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General Press Releases

Shelter Island Boat Launch Ramp Improvements Underway; Temporary Closure Begins

As part of efforts to improve public amenities on the Port of San Diego’s dynamic waterfront, the Shelter Island Boat Launch Facility Improvement Project is now under construction. This project is an important grant-funded upgrade for the Shelter Island Boat Launch, and represents the culmination of years of planning and public outreach.

This free, public boat launch was originally constructed in the 1950s and underwent upgrades in 1976 and 2005. Currently it services approximately 50,000 launches per year and is believed to be the busiest boat launch in California. The project will make this public amenity safer and more navigable, and will require a temporary closure of the boat launch for construction. The closure is anticipated to be from May 2017 through March 2018.

This improvement project was designed with extensive stakeholder input and is being made possible by $9.6 million in grant funding from the California Division of Boating and Waterways and the California Wildlife Conservation Board. The contractor is R.E. Staite Engineering Inc.

The Port will be working closely with the contractor to minimize impacts of construction on the surrounding community and environment, and to minimize closure time by ensuring timely completion. Boaters are encouraged to utilize alternative boat launches. 

Project Features:
When complete, the new and improved boat launch ramp will be easier to navigate and will include these improvements:
• An enlarged maneuvering area in the basin
• Longer boarding floats
• Public walking platforms with viewing areas
• New signage and lighting
• Docks, public walkways and restrooms that are up to current ADA (Americans with Disability Act) standards

On Tuesday, May 23, 2017 contractors will mobilize equipment and install fencing around the project area, located at 2230 Shelter Island Drive, San Diego.
Construction is expected to take ten months. The boat launch is anticipated to reopen in March 2018.

Construction hours will generally be between 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday; however, hours may vary due to the tides.
Trucking operations to haul material to and from the site will be restricted and will not occur between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.

To ensure public safety and timely completion, the Shelter Island Boat Launch Facility will be closed to the public during most of the construction, from May 2017 through March 2018.

During the summer months of June 2017 through August 2017, one lane of the ten-lane boat ramp will remain open for boaters, but long wait times are anticipated. The Port of San Diego strongly encourages boaters to utilize alternate launch ramps during construction. 

Parking and Traffic:
Approximately 25 percent of the available parking in the lower parking lot (Lot 10) adjacent to the launch ramp will be closed to allow for staging construction equipment.

There will be no lane closures on Shelter Island Drive.

For more information on the Shelter Island Boat Launch Facility Improvement Project, please visit

About THE Port of San Diego

The Port of San Diego serves the people of California as a specially created district, balancing multiple uses on 34 miles along San Diego Bay spanning five cities. Collecting no tax dollars, the Port manages a diverse portfolio to generate revenues that support vital public services and amenities.

The Port champions Maritime, Waterfront Development, Public Safety, Experiences and Environment, all focused on enriching the relationship people and businesses have with our dynamic waterfront. From cargo and cruise terminals to hotels and restaurants, from marinas to museums, from 22 public parks to countless events, the Port contributes to the region’s prosperity and remarkable way of life on a daily basis.