MR. LYMAN: Good afternoon. My name is Ray Lyman. I work with Catalina Express here in Southern California. We run vessels out to Catalina Island from four mainland ports, one in San Pedro, two ports in Long Beach and one in Dana Point. We also operate under contract for Long Beach Transit, City of Long Beach, some coastal water taxis and kind of a commuter boat scenario between Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach and the south end of Long Beach down in Alamitos Bay.
My intention here today is to show some pictures of existing facilities to give the Board an idea of the type of scenarios that boat operations have to deal with in getting people from landside to their docks and from the docks on to the boats, and there's also a section in here on some issues on the boats as well for accessibility.
Access scenarios, land to float. Those of you who are going to join us tomorrow down at Rainbow Harbor, this is the pier at Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach. That's the Queen Mary in the background, kind of giving you a heads-up as to what a pretty spot you're going tomorrow.
That pier, from time to time, different passenger vessels will pull up to it. It's fairly high off the water on that side. On the other side of the float, which you'll see in the picture later, is a low float that other boats can pull up to. But every vessel that pulls up to this pier has to provide its own ramp and access to that boat. This is a facility in the marina, Cabrillo Beach, L.A. Harbor. There's sports fishing boats there. The Island Girl is an excursion and dinner boat. And my intention here is to show the ramp that goes from shore down to the floats and the level of the landside above the rocks, and the level of the water down there, again, is going to vary due to tides, and there's a range of over eight feet in the tidal range.
This is that same ramp looking up. It is wheelchair accessible. It is designed to roll large heavy equipment down it. But as far as having the 12-to-1 ratio for wheelchair accessibility without assistance, that I don't think is possible. Here is one of our facilities in front of the Queen Mary. We run our Catalina Express boats out of this. You can also see the water taxis there and that yellow bow of a boat is the Aqua Link, which we'll also see further on here.
That rock breakwater there and the breakwater around the Queen Mary is there to protect the land from erosion because we do get some weather in this area. And again, there is the ramp going from shore down to the float. All of that has to be able to adjust to the tidal surge and any foul weather that comes in.
This is the front of our facility for ticketing. That does have a wheelchair-accessible ramp. You can see the mid station to it, to where there's a rest area. That is 12 to 1. And all of our buildings have that type of scenario. This is the top of our Gate 1, at the Queen Mary. It, again, is a ramp-type scenario to where we handle wheelchairs on a regular basis. Inviting all of the citizens from around the world is the intention of our company and many others. But again, the obstacles that we're dealing with are height of the landside going down to the floats and then floats to boats.
If anybody has any questions as I go, feel free.
MS. [PAMELA] DORWARTH [BOARD MEMBER]: What size are your boats?
MR. LYMAN: The water taxis are 49-passenger. The excursion catamaran is 75. And then we have some T boats, which are 50-passenger or less. We also have K boats, anywhere from 304-passenger. Our biggest boat is 360-passenger.
This is our Long Beach landing facility. I wanted to show this picture to show the obvious ramp as opposed to the stairs that are right up in the lower left corner of that picture. That's a wheelchair-accessible ramp for the building. This is the water side of that same facility. That's our main dock. That vessel there is a 360-passenger catamaran. Again, that float is like an oil barge that we converted, fairly high off the water, works pretty well. That allows that ramp to be less steep, but still has to fluctuate eight feet of tide.
Top of the ramp, that's our young dock person scratching his head, "What the heck are you bringing on the boat." But again, that is very wheelchair friendly. However our procedure is, we don't allow anybody to -- even family members, to assist wheelchair customers. Our crew comes up and assists and backs them down the ramp, which you will see in further pictures.
That's the bottom looking up. It's a nice new ramp we built on there. Again, it has to adjust to the height of the tide.
Now, this is on L.A. Main Channel in L.A. Harbor. These docks we do not operate from. There's fishing boats, dive boats, excursion boats, and that's a restaurant that's right there off to the right. Here's a picture looking down the ramp. I know it looks a little scary, but they assist people as well. Those steps, obviously, are not wheelchair friendly. These fishing vessels do take people with handicaps and in wheelchairs and they assist them to get on board.
