Scripps Pier spans 1,090 feet, built of reinforced concrete. The pier was built in 1987-88 to replace the old Scripps Pier built in 1915.
As one of the world's biggest research piers, Scripps Pier, not a public-use pier, is used by the Scripps Institute of Oceanography for boat launching and a variety of experiments. Data on ocean conditions and plankton taken from the Scripps Pier since 1915 provide an unparalleled source of information on changes in the coastal Pacific Ocean.
Scripps Pier also provides a supply of fresh seawater, a critical resource for a marine institution, to an array of laboratories and aquaria, including Steven Birch Aquarium. Seawater is pumped up from the end of the pier, then filtered and stored in holding tanks. Scripps pumps about 1.8 million gallons of seawater each day.
Halfway down the ramp north of Scripps Pier is the Diving Facility, used since 1958 by Scripps divers to house their compressors and equipment for recharging scuba tanks and as a site for inspection and maintenance of diving equipment.