SeaWorld is Guilty of Disturbing the Peace

by on August 23, 2016 · 37 comments

in Environment, Health, History, Life Events, Ocean Beach, The Widder Curry

Seaworld Pet vs firewords pic

This Petition was closed, but not before over 11,000 people signed it.

For years the residents of the Point Loma and Ocean Beach areas have been complaining of the noise and air pollution spewed forth nightly by SeaWorld.  Some people that own dogs have complained that the dogs are scared nightly by the horrendous percussion sounds while trying to hide from the shaking windows and doors.  Some people that have children and babies complain that it wakes them up, usually crying, and has affected their everyday life.

Sunday night, August 15th, was one of the worst incidents of noise that I have heard in a long time.  The noise reverberated for over two minutes; and as soon as one could relax another wave hit.  And it wasn’t just here on the Point.  Looking over the comments made on Facebook, Laura stated that she heard it in La Mesa.  She said it wasn’t real loud; more like thunder but it was from Sea World.

For the life of me I cannot understand why SeaWorld has to have fireworks.  People do not spend all that money to go see a fireworks show at 9:50 pm.  People spend the admission price to see the SeaWorld Show.  It wouldn’t make any difference if there were fireworks or not.  Not only does it cause pollution in the bay and in the air, it disturbs their own animals, our animals, and for some time ago it was shown to disturb the nesting birds.

[Editor: In fact, just a little over a year ago, in July 2015, the OB Rag reposted a Petition to Stop the Nightly Fireworks at SeaWorld set up on It has since been closed, but not before 11,237 people signed it.]

Couple the noise from SeaWorld, the British Airways and Fed Ex planes taking off just about the same time, zip codes 92106/92107 is not a very healthy place to be at night.

And before people jump down my throat – I KNOW that some of you think it is nice.  Some of you mentioned you know it is time to go to sleep when the fireworks are over.  Some of you feel blessed to be able to see the “free” show every night.  This is MY opinion.

I think that SeaWorld would see no loss of revenue if they stopped the fireworks.  In fact, they might even gain some money because they wouldn’t have to pay for the fireworks.  And we might all be able to breathe a cleaner air and swim in a cleaner bay.

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

BeachGirl August 23, 2016 at 12:54 pm

And the JC parade of extreme crankiness continues. It is concerning how much more aggravated your articles have become. Literally minutes of time are causing you so much strife. Disney has fireworks every night too, for far longer than SeaWorld – are those bothering you too? Do they need to stop? In all seriousness, I think you should give this a read


Frank Gormlie August 23, 2016 at 2:02 pm

Are you serious beach girl? Dissing Judi for complaining about the fireworks? Crazy. Anybody who has lived at the beach cusses them out when they go off; sure, they’re neat for the tourists, but everynight, geez. So, get off Judi, and your fade into Disneyland makes no sense. We’re talkin’ SanDiego here. Yeah, and you can hear them in east county.


Ian August 23, 2016 at 2:29 pm

I live in OB and I like the fireworks, so does my son…. he gets excited and we go watch them outside.

And no, they do not happen every night.

OB isn’t some homogeneous utopia where everyone agrees, or is outraged by the same (many would consider, minor) issues. Even though, many of the OBrag articles imply such.


lyle August 23, 2016 at 9:23 pm

Fact Check : “Anybody who has lived at the beach cusses them out when they go off”.

I live in a direct line of sight with Sea World, and see and hear the fire works quite well. I DO NOT cuss them out. I kind of like them.

The disturbance is negligible since it is scheduled and predictable, and not all that late at night (not like the neigbors parties — ugh). Several of my neighbors have dogs, none of whom are bothered by the fireworks at all.

The pollution may be significant, but the subject of a different article.


Geoff Page August 24, 2016 at 12:00 pm

How long have you lived here, Lyle? How do you know none of the neighbor dogs are bothered? No one would know my dog is terrified of them because I have to sit with him in a room with a loud TV and a fan going with my hands over his ears to keep him calm. My other three dogs aren’t bothered but one really, really is.


