I sent this to the Treasure Island Development Authority.
It would be helpful if some more of you chimed in, too.
June 5, 2009
To: Mirian Saez (firstname.lastname@example.org
Treasure Island Development Authority
cc: LaDonna Buback (email@example.com
Re: Clipper Cove & Anchoring
Thank you very much for your concern about the neglected and potentially dangerous boats that have become both an eyesore and a hazard at Clipper Cove. We are appreciative of your efforts to finally do something about them, based on the article in the June 2009 issue of Latitude 38.
We have been boating on San Francisco Bay, The Delta and the ocean since we moved here in the late 70’s. We first rented, then owned a Catalina 22 for the first few years, a Catalina 25 for twelve, and are now in our eleventh year with our Catalina 34. The C34 International Association represents over 600 members. My wife, Cory, is the treasurer of our local Catalina 34 Fleet 1 with over 50 members, all active sailors, cruisers and racers.
We have watched the steady deterioration of Clipper Cove ever since the Navy station was closed with great alarm. That apprehension is because the logical conclusion of most governmental actions have usually resulted in punishing the innocent as a result of the improper actions of the few. The imposition of “permits” for what is and should remain free anchoring is abhorrent and sets a very dangerous precedent. It could well be illegal.
We were intially encouraged by what Latitude 38 reported: “[You] hope that by forcing the derelicts out, and preventing them from taking up residence again, more ‘responsible boaters’ will want to visit…without inconveniencing…sailors” That goal is admirable. However, it appears that the proposed permitting of “responsible boaters” could result in just the opposite and with the unforeseen consequence of less boaters visiting because of the unnecessary permitting process.
Your proposal is, as reported, “to require permits to anchor in the Cove…A permit would be required for the first 24 hours of a visit, and, for those staying longer, the free three day permit would be renewable for up to two weeks.” It goes on to say that the permits would be available online, your office on Treasure Island, and the marina.
The most important thing that your agency can do is to promptly remove the derelict boats and return The Cove to its earlier pristine condition without adding any governmental red tape to what has been and should remain a free anchorage. Permits are unwarranted. Permits for anchoring have absolutely nothing to do with the derelict boats.
The deficiencies of the basic concept of permitting ANY free anchorages include:
Permit Requirements and Sources: Permits for the first short stay period are just the opposite of your goal “not to inconvenience sailors.” If permits are available online, only those boaters with onboard computers and WiFi who are anchoring in The Cove will have access to those online services. I do not consider the cost of installing a computer on my boat to obtain an unjust online permit a reasonable use of the limited funds available for my boating activities. Obtaining shore-based permits is also an unnecessary burden. For those of us who anchor in The Cove, we often choose not to engage in the cumbersome process of hauling, inflating, and deploying a dinghy, much less to do so to obtain a permit at the marina or your office. Regardless of the length of “free” time you propose, any and all paperwork for a permit for a free anchorage makes no sense. Since long term “responsible” anchoring does not occur, permits themselves are completely pointless. All short term permits do is harass those people who do obey the rules.
Enforcement: While we understand that your process is in its development stage, a basic question related to any “permitting” is: Who “polices” the activity and enforces the permits? There would be evident costs associated with this, all of which would most likely be used to justify the eventual application of “fees” which is not your stated goal. We have seen altogether too many incidents of “law enforcement” boats zooming through a quiet morning anchorage. More wakes are the last thing that are needed at Clipper Cove.
Fees: Eventual bureaucratic “justification” for managing any permitting process is inevitable. There has rarely been a governmental “solution” that eventually does not involve fees. Whether this is for enforcement, paperwork, website production and access or anything else, even if it starts out for free, we are certain that eventually fees will be imposed. Please think in the long term and recognize that sooner or later fess will be part of the process. Then, your handsome goal of removing the derelict boats will be borne by future “responsible boaters” who, if you are successful, will have never seen nor heard of those derelicts. This is patently unfair and counter to your original goals.
Visitors: You must consider how strangers to the area will know about permit requirements. The cost for installing signage would become just another excuse for fees. We have friends who are sailing down from British Columbia. We could tell them, but what about folks who are coming through from the Delta, or just moving here and don’t know? These visitors would appear to be the first ones who would end up paying fines, another unforeseen consequence, and another fancy word for fees.
Long Term Anchoring: If permitting is even considered, and which could only be a ruse to avoid longer lengths of anchoring and beyond this completely unwise idea for short term permits, any requirement must only be for after a certain minimum period of stay. For instance your proposed two weeks for the start of a permit might work. It should certainly NOT commence at the beginning of a visit. Your office and/or the marina staff should easily be able to know when a period of a few weeks at anchor has been exceeded. However, our many years of experience anchoring in The Cove indicate that very few transient boats anchor for more than a few days at a time anyway. The end result would be a permit system for situations that just simply do not exist.
In a recent issue of Latitude 38 there was a picture of a number of derelict boats being removed from Berkeley Marina. There should be no reason to have to wait until the existing derelicts sink before you act to remove them. You should follow the precedent set by Berkeley. Most likely it was funded by the California Department of Boating & Waterways, which is the only successful State government organization because it is self-sustaining. Please note that it is now on the verge of being “raided” by the current bungling State administration. DBW works, why not use it before it’s gone. The pollution from sunken boats is a lot more than any contamination being produced by those ugly wrecks while they’re still floating. Get them out before they sink.
We know of no successful anchoring limits that have been imposed anywhere in the country. The reports of the stupidity of many Floridian towns in enacting rigid restrictions against boaters are too numerous to list. You should not start that nonsense here.
We endorse your objective to remove the derelicts. There appear to be absolutely no reasons that implementation of ANY permits will achieve that objective. Any permit concept only burdens those of us who in no way created the problem in the first place.
We have great memories of Clipper Cove, our son was conceived at anchor there, and neither we or he feel it is appropriate to add anything more than an “anchor’s aweigh!!!” to all of our future visits.