Santa Barbara Yacht Club.
A group of people surveys the damage to the Santa Barbara Yacht Club as a rock and sand wall is put up to the left. Credit: Serena Guentz / Noozhawk photo

While Santa Barbara’s waterfront is holding up through the latest storms and large swell events, the Santa Barbara Yacht Club remains closed and the harbor entrance remains “non-navigable” to most vessels, Waterfront Director Mike Wiltshire said last week.

The large swell event Jan. 5-6 washed away the protective sand berm in front of the Yacht Club, allowing waves to come up and damage the parking lot and the building’s HVAC, plumbing and electrical utilities.

Santa Barbara Harbor.
The entrance to the Santa Barbara Harbor remains non-navigable for most vessels, and emergency dredging is set to begin next week. Credit: Serena Guentz / Noozhawk photo

The swell on those two days also brought in “a year or two’s worth of sand or sediment” into the harbor entrance, making it very shallow and hazardous for vessels to navigate.

Chris Bell, public information officer for the Waterfront Department, told Noozhawk that San Diego-based Pacific Dredge has been awarded a contract for emergency dredging of the harbor entrance, which is set to begin next week.

“Weather permitting, the dredge will be towed to Santa Barbara [from San Diego] and arrive by Friday,” Bell said. “The contractor will then do some additional mobilization and electrical hookup over the weekend into Monday. … They suspect 48 hours to move enough material for vessel transit, approximately 30,000 cubic yards.”

Santa Barbara Yacht Club.
Crews work on making repairs at the Santa Barbara Yacht Club. Credit: Serena Guentz / Noozhawk photo

Bell also said that actual dredging is set to begin next Tuesday and that the channel is anticipated to reopen by late Thursday, Jan. 26.

Heavy equipment could be seen Tuesday afternoon building a rock wall and sand berm near the Yacht Club.

Wiltshire also said last week that the California Coastal Commission approved an emergency permit for a 300- to 400-foot rock revetment to back fill and replace coastal land mass that eroded between the Yacht Club building and the Harbor West parking lot.

It will help protect waterfront infrastructure and buildings since waves eroded the beach, sand berms and ice plant along the coast in that area, he said.

He said Cushman Contracting has already begun clearing sand and constructing the rock walls.

The National Weather Service has issued high surf advisories for Santa Barbara County through Wednesday night.

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Serena Guentz, Noozhawk Staff Writer

Noozhawk staff writer Serena Guentz can be reached at sguentz@noozhawk.com.