Marc Snelling August 24, 2016 at 12:52 pm

When I first moved to the area (from Carlsbad to PB in the 90s) I thought the fireworks were cool. Depending on the wind they could be really loud where I was (Garnet/Pendelton). There were always dogs howling in the complex when they went off. There you could hear each explosion multiple times from the percussion bouncing off other buildings.

The only thing I can compare it to is living near a National Guard Firing Range. But the weekend warriors didn’t shoot 200+ times a year like SeaWorld, and didn’t shoot at night. SeaWorld’s show is timed as late as possible given San Diego noise regulations. It didn’t take long for the fireworks to become an annoyance.

I never measured sound levels to see if it was above 80 decibels, the point at which human hearing is damaged. However, others have:


BeachGirl August 24, 2016 at 2:59 pm

I live in OB and I specifically walk my dog up the hill almost every night to watch them. I an not dissing her, I really think her columns have taken a negative turn. My post wasn’t negative, I found that article helpful and am trying to internalize it and that’s why I suggested that. My Disneyland reference was that no one would ever think to ask them not to do that, what’s the difference?


Geoff Page August 24, 2016 at 4:30 pm

Perhaps the way you phrased what you wrote caused it to appear that you were dissing Judi when you said: “And the JC parade of extreme crankiness continues.” Maybe you didn’t mean it but it came across that way.

As for Disneyland, there are people and organizations up there who have been fighting Disneyland for years over their fireworks, so they have been asked but have not listened, much the same as no one has listened here about Sea World.


rick callejon August 24, 2016 at 4:46 pm

and as Zapf has not listened to concerned residents of OB


Geoff Page August 24, 2016 at 11:58 am

Correction, Ian, yes they do go off every night. Every f#@&*!g night, ask my dog.


Ian August 24, 2016 at 1:08 pm

Geoff, maybe you only live here in the summer?


Geoff Page August 24, 2016 at 1:28 pm

Well. Ian, the discussion was about Sea World’s nightly fireworks. Since they only do that during the summer, I would not expect the months they don’t do it at all to be part of the discussion. Your comment did not reveal that you were including the the entire year, I thought your comment was about the current discussion we were all having. So, I guess you think it’s ok that dogs are only traumatized for three months of the year. I don’t agree.


Ian August 24, 2016 at 2:41 pm

Geoff, if I remember correctly there have been years in the past where they did do it every night (year round), and other years where they were year round, but only on the weekends. I don’t think Frank lives in OB anymore, so I was just correcting him, in the case that he was speaking from his outdated experience. I was also just giving a counter opinion. I like them, but wouldn’t mind much if they were gone. I respect your differing opinion.

As for dogs, they typically feed off of their owners emotion. It is likely that your pup is more in tune with your own emotions (and anxiety), than you are! Maybe if you try to enjoy them, your dog will have less anxiety. It is likely that the two of you are engaged in a negative emotional feedback loop.


Judi August 24, 2016 at 2:48 pm

You can’t be serious. You think the dogs that run away every Fourth of July and nightly from sea world are feeding off their owners emotions? Have you ever had a dog? Have you ever SEEN a dog during this display of fire power? They hear noises at different decibels than the human ear. Noises hurt; noises scare; noises cause panic. And if they are doing this to the dogs AND cats in the neighborhood what must it be doing to the animals in captivity? Man are you wrong on this one!


Geoff Page August 24, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Ian, with all due respect, I have had dogs all of my life and I know them very well. Their anxiety has nothing to do with me at all. The fireworks only bother me because it frightens the dogs and they get scared whether I am around or not. Dogs have an amazing sense of hearing and the loud noises are not only frightening but painful as well. The only emotion my current dog feeds off is when I calmly sooth him during the displays every night. If I did not do that, he would be a wreck.


Ian August 24, 2016 at 7:06 pm

I hear ya. :)


OB John August 25, 2016 at 8:40 am

“As for dogs, they typically feed off of their owners emotion. It is likely that your pup is more in tune with your own emotions (and anxiety), than you are! Maybe if you try to enjoy them, your dog will have less anxiety. It is likely that the two …

I don’t know where to begin…Someone actually typed that?

Dog owners are often amazed at the intelligence of their pets and commonly sat “sometimes I think my dog is smarter than many people.” This is most definately the case!


