Captain Gary Lewellyn serves as the Harbormaster for the Harbor Patrol Bureau.
The Harbor Patrol Bureau provides around-the-clock law enforcement, marine fire fighting and search/rescue services along the 48 miles of Orange County coastline and within the county's three major harbors at Newport Beach, Sunset-Huntington and Dana Point. In response to increased concerns about potential terrorism after the events of September 11, 2001, this bureau became part of the department’s Homeland Security Division. Deputies are on heightened alert to any possibility of terrorist activity, and constantly monitor potential targets within the harbors and along the county coastline. Harbor Patrol Bureau works closely with local and federal government agencies, sharing information for the detection and prevention of suspected acts of terrorism.
Harbor Patrol is headquartered in Newport Beach and serves as an official reporting station for the National Weather Service as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It is staffed with seven sergeants, and 40 deputy sheriffs. Dispatchers and professional staff provide vital support, along with a marine maintenance team consisting of one supervisor, four marine mechanics, two marine painters, and one marine carpenter. The 7,000 square foot Harbor Patrol Headquarters building contains an emergency operations center, conference and training rooms, a marine maintenance facility, and a state-of-the-art 800 MHz dispatch area. This dispatch center also serves as a backup for the county’s primary dispatch facility at Loma Ridge.
The Harbor Patrol Bureau fleet consists of six twin-engine fireboats and nine single-engine patrol boats. The fleet is completely maintained "in-house" by the bureau’s highly skilled marine mechanics and craftsmen. The maintenance staff consists of one supervisor, four marine mechanics, two marine painters, and one marine carpenter.
Personnel & Training
The OCSD Harbor Patrol Bureau sets the standards in training, equipment and service by which harbor patrol operations are measured throughout the State of California. Harbor deputies are fully trained peace officers and have typically worked street patrol and other assignments prior to their selection for the bureau. They receive nearly 480 hours of training including marine firefighting, navigation, precision boat-handling, search and rescue, heavy weather boat operations, and advanced first aid, including the administering of oxygen and the use of automated external defibrillators.
After successful completion of this training period, deputies must then work to obtain a State of California, Department of Boating & Waterways Masters Certificate in Open Water Rescue and Enforcement. This is the highest professional marine rescue & enforcement certificate that can be issued in this state and requires an additional 296 hours of training, as well as one year of on-the-job experience. In addition, Harbor Patrol Bureau deputies are trained in environmental law and are qualified as "First Responders" to hazardous material spills both within the harbors and along the coastline of Orange County.
Deputies in the bureau practice a "service-oriented" approach to their duties, and routinely participate in community events and activities in the harbors. Some of these activities include boating education classes for youth and adults, tours, safety inspections, and wildlife rescues.
The Harbor Patrol Bureau also provides the services of the Underwater Search and Recovery Team (Dive Team) for the varied duties of evidence and body recoveries, boating accident investigation on sunken or damaged vessels, and emergency inspections. With ongoing threats of terrorist activities targeting small and large harbors, the need for a fully equipped team ready to respond at any time has become essential. The Dive Team is also utilized for inspection of large vessels and docks for prevention of possible terrorist acts.
Our Dive Team is available to every agency in Orange County in all waters located within the county. With over 78 bodies of water with all levels of biohazards, contaminants and pollution in those waters, fully encapsulating dry suits and full face communications masks are essential in providing protection for the diver during assorted tasks such as gathering evidence, recovering deceased victims, inspecting sunken boats with fuel hazards, or homeland security assignments.
The Dive Team consists of twelve divers who are trained in underwater search and recovery operations, hazardous device recognition, underwater post-blast investigations, vessel maintenance and swift water rescues. The Dive Team often assists in investigations conducted by the sheriff’s department and a variety of outside agencies. In addition to the twelve regular members of the Dive Team, four members of the Hazardous Devices Team are cross-trained and respond alongside the Dive Team for any explosives devices located in the water.
The usage of dry suits, underwater communication, a remote operated vehicle (ROV), and submersible sonar equipment has enabled the Dive Team to safely respond to hazardous or contaminated situations in the ocean, harbors, lakes, streams, or ponds of Orange County.
The three harbors in Orange County provide a permanent home for approximately 15,000 boats of various sizes. These boats are kept in both slips and offshore moorings. State records show that there are 70,000 boats registered in Orange County testifying to the high level of trailer boating activity present in Orange County's Harbors.
Marine Event Applications:
Dana Point and Sunset / Huntington Harbors, please click here for the OCSD Marine Event Application.
The Harbor Department of the City of Newport Beach Event Permit Application, click here.
City of Newport Beach Harbor Department telephone: 949-270-8159
Please follow this link to the Marine Weather Forecast or call (949) 675-0503 for current coastal weather information.
ABCs of Boating
Please follow this link to the Department of Boating and Waterways for a brief description of the "ABCs of Boating" and the "Rules of the Road" for Inland waterways.