Gangway Gazette


All out attack on ABM Marina Parking… and boat owners.

The following is an open letter to the Marine Advisory Commission ABM parking lot Sub-Committee:

January 3, 2022

Submitted to: Marine Advisory Commission ABM parking lot Sub-Committee

From: Long Beach Marine Owners Association (BOA), Joan Palango, Executive Vice President

The Long Beach Marina Boat Owners Association (BOA) has a 60-year history of representing boaters’ interest to the City of Long Beach. We feel this collaboration has helped to make the Long Beach Marinas world-class.

We have carefully reviewed the proposals presented by Walker Consultants comparing them to relevant California Coastal Commission Rulings and the Long Beach Coastal Commission guidelines and our experience as owners of boats in Alamitos Bay Marina and have significant concerns about the recommendations.

We were hopeful this project would be unbiased respecting the views of the current stakeholders as well as the perspective of the city. We believed there would be at least some recommendations regarding safety concerns caused by the addition of 2nd and PCH especially on Marina Drive, and the flow of traffic through, into and out of the parking lots. However, thus far the scope seems solely focused on figuring out how to charge for parking. There’s been little, if any concern for safety or the equity of boat owners and other stake holders who paid for this lot. 

  • We recognize and understand the difficulties of conducting the research to create the plan given what we have all been through with Covid, however:
    1. This conversation started in 2019 when 2nd and PCH became the only paid parking facility in the area, especially considering the premium pricing and apparent lack of provisions for
      no-or-low-cost employee parking.
    2. Boating has gained popularity, especially during Covid, and the marina has a very high occupancy rate.  
    3. California Coastal Commission and Long Beach Local Coastal Program (LCP) guidelines were not followed.
    4. In the many meetings that have been held on this subject we have tried to explain our situation and are frustrated as our concerns have, for the most part, not been acknowledged or addressed.
    5. Most of the time there is sufficient reserved parking for boat owners. We do acknowledge that sometimes the public parking areas are crowded or full.  The shortages we, as residents, have observed is caused by 2nd and PCH overflow, Ballast Point and some special events. We feel the overflow is mostly 2nd and PCH employees who are not provided free parking by their employers, and since it’s $30/day to park there, it’s obvious they would walk across the street to our free parking lot.
    6. We think the popularity of Ballast Point exceeded many of our expectations. Other than the parking overflow we’re told it also causes problems for other merchants in the Landing. But even more important is their clients have fallen in the water and been rescued by boaters or got themselves out of the water by climbing up our swim steps since swimming is not permitted and there are very few ladders in the marina. 
    7. Expecting boaters to take on the burden of schlepping gear on bikes or busses, parking in remote areas, paying for parking and ending agreements with long-term stakeholders is unconscionable.  
    8. In the Plan there is an apparent attitude of entitlement by encouraging non-marina related activities and a lack of appreciation for the boaters and merchants who have funded the marina, the contractual rights granted in leases to the current stakeholders and the spirit of Coastal Commission rulings.
  • Coastal Commission: Relevant Sections:

30224: Increase recreational boating use, limit non-water-dependent land use causing congestion
30234: … recreational boating industries shall be protected… upgraded… and not be reduced…

30213: Lower cost visitor and recreational use shall be protected and provide for
20234: favors commercial fishing and recreational boating usage above all other business-like restaurants.

Feb 2003: 5-92-050-A2: ABM Landing: general public, first-come, first-served, 2 hours free parking, $1/30 minutes, max $10,

Feb 2016: 5-92-050-Item F20C Addendum, Ballast Point: Terminated parking fees, valet parking, removed 2-hour parking restriction, removed parking restrictions signage in parking lot, remove traffic control electronic arm at payment kiosk.

Embarking on a plan to frustrate use and enjoyment of activities and services for recreational boating is clearly forbidden.

The Plans idea of “equity” use of fishing, bicycling, pedestrians, and attendees of Farmers Market does not justify a “need” to discourage boaters’ use of their boats by making it expensive, inconvenient, or reducing the number of parking spots.