Geoff Page August 25, 2016 at 9:21 am

I wouldn’t say “sometimes” OB John, I personally believe dogs are smarter than most people most of the time. I mean, they aren’t following us around carrying little bags of our crap…


Geoff Page August 24, 2016 at 12:06 pm

Do you have a dog, Beachgirl? Those “minutes of time” literally terrify my dog. I’ve lived here 30 years and have had three generations of dogs and in each generation there was one the panicked when the fireworks went off. They tried to hide in closets or tried to get outside to run away or shivered uncontrollably in fear. How about a little empathy lady? Look it up.


BeachGirl August 24, 2016 at 3:02 pm

Yikes Geoff. I’m sorry your dogs have been scared. I do have a dog and there’s nothing worse than when she’s upset. She hates the 4th of July fireworks but doesn’t care about the sea world ones. Most nights we walk up to Ebers to watch them. She likes the extra walk.


judi August 23, 2016 at 1:05 pm

BeachGirl – I suggest you read the article yourself and internalize it. You might be happier.


Carter Fullerton August 23, 2016 at 1:43 pm

I am a former OB resident who now lives in Spring Valley. Even here, the Seaworld fireworks are quite audible. Seaworld is betraying their own PR campaign, caused by pressure from animal rights groups, that they are responsible custodians of the animals they “own.” Seaworld doesn’t need fireworks; no one goes to Seaworld because of it. We don’t know the real damage done to aquatic creatures, pets, pet owners, etc. but let’s just assume it’s large until research proves differently.


None August 23, 2016 at 2:40 pm

The nightly fireworks is heard far and wide. Sick of it! SeaWorld needs to be more respectful of the communities that suffer from exploitation of their animals.


PLGal August 23, 2016 at 3:31 pm

Can you PLEASE stop with the complaining. If you don’t like the fireworks, the cost of living and basically every restaurant and establishment here then get out of OB and find a place that makes you happy. At the very least, stop posting links to your whiney articles on Nextdoor – if we feel like we need an extra dose of Debbie downer for the day, everyone knows where to find your articles.


judi August 23, 2016 at 7:52 pm

PLGal, may I suggest that if you don’t like my articles don’t read them. There is still the free speech amendment and I will continue my writing/speaking, until Trump removes it.


Geoff Page August 24, 2016 at 12:02 pm

I agree with Judi, you don’t have to read her stuff, just skip it and quit bashing her just because you don’t agree. Turn the channel!


unwashedwallmartThong August 23, 2016 at 4:38 pm

Yea, I too am sick ‘n tarred of the fireworks. Sick ‘n tarred of the noise. I can’t see them from my patio, but the noise & explosions are horrendous. I don’t have PTSD, but if I did, I think it would be very difficult to tolerate the war-like racket. Is there an ocean theme I’m missing w/ the fireworks? I’ve been done w/ that place for decades. Yes, I can drive by Sea World w/ my middle finger in the breeze, but that does nothing to ameliorate the conditions we have to tolerate. When the war-like racket starts, my middle finger rises to the occasion, & when they’re done, my finger rises again; it’s my own little salute to corporate assholedom.


ColeRayMacia August 24, 2016 at 8:08 am

Think about how much the animals living at Sea World love it. When I was sitting in my car I could feel the shockwave of the fireworks. It’s insulting to the animals more than anything. Exotic animals have trouble with subsonic sound. I have a tortoise and if you turn on a low subwoofer he freaks out uncontrollably. This is the equivalent of a nightly war going on right over there heads. I wonder how many people have lost their dogs due to this. All around it is pollution, obnoxious, and dangerous to animals. Thanks Sea World.


OB John August 24, 2016 at 2:24 pm

Sea World is a terrible neighbor. Nightly fireworks have basically ruined special event fireworks such as 4th of July. I can’t wait for SW’s last gasp to end.

I have resided in OB mainly since 1989 have always wondered why Sea World received so many passes on things like 30 ft height limit variances, nightly fireworks, several encroachments and on and on, but now writings on the wall -SD ‘s sacred cow
Sea World has finally run its course.

