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Seacliff State Beach
Cement Ship

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Cement Ship - Seacliff Beach Pier Santa Cruz County California

cement ship


Seacliff State Beach

Retired and docked at Seacliff State Beach, the ship now harbors hundreds of sea birds, and offers a unique visual display for guests who stand atop a hill looking down on this incredible structure. Significant in the fact that it continues to paint a picture of Santa Cruz County in an historical perspective as a vacation getaway over the decades, a healthy Santa Cruz Board Walk north of this pier in the city of Santa Cruz celebrated 100 years in existence in 2007.  This region is the best example in California (and only one of several surviving amusements that offers a glimpse into California's past.


Pleasure piers were all the rage...after wharfs initially were built to bring goods to land via shipping. Some of the original wharfs and docking stations are gone, as are some of the piers first built for pleasure. A filmmaker asked us how many pier exist in California today, and we could not provide a definitive answer. Why?  A definition of a public pier as prescribed by the California Department of Fish and Game would include some docks that are nothing more than wooden plank structures anglers can stand on and cast a line.


No matter how many exist, this pier is one of the most prominent and easiest to spot in a flight pattern that often takes air travelers directly over the pier and the Santa Cruz pier. The state beach next to the pier is mellow, providing RV overnight camping, shaded picnic areas and a visitors center with a gift shop.


Below is information about removal of oil found in the cement ship.


Old oil removed from SS Palo Alto in 2006 and the historic cement ship at Seacliff State Beach  was deemed safe for wildlife.

The SS Palo Alto, a ship built around 1919,  had oil aboard the nearly century-old ship. It was found in one port
forward bunker tank, which was configured much like an animal trap. With a narrow, vertical opening that led to a large, horizontal, rectangular tank, birds could get in, but very few got out. This death trap became an oil removal project at Seacliff State Beach in Aptos.

A join project, The Unified Command - the California Department of Fish and Game Office of Spill
Prevention and Response (OSPR), Department of Parks and Recreation, U.S. Coast Guard, and contractor Titan Maritime - all sought to prevent future wildlife entrapment. Titan's crew opened the tank's entry hole to 4 feet by 10 feet, and removed all the oil and oily sediment. 


173 birds, two deceased harbor seals, and animal parts in various stages of decomposition were removed from the tank, the oil was disposed of properly and the cement ship looks exactly the same as it did.