San Diego, California


San Diego

On September 28, 1542, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo and his crew on the ship the “San Salvador”,  landed in what is now Point Loma, becoming the first Europeans to California. Cabrillo named the area San Miguel.  After leaving “San Miguel”, he continued north past Monterey, but died on January 3, 1543 while spending the winter in the Channel Islands. Almost four hundred years later, in 1933, Cabrillo National Monument was established.

For more information on mooring at Sailing Santa Barbara, click here.

San Diego


Latitude: 32 degrees, 39’10″N, 117 degrees, 13’50″W   |  Chart:  18772 & 18773

Weather Report

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Service Phone Hours Contact
Harbor Patrol 619.686.6272 24 HOURS x
U.S. Coast Guard Aux 619.260.1515 24 HOURS x
Vessel Assist 619.686.6272 24 HOURS x
Sea Tow 800.473.2869 24 HOURS x

Vistor Berths

Public guest slips are provided by the Harbor Police at the Shelter Island facility on the south end of the island, 1401 Shelter Island Drive.  There are 22 slips accommodating boats to 40 feet with end ties for boats over 40 feet.  Amenities include water and 110 shore power, restrooms (no showers), parking and a phone booth at the customs dock.

Reservations are not accepted, its first come, first served, but you can hail the Harbor Police dispatcher on VHF 16 or by land-line at 619/686-6272 to find out if there is space available.  Or you can stop at the dock and check, be sure to have the vessel registration with you.  Fees are $10 a day for the first 5 days, $20 day for the second 5 for boats under 55 feet.  Over that, the fee doubles.   Length of stay is 10 days in a 30 day period.

Achorage Information

In addition to the transient slips, the Port also provides a “Cruisers Anchorage” located near the downtown area. No fee is required to anchor in this area however a permit is required and can be obtained through the above mentioned mooring office during office hours. The anchorage is limited to vessels registered outside of San Diego county. The length of stay allowed for the anchorage is 30 days with two extensions available for a total stay of 90 days in a 12 month period.

Marine Facilities

Launch Ramp
There are 4 public launch ramps on San Diego Bay.  Most are accessible during daylight hours with overnight parking for both your vehicle and trailer.  They all have nearby restroom facilities, picnic areas and telephones. The Shelter Island Boat Ramp is the closest ramp to the open seas which is about 3 miles away and is located on the channel side of Shelter Island.  The ramp has 10 concrete lanes and the parking lot is huge.  Rest rooms are located on the site.  There are bait barges nearby and they are open 24 hours a day. The Boat Ramp on Coronado is located in  Glorietta Bay. The Chula Vista Boat Ramp is at the “J” Street Marina Park. The Boat Ramp in National City is next to Pepper Park and feeds off of the Sweetwater Channel.
Pump Out Stations
There are only 3 public pump-outs in San Diego Bay but most of the marinas have their own stations.
The three public pump-out stations are located at Shelter Island Boat Ramp, Chula Vista Boat Ramp, and National City Boat Ramp.
Fuel Dock
Shelter Island Fuel Dock (619) 523-1100 , Harbor Island Fuel Dock (619) 291-6443  (Both in Northern Bay)
Bait & Ice

Harbor Information

From the South:  Before sighting Pt. Loma and the San Diego skyline, the traveler from the littler latitudes will see Table Mountain, 25 miles southeast of Pt. Loma and 6 miles inland of the Mexican coast.  Then 15 miles south of Pt. Loma are the Coronado Islands, 4 fairly small rocky islands running northwest about 7 miles off the coast and right on top of each other.  The water depth varies and its best to steer clear of them.   There is a light on the south end of Coronado Sur (south) and one on the north end of this island as well.  From the Coronados to Pt. Loma is a fairly straight course.  On the coast, the Tiajuana Bullring is very visible just south of the 55 ‘ white pillar marking the international border.

From the West:  San Clemente Island lies almost due west of Pt. Loma on a course of 86 degrees.

From the North:  From the north, Pt. Loma may appear as an island with a ridge height of 400 feet.  The coast from Dana Point south is mostly cliffs between 100 and 200 feet tall with short stretches of beach and lagoon entrances.  Just short of Pt. Loma is La Jolla Bay and the entrance to Mission Bay.  Don’t be fooled into cutting the corner at Pt. Loma, the area is definitely a kelp farm!

Buoys & lights:

Point Loma Light Flashing white 15 secs. South tip of Pt. Loma on SD Bay approach
Lighted Whistle Buoy SD Flashing white Morse Code letter (A) (. _)
Approach Buoy 3 Flashing green – 6 secs.
Foghorn:  Point Loma Light 1 blast every 30 secs. (3 second blast)

Entrance | Point Loma Area

From the Northwest:
As you near the end of Pt. Loma, stay a good 1 1/2 to 2 miles off the south end of the point.  Once again, beware of the kelp beds, especially in sailboats.  Keels are not kelp harvesters.    There are breakers near the tip of Point Loma as well, just inside the kelp line.

From the Southwest:
Coming up from Mexico or the Coronados, be aware of the submerged jetty that runs on the south side of the entrance for approximately a mile from Zuniga Point at the west end of North Island about 32°41.10.2’N – 117°13’40.7’W.  During lower tides, submerged rocks can be seen.  There is a light at the seaward end, 3 lights in the middle area and a yellow day mark reading “Danger Submerged Jetty”.  Pay attention to the channel marks.
The Navy’s Submarine Base is on the west side of the channel and North Island Naval Air Station is on the east.  These are restricted areas, that means Stay Away from them!

The Port of San Diego is a big place, especially when you’re in a small boat, and compared to some of the aircraft carriers that call the bay home, we are all small!  In order to do justice to the many faces and areas of  the the harbor, we have divided it up into 8 different areas.  They are:

1.  Outer Waters
2.  Point Loma – Entrance
3.  Shelter Island
4.  Harbor Island
5.  Downtown
6.  South Bay – Chula Vista & The Cays
7.  Coronado

Useful Links

Heal the Bay | Rating A
Weather |
Sail Flow
Wikipedia | San Diego

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