Santa Cruz Breakwater Lighthouse, locally known as Walton Lighthouse, was built in 2001 at the entrance to the Santa Cruz small craft harbor adjacent to Seabright Beach, California. The light was named to honor Derek Walton, who was a merchant seaman killed in World War II. Walton Lighthouse is about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) east of the Santa Cruz Light.
The Santa Cruz harbor was built between 1962-1963 on the site of the former Woods Lagoon. The original harbor light was a box light structure located on the west jetty that marked the entrance from 1964 to 1996. It was replaced by a cylinder from 1996 to 1999, and then a simple pipe structure held the light. In 1998, the Santa Cruz community proposed replacing the pipe-mounted light with a more aesthetically pleasing structure. Fundraising efforts began in earnest, and with a major contribution from Charles Walton of Los Gatos, enough money was raised to begin construction. The lighthouse stands 41.5 feet (12.6 m) high above the level of the west jetty, and 59.5 feet (18 m) above sea level. The structure weighs 350,000 pounds (158,757 kg) and was built to withstand significant wave energy.
On March 11, 2011, the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku Earthquake generated a tsunami that caused damage around the Pacific basin. In California, damage occurred from the strong currents created as the waves surged in and out of enclosed areas such as ports and harbors. Areas that regularly experience 5 feet (1.5 m) of tidal rise and fall over about a 12 hour cycle were not able to handle the same change in water level over about 20 minutes. This rapid rise and fall of water in harbor areas created localized eddies and high velocity currents that scoured around piles and coastal structures, and put large forces on boats and floating docks. Santa Cruz Harbor damage included docks and boat slips, 13 boats were reportedly sunk and approximately 100 more were damaged. Read more here and here. Explore more of Walton Light and Santa Cruz Harbor here: