Monday, March 14, 2011

Where Not to Keep Your Boat

Is northern California town the worst place in America to moor your boat? Crescent City has been hit by tsunamis before

Battery Point Light. Photo © istockphoto/david cooper
This northern California town is a picture perfect fishing village – nestled 20 miles south of the Oregon border, Crescent City is right on the Pacific with easy access to both the Smith and the Klamath Rivers. It is also home to the headquarters of the Redwood National Park as well as the historic Battery Point Light - one of the oldest lighthouses in California. The town's harbor is popular with both commercial and recreational boaters.

But if you knew the history that the town has had with tsunamis, you would probably be hesitant to keep your boat there.

The following video was taken by Coast Guard Air Station Humboldt Bay shortly after the tsunami hit Crescent City:

According to Wikipedia, "Crescent City's offshore geography makes it unusually susceptible to tsunamis. For example, much of the city was destroyed by one generated by the Good Friday Earthquake off Anchorage, Alaska in 1964."

34 Since 34
Jeff Barnard, in a widely distributed article from the AP this morning (here’s the version of the article that appeared in the Fresno Bee), states that since 1934, Crescent City “has been hit by 34 tsunamis”.

Still hurting from 2006
Less than four and a half years ago, a tsunami caused upwards of $20 Million in damage to the town according to Crescent City’s harbormaster in a news report from KCRA TV.

11 Boats Sunk / Nearly 50 More Damaged
And now we have the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011. Several hours after a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, a wall of water traveled all the way across the Pacific and hit Crescent City. According to Matt Drange/The Times-Standard, the resulting damage to the harbor in Crescent City was extensive:
At least 48 vessels sustained damage and were afloat Sunday, while officials have confirmed 11 sunken vessels in the harbor and another boat grounded at the mouth of the Elk River, some 75 miles south of Crescent City. Debris from the harbor -- including buoys, styrofoam chunks of dock, wood pilings and trash from sunken boats -- remains scattered around the harbor and the nearby shoreline, including Pebble and South beaches. Source:

Web Resources
Tsunamis are no joke in Crescent City. They even link to this PDF guide, entitled "How to Survive a Tsunami" from the town's official home page. How many towns in the US have a guide by that name? While we're on the subject, Google has the best resource on the web with their latest crisis response page; it includes a missing persons search app, emergency phone numbers and live video feeds from Japan. Check it out here and do not hesitate to donate a few yen while you're there.


1 comment:

  1. A lot of this has to do with trajectory of the tsunami and poor old crescent city has just had perfect destination for trajectory from the Japan and other historical tsu's according to some people i know who know a lot more about this than me! there are alot of unknowns with this including what would happen to Americas pacific coast if we got a quake at the plates in the ocean instead of the one we all concentrate on land