The Coast Guard’s total closure of Santa Cruz Harbor March 18 left a lot of sailors and commercial fishermen extremely frustrated — to put it mildly. But we’re happy to report that the dredging crews have been making steady progress since then, which has allowed the CG to soften rules for this special Safety Zone.
When conditions at the entrance are appropriate, fishermen are now able to come and go without the threat of fines, if they are granted special permission (via VHF 9) from the Santa Cruz harbormaster or a deputy harbormaster. We assume the same applies to recreational vessels also; however, keelboat owners should check current bottom-contour graphics at the harbormaster’s office before contemplating an exit. According to the Santa Cruz Port District website, "The Coast Guard has indicated that approvals can be granted during daylight hours when there are no small craft or gale warnings in effect." It’s also good news that dredging hours will be increasing to 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. whenever possible.