  1. Long Beach Local Coastal Program (LCP) relevant notes:
    • Alamitos Bay has probably reached near-capacity regarding human uses and ecological viability.” (Local Coastal Plan, Feb 1980, updated Oct 2020, Page III-R-6)
    • The LCP states: “Not less than 0.75 parking spaces per boat slip shall be maintained”
      • According to Walker there are 1295 slips in ABM.
      • 1295 x .75 = 917.25.
      • 753 spots are assigned, including ADA restricted boat owner spots.
      • This calculation points out a shortage of 218 parking spots for marina boat owners.
  2. 90% of marina operations are paid by slip fees, 8.6% by retail restaurants and other concessioners and the balance small percentage is collecting fines or parking tickets and the like. The current complement of restaurants and retailers are in line with the LCP and maximize what is currently permitted. Many tenants are long term, Little Ships being here before the Marina was even built and then there is the San Pedro Fish Market opened late in 2019.
    • Of the 2,654 parking spots in the marina Walker calculated 1841 public parking spots. However, if all lease agreements to merchants, boaters, yacht clubs, marine operations are considered 100% of the parking spot have some type of legally binding agreement attached to them. There is some ambiguity about agreements with the tenants in Alamitos Bay Marina Center where Seal Beach Yacht Club, West Marine, Schooner or Later are that could make the number of parking spots with legally binding commitments as high as 3,619. Under contract law ambiguity is resolved against the party who drafted the contract.
    • The city has a duty to respect the property rights of the parking spaces that are included in our leases.  Imposing paid parking on any of us would violate the terms and conditions of the Leases which are legally enforceable. Does the City really want to go down that path??
  3. The study did not fully leverage Marine Bureau expertise and responsibilities and did not recognize the uniqueness of a marina.
    • Primary concern for marinas is running a “Clean Marina.” Long Beach has been certified since 2006. The Clean Marinas California Program was developed to provide clean facilities to the boating community and protect the state’s waterways from pollution.
    • The marina is BIG business. We are paying for the $114 Million bond without the help of the city or the Tidelands fund.
    • We have covered the cost of parking lot refurbishment, repairs, and restriping as requirement of the bond we have been covered. And we have sufficient reserves to now dream about and execute a new 5-year plan.
    • A City audit performed in 2011 points out the Marina Operations are funded 90% by slip fees and 8.6% by concession/retail lease funds.
    • When we asked where any revenues from the parking lot meters would go, we were told they’d go to the Tidelands fund. So of course, we would receive no benefit. However, we have been asked to make many adjustments and sacrifices. I think you will agree that is not equitable or reasonable!!
    • We’re a marina, not a beach. In fact, the nearest beach is a 5 minute drive or 19 minute walk.
    • Many of the non-marina actives the plan has suggested are not allowed in the marina: Fishing, Swimming, trespassing on the docks, using boat owner restrooms.
    • The homeless problem is as prevalent in the marina as in other parts of Long Beach. Homeless people have “camped out” illegally on our boats which are our homes away from home. Marine Patrol is in the process of adding gates so that they may effectively remove homeless people from privately owned boats that are ours not theirs.
    • Marine Bureau employees belong to a Union and the Marina has long-term contracts with vendors to provide many of the services that the Plan suggest being outsourced. What does the cities HR have to say about that?
    • Marine Patrol will always have responsibility to protect the docks.
    • So, we have to ask who will benefit? Seems pretty high risk and low return to the city.

Maybe the subcontractor benefits?? Just saying.

