Category Archives for "Rainbow Harbor"

How To Get A Liveaboard Slip In Long Beach
Aug 24

How To Get A Liveaboard Slip In Long Beach

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

Liveaboard slips are very popular in Long Beach, as you could imagine. Boaters from all over Southern California come to Long Beach, and many love it so much they never want to leave! For boaters who want to live year-round on their vessel, a liveaboard slip is a great idea. Getting one though, is not as easy as it seems.

The Alamitos Bay Marina, Shoreline Marina, and Rainbow Harbor/Marina all have a very limited number of liveaboard slips available. The Long Beach marinas are not zoned as a residential area, and the power and water supplies on the docks are not meant to serve a residential community, so the number of liveaboard slips at each marina is capped at 10% of the slips. This means that there are very few slips to go around, and the marinas are almost always at their capacity, so getting a liveaboard slip can be a tricky process. If you are ready to make the leap, or just making plans for the future, here’s a quick guide on how to do it.

What A Liveaboard Slip Is

Liveaboard slips in Long Beach grant you the right to use your boat as a “place of abode”; that is, use it as you would an apartment. Boaters with non-liveaboard slips are only allowed to stay aboard their vessel up to 12 nights per month, while liveaboard slips can stay aboard 24/7 if they wished. Liveaboard boaters can also get a special parking sticker for their vehicles, and are given free tickets to the Long Beach Grand Prix if they are in the Shoreline Marina or Rainbow Harbor/Marina. They are also able to request telephone line installations at their dock, and Shoreline Marina and Alamitos Bay Marina tenants can also get a mailbox at the marina.

How To Get A Liveaboard Slip

The process to get a liveaboard slip can be a little complicated, so here’s a step-by-step guide to make everything simpler for you.

1. Sign up on the waiting list for a permanent slip. If you already have a permanent slip, skip to the next step.

To get a liveaboard slip, you must have a permanent slip in the marinas. Temporary assignments and subleases are not allowed to stay aboard more than 12 nights per month. Guest slips are the only exception, as they are allowed 15 days per calendar month.

2. Once you get your permanent slip, request and fill out the “Liveaboard Request” card.

Since the marinas are almost always at their liveaboard slip capacity, there is usually a waiting list to get liveaboard status (this wait can vary depending on what size your vessel is). Filling out the “Liveaboard Request” card gets you on the waiting list. There is no fee for this.

3. Play the waiting game…again.

The wait for liveaboard status can vary wildly between docks and vessel sizes. Not only are the liveaboard slips capped at 10% of the marina, but the marina only has certain areas where a liveaboard slip can be. Liveaboard slips cannot be next to each other, across from each other, or diagonally from each other on the dock; this is to ensure some modicum of privacy for the tenants.

There really is no way of telling how long it might take to get a liveaboard slip. Some very lucky people can get liveaboard status within days of putting in their request, for others it might take years.

4. Once you are called off of the list, schedule an inspection.

When your name comes up on the waiting list, the marina office will notify you and schedule a liveaboard inspection. This is different from the seaworthiness inspection when you got when you first came in, and is designed to make sure that you will be able to be self-reliant in case of a marina wide emergency, such as power or water outages.

5. Move on in!

Congratulations! You’re part of a club only 10% of the people in the marinas are in!

Liveaboard Vessel Inspection Requirements

The vessel inspection to get a liveaboard slip is a simple process, and almost all vessels pass on the first time. To get a liveaboard slip, a vessel must:

  • Be at least 25′ in length
  • Be currently registered or documented
  • Cannot have any partners on the registration/documentation or on file with the marina office
  • Have a holding tank
  • Have a fire extinguisher
  • Have a source of heating and cooking
  • Have a fully functioning electrical system. An inverter is recommended, but not required.

The marina will also need the names of your spouse and any children living on the vessel, as well as a list of any pets.

Some Things To Keep In Mind

Liveaboard slips can be a bit inconvenient to have. When you get called off of the waiting list, it will be for the first liveaboard eligible slip that opens up in your size, you might have to switch docks. Once you do accept liveaboard status, it might be difficult to transfer slips, since you would need to transfer to another one that is eligible to be a liveaboard slip. The roads around the Shoreline Marina and Rainbow Harbor/Marina are also periodically closed for special events-such as the Long Beach Grand Prix and Long Beach Marathon-which makes getting to and from your home tricky.

If you are interested in getting a liveaboard slip, call each marina office get on the waiting list today!

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.



May 28

Long Beach Boat and Yacht Rentals

By Drew | Activities , Alamitos Bay Marina , Rainbow Harbor

Long Beach has several options for visitors looking to rent a boat or a yacht. From jet-skis to large corporate events, the Long Beach marinas have boat rentals and yacht rentals for all of your needs.

Be Your Own Captain

Long Beach Boat Rentals

Long Beach Boat Rentals

Looking for a fun afternoon on the water? You can drive your own boat with Long Beach Boat Rentals at Shoreline Village in Rainbow Habor. Long Beach Boat Rentals has several different types of boats for rent. For an exciting, fast paced adventure they have 40hp and 75hp powerboats, or, for a more relaxing ride, they also have electric Duffy boats. The powerboats can accommodate up to 6 passengers, and the Duffys can accommodate up to 8. The powerboats are perfect for people looking to explore the nearshore area around Long Beach, while the Duffys provide a comfortable, relaxed way to be on the water and are perfect for parties or families with children. No boating experience is necessary, but skippers will need to have a driver’s license to operate the boats.

If you are looking for more of an adrenaline rush, Long Beach Boat Rentals also rents jet-skis. The jet-skis can carry up to two people, and no prior experience is necessary. Riders have to be at least 16 years old, though, or 18 to operate one of the jet skis.

Long Beach Boat Rentals is located at 401 E. Shoreline Dr in Long Beach. Their booth is behind the Yardhouse, at the top of the ramp for Dock 8. They can be reached at (562) 491-7400. Advance reservations are recommended, especially during the summer and on holidays. Parking is available in the Shoreline Village parking lot, or in the Marina Green parking lot.

On the east side of Long Beach, London Boat Rentals also offers electric Duffy boat rentals. Alamitos Bay is perfect for a slow, comfortable cruise, and the boats easily travel through the narrow canals in Naples Island. While Alamitos Bay is much more low-key than Rainbow Harbor, during Christmas time the canals are the best place to see the Christmas lights on the houses, and the Duffy boats from London Boat Rentals are the best way to see them.

London Boat Rentals is located at 186 N. Marina Dr. in Long Beach, at Alamitos Landing. Parking is available in the Alamitos Landing Lot. They can be reached at (562) 594-2628.

Large Parties and Corporate Events

The Grand Romance

The Grand Romance

For large parties, Harbor Breeze Cruises, Hornblower Cruises, and the Grand Romance Riverboat have what you need. All three are located in Rainbow Harbor and can handle parties of over 100 people. Parking for all three is available in the Aquarium parking structure at 99 Aquarium Way. Harbor Breeze Cruises and Hornblower Cruises are also popular choices for corporate events, and often times even hold events for the Long Beach Mayor and City Council! All boats have a full bar and Coast Guard licensed captain and full and experienced crew and offer cruises around the Long Beach coast and Port of Long Beach. Reservations can be made by clicking on the above links.

May 25

Long Beach Grand Prix Guest Slips

By Drew | Activities , Rainbow Harbor , Shoreline Village , Special Events

The Long Beach Grand Prix is one of the busiest times of the year for the Long Beach marinas. The three day event takes over the downtown area of Long Beach, including the Shoreline Marina and Rainbow Harbor. During this time, several streets are closed off during the race, and also during “Press Day”, which is usually the Tuesday before the race. During these closures, no vehicles will be allowed in the marinas unless they have a marina issued parking pass, which is only available to permanent slip holders and their guests. There are Marine Bureau employees and LBPD officers staffed at various entrance points around the marinas directing traffic and controlling vehicle access. Vehicles entering the marinas will be directed to drive down Shoreline Dr. and then onto Alamitos Beach and through the Marina Green parking lot. Parking during this time is extremely impacted, and temporary paper parking passes are not issued by the Shoreline office or Rainbow Harbor office, so carpooling is a must. Another thing to keep in mind is that Rainbow Harbor/Marina is technically part of the Grand Prix circuit, so a ticket is needed to even get to the restaurants in Shoreline Village. No tickets are sold by the marinas. Grand Prix guest slips are also at a premium this weekend, and reservations, especially at Rainbow Harbor, are difficult to come by.

Long Beach Grand Prix

Ferris wheel at Shoreline Village Parking Lot

Shoreline Village and the Marina Green parking lot become spectator areas during the Grand Prix. Grand stands, food trucks, and other restaurant booths take over the grassy area at the Marina Green, while rides and vendors set up in the Shoreline Village parking lot. The bars and restaurants in Shoreline Village are open during the Grand Prix, and are jam packed from the time the Grand Prix starts until it ends. The restaurants all have extra security and their own wristbands to control the amount of people coming and going. Tickets are required to access any of these, though.

Grand Prix guest slips at Rainbow Harbor

Usually, getting a guest slip at Rainbow Harbor is a pretty simple and straightforward process. Call in, provide your paperwork and payment, and get your slip. But, during the Grand Prix, everything changes. Reservations for Long Beach Grand Pix guest slips starts far earlier than the usual 30 day window. On January 2nd, at 9am, the Rainbow Harbor office starts taking names on the Grand Prix list for guest slips. This list, however, does not guarantee a slip. It merely gives you a better chance at securing one. Instead of simply booking open slips and the Pine Ave. Pier, the marina office will also use Dock 8 (the public dock inside the marina) and some of the slips belonging to commercial operators inside the Fishbowl (Rainbow Marina). The slip fees are also increased during the event, going up to $6.00/ft (as of 2016), with a three day minimum; this means that a 30′ would be charged $540 for the slip for the weekend. Requests for certain slips or areas of the marina will try to be honored, but it is not always possible. If you have a specific area or dock you want to be in,  it is highly recommended you show up as early as possible on January 2nd to get a place in line; it is not uncommon for people to start showing up at 5am or sooner to get their usual spot. Dock space along Dock 8 and slips on SHM-4 (the dock closest to the Yardhouse and Tequila Jack’s) are always the first to go, so if you have your eye on those areas you would need to line up in the wee hours of the morning to secure them.

