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Oceanside Harbor dredging begins with warning to stay clear of machinery

The annual dredging of the harbor in Oceanside has started and as KPBS North County reporter Alexander Nguyen shows us, city officials are reminding people to steer clear of the heavy machinery on the beach.

The annual dredging of the harbor in Oceanside has started, and city officials are reminding people to steer clear of the heavy machinery on the beach.

It’s an event where sand from the harbor’s mouth is used to replenish the city’s beaches. Residents welcome this project every year, said Oceanside Lifeguard Capt. Bill Curtis.

"It's to maintain the harbor entrance, to maintain, keep it open," he said. "So the Army Corps and the Navy cooperate together to keep that happening. And then, with cooperation, they then place it back on our beach rather than discharging it back out into the ocean."

The sand buildup in the harbor makes it hard for ships to safely move in and out. That sand will be used to replenish beaches from North Coast Village to the Oceanside Pier in the south. The work is slated for six to eight weeks, weather permitting.

"Now, depending on the quality of the sand and how much we can get down here, will determine how far south we’ll go," Curtis said.

On Thursday, crews were just laying down the pipes. The actual dredging doesn’t start until next week. But Curtis wants residents to be aware and stay safe around the dredge equipment.

"The big safety concern here is to stay away from the equipment and stay outside the orange coned-off areas," he said.

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What he doesn’t want is a repeat of the 2020 incident where a woman was killed by dredging equipment while sleeping on the beach.

If everything goes according to plan, the pipes and heavy machinery will be off the beach in time for Memorial Day.