Encinitas approves request to add private surf cameras at Moonlight, Swami’s 

Moonlight Beach in Encinitas
Moonlight Beach in Encinitas
(Andrew Kleske)

More north Leucadia roadway projects in the works, city staff members report


A private company’s request to install surf cameras on city-owned structures at Moonlight and Swami’s beaches won unanimous approval from the Encinitas City Council Sept. 16.

Under the terms of the three-year deal, Surfline/Wavetrak, Inc. will pay $645 a month to the city for permission to put three cameras on the Marine Safety Center at Moonlight and one camera on the lifeguard station at Swami’s.

Founded 35 years ago, the Hunting Beach-based Surfline company has more than 600 ocean-monitoring camera systems installed around the world and its web sites —, and — are visited by millions of people, the company web site states. While some wave and weather information is available for free on the Surfline web site, subscribers pay $95 a year to gain access to high-definition cameras showing current surf conditions, to “rewind” the past five days of camera footage, or to view specialized weather forecasts.

The company already has surf-monitoring cameras mounted on private residences in Encinitas and those systems have been helpful in at least one medical aid call, a city staff report produced for the Sept. 16 meeting notes.

“One residentially mounted camera captured video footage of the shark attack on a 13-year-old boy at Beacon’s Beach on Sept. 29, 2018. This video footage was provided to the City by Surfline, and aided staff in recreating the event for the incident report,” the report states.

The staff report also stresses that the camera systems are controlled by the Surfline company, not the subscribers, so viewers can’t redirect them to stare at sunbathers on the beach.

“At the city’s request, Surfline will change the camera orientation(s), if there is a city-identified need,” the report adds.

In other news Wednesday, Sept. 16, the council heard a status report on various projects in the north Leucadia region, ranging from sidewalk expansion plans to drainage improvements.

A traffic signal request for the intersection of La Costa Avenue and Vulcan Avenue will go before the council Nov. 18, while a series of traffic studies are nearing completion and a watershed master plan document should be out this winter, City Development Services Director Lillian Doherty said. An assessment of the request for a railroad train horn “quiet zone” is expected next spring, she added.

Also in the works is the long-planned Coast Highway 101 overhaul known as Leucadia Streetscape, plus a pedestrian crossing under the railroad tracks, a third traffic roundabout on La Costa Avenue and three raised crosswalks for Vulcan Avenue.

During public comment after her presentation, area resident Alex Riley, who’s running against incumbent Tony Kranz for City Council, said he was pleased to hear that the region was “finally getting a little bit of attention,” and said he wanted to see more action to get Leucadia “up on par” with the rest of the city.

For his part, Kranz said people need to realize that many of these projects were in the works long before a Leucadia group began pushing for roadway improvements a year ago. He asked city employees to look into adding one more project — improvements to the northeast corner of La Costa Avenue’s intersection with Coast Highway. Part of that area is being improved by a now-under-construction hotel project, but the northeast corner could use a bit of attention, he said.

—- Barbara Henry is a freelance writer for The San Diego Union-Tribune