News

New Fee Gets Harbor Users Riled

Last month, public users of the Santa Cruz Harbor noticed signs posted around the harbor, informing them that a new launch fee of $10 per vehicle would be enforced beginning Nov. 17.

For years, the harbor charged fees of $15 for any vehicle with a boat trailer and $10 for anything that comes off the top of a car or the back of a pickup—like a kayak or stand-up paddleboard. However, those fees only applied to the launch ramp on the east side of the harbor. The new fees apply to smaller hand-launch docks on the west side, which have been free for decades.

Kevin Williams, a clerk at the harbor, notes that the new fee is meant as a substitute for metered parking there, which has been taken down on the east side where the hand-launch docks are.

That hasn’t made it any more popular with those who use them. Local Craig Stanton provided an outlet for the tide of dissatisfaction at saveharboraccess.com, circulating a petition to give the fees a shove-off. He argued that to avoid the fee, many users would try to launch from nearby beaches instead, which could be dangerous: “the notorious shore-pound at these beaches will put the public at risk of serious injury.” He also suspects users of smaller vessels will now launch from the main ramp, since they will have paid anyway—creating congestion for boat launchers.

But there’s more at stake, according Stanton, who believes the fee signifies nothing less than the end of “free, safe public access to the harbor.” 

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/12/05/new_fee_gets_harbor_users_riled Carrie Haber

    There are often use fees that go to support maintenance of facilities in the state and federal parks.  People who are driving up to use the launch ramp at the harbor are technically not helping to support the harbor in any way but are making regular use of the facilities.  There should be some kind of fee to offset the maintenance cost of the parking area and ramp with the growth of use (SUP riding is very popular now).

    As a frequent visitor to the harbor, I am happy to see the fee for use of the ramp since we have had a hard time being able to park at the harbor just for a walk.  Now, there is no one there!  There has also been an increase in garbage being dumped there and safety concerns with added traffic and few parking spaces.  I don’t see this as a way to increase revenue for the harbor but a way to offset additional expenses with more use.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/new_fee_gets_harbor_users_riled.html Carrie Haber

    There are often use fees that go to support maintenance of facilities in the state and federal parks.  People who are driving up to use the launch ramp at the harbor are technically not helping to support the harbor in any way but are making regular use of the facilities.  There should be some kind of fee to offset the maintenance cost of the parking area and ramp with the growth of use (SUP riding is very popular now).

    As a frequent visitor to the harbor, I am happy to see the fee for use of the ramp since we have had a hard time being able to park at the harbor just for a walk.  Now, there is no one there!  There has also been an increase in garbage being dumped there and safety concerns with added traffic and few parking spaces.  I don’t see this as a way to increase revenue for the harbor but a way to offset additional expenses with more use.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/12/05/new_fee_gets_harbor_users_riled Carter McCoy

    This is a ham handed attempt by the Port Director to limit SUP use. There are better and more constructive ways to do this such as education and proper signage. Please visit http://www.saveharboraccess.com to sign the petition and learn more about this critical access issue for ALL boaters.

  • http://www.santacruz.com/news/new_fee_gets_harbor_users_riled.html Carter McCoy

    This is a ham handed attempt by the Port Director to limit SUP use. There are better and more constructive ways to do this such as education and proper signage. Please visit http://www.saveharboraccess.com to sign the petition and learn more about this critical access issue for ALL boaters.