The Return of the King Philip Shipwreck

It has happened again, and even earlier this winter than in previous years: The King Philip, a wrecked clipper ship whose bones lie in the sands of Ocean Beach at the foot of Noriega Street, has once again peeked above the sand level and the outline of its hull is clearly visible at low tide.

The Hull of the King Philip Shipwreck. Photo taken on Thursday, November 11 at around 4:45pm, just before the sun set.

When the King Philip was naturally exhumed from the sand in 2007, it was the first time the ship had been visible in almost 20 years. And now it is back. Another of Ocean Beach’s storied characters has returned, for the third winter season in the past four years.

The former cargo vessel crashed at Ocean Beach on a high tide in 1878. Most of its remains were scrapped, but the hull was left to be buried in the sand.

The wreck of the King Philip is visible only on very low tides, and for the next few days the lowest tides of the day will come well into the night. That means that this weekend, the best bet for catching a glimpse may be in the evening, when falling tides and fading light from the sun may provide a chance to see the historic relic.

UPDATE at 11:58am. The mid-morning low tides are actually low enough to make the shipwreck visible, as observed this morning at around 9:30am.

This photo, from wikipedia, was taken on May 8, 2007, and shows a much more visible and unburied shipwreck.

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  1. Thanks for this post! I made the effort to get out there yesterday,Nov.15th and was beyond thrill to see a piece of this shipwreck.I wouldn’t of even known about it except for you guys! So cool!


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