Category Archives for "General Info"

Oct 02

Oil Islands at Long Beach

By Drew | General Info

If you’ve ever spent any time on the coast of Long Beach California you’ve surely seen them, the four islands not too far off the beach, each one appearing to contain what must be some sort of high priced resort, or even maybe an amusement park. Maybe condos for the rich and famous? Palm trees interspersed with towering blue and white buildings, and if you’re there at the right time, you may even see waterfalls gushing down into the ocean. If you know what I’m talking about, then you’ve been taken in by the mystery and illusion of the Long Beach Oil Islands.

Built in 1965 for an estimated $22 million dollars each, the THUMS Oil Islands have been a magical part of Long Beach for as long as most residents can remember. They were originally named the THUMS Oil Islands after the consortium which operated them; Texaco, Humble Oil, Union Oil, Mobil Oil, and Shell Oil companies. This consortium, THUMS, was later purchased by Occidental Petroleum in 2000.

Overhead of the oil islands

Over the years, the islands have been known by many names. They were eventually officially named after different fallen astronauts and became known as the Astronaut Islands; Island Freeman for Theodore C. Freeman, Island Grissom for Virgil I. Grissom., Island White for Edward H. White II, and Island Chaffee for Roger B. Chaffee. Their exotic look was designed specifically to serve as camouflage to hide the huge oil drilling rigs that tap into the rich oil beds under the city. The towers also act as a sound wall for the islands closer to shore. Not surprisingly these features were designed by a theme park architect, Joseph Linesch, who also worked for a time on the design of nearby Disneyland Park.

The fancy looks and exotic lore do come with at least one drawback. The islands have a tendency to attract unwanted visitors from time to time. Some attempt to travel to the islands by boat. Occasionally someone will actually attempt to swim to these mysterious locations! Just a word of advice: It’s a felony to trespass on the islands, and the men and women who work there take unwanted guests very seriously.

Yes, people actually still commute to the islands for work on a daily basis. Some come by boat from the Port of Long Beach, and some from the downtown marina areas. With approximately 25,000 barrels of oil still being produced by the islands every day, it takes a full crew working around the clock to keep operations up and running day after day. The pumps on these islands, however, are not what the residents of Long Beach imagine when they think of an oil well. Bobbing oil donkeys are a common sight throughout the city and in Signal Hill (a small independent city completely surrounded by the city of Long Beach). These are electrical submersible pumps (ESPs), which can either take fluid out of the ground or put it back in.

Why put it back into the ground? To fight subsidence. Early in the Long Beach oil industry’s history the removal of so much oil from under the city lead to the ground actually sinking, as much as six feet downtown and 29 feet on adjacent Terminal Island in the Port. It became necessary to replace whatever was taken with ocean water. Thus subsidence became a thing of the past.

It has been a very long time since the public was granted free tours of the islands, but the look of these floating wonderlands is just as magical as ever. The next time you visit the city, be sure to take a moment to look out at them, these floating marvels. These tributes to the human ability to create magic where there may have only been the ugly sight of industrial machinery. These islands are a gift to the people of Long Beach, we shall be grateful for them for many years to come.

Sep 19

Long Beach Dry Storage

By Drew | Alamitos Bay Marina , General Info

Long Beach is one of the few marinas in Southern California that has its own dry storage facility. It is perfect for boaters who don’t want to keep their vessel in the water full time, or just want to dry dock their boat in the winter. Here’s the information about it.

Dry Storage Location

Eel grass mitigation site

Eel grass mitigation site

The Long Beach dry storage yard is located on Boathouse Lane, on the north end of Marine Stadium, near Spinnaker Bay. It is right on the water, just around the corner from the Marine Stadium launch ramp and Davies launch ramp. There is a small, unusable dock out near it that protects an eel grass mitigation site, and it is also right across the street from Marina Vista park, which has two tennis courts, and a playground for children.



