NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. - A quintessential business in Newport Beach’s Balboa Island is in danger of closing its doors in the near future.
A family has owned the ferry company for over a century and all three ferries operate off diesel engines. Now, Seymour Beek feels the ferry company will shut down as state regulators are demanding the engines be replaced with newer and cleaner models by the end of 2025.
"I guess my worst fear is that they’ll hold tight to it, and we can’t adapt with electric power, and we’d be out of business," Beek said.
He estimates it will cost at least $5 million for new engines, batteries and infrastructure and that cost would squeeze the family business out.
California Air Resources Board said in part, "We have provided information about the funding that would be available to help operators finance the transition… and discussed the availability of applicable extensions."
"This is part of the culture of Balboa Island and Balboa generally and I just think that the historical perspective is not being taken into account," a resident said.
In the meantime, Beek and his family are working with engineers to see if they can convert the existing boats or seek historical designation.
Beek believes if the ferry shuts down, people will suffer and so will the environment.
"It’s obvious that there would be a tremendous amount of driving added if the ferry service wasn’t here," he said.
So far, the sun hasn’t set on the final outcome.