Public Invited to Share Opinions on Cruise Ship Program

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By the Santa Barbara Channelkeeper


Thirty cruise ships were scheduled to arrive in Santa Barbara in 2022 – an all-time record number. When the City’s cruise ship program started, a small number would anchor off Santa Barbara each year. Despite the growing number of cruise ships, there has not been a robust opportunity for community discussion about this divisive program.

Cruise ships are floating cities that generate tremendous amounts of pollution to our oceans and atmosphere, and many of the ships visiting Santa Barbara are no exception.

Santa Barbara Channelkeeper is highlighting the environmental impacts of the cruise ship industry and calling upon the City of Santa Barbara to reassess and reduce the number of cruise ship arrivals to meet community environmental priorities.

Time for Public Participation

The Santa Barbara Harbor Commission is hosting a limited number of public meetings through its cruise ship subcommittee to collect input from the community about the direction of its cruise ship program. 

Channelkeeper invites you to join us at the subcommittee meeting on December 1st from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm to show your support for this cause. The meeting will be held in the waterfront classroom located at 125 Harbor Way.

The Air Pollution Control District of Santa Barbara County will also present information related to air quality and answer related questions at the meeting.

Ways to Get Involved

If you are interested in joining this effort, email with your name and contact info, and we will keep you informed about future opportunities to express your support.

Did You Know?

• Cruise ships may legally dump partially treated sewage, greywater containing harmful chemicals, oily bilge water, food waste, incinerator ash, and biosolids 12 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, which can cause domoic acid poisoning of marine mammals along our coastlines.

• Most of the ships visiting Santa Barbara employ the use of exhaust “scrubbers” to control air emissions when beyond 24 miles from California’s shore. Open-loop scrubbers produce tremendous volumes of toxic sludge, which is discharged as a common practice into the ocean.

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grloustalot Dec 01, 2022 04:08 PM
Public Invited to Share Opinions on Cruise Ship Program

A well managed state doesn’t need back up generators? I’m sorry but that’s a frivolous comment.
Trees fall and take out power lines. Cars crash into poles and take out power. SCE has a blown transformer and power goes off. Regular maintenance can involve shutting down power. I’m sure there are many more legit reasons for power outages
You must have an axe to grind about current leadership to make a comment like that.
Power goes off in Texas and Ted Cruz heads to Cancun. Does that fit your narrative ?
Sorry VOR , my friends company needs its generator . And tha AQMD forced him to upgrade a perfectly good running well kept unit bc it didn’t meet newest standards.
This for a machine that might run less than a full day out of the year.

Voice of Reason Dec 01, 2022 04:28 PM
Public Invited to Share Opinions on Cruise Ship Program

No need to bring up other states especially ones we're not living and working in, I'm sure they have their problems to. AQMD's imposition on your friend is a good example of Big Gov and the power hunger bureaucracy that comes with it. As we are in SB, odds are you and your friend voted for the very politicians that gave AQMD its mandate and support its actions. Sometimes you reap what you sow.

Basicinfo805 Nov 30, 2022 07:32 PM
Public Invited to Share Opinions on Cruise Ship Program

Yeah I think there’s a tendency for some to knee jerk as anti cruise ships. And I include myself in that. I will never want to be on one, and that probably makes me anti cruise ship in general. That being said, the question is how much they bring in to the local economy. I don’t think we really know what that value is.

Voice of Reason Dec 01, 2022 09:55 AM
Public Invited to Share Opinions on Cruise Ship Program

We do know what they contribute to the city's budget, and it's certainly not a pittance. If that goes away they'll have to recoup those funds else where (more taxes) or cut back on staffing or services (unlikely).

grloustalot Dec 01, 2022 08:00 AM
Public Invited to Share Opinions on Cruise Ship Program

Voice of reason, so no back up generator needed when a SCE transformer blows ? When a car takes out a power pole. Any number of events can take out power. Most have nothing to do with the management of our state.
The business owner sells food . His inventory is a sizable investment.
Your bias against the state renders your moniker kind of a laugher on this one.

Chip of SB Dec 01, 2022 03:08 PM
Public Invited to Share Opinions on Cruise Ship Program

A lot of people have expressed concerns about the pollution generated by cruise ships. This problem is easy to solve. Cruise liners could make their ships substantially larger to accommodate large arrays of lithium batteries. This would be completely impractical for the distances ships travel, so these batteries and electric drive equipment would be in addition to the diesel power plant the ships already have. This “hybrid” arrangement would allow the ship to charge up its batteries while far off shore, then come in and leave under “clean” electric power. Of course, more diesel would be burned since the process of generating electricity and storing it in batteries is inefficient, but at least there would be no unsightly smoke visible from shore. It’s really the same concept as an electric car, create more pollution than a conventional engine, but do it somewhere out of sight.


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