Chapter 17.25


17.25.010    Docking Regulations.

17.25.020    Anchorage, Berthing and Mooring Regulations.

17.25.030    Storage Regulations.

17.25.010 Docking Regulations.

A.    Docking Permission Required.

1.    No person having charge of any vessel shall make the same fast to any pier, either public or private, in Newport Harbor, or permit the same to remain at such location after finishing loading or unloading such vessel, without the consent of the City, owner, agent, or person in charge of any such pier.

2.    No person shall make fast any vessel to any other vessel already occupying any pier, either public or private, without first obtaining a special event permit as required in Chapter 11.03. At the Rhine Wharf, the Harbormaster shall have the authority to authorize this activity, via a Rhine Wharf permit, under either of the following conditions:

a.    A commercial fishing vessel is loading or unloading, and no other mooring or berthing space is available in Newport Harbor for this purpose; or

b.    A vessel is taking refuge from inclement weather and no other mooring or berthing space is available in Newport Harbor for this purpose.

In no event shall more than one vessel be made fast to the dockside vessel and no other vessel shall be made fast to the outboard vessel. Both vessels shall have operators aboard at all times.

3.    No person holding a harbor development permit issued under the terms of Chapter 17.50 or having care, custody, control or use of any pier in Newport Harbor shall permit or allow a vessel to be made fast to any other vessel which is occupying any pier over which the permit holder has control, except as provided in the exceptions found in subsection (A)(2) of this section.

B.    Obstruction Prohibited. No person shall intentionally obstruct the free access to and departure from any portion of any pier.

C.    Time Limits and Rules.

1.    Public piers and other Newport Harbor facilities may be maintained by the City for the purpose of loading and unloading passengers, supplies, and boating gear and for similar purposes. It is the policy of the City 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 to avoid extended occupancy, congestion or blocking thereof, the Harbormaster is authorized and directed to post the following dock markings or signs limiting the time during which a vessel may be tied up or secured or supplies or gear may be placed at or on any such pier or facility or limiting vessel length. The dock markings shall have the following meanings:

a.    Blue markings shall mean vessels may be tied up or secured for twenty (20) minutes maximum.

b.    Green markings shall mean vessels may be tied up or secured for three hours maximum.

c.    White markings shall mean vessels may be tied up or secured for twelve (12) hours maximum.

d.    Black markings shall mean vessels may be tied up or secured for twenty-four (24) hours maximum.

e.    Yellow markings shall mean vessels may be tied up or secured for seventy-two (72) hours maximum.

f.    Red markings shall mean vessels shall not be tied up or secured for any amount of time.

g.    Orange markings shall mean the maximum length vessel permitted to be tied up or secured is nine feet.

h.    No vessel greater than thirty (30) feet long may be tied or secured at Central Public Pier.

2.    In addition to a Rhine Wharf permit issued in accordance with subsection (A)(2) of this section, the Harbormaster shall have the discretion to issue a Rhine Wharf permit, if an application is filed in accordance with Section 17.60.015, and the Harbormaster makes the findings set forth in Section 17.05.140(D). Unless a Rhine Wharf permit is issued the Rhine Wharf shall not be used by vessels for any purpose. A Rhine Wharf permit shall be subject to the following standard conditions as well as any additional conditions imposed by the Harbormaster:

a.    Vessels may be tied or secured to the Rhine Wharf for four hours maximum unless the Harbormaster determines special circumstances dictate an extension and the Harbormaster authorizes an extension;

b.    The Harbormaster shall have the authority to limit the size of vessels using the Rhine Wharf; and

c.    Vessels using the Rhine Wharf shall be in the actual process of loading, unloading, engaged in temporary repairs or taking refuge from inclement weather, when no other mooring or berthing is available.

