Letters/Online Comments

Letters/Online Comments

RE: “To Dock or Not To Dock: Sheriff’s Authority Still Unclear” (Aug. 9-22)

The Log, as usual, seems to leave out the section(s) (information) that do not support their agenda. After reading your digital edition and doing a little research, I easily found the below information.

This is the rest of section 2-2-31.

“The powers and duties of the Director set forth in this section 2-2-31 and elsewhere in this division, and each of said duties, unless otherwise expressly provided, may be performed by the Director, or by any other designated County employee, agent or independent contractor directed or authorized by the Director or the Board to exercise any of said powers or perform any of said duties.”

And don’t forget this one.

Sec. 2-2-134. – Maintenance of facilities.

Public piers and other harbor facilities may be maintained by the county for the purpose of loading and unloading passengers, supplies and boating gear and for similar purposes. It is the policy of the county to maintain such facilities in a manner that will permit the greatest public use and avoid continuous occupancy, congestion or blocking thereof. Where necessary to achieve public use and avoid extended occupancy, congestion or blocking thereof, the director is authorized and directed to post signs limiting the time during which a vessel may be docked or supplies or gear may be placed at or on any such pier or facility. When such sign is in place giving notice of such time limit, no person shall dock a vessel at any such facility for a period of time longer than posted or permit any supplies or gear to remain on such facility for a period of time longer than posted.

The Sheriff’s Department has managed those docks and has enforced the laws in all three Orange County harbors since they took over the Harbor Patrol duties in 1975. Both of these are duties of the Director of OC Parks, which have been delegated to the Sheriff’s Department for the last 44 years. By the way, the dingy dock hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., the same as the adjacent county beach.

Concerned Boater


Much ado over a clear lack of authority. While I do not necessarily agree with allowing a single bureaucrat to decide where I can or cannot be/how long I can be there, the facts provided do make it clear that the sheriff has no such authority in this situation. Even if the sheriff has the authority to enforce the limitation, it does not include the authority to create it.

Brian Aherne


I think what The Log did in a great way is to really ask the larger question of whether boating access is a unilateral decision to be made by one person or one that values the needs of all constituents. It’s clear this decision was the former. If that’s perceived to be an “agenda,” I applaud The Log and any other public servant who recognizes it that way.

Sailboat Scotty


My question is does the Sheriff’s department have a letter from the director authorizing the sheriff to create and enforce regulations concerning the Orange County harbors and docks? The sheriff can not assume or presume authority. It must be specifically designated by the director.

Bruce Brewer


RE: “Diving boat fire near Santa Cruz Island leads to tragic loss of life” (Aug. 23-Sept. 5)

I managed to get ahold of a deck plan for Conception.  There are the stairs forward, and a hatch aft in the bunkroom.  It looks like both required exits from the bunk room went through the galley area.  If the fire started in the galley area, and it was fully engulfed by the time people woke up, their only exit would be into the flames.  It seems to me that the requirement that there be two exits should be modified that each exit empties into separate spaces or onto the deck.  Having both exits empty into the area that is most likely to have a fire (galley) is flawed at best.

Capt. Mark F. Sandorf



Ace Carter


If there was an explosion on board, it does not sound like it started in the galley unless the appliances are gas fired, i.e. propane. The galley in most vessels like Conception are electric, and to power these appliances there must be a diesel generator to handle the load. So if was an explosion in the middle of the night it would lead me to think that a generator was running and had a mechanical failure that lead to a high enough temperature to ignite the fuel supply, maybe locked pump or bearing failure. Whatever the cause, it seems that if there are people below decks that can be trapped, all potential fire hazards have to be eliminated. No running gensets, electrical systems turned off at the source, breaker panel. And maybe an escape hatch that does not lead through the vessel. Everything should be turned off when everyone is asleep. The layout on this boat is the same as most large charter boats in Southern Cal. Something needs to be changed.

Larry Genolio


Although the Santa Cruz/Conception boat fire event likely progressed more rapidly than could have been mitigated due to a host of facts, this tragedy serves as a clarion call to governmental leaders for enhancements to the fire defensive posture by local/state government in California and State Fire Training/State Fire Marshal to develop a modern training curriculum for marine firefighting. This could be used as a platform for agencies tasked with legitimate jurisdictional authority for marine firefighting duties to begin to deploy adequate and capable resources needed for vessel fires so as to properly protect human life.

P. Matheis

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2 thoughts on “Letters/Online Comments

  • John J McDevitt

    How much time elapsed between the initial or incipient stage/time of the fire and time the crew member was awaken by the sounds of a roaring fire beneath him in the galley? Five minutes, ten minutes, twenty minutes?
    Fifty years ago smoke alarms were invented and everywhere you go they are required by law. The only smoke alarm required on this vessel was in the bunk room, which of course didn’t serve those poor folks who lost their lives very well. There was apparently no propane or other volatile product aboard the vessel. The generator was located in the engine room. The cause of this fire was likely a defective device while charging or an electrical defect or overload of some sort. The investigation process will determine this. It will likely be an ignition source that might happen most anywhere. …and working smoke alarms prevail in most of these instances.

    When this sad event is investigated fully, the NTSB will criticize the Coast Guard for the lack of adequate requirement for early warning smoke detection in this vessel.
    The Coast Guard needs to stop ignoring and embrace 50 year old technology to prevent this from happening again.

  • James Tuley

    Does the Dana point code enforcement have the legal right to make decision for the coastal commission for home owners permits for walls, property grade, pools etc? And if they do who monitors there process and policy to make sure they are not inflicting unnecessary laws and permits on Home owners in Dana point.



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