The Dry Storage Lot

Long Beach Dry Storage

Dry Storage Entrance

The dry storage yard has several entrances on Boathouse Lane. They are gated and locked, but available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Each vessel has its own assigned spot, but the city does not provide water or power. Since each spot is assigned, the CF numbers or name of the vessel must be visible at all times, even if the boat is covered; most people who have a boat cover with write the CF numbers or name of their boat on the canvas. The spots also cannot be swapped with anybody else, or be given to anybody else without approval from the office. Security is provided by regular patrols from the Long Beach Marine Patrol.

All spots can only accommodate mast down storage, and the maximum length including trailer is 25′; this means that most vessels are power boats 21′ or smaller. The sailboats that are there tend to be smaller, like sabots, hobie cats, or West Wight Potters.

How To Get A Dry Storage Spot

The dry storage lots are administered by the Alamitos Bay Marina. To get a spot, you will need to call the office at (562) 570-3215 during normal business hours. There may be a short waiting list, and a fee to sign up will apply. There is no seaworthy inspection for the vessel, but you will still need to provide the ownership paperwork, and insurance, and fill out a short packet. Aside from the monthly fee, a deposit will need to be placed for each key needed.

Aug 23

Insurance and Proof of Ownership

By Drew | Alamitos Bay Marina , General Info , Rainbow Harbor , Shoreline Marina

The City of Long Beach Marine Bureau has very strict requirements for vessel insurance and proof of ownership for boat owners. These requirements are easy to follow, however, and most boat owners already meet them.

Insurance Requirements

Even thought it is not a state law, the Long Beach Marine Bureau requires all vessels renting city docks to have liability insurance. Liability insurance, sometimes written as “Protection and Indemnity”, “P&I”, or “Property Damage”, covers you in the event that your vessel damages city property, or another vessel in the city marinas.

The insurance needs to be current, written in the permittee’s name, and the limits of liability must be at least $100,000. Along with that, anyone with a permanent slip, or looking to get a permanent slip, must add the City of Long Beach as “Additionally Insured”. This can be done at no extra cost by calling your agent and requesting it. The official wording must be:

The City of Long Beach

Its Officials, Employees, and Volunteers

200 B Aquarium Way

Long Beach, CA 90802

The City of Long Beach Marine Bureau requires this so that renewals are sent in automatically by your insurance company, and also to be notified in case of any changes, ie sale of the vessel. This does not mean the city has any ownership interest in the vessel, or the city is in any way a loss payee. In fact, if the city is listed as “Loss Payee” instead of “Additionally Insured”, the Marine Bureau will not accept the insurance.

Also, you will notice the address that needs to be listed is not Long Beach City Hall’s, and is probably different from the marina your vessel is at. This is because the Rainbow Harbor/Marina office handles the insurance for all of the permanent slips and commercial docks in the city.

The Long Beach Marine Bureau requires updated insurance every year for their permittees (those with permanent slips). As was mentioned earlier, if the city is listed as Additionally Insured, and the address is correct, the Rainbow Harbor office should get sent a renewal every year by your insurance company. However, sometimes there are mistakes, the insurance company does not send the renewal, or it gets sent to the wrong office. If the Marine Bureau does not get the renewal, they will contact you by phone, then by mail, and give you 30 days to provide the updated insurance before cancelling the slip.

Guest/transient boaters, subleasees, and temporary assignments do not need to add the city as Additionally Insured. You will only need to provide your insurance once, but it is up to you to keep your file up to date. Many boaters who frequent the marinas will add the city anyway. Keep in mind, though, that the insurance still needs to have $100,000 in liability coverage.

It is best to get your insurance through a dedicated marine insurance company, such as BoatUS ( click here for boat insurance quotes,) as they have the knowledge and resources to better help their customers.

Ownership Requirements

The Long Beach Marine Bureau has a few different requirements for proof of ownership.