3.    When dock markings and signs are posted giving notice of the time limits and/or size restrictions in subsections (C)(1)(a) through (h) of this section, no person shall tie up or secure a vessel at any such facility for a period of time in excess of that period, exceed the maximum permitted vessel length, or permit any supplies or gear to remain on such facility for a period in excess of that permitted by the dock markings or posted signs. Vessels tied up or secured in marked areas designated with time restrictions provided in subsections (C)(1)(c) through (e) of this section shall not continue to use that same dock area beyond those established periods by relocating the vessel to another section of that dock, or securing the line associated with that vessel to tie to another location on that dock. Any vessel that has occupied a marked area must be removed from the same public pier, dock or facility, after the expiration of the time allowed, and may not reoccupy the dock for a subsequent tie-up period sooner than twenty-four (24) hours following expiration of the time allowed.

4.    The Rhine Wharf shall be closed between the hours of midnight and 6:00 a.m. daily.

D.    Vessel Tie-Up Method. Every vessel tied up and secured at any pier in Newport Harbor shall be fastened in such a manner as to assure the security of such vessel fore (bow) and aft (stern) at a minimum with the exception of dinghies which may tie up bow only at public piers.

E.    Direct Fueling Prohibited. No person shall fuel any vessel with any petroleum product directly from a tank, wagon or truck except by a certified vessel designed for such purpose and with a conditional use permit or marine activities permit.

F.    Gangway Required—Lights. Every vessel used for hire while loading or unloading passengers or crew from a pier or from another vessel shall be provided with a gangway with manropes or railings, and from sunset until sunrise any such gangway shall be lighted adequately to provide visibility as long as such gangway is or may be used.

G.    Dockside Steam Engine Spark Prevention. No person shall use any donkey engine or other steam engine on any pier or vessel within Newport Harbor in loading or unloading vessels or otherwise without a bonnet or spark arrestor attached to the smokestack of such engine so as to prevent sparks from coming into contact with the pier or vessel. (Ord. 2022-9 §§ 3, 4, 2022; Ord. 2020-5 § 1 (Exh. 1) (part), 2020: Ord. 2018-17 §§ 25—27, 2018; Ord. 2011-6 § 3, 2011: Ord. 2008-2 § 1 (part), 2008)

17.25.020 Anchorage, Berthing and Mooring Regulations.

A.    Designated Areas. In the designation of mooring areas and anchorage areas, consideration shall be given to the needs of commerce, the utilization of the turning basins, the use of channels for navigation, and the economy of space.

1.    No person owning, leasing, occupying, or having charge or possession of any vessel shall:

a.    Berth or anchor the same in Newport Harbor except within the designated areas; or

b.    Anchor a vessel in any of Newport Harbor’s designated public anchorage areas or at any location on the open waters of the Pacific Ocean within five hundred (500) yards of a designated protected swimming area for a cumulative period of time that exceeds seventy-two (72) hours within any thirty (30) day period. The Harbormaster may authorize, in writing, an extension to the seventy-two (72) hour time limit if the Harbormaster determines that given the particular circumstances an extension of time is reasonable and warranted.

2.    Any vessel which is berthed, moored or anchored at a place in Newport Harbor not designated for such vessel shall be moved as directed by the Harbormaster.

3.    Mooring permittees shall, at their expense, move their vessels or relocate to another mooring when deemed necessary by the Public Works Director and/or Harbormaster to address vessels drifting from their assigned mooring locations or to address safety or navigational concerns. Offshore mooring permittees who are assigned to mooring rows with established lengths that are greater than the permittees’ mooring lengths by at least five feet shall be subject to relocation for the purpose of accommodating mooring extension requests under Section 17.60.040(M), with the costs to be borne by the requestor of the extension. The costs of moving the vessels or relocating to the reassigned mooring shall include the costs of moving the mooring equipment.

B.    Application of Chapter. The terms of this chapter, as they relate to moorings and buoys, shall apply to “on-shore moorings” which are moorings located landward of the pierhead line and to “offshore moorings” which are located bayward of the pierhead line, with equal force and effect.

C.    Berthing.

1.    Boats berthed at private or public piers shall not extend beyond the prolongation of the side property lines of the property or properties to which the pier is connected in accordance with Section 17.35.020.

