Paul Lawrence retires as head of Oceanside Harbor

City appoints an interim and announces search for a new harbormaster.

OCEANSIDE — Changes are afoot at Oceanside Harbor as the waterfront’s most recent manager retired after three years on the job.

Former Oceanside Harbor Manager Paul C. Lawrence officially ended his tenure at San Diego County’s northernmost boating venue June 16, opening the door for a new marine professional to succeed him in managing the waterfront.

City officials appointed an interim manager to over see harbor operations until the city announced a permanent hire.

The job announcement, which will remain open through July 14, states the new Harbor Division Manager would report to the city’s Public Works department and earn between $92,688.00 and $118,212.00 annually.

Lawrence’s successor would be responsible for overseeing harbor operations, maintenance and administration, according to the job posting. The new harbor manager would also manage properties, develop long range plans and programs, implement strategies based upon local and national legislation and monitors compliance with establish policies, among other responsibilities.

The successful candidate must have at least three years of supervisorial experience and five years experience overall in the public or private sector. He or she must have demonstrable ability to “successfully perform the duties of a Harbor Division Manager,” the city job advertisement stated.

Prior marina management experience is not necessary but “highly desirable,” the advertisement continued.

Lawrence was hired as Oceanside’s harbor manager in August 2014. He was previously at Dana Point Harbor.

Clarifying a policy on personal watercraft vessels (kayaks and standup paddleboards) and improving the harbor’s water quality were two of Lawrence’s successful initiatives at Oceanside Harbor.

The city installed bilge pumpout stations and multiple trash skimmers throughout the harbor in an effort to improve water quality.

Harbor officials also accepted bilge pads, oil, filters and antifreeze/coolant fluids at the landside office to help keep such elements out of the water.

The current summer cycle could determine if new personal watercraft policy proves to be beneficial.

“I think what will happen is they’ll do educational stops when then observe people not following the ordinance,” Lawrence said, adding the new policy focuses on educating all harbor users on traffic flow and safety.

He added a work plan for development of dock conditions is currently in development. Some boater service building upgrades could be in store as part of the work plan.

The future of Helgren’s Landing was another hot topic during Lawrence’s tenure. Oceanside’s City Council extended the lease for Helgren’s Landing in mid-April after a contentious battle over the venue’s future. City officials had initially agreed to permit a local group to take over the landing and establish a sportfishing landing and marine education center at Oceanside Harbor. The city, however, changed direction several months later and allowed Helgren’s Sportfishing to remain at the landing through November.

Lawrence, who is retiring to spend time with family, said he is leaving Oceanside Harbor in good shape.

“I think things are in quite good order. The facility conditions are quite good,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence’s starting salary in 2014, according to city documents, was $123,120. He spent more than a decade at Dana Point Harbor prior to assuming his role in Oceanside and served on California Coastal Commission’s Clean Marina Harbor Advisory Committee.

No timeline was announced as to when a permanent hire would be made.

Parimal M. Rohit photo

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