Dana Point Harbor is located in southern California about 40 miles southeast of Los Angeles/Long Beach harbors. The harbor is named after Richard Dana, author of the 19th century seafaring classic, Two Years Before the Mast. In the book, a detailed description of the Dana Point area is given.
The harbor, with a capacity of about 2,500 shallow draft vessels, was created by constructing two rubblemound breakwaters in the Pacific Ocean, built from the shore out. The breakwaters were started in 1966 and completed in 1968, and the dredging of the general navigation channels completed in 1970. The slips were occupied as rapidly as they became available. The harbor is a joint Federal/Orange County, CA, project. By 1977, Orange County Harbors, Beaches and Parks district spent an additional $10 million for harbor improvements, and other local interests provided about $5 million of support facilities. These include berths, marina fueling, boat repair, boat storage and launching, sports fishing, retail complex, restaurants, and a motel. The slips were occupied as rapidly as they became available, and the harbor has been filled since completion.