Beyond capacity

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Some California boaters have a dilemma that makes the pesky gulls and sea birds that soil boats in other parts of the country seem a minor nuisance.

One boater recently found his vessel submerged beneath a mass of brown sea lions, according to a recent report in the Orange County Register.

The owner of one boat engaged in an ongoing battle with trespassing sea lions, which use swim platforms to sun themselves, put up a black netting barrier on his trimaran. The animals moved to other boats and two particularly large ones boarded a 24-foot wooden sailboat. A few hours later, only the mast was visible. Unfortunately, it is the boat owner’s responsibility to repair it and get it back up to the surface, according to the city’s harbor department.

“It seems like visual deterrents work, but eventually the sea lions get smart and they realize they can bust through them,” says harbor employee Chris Miller in the report. “You can’t harm them in any way, but taking a hose to them and scaring them off is easily done.”

Others have complained about the barking the lions do to communicate with each other. The city doesn’t plan on discussing this issue as was done three years ago when sea lions showed up en masse. The only thing to do is to wait for the unwelcome neighbors to move out in October, which they usually do, according to the report.

While many consider them a nuisance, others say live and let live, claiming the sea lions were there first and it is their home. While the owner of the wooden sailboat retrieved the vessel and plans to add deterrents, many boaters are petitioning for the city to research and replicate ways other nearby locations have deterred lions from the area.

— Elizabeth Ellis