Letter

Below is a letter template you may use to write/email the Port Commission.  Email them at: scpd@santacruzharbor.org

Santa Cruz Port Commission Members
135 Fifth Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA  95062

Dear Port Commissioners,

I am writing in regards to the human-powered watercraft (HPW) fees and regulations proposal that is on the agenda for your meeting of Tuesday, 2/26.  Harbor staff held a public meeting on Tuesday, 2/19 where they announced these new fees and  regulations.  The comments below pertain to these fees and restrictions before your Commission on the 26th.  On behalf of myself, and the HPW community, the proposed new fees and restrictions are problematic and unsafe for the following reasons:

Safety
The proposal would create a new “SUP launch area” on the Fuel Dock.  This is a terribly unsafe location for an SUP launch area.  The Fuel Dock is the closest dock to the harbor mouth, where there is the most boat traffic, as well as swell, boat wakes and more prominent wind.  Under this proposal, hundreds of first-time, beginner paddlers form the adjacent “SUP Shack” would be launching from the fuel dock, spilling these unskilled paddlers right into the busiest part of the channel.  This will result in MORE boat/SUP incidents and accidents.  If the harbor is to expend money creating a dedicated SUP launch area, that SUP launch are should be created in the UPPER harbor, on the other side of the Murray Street bridge, where boat traffic and wind are significantly less, and swell is a non-issue.  Please do not allow an unsafe new “Fuel Dock SUP Launch Area”!

Public Recreational Access
The HPW proposal before you would eliminate the public, hand-launch dock at dock A.  Dock A has been a safe and convenient launch area for kayaks and other HPW for many years.  It also serves the adjacent kayak dry storage area.  Please do not allow the elimination of this safe public coastal access point!

Fee Increases
The proposal would increase the new HPW fee from $10 per vehicle, to $10 per vehicle AND an additional $5 per every human powered watercraft beyond two. In other words, currently a family of 3 kayakers or stand up paddlers pays $10 for their vehicle. Under the proposed increase that family of three would now pay $15, a family of four would pay $20, and so on. The HPW community was expecting that the commission would proposed a REDUCED fee – instead we were surprised to be presented with an INCREASED fee.

In addition, staff proposes to set the fee for an “annual pass” for HPW at $250! That is a 100% increase from the current fee, and drastically out of scale for similar passes at comparable harbors. Please reduce this fee to $125 per year and keep safe coastal recreation affordable for families and low to moderate income individuals! We all deserve affordable, safe access to the Monterey Bay.

Thank you,

NAME

Port Commission Staff:  Please include my email address in future notifications about the new hand-launch fees issue, and include this email in the “Communications to the Commission” in next month’s packet.

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