Built in 1984 by Unocal Corp. to facilitate oil transport on the U.S. West Coast, the Cal Poly Pier now operates as a marine research facility. At 3000 feet long, it provides students, faculty and researchers with unrivaled access to the marine environment of the Central Coast.
Since 2001, when Unocal donated the pier to the university, CCMS staff has been converting the pier from a former industrial facility into a functioning research station. The pier now boasts a classroom/dry lab facility, a second-floor conference room with 360-degree views of San Luis Obispo Bay, a flowing seawater system with wet-lab and aquarium space, and many other resources. The pier also supports various monitoring instruments such as a meteorological station, a fixed underwater instrument line, an automated water column profiler, and an acoustic wave and current meter.