  • In addition to paying a fee for our slips boat owners contribute in many ways to the Long Beach economy as well as the County
  • ALL Boats in ABM, regardless of primary residence address, pay property tax to Los Angeles County. Property Tax is 4% for most recreational boats sail or power.
  • 968 (29%) of ABM slip holders are residents of Long Beach
  • 610 (63%) of Long Beach residents live in District 3
  • 130 (10%) are live-abords
  • Paid parking is a tax on using one’s boat.
    1. Each slip permittee listed as the legal owner may obtain boat owner parking permits included as part of the boat slip fees as follows:
      1. The majority owners, 50%+ (those who own a majority of a boat) may receive up to four parking permits.
      2. Minority partners, owners with less than 50% (non-majority owners) receive one parking permit. Per the City, most partnerships are made up of two partners. 
      3. Parking permits are included as part of the boat slip fees.
      4. As mentioned in the Plan most marinas include parking for slip owners.
  • Importance of Regatta and Sailboat Races.
    1. In San Pedro Bay there are 240 scheduled races per year sponsored by 14 area yacht clubs.
    2. Organized racing for owners of non-class boats in the Long Beach area was originated in 1937in Long Beach. Seal Beach YC started PHRF races in 1964. In 1967 The Association of San Pedro Bay Yacht Clubs was established to coordinated with the yacht clubs, crate an annual calendar, and inform the US Coast Guard of upcoming races.   
    3. There are races almost every day of the week year around. While there are more races in the summer, big race events such as Southern California Yachting Association (SCYA)
      Midwinter and Seal Beach Yacht Club Saturday and Sunday Sailors are held in winter.
      • SCYA started their Midwinter Regatta in 1928. Over the last 10 years the regatta has consistently attracted about 600 boats through 25+ host venues. Four area yacht clubs sponsor Midwinter regattas in San Pedro Bay.  
      • Seal Beach Yacht Club hosts 10 regattas from November through February attracting an average of 30 boats per race and 5 to 10 crew per boat.
    4. Seal Beach Yacht Club race program entry fees contribute 4% to total revenues and after race parties at the club contribute 15% to our food and beverage program.
  • Current Stakeholders considerations
    1. West Marine is one of the very few boat retailers in southern California within walking distance of a boat.
    2. Seal Beach Yacht Club:
      • 39% of members have boats in ABM, 7% in Shoreline.  61% of members DO NOT have boats in ABM.
      • 74 are Long Beach residents, 57 live in District 3. 
      • Club racing program entry fees contribute 4% of total revenues and 15% of Food and Beverage (F&B) sales. Rentals of the club account for 8% of revenues and 15% of F&B sales. The club would be put out of business if these programs were not supported, and free parking is an important part of the value equation.
    3. Navy Yacht Club and Little Ships Yacht Club are also very active clubs with racing and social programs.
  • Disconnects:
    1. A HUGE misunderstanding is that the parking lot is “one of the most valuable resources at ABM.”
    2. And according to the plan ABM parking is ancillary to the use of the area as a marina and secondary to the businesses associated with the marina. NO.. The parking lot is integral to the marina and providing us access to our boats. There are established precedents stating that multiple fees cannot be charged for activities that are tied into each other (ie: slip fees and parking fees to use the slip).
    3. Most visits to boats include doing repairs, provisioning, etc. to enjoy their homes on the water. One of the most frequent complaints by marina residents is there are never enough dock carts.
    4. The study includes use of incentives for alternative transportation such as riding a bus is absurd and would likely not be used.
    5. Bus Route 131 does not operate on Sunday, stops 31 times with nearest stop is in Belmont Shores, and there has not been a study to determine how many, if any, boaters live along this route.
    6. The study implies an employer-employee relationship between boat owners and tradespeople.  Workers are NOT employees. There is no employer-employee relationship. Most are independent contractors.
    7. The plan Provides four parking passes for boats owned by partners but will only allow 2 cars to be parked in the marina at the same time. Ludicrous. Partners need to work on their boats together and often use their boats together.
    8. They plan on creating dedicated long-term parking areas. If you leave your vehicle for more than 72 hours you will have to move your vehicle most likely to Basin 2 regardless of where your boat is. Also, an unrealistic non-starter.
    9. And, if that’s not enough they will end reciprocal parking arrangements between ABM and Shoreline. Seriously!?
  •  Requests
    1. Address the circulations problems in the ABM parking lot caused by the addition of 2nd and PCH. Of special concern is the safety of pedestrians especially at night. Also, traffic flow entering and leaving the parking lot needs to be addressed.
    2. Follow all spirit and rulings from the Coastal Commission and Long Beach Local Coastal Program (LCP).
    3. Walker should be transparent and provide cost and ROI estimates for their proposals.
    4. Recognize the financial investment current long-term stakeholders have made which allows the Marina Enterprise Fund to be self-funding and does not burden the City budget.
    5.  Additional revenues are to be used as directed by the bond covenants to pay for improvements to the marina.
    6. Do not incur costs associated with changing existing lease and union contracts that would materially alter the expectations and obligations under the current lease and breach the City’s duty to respect property rights and union contracts.
    7. Do not incur costs for more studies and the procurement of parking meters, restriping, especially considering the of more pressing financial issues facing the City. Especially consider the various Coastal Commission Rulings that do not favor charging for parking.
  •  AND THEN.. We have concerns regarding the new Marina Shores multi-use development, including up to 500 residential units. This has not been analyzed or referenced as part of this study, though it is obvious the whole area is in a state of change. Please don’t make the same mistakes with that development.  We are not anti-growth. We want the city to honor commitments that have been in place for 60+ years, recognize the uniqueness of the Marina, and stay within all Coastal Commission guidelines. 

