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By Kristina Pritchett
While boaters continue to say sea lions are an issue in the Harbor, the county is planning to give inflatable air dancers intended to deter the animals “a break in” the next couple of weeks, according to a county official.
The county installed inflatable air dancers, mostly seen at car dealerships, in the summer to deter sea lions from resting on docks and boats in the Harbor. Since then, Marisa O’Neil, public information officer for OC Parks, said that not much has changed over the past several weeks.
“The sea lions have been more scarce in the past eight to 12 weeks; however, we continue to see one to three hanging in the east marina as late as last week,” O’Neil said.
James Lenthall, vice president of the Dana Point Boaters Association, said the air dancers only work in the specific areas that they’re placed.
“Some of the bolder sea lions occasionally ignore the sea dancers altogether,” Lenthall said.
He said the boaters in the area are constantly being challenged with the animals on their boats and docks.
“Many boaters continue to install their own barriers around the boats,” Lenthall said. “On any given day there are usually a dozen or more, sometimes many more, sea lions lounging on docks and boats.”
O’Neil said the county plans on giving the air dancers “a break” in the next couple of weeks due to decreasing need and to save on the expense of replacing the “socks” and extension cords.
O’Neil said it’s expected the sea lions will become more active if the water temperature increases and if there are more food sources available.