The Fishing Fleet.
Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?
A. A fleet of
fishing boats at a dock.
Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?
A. The location
Q. When did we see it on the show?
A. In Episode 5 (of the third season) "The Perfect Storm". Ryan (and Marissa) have been kicked out of the Harbor School for the Trey shooting incident, and Ryan has made things worse by punching out the obnoxious Dean at the school carnival. Assuming that he has no chance of going to college, Ryan begins looking for a job. Johnny tells him that his uncle might need help on his fishing boat, so Ryan goes down to the docks and asks for a job, and that's when we see the fishing boats at the dock.
The same docks are seen again later (in the same episode) when Marissa confronts Ryan there, as he's about to leave, telling him she thinks he's a coward like her father (who also ran away on a boat).
Q. What is it actually in real life?
A. Real fishing
boats at a real dock.
Q. Where can I find it in real life?
A. The scene was shot at the fishing docks at the south end of Ports O'Call Village, in San Pedro.
Village was a popular shopping/dining/tourist spot next to the main channel
of the Los Angeles harbor, the buildings constructed with a New England
theme (somewhat like Fisherman's Village
in Marina Del Rey).
Alas, in the last decade, the village has faded, and many of its picturesque buildings have been torn down. But part of the old village remains intact (albeit with few visitors nowadays). At the far south end of the village, where the parking lot meets the water, are the old docks & piers of the San Pedro fishing fleet. The city of San Pedro was named after Saint Peter, the fisherman, and this spot used to be the scene of a major annual "Blessing of the Fleet" celebration that drew thousands to the harbor each year.
The hill you see behind the boats (in the second photo down) is Palos Verdes. You can also see the Vincent Thomas Bridge (and the harbor's freight elevators) in the scenes where the camera is looking back north. The water seen is in the main channel of the Los Angeles harbor.
Here are a couple of photos I shot of Ports O'Call Village. It was a nice place. (It's a shame that it's now usually deserted.)
The City of San Pedro plans to create a "Fisherman's Park" next door to the fishing docks, at the south end of Ports O'Call Village, which (while leaving the fishing fleet intact) should help beautify the industrial tip of this berth.
To get to Ports O'Call, take the Harbor (110) Freeway south to its end (don't get off on the Vincent Thomas Bridge by mistake), where it becomes Gaffey Street. Take Gaffey south to 6th Street. Turn left (east) on 6th Street and go to its end (near a Nautical Museum), then turn right on Sampson Way and follow it to a fork in the road, bearing left onto Nagoya Way and follow Nagoya to the Village. To find the fishing fleet, stay on Nagoya, drive past the Village, to the far south end of the Ports O'Call parking lot, until you can't drive any farther. The number of fishing boats there at any given time varies depending upon how many of them are out to sea. (A tip if you go: try the Acapulco Mexican restaurant, just south of the Nautical Museum - nice patio right dining next to the harbor.)
Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?
A. Ports O'Call
Village used to be one of my favorite spots (before they let it deteriorate
into what it is today), and when I went there, I often parked down at its
south end, near the fishing boats. I also attended one of the "Blessing
of the Fleet" celebrations, back when that was a major event in San
Pedro. And that old, coral pink building in the background is a dead giveaway.
But just to be sure, I printed out a couple of screen captures, drove down
to Ports O'Call and double-checked the view. It was the same, of course.
O.C. screenshots from the show and all related characters & elements
are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.