2.    Any boat berthed at a pier or slip shall not extend bayward beyond the end of the pier or slip by a distance of more than the maximum width of its beam. Between Bulkhead Station 256, beginning at Collins Avenue to Bulkhead Station 255, boats moored at a pier or slip shall not extend more than fifteen (15) feet bayward beyond the end of the pier or slip or more than the width of the beam of the boat, whichever is less.

D.    Permit Required. No person shall place, erect, construct or maintain a pier mooring or buoy in the waters of Newport Harbor over City-owned or controlled tidelands without first having obtained a permit pursuant to this title.

E.    Unauthorized Use of Mooring. No person shall use a mooring unless he or she holds a current and valid permit except with the permission of the Harbormaster for temporary use, as herein provided.

F.    Mooring System Chains and Fastenings.

1.    No person shall erect, construct or maintain any mooring in Newport Harbor unless all chains and fastenings are of sufficient size to stand a breaking strain of at least six times the weight of the mooring.

2.    All mooring lines on buoys shall be so arranged that, when dropped, they will immediately sink. It shall not be a violation of this subsection for a double mooring to connect two mooring anchor lines or buoys with a spreader line having floats attached thereto to keep such spreader line afloat when the mooring is unoccupied.

3.    With the approval of the Harbormaster, mooring permittees may use a single buoy system for a two-point mooring by use of a sand line, defined as a line from one anchor line to the opposing anchor line and that is properly weighted to immediately sink when dropped. The mooring permittee shall submit a mooring modification request to the Harbormaster with details of the modification, including diagrams, if requested. The Harbormaster may approve or conditionally approve the request if the Harbormaster determines that the modification will not result in any safety or navigational concerns.

G.    Buoy Markings. Mooring buoys shall be painted with the number allocated thereto by the Harbormaster to the mooring, the numeral(s) of which shall be at least three inches in height.

H.    Mooring, Anchoring and Vessel Condition Requirements.

1.    Anchoring and Mooring. All vessels anchored on the open waters of the Pacific Ocean or in the designated anchorage area in Newport Harbor shall be anchored in such a manner so that the vessel does not come in contact with another vessel or structure. Vessels anchored in the designated anchorage area in Newport Harbor shall also not extend beyond the demarcation line of the designated anchorage area. All vessels using moorings in Newport Harbor shall be firmly anchored to a mooring from bow and stern in such a manner as to prevent the vessel from swinging, turning or drifting in a way that interferes with or impedes safe navigation around the moored vessel, except in areas designated by the Harbormaster as single mooring areas. Vessels in single mooring areas shall be tied from the bow. Double or two-point moorings that are equipped with two mooring buoys for mooring to both bow and stern are required to have at all times (a) a vessel properly tied to both mooring buoys or (b) a spreader line secured and connected to both buoys. The spreader line shall be kept clean of algae and other marine growth to ensure it remains easily visible. The maximum permitted mooring lengths shall not exceed the established length of their mooring rows. No portion of a moored vessel or any object attached to the vessel may extend into the mooring field fairways.

2.    Vessel Condition. Safety, Seaworthiness and Operability. Vessels assigned to a mooring by permit must be maintained in a safe, seaworthy and operable condition. If, based upon the appearance of the vessel, inspection by the City or other facts, the Harbormaster has cause to believe a vessel is not safe, seaworthy and operable, the Harbormaster shall give written notice to the permittee, in accordance with the service requirements of Section 1.05.030, requesting a demonstration that the vessel is safe, seaworthy and operable. The permittee shall, upon written notice specifying the date and time, demonstrate to the Harbormaster that the vessel assigned to the mooring is safe, seaworthy or operable. In the event that the Harbormaster determines that vessel is not safe, seaworthy or operable, the permittee shall:

a.    Commence repairs within thirty (30) days upon service of the written notice of such determination and complete repairs within ninety (90) days of the commencement unless the Harbormaster, upon written request from the permittee specifying the reasons therefor, approves an extension of time to complete the repairs; or

b.    Remove the vessel within thirty (30) days of service of the written notice of such determination and request assignment of a different vessel that is safe, seaworthy and operable to the mooring within sixty (60) days after the removal of the vessel. This section is not intended to apply to any brief period of repair common to most vessels. The Harbormaster may repeat his or her request to test operability and seaworthiness as needed.

