One instance of Mexican California operating an ocean-going vessel can be read in the article concerning John B. R. Cooper. Cooper went to California in the ship Rover in 1823, which he then sold to the California Governor, Luis Arguello:
Cooper made arrangements to sell the Rover to the government of
newly-independent Mexico, which as yet had no ships on the Pacific
Coast with which to maintain contact with Alta California. To help
cash-poor California governor Luis Arguello pay him for the ship,
Cooper agreed to stay on as captain and enter the lucrative China
trade, twice carrying Californian and Hawaiian goods to Canton and
returning with Chinese manufactured goods.
The Rover is discussed in Bancroft's History of California 1801-1824 as well:
Arguello sent his newly purchased schooner the Rover with a cargo of
skins including 300 otters obtained from the Russian contract and
tallow enough to properly ballast the vessel to China under the
command of Captain Cooper her former owner.
Cooper is also listed here as being in command of the Mexican government Schooner California in the years 1838,1841,1842. Many other ships on this list are listed as 'Mexican', but each individual ship would need to be researched to learn if they were based in Mexican California or in Mexico itself. A couple in the list seem to have been built in California between 1831 and 1834 however:
- Guadalupe , California built schooner by Joseph Chapman at San Pedro.
- Refugio (Mexican), built at San Pedro.
The source for the San Francisco history page is listed as:
- Davis, William Heath. Seventy-five Years in San Francisco. 1929: