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Storms Temporarily Impact Santa Cruz Harbor

Confucius said, “Do not enter or exit a harbor where you can walk across the entrance.” Or he would if he saw Santa Cruz Harbor today. The harbor that launched Merlin, Santa Cruz 50s, 52s and 70s, and many more deep-draft racing vessels, has shoaled up during the recent winter storms, making it impassable at worst and dangerous at best — unless you’re a surfer. You’ve probably sailed through here. The shoaling is not uncommon or forever, as the harbor dredge is on hand to get the harbor back into shape once winter storms settle down.

Santa Cruz Harbor shoaling
Mother Nature is asserting herself at Santa Cruz Harbor.
© 2023 Brighton Denevan

Harbormaster Blake Anderson wanted to let everyone know that “any time anyone has a trip planned to Santa Cruz Harbor they should check our website for the latest depth information and/or call the harbor office at (831) 475-6161.”

Santa Cruz Harbor
Another view of the harbor with the dredge standing by.
© 2023 Brighton Denevan
Santa Cruz Harbor
Thousands of sailors pass through this harbor entrance every year on their way to or from Monterey Bay.
© 2023 Brighton Denevan

With more storms and large swells arriving today and lasting through the weekend, we’ll quote the website for the weekend ahead, which has advice for Santa Cruz boats and boats anywhere on the stormy California coast.

From the website:

Another large swell event is forecast to impact our area beginning Thursday evening, January 12, 2023, and lasting through Sunday, January 15, 2023.

The 15’-18’ west swell is expected to peak at 3 a.m. on Friday, January 13, 2023, and will coincide with high tide.

Powerful surge conditions in the harbor and breaking surf at the entrance are expected. Please use caution at all times when aboard your vessel or dockside.

It is highly recommended that you check your vessel in advance of the swell. Please ensure that your vessel is secure, drains are clear, pumps are operable, and that dock lines and fenders are in good condition. Lines should be replaced and/or added as needed.

Santa Cruz Harbor is a fantastic destination for anyone cruising the coast, but timing is everything.


1 Comment

  1. Steve Rienhart 1 year ago

    Just an observational ‘correction’: Merlin was launched during winter out of Moss Landing due to the silting.

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