Ventura Harbor dock replacement project approved by Coastal Commission

Upgrade from wood to concrete docks will benefit commercial fishing ships.

SAN FRANCISCO — A proposal to remove wooden docks with concrete floating docks at Ventura Harbor was unanimously approved by the California Coastal Commission, Nov. 7.

Ventura Port District specifically seeks to update docks C, G, H and a portion of D. The changes are necessary, according to Costal Commission staff, to better accommodate commercial fishing boats.

“Dock C and the southern section of dock D will be replaced with the same dock configuration, slip size, and within approximately the same footprint as the existing docks. The applicant proposes to reconfigure docks G and H to better accommodate commercial fishing ships,” Coastal Commission staff stated in a report to commissioners. “The project includes the construction a new 109 foot precast concrete walkway between docks C and D.”

The project is actually a continuation of a larger dock replacement program, which Ventura Port District initiated in 2003; work on docks E, F, I and the northern portion of D were included in the initial project.

“The existing southern section of dock D and existing docks C, G, and H are a conventional wood frame and deck construction supported by precast concrete pontoons. The applicant has indicated that while the external appearance of the docks appears to be in fair to good condition, there is strong evidence that there is a considerable amount of interior deterioration,” Coastal Commission staff stated in its report to staff. “Evidence of warped fingers and corroded nails and metal brackets that are visible indicates that the internal dock framing is most likely compromised and has lost much of its structural capacity to resist lateral loads.

“Several of the four foot wide fingers at G and H docks were noted in the applicant’s dock condition assessment to be unstable and unsafe to pedestrians,” Coastal Commissions staff continued.

The docks are also berthing larger fishing ships, Coastal Commission staff continued.

“When the Marina was initially constructed in 1981 and 1982 the primary commercial fishing ships were squid purse seiners and gill net fishing ships in the range of 35 feet to 50 feet,” Coastal Commission staff stated. While gill net fishing has declined, the commercial squid industry has seen significant growth and the 35-foot to 50-foot squid seiners of the 1980s are being replaced by larger seiners in the 60-foot to 80-foot range. These larger squid seiners have much larger berthing loads and put increased stress on the docks and piles.”

Ventura Harbor is home to several uses, including residences, park use, boating activities, oil storage, water treatment, fishing, boat storage, boat launching and fueling services.

The harbor area was built in 1960; the marina within this project was built in 1981 and 1982, as one of four marinas in Ventura Harbor.

“The marina includes 144 boat slips ranging in length from 30 feet to 100 feet, a commercial fish-buying facility, and two travel lifts for hoisting boats. The marina is used predominantly for commercial fishing, but also accommodates commercial tour operations. The marina can also accommodate recreational boat users when there are vacant slips that are not utilized by commercial boats.”

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