City’s new harbor master dives right in

The city’s new harbormaster, John Moren, traveled half-way across the world to help oversee completion of the $24.8 million renovation of the San Francisco Marina’s west harbor, a project that city officials want to make sure is finished in time for the prestigious America’s Cup yacht races on the Bay in 2013.

The working schedule calls for the marina upgrades to be completed by the end of 2012. Meanwhile, Moren will have to deal with the political headaches that the project is sure to create. Among them: plans to raise berthing fees and to assign some of the boat owners new slips.

Moren has plans big and small for the Recreation and Park Department-run harbor located in a prime spot just off of the Marina Green.

He told City Insider that he wants to create more programs to introduce young people to the joys of sailing, offer on-site boat-safety courses and, perhaps, set up a concession where people can rent a sail boat for short-term use.

”I’d like to open it up more to the community,” he said.

John Moren

John Moren

Moren, 49, began his new job after Labor Day, and is still getting his sea legs. He came to San Francisco by way of Abu Dhabi, where he served as director of marine operations for a private company working on harbor development projects on the Arabian Sea waterfront in tandem with the government of the United Arab Emirates.

His resume also includes stints in Florida, the Bahamas and West Indies. Born in land-locked Arizona, Moren served in the Marines, managed dive shops, captained dive boats, raced sailboats, taught Scuba diving and run marinas.

Now, he and his wife, who have two pre-school children, hope to make the Bay Area their longtime home. ”I want to plant my feet here,” he said.