Grand Prix guest slips on Dock 8

Grand Prix guest slips on Dock 8

Once you have put your name on the list, the marina office will give you a call when they start booking, which is usually in mid-February. If you do not have a slip request, the marina will assign a slip based on your length and beam, and will ask for the paperwork for your vessel, plus a special packet that will need to be signed, including the Grand Prix guest slips rules. The rules simply reiterate the marina regulations, such as a ban on open containers on the docks, live bands, and nudity. Once the office has received your paperwork and signed packet, they will need payment, and ask how many wristbands and gate/restroom keys you will need. The key deposits increase to $100/key for the event, instead of the usual $50. The wristbands, keys, and your receipt (no parking passes are issued) will be available for pickup in the office a week or two before the race if you want to pick them up early. Or, the packets can also be dropped off to our vessel during the race, but marina employees aren’t always immediately available so there may be a wait for your wristbands and keys. Please note that no tickets are sold by the marinas, and the fees paid are simply for the dock space. Tickets are sold separately by the Long Beach Grand Prix.

Wristbands for the Long Beach Grand Prix Guest Slips

Security for the marina during the Grand Prix is very tight, and controlling the number of people on the docks is a priority for the marina and police department. In order to prevent over crowding on the docks, every boatowner in Rainbow Harbor will be issued a certain number of wristbands for themselves and their guests for the Long Beach Grand Prix. Without these wristband and a ticket, they will not be allowed on the docks in the marina. WRISTBANDS ARE REQUIRED FOR EVERY PERSON ON THE DOCK. Each boatowner is also responsible for their wristbands and their guests. If a person is causing trouble on the docks during the Long Beach Grand Prix, it might also jeopardize the boatowner’s slip rental. In the Grand Prix guest slips rules packet that is signed, it states that the marina may revoke a rental and keep any fees paid if the renter or any of their guests violate any of the rules or regulations.

The number of wristbands given out are based on the size of the vessel. This is a hard cap, and once the maximum number of wristbands is given out for a particular boat, no more will be issued. Each wristband comes with a serial number that corresponds to the boatowner it was given to, so the marina can track not only how many are given out, but also which slips have had guests escorted out of the marina.

These wristbands are single use only wristbands. They cannot be switched between different people, and are different colors each day. The Long Beach Marine Patrol will have officers staffed at the gate entrances checking wristbands, and any that look like they have been tampered with will be confiscated.

 Grand Prix Guest Slips at the Shoreline Marina

The process for getting Grand Prix guest slips are the Shoreline Marina is almost the same as any other time of year. Reservations can only be made 30 days in advance, and they will need all the required paperwork. The only differences are the fee goes up to $6.00/ft/night with a three night minimum, and the Grand Prix guest slips packet also needs to be signed. No parking passes will be given out for guests. Slips are easier to get here for the Grand Prix, so if you are looking for a slip last minute, the Shoreline Marina might have one available.

Long Beach Grand Prix Parking and Water Taxis

During the Grand Prix, on-site parking is only available for boatowners who have a permanent (year round) slip in the Long Beach marinas. No parking passes are given out to guest slips or guest of the boatowners. The Grand Prix Association has a limited number of parking passes for sale on their website, but those go very quickly. The businesses around the downtown area rent out their parking lots for the weekend, but fees can range anywhere from $15-$40 to park. Even then, the walk can be as long as a half a mile or more to get to the track. One option people may not think of is parking across town and using the water taxis. The AquaLink and AquaBus both run during the Grand Prix, and have pick ups outside of the marina. The AquaLink picks up at Alamitos Landing and the Belmont Pier, and the AquaBus picks up at the Queen Mary. If you are not planning on staying all night, you can park at any of the pick up sites (street parking is free around the Belmont Pier, and marina parking is free until 10pm at Alamitos Landing) and take the water taxi over! Parking is much cheaper (or even free), and the only fee would be for the ride over!

Apr 30

Long Beach Public Docks

By Drew | Alamitos Bay Marina , Long Beach Marinas , Public Docks , Rainbow Harbor

The Long Beach public docks are popular destinations for Southern California’s boating community.

There are a few different options for boaters and day sailors looking for public docks in Long Beach. The Long Beach public docks are located in Rainbow Harbor and in the Alamitos Bay Marina at Alamitos Landing. They are both free for a short period of time, and a great way to spend an afternoon in Long Beach.

