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Oceanside committee discusses sand retention and harbor safety

OCEANSIDE — In addition to its ongoing focus to maintain the harbor, the Harbor and Beaches Committee discussed long-term solutions for beach sand retention and adding safety ladders to harbor docks Jan. 24. 

A brief 30-year overview of sand replenishing studies and efforts was presented by Commissioner Kevin Byrne with the conclusion that a long-range solution needs to include engineering, oceanic studies and sediment management.

Harbor manager Frank Quan told the commission that city representatives would not be asking for sand replenishing funds during their upcoming visit to Washington, D.C. Commissioners remained undaunted by the current lack of funds and said that a better plan to keep sand on the beaches needs to be pursued.

Byrne said that the solution needs to be local.

“Encinitas and Solana Beach have a 50-year plan in process,” he said. “We have no plan.”

There was also discussion on taking proactive measures to install dock safety ladders to aid people who fall into the water.

A demonstration video showed the difficulty a solo swimmer has pulling himself up onto the dock.

Commissioner Les George said there is frequent talk of near-drowning incidents in which boaters hoist a lone person from the water, but incidents are seldom reported, which makes the problem difficult to quantify.

“It’s an issue we need to talk about,” George said. “It’s true these scenarios could happen and do happen.”

The proposed solution is to install retractable stainless steel ladders along the docks and mark their location with red paint.

The first step is to get City Council’s approval on testing the impact of a half dozen safety ladders.

The impact of the ladders will be weighed against the present number of calls for harbor police. If calls are reduced it will be correlated that the ladders are helping harbor safety.

The Harbor and Beaches Committee hopes to get an OK from Council to install and test a set of safety ladders in February.