With the aid of two grants, Redondo Beach completed the installation of 25 transient vessel moorings in the main channel of King Harbor in 2014. The maintenance budget far outpaces the revenues and the City Council wants to work with the California Division of Boating and Waterways, one of the agencies that provided the grant funds, to reduce the field to 10.
REDONDO BEACH—In 2011, Redondo Beach received a grant from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the California Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW), with a 15 percent match fronted by the city, to develop a transient mooring field in King Harbor. The hope was it would make King Harbor a more appealing stopover for boaters cruising up the coast and bring more people to restaurants, hotels and amenities in Redondo Beach.
With the tightening of the belt, so to speak, in the city’s budget due to covid-19 related economic losses, new scrutiny has been vocalized about this mooring field. What is the usage? How much money does it make? How much does it cost to maintain it?
The basic answers to those questions were broken down by city staff during the recent Fiscal Year 2020/21 budgeting process.
Maintenance activities are provided on a quarterly, bi-annual and annual basis, and include cleaning buoys and removing marine growth, monitoring sand lines and bow/stern lines for wear and tear and replacing as needed, inspecting underwater mooring hardware and replacing as needed and providing photographs to document the condition and deterioration of underwater mooring hardware.
In 2016, the city awarded a five-year contract to Marine Tech Engineering for the maintenance work. In 2016, the not to exceed cost for the work was $101,789, which was reduced to $60,000 in the 2018/2019 budget year.
Both those numbers far surpass the amount of revenue the mooring field has brought in over the past two years.
According to numbers from Leonardo Management, the property management company used by the city to oversee the Redondo Beach Marina leasehold, total revenues collected for mooring rentals in 2018 were $9,036 and $17,556 in 2019. In 2018, 3.7 percent of the available mooring days were used and in 2019, 7.4 percent of the available mooring days were used.
The management duties were transferred to Leonardo Management from the Redondo Beach Harbor Patrol as part of an effort to increase usage of the mooring field and get the word out among the boating community.
Other economic factors, such as how much boaters using the transient moorings spent while visiting the harbor were not provided.
According to previous Log reporting, in 2008, when the moorings were still just a proposal, it was estimated the addition of a mooring field could bring in $689,000 in additional revenue, based on the time’s Southern California average for transient mooring fees of $2 per foot, per day.
As the city works to balance maintenance costs and revenues for the mooring field, another factor is in play. The Grant Agreement with the DBW requires the city to “ensure the facilities will continue to serve their intended purposes throughout their useful life (20 years).” Under the stipulation, the city would need to maintain the moorings until 2031.
In their final 2020/21 budget resolution, the City Council passed a resolution to work with DBW to reduce the number of grant funded King Harbor moorings from 25 to 10.
“I fully support working with the state to remove a significant number of them, they just don’t get used and to incur even a small amount to maintain them, they’re just sitting out there I rarely see more than four or five of them under use” Mayor Bill Brand said at June 16 City Council meeting.
On DBW’s end, according to previous Log reporting, they pumped $250,000 to install the mooring field. Log reporting from 2012 stated those funds were originally granted in April 2009, but Cal Boating deferred awarding the funds as the state dealt with budget cuts and economic recession.
The underutilization of the mooring field also made headlines in 2017 in The Beach Reporter.