PRESS RELEASE: Marguerite Elicone on March 23, 2016.
The award was officially accepted by the Board of Port Commissioners at its March 8, 2016 regular meeting.
This is the second grant awarded to the Port for this project. In November 2015, the California Division of Boating & Waterways presented the Port with a $6.1 million grant. Both grants will help fund the estimated $9.5 million needed for the project. The project will improve the launch ramp’s basin by enlarging its maneuvering area, replacing the worn-out launch ramp, increasing the lengths of the boarding floats, providing a concrete drop-off area for kayaks, and bringing the restroom to current ADA (Americans with Disability Act) standards.
“The Port of San Diego is grateful to the Wildlife Conservation Board for this very significant grant,” said Marshall Merrifield, Chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners. “Making these improvements to the Shelter Island boat launch ramp is an absolute necessity. It is the most widely used launch ramp on San Diego Bay and is an essential component to the bay’s recreational activities.”
The Shelter Island boat launch ramp 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 out-board motorboats, private fishing boats, fishing tournament boats and amphibious tour buses.
When completed, the new launch facility basin will be 80 percent larger. The new entry/exit point will increase from 25 feet to 60 feet. Additionally, new walkways and public viewing platforms will be included, and a separate area for hand-launched watercraft will be added.
Currently the project is undergoing steps to obtain a Coastal Development Permit, Army Corps of Engineers Permit and State Water Board Permit. The Port expects to solicit construction bids for the project in the fall of 2016, with construction anticipated to begin in early 2017. Once a contract is finalized, the Port will be able to provide specific information on the construction timeline and future closure impacts to the public.