Rainbow Harbor/Marina

Long Beach Public Docks

Dock 8 public dock at Rainbow Harbor

There are two docks at Rainbow Harbor/Marina. Dock 8 is located inside the marina (in the “Fishbowl”), on the north-east wall near the Yardhouse and the other, Dock 10 (also known as “Parker’s Dock”), is located just outside of the mouth of the harbor, in front of Parker’s Lighthouse restaurant. Combined, they offer over 700′ of dock space, and are free for a maximum of 3 hours. They are on a first come/first served basis and cannot be reserved, although they may be rented out and closed off to the public for certain special events, such as the Grand Prix and S.C.O.P.E. Both are cement docks, and have water and electrical hookups on the dock, although they are usually locked. The docks are regularly patrolled by the Long Beach Lifeguards, and the dock rules are clearly posted on the seawall and pilings. If you have any question about the docks or their availability, call the Rainbow Harbor office at (562) 570-8636 or the Long Beach Lifeguards at (562) 570-1360.

The public docks in Rainbow Harbor are very popular, and will often times fill up in the late morning/early afternoon on the weekends, and stay packed until 11pm-12am, especially during the summer. Dock 8, which has about 200′ of space, almost always fills up first (since it is inside the marina, closest to the restaurants), which means that boaters will often hang out in front, waiting for a spot to open up. DON’T DO THIS. Not only is it a violation of California’s Harbors and Navigation Code section 131(a), there are boat rental and charter companies with inexperienced operators who may not be able to maneuver out of the way of your boat! There are one or two collisions every summer because of this. If you notice Dock 8 is full, exit the marina and head to Dock 10 (Parker’s Dock). If that is full as well, call the marina office. If you are nice to them, they might have a slip they could let you use for a few hours. It is also important to note that rafting (side tying to another vessel) is also prohibited on the public docks, even if all the available space is already taken. You’ll just have to wait your turn.

Long Beach Public Docks

Parker’s Dock at Dock 10

Dock 10 (Parker’s Dock) was opened in February of 2015 and is the newest of the Long Beach public docks. It was installed with a bull rail instead of cleats, and also has an ADA accessible portion near the ramp. On the south end of the dock are three pump outs and one water hookup available for public use. This section of the dock is limited to a maximum of 15 minutes in order to give everybody a chance to pump out or replenish their water. This dock is over 500′ long, and almost always fills up after Dock 8 does, so chances are if there are more than a few vessels on tied up there, Dock 8 is already full. One thing that people may underestimate is the amount and strength of the wakes the dock is exposed to. Whale watching boats, commercial fishing boats, and water taxis all operate out of the marina, and can throw sizable wakes, even at 5mph. A vessel that is not secured properly or that does not have the proper fenders down can sustain some damage on this dock, so make sure you have everything tightened and secured before leaving your vessel.

Alamitos Bay Marina

Long Beach Public Docks North Dock ABM

North public dock bullrail at Alamitos Bay Marina

The Alamitos Bay Marina also has two public docks. They are both located at Alamitos Landing, and instead of dock numbers are denoted as the “North Dock” or “South Dock”. These are the oldest of the Long Beach public docks, and are simple wood docks with no water hookups or pump outs, and minimal electrical hookups. Both docks share space with commercial operations, so the public areas are painted with either a green or  yellow stripe on the bull rail. These docks are also patrolled by the Long Beach Lifeguards, and are free for two hours (instead of three hours like Rainbow Harbor), and are also on a first come/first served basis. These public docks are also subject to wakes thrown by passing vessels, so caution is needed when tying up a vessel here as well. The public dock space at Alamitos Bay is much smaller than in Rainbow Harbor, but because the vessel traffic is much lower finding room to tie up is isn’t very hard, even in the summer.

Bull Rails

Wondering what a bull rail is? A bull rail is simply a long rail attached to the edge of a dock that is anchored to the dock every 20′ or so. This makes it easier to accommodate a large range of boat sizes, and prevents dinghies and inflatables from using up cleat space. Tying up to a bull rail can be a little tricky though, so here’s a helpful video on how to do it.

Apr 10

Shoreline Village and Alamitos Landing

By Drew | Activities , Alamitos Bay Marina , Rainbow Harbor

Shoreline Village and Alamitos Landing 


Shoreline Village Long Beach

Shoreline Village at Rainbow Harbor


Shoreline Village and Alamitos Landing are two popular spots in Long Beach to spend an afternoon. Both offer many shopping and dining options not just for a boaters and sailors, but for anybody visiting Long Beach.

