Shelter Island Boat Launch opening delayed until late 2018
Published - 05/15/18 - 11:39 AM | 9611 views | 0 0 comments | 68 68 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Work continues on the Shelter Island Boat Launch Facility Improvement Project. / Photo by Thomas Melville
Work continues on the Shelter Island Boat Launch Facility Improvement Project. / Photo by Thomas Melville
Work is progressing on the Shelter Island Boat Launch Facility Improvement Project; however, due to longer-than-expected delays, the ramp will remain closed through the start of this year’s boating season, which begins Memorial Day weekend. 

The Port of San Diego recognizes that this extended closure impacts boaters during the summer season, but due to safety concerns, the ramp cannot be opened at this time. The Port of San Diego apologizes for the inconvenience and appreciates boaters’ patience as they continue this project. Visit for a list of alternate boat launches.

This project was designed with extensive public outreach over several years, and is funded by the California Department of Boating and Waterways, Wildlife Conservation Board, and the Port of San Diego. The timeline for this $9.5 million public improvement project has recently been adjusted to account for these unanticipated delays.

Construction began in late May 2017 with an anticipated completion by the summer season. However, during excavation operations, the contractor encountered an extensive amount of large buried concrete debris, and the removal of this debris required a change to the project schedule. At this time, completion is anticipated in late 2018. 

Given the recent findings, the Port is working with the contractor, and staff from the California Coastal Commission and the Department of Boating and Waterways, to allow for the temporary use of one boat ramp lane by the public beginning later in the summer season. Updates will be provided at 

Often described as the busiest boat launch in California, with an estimated 50,000 launches annually, the Shelter Island Boat Launch was damaged by the wearing and corrosive effects of seawater and has been in need of improvements for some time. The heavy daily use, and the increase in larger recreational boats, resulted in congestion and delays in launching. 


Once completed, the improvements will make the boat launch safer and more navigable.  Upgrades include enlarging the maneuvering area in the basin, replacing the worn-out launch ramp, increasing the lengths of the boarding floats, installing public walking platforms with viewing areas, installing signage and lighting and updating the docks, public walkways, adjacent parking and restroom to current Americans with Disabilities Act Standards. 

To date, progress has included demolition of the previous launch ramp facility, installation of a temporary cofferdam, and fabrication and partial installation of the breakwater wall panels. Pile driving operations are ongoing and will continue through June.

Project updates are posted at

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