Editorial: Slip Transfers Draw Scrutiny

The city of Oceanside has been contemplating changes to Oceanside Harbor’s current policy of letting boaters who hold a slip lease in the municipal marina transfer that slip lease when they sell their existing boat to a new buyer. While prohibiting marina slip transfers could make selling a boat in Oceanside a lot more difficult, critics of the status quo have claimed the chaos would be worth it, because the waiting list for boat slips would start opening up as existing boats leave the harbor.            

Right now, Oceanside Harbor’s slip waiting list has 63 names on it, and it takes about three years for 30-foot and smaller slips to become available. Slips larger than 40 feet can take as long as 10 years to become available to waiting list boaters — but the list does move.            

Some boaters said they feared that Oceanside’s slip transfer policy could someday open the door to de facto “selling” of municipal slips, such as what happened with moorings in Newport Harbor before current policies were changed there. In this scenario, boaters could sell a rundown boat for as much as 10 times its value to a buyer who really only wants the mooring or slip it is occupying — and in such a “hot” market, no one would ever get a boat slip simply by putting their name on a waiting list.            

However, no signs point to that situation occurring in Oceanside. “There are some rare occurrences of abuse of the slip transfer (policy), where we might see an ad on Craigslist for a slip for sale,” said Oceanside Harbor and Beaches director Frank Quan said. “But I don’t know if that warrants doing away with the slip transfer entirely.”            

Harbor Advisory Committee member Jim Jenkins emphasized that is important to keep slip transfer capability for Oceanside Harbor. He warned that changing the rules would make selling boats in the 900-slip marina very difficult in the future, if boat buyers had to find a new slip following their boat purchase — and changes could actually lead to more instances of abandoned boats in the harbor.            

The Oceanside Harbor Advisory Committee has wisely recommended that the current policy allowing slip transfers be continued — and we agree.

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