Website Update

Pier Guidelines

Prior to visiting the Cal Poly Pier, please review the guidelines and contact pier staff to arrange an orientation. Following these simple guidelines will help make your experience safe and enjoyable.

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The Center for Coastal Marine Sciences (CCMS) pier facility is an education and research facility with access granted to student classes, or researchers working on approved projects. Other visitors (i.e. friends, family) should not accompany students or researchers working at the pier. Special visits for non-students are arranged by contacting the Pier Manager.

The Cal Poly Pier is located between the Avila Pier and the Port San Luis Hartford Pier in Avila Beach. Fifteen minutes south of Cal Poly, the pier provides a remote field station experience while allowing students enough time to make their next class.

View Cal Poly Pier in a larger map

From HWY 101 North:

  1. Exit at San Luis Bay Dr.
  2. Turn right, heading West on San Luis Bay Dr.
  3. Turn right at Avila Beach Dr.
  4. Head west on Avila Beach Dr. over the bridge
  5. The pier is located on the left about 200 yds beyond the bridge

From HWY 101 South:

  1. Exit at Avila Beach Dr.
  2. Head West on Avila Beach Dr. through Avila Beach
  3. Head west on Avila Beach Dr. over the bridge
  4. The pier is located on the left about 200 yds beyond the bridge


As weather conditions at the pier can be highly variable and are often windier and colder than campus, it's a good idea to come prepared with proper clothing. Be sure to bring a hat, sweatshirt and a light jacket (windbreaker or rain jacket). Sunscreen is also advised. In addition, much of the material underfoot at the pier is metal grating. This grating can be slippery when wet. It is important that visitors wear flat soled, closed toe shoes. NO PLATFORM OR OPEN TOED SHOES (i.e. FLIP FLOPS) ARE ALLOWED.


CLOSED AREAS. Do not enter roped off areas. Also, do not lean over or climb on railings.

INJURIES/ACCIDENTS. Report all injuries or accidents to a faculty or staff member. Accident report forms are located on a clipboard located next to the sink in lab room (Rm #100D). A first aid kit is also located in this area.

LIFERINGS. In the event of a man overboard situation, point to the person in the water and call out until others hear you and respond. Never remove your eyes from the person in the water. Life rings are stored in the workshop, or during an event (class), they are deployed at the following stations:

Note: The geographic orientation of the pier is N-S

  • North end of the platform
  • South end of the platform
  • Lower landing area
  • Mooring dolphin (structure located ~100 meters North of the platform and accessed from the roadway via a catwalk)

To deploy the life ring, hold ring portion in throwing arm and yellow line in the opposite hand with palm facing up and open. The yellow line must NOT be tied off to the pier. Throw ring aiming at a point well past the victim’s location. While throwing the ring, extend your opposite arm, allowing the yellow line to spool freely from your open palm. The purpose of the extra line is to allow the victim pull the life ring to them. It is important not to under throw the ring or aim to hit the victim with the ring. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with locations of the life ring stations before you need them.

FIRE EXTINGUISHERS. Fire extinguishers are located in all common areas of the building and on the platform itself. Take a moment after arriving to familiarize yourself with fire extinguisher locations.

EMERGENCIES. Dial 911 for all emergencies.


RESTROOM. There is a restroom available inside the main building.

TELEPHONE. A phone is located in the second floor meeting room and is available for local calls.

DRINKING WATER. Drinking water is available on the pier; however it is recommended that students bring their own water. Food is not available, but feel free to bring your own to eat on the pier.


This list of potential risks related to this activity/event is intended to assist participants in evaluating the risk of participation and assumption of those risks through voluntary participation. Additional risks, foreseen and unforeseeable, common and uncommon, may also exist and are assumed through voluntary participation in this activity/event.

Bodily injury may result from slips, fall, trips, contact with machinery or railings, and or other causes.

Death may result from serious bodily injury related to falls, contact with machinery, exposure to weather and other environmental elements or other causes.

Damage to and/or loss of personal property may result from protruding edges or points of equipment on the pier, dropping or falling on or off the pier, saturation by seawater or other substances or other causes.


Tom Moylan, Pier Manager, Campus office: (805) 756-0225

Jason Felton, Pier Technician/DSO, Pier office: (805) 756-6058

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