Several small-craft facilities are at Stockton or nearby.
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The San Joaquin River rises in the Sierra Nevada, flows 275 miles in a W direction, and enters Suisun Bay through New York Slough. The winding river is navigable for deep-draft vessels to Stockton.
A Federal project provides for a 35-foot channel from the mouth of the San Joaquin River to a turning basin at Stockton, and for suitable passing and turning basins.
The main channel in San Joaquin River to Stockton is marked by a daybeacon, buoys, lights, and lighted ranges. At Mandeville Cut and Venice Cut, 15 miles above Antioch Bridge, the river still follows its old channel and violent sheers are experienced if the navigator is not prepared to meet the river current when passing from the cuts into the river and from the river into the relatively quiet waters of the dredged channel. Under freshet conditions, vessels tend to sheer off course at the junction of the San Joaquin River and the main ship channel at Channel Point near Stockton.
Stockton, 28 miles above Antioch Bridge, is in the center of the fertile San Joaquin Valley. The deep-draft harbor is near the W city limits.
A fixed highway bridge with a clearance of 45 feet at high water (50 feet at low water) crosses the upper Stockton channel 0.2 mile E of the turning basin.
From its junction with Stockton Channel, the river has a controlling depth of about 3 feet for 70 miles to Hills Ferry, and is used only by small pleasure craft, fishermen, and an occasional small barge. The only facilities available are those dispensing gasoline, lubricants, and water at a few points.
More than 15 bridges cross San Joaquin River between Stockton and Hills Ferry. The minimum clearance for bridges crossing the river between Stockton and Mossdale, about 13 miles above Stockton, is 17 feet.