Shoreline Village is located at 401 Shoreline Dr. at Rainbow Harbor/Marina. It spans the east edge of the marina, and has much more than just shops and restaurants. While at first glance it looks like a large outdoor mall (or tourist trap), it has plenty of the character and charm that makes Long Beach unique. Shoreline Village is home to the first Yardhouse restaurant, opened in 1996 at the north end of the village. The Yardhouse was at the forefront of the craft beer movement, and now has over 60 locations across the United States.  At the opposite end of the village is Parker’s Lighthouse restaurant, 2015 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. Upstairs from Parker’s Lighthouse is the Queensview Steakhouse, which, as the name suggests, offers amazing view of the Queen Mary and Queensway Bay. The Yardhouse and Parker’s Lighthouse are both just steps away from the public docks in Rainbow Marina, and are very popular with visiting boaters. Also located in Shoreline Village is Shenanigan’s Irish Pub, an OC Weekly 2013 award winner for best bar in Orange County and Cafe Dia, which serves up some of the best Mediterranean food in Downtown Long Beach.

There is more to Shoreline Village than shops and restaurants, though. Pelican Pier Pavilion is a large arcade that also houses a carousel, and is very popular with kids. Wheel Fun Rentals offers not just bicycle/quadcycle rentals, but also Segway tours of the harbor and Pike. If walking around the harbor has you itching to buy a boat, Shoreline Yacht Sales is located upstairs from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate factory, and can get you into a yacht in no time. On the weekends, Smile For the Birdie brings their trained exotic birds to Shoreline Village for some great photo opportunities. Shoreline Village also has special events several times a year. Visits from Santa and the Easter Bunny are the most popular, as well as their Mardi Gras celebration and Civil War reinactment. If you are looking for more fun on the water, Marina Sailing, located next to Wheel Fun Rentals, is one of the largest sailing clubs in the state, and has several yachts available for charter, with or without a captain. They also offer sailing lessons, ASA certifications, and yacht sales.

Alamitos Landing

Alamitos Landing

Alamitos Landing, located on the east side of Long Beach in the Alamitos Bay marina, is a lesser known and more intimate village popular with locals. Even though it does not have the same number of attractions as Shoreline Village has, it makes up for it with the quiet, peaceful ambiance that the other can sometimes lack.

Alamitos Landing is located at the Alamitos Bay Marina at the intersection of Marina Dr. and North Marina Drive. There is a small parking lot, with additional parking available until 10pm across the street in the marina lot. Alamitos Landing has six popular hangouts: Malarkey’s Irish pub, Five O’Clock wine bar, Boathouse on the Bay restaurant, London boat rentals, Long Beach Hydrobikes, and Long Beach Sportfishing.  There is also roughly 200′ of public dock space available, split between a north dock in front of Malarkey’s, and a south dock in front of a currently vacant restaurant. The public docks are marked with green paint on the bullrail, and are available for free for a maximum of two hours.

For on the water fun, Long Beach Hydrobikes is one of the more unique attractions in Long Beach. Hydrobikes are almost exactly what you would expect them to be; they are modified bike frames attached to two pontoons with paddles underneath, and a rudder for steering. Visitors can peddle around Alamitos Bay and through the canals on Naples Island, and it is a great way to see Long Beach from the water while getting plenty of exercise. They are located on the south dock in front of the old Khoury’s restaurant. Directly across from them is one of the public docks. On the north dock, London Boat Rentals, formerly Pelican Joe’s, has 18′-21′ electric Duffy boats available for rentals, and is the perfect way to have a relaxing day on the water or experience an Alamitos Bay sunset. London Boat Rentals also shares its dock with the AquaLink water taxi, which takes riders from Alamitos Bay to Rainbow Harbor. Also on the north dock is Long Beach Sportfishing, which offers 1/2 day, 3/4 day, full day and multiday fishing charters.

Alamitos Landing has three (soon to be four) dining options. Malarkey’s is an Irish (kinda) Bar and Grill that has gotten a sizable local following since opening in 2013. Now only does it have some great waterfront views, it also has a public dock right out front, making it perfect for boaters looking for a beer and a burger after a long day on the water.

Next to Malarkey’s is the Five O’Clock Wine Bar and Boathouse on the Bay. The Five O’Clock Wine Bar is a cozy a cozy hangout with a great selection of California wines and craft beers. It serves a small tapas-like menu, and has a heated out door patio with seating and live music on the weekends. Boathouse on the Bay, occupies the former McKenna’s location on the west end of Alamitos Landing. It is a fine dining destination on the water, with lots of patio seating and great views of the bay.

Sandwiched in-between the Five O’Clock Wine Bar and Boathouse on the Bay is the Captain’s Locker, a small shop for basic boat repair parts. It is also within walking distance to the public docks, so it is just a quick walk away when you need to replace a water pump or starter. The guys there are also very knowledgeable, and can help walk you through basic troubleshooting or maintenance.

These aren’t the only places to hang out around the marinas. Places like Pine Ave, Second St, and Main Street in Seal Beach have plenty to offer and are just a short Uber ride away, so go exploring!

