Port Hueneme: The Pleasure Craft Harbor That Never Was

PORT HUENEME—The second word in the city of Port Hueneme, located just south of Oxnard and short drive northwest of Malibu, might be one of the hardest words for people to pronounce. Did you know the Port of Port Hueneme, which is one of the busiest harbors in California, could have been home to hundreds of recreational boats?

“A History of the Los Angeles District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1898-1965” explained the Port of Port Hueneme was originally designed for pleasure craft. Today it is one of the busiest commercial and naval ports on the West Coast.

“Originally the plans in 1940 called for Port Hueneme to accommodate pleasure craft, but requirements of national defense which resulted from World War II converted the choice harbor into a valuable naval facility,” an entry in the book of Army Corps history stated. “Fortunately, an admirable substitute, Channel Islands Harbor, was developed as a by-product included in a solution by [the Los Angeles District] for the problem created by Port Hueneme, for, north of the port, sand produced by the alteration of wave patterns threatened to destroy Port Hueneme.”

Ventura County, of course, would have one more harbor district come online – Ventura Port. The northernmost harbor in Ventura County was originally called Ventura Marina Port District.

Santa Barbara, on a separate note, could have had a harbor in Goleta or Carpenteria, according to the book of Army Corps history.

“Overcrowding and other problems produced a request for a preliminary study involving consideration of three harbor sites – Goleta, Carpenteria, or the expansion of the existing Santa Barbara for future development,” the history book stated. “Construction at Goleta and Carpenteria was not justified, but in 1962 authorization to tripe the size of the Santa Barbara Harbor was approved.”

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