Boating in Catalina
Catalina is a boater’s paradise. A short sail from many points on the mainland, the Island presents numerous opportunities for exploration and enjoyment. The
two largest harbors, Avalon (400 moorings) and Two Harbors (239 moorings), provide many amenities. Additionally there are moorings at 16 other coves. Many coves also provide anchorage. Catalina Island Camping at (310) 510-TENT, is a good source of information about outlying coastal areas, including facts about moorings, anchorages, prices, and safety.
Other important numbers are for the Isthmus Harbor Department: (310) 510-4253 or VHF channel 9 for all areas outside Avalon, the U.S. Coast Guard: (310) 732-2044 or VHF channel 16, and the L.A. County Lifeguard-Paramedic Rescue Boat: 911 or VHF channel 16.
- Latitude 33.20.83/Longitude 118.19.42
- Course Settings: From: magnetic reverse distance, course nautical miles San Pedro Breakwater 174 354 21.7 Long Beach Breakwater 183 003 23.5 Long Beach Marina (East Breakwater Light) 187 007 24.5 Santa Monica 152 332 41.0 Pt. Vincente 152 332 24.0
- Mooring Fees: Moorings are on a first come first served basis
Boats 39′ and under $27 per night
Boats 40′ to 49′ $35 per night
Boats 50′ to 59′ $45 per night
Boats 60′ to 69′ $58 per night
Boats 70′ to 79′ $71 per night
Boats 80′ to 89′ $82 per night
Boats 90′ to 99′ $96 per night
Boats 100′ and over $109 per night
Services in Avalon
- The telephone number of the Harbor Master is (310) 510-0535. Staff is on duty 24 hours a day. www.cityofavalon.com
Avalon Harbor monitors Channel 12
- Note – Avalon is a no discharge area. No sewage, whether treated or untreated, may be discharged. This law is strictly enforced. The penalty is one year’s expulsion from the Harbor and a $500 fine. There is a free pump-a-head station near the casino on the west side of Avalon bay, by the passenger boat landing. You can also call Head Pumpers (310-510-3215, VHF 68) and 714-351-1476 who will come to your boat.
- Diesel fuel and gas are available at the fuel dock next to the Casino. Summer hours are 7 am-6 pm daily. Winter hours are 8-10 and 2-4 Monday thru Friday, 8-4 on weekends. Call (310) 510-0046. Beer, ice, soft drinks and snacks are sold at the nearby Casino Dock Cafe (open 7:30-4 weekdays, 7-6 weekends).
- Trash is picked up twice daily during the summer and on weekends throughout the year by service boats. Trash should be placed in plastic bags available from the Harbor Master’s office and the service boats.
- Fish weigh-in is available on the pleasure pier. Sharks are not permitted.
- Water is available at the fuel dock and at the pump-a-head station floats.
- Casino Way Showers, opposite the Tuna Club. An attendant sells tokens, which cost $1 each. To enter the showers costs one token; each 5 minutes of shower time costs an additional token. Towel rental is available for $1 each. You can also drop off your laundry here, for washing, pressing and mending. Ice is available. Phone (562)889-4920.
Summer hours: Monday – Thursday 7 am-6 PM Friday – Sunday 7 am-7 PM
Winter hours (after Labor Day): Monday – Thursday 7 am-9 am, 3 PM-5 PM Friday 7 am-9 am, 3 PM-7 PM Saturday 7 am-7 PM Sunday 7 am-5 PM
- Pleasure Pier Rinse-off, next to the public restroom at the base of the pier. Open air showers intended for swimmers; Free open 24 hours.
There is no landing fee in Avalon, or anywhere else in Catalina. There are dinghy docks throughout the harbor for dinghies 14 feet and under. Dinghies can be left for no more than 72 hours; after this time a citation will be issued necessitating a court appearance. Do not leave valuables unattended.
- Repairs are available from several sources:
-Sherrill’s Marine Services – (310) 510-0618
-The Repair Barge – by the Casino
Call Marine Repair on VHF channel 16 in Avalon or VHF channel 9 outside Avalon.
- Discount Dive and Marine 310-625-9862
- Boat Equipment and Supplies are available from:
-Pebbly Beach Marine Center – (310) 510-9588
-Sherrill’s Marine Services – (310) 510-0618.
- Shore Boats monitor VHF channel 9. To the Pleasure Pier the charge is $4.75 per person/per way (inside or out).
Moorings Around The Island
Over 700 moorings located west of Whites Landing are operated by the Isthmus Harbor Department. These moorings are available on a first come, first serve basis. Charges are based on the vessel size and the length of stay. For more information or a boater’s guide contact the Isthmus Harbor Department at (310) 510-4253.
Below is a list of anchorages and moorings around the island. Most often are in isolated areas with striking views.
- Little Harbor – One of the Island’s most beautiful harbors, with access to hiking trails and camping facilities (call (310) 510-7265) including showers, toilets, fire rings, and piped water. No moorings, but anchorage for 10-15.
- Catalina Harbor – Mooring for 96, and anchorage for 235. Continuing into the Isthmus there are toilets, fire pits, and picnic facilities on shore. Camping is not permitted.
- Parson’s Landing – Space for camping with fire rings, barbecue pits, and toilets. Call (310) 510-7265 for reservations. Close to westend hiking trails. Anchorage for 10 but no moorings.
- Emerald Bay – 99 moorings and anchorage for 5-10 boats. A beautiful bay with good skin diving nearby.
- Howlands – 40 moorings.
- Big Geiger Cove – Anchorage for 10 with 3 more anchorages and 1 mooring located nearby at Little Geiger Cove.
- Cherry Cove – Named for a grove of Catalina cherry trees growing up the canyon. 103 moorings but no anchorages
- Fourth of July – 42 moorings; no anchorage. As might be expected its name is a reference to its use as a site for holiday celebrations passed.
- Big Fisherman’s Cove – Home to USC’s Marine Science Center. Facilities here (dock, ramp, and 2 moorings) are for researchers only: do not use them.
- Empire Landing – Anchorage for 20. The 2 moorings are private. There is a quarry here on the site of an old Indian one.
- Ripper’s Cove – Anchorage for 5-10. Good swimming and diving.
- Little Gibraltar – Anchorage for 7-10 boats.
- Goat Harbor – Anchorage for 5-10 boats.
- Buttonshell Beach – Anchorage for 10; 7 moorings.
- Hen Rock Cove – Anchorage for 10; 24 moorings. Another good skin diving area.
- White’s Landing -17 moorings, anchorage for 16. The island’s widest sandy beach.
- Moonstone Beach – Anchorage for 12; 38 moorings.
- Willow Cove – Anchorage for 4.
- Toyon – 9 moorings; anchorage for 6.
- Hamilton Beach – 36 moorings. Within view of the Hamilton Cove condominiums. Very close to Avalon.
- Descanso Bay – 47 moorings. Even closer to Avalon. No beach landings are permitted but there are several dinghy docks nearby.
Two Harbors administers a number of primitive beach campsites, accessible only by boat. There are no man-made improvements in these coves, so campers will need to bring their own equipment (or rent it from Two Harbors with advance reservations) including porta-potties. Campers also need to remove all that they bring with them. The locations include:
- Starlight Beach
- East Starlight Beach
- Paradise Cove
- Ripper’s Cove
- Lava Wall Beach
- Cabrillo Beach
- Willow Cove
- Frog Rock Cove
For more information on cost and availability call Two Harbors Camping at (800) 785-8425.
Weather information is available from several sources. From L.A call (805) 278-0760 for marine weather. By radio, updated round-the-clock by the National Weather Service, VHF channel Wx-1; or, from FAA LA use beacon band 332 kHz. Note that the trip across the Santa Barbara/ Catalina Channel may be difficult at times; wave heights vary greatly according to the weather. So too, during the winter months changes in swell-direction may occur due to the Santa Ana winds, affecting the safety of anchorages.