Mar 14

Whale Watching in Long Beach

By Drew | Activities , Rainbow Harbor , Whale Watching

Wondering about whale watching in Long Beach?

whale watching Long Beach

Blue Whale

Whale watching is a popular outing that is fun for the whole family.Whale watching in Long Beach is typically done from October through July, when the whales migrate between Alaska and Mexico. Their migration pattern takes them through Southern California, making Long Beach the perfect spot to go spot whales. When whale watching in Long Beach, you’ll see Pacific Grey Whales, Fin Whales, Humpback Whales, Orcas, and even Blue Whales!  During the late summer months, the whale watching cruises become sea-life cruises, and search out local dolphins, seals, and sea lions.


 There are three whale watching cruises in Long Beach

The most popular whale watching in Long Beach is done by Harbor Breeze Cruises. They have been doing whale watching in Long Beach for close to 20 years. They have 7 boats, including their newest, a state of the art 50′ catamaran named the Triumph. They run several 3 hour tours every day out of Docks 2, 3, and 7 in Rainbow Harbor. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time on their website,, or at their ticket booth at Dock 2. Parking is available for a fee at the Aquarium of the Pacific parking structure at 99 Aquarium Way, Long Beach CA 90802. They are also located a short walk from the AquaBus and AquaLink on Dock 4. Harbor Breeze’s boats are staffed by United States Coast Guard certified captains, and several experienced deckhands, and include a snack bar and a limited bar. Kiosks near their docks sell anything you may have forgotten, including motion sickness pills, beanies, sunglasses, and hats. Whale watching is perfect for families with children, as the seas are generally calm and the vessels are large enough that seasickness is not usually a problem. There are also plenty of child-sized life jackets on each vessel.

While sightings cannot be guaranteed, during different times of the year Gray Whales, Fin Whales, and Humpback whales can be seen along side dolphins, seal lions, and other marine animals in and around Long Beach, the Port of Long Beach, and Catalina Island.  Harbor Breeze also partners with the Aquarium of the Pacific to include one of their educators on some cruises.

Harbor Breeze Cruises also offers shorter 45 minute harbor cruises around the Port of Long Beach and the surrounding areas. These use the same boats as the whale watching cruises, and use the same docks. For information you can call (562) 983-6884.

The Tall Ship American Pride also offers whale watching in Long Beach.  Located on Dock 3, the 130′ three masted schooner is a recreation of a 19th tall ship, and offers whale watching on selected Saturdays, and a whale watching brunch on Sundays. During the week, the ship is available for school sponsored whale watching. Advanced reservations are required, and tickets cannot be purchased at the dock. Reservations can be made by going to their website or by calling (714) 970-8800.

Capt. Chuck from Island Trader Charters also does whale watching. he has a 38′ power boat located in Rainbow Marina, near Shoreline Village. He specializes in small groups (maximum of 6), by appointment only. He can be reached at (714) 625-6074.

Mar 14

Rainbow Harbor Marina

By Drew | Long Beach Marinas , Rainbow Harbor

Rainbow Harbor/Marina

Rainbow Harbor/Marina

The Rainbow Harbor/Marina is one of the best destination harbors in Southern California. Located at the end of the Pike in Downtown Long Beach, there is never a shortage of fun activities. From the Aquarium of the Pacific, to whale watching with Harbor Breeze Cruises, to nights at Shenanigan’s or the Sky Room, there is something for the whole family!

Parts of Rainbow Harbor opened in 1983 with the development of the Downtown Marina (now known as the Shoreline Marina). A small basin for recreational boats was carved out of the harbor, and was a quiet place to keep a small boat until the rest of the area was developed. In 1995, Rainbow Harbor/Marina was opened, and the recreational basin became affectionately called the “Fishbowl”, due to its location surrounded by Shoreline Village. Rainbow Harbor/Marina was split into the recreational side on the east (Rainbow Marina) and a side for larger commercial vessels on the west (Rainbow Harbor). The Rainbow Marina (Fishbowl) today is no longer strictly recreational, as there are several small commercial operations.

The Rainbow Harbor Office

Rainbow Harbor office

Rainbow Harbor office

The main office for Rainbow Harbor is located at 200 B Aquarium Way, next to Pierpoint Landing. It is on the west side of the harbor, by the rear of the Aquarium of the Pacific. There is parking available in the paid parking lot in the back, or you can pull your boat up to Dock 1, right in front of the office. They are open 7 days a week from 8am-4:30pm, and are closed on New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day. To book a guest slip, inquire about permanent slips, or report any safety concerns or maintenance issues or problems with any of the launch ramps you can give them a call at (562) 570-8636. The fax number is (562) 570-8640.

