Lauritzen Yacht Harbor
Updated WEATHER every hour; Delta WATER and tide conditions; live TOWER CAM;
The FISHING report with PHOTOGRAPHS; harbor NEWS Items; before you get UNDERWAY ;
OTHER points of interest; WHO are we? WHAT can we provide? WHERE are we?

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Important things to know or consider before you get underway in the Delta.
Maps & Charts - Communications - Phone Numbers - Drawbridges
Local Notice to Mariners - Float Plan - Coast Guard Auxiliary

Maps & Charts: For navigating the greater Delta region see NOAA chart numbers;
18661 - Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers
18662 - Sacramento River, Andrus Is. to Sacramento
18652 - San Francisco Bay to Antioch

An excellent map containing a wealth of information is Hal Schell's Delta Map and Guide´┐Ż. Hal's map is available at most finer Delta harbors, bait shops, and chandleries throughout the greater Delta and Bay Area (or call 209/951-7821).

Yachtsman (800-878-7886) also makes a fine chart book that is extensive, easy to read, and encompasses the coastal regions as well. It is available at most marine supply stores throughout the area. 

First and foremost, the most important piece of equipment to have is a VHF marine radio! The Coast Guard and local Law Enforcement all monitor channel 16. The following channels are used in the Bay and Delta area.
  Radio channels
06a -
Coast Guard - inter-ship safety
07a -
Some Harbors/Commercial -
09a -
BRIDGES - This is the PRIMARY channel for all bridges in the Delta
13a -
Locks - The Montezuma Lock monitors this channel
16a -
Hailing and Distress - calling channel
Call other vessels on this channel then move to a proper working channel
22a -
Coast Guard - Liaison
68a ,69a, 71a, 72a, 78a -
These are the proper channels to use for vessel to vessel communications
27, 28, & 86 -
Stockton Marine operator - upriver from Pittsburg
26, 84, & 87 -
San Francisco Marine Operator - downriver/Susuin from Martinez to San Francisco Bay and beyond.

Whenever you hear the Coast Guard or other agency specify a channel like 78A (alpha), they're indicating the United States channels as opposed to the International channels. It is important to know the difference as the two are not the same. Most newer radios have both the International and U.S. channels so pay attention to your radio settings.

See this page RadioFreq for a detailed list of VHF marine radio frequencies

Cellular Telephones:
A cell phone/PCS is a marginal second choice for emergency communications because coverage throughout the Delta area can be spotty and unreliable. More importantly, other nearby boaters, who may be able to render assistance, will not be able to hear you. Dialing 911 will get you the California Highway Patrol; not much help when you've got a problem on the water. Cell phones are great for ordering pizza and beer (Heineken of course). 

Important Phone Numbers: (updated 11/10/03)
Emergency Number
Dispatch/Business Number
Rio Vista Coast Guard
(707) 374-2655
(707) 374-2871
Contra Costa County Sheriff
(925) 228-8280
 (925) 646-2441
San Joaquin County Sheriff
(209) 468-4421
 (209) 468-4400
Sacramento County Sheriff
 (916) 874-5111
(916) 874-5115
Solano County Sheriff:
 (707) 421-7090
(707) 421-7090 
Yolo County Sheriff
(530) 666-6612
(530) 666-8920

The Weather: During significant weather events, when conditions in and around the delta become unsafe, we make a point of posting the most relevant information prominently throughout our website. Always check our Home page as well as the Water and Weather pages for the latest in Delta conditions.
Drawbridge phone numbers, & Schedules:
All the drawbridges in the Delta monitor marine VHF radio channel - 9. If you are uncertain about clearances or hours of operation, you can call the Rio Vista Bridge @ (707) 374-2134. They can also make arrangements for after hour openings for all the drawbridges in the Delta. Special arrangements usually need to be made at least 24 hours ahead of schedule. See Delta Bridges for details on most bridges

Drawbridges in the Delta also respond to sound (horn) signals. One prolonged blast (4-6 seconds) followed by one short blast (1 second) sounded within reasonable hearing distance of the bridge. The drawtender will respond in kind, unless the draw cannot be opened, in which case, 5 short blasts will be sounded.

Local Notice to Mariners:
The 11th district Local Notices are very comprehensive and cover a range of topics from dredging operations, navigation lights that have malfunctioned, drawbridge problems, anything that is in, on, or close to the water. The Eleventh District covers all of California, Nevada, Utah & Arizona. Sometimes it may take awhile to find what you're looking for. They also post the Notices on their web page (see below).

Mariners in California waters should rely on the Eleventh Coast Guard District Local Notice to Mariners (LNM) as the PRIMARY source of marine information, with Broadcast Notice to Mariner (BNM) providing supplementary information. The LNM is a free publication available to any one who requests it. To receive the Eleventh District LNM contact:

Commander (Pow)
Eleventh Coast Guard District
Coast Guard Island, Building 50-6
Alameda, CA 94501-5100

(510) 437-2976

Float Plan:
A float plan can save your life! Follow this link to get our float plan form. Print and fill out the form. If you're a berther here at Lauritzen Yacht Harbor you can fax it or drop it off before you get underway.

Coast Guard Auxiliary:
The U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary offers free boat safety checks to boaters who wish to be sure that their boats meet all federal and state safety requirements. The Vessel Examiners who perform these checks are specially trained Auxiliarists who are kept informed on the latest legal requirements for boaters. Vessel Examiners have no legal authority - their goal is to prevent boaters from getting equipment-related citations and to prevent safety-related accidents. These safety checks are meant to be an educational experience. The Vessel Examiners will check for all required safety items on board your boat and if everything is present and in good working order, they will award a decal to affix to your boat. If you wish, they will also gladly explain the reason for the various safety equipment requirements and explain how safety equipment works.

The Courtesy Marine Examination is not required for vessel operation. It is recommended because it's focus is your safety. The CME Decal, when affixed properly to your boat, may (or may not), help avoid boardings by the Coast Guard. For a list of the items that the CME covers see this page CME Items or, you can download the actual form (in PDF format) here CME form ANSC 7012.

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