Channel Islands Harbor

Loc:1nm North of Hueneme Light Lat: N 34-09.25 Long: W 119-13.81 Last visit: Homeport
Tide/Sun/Moon/WX Dist: 1 Port Hueneme WX
Chart 18725 Pt. Hueneme to SB Google Map
Local Notice to Mariners NPS Alerts

Getting there

Channel Islands Harbor lies apporximately 28nm ESE of the Santa Barbara Light and about 1.5 nm NW of the Hueneme Light. The entrance to the harbor is 3.2 nm on a heading of 030M from platform Gina, which is an excellent checkpoint for those unfamiliar with the area.

While there is a NW entrance, we think the SE entrance is a bit easier to negotiate, particularly for sailors unfamiliar with area who are approaching under sail. We recommend against entering this harbor at night if this is your first visit.

Standoff from the jetties 50 feet or so to avoid areas prone to shoaling.

Hazards

Numerous oil platforms dot the Santa Barbara Channel.

Though well lighted for night operations, frequent fog, particularly in summer, can obscure them. Platform Gail is the only one with RACON. On the other hand, if you’ve got your radar turned on, it would be difficult to miss these huge steel structures.

On occasion – usually in winter – large storms will push swells in from the south as shown in the picture at left and even more graphically in the video at the bottom of the page. And if that’s the situation in Channel Islands Harbor, it’ll most likely be the same in Ventura. If uncertain about the conditions, call the Harbor Patrol on Channel #16. In an emergency, Coast Guard Station Channel Islands may assist using their 47′ Motor Lifeboat.

Keep an eye out for those regulatory marks – the small cylindrical white buoys with orange stripes near top and bottom. Most often these indicate shoaling and seem to be put to work only after someone’s keel kisses the bottom.

There are approximately 2500 slips in the harbor, but only big holidays bring out big crowds. On the other hand, expect to meet clueless kayakers and electric boat drivers. Be particularly cautious around electric boats with “Rent Me” signs on them.

Do not be shy about using your horn to alert them to your presence, if you do not, assume they’ll turn in front of you at the very worst possible moment.

One more caution about night sailing: there are no lateral marks of any kind once you’re inside the harbor. Lighting is not great, so have your gazillion candlepower flashlight handy when you come in after dark.

Finally, the Harbor Patrol has got the jet skis under control, but only inside the harbor. Jet Skis, Cigarette Boats and the like can go as fast as they want even inside the breakwater. The 5 mph speed limit does not take effect until inside the jetties.

Facilities

Harbor Master/Harbor Patrol Ch. #16 or #12. Phone: 805.382.3007.

Guest Docks

Numerous berths are available at $1/foot/night for up to 10 days. Pay at Harbormaster Office before tying up. See the video and consult the chart link in the table above.

Fuel

One fuel dock/4 fueling stations. Diesel, gas, no bio-diesel.

Boatyards

Bellport, which has a 38 ton travel lift – 805.985.1818 and Anchors Way has a 20 ton lift 805.985.6775. Both yards are in the east branch of the harbor.

Restaurants etc.

There are several restaurants in the harbor. Our favorites are Moqueca, Brazilian cuisine with an emphasis on seafood, The Italian Job, which should need no further explanatian, and finally The Lookout, a faux British Pub, where we go for beer and bar food that (fortunately) is not particularly British.

I’ve also got to mention the Rudder Room. If you click on this link, you’ll find the joint’s review at Yelp.com. It gets one of the highest ratings of any establishment in our area, and that’s based on numerous reviews. But before you saddle up and head that way for a great date, note that its category is Dive Bar. Actually, it’s hardly that any more. Though its origins are humble, they cleaned the joint up. And I’ve got to admit that it’s the best place to grab a beer and watch the sun sink into the Pacific. And it’s the only place around to watch girls play beach volley ball on a sunny Saturday afternoon. If you ride a Harley (and you’re over a certain middle aged point) or have dreams of riding one (or living that long), this is your bar.

The Whale’s Tail is a favorite seafood spot for many tourists, but known locally for its cold beer and great harbor view. Latitude 34 Deli and Sandwich Shop is great for, well, sandwiches, but you’ve got to be patient. More patient than I am.

There is one hotel in the harbor – Hampton Inn, which has gotten good ratings from the folks to whom I’ve recommended it, and Embassy Suites is (are?) also within walking distance.

If you didn’t bring your own boat and would like to sail to the islands, check out Sancerre or call me, Capt. Dan at 805.750.7828.

Updates

If you have new or amplifying information concerning this harbor or the surrounding area, please contact Capt. Dan. His e-mail link and phone are top left.

Video

Links

Channel Islands Harbor
Vintage Marina
Anacapa Isle Marina
Community (low-cost) Sailing
Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club
Channel Islands Yacht Club
Oxnard Visitors
Hampton Inn in the Harbor

Sail for just a few hours …. or several days