Local Knowledge

Here you will find hints, tips and information collectively known as local knowledge. That is, that information one learns after years of being out on the water in a particular area.

We've collected all sorts of local information, from great anchorages in and around San Diego Bay, to where that hard to spot rock lies in wait.

Have a favorite place in the San Diego area or a tip that you'd like to see here? Just drop us a note and let us know.

Hazards to Navigation

A good source of information that concerns navigation as well as many other issues all boaters should keep abreast of is the U.S. Coast Guard's Local Notice to Mariners. San Diego falls within the U.S. Coast Guard Eleventh District, which provides the Local Notice to Mariners for the Southern California region. For further information on Coast Guard navigation issues you should take a look at the Coast Guard Navigation Center.
At the entrance to the bay are several areas to watch out for. To seaward of Point Loma and the light house are thick kelp beds, which run for about 1.5 miles south of the point. While the fishing is great, it's very easy to get kelp caught in intakes.

There are breakers near the tip of Point Loma as well, just inside the kelp line.

To the east of the entrance is a submerged jetty that runs for approximately 2 miles off shore. Some of the rocks are visible at low tide. This borders the Zuniga Shoal, further to the west.

At approximately 32° 41' 10.2"N 117° 13' 40.7" W, which is near North Island, is a submerged jetty. There are some that go into this area during high tides, but one does so at one's own risk.
There are shoaling waters near the entrance to Shelter Island. Be especially careful when entering near the southern tip of Shelter Island and follow the marked channel.
There is a shoal just west of the Coronado Ferry Landing and east of the carrier basin on the Coronado side of the bay.
Another shoal is just at the first dog leg heading south to Chula Vista and the entrance to the Sweetwater Channel. There are shoal signs(unreadable at night, small letters day).
And one more shoal is between the #1 green bouy and the amphibious base southeast at the entrance to Glorietta Bay. It can be trouble on average tides and to smaller vessels at low tides.
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There are four anchorages within San Diego Bay that are popularly used. Permits are required for most areas. Contact the San Diego Harbor Police at (619) 686-6227 for permits.

La Playa Cove (A-1) is between the Southwestern and San Diego Yacht Clubs, in the Shelter Island Basin. This is a weekend anchorage only, from 0900 Friday to 0900 Monday and requires a permit. Vessels anchoring here must have holding tanks.

There are two anchorages at Glorietta Bay. Only that portion of Glorietta Bay delineated in Chart 18773 is an authorized anchorage. A-5 requires a permit available from the Harbor Police. The other anchorage area is a special 72-hour anchorage that is open only for special events (i.e. Baha-Ha-Ha) and requires a special 72-hour permit.

Contact the Harbor Police Mooring Office in person, on VHF Ch-16 or (619) 686-6227 for a permit for the A-1 and A-5. For the A-9, contact the mooring office for an inspection by a Bay Control Officer prior to the issuance of a permit. The A-9 permit is good for 30 days, and is renewable for up to 90 days total.

Glorietta Bay (A-5, east of golf course) is one of the big favorites here in San Diego. Located at Coronado Island, it is in view of the Hotel Del Coronado, an old and well known hotel. Anchor here for the 4th of July and have the best seats in San Diego for the fireworks displays! There is a 5 MPH speed limit within Glorietta Bay.

Glorietta Bay (A-5, south of golf course) This anchorage sweeps along what is almost a peninsula that forms Glorietta Bay. There are some very shallow areas within the anchorage in the vicinity of the Coronado Bridge, on the order of 4 to 6 feet.

Cruiser Anchorage (A-9) is an anchorage for 'out of town' boats only. It is south of the Coast Guard Station, east of Harbor Island. Contact the mooring office for an inspection by a Bay Control Officer prior to the issuance of a permit. The A-9 permit is good for 30 days, and is renewable for up to 90 days total.
Mooring balls are available south of the Coast Guard Station, north of the Grape Street Pier No. 1 for vessels 20 feet to 65 feet in length. The SD Mooring Company has taken over administration of the moorages from the Port. Their address is 4980 North Harbor Drive, Suite 101, SD and they can be reached at (619) 291-0916.

There are also transient mooring balls available strictly for transients. Transient mooring balls are good for a maximum of 30 days in a 45-day period. The transient mooring balls are on a first come, first served basis.

Applications are available at San Diego Mooring Office, 619-291-0916.

Mediterranean Moorings are also available. There are 12 moorings which are located between the north side of Grape Street Pier No. 1 and the Coast Guard Station. Dinghy landings, public restrooms and pay telephones are located nearby. These moorings are for transient vessels only, for a period of up to 30 days. Vessels must be between 19 and 50 feet overall.
Bonita Cove in Mission Bay is another great anchorage. It is located to port as you exit the channel that forms the entrance to Mission Bay. Boats that can clear the bridge may venture further into the bay and moor at one of three other anchorages. However, a permit is now required. See the Boat Moorings and Long-Term Boat Beaching page for further mooring information.
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Emergency Contacts

There are a number agencies and services available in case of an emergency. If an actual emergency exists you should call on VHF Channel 16 or dial 911 on the telephone. Below are other phone numbers that may be of use.

U.S. Coast Guard San Diego Officer of the Day: (619) 557-6644

San Diego Harbor Police 24 Hour Number: (619) 686-6272
City of San Diego Life Guard Services: (619) 221-8899
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary: (619) 260-1515

In addition there are several commercial companies that provide towing services.

Boat/US (For Boat/US Members only): 1-800-391-4869
SeaTow: 1-888-9SEATOW or (619) 973-2869
Vessel Assist: 1-800-588-2128 or (619) 223-3575

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Launching Ramps

San Diego Bay

Shelter Island's launching ramp is located on the bay side of the island. It has 10 concrete lanes with ample parking for vehicles and trailers.

Coronado Island has a launching ramp at Glorietta Bay, near the U.S. Navy Amphibious Base.

National City's ramp is located at the Marine Terminal at the foot of 24th Street. It is referred to as Pepper Park, because there is a small park there as well.

Chula Vista has a ramp located in the Boat Basin off of J Street and another at the foot of G Street.

Mission Bay

De Anza Cove

Vacation Isle, on the east side.

Dana Landing

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Fuel Docks

Harbor Island West Fuel Dock
2040 Harbor Island Dr.
(619) 291-6443

Texaco Marine (Cortez Fuel Dock)
1880 Harbor Island Dr.
(619) 296-2331

Pearson's Marine (Chevron)
2435 Shelter Island Dr.
(619) 222-7084

Shelter Island Fuel Dock
2385 Shelter Island Dr.
(619) 523-1100

Dana Landing Fuel Dock
2590 Ingraham St.
San Diego, CA. 92109
(619) 224-251

Islandia Sportfishing Fuel Dock
1551 W. Mission Bay Dr.
San Diego, CA. 92109
(619) 222-1164

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Pump-out Stations

There are quite a number of pump-out stations located in San Diego Bay. However, all but three are located at marinas. The three public pump-out stations are located at the Chula Vista, National City and Shelter Island launching ramps.
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