3.    Vessel Condition—Public Nuisance. No person owning, leasing, occupying or having charge or possession of any vessel shall maintain, permit, cause or allow to exist on such vessel any of the following conditions:

a.    Promotion of a fire hazard, including, but not limited to, improper open fuel storage, deficiencies in the vessel’s fuel storage tanks, inoperable electrical systems, storage of combustible or other flammable material that constitutes a fire hazard to any vessel;

b.    Retention of water that becomes stagnant, unsanitary, or polluted;

c.    Accumulation or storage of rubbish, trash, debris, rubble, containers, or boxes that are visible aboard the vessel or stored inside the vessel in such a way as to make the vessel inoperable for its intended use;

d.    Storage or securing a vessel in such a way that it impedes pedestrian travel on City beaches and tidelands;

e.    Contribution to hazards to public safety or health, such as, but not limited to: propagation of vermin, rats, insects, or unsanitary conditions from the accumulation of fecal materials;

f.    Maintenance in such nonseaworthy condition that the vessel is unsafe, unsightly or poorly maintained, including, but not limited to: broken windows, unsecured doors or hatches, excessive marine growth attached to the vessel, being inoperable for the vessel’s intended use, partially destroyed or partially repaired for more than three continuous months, providing access to marine mammals, actively seeping hazardous or toxic material into the surrounding waters, or would present a physical danger to public safety personnel during emergency access;

g.    Operation of its mechanical or electrical systems creates excessive noise, odors, vibrations, fumes, discharges or emissions that constitute an impact on public health or safety;

h.    Violation of the terms and conditions of other use or rental permits as granted by the City;

i.    Allowance of repetitive, boisterous or unruly conduct by the vessel operator or occupants when that conduct:

i.    Is offensive to a person of ordinary sensibility, and

ii.    Continues after a written or oral request to terminate the conduct, or

iii.    Is offensive to a considerable number of people;

j.    Anchorage in an area controlled by the City without adequate anchor(s) rope or chain appropriate for the wind and sea conditions encountered in Newport Bay;

k.    Inability of a vessel on a shore mooring to be self-righting on an incoming tide without flooding the vessel;

l.    Attachment to a mooring in such a way that the vessel regularly drifts or impedes safe navigation in Newport Bay; or

m.    Installation of a marine sanitation device that is not connected directly to an internal holding tank at all times while in Newport Bay.

Violation of this subsection (H) is hereby declared to be a public nuisance. In the event that the City determines that a vessel is a public nuisance, the City may commence public nuisance abatement as provided in this title.

4.    If, based upon the appearance of the vessel, inspection by the City or Harbormaster or other facts, the Harbormaster determines that a sea lion has boarded a moored vessel, the Harbormaster shall issue and serve a notice of violation in accordance with Section 1.05.030 and the permittee shall take any and all necessary action to employ and maintain appropriate measures to deter sea lions from boarding the vessel within seven days of the notice of violation. If the Harbormaster determines that appropriate deterrent measures have not been taken within seven days of the notice of violation, the Harbormaster may issue an administrative citation or take any other enforcement action authorized by this Code. In the event the Harbormaster issues an administrative citation, the permittee shall:

a.    Take any and all necessary action to employ and maintain appropriate sea lion deterrent measures; or

b.    Remove the vessel from Newport Harbor.

“Appropriate deterrent measures” shall be defined as the latest methodology permitted by National Marine Fisheries Service to minimize sea lion boarding of vessels assigned to a mooring. If the City is unable to reach the permittee within the seven days, the Harbormaster may install temporary deterrent measures as needed and recover the City’s cost of compliance.

