On this date in 1949, Seal Beach residents woke to discover that during the night frigid fifty miles per hour winds and rough waves had torn the Super Express fishing boat from its moorings at Seal Beach pier and smashed the boat upon the Seal Beach Naval Ammunition Depot breakwater, leaving a gaping hole in the hull.
As dramatic as this event was to the normally sedate Seal Beach, it was just one of many similar incidents spread across Southern California. Flights at LAX airport had been grounded. Boats had been beached at Santa Monica and Redondo Beach. The Monstad Pier in Redondo Beach had a section torn apart by waves. Several inches of sand had blown on to Pacific Coast Highway, stranding automobiles and buses. Trees were toppled, and some communities went without electricity for a few hours. Daylight brought calmer weather, and repairs and clean-up efforts began.
In Seal Beach, the Super Express was beached, and the hole was repaired with a temporary canvas patch to make the vessel seaworthy enough to be towed to the San Pedro Boat Works. The canvas patch prove too temporary for the entire trip and peeled, and the boat sank in what must have been shallow water. It was re-floated, re-patched, and towed to safely to San Pedro for more substantial repairs.
– Michael Dobkins
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