Port of San Diego hopes to fine-tune in-water hull cleaning policy

Regional agency is reviewing stakeholder feedback, hopes to have something on paper by February or March.

SAN DIEGO—Plans to amend the Port of San Diego’s in-water hull cleaning policy were put off, Dec. 10, 2019, as the district’s staff and board members held off on a planned public hearing to allow for more time to review stakeholder feedback.

Port district staff planned to discuss a proposed in-water hull cleaning policy at the Board of Port Commissioners’ Dec. 10, 2019 meeting, but pushed the hearing to a future meeting after it was determined there were a few issues that still needed to be ironed out.

Commissioners are likely to weigh-in on a proposed policy in February or March 2020, according to a port district spokesperson.

Boaters and other stakeholders, meanwhile, were encouraged to submit questions, comments or concerns to port district staff by Dec. 23, 2019. Port district staff planned to evaluate next steps and determine whether they need to re-engage with the boating and maritime community, in order to gather more information or perspective.

The port district had drafted some policy changes on in-water hull cleaning practices and presented them to stakeholders. Three informational meetings were held in recent weeks, according to stakeholders who were in attendance. Several boaters and divers expressed concerns about the policy draft, at least one stakeholder told The Log.

Port district staff pulled the in-water hull cleaning policy proposal off the Dec. 10 commission meeting but doing so didn’t prevent divers and other stakeholders from appearing in front of the board and sharing their concerns.

Divers specifically stated a proposal to restrict the cleaning of hulls to once per month was counter productive. The proposal, according to divers, would lead to more aggressive cleaning, which means more copper in the water and a shortened lifespan for bottom paints.

Updating the port district’s in-water hull cleaning policy is part of a deadline to reduce copper levels in the waters of San Diego Bay. Shelter Island Yacht Basin has specifically been under a copper-reduction mandate, known as Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL. The port district and other entities were specifically directed to reduce copper levels in the water of Shelter Island Yacht Basin by 76 percent by 2022.

Port district staff stated they want to work collaboratively with marinas, boat yards and boaters, among others, in updating the in-water hull cleaning policy.

Changes to the in-water hull cleaning policy and ordinance was to be deliberated by the Board of Port Commissioners in January 2020; the discussion/public hearing is now expected to happen several weeks later, either in February 2020 or March 2020.

The Log will monitor this story and update readers as developments occur.

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One thought on “Port of San Diego hopes to fine-tune in-water hull cleaning policy

  • January 18, 2020 at 7:27 am
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    The Port’s hull cleaning policy continues to be (amended or not) a poorly crafted, toothless and ineffective attempt to reduce copper loading in San Diego’s waterways. The only way to reach the federally mandated water quality goals for copper is to ban copper-based anti fouling paints. Studies have proven that even eliminating in-water hull cleaning altogether would not achieve this. The Port is merely going after an easy target by regulating hull divers in this way.

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