Late Monday night, something terrible happened at the Marina del Rey’s boat club. The California Yacht Club, a favorite spot for many, caught on fire. This historic club, founded in 1922 and relocated to Marina del Rey in 1967, faced one of its darkest hours around 11:30 p.m. in the 4400 block of Admiralty Way.
As the fire raged through the night, two courageous firefighters battled against the inferno. Their bravery was not without cost; both sustained injuries and were hospitalized, only to be released the following Tuesday morning. The firefighting team’s effort, however, prevented the blaze from causing further harm, as no other injuries were reported. Fortunately, the boats docked in the marina remained untouched by the flames.
The clubhouse, which used to be full of life and fun, was destroyed. But the club stood for much more than just a building. It was a warm and friendly place, like a second home. Jeff Jackson, a club member, captured the harrowing scene on video from his nearby condo. His words vividly depicted the club’s significance: “It doesn’t feel like a yacht club at all,” Jackson remarked. “I call it my ‘Cheers’ bar because it’s just so warm and inviting. I was crushed just thinking about it. Such a great place… It’s a very personal club. And I think anyone who is a member knows what I’m speaking of and the warmth and love we feel for them, and they feel for us. It just breaks my heart. I don’t know what they’re going to do for Christmas.”
Steve Hathaway, another club member, arrived at the scene in the early hours of Tuesday. His family’s involvement in the club’s construction during the 1960s made the loss deeply personal. “Heartbreaking. This has been my home for 40, 50 years,” Hathaway shared, his voice tinged with sorrow. “It’s been a home for so many people. It tears me apart to see this.”
The yacht club was lively from Wednesday to Sunday, with its clubhouse and offices full of people. Even when these areas were closed, members could visit the docks and grounds, which were always open, as stated on the club’s website. When the fire started, it was unclear if anyone was inside the building. More than just a hub for maritime enthusiasts, the yacht club offered dining and space for social events, making it a beloved venue for many in the community.
This club was founded in 1922 near San Pedro, in Wilmington Harbor. Then, in 1967, it moved to its current spot in Marina del Rey. Here, it wasn’t just a fancy place for sailors; it was where people made friends and enjoyed being together. Losing this club is like losing a part of the town’s story.
As investigations into the cause of the fire continue, the community grapples with the loss of a cherished institution. What will happen next to the California Yacht Club is unknown. The club was a place where people shared dreams, made friends, and created memories that lasted for years. Although the building is gone, the strong spirit of the people in the community remains. They want to rebuild and bring back the good times and friendship the club was known for, even though it will be difficult.