Planning to leave your boat during the Coronavirus crisis? Read this first!

Leaving your boat unattended without proper planning can have a bad effect on your boat and spoil your fun on the water.

During this COVID-19 crisis you are allowed to visit and use your boat. Practice the Safer At Home policies of Safe Distancing and washing your hands. First on the check list is to have hand sanitizer on board and use it. For many of us our boats are our 2nd home, but in the event you need to leave your boat for awhile, here is a list of things to consider:

There are 5 major categories:

1. Unexpected visitors

2. Weather

3. Moisture

4. Inspections and Maintenance

5. Unexpected events, like fire or sinking.

Unexpected Visitors which could be humans or critters

  • Visitor-proof your boat: Lock hatches, doors, companionways.
  • Consider installing web-controlled cameras.
  • Chat up your local live-aboard to see how there doing, and ask them to keep an eye out. Exchange contact information with others on your dock.
  • Bugs and other animals are attracted by the smell of food. Wipe up any spills; throw away food, empty trash cans.
  • Remove any food you aren’t going to eat in the near future. Consider keeping a basic supply of food should you need to use your boat as a back-up to home.
  • Pasta, rice, crackers will mildew and attract bugs. Keep these items in the fridge or store in airtight containers.
  • Cambro Translucent Square Food Storage Container with Cover are good to use for grouping and storing similar items.
  • Soda cans or other aluminum cans will develop pinholes and leak.
  • Canned food is generally good up to 100 degrees.
  • Put out ant and roach traps throughout the boat.
  • Stuff the end of the boom with small towels to discourage bees, wasps and birds from nesting in the folds.


In Southern California we don’t have to worry about hurricanes or snow storms. But, we could have the occasional high wind, rain, but most likely sunshine.

  • Make sure canvas is well-lashed down.
  • Remove wind-vulnerable items for the deck and store them below.
  • Cover surfaces with canvas.
  • Curtains inside can save cushions from fading.
  • Wax the outside of the boat to maintain the color, shine, and integrity of a gel coat finish.


Yes, this is a problem even in warm Southern California.

  • Control mold or mildew by wiping down cabinets with a one of the many commercial products available or use a mixture of 50/50 vinegar and water.
  • Using a “Swifter” pad makes the job covers more area and makes the job faster.
  • Be careful to avoid wiping down metal handles and knobs. 
  • Track down leaks and fix them. Yes, easier said then done.
  • Put a few strategically placed fans to help with air circulation.
  • Leave on a low-powered portable heater or dehumidifier.
  • Open cabinet doors, remove unnecessary food, wipe down all surfaces, leave the doors open.
  • Wipe down the fridge. Leave only what is necessary for a quick or emergency trip to the boat.