Mammals do not belong in cages, but Sea World executives do!


rick callejon August 24, 2016 at 2:49 pm

Dr. Ian,

Your armchair analysis is absolute conjecture.


Ian August 24, 2016 at 5:40 pm

Which part? The fact that they are not every night, my opinion that they don’t bother me or my child, or my suggestion that it is possible that the dogs anxiety could be amplified by the owners?

None would be considered conjecture because I am not drawing conclusions. Only stating a fact, an opinion, and a friendly suggestion.


Rufus August 25, 2016 at 5:41 am

The SeaWorld fireworks are pretty annoying. One of my dogs tremble for the duration of each nightly show.

One of the basic precepts of living in a civilized society is that neighbors shouldn’t annoy one annother. The SeaWorld fireworks are daily assault on my right to live peacefully.

What other business is allowed to make nightly noise that bothers thousands in a miles wide circle? What if the local pub put on a nightly fireworks show, or opened their doors and pointed loudspeakers toward neighbors and blared music for five minutes at 10 pm? Yep, they’d be shut down by the cops.

And you animal rights folks…where are you on this debate? You’ve been mostly silent. The loud booms must torment the animals on the SeaWorld campus.


OB John August 25, 2016 at 8:11 am

“And you animal rights folks..You’ve been mostly silent. The loud booms must torment the animals on the SeaWorld campus”

You’re kidding right? Seriously, Rufus have you been under a rock for the past 20 years?

Animal rights and environmental activists have LED THE CHARGE against Sea World fireworks since the day they started. For example, pollution of Mission Bay from fireworks debris was an issue a decade ago but the general public was tone deaf to the cries of environmental activists. For years and years, frustrated activists have sounded the alarm of the noise issue for marine mammals as well.

Really Rufus? It sounds like you are blaming animal rights activists …for not doing enough? I’m glad you finally woke up to the issue of animal abuse at Sea World, but what are you going to DO?


Carson August 30, 2016 at 12:34 am

I’ve read and heard many different opinions on this topic. Maybe instead of stopping the fireworks safety they could just lighten them up?? What I mean is they should do it not so often, as I have (every now and then) heard the fireworks probably I’d say 3 nights in a row. The fireworks aren’t as bad when they are quiet. I feel that sea world has the ability to not go crazy with the fireworks and they should use that. So, SeaWorld should do less fireworks, but they can still do it every now and then. Like, every Thursday or Friday. That way, people who watch their fireworkscan treat the fireworks like a special day.


Geoff Page August 30, 2016 at 10:29 am

Exactly Carson, there are quiet fireworks easily available. Check this out:


retired botanist April 13, 2017 at 8:45 pm

This could probably light a new tinder box, and I wasn’t sure which post to link it to, but I am curious about what-all is behind Sea World’s decision to stop the nightly fireworks? First, I’m glad.
I’m not a pet-owner, so I don’t have an animal in the fight, but I live on Voltaire, so I can see and hear the event nightly. The noise is less than the constant motorcycles, car alarms, and low-flying aircraft that fly well into midnight…noise ambience here is hideous, its like living in an ER department. So that’s not my Sea World issue.
But as a birder and marine biologist, the noise and pollution impacts to wildlife in that area, and the surrounding waters, have always been unacceptable (nevermind the whole Sea World concept and business model). It appears they are now ‘reducing’ that footprint with a terrestrial, illuminated night-time concoction of some sort-I reserve comment for now. My question is, is this part of a re-branding on Sea World’s part following the Orca debacle? Until they release those animals (not just the Orcas, seriously, polar bears in San Diego…does it get any meaner?), they’ll never have much more than contempt from me. But I’d like to think this is a greener, more conscientious approach, and maybe a harbinger of better things to come? Given the corporate foundation, the sickening, white-washing of previous bad practice, we’re not even at ‘green washing’ evaluation yet, but in the interest of optimism and local citizen action success, I am trying to give some points where, and if, they are due…thoughts? :-)


Cynthia July 22, 2018 at 8:21 pm

The fact that this disgusting institution is still operational is deplorable, let alone the fact that they have come up with yet one more way to torture the captured animals.



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