The Dana Point Boaters Association is the champion of recreational boating and the jewel that is
Dana Point Harbor.

May 10, 2024

A Five-Year Plan You’ll Hate

Dear Dana Point Boater,

The Dana Point Harbor Partners, at the request of the County, have presented their Five-Year Plan to boost Dana Point Marina’s slip holder fees. On top of the monster increase from 2021 and the huge increase the Partners are imposing in June this year, they intend to raise slip fees every year. See again the attached Five-Year Plan.

The increases are daunting. Just as examples:

  • 25-foot slips: Will increase to a minimum, without consideration of overage, from the present $469.00 per month to $639.00 per month by 2028. A 36.2% increase.

  • 30-foot slips: Present $738.00 to $1,025.00, a 38.8% increase.

  • 45-foot slips: Present $1,535.00 to $2,672.00, a 74% increase.

  • 60-foot slip: $2,589.00 to $5,312.00, a 105.1% increase.

Yes, that is correct. The Partners want to more than double some already excessive slip fees on top of the previous 90% increase imposed in 2021. (Although Partners had told County and boaters at the time of entering into the lease there would be no increases in slip fees until the docks were reconstructed. They (“changed their minds,”)

Rationale, What Rationale?

The “rationale” and “methodology” can be described as fanciful, at best. Partners’ lease with the County requires rates be “market rates….reasonably determined.” They claim that only Orange County belongs in the same market as Dana Point. Conveniently, that primarily consists of Newport Beach marinas, by a large margin the most expensive marinas in Southern California.

This rationale is deeply flawed for a number of reasons.

First, historically, the County required the leases or operators to justify rate increases with a survey of all marinas from Santa Barbara to San Diego. Such a large survey is also used by the California Lands Commission Benchmark Survey when it looks at market conditions.

Also, Partners’ supporting documentation was limited to a map showing where in SoCal current tenants lived, and the current rate structure for 10 other marinas in SoCal, eight in Newport Beach, one in Huntington Harbor, and one in Sunset Beach.

Survey Ignores Reality

Lost in this “market study” was the fact that neither the Huntington, nor the Sunset Beach marina rates, were anywhere close to the Newport Beach rates, suggesting there was something about Newport Beach rates that made them artificially high, relative to other marinas in SoCal. Note, Huntington Beach is much closer to Newport than Dana Point.

Also lost is justification for a survey including only Orange County marinas without an analysis of how many Orange County boaters have their boats at marinas outside of Orange County, such as Oceanside or Alamitos Bay. Indeed, the fact that few boaters from San Diego or Los Angeles County have slips in Dana Point supports the conclusion that Dana Point slips are over market. Why would anyone from San Diego or Los Angeles want a slip in Dana Point when there are cheaper marinas with more amenities and no construction activity, in their own County?

We Know the Truth

Anecdotally, we can say that the Long Beach and Alamitos Bay slip population from Orange County residents is quite large, based upon our many friends who have left Dana Point marina and moved to marinas in these other areas.

One ultimate test is: What is the “flux” of boaters between Dana Point and other marinas in SoCal? When a boat leaves Dana Point marina, where does it go? Anecdotally, most of our friends who moved their boats, moved to the Long Beach-Alamitos Bay Area, with some to San Diego, never Newport Beach. And in the other direction: Is there a ‘flux” of boats into Dana Point from other SoCal marinas: how many and from where? Anecdotally, it is infinitesimal.

Finally, a survey sample of just 10 marinas lacks any worth. This is a survey, not an appraisal that would require a detailed comparison with “like” marinas, as to size, condition location, population and amenities, requiring an independent professional to do an in-depth analysis. A survey is only valuable if it includes a large sample of many marinas, which is why the County previously required such a large survey, and not one dominated by outliers in Newport Beach.

The Dana Point Boater’s Association will continue to oppose these unjustified increases in Court and in conversations, meetings and discussions with County officials. We need your ongoing support for these efforts including contributions to the legal fund, the appeal on the Class Action is moving forward, with your help. Please contribute today.



Dana Point Boaters Association thanks you for your help and dedication to improving our home port marina experience. Feel free to fly your I'm All In Flag (special class legal fund donation.)

In the meantime, please continue to submit your comments on slip rate increases and other subjects by Click Here.

Legal Endeavors are Expensive

Lastly, legal endeavors are expensive, and we appreciate all who have donated to our legal fund.

Please consider doing so today. If you haven't donated, consider an ongoing monthly donation by clicking the box "Make this a monthly donation," click here. These legal costs keep mounting as we continue moving forward with the Class Action Lawsuit. Your information will always remain private. Or, donation by mail by clicking on the image to the right.

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Your Dana Point Boaters Association Directors, Advisors, and Advocacy Members Thanks You For Your Support!

From: Dennis Winters, Advisor | (949) 485-5656 | Email Us! | #DPBA Website

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