The Sea Lions

Have a look at the Famous Sea Lions on the PIER 39 Sea Lion CAM!

On October 17, 1989, the San Francisco Bay Area was hit by a major earthquake. While the PIER 39 Marina sustained very little physical damage at the hands of Loma Prieta, the impact on business was immediate and devastating. Tourists, the mainstay of San Francisco’s economy, stayed away, locals cocooned in their own neighborhoods, while the local boating community focused on relief services. Coupled with an already declining economy, there seemed little hope of a swift recovery.

In December of ’89, one large male California Sea lion arrived at PIER 39 Marina’s West Harbor. He was quickly joined by 60 to 70 of his closest pinniped friends in the coming weeks, and by February of 1990, the population grew to more than 300!

Due in part to the available dock space, plentiful herring supply and the PIER 39 Marina’s protected environment, the sea lions soon took over K dock and became an international story. Media and tourists from around the world traveled to see the mysterious emergence of these playful flippered animals; they came to symbolize a bright spot in the wake of the Loma Prieta disaster. Business turned around, and to this day, visitors come from far and wide to witness these “Sea Lebrities!”