John Haynes, City of Monterey

Monterey Harbormaster


Harbormaster John Haynes


The second-floor harbor office overlooking Monterey’s marina resembles an aircraft control tower, one where a quick scan of the docks lets harbor officials know who’s in, who’s out and who’s coming or going. When salmon, squid or Dungeness crab are coming in thick, there’s a frenzied pace to the harbor.

For Monterey Harbormaster John Haynes, it’s a great vantage point on life: tides ebb and flood, tourists stroll along the waterfront, and people work on their boats for both pleasure and livelihood. In his job he must balance the interests of businesses that rely on tourism -- like charter boats and whale watching tours, recreational boaters, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and commercial fishermen.

“There’s so much activity with different people here for different reasons, not one day is the same,” says Haynes who took over as harbormaster in July 2017. “But one thing I really love about Monterey is we’re really proud of our fishing heritage.”

While just two dozen of the nearly 675 vessels that tie up or moor in the Monterey harbor are active commercial fishing boats, commercial fishing backs an outsized punch on the waterfront, Haynes says. Almost all of Municipal Wharf II is dedicated to the commercial fishing fleet and fishermen are given priority to rent out the harbor’s limited dock space.

Haynes started working at the Monterey harbor when he was hired as a marine operations technician in 2015. Before that he worked at his hometown harbor in Santa Cruz for more than 8 years holding a variety of positions, including deputy harbormaster and interim harbormaster. He also holds an art degree and worked as a paramedic and a Santa Cruz County sheriff’s deputy.

As the city of Monterey, in partnership with the Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust, looks to further develop the local fishing infrastructure by supporting a diversity of commercial fishing activity, Haynes is excited for the opportunity for the commercial fishing industry to expand in the harbor.

“Harbors up and down the coast have moved away from commercial fishing and working waterfronts,” he says, citing rising real estate costs and political priorities. “But in Monterey were looking to support fishermen while also providing great service to others in the harbor community.”