Pictured, left to right: Dana Stein, Bill Luffee, Becka Kelly

The Morro Bay Harbor Department will use the retrofitted vessel to offer a wide variety of services unique to the area

On October 7, the Morro Bay Harbor Department (MBHD) received a donation of $100,000 to assist with retrofitting a recently purchased harbor patrol boat. The funds were raised by the Friends of the Morro Bay Harbor Department, a non-profit community group established to help improve the Harbor services in Morro Bay.

In an effort to modernize its fleet, the Harbor Department purchased a lightly used boat from Port San Luis with the help of an $85,000 grant awarded by the California Department of Boating and Waterways. However, more funds were needed to undergo significant rebuilding in order to provide the unique services the Morro Bay Harbor requires. The Friends of the MBHD launched the fundraising efforts in September of last year. One year later, they successfully reached their goal, with 80% of the funds raised as individual contributions and 20% as a matching grant from Castle Wind. The vessel is expected to be harbor-ready by April 2022.

“Working alongside the Harbor Department on this fundraising effort has been a true privilege. I have tremendous respect for the hard work they do on a daily basis, and being able to support them with a $100,000 donation toward retrofitting a patrol boat is an incredible honor,” said Bill Luffee, President of the non-profit organization. “That said, I’m really just a facilitator. The real credit goes to our friends and community, to those who purchased art through our fundraisers, participated in our wine auction, and donated money specifically for this cause.”

The Morro Bay Harbor Department offers a wide variety of services, including watercraft rescue, fire fighting, wildlife rescue, emergency medical aid, pollution cleanup, equipment transport, mooring repair, hazardous material handling, and code enforcement. MBHD’s jurisdiction consists of some of California’s most notoriously rough waters, with 150 days per year of small craft advisory conditions and an average of 30 days per year of hazardous harbor entrance conditions. With an average of 1.1 million visitors each year, Morro Bay sees a high volume of inexperienced recreational users in the bay and ocean. 

The Friends of Morro Bay Harbor Department’s mission is to help improve the Harbor services in Morro Bay. As a non-profit, the organization relies on donations from people who want to make a difference and preserve the beautiful Morro Bay Harbor. Learn more at their website.

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