The Santa Barbara Harbor dredging project started on March 1st and already created a narrow, passable channel with a depth of 20ft at zero tide, according to Dominique Samario, an administrative analyst and public information officer with the city’s waterfront department.
The February 17 storm that brought torrential rains, high winds and large ocean swells to Santa Barbara Harbor, also deposited massive amounts of sand in the harbor entrance, leaving it only 7ft deep at zero tide.
As a result, vessels leaving or entering the harbor had to do so at high tide, with some larger-draft vessels unable to exit or enter at all, the City of Santa Barbara said in its announcement.
On February 23, the U.S. Coast Guard established a ‘safety zone’ at the harbor entrance, conferring legal authority to harbor patrol to manage, allow or disallow all vessel traffic out of or into the harbor.
The safety zone designation will expire on March 16, providing full resolution of any navigation issues at the harbor entrance, the city said.
Dredging of the Santa Barbara Harbor is typically conducted once every spring and fall.