Nov. 1945: 11 Fishing Craft & Cutter Stew Princeton Beach,

Half Moon Bay

Story from “Half Moon Bay Review,” November 1945

“Thirty-foot breakers and a wind estimated at fifty miles an hour velocity Monday night beached and damaged eleven fishing craft near Princeton-by-the-Sea; beached a Coast Guard rescue boat, and did damage estimated at more than $80,000. Two members of the Coast Guard rescue boat crew nearly lost their lives when the vessel pounded into the beach.

“The whole Half Moon Bay area was hit by a storm of almost gale proportions which beat in from the sea. Princeton damage appeared to be to the fishing fleet caught riding at anchor. Several seiners were torn from their moorings and blown onto the beach.

“Oldtimers at Princeton said the storm was the worst experienced there in twenty years.

“The coast guard AVR No. 9, air-sea rescue type craft got into trouble in attempting to help fishing craft in distress. This boat, about 45 feet in length and capable of 45 knots, sent out distress calls when it ran out of gasoline. The coast guard cutter Alert tried to rescue the boat, but could not get a line aboard. Wind and breakers put the AVR No. 9 on the beach. Two crew members on board stuck with the ship but were uninjured.

“The damaged boats were scattered over a half mile area. Hours after the storm subsided, four men were still marooned aboard fishing craft in the cove–unable to come ashore because of heavy breakers.

“San Francisco coast guard headquarters kept the cutter Alert at Half Moon Bay to render any assistance needed.

“As everyone knows that the people of this section have petitioned congress for breakwater at Pillar Point, which would give the boats anchored in our bay a perfect protection from such storms and if and when the breakwater is built at Princeton-by-the-Sea it would mean a safe haven for other ships at sea caught in a severe storm and which (can’t read the word) could not reach their home ports in time for protection.

“If we secure the building of the breakwater it would mean that while there are 35 fishing boats making their headquarters in the bay a great many moreĀ  would anchor here as they would be given protection from storms. We of our community beseech the government to give us the breakwater.”

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