Channel Islands Harbor

Archive for March 2019

Enrollment Open for Summer Camps at the Harbor

Making summer plans for your little loved ones can be tough. If they are into kayaking, sailing, paddle boarding, wind surfing or learning to be a lifeguard, look no further than the Channel Islands Harbor. Registration is now open for a variety of summer camps.

Here’s a breakdown of summer programs available at the Harbor.

Ventura County Jr. Lifeguard Program


The Junior Lifeguard Program, sponsored by the Ventura County Harbor Department, offers youth 8 to 15 years of age the opportunity to receive instruction in lifeguard rescue techniques, emergency medical first-aid, ocean sports activity, physical conditioning, marine ecology, and public service. Participants must be 8 years of age by June 17 – the first day of instruction. Enrollment for the program is first come, first served. Due to the popularity of the program, enrollment is expected to fill to capacity quickly.

Click on this link for more details.

Summer Sailing Program


Every year since 1992, the Pacific Corinthian Youth Foundation has offered its summer sailing program in 4, two-week sessions. The program is open to all area children, ages 8 to 18.

The courses are designed to produce great, young sailors by teaching the fundamentals of sailing, good seamanship, and practicing responsibility in a fun learning environment. Students are taught by experienced sailors who are also great instructors.

Click on this link for more details.

Channel Islands Boating Center (CIBC) Watersports Camp


The CIBC Watersports Camp takes full advantage of all the amenities of the beautiful Channel Islands Harbor. The camp offers courses for all skill levels for youth ages 9-15.  Campers will find fun, excitement, and a challenge on and off the water. With a safety first attitude, professional and certified student instructors allow all campers the opportunity to learn in an enjoyable and safe environment.

Whether the activity is windsurfing, kayaking, sailing or stand-up paddle boarding, the camp is intended to teach skills necessary for handling and maneuvering these vessels safely while teaching proper etiquette and seamanship that is useful in all types of boating.

Click on this link for more details.

Editor’s Note: this story was published on March 25, 2019.

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Applications Available for Ventura County 2019 Junior Lifeguard Program

Enrollment applications are now available to youth interested in participating in the Ventura County 2019 Junior Lifeguard Program.

The Junior Lifeguard Program, sponsored by the Ventura County Harbor Department, offers youth 8 to 15 years of age the opportunity to receive instruction in lifeguard rescue techniques, emergency medical first-aid, ocean sports activity, physical conditioning, marine ecology, and public service. Participants must be 8 years of age by June 17 – the first day of instruction. Enrollment for the program is first come, first served. Due to the popularity of the program, enrollment is expected to fill to capacity quickly.

There will be two sessions (each limited to 120 participants) to the program. Session One is scheduled from June 17 to July 12 and Session Two is scheduled from July 15 to August 9. Each session will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday – Friday at Silver Strand Beach. Applications can be picked up at the Ventura County Harbor Department at 3900 Pelican Way Oxnard, CA 93035 or by visiting

New Participants

First time participants are required to tryout and qualify before being accepted in the program. In order to qualify, new participants must be able to swim 150 yards within four minutes, float or tread water for two minutes, and be able to dive underwater to a depth of 7 feet. No exceptions.

Tryouts are being held from 10 a.m. to noon on May 18, June 8, June 29 at the Hueneme High School, located at 500 Bard Road, Oxnard, CA 93033. A parent/guardian must be present during the tryout.

There is a fee to enroll in the program. For more information, please call the Ventura County Harbor Patrol at (805) 973-5959.

Editor’s Note: this message was published March 12, 2019.

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Celebration of the Whales Festival Offers Family Fun, Prizes, and Chalk Art

Visitors who attend the 22nd Annual Celebration of the Whales Festival at the Channel Islands Harbor are going to be in for a variety of surprises.

This year’s event will feature new family-friendly activities, chalk art, and prize drawings that include whale watching excursions courtesy of Island Packers and Channel Islands Whale Watching.

The event is being held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 24, 2019. Activities will be held at the Channel Islands Maritime Museum, the Channel Islands Harbor Farmers Market, and a “Gray Whale Migration Trail” along the marina path that connects the two activity centers.

Gray Whale Migration Trail

Children and adults can both enjoy the migration trail, which will be lined with educational activities and more than 20 pieces of sidewalk chalk art. The chalk art is being organized by Ventura County Art Events, Inc.

To participate in the migration trail, families can pick up a special whale hat, passport, and map that helps navigate the route. Hats, passports, and the map can be picked up at designated booths at the Farmers Market or Maritime Museum.

Stops along the trail include “Whale of a Selfie,” “Become a Whale Detective,” “Become a Whale Explorer,” and “Become a Whale Designer.” If participants complete the four stops on the trail, they will be eligible to win whale watching tickets (courtesy of Island Packers and Channel Islands Whale Watching) along with a variety of other prizes.

Channel Islands Maritime Museum

The Maritime Museum will host the Celebration of Whales. At the Maritime Museum, there will be contests, a bounce house, family activities, arts & crafts, and live music. A number of organizations will also have booths set up so attendees can learn about marine-themed topics.

Channel Islands Farmers Market

The Farmers Market will feature an arts & crafts market, children’s activities, whale facts, and educational booths.

The Celebration of Whales Festival is a collaborate event among Harbor lessees, businesses, and the Harbor Department that celebrates the migration of the Pacific Gray Whale.

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Director’s Message: Harbor Academy is Here, Projects Continue to Move Forward

The first chapter of the Harbor Academy is in the books (pardon the pun).  I approached this series of presentations with a little trepidation, knowing the passion for certain topics in the Harbor.  I was wondering if I was heading into the lion’s den dressed as a tri-tip.

As it turns out, I believe it was a successful presentation, which did include some spirited give and take.  A number of the questions veered into the realm of Harbor development, specifically Fisherman’s Wharf.  While I was willing to have some of the development discussion because there is undoubtedly a financial component to Harbor development, the true discussions on development will be presented in the next chapter of the Academy, scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 4 at the Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club.

This session centered on the history of the Harbor and finances of the Harbor Department.  The PowerPoint presentation is available by clicking on this link. View a video of the presentation here. A few of the more important points made during the presentation were:

  • While discussing revenues, I pointed out that there was a perception that there was a “harbor tax” charged to the retail establishments in the Harbor. This is not the case.  Consistent in the commercial retail industry, we charge rent for the operations in the Harbor.  That rent is in the form of a percentage of gross revenue of the business, again consistent in the industry.  Somehow, that rent has been construed as a harbor tax, which is not accurate – it is rent paid to the “owner” of the Harbor, in this case the County’s Harbor Department.
  • The Harbor Department currently has $9 million of available reserves to fund public capital needs in the Harbor. Unfortunately, the list of capital projects currently totals an estimated $23 million.
  • I presented a seven-year P&L, which included the expenditure of about $19 million for capital projects, $8 million of which would be in debt.
  • I illustrated the impact of the $500,000 in “newly-absorbed” annual expenses we are incurring because the City of Oxnard ceased maintaining the public areas of the Harbor in July 2018. These expenses wipe out our annual operating surplus and force us to tap into our limited reserves to fund the maintenance expenses, further limiting our ability to fund capital projects.

In addition to the presentation about Harbor Development on April 4, future topics for the Academy include the Boating Center, Harbor Patrol and Maintenance, and Harbor Promotion and Marketing.  Please join us and likely learn more about the Harbor Department.

Planning and Development in the Harbor

Every time I write about Harbor development, I need to mention the length of time it takes to develop on a waterfront, between the entitlement process, managing the developers, and certain roadblocks by opposition.  This is true anywhere in the State.

That said, we are continuing to move forward on planned projects in the Harbor.  We plan to take the lease for the Whale’s Tail/Fresca’s project to the Board of Supervisors in April, and we should see some construction activity to that long dormant restaurant shortly after that.

The three projects on the Peninsula, the Hyatt House Hotel/Restaurant, the Peninsula Yacht Anchorage Marina and the County revetment project are all finishing the permitting process.  We are still negotiating shared area expense issues and schedule coordination between all parties, and anticipate seeing the construction on Peninsula Road begin in the next few months.

The Fisherman’s Wharf proposed project is again moving forward through the process.  In January 2018, the County submitted an application to the City of Oxnard for a Local Coastal Plan Amendment.  Over the ensuing many months, there was debate regarding the next steps of the process.  Late last year, we met with the City to determine how to get the process moving again, and we were provided with a list of reports and deposits needed.  Last week, we received the last report requested, and will provide all of the required information and deposits to the City early this week.  The next part of the process will be the City’s, and we will see where it goes from here, and hope that we will get some much-needed re-development on that parcel sooner rather than later.

As always, live every day to the fullest.

Mark Sandoval, Harbor Director
Ventura County Harbor Department

Editor’s Note: this message was published March 4, 2019.

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