To get a permanent slip, a sublease, or a temporary assignment, a current DMV registration (CF numbers) or Certificate of Documentation from the U.S. Coast Guard must be supplied. The vessel  must also be documented or registered in the applicant’s name; other names are allowed, but the person applying for the slip must own at least as much of the vessel as the others. If the vessel is owned by a corporation, then the applicant must provide the articles of incorporation, showing the applicant as an officer of the company. Out of state and foreign vessel documentation will be accepted initially, but, in accordance with California state law, the vessel will have to be registered in state or documented with the U.S. Coast Guard within 90 days, and the updated paperwork must be supplied to the marina office. Temporary DMV registration and travelling letters provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, or the Mary Conlin or Dona Jenkins companies are also accepted. Pink slips and transfers of ownership are accepted on a case by case basis.

For guest slips, the vessel merely needs to be currently documented or registered. Out of state registration and foreign certificates of documentation are accepted.

Vessel Partnerships

If you own a vessel with one or more partners, and have a permanent slip in the Long Beach Marinas, you might want to get them on file to give them some rights to the slip. If they are not on file, they will have no access to the vessel or the permit. As far as the Marine Bureau is concerned, they may as well not even exist. To give your partners limited rights to the permit, you will need to do a few things.

  1. Request and fill out the “Partnership Agreement”. All partners you wish to have on file must fill out the paperwork. You can either have each partner come to the office in person and sign the form in front of the Marina Agent, or you can have the forms notarized.
  2. Supply the marina office with the ownership forms showing all partners listed. This means each partner has to be on the registration or documentation.
  3. Provide the marina office with a copy of the IDs for each partner.

Keep in mind, though, that partners only have a limited amount of rights to the permit. Partners can sleep on the boat (up to 12 nights per month), and get a parking pass or keys, but that’s it. A partner cannot cancel a permit, request a transfer or live aboard status, change any contact information, or request any billing information. The only person able to do those things is the person who originally signed up on the waiting list and got the permit.

These are the major points of the insurance and ownership policies at the Long Beach Marinas. For any more detailed or specific questions you can call the marina offices during normal business hours.

Aug 21

Important Phone Numbers

By Drew | Alamitos Bay Marina , General Info , Launch Ramps , Rainbow Harbor , Shoreline Marina

Here’s a list of important phone numbers for the Long Beach Marinas to keep on hand


After Hours Line: (562) 570-3101

Call this number anytime after normal business hours for the marinas, or during holidays. It will go to a 3rd party answering service, and they will be able to get a hold of the on-call person for the marinas.


Alamitos Bay Fuel Dock: (562) 594-0888


Aqua Bus/Aqua Link: (562) 591-2301


Aquarium of the Pacific: (562) 591-3100


Beach Parking Lots: (562) 570-8055


Launch Ramps: (562) 570-8636


Lifeguards: (562) 570-1360, VHF 16


Long Beach City Hall: (562) 570-6555


Long Beach Fire Department: (562) 436-8211

This is the number to call if you are on a cell phone. Landlines can still dial 911, and dock phones can dial 9-911. Please do not call the marina offices for emergencies.


Long Beach Police Department: (562) 435-6711

This is the number to call if you are on a cell phone. Landlines can still dial 911, and dock phones can dial 9-911. Please do not call the marina offices for emergencies.


Marina Maintenance: (562) 570-1582


Marine Patrol: (562) 435-6711

This is the number to call if you are on a cell phone. Landlines can still dial 911, and dock phones can dial 9-911. Please do not call the marina offices for emergencies.


Marine Stadium Recorded Information: (562) 570-3203


Marine Stadium Rentals: (562) 570-3236


Park Events and Rentals: (562) 570-5333


Parking Citations: (562) 570-6822


Parks, Recreation, and Marine Main Office: (562) 570-3100


Passport Bus: (562) 591-2301


Pierpoint Landing: (562) 983-9300

Sportfishing and multi-day fishing charters.


Rainbow Harbor/Marina: (562) 570-8636


Sea Tow: (562) 592-2808


Shoreline Marina: (562) 570-4950


Shoreline Marina Fuel Dock: (562) 491-4636


Vessel Assist: (562) 594-0888

Located at the Alamitos Bay Fuel Dock.


Whale Watching: (562) 432-4900

Harbor Breeze Cruises.