Wrightsville Beach enforcing boat mooring rules

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Behind a town ordinance adopted last fall to clarify the time limits and increased enforcement from town staff, Wrightsville Beach isn’t having the same issues with boats being moored for too long in Banks Channel that it had in prior years, members of the town’s board said this week.

Wrightsville Beach Town Manager Tim Owens said that increased monitoring of boats by the town’s park ranger, along with stepped up enforcement from the town’s police, have helped move away boats that have violated the town’s 30-day limit for mooring a boat within the town’s jurisdiction.

Alderman Elizabeth King, who raised concerns about boats overstaying the limit last year, said that the issues with pollution and overcrowding that bothered some local residents last year haven’t been a problem this year. A couple of the boats moored for extended periods last year were used as short-term rental properties.

“I’ve heard nothing but favorable comments this year,” King said. 

As of July 10, there were just six boats moored in the Banks Channel area, as several have left over the past few weeks.  Last fall, the town board passed an ordinance that clarified that the town’s limit on mooring a boat to 30 consecutive days within a 180-day limit.

Owens said that along with adding more signs warning of the time limits, that the police department was paying visits to boats that were approaching the deadline.

Last year, several boats were moored for well longer than the 30-day limit. In discussing the issue, the town’s attorney said that in order for the 30-day limit to be enforced, the ordinance needed to be more specific, and that town staff needed to take efforts daily to monitor the boats in the channel and track how long the vessels have been there.

The ordinance also gave more enforcement tools to the town, including the ability to have boats towed away that violated the time limit, though it would take a vote by the town board to enforce that rule.

Owens said that while most boaters have left before reaching the 30-day deadline, there were a “couple of boats that pushed it,” but ultimately moved before action was brought before the board.

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