I.    Maintenance. All moorings shall be kept in good and serviceable condition in the location assigned by the Harbormaster. Mooring permittees shall be responsible for the maintenance, repair, and replacement of mooring system components including, but not limited to, chains, shackles, anchors, weights, lines, buoys, and all other gear and equipment used in securing the vessel to the mooring. This subsection shall not apply to City-installed anchors for use as shared moorings, which shall be maintained, repaired, and replaced by the City.

J.    Specifications. Specifications for the size of chains required on moorings, weights of moorings, and other mooring equipment shall be established by the Harbor Commission.

K.    Inspection of Moorings. Each mooring shall be lifted by the owner for inspection by the Harbormaster at least once every two years and shall be repaired, as necessary, so as to be in good condition before being replaced; provided, that the Harbormaster may require any mooring to be lifted at any time when deemed necessary to assure it is in good condition. If the permittee has such lifting performed by a marine contractor, then the Harbormaster may authorize such contractor to inspect the mooring on behalf of the Harbormaster and certify the results to the Harbormaster in writing. The permittee shall pay the costs of any inspection performed by a contractor on behalf of the Harbormaster.

L.    Rental Not Permitted. Except as authorized in Section 17.60.040(B)(1)(a), no mooring may be leased or rented by the permittee to another person except with the written permission of the Harbormaster.

M.    Administration. The Harbormaster shall administer all provisions in this section. (Ord. 2023-22 § 757, 2023; Ord. 2023-8 §§ 1—5, 2023; Ord. 2020-27 § 3, 2020; Ord. 2020-5 § 1 (Exh. 1) (part), 2020: Ord. 2018-17 § 28, 2018: Ord. 2013-11 §§ 147—150, 2013; Ord. 2010-5 §§ 1, 2, 2010; Ord. 2009-2, §§ 4, 5, 1-27-2009; Ord. 2009-1 § 1, 1-27-2009; Ord. 2008-2 § 1 (part), 2008)

17.25.030 Storage Regulations.

A.    Vessel or Trailer Storage on Beaches Prohibited—Exceptions. No person shall store any vessel, trailer or other similar object on any public beach in the City except as provided in subsection (A)(1) of this section. As used in this section, the term “store” shall mean to leave or permit to remain unattended for a period of three hours or more and not in the possession or control of the owner or user.

1.    Vessels, watercraft and equipment directly related to the use of the vessel or watercraft (related equipment) may be stored on a public beach as follows:

a.    Any vessel(s), watercraft and/or related equipment owned and maintained by the City or its contractors which is (are) used in conjunction with recreation programs offered by the City;

b.    Any vessel(s), watercraft and/or related equipment that cannot feasibly be berthed or moored at a privately owned pier or mooring and is (are) used by a nonprofit corporation for noncommercial purposes provided a vessel storage permit has been approved by the Harbormaster. An application for a vessel storage permit shall be filed with the Harbormaster, in accordance with Section 17.60.015 and issued if the Harbormaster makes the findings set forth in Section 17.05.140(D) and there is substantial evidence that the permit would not adversely affect the health, safety or welfare of those who use, enjoy or own property on or near the waters of Newport Bay. Vessel storage permits are subject to the following standard conditions as well as any additional conditions imposed by the Harbormaster:

i.    The permittee shall not cause or permit any unreasonable noise that would adversely affect the use or enjoyment of public or private property in the vicinity of the vessel, watercraft or equipment;

ii.    The permittee shall not engage in, or permit, any activity that unreasonably interferes with the use of the beach or adjoining waters by the public;

iii.    The permittee shall not cause or permit any activity that pollutes any public or private property of the waters of Newport Bay; and

iv.    Notwithstanding the process set forth in Chapter 17.70 for the revocation of permits, the permit provided herein may be revoked by the Harbormaster, without cause, at any time, upon thirty (30) days’ written notice to the permittee.

c.    Any vessel for which a mooring permit has been issued by the City pursuant to Section 17.60.040, or any successor section, provided the vessel remains on the beach only to the extent necessary to load or unload. (Ord. 2020-5 § 1 (Exh. 1) (part), 2020: Ord. 2018-17 § 29, 2018: Ord. 2008-2 § 1 (part), 2008)