Another dock further down the way. This dock, same style, however, this vessel operator has put a ramp to his excursion vessel. This is a dock over on Catalina Island at Two Harbors, neat little cove over there. That dock facilitates all of the landings to that facility. You can see shore boats only, local shore boats. That's the real Baywatch vessel, not the one from TV, but that's what it was named after. And you can see ramps on the dock itself. Those are all of our ramps, but other vessel companies use them as well. These are the ramps that come down off of the pier. Once again, you can have an eight-foot tidal range, and during the wintertime they can actually surf right where that dock is.
Once again, same dock looking from a different direction. Those ramps, the reason there's that many there is you have different boats that come in, different heights. So each one has to have its own ramp. These are the ramps going up to the pier. As you can see, there's a board underneath the bottom of them that takes up a lot of the wear and tear because that float moves up and down quite a bit, especially when our boats tie up to it and move it around.
MS. DORWARTH: What's the width of the ramps?
MR. LYMAN: I'm not real sure. I couldn't tell you. I have seen wheelchairs go up and down on them, as far as the big wide ones, I don't know exactly the size.
That's one of our boats unloading. You can see the ramp off the stern. They're waiting for the luggage there at the luggage door area. And that again, is a ramp that goes on the back of the boat. You will see that later as well.
MS. DORWARTH: Is there access between the two decks on that vessel?
MR. LYMAN: There is a stairwell. And again, the bottom of the ramp there, you can see it has to slide back and forth unlike a land-based ramp that somebody can build and it lasts for 40 years and doesn't have to put up with weather and water and waves.
This is what we call a ramp farm. This is the city of Avalon. That's the main dock. This is a picture from one of our larger boats. There's ramps coming down from landside and there's one more out of the picture for that facility. But as you can see there, you can probably count six different ramps for the different vessels that come in.
Again, another shot from a different angle. That's the Newport boat that has pulled in there. Again, this is Avalon, Catalina Island. Another batch of docks. There are three docks at that facility. Again, this area in the wintertime from time to time we actually have waves that are bashing over the top of these docks. And you can see the flap at the end of those ramps has to be adjustable to deal with the tide. That's why there's an A frame there as well for support when it goes up and down and when the weather gets foul. Here's one of the deck hands assisting a wheelchair passenger up the ramp. Same type scenario. These are people getting off one of our vessels. It's kind of a spaghetti-love scenario, excuse the expression. But they come off the boat onto a platform down a ramp onto the float back up a ramp and onto land.
Here's a little Rascal coming down from the shore side.
These ramps here in Avalon, the city, are wider, to answer your question, from Two Harbors they're quite a bit wider than those ramps over at Two Harbors, which is not a public facility. It's private.
Another ramp farm on one of the docks. That's the Newport Flyer out there, Coast Guard and then one of our 149 boats, which are T boats, 150 or less.
This is the city of Avalon's pier. It goes out to where the shore boats and their semi-submersible will load.
This demonstrates some T plywood that's on the bottom of that ramp. All the ramps have to have the wheels to move around due to tide and jerking around from wave action. And as you can see, it wears down that plywood pretty quick. City of Avalon pier, those are public floats with ramps going down to them. Again, the flap on the bottom demonstrating the wear and tear that it puts on the dock. Same thing here. Close up. You can see two sets of wheels there to go both directions. Top of the ramp looking down from the pier at Avalon, Catalina. Am I running out of time here?
MR. [GARY] TALBOT [BOARD MEMBER]: Yes, if you could.
MR. LYMAN: I am going to move real quick. Same thing. I just want to get -- this is one of our 149 boats loading. I really wanted to have you see that.
This is the city of Avalon during a northeaster. Once again, I want to demonstrate the seas that these docks have to put up with. The docks are off to the left out of the picture right there. But it's all at Crescent Moon Bay. This is a camp facility, USC Marine Center, more docks with just steps. Float to vessel. These are our ramps that are on the vessels themselves. We fold them down, fold them back up when we leave. Another one of our vessels. Wheelchair being assisted on board.
