Cruise ships generate tremendous amounts of pollution and waste that can harm public health, our oceans, and atmosphere.
Channelkeeper is working to highlight the environmental impacts of the cruise ship industry and reduce the environmental risks of cruise ships to our local environment. We are calling upon the City of Santa Barbara to reassess the cruise ship program and make changes to meet the community’s environmental priorities.
The Harbor Commission established a Cruise Ship Subcommittee in 2022 to gather public input on the future of its program.
As often as we can, Channelkeeper greets ships as they arrive in the Santa Barbara Harbor as part of our cruise ship monitoring program. Our team is on the water aboard our 31-foot vessel to hail visiting ships to confirm their compliance with the City’s voluntary no-discharge agreement.
Public input is crucial to shape the cruise ship program’s future. Your voice is needed to help create meaningful change. If you would like to become an advocate and get involved in improving Santa Barbara’s Cruise Ship Program, click here to join our fast-growing community of changemakers.
Show your support!
The next meeting to discuss the City’s Cruise Ship Program will be held by the City’s Harbor Commission on Thursday, February 15th, 2024, at 6:30 p.m., in the City Council Chambers at Santa Barbara City Hall.
Date: February 15, 2024 @6:30 pm
Location: City Council Chambers at Santa Barbara City Hall, 735 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
The Harbor Commission will receive an update from the Commission’s Cruise Ship Subcommittee and is expected to discuss a set of recommendations the Subcommittee members will propose. The Commission may take votes on the recommendations. If the Harbor Commission agrees to recommendations, they will eventually be sent to the City Council for review. This is not the final decision-making meeting. However, it is an important opportunity for community members to provide comments on the Cruise Ship Program. Please consider attending the February 15 Harbor Commission meeting to share your views with all Commissioners.
Channelkeeper’s recommendations to the City of Santa Barbara are to:
- Reduce and cap the number of visiting cruise ships to no more than 18 annually.
- Require cruise ships that visit Santa Barbara to have and use state-of-the-art technologies that protect the environment and public health and/or prioritize those that do.
- Prioritize cruise ships with solid environmental and public health compliance records.
- Encourage ships to slow down while transiting through the Santa Barbara Channel to avoid whale strikes.
- Maintain the Cruise Ship Subcommittee for ongoing community engagement.
Facts About Cruise Ships
- Cruise ships may legally dump partially treated sewage, greywater containing harmful chemicals, oily bilge water, food waste, incinerator ash, and biosolids 3 miles offshore including within the Santa Barbara Channel.
- The average 3,500-passenger cruise ship emits up to 80 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere just while sitting at anchor for 8 hours offshore of Santa Barbara Harbor. These greenhouse gas emissions make it harder for Santa Barbara to achieve its carbon neutrality goals.
- Nutrients from discharged treated sewage, greywater, food waste, and biosolids can contribute to Harmful Algal Blooms, like the ones regularly occurring in the Santa Barbara Channel.