Inspections and Maintenance

  • Check power connections are secured and there are no frayed wires.
  • Check dock lines for chafing. Double up if you are concerned.
  • Check scuppers to insure they not blocked.
  • Check hoses, through-hulls, the bilge, engine and any other potential problems.
  • Thru-hulls:
  • Bilge Pumps:
  • Check battery fluid levels and add distilled water if needed
  • Fuel tanks should be full to prevent condensation from forming
  • Add an additive/stabilizer to reduce oxidation which can create deposits which could damage fuel injectors, fuel lines, and other system components.
  • Diesel fuel is very different from gasoline For best performance do not use fuel additives that claim to work in both gas and diesel. 
  • Turn off toilets and similar items. Leave toilet lids up.
  • Note how the boat is floating in the water.
  • Take pictures of the inside and outside of the boat in case something unforeseen happens and you need proof for an insurance claim. One picture is worth thousands of words.. and even more thousands of dollars!!
  • You might consider putting your boat on a lift if it is appropriate size.
  • Continue with cleaning the bottom of the boat.

Unexpected Events

Do your best and let the rest go! You can’t be perfect, no matter how hard you try, so give yourself credit for making an effort and try to stop stressing about every possible problem and outcome.

Marine Patrol and Marina staff will continue to maintain the security of our marinas. If you are on your boat they request boatowners continue to be vigilant and report any issues of concern to the marina offices: 562.570.3215 (Alamitos Bay Marina) or 562.570.4950 (Shoreline Marina). In the event of an emergency contact the Police Department utilizing 911.


BOA was founded by regular people like you, as a grassroots organization with the mission of addressing and pursuing the common interests, issues and concerns of all boat owners in the Long Beach marinas.

We invite you to get involved and help us support our boating community. While we cannot celebrate in the way we would like to due to COVID-19, we invite you to join our board and volunteer your time to help make the Long Beach Marinas a better place for all of us.

8 Ways to Love Boating While Safely Waiting Out Coronavirus – from our friends at BoatUS

Offshore Sailing School’s Learn to Sail, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary’s Modern Marine Navigation courses free through May 15

Learning how to read charts is part of the online Modern Marine Navigation course now available at no cost through May 15.

SPRINGFIELD, Va., April 22, 2020 – For recreational boaters who are staying off the water during the coronavirus pandemic, there’s certainly more free time during what should be the busy spring launch season. So if boaters can’t get to their boats, what are they to do? Here are eight ways from Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) to keep the love of boating alive that could also make you a better, safer boat operator.

  1. Become a smarter sailor while saving big bucks by taking Offshore Sailing School’s Learn to Sail or the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary’s Modern Marine Navigation courses free any time through May 15. Use the coupon code “learnfree” at at registration.
  1. Checklists are great when you really need them — just ask the person at the boat ramp who forgot to install the hull drain plug. What kind of printed, laminated checklist would be helpful to have aboard? Ideas include: pre-launch checklist, trailering checklist (did you remember to cross the safety chains?), and safety checklist.
  1. Whether you’re an inshore day cruiser, offshore angler, or cruising sailor, you always need to be prepared to abandon ship. Here’s what to pack in a ditch kit.
  1. Docking can be a spectator sport. The BoatUS How to Dock a Boat YouTube playlist includes a range of docking scenarios that show you how, from outboard to inboard powered boats. It also includes ‘How to Back a Single Engine Inboard Boat Into a Slip’ – the single most impressive recreational boat docking maneuver of them all.
  1. If the boat and trailer are safely in the garage or driveway, now may be the time to look at all the things you never have enough time to, such as replacing outdrive anodes, changing trailer bearings or restoring the shine to gelcoat. It’s all in one place at BoatUS Trailer Boat YouTube playlist, including small boat handling tips such as ‘How to Use Trim Tabs,’ the most-watched BoatUS video ever.
  1. Learn how to tie up your family, pets or anything else around the house with help from the BoatUS Essential Boating Knots YouTube playlist. Practicing at home now will make these knots easier to remember aboard the boat when the pandemic is over.
  1. Consider supporting the waterfront businesses you enjoy and do business with – restaurants, chandleries, prop shops, sail lofts or other service providers – by purchasing a gift certificate. You can start by going to the local businesses’ website to see if they are available.
  1. Help protect the water you love and take the free, online BoatUS Foundation Clean Boating course, which offers simple steps you can take to reduce the impact boating activities on our waterways.

