The SS Palo Alto (the Cement Boat)

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The SS Palo Alto in Aptos at Sunset

The SS Palo Alto in Aptos at Sunset

If there is one image that identifies Aptos, California it would have to be that of The SS Palo Alto (the Cement Boat), the sunken concrete ship on the shore of Seacliff State Beach. A lot of people wonder how the ship got there – and it’s an interesting story.

The ship was one of many concrete vessels built for World War I. Construction was completed in 1919, but too late to enter service in the war. The ship sat docked for 10 years in Oakland, before being bought by the Seacliff Amusement Corporation, which had big plans for it. The ship was brought to its present site and intentionally sunk, and then retrofit as an amusement ship with swimming pool, dance hall, and restaurant. The enterprise didn’t last long, as two years later the company went bankrupt. The ship originally had a large wooden superstructure which was removed and shipped to Texas. Eventually, several powerful winter storms cracked the ship, and it became unsafe, and has been closed to the public ever since.

The SS Palo Alto is connected to the shore via a 500 foot long wooden pier, and every day of the year you can find groups of people fishing. A range of fish can be caught here, including a variety of perch, flounder, rockfish, salmon, and striped bass.

In the State of California, anyone can fish off a pier without a license – so if you’re interested in giving fishing a try, this is one of the best spots to try it in Santa Cruz county.

Admission to the pier and boat themselves are free. However, you must pay to drive your car into the Seacliff State Beach park. Alternatively, you can park at the top of the bluff outside the park and walk down for free.

See also: Wikipedia,, Sandy Lydon on the SS Palo Alto

Drone Video December 2016

YouTube Drone Video February 2016

Aerial Drone Video from 2015

Video recorded by Archer Koch of Best viewed in full screen mode!

YouTube Video of the SS Palo Alto

Instagram Photos Tagged #cementboat

Seb Frey
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Seb Frey

Broker/Owner at Realty World Virtuoso is brought to you by Sebastian "Seb" Frey.Seb is a longtime Aptos resident and home owner.   He's married with two boys, and like all of us, loves Aptos with a passion.  Seb is a real estate broker (BRE #01369847) by trade and works to strengthen the community he serves, lives in, and loves.  If you need any help with Real Estate in Aptos or anywhere in Santa Cruz county, you can reach Seb at (831) 704-6873.
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