Morro Bay Harbor has an enormous visitor right now, the Army Corps of Engineers’ dredge ship, Yaquina, sailed into port last week for its annual dredging of the harbor entrance.

The City said the Yaquina would be here through June 1, working to deepen the harbor mouth and navigation channel down to about Coleman Park.
The annual work is to ensure the harbor mouth stays deep enough to tame large breaking waves that tend to happen in the winter months that gave Morro Bay a reputation as one of the most hazardous harbor mouths on the U.S. West Coast.

As part of the work, the interior, red and green channel marker buoys have been removed from the harbor entrance to the North T-pier. The harbor department advises boaters to be careful traversing that area and to stay well clear of the dredge ship.

Yaquina is a hopper-style dredge, meaning it extends long digger arms into the water, sucking up silt from the sea floor into a large hopper in its belly. When full, the ship travels offshore from the Sandspit, and a mile or so south of the harbor entrance, opens its hopper doors in the bottom of the ship and dumps the spoils in a designated, approved area.