This is that same pier at Rainbow Harbor. We came in here to do a charter scenario. When we go to a strange dock, we have to go in and hope we have the pieces to make it work.
Aqua Link down in Alamitos Bay, as you can see, that's a step scenario there from a very low dock that is shared with the electric boats. This is the case for many charter operations that have to go into docks that they don't own and to pick up charter groups that want to go out of a yacht club or marina, so on and so forth.
This is that sport fishing landing, sport boats. Kind of brutal, but they have to have Coast Guard required rail heights and such, but they can easily put a ramp there instead of steps, as this dive boat did. They put a ramp, not only their dive gear on wheels and such. This is a youth vessel to where you can see that's a pretty nasty little stairwell there.
This is our Aqua Link coming in. As you can see that ramp there and a flap comes out, fully wheelchair accessible. This is the Aqua Bus, which is a little water taxi. That actually, you can almost see where that trash can is over, that boat is out of service right there, actually has tie-downs for one wheelchair. That's the luggage area and access into one of the 150 passenger boats. That's the half gate. That's a ramp that goes up, sits in a pin, and we load wheelchairs in that all the time.
This is one of the bigger boats, a platform, ramp to the platform, and then that ramp will fold out off of the boat onto the platform and allowing full access.
Two boats loading at the same time. Avalon, once again, using parts of the ramp farm. Once again, assistance with a wheelchair. We always back down. We don't put the person in front of us. That way if anything gets out of hand, the deck hand goes down first. Again, just trying to give you an overview of what everybody deals with on these vessels. This person chose to get out of the Rascal instead of riding it up the ramp. This is not our boat; that's the Newport. This is one of our Catalina Express vessels. You can see a clear picture of the type of accessibility.
MR. TALBOT: Okay, Ray. Thank you very much. We really appreciate it.
MR. LYMAN: I want to show you a couple more that we really need to get to here. There's your question as to between the two decks, there's no way we can have a ramp. I just want to show these regulated access scenarios, that the Coast Guard gives us no choice but to have these sills. We jokingly call them "Coast Guard required trip hazards."
I want to show you how we deal with these to get people in. This is going into the main salon inside. Even going into the restroom they required us to have a sill on this vessel. There's our answer to it. We'll put a wedge up against both sides of that sill for wheelchair access. We do have a wheelchair-access restroom on each boat. Spots for the wheelchairs, whether they want to sit in them or get out of them.
Again, this is just how we'll get a wheelchair onto the vessel. There is our aisle width. That's one of our restrooms on the boat. I think we're fairly far ahead of the curve for most operating companies because we're fairly large.
MR. TALBOT: Thank you very much. We appreciate it.
MR. LYMAN: Any questions?
MR. TALBOT: Anybody have any questions?
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: I've got a question. What kind of issues do -- you talked about requiring some of your crew members to assist people getting on and off your vessels. First of all, do you think that's a reasonable requirement for anybody that is going to operate a vessel that they provide crew members that are capable of helping people and assisting people on and off?
And the second part of my question is, I notice that most of these ramps weren't covered. What kind of slip hazards do you wind up with in inclement weather or even rough seas where people are trying to assist getting people on and off?
MR. LYMAN: To answer your first question, I think it's absolutely a fair requirement that assistance of any of your passengers be required. And our crew members have no problem with it whatsoever. It is a customer-service-oriented business. It's part of our training. We not only assist people in wheelchairs and people that have low-sight issues, but pregnant ladies and old folks. We're assisting people all the time, and we always offer a pre-board before we start loading a boat. But wheelchairs are an obvious. They move up to the front, move it along.
In answer to your second question, yes, we operate in the most litigious state in the United States, I believe, and we do have issues of slip-and-falls that we have to deal with at all times, and we do everything we can to assist everybody that gets on and off our boats.