Newport Beach Will Consider New Rules for Living Aboard Boats in Commercial Marinas

JESSICA RUIZ, Voice of OC

Newport Beach City Hall.

The Newport Beach City Council is expected to consider new regulations Tuesday regarding boats used as residences and new guidelines for docking.


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The new definition of a live-aboard, which is someone who lives on a boat or small yacht, will include the use of a vessel for residency while moored “for a period exceeding 72 hours in any 30 day consecutive period.” It also includes docking the vessel in a commercial marina for 180 days or more in a year-long period, according to a staff report

The change is being considered to resolve the disparities between the definition of a live-aboard and its effect on commercial marinas, according to the staff report. 

In addition, the report states that no person owning or leasing a vessel can anchor it in any of Newport Harbor’s public anchorage areas or the Pacific Ocean unless a person occupies the vessel throughout the night and during the day, with the exception of one trip to shore for less than three hours.

No vessel can be docked in the harbor or the Pacific Ocean if the location is within 500 yards of a designated protected swimming area for more than 72 hours within 30 days, according to the ordinance to amend the city’s municipal code before the City Council Tuesday.

The harbormaster will determine if a vessel is anchored at an undesignated area and has the power to move it. 

When deciding what boats need to be moved, “the needs of commerce, the utilization of [ports and marinas], the use of channels for navigation, and the economy of space” will be prioritized, according to the ordinance. 

These new rules are designed to “promote public health, safety, and welfare,” as well as mitigate any adverse impacts or disruptions to others’ use of Newport Harbor, the document states.

The City Council meets Tuesday at 4 p.m. at 100 Civic Center Drive. Due to COVID-19, the council chambers remain closed to members of the public. Click here to see how you can participate.