Byline: Taylor Hill
SAN DIEGO — Visiting boaters can rest a bit easier as they approach San Diego Bay, as the San Diego Harbor Police’s new online reservation system will give them a “heads up” on guest slip and anchorage availability.
The change is a welcome one for many boaters, who previously would not know the availability of the guest slips or anchorage areas until they arrived at the Harbor Police mooring office on Shelter Island.
“We’re getting a lot of positive feedback from boaters on this,” said Harbor Police records assistant Judith Neidert. “It’s going to be a real convenience for them, and they’re excited about it.”
Under the current system, boaters were given allotted boat slips or anchorage spots on a first-come, first-served basis. Visiting vessels from other harbors or cruisers making their way up or down the coast would often be left in a tough spot, if no spaces were open.
“We would be on the phone with them, and we would be making our best guess if a spot would be open or not — but we couldn’t guarantee anything on the old system,” Neidert said.
The new system will allow boaters to log on, create a profile with their name and boat size, and make reservations for one of the Harbor Police’s 28 guest slips up to two weeks in advance — or reserve a spot in the free anchorage areas up to one year in advance.
“Before, you had to talk to someone in the office to get a slip or an anchorage permit,” Neidert said. “But now you can do that from anywhere, and be set up when you get to San Diego.”
The new system, which is being constructed and installed by a local San Diego technology firm, will also make monitoring the boat slips and anchorage areas easier for Harbor Police officers, who will now be able to see in real time what boats are designated to use specific slips and anchorage areas.
Still in its testing phase, the online system should be up and running by the end of August, Neidert said. Boaters will be able to find a link to the reservation system at the Port of San Diego website.
The 28 Harbor Police guest slips are located at 1401 Shelter Island Drive, on the southern end of Shelter Island at the entrance to the Shelter Island Yacht Basin. Guest slip rates are $1 per foot, per day, and boats up to 65 feet can be accommodated.
In addition to the boat slips, San Diego Bay has two short-term free anchorages and one cruisers’ anchorage available.
The La Playa Cove anchorage, or A1 anchorage, is a 72-hour weekend-only anchorage located between San Diego Yacht Club and Southwestern Yacht Club in the Shelter Island Yacht Basin. The hours of anchoring are from 9 a.m. Friday through 9 a.m. Monday. The anchorage holds a maximum of 40 boats.
Boaters looking for weekday short-term anchoring can use the Glorietta Bay anchorage, or A5 anchorage, located in Glorietta Bay, south of the Coronado golf course. There is a 72-hour time limit here, but boaters can anchor any day of the week. A maximum of 20 boats are allowed in the anchorage.
For long-term stays, boaters can utilize the A9 anchorage, or cruisers’ anchorage, located adjacent to the Coast Guard Air Station and the east tip of Harbor Island. This anchorage is only available to nonresidents of San Diego County. The length of stay allowed at the anchorage is 30 days, with two extensions available — for a total stay of 90 days in a 12-month period.
Once the new system is fully up and running, permits for all three anchorage sites will be available online.