COVID-19 Need to know Q&A

The Long Beach Marina Boat Owners Association recently sat down with Marine Operations Superintendent – Todd Leland, in order to get information relevant to boaters regarding the current COVID-19 crisis.

Considering the unique situation of boat owners we developed the following Q/A regarding practices and recommendations to prevent further spread of Covid-19 virus in compliance with the Safer At Home Orders.


Q: Will the Marine Bureau be open and staffed?

A:  The Marine Bureau will remain staffed, but closed to the public. In-person appointments may be made by calling 562.570.3215 (Alamitos Bay Marina) or 562.570.4950 (Shoreline Marina).

Q: Are we allowed to visit our boats? Other than social distancing are there any restrictions?

A: Yes, However make certain to follow all directives and guidelines associated with the “Safer at Home” order that went effective at midnight on Friday, March 20 for Long Beach and LA County.

Q: Are live-aboards still allowed to live on their boats?

A: Of course. They too are expected to abide by the directives and guidelines of the “Safer at Home” order that went effective at midnight on Friday, March 20 for Long Beach and LA County.

Q: Are we allowed to take our boats out of their slips? Are there any restrictions on where we can take our boats?

A: Yes. Just continue to follow the directives and guidelines of the “Safer at Home” order that went effective at midnight on Friday, March 20 for Long Beach and LA County. There are no on-water restrictions in place at this time.

Q: Can workers still come to our boats? For example: Cleaning the bottom of the boat, mechanics, and those people who wash and wax or otherwise maintain the exterior of our boats?

A: Yes. Just continue to follow the directives and guidelines of the “Safer at Home” order that went effective at midnight on Friday, March 20 for Long Beach and LA County. Please note – It is likely non-essential companies that boat owners employ will be closed in observance of the “Safer at Home” order. (i.e. – bottom cleaning, wash/wax/detailing)

Q: Has/will Marina Patrol stepped-up/enhanced/increased security in the Marina’s? Obviously there are concerns about the safety of our boats, especially since they may be likely targets if shortages become widespread.

A: Marine Patrol and Marina staff will continue to maintain the security of our marinas. We request that our boatowners continue to be vigilant across our docks and report any issues of concern to our marina offices or in the event of an emergency the Police Department utilizing 911.

Q: Will the marina areas continue to be maintained? The birds will not stop pooping and debris will still be prevalent.

A: Marine Maintenance and Beach Maintenance will continue to work every day to maintain our marinas, facilities and beaches.  

Q: Are there any special or increased number of cleanings being done in the bathrooms?

A: Marine Maintenance Custodial staff has always utilized disinfectant products to clean and sanitize the marina restrooms, both public and boatowners only, and will continue to do so. Staff has and will continue to institute the appropriate measures to maintain the cleanliness of the restrooms in accordance with COVID-19 response parameters.   

Q: Who should we call if we have a problem? Will Marine Patrol be walking the docks and alert us if they see a problem on our boats, like vandalism or sinking?

A: All Marine Bureau operations have remained in place and are active. In the event of an identified issue with a vessel in our marinas the owner will be immediately contacted by the Marine Bureau.

Q: Will we be granted the same protection of other renters in Long Beach such as: a prohibition of late fees and terminations?

A: At this time the City of Long Beach, by order of our Health Department, has temporarily adjusted policy on utility payments. Boat slip fees should not be compared to the community health critical utilities of water, gas, sewer and power. As we move ahead and the response processes to COVID-19 stabilize the Marine Bureau will address unpaid boat slips fees and penalties/late fees associated on a case-by-case basis.

