OC Sheriff’s Harbor Patrol mentions non-compliance with previous permits (they didn’t keep their promise). It further states that the OC Sheriff’s harbor patrol made other changes to access without applying for a Coastal Development Permit. I believe it is unlawful to make changes in coastal access without applying for a permit. Not good…….



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