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  • Writer's pictureDale Hill

Oceanside Harbor SMASH

Updated: Aug 17, 2021

Recovery Date: Saturday, July 17, 2021

Total Marks Recovered: 8

Discs Recovered: 6

Non-Disc Type Recovered: 2

GPS on Bench Marks Priorities: 0

New Agencies: 1 (City of Carlsbad)

Discover and Apply

A couple of days ago I recovered a Tidal Bench Mark in Ocean Beach, and while preparing that recovery for entry into my database I learned that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has an online repository where they keep Historic Water Levels for both Active and Historic (inactive) Tidal Stations. Searching through the California Stations, I discovered the following stations in San Diego County and the dates they were active:

  • 9410120 Imperial Beach, Pacific Ocean, CA May 01, 1976 - Dec 10, 1979

  • 9410135 South San Diego Bay, CA Jan 23, 2017 - May 08, 2017

  • 9410155 Ballast Point, CA Aug 15, 1983 - Sep 29, 1983

  • 9410170 San Diego, San Diego Bay, CA Jan 26, 1906 - present

  • 9410179 Ocean Beach, Point Loma, CA Apr 20, 1994 - Aug 01, 1994

  • 9410196 Mission Bay Jan 21, 2017 - May 07, 2017

  • 9410230 La Jolla, CA Aug 01, 1924 - present

  • 9410302 San Elijo Lagoon, CA May 27, 1979 - Jun 02, 1980

  • 9410396 Oceanside Harbor, CA Sep 18, 1979 - Jun 02, 1980

Stations are organized into the states or regions in which the station is located. Within each state, the stations are listed in geographical order, following the contours of the coastline, allowing stations physically near each other to be listed together. A station identifier is a 7-digit number, the first three digits identify the State or region, the last four digits are a unique station number.

Note: If you're JUST interested in getting the Bench Mark information, follow this link 👉🏻 Bench Mark Data Sheets to search for the data sheets published by the NOAA.

The NOAA datasheets are incredibly handy because they list all the marks for that station on one sheet in a concise manner. NGS datasheets, on the other hand, can be many pages long and may or may not provide reference data to nearby marks.

Today I decided to head out to Oceanside Harbor and recover as many of the tidal stations as I could find. The datasheet listed 5 survey marks with the station number 941 0396 and I was able to recover 3 of them. (note: I separate the Station ID into 2 parts as that's how the discs are usually stamped or referred to in the datasheets)

941 0396 A TIDAL STATION (Recovered)

941 0396 B TIDAL STATION (Recovered)

941 0396 C TIDAL STATION (Recovered)

941 0396 E TIDAL STATION (Missing, potentially destroyed)

941 0396 SLR 101 1974 (Unable to access. US Army Corps of Engineer disc, mounted on the wing wall of the Atcheson, Topeka, and Santa Fe railroad bridge over San Luis Rey River. Fenced/Private Property and not accessible)

USACE: OS 2015-22

While looking for the 941 0396 E TIDAL STATION disc, I spotted this control point in the parking lot that is east of the Harbor and the train tracks (accessed through a pedestrian underpass across the street from Joe's Crab Shack) The lot is used as overflow parking for the harbor area and is accessed via San Luis Rey Drive.

Oceanside Pier

DX1246: B 64

Since I was already in Oceanside, I thought I'd drop by the Pier and recover the B 64 Benchmark, LOL, they don't get a whole lot easier than this one! There is also a station designated DX3433: PIER (with two reference marks) that is actually set in the pier, I didn't have the exact coordinates with me, but I recalled that it was under an inch of asphalt and there was supposedly a small hole cut in the asphalt to access it. 🤷🏻‍♂️The reference marks are set into the curb not too far from the station. I really didn't look too hard for these, I opted to walk to the end of the pier and back before just to enjoy the nice afternoon. I'll go back later and make a concerted effort to recover the PIER station and reference marks.

Bonus Marks Found Nearby

I found the first mark on the sidewalk at the north corner of the intersection of Pier View Way and N. Pacific Street, it's a standard 2-inch plain, dome top disc stamped PLS 6664. Unlike the PLS series, I found in Point Loma which were just number consecutively 1-7, the PLS stamped on this one refers to the surveyor who set the disc, Mary Madeline Acosta, license number 6664 (This license was retired in 2020 according to the Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists (BPELSG) online database).

The second control point NV5 CONTROL was just a ¾" washer set with a MAG nail in the asphalt at the top of the ramp leading from the beach up to the pier. I just happened to walk over it when I was headed down to check out the food trucks on the beach.

First City of Carlsbad Survey Mark!

Yes, another first! This was one that I had found on the Waymarking site a while ago. I have gotten into the habit of dropping waypoints in my GAIA GPS App for potential recoveries when I learn of them, that way, if I am ever in the area they will show up on my map. This one really wasn't on my direct route home, but I'd had a good afternoon and wanted to top it off with a recovering a new mark. It's a "clean" looking disc, obviously, CLSB is an abbreviation for Carlsbad, and the Land Surveyor who set this was Dana Michael Seguin, Lic. No. 6215 (according to the BPELSG this license was canceled in 2006)


Another good day out-and-about looking for survey marks! I have printed out all the NOAA datasheets for the San Diego Tidal Stations and will systematically hit each one to recover as many of the marks as I can. There are 5 marks listed at the Ballast Point Tidal Station, but that station is located on the Point Loma Naval Base, and while I can get on base, I doubt I'd be able to poke around looking for survey marks. Maybe I'll try San Elijo Lagoon next and tag it on to a return visit to the Oceanside Pier to find the PIER station. 🤔 

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