Ventura Harbor to install concrete docks

SAN DIEGO — The California Coastal Commission approved on Jan. 14 a Ventura Port District plan to replace existing wooden docks with precast concrete float docks.

Commission staff said the concrete floating docks would better accommodate commercial fishing slips but reduce the overall number of slips at Ventura Harbor Village Marina. Portions or all of docks C, D, G and H will be upgraded and reconfigured.

“The proposed reconfiguration will reduce the overall number of slips within the marina and has the potential to impact the availability of commercial fishing and recreational boating opportunities within the Ventura Harbor,” commission staff stated. “However the proposed reconfiguration’s reduction in the number of smaller sized slips in the 35 to 40 foot range and addition of larger sized slips in the 60 to 65 foot range will better accommodate the change needs of the harbor’s commercial fishing fleet and allow the marina greater flexibility in mooring a variety of boat sizes including those in the range of 35 feet to 40 feet.”

Other marinas in the harbor would have slips available for boaters impacted by these changes, according to commission staff.

“There are also sufficient vacant slips within the Ventura Harbor, Channel Islands Harbor and Seabridge/Westport Harbor at Mandalay Bay to accommodate current and foreseeable future demand by smaller sized boats,” commission staff said.

Port officials informed the Coastal Commission the wooden docks are suffering from internal deterioration and upgrading those docks would improve accessibility and circulation.

“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,” commission staff stated in its report to commissioners. “Several of the 4-foot wide fingers at G and H docks were noted in the applicant’s dock condition assessment to be unstable and unsafe to pedestrians. The proposed project … includes a 109-foot extension between docks C and D that will be occupied by Ventura Boat Rentals and improve the accessibility and circulation of that visitor-serving facility.”

Port officials and commission staff added fishing vessels larger than what the marina was designed for are actively using the docks. Corroded nails and metal brackets were recently visible and indicate the internal dock framing has been compromised, the commission staff report stated.

“Demolition of the existing deteriorated docks and construction of the proposed docks will require temporarily relocating moored ships and will have temporary impacts to commercial and recreational slip availability within the marina,” commission staff said. “To mitigate the impacts of slip availability, the project will occur in phases over the course of several years. Demolition and construction will focus on one dock at a time.”

Ventura Port District officials will have to conduct eelgrass and pre-construction Caulerpa taxifolia surveys and comply with construction responsibilities and debris removal as a condition of the commission’s approval.

The harbor is home to about 1,400 boat berths, a boat launch ramp and repair yard, fuel docks, charter fishing operations and Harbor Patrol. Ventura Harbor Village Marina, which was built in 1981 and 1982, features 144 boat slips and accommodates vessels between 30 and 100 feet. There are also two boat hoists.

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