OXNARD — California’s shoreline is sprinkled with a handful of notable shipwrecks, most of which occurred decades ago. Southern California’s beaches are home to three such shipwrecks: SS Monte Carlo in Coronado, SS Dominator at Palos Verdes Peninsula and La Janelle on the edge of Oxnard’s Silver Strand State Beach and near the naval base in Port Hueneme.
La Janelle, a pleasure ship, ran aground on the Ventura County shore in April 1970. She was eventually taken apart, with the remains ultimately converted into a fishing jetty.
California lawmakers passed a bill in 1973 to require La Janelle – which is also referenced to as La Jenelle, with an ‘e’ – be converted into a fishing jetty in perpetuity. The bill, which was signed into law by former Gov. Ronald Reagan, allocated $1.4 million to convert or remove the shipwreck
“The La Jenelle shipwreck, which is approximately 500 feet in length, constitutes grave danger in human life, particularly to young persons fishing or bathing in the area,” the language of Senate Bill 619 stated. “Due to weather conditions, it may only be removed or converted to fishing jetty use during the summer months.”
La Janelle is now the namesake of La Janelle Park in Oxnard and, according to trails.com, has become a popular destination for fishing and surfing.
The former cruise ship had taken on several names before her final sails as La Janelle, according to the Ventura County Star. She debuted as Borinquen in 1931, before later being named Porto Rico, Arosa Star and SS Bahama Star. The ship was renamed La Janelle in 1969, just months ahead of her fateful end.
A Facebook page was created a few years ago to commemorate La Janelle.
Sources: Trails.com, Facebook, Journal of the State Senate, Ventura County Star, shipbuildinghistory.com