San Diego seaplanes ???

I’m a native San Diegan, but I’m really no expert…on anything, really. :laughing: Just curious, to those also in the area, does SAN have an active seaplane ramp? Or is there one elsewhere in the city, perhaps?

I like our airport. I like our bay. I like our general transportation culture (RIP Convair). I like seaplanes, too. And I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one here. Seattle? Sure! Alaska? You bet! But I’m curious if seaplanes really exist at all here.

According to, there are no seaplane bases within 20 miles of San Diego (at least, not in the USA).

If you nose around a bit at Navy North Island, you might still find the remains/evidence of the old seaplane ramps the Navy used to use waaaayyy back (1920’s or so).

Edit: a quick look through google tells me the last seaplane departed NZY in 1967!!!

Here is a nice story from a retired Naval Aviator and some more background on North Island as a seaplane hub: … ego-bay-by

edit 2:

Here is a site with some great pictures of Martins and PBYs

Back in my navy days, The navy had a lot of Martin Mars seaplane activity on the bay. (early 50’s)

There used to be a seaplane ramp going to the east end of Lindberg Field from the bay used by the U.S. Coast Guard (and probably Convair during their manufacturing time). There was a ramp at the Coast Guard station and two large gates which would open to allow the seaplanes to cross the road to go onto the airport.

There are some private seaplane operations occasionally conducted at the south end of San Diego Bay. There are no commercial operations, (flight instruction or sightseeing) that I am aware of at this time. The Port Authority has not had a favorable attitude towards General Aviation seaplane operations in the past.

Yes there was, I remember that.

Only seaplanes I’ve ever seen around San Diego have all been amphibs. This includes the random float-equipped Cessna that I’ve seen at KMYF a couple times. For the longest time, there had been a (I think) Lake amphib sitting at Golden State Flying Club (KSEE) right out next to the street, but I’d never seen it move. I’ll swing by there when I go back next month.
As far as the USCG base next to KSAN, those large gates are still there, complete with stoplight and the light-up signs on Harbor Drive that say “AIRCRAFT XING, PREPARE TO STOP.” But last time I actually saw them being used was back in the 80’s or early 90’s when they had Falcons based there, they’d taxi the Falcons across to the ramp.