Q: Will the pumpouts be maintained?

A: Yes, pump-outs are an essential Marina service and will continue to be maintained.

Q: Will the Marina have a remote video monitoring system?

A: A comprehensive security camera system is on our Marine Bureau capital improvement projects list. For a long-lasting, state-of-the-art system to be installed our marinas will first require a complete and extensive infrastructure upgrade to fiber optic cable. This project is in the planning phase. In the meantime, I do know of quite a few boaters that have video monitoring systems aboard their vessels. These are very similar, if not identical, to the wireless home security systems that can be purchased at home improvement stores.

Q: Do you have any other advice for boat owners? Perhaps the Marina has given this, or similar situation, some thought before we became so overwhelmed.

The two most important things to do are: remain calm and take care of your family, friends and neighbors. The easiest way to do this is to adhere to the directives and guidelines of the “Safer at Home” order that went effective at midnight on Friday, March 20 for Long Beach and LA County. Be a strong practitioner of social-distancing and report any and all issues of concern to the Marine Bureau offices or in the event of emergency to the police department utilizing 911.

RE: Fuel Dock

LBMBOA board members also spoke with Mike Lombardi, General Manager of Dion & Sons the new owners of the fuel docks in both Shoreline and Alamitos Bay.

Q: Will the fuel docks remain open during this period?

A: Yes, Hours are 8am – 5pm. Alamitos Bay Phone number: (562) 594-0888, Shoreline: (562) 491-4636

Q: Do you anticipate any fuel shortages?

A: No. the fuel dock is a gas station and as such is an essential service described as exempt in the Safer at Home order. There are no anticipated fuel shortages. We supply the Coast Guard, Life Guards and other essential operations.

Q: Dion & Sons took over the operation of the fuel docks Feb 1.  Tell us a little about the company.

A: Dion & Sons is full service petroleum distributor. The fuel is transported directly from one of our refinery locations to the marina. We used to supply the former fuel dock. We cover Southern California via 6 facilities. We plan substantial renovations to the fuel docks which will become more apparent in the next few months.  Prices will be very competitive.

Copper bottom paints… on the endangered list? Not yet!

Due to some environmental concerns regarding copper levels in the water inside marinas and harbors, some bottom paints have found themselves in the environmental cross hairs.

In 2003 the EPA issued a water quality study that noted that high concentrations of copper impact some marine growth.  The study suggested a concentration level below which marine growth impact was minimal.   The various water quality bureaus eventually started to test their own harbors, and finding some areas that exceed the recommended maximum, started copper reduction programs.

In 2016 the EPA issued a much more detailed study of copper’s impact across the whole spectrum of marine organisms. While noting that most marine organism show copper impacts only at very high concentrations, some of the organisms at the base of the marine food chain are very sensitive.  The study proposed a much lower concentration limit.  The various water quality bureaus have yet to react to the proposed new standard.

So is my favorite bottom paint going to disappear? Not yet!

In 2015 California Department of Pesticide Regulation mandated a reduced copper leach rate.  Last year, paint manufacturers responded by reformulating their brands.  Your new bottom doesn’t have your old favorite paint, but it does meet the reduced leach rate. 

Unless you’re in Marina Del Rey or Shelter Island Harbor you are probably going to be able to use your reduced leach rate paint for years.  Bureaucrats controlling those waters are still focused on reducing the copper load in those marinas.  They are focused now on limiting bottom cleaning.  Each cleaning removes a lot of copper laden paint and adds a lot of copper to the local waters. These two harbors have also tried non copper bottom paints, with limited success.

The State of Washington wanted to eliminate copper bottom paint by 2017.  Since no alternatives appeared, that was changed to 2021.  Last fall, the Washington State Department of Ecology warned that alternatives to copper presented their own environmental risks.  Washington State is considering moving the cut off date to 2025.

The rush to eliminate copper in bottom paints has slowed for now.  After years of wishing for an alternative to copper bottom paints, none have appeared.  So the next best step, is to slow the rate that copper leaches from your bottom paint into the marina waters. 

