activity-dine activity-more activity-play activity-shop activity-stay arrow-leftarrow-rightchevron-downchevron-rightchevron-up close download email gridlistlocationmime-default mime-link mime-pdf mime-video pin search social-facebook social-flickr social-instagram social-linkedin social-pinterest social-rss social-twitter social-youtube berth-request-form blue-economy boat-launches breakbulk contact-the-port cruise-information current-rfps dine docks-and-anchorages drybulk economic-impact events faqs green-business-network harbor-police job-opportunities live-vessel-tracking news play port-events public-meetings refrigerated-avocados refrigerated-bananas refrigerated-pineapple shop stay tenant-resources tidelands-activation-program view-bidding-opportunities commercial-vessels current-conditions directions fact security agendas calendar cruise documents information jobs map meeting minutes notification parking permits reporting reports reservation rfps rules tap vendors video-play weather-cloudy weather-partly-cloudy weather-rainy weather-sunny weather zoom Skip to main content

Shelter Island Boat Launch

Waterfront Development

The new Shelter Island Boat Launch Facility was officially dedicated on January 22, 2019 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by community leaders and boating enthusiasts. The facility opened up to the public on December 21, 2018. It is now a state-of-the-art boat launch facility with an enlarged basin, new, longer boarding floats, a public walking platform with viewing areas, and new signage and lighting. The new facility was constructed by R.E. Staite Engineering and designed by Triton Engineering. The total construction cost was approximately $9.6 million. The project was funded with a $6.1 million grant provided by the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Division of Boating and Waterways, and a $3.5 million grant from the State of California Wildlife Conservation Board.

 

 

The project enlarged the maneuvering area in the launch ramp's basin by 80 percent. 

Shelter Island Boat Launch Larger basin
Public walkway at the new Shelter Island Boat Launch Facility

 

 

A beautiful pedestrian walkway is now available to enjoy views of San Diego Bay and the channel where vessels enter and depart the harbor. 

Shelter Island Boat Launch Facility Improvement Project Timeline

November 2015
November 2015

California Division of Boating & Waterways awards a $6.1 million grant for the project.

March 2016
March 2016

Wildlife Conservation Board awards a $3.3 million grant for the project (award was later amended to $3.5 million to cover the total project cost of $9.6 million).

August 2016
August 2016

Wildlife Conservation Board awards a $3.3 million grant for the project (award was later amended to $3.5 million to cover the total project cost of $9.6 million).

October 2016
October 2016

Board of Port Commissioners approves a Coastal Development Permit.

November 2016
November 2016

Port hosts a public open house at the Port’s Administration Building to give the public the opportunity to learn more about the project, view design renderings and exhibits, and talk to the project team. Information about alternate boat launch ramps in San Diego and Mission Bay was also made available.

April 11, 2017
April 11, 2017

The Board of Port Commissioners approves R.E. Staite Engineering Inc. as the contractor.

May 23, 2017
May 23, 2017

Contractor begins mobilizing equipment and installing fencing around the project area. Construction is expected to take ten months.

May 30, 2017
May 30, 2017

Contractor closes the ramp. One lane remains open during the summer months.

September 5, 2017
September 5, 2017

Contractor closes all lanes of the launch ramp.

December 21, 2018
December 21, 2018

Launch ramp officially opens to the public.

Busiest Boat Launch in California

10lanes

50,000boat launches per year

$9.6millionimprovement project

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Shelter Island Boat Launch?

The facility is believed to be the busiest boat launch ramp in California, with an estimated 50,000 launches annually. Constructed in the mid-1950s with a single-lane concrete launch ramp, its last major improvement was completed in the mid-1970s when the existing 10-lane boat launching ramp was constructed. The facility is used by recreational boaters from the general public, including small yachts, inboard and outboard motorboats, private fishing boats, fishing tournament boats, and amphibious tour buses.

Why did the boat launch need improvements?

The Shelter Island Boat Launch was in need of repairs because of the corrosive and wearing actions of seawater and heavy use by boaters. Also, due to increased use over time and the use of larger recreational boats, the boat launch had been experiencing congestion and delays when boats launched at the facility. This was further exacerbated during low tide events when basin access was extremely limited.

How did this project improve the boat launch?

The Shelter Island Boat Launch Facility Improvements Project made the boat launch safer and more navigable in multiple ways. It:

  • Enlarged the maneuvering area in the basin
  • Replaced the worn-out launch ramp
  • Increased the lengths of the boarding floats
  • Added public walking platforms with viewing areas
  • Brought the docks, public walkways and restrooms to current ADA (Americans with Disability Act) standards

What other boat launch facilities are available in the San Diego region?

San Diego Bay
Kayak Launch Ramp: MAP

2869 Historic Decatur Rd,
San Diego, CA 92106

San Diego Bay
MCRD Boat House (Military Only): MAP

131 Neville Rd,
San Diego, CA 92140

*Coronado
Coronado Boat Launch, Glorietta Bay: MAP

1975 Strand Way,
Coronado, CA 92118
*NOTE: CLOSED April 2017 through
the end of May 2017

National City
Pepper Park: MAP

3299 Tidelands Ave, National City,
CA 91950

Chula Vista
Chula Vista Boat Launch Marina: MAP

Marina Way, Chula Vista,
CA 91910

San Diego Mission Bay
Dana Landing: MAP
2580 Ingraham St,
San Diego, CA 92109

San Diego Mission Bay
South Shores: MAP

S Shores Park Dy,
San Diego, CA 92109

San Diego Mission Bay
Ski Beach Boat Launch Ramp: MAP
Ingraham St & Vacation Rd,
San Diego, CA 92109

San Diego Mission Bay
Santa Clara Point: MAP

1001 Santa Clara Pl, San Diego,
CA 92109

San Diego Mission Bay
De Anza Cove Boat Launch: MAP
E Mission Bay Dr, San Diego,
CA 92109

Oceanside
Oceanside Harbor Boat Launch: MAP

1380 N Pacific St, Oceanside,
CA 92054

 

Photos below show an aerial view of the Shelter Island Boat Launch Ramp before the improvement project began, and a conceptual rendering of the improvements.The additional photos show some of the large buried concrete debris found by the contractor during excavation operations. The removal of the debris required a change to the project schedule. Click on a photo for a larger view and to scroll through all of the photos.