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5 Mar 2017
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The Avalon Harbor Patrol assists the boating pubic on Catalina Island

The Avalon Harbor Patrol assists the boating pubic on Catalina Island

The centerpiece of Avalon on Catalina Island is its harbor and making sure that the harbor is safe and secure is the Avalon Harbor Department. Part of the City of Avalon, the department is overseen by the Avalon Harbormaster.

With about 12 full-time officers and an equal number of part-time officers, the Avalon Harbor Patrol is one of the City of Avalon’s larger departments. These sworn officers respond to a gamut of situations, from sinking boats and vessels on fire to dive accidents and missing kayakers. Harbor Patrol officers are the first line of defense for medical calls in the harbor, most officers are EMTs and all patrol boats are equipped with cardiac defibrillators. With full arrest powers, they also handle criminal incidents like domestic violence and boating under the influence. Officers respond to boating accidents, enforce boating and fishing regulations and administer the city’s harbor restrictions. During storms, the officers of the Avalon Harbor Department face down danger to protect life and property. Northeast storms, when mainland Santa Ana winds generate high surf in Avalon Harbor, are particularly harrowing, with officers jumping from surging patrol boats onto moored vessels, while seas in excess of eight to 10 feet churn beneath them.

The Avalon Harbor Patrol office is staffed 24 hours a day and no matter what time it is, at least two officers are on duty. In addition to their law enforcement and rescue duties, these officers also assist the boating public, help boaters find their moorings and administer the city’s profitable mooring rental operation.