Rainbow Harbor Marina slips

Rainbow Marina

Slips in Rainbow Marina

The slips in Rainbow Marina range in size from 30′-45′, with end-ties ranging from 69′-90′. All of the slips and end-ties have dockboxes, water and power available. The 30′ and 35′ slips have 30a/120v service, and the 40′ and 45′ slips have 50a/120v service. There are two gates leading to the marina-one in Shoreline Village by Shenanigan’s Irish Pub, and one on the public dock. A key is needed to open these, and the keys are only available to current boatowners in the marina, their guests, and guest or transient boaters. Boatowner restrooms and showers are located in Shoreline Village and also require a key to get in. Guest (or transient) slips are available for rent as well as permanent slips. To reserve a guest slip call the Rainbow Harbor office at (562) 570-8636 between 8am and 4pm. They will require your documentation/registration, the declarations page of your insurance showing at least $100,000 in liability insurance, a copy of your ID, and a Visa or Mastercard. Guest slips can be reserved up to 30 days in ahead of time, and advanced reservations are highly recommended during the summer and holidays. Renting permanent, or year round slips, in Rainbow Marina is unique because of its location. It is in the middle of Shoreline Village and is a high traffic area and very popular on the nights and weekends. There are also large events several times a year which impacts not only the docks and waterways, but also the roads around the marina.  Many people are turned off by this, and look toward the Shoreline Marina and Alamitos Bay Marina for a quieter place to keep their boats. However, the tenants that are in Rainbow Marina have been there for years and have created a small community on the docks. They are all very welcoming, and are quick to chat and offer helpful tips and tricks or watch each other’s vessels when out of town.

Permanent slips require current registration in the slip owner’s name, insurance with at least $100,000 in liability coverage and also naming the city as “Additional Insured”, first month’s rent, and a security deposit equal to one month’s rent. The vessel will also need to be inspected before the slip is issued. To get a slip, call the Rainbow Harbor office Monday-Friday from 8am-4pm. Please note that slips will not always be immediately available, and there may be a waiting list for the slips at various times throughout the year.

Public Docks

Dock 8

Public dock at Dock 8

There are two public docks in Rainbow Harbor, totaling over 600′ of dock space. Dock 10, or “Parker’s Dock”, is outside of the harbor in front of Parker’s Lighthouse restaurant. It is an “L” shaped dock over 400′ long, with 3 pumpouts  on the south end and 1 water hose. The other public dock is Dock 8, located inside Rainbow Marina near the Yardhouse. This dock is over 200′ long, but does not have any pump outs or water. Both docks have a 3 hour maximum time limit and are open 24 hours per day, but are closed during some special events, such as the Grand Prix.

Rainbow Marina Boat Rentals and  Yacht Charters

Marina Sailing

As mentioned before, there are also commercial operation in Rainbow Marina. The biggest and oldest is Marina Sailing. They have been around since 1962, and with Rainbow Marina since 1999. They are a sailing club that offers sailing instruction and vessels for hourly rentals or multi-day charters. They have 19 vessels in the marina, ranging from 26′ to 46′. Their Long Beach office is located in Shoreline Village at 429 Shoreline Village Dr. Ste M. For more information you can call them at (562) 432-4672. They also have locations in Marina Del, Rey, Channel Islands, Redondo Beach, Newport Beach, and San Diego.

Long Beach Boat Rentals

Long Beach Boat Rentals

Long Beach Boat Rentals

Long Beach Boat Rentals is a small boat rental company and one of the most popular things to do in Long Beach. They are located at 401 Shoreline Village Dr., behind the Yardhouse at the top of the public dock. They have several power boats to choose from, including electric Duffy boats, a 21′ pontoon boat and personal watercraft for rent. You don’t need a captain’s license or any prior experience to rent any of these, just a credit card and an ID. Advanced reservations are encouraged, especially during the summer when they are routinely booked solid. They can be reached at (562) 491-7400. The electric Duffy boats are perfect for a relaxing family outing on the water, as they come with ample seating space, power outlets, and a table large enough for a meal with extended family. They are also easy enough to operate that a first time user could feel comfortable taking one out of the marina to do some exploring around the Queen Mary or near shore area. For those who need a little more speed, Long Beach Boat Rentals also rents power boats with 9.9-40hp outboards. These can reach speeds of 30mph, but must be kept under 5mph in the marina. However, once past the harbor area you can open up the throttle and really see how fast they can go.

Jet skis are also available for rent. There are a limited number of these, though, and they go fast. It’s recommended to make a reservation ahead of time or, if you are making last minute plans, to get to their dock as soon as they open to secure one or two for later in the day.

Island Trader Charters

Island Trader Charters is run by Capt. Chuck Brown off of his 36′ Cheoy Lee power boat “Island Trader”. He has several decades of experience in the maritime industry, and offers private charters, sunset cruises, cruises to Catalina Island, burials at sea, whale watching, and overnight accommodations on his boat. He can be reached at (714) 625-6074.

Spirit Cruises

Spirit Cruises is located at Dock 9, near Parker’s Lighthouse restaurant a,nd Louisiana Charlie’s restaurant. They office cruises of the Port of Long Beach and the near shore area, private party cruises, and wedding cruises. Call (310) 584-8080 for more information.

Rainbow Harbor

Rainbow Harbor

Rainbow Harbor

Rainbow Harbor is the commercial side of Rainbow Harbor/Marina. It includes Docks 1-7 and the Pine Ave Pier. The Pine Ave Pier 180′ long and is used almost exclusively for transient vessels. The rest of the docks are leased by various businesses, including fishing charters, whale watching, and tall ships. To inquire about commercial leases, call the Rainbow Harbor/Marina office at (562) 570-8636 and ask for the commercial RFP packet. There is no waiting list for commercial dock space; instead they will keep all proposals on file and choose the one they think best fits the harbor.

