SANTA CRUZ (CBS/AP) — A historic ship from the World War I era was torn apart by massive waves that have slammed the California coast during the weekend storm.

EYE ON THE STORM: Continuing Coverage of Bay Area Storms

Strong waves on Saturday broke the S.S. Palo Alto’s stern from the rest of the boat.

The ship, also known as “The Cement Boat,” is docked at a pier in Seacliff State Beach, south of Santa Cruz.

S.S. Palo Alto aka Cement Boat

The S.S. Palo Alto was ripped apart by pounding surf along Seacliff State Beach on Saturday. (Photo: Kim Steinhardt)

S.S. Palo Alto

Aerial view of S.S. Palo Alto at Seacliff State Beach. (John Wiley via Wikimedia Commons)

National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Anderson said that swells in Monterey Bay reached about 34 feet on Saturday, setting a record over the previous swell height of 32 feet in 2008.

On Sunday there was a high surf advisory in effect through early Tuesday, with waves forecast at 15 to 19 feet.

The S.S. Palo Alto was built in 1919 as an oil tanker by the San Francisco Shipbuilding Company, but it never went into wartime service. It was later bought by the Seacliff Amusement Corporation and towed to Seacliff State Beach, where it was refitted as an amusement ship with a casino and dance hall. It has been closed for decades and left in place as an artificial reef for marine life and a highly photographed landmark.

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Comments (3)
  1. I used to live right by the entrance to the park in the mid eighties. I would go down there at night, sometimes during light storms and hang out on the ship by myself. The incoming swells would blow air up through the grates in the deck, it was awesome, I’m sad to see it go.

  2. My Dad and I used to go fishing on the cement boat in the late thirties and early forties before the war.