Gaviota Pier: Damaging Waves Rip into Popular Fishing Dock


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A historic pier at Gaviota State Beach in Santa Barbara, Calif., collapsed Saturday morning due to damaging waves.

Gaviota Beach is popular for camping, hiking, and surfing. However, one feature that attracts visiting tourists and local residents is the windy Gaviota Pier.

Spanish soldiers who decided to call it “La Gaviota,” which means seagull, found the pier in 1769.

The 529-foot pier is typically opened 24 hours a day and is well-liked by fishermen, but now a chunk of it is gone.

Eyewitness Jack Crouch said the waves weren't as big when he and his daughter first arrived, but 10 minutes later they found themselves running to save themselves as the pier started to collapse.

"We started noticing the pier was shaking and swaying back and forth, so we left the pier,” he said. “I stayed for one more big set of waves and then we ran. It was kind of scary.”

According to the California Best Beaches website, “a key feature on the pier is the boat hoist.” People can use it to launch recreational boats, but must obtain training, an identification card, and pass inspection before using the hoist.

Crouch verified to local reporters how the area where fishing usually takes place collapsed “about 200 feet… from the hoist to the end.”

State Parks Sector Superintendent Eric Hjelstrom said that there were no boats docked at the time of the collapse, but he's afraid that the pier will soon yield to further damages.

The Santa Maria Times gave an update Monday on the storm's status. Rainfall was reportedly less than 3 inches in most surrounding areas including Santa Ynez and San Luis Obispo. Meteorologists predict clear skies for the rest of the week.

Although the pier at Gaviota Beach was injured pretty severely, the newspaper reported that additional piers were also hit hard by vicious waves:

“Railings and a pipe on Avila Pier also were broken loose, forcing the closure of that pier. The Pismo Pier was also closed Saturday due to high winds…[and] three boats also broke loose along the south coast, with one smashed into the Goleta Pier.”

The Gaviota Pier and beach will be closed until further notice.

Image via YouTube