Posted on January 26, 2021
For the past half-century, boaters who wanted access to the Pacific Ocean through Huntington Harbour have had to pass through a Navy base in Seal Beach, but on Thursday, they will have their own dedicated lane.
A new civilian boating channel from Huntington Harbour to the Anaheim Bay has opened to the public, Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach announced.
“I just want to go out there, putz around, get into the open water and come on back,” said Huntington Harbour Yacht Club Commodore Rudy Lopez, who aims to be among the first to try out the new route. “I think it’s a historic thing for us as a club. You can take that travel path any time you want, but there’s nothing like that very first day.”
The new channel is part of a $154-million U.S. Navy project designed to reconfigure Anaheim Bay, as well as build a new ammunition pier for the Navy. The project is set to be completed in 2024.
The old channel is becoming part of the naval base and is being blocked off, said Gregg Smith, public affairs officer for the weapons station, who noted that the public channel had to be completed before construction of the naval project could continue.
With the changes, the weapons station hopes to shorten the amount of time the channel is closed whenever a Navy ship is entering or exiting.
“The Navy ships and civilian boats will still share the outer part of the bay there, where the mouth of the arrowhead jetties are, but it will be a much smaller area of the bay than they were sharing before,” Smith said.
That is good news to Lopez and the Huntington Harbour Yacht Club, who have been awaiting the channel’s opening.
“We’re located at the southernmost part of that whole channel, so we have a longer way to travel,” Lopez said. “Cutting down a little bit of the time to get into the open water is a good thing.”
Work on armoring the sides of the new channel will continue for several more months.