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San Diego

Overview, Navigation, Hazards

San Diego Bay, where California’s maritime history began in 1542, is 10 miles North West of the Mexican boundary. In September of that year, Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo, the Spanish explorer, sailed his frail bark into the bay. The bay is considered one of the finest natural harbors in the world, and affords excellent protection in any weather; it is free of excessive tidal current movements. A low, narrow sand spit, which expands to a width of 1.6 miles at North Island on its NW end, separates the bay from the ocean. The city of San Diego is on the North East shore of the bay.  Coronado is on the sand-spit opposite San Diego. National City and Chula Vista are South of San Diego on the South East shore of the bay. The principal wharves are at San Diego and National City. Coronado, connected to San Diego by a highway bridge, is a residential and resort area of little commercial importance.

Point Loma, on the W side of the entrance to San Diego Bay, is a ridged peninsula with heights of about 400 feet. The ridge is bare of trees except in the gullies and where planted around the houses near the summit,and is sparsely covered with grass, sagebrush, and cactus. The tanks and buildings of a sewage treatment plant are conspicuous about 0.9 mile N of the point. At a distance the point usually has the appearance of an island. Point Loma Light (32°39'54"N., 117°14'33"W.),88 feet above the water, is shown from a black house ona 70-foot white square pyramidal skeleton tower at the S end of the point. The light has a fog signal. Thick kelp beds extend more than 1.5 miles S of the point, and a sunken wreck is about 0.5 mile S of the light.(21) On the nearer approach, an abandoned lighthouse will be seen on the highest part of the hill immediately back of Point Loma Light. The old lighthouse and grounds form the Cabrillo National Monument, honoring the discoverer of San Diego Bay. The statue of Cabrillo, about 300 yards NE of the abandoned lighthouse, is reported to be an excellent mark when fog obscures the old lighthouse. From inside the bay,prominent objects along the crest of the ridge are a large red and white checkered elevated tank, a green standpipe, and a tall lookout tower all about 2.5 miles N from the light.(22) Ballast Point, low and sandy, projects 0.4 mile NE from the E side of Point Loma, 1.3 miles N from Point Loma Light. Ballast Point Light B (32°41'10"N.,117°13'57"W.), 16 feet above the water, is shown from a dolphin with a green and white diamond-shaped day mark off the end of the point; the light has a fog signal. Three piers of the Naval Submarine Base are just Nof Ballast Point. A fog signal is on the middle pier.(23) North Island, the filled NW end of the sand-spit on the E side of the bay entrance, is Naval Base Coronado.On its SE side is the City of Coronado. Prominent features that show up well from the entrance are the tall condominiums at Coronado Shores 2.7 miles E of the entrance, the cupola of Hotel del Coronado 3 miles E of the entrance, and the tower of the Naval Air Station Administration Building, which is marked by an aero light and is operated intermittently with varying characteristics. In clear weather the skyline of the city of San Diego is very prominent on the S approach.

Harbor Location:  N32°39.100'  W117°13.500'  Chart 18773 San Diego Bay 1:12,000.

Lights, Fog Signals

Harbor, Guest Slips

Guest docks are available ...

Yacht Clubs

Useful Links

NOAA Chart Viewer - Chart 18773

Google Maps

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