The Oceanside Police Department’s Harbor Unit handles the emergency response element for Maritime Law Enforcement, Search and Rescue, Marine Firefighting, Emergency Towing, and Scuba-diving. Harbor officers are deployed on a 24-hour basis and respond to both emergency and non-emergency calls for service. Currently, the Harbor Unit consists of 8 full time Officers, 1 Reserve Officer, and 1 Sergeant. The Harbor Unit is supervised by a Lieutenant within the Field Operations Division of the Oceanside Police Department. The Harbor Unit is primarily responsible for the Oceanside Harbor, and the 3.5 miles of Oceanside coastline extending 3 miles offshore. The Harbor Unit also responds to mutual aid requests within the North San Diego County coastline.
Non-emergency services include vessel safety inspections, general assistance to boaters, dock inspections and after-hours assistance to the public on harbor-related matters. The Harbor Unit utilizes four-wheel-drive vehicles, boats and foot patrol to support the Patrol Division.
The Harbor Unit is a multi-functional public safety team that aims to form a partnership with their community to proactively educate the public, create a safe recreational environment and provide emergency services for Oceanside’s Harbor and Beaches.
The Oceanside Harbor Patrol was established in 1963 along with the opening of the Oceanside Harbor. Patrolmen came from various backgrounds such as lifeguarding, US Navy, US Coast Guard, and an assortment of commercial maritime occupations. Oceanside Harbor was the home port of the USCG Pt. Hobart from 1969 to 1999. The Pt. Hobart’s primary purpose was to provide additional security for US President Nixon when he visited the ‘Western White House’ near San Mateo Point. The Pt. Hobart also provided search and rescue services within the region, when not providing security for the President. In 1993, the Oceanside Harbor District was annexed by the City of Oceanside and all District employees became City employees, including the Oceanside Harbor Police. The Oceanside Harbor Police continued to operate as a separate police department from the Oceanside Police Department, maintain their mission of providing public safety to the boaters in and around the Oceanside Harbor. In 1999, when the Pt. Hobart was decommissioned, the Oceanside Harbor Police once again became the only rescue unit between Dana Point Harbor and Mission Bay. The City of Oceanside reorganized the Department of Harbor and Beaches in 2009 and the Harbor Police Department was absorbed by the Oceanside Police Department. The Oceanside Police Department created a Harbor Unit which was staffed by the same Officers and Sergeant, as the former Oceanside Harbor Police Department. The Oceanside Police Harbor Unit remains the primary response unit for over 37 miles of coastline, assisting in mutual aid calls for service from San Mateo Point to Del Mar.
Officers assigned to the Harbor Unit not only receive all of the training other officers at the department do, but they also receive training and certifications in vessel operations, firefighting, and scuba-diving.
The Harbor Unit currently operates a fleet of 3 Crystaliner rescue boats and once SAFE Boat. The rescue vessels are equipped with GPS and radar and outfitted with equipment for Marine Firefighting, EMT, Dewatering, Rescue/Assistance Towing, and SCUBA. The Harbor Unit also operates 3 sport utility vehicles for routine patrol as well as emergencies on the beach. The vehicles are outfitted with tow winches, SCUBA, and EMT equipment in addition to the standard police gear.