Want to know more?

Port of San Diego –   EZ to use and find out the hot spots in Shelter Island,  what they’ve learned and what they are doing:

Marina Del Rey:

Practical Sailor –  April 2020 issue includes an update on bottom paints including which non copper paints they recommend.  You’ll have to subscribe.

Want the details from the EPA:

Tidelands… what is it?

By Dave Booker

California drew a coastal zone map and set up the California Coastal Commission to ensure public access to the coastal waters and beaches and regulate development within the coastal zone.   Local Agencies were required to develop a Local Coastal Program which, when approved by the Coastal Commission, would allow the locals to control development in their part of the coastal zone.  Long Beach has an approved Local Coastal Program … with one exception:

Only the Coastal Commission can approve development within any Tidelands.

So what are the Tidelands?

Long Beach Tidelands are lands between mean high tide and mean low tide , which include filled and unfilled lands , bordering upon, under, or situated below the mean high tide line of the Pacific Ocean, or of any harbor, estuary, bay, or inlet, which are within the corporate limits of the City.  They extend 3 miles offshore. 

Tidelands extend onshore in city owned parcels that abut the shore and are impacted by tides. These are called contiguous tidelands.

Long Beach was granted sovereign rights to these lands, including rights to the large oil deposits.   The money from oil extraction has been a boon to Long Beach for a very long time.

Tidelands – City Departments and Budgets

The city groups their services in and adjacent to the Tidelands properties into Tidelands Funds Groups. The following is a list of the different funds groups:

Uplands Oil Fund –  City Revenue from city owned oil operations and fees from oil operations.  These include both Signal Hill and Tideland fields.  2020 budgeted revenue is more than $12 million, $8.7 million is transferred to Tidelands and General Funds.

Tidelands Operations Fund- Funds City services within the Tidelands.  Beaches, police, fire, lifeguards.  Convention center and capital projects are here too.  Funding comes from parking, the oil fund, and from Port revenue.  2020 budget is $94 million

Tidelands Area Funds –   Developed properties within Tidelands:  Queen Mary, Aquarium of the Pacific, Rainbow Harbor, and Long Beach Marinas.

These funds are self-funding with revenue from rents and leases at Queen Mary, Carnival and Catalina Express terminals, and slip fees and in leases from marina businesses. The budget for these funds is $25 million.

Port Operations (Harbor Fund) – Covers the Long Beach Port Operations.   Generates over $545 million in revenue.  $20 million is budgeted to transfer to General and Tideland funds.

Long Beach Oil History

Long Beach 2020 Budget

Long Beach Breakwater won’t be broken up….but boaters beware, there is a new proposal.

In November 2019 the Army Corps of Engineers officially shot down the idea of breaking up the East breakwater which would have allowed surf to break along the beach. 

The Corps of Engineers team did return a recommendation for modifications to large areas inside the East breakwater that, they hope, would improve the vitality of the ocean ecosystem.  These changes will create new hazards for boaters:

The Long Beach breakwater, photographed on April 26, 2019 in Long Beach, California. (James Bernal for KPCC)

On the chart from the Army Core of Engineers (see below) these hazards are represented by blue and red circles and brown and blue ovals. These hazards occur near the jetty and along the beach, but also along the breakwater and areas close to Island Chaffee.

The hazards are described as follows:

Kelp Beds (blue circles) would be created by adding rock to raise the bottom to kelp preferred depth.

Offshore Rocky Reefs (red circles) would be created by overlaying the mud with a deep rock layer.

Nearshore Rocky Reefs (brown ovals) would be created by overlaying the mud with rock creating a barrier which minimizes erosion.

Eel grass Beds (blue ovals) would be established behind the nearshore reefs by raising the mud floor and planting eel grass.

The plan shows the locations where the possible boating hazards occur.

The Corps estimates the costs around $150 million, with the city’s share of the costs at around $50 million.

Long Beach Post has written an article about this subject and can be fond here:

The Army Corps of Engineers plan can be found here: