Phil Dockery, president of the S.S. Catalina Preservation Association, will discuss rescuing and restoring the S.S. Catalina at the Thursday, October 21st, monthly luncheon of the California Yacht Club.
The S.S. Catalina was built in 1924 by William Wrigley, Jr., to carry passengers from Los Angeles Harbor to Avalon on Catalina Island.
Except for the World War II years and several sessions when the ship was waylaid by union strikes, the Catalina operated for 51 years.
The vessel was retired from service in 1975.
In 1976, the Catalina was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The ship is registered as California State Historical Landmark No. 895 and as the City of Los Angeles Historical Cultural Monument No. 213.
“She was sold to a private party in 1977 and in 1985 towed to Ensenada, Mexico, for the first of several failed business ventures,” Dockery said.
“In 1998, she sank in 15 to 20 feet of water from neglected maintenance and after being abandoned by her owners was finally seized by the Mexican government,” he added.
The S.S. Catalina Preservation Association was formed in 1999 by a coalition of binational preservation and education organizations and has been working with the Mexican government in efforts to raise the Catalina before the ship is destroyed to make room for a new marina expansion in Baja California.
Dockery says the goal of his organization is to return the ship to U.S. waters and restore her to a condition where the ship will serve as a cultural and education facility.
“Several communities have expressed an interest in welcoming her as a part of waterfront restoration projects,” Dockery says.
“However, our efforts to raise awareness and funding may soon come to an end as Ensenada makes final preparations for their new harbor facilities,” Dockery said.
The California Yacht Club event will include a happy half hour at 11:45 a.m., a buffet luncheon at 12:15 p.m. and Dockery’s presentation at 12:40 p.m.
The $12.95 cost includes luncheon and parking. The public is invited to attend. California Yacht Club is at 4469 Admiralty Way in the Marina.
Information, (310) 823-4567. Reservations are not required.