Each dock is 150′ comes with water and 50a 125v/250v and 3 phase service, along with a dedicated pump out. In addition to dock boxes, each commercial operation has one to two sheds to store larger items. There are no lockable gates on the docks.

Pierpoint Landing

Pierpoint Landing

Pierpoint Landing

Pierpoint Landing is a family owned fishing charter company that has been around for over 50 years. It was started by Whitey Ashley in the 60s, and is now owned by Don Ashley and Curtis and Veronica Wegener. They have a lease for all of Dock 1 in Rainbow Harbor, and run 1/2 day, 3/4 day, and multi-day fishing charters. They also rent out available dock space to recreational boaters. Their office is located at 200 Aquarium Way, and has snacks, drinks, ice cream shirts, hats, and bait available for purchase alongside tickets. Parking  available in the paid lot behind their office, or offsite in a gated parking lot. Guests using one of their vessels can get a parking pass at the ticket counter. For more information you can give them a call at (562) 983-9300 or visit their office in person.

Harbor Breeze Cruises

Harbor Breeze

Harbor Breeze Cruises

Harbor Breeze Cruises is located on Docks 2 and 3 in Rainbow Harbor and Dock 7 in Rainbow Marina. They are the largest whale watching company in the area, and also offer harbor cruises, private party cruises, and burials at sea. Parking is located at the Aquarium parking structure across the street from their dock. They can be reached at (562) 983-6880.



Tall Ship American Pride

The Tall Ship “American Pride” is also located on Dock 3 in Rainbow Harbor. It is a 130′ tall ship that is a faithful recreation of a 19th century three masted schooner. It is available for educational trips, summer camps, and whale watching. For more information call (562) 970-8800.

Grand Romance Riverboat

Grand Romance

Grand Romance

The Grand Romance is a 100′ long paddle wheel river boat on Dock 4 that boasts three decks, a dance floor, dj booth and full bar set up. They are available for private parties and events, as well as “murder mystery” dinners, New Year’s Eve and Fourth of July cruises. For bookings or more information call (562) 912-5665.





Dockside Boat and Bed

Dockside Boat and Bed

Dockside Boat and Bed

Dockside Boat and Bed is a unique attraction on Dock 5. It has several vessels available for rent as a “floating hotel”. This is a great alternative if you are looking for something a little different than a usual hotel experience. The dock is located in the middle of Rainbow Harbor and is the perfect location for someone checking out not only the Pike and Downtown Long Beach but also the Convention Center or the New Year’s Eve fireworks. They are also a great place to stay during the Long Beach Grand Prix, as they are just steps away from the action. Parking is located in the lot behind Pierpoint Landing or, for an additional fee, at the valet lot on the Pine Ave Circle by PF Chang’s. For more information call (562) 435-3111.

Burials at Sea by Capt. Johnnie Lee

Great Faith

The “Great Faith”

Sharing Dock 5 with Dockside Boat and Bed is Burials at Sea by Capt. Johnnie Lee. Capt. Lee has a 45′ power boat named the “Great Faith”, and is also available for boating lessons.





Hornblower Cruises

Dock 6 is currently rented out by Hornblower Cruises. They provide private party cruises as well as cruises for corporate and school events. They can be reached at (310) 301-6000.

The Pine Ave. Pier

Pine Ave Pier

The Pine Ave Pier

The Pine Ave Pier is a 180′ long pier located in the center of Rainbow Harbor. The west side has a floating dock that is used for transient vessels as well as the occasional special event. There is 30a/120v and 50a 125/250v  service available on the dock, as well as water and a pump-out. At the head of the dock is Gladstone’s Restaurant and Tokyo Wako. There is no lock on the swing gate, but the area is regularly patrolled by the Long Beach Marine Patrol. The east side of the dock is currently empty, and is only used for emergencies. However, the city will be constructing an additional 180′ long dock to be used as another public dock, which will make it easier for visiting boaters to get to the restaurants in Rainbow Harbor. To book dock space on the Pine Ave Pier, call the Rainbow Harbor office between 8am and 4pm at (562) 570-8636.

AquaLink and AquaBus

The AquaLink and AquaBus are two water taxis that have stops in Rainbow Harbor and Rainbow Marina. The AquaLink shares Dock 4 along with the AquaBus and the Grand Romance riverboat. The AquaBus also stops at Dock 7 and Dock 9 in Rainbow Marina.  The AquaBus runs from Rainbow Harbor to the Queen Mary and Hotel Maya, while the AquaLink runs from Rainbow Harbor to the Alamitos Bay Marina, with a stop at the Belmont Pier along the way. Both are run by Long Beach Transit, and can be reached at (562) 591-2301.