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Old 24-05-2015, 13:13   #1
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Docking Bay Area

Hi everybody! My fella and I recently came to reside on a 29 foot 1979 Columbia docked in San Francisco. His dad's owned the boat for 13 years and its been dutifully docked with no problem at pier 39. Given the housing market and the fact its just been sitting there my gent and I decided to save space/ money and move aboard. Evidently we were green at the gills in thinking this would be easy.

Through many conversations we've discovered that San Francisco has a 2 year wait list for liveaboards and subsequently the same is roughly true (6 months more often) for most of the bay area harbors. Most of the time they want a liveaboard around 35 ft (not 29 although we are completely sustainable and up to code on sanitation/ water/ ect). We've also found that the reason for this sudden lack of slips has to do with the drought and harbors limiting the amount of liveabords they're willing to take now.

We are absolutely fine throwing anchor in Saulalito or the Oakland Estuary or any other worthwild place. The questions we have are this:

How does one go about acquiring a guest slip for 2 or 3 days?
Does anyone have any up to date information worth sharing about liveaboards in the Bay Area?
Any other details or thoughts anyone may have?

We're doing all the reaching out things and figure it never hurts to ask a question. Thanks!
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Old 24-05-2015, 13:33   #2
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Re: Docking BayArea

Guest slips are easy, Just call ahead and let them know your coming. Good for a shopping run, dumping trash, showers and laundry. Most marina's require a 30-35' minimum size boat for a liveaboard slip. most are moving towards 35'.

There may be a few marinas that will take a 29' as liveaboard, but more likely in the California Delta.

You can also anchor in clipper cove for a few days each month and take the bus to SF for grocery's, etc. Berkeley, emeryville and San Rafael marinas are near grocery stores,. there is a bus line that stops at Berkeley marina. Marina Bay, not at all. Sausalito has Molly stones, which is very expensive for grocery's. But you can take the bus to a Lucky supermarket, down 101 too.

Petaluma has lovely downtown dockage with a grocery store, resturants, movies, etc in adjacent shopping centers. Vallejo you have to walk through the hood to get to the grocery stores (Not recommended). Benicia has a safeway within walking distance.

So it is doable, though takes a bit O work.
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Old 24-05-2015, 13:58   #3
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Re: Docking BayArea

The limit on liveaboards has been in effect for many years and has nothing to do with the drought.
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Old 25-05-2015, 04:40   #4
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Re: Docking Bay Area

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Gystilyn.
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Old 25-05-2015, 09:23   #5
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Re: Docking Bay Area

It's great to have sailorchic & markpierce to provide this local knowledge. Things are so different in the Southeast US. I came to a marina near Charleston, SC yesterday with numerous liveaboards and a welcome to more. We've stopped at five marinas from our homeport in Orange Park, Florida and all of them have liveaboard opportunity.
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Old 25-05-2015, 09:29   #6
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Re: Docking Bay Area

Marina Bay in Richmond is large and will take liveaboards if they have an appropriate slip. Excellent location and facilities. I talked to their rep at a recent boat show about getting such a permit, and he said they like to space the livaboards so as not to form clusters, so it's one of those situations where persistence pays. Good luck!
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Old 25-05-2015, 09:57   #7
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Re: Docking Bay Area

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gystilyn View Post
...the reason for this sudden lack of slips has to do with the drought...
I assure you that is not the case.
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Old 25-05-2015, 09:58   #8
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Re: Docking BayArea

Quote:
Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
The limit on liveaboards has been in effect for many years and has nothing to do with the drought.
The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) regulates marinas here and they have decreed that only 10% of any Bay Area marina's slips can be occupied by liveaboards.
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Old 25-05-2015, 10:18   #9
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Re: Docking Bay Area

Yacht club membership would be helpful. If you belong to a club that offers reciprocal guest privileges you will be able to visit all over the bay for supplies, showers, fuel, pump out, etc.

Also, if your club owns its slips you can probably get on a waiting list for a live aboard.
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Old 25-05-2015, 10:28   #10
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Re: Docking Bay Area

I'm living aboard in Paradise Cay. Was in Richmond for a few months when I first sailed down here from Oregon. The people are great in Richmond but we were not happy with the harbor master. No one over there seems to be real happy with him. Here in Paradise Cay, there is no drama. Nice secluded marina but it needs to be dredged and it's surgy from the ferry wake and no breakwater. On the schedule for June to dredge I guess. Oh, and it's a whole lot cheaper. Best decision I've made since coming down here was the move out of Richmond over here to Tiburon.

Good luck
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Old 25-05-2015, 11:12   #11
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Re: Docking Bay Area

The local powers-that-be do everything they can to block people from living aboard boats. It is allegedly to “save the bay from pollution.” That is not a valid reason. Water conservation surely has nothing to do with it. Boats use far less water than apartments and houses. I live on my boat, now away from San Francisco, and 100 gallons of water last me two weeks! No apartment dweller uses less than a dozen gallons per day! Also, environmentally interested agencies could help many poor and homeless to attain housing in boats if the agencies cared for helping poor people. They could help poor and homeless to maintain necessary waste cleaning units to keep their waste streams clean.They do not bother with such a tedious task. As for your wish to live aboard, you either have to sign up on a list and wait, or you could anchor out. But that requires the ability to produce your own electricity and find a way to dispose responsibly of waste. The agencies involved are not well organized, they are mostly just fanatic in their prejudices against “boat people.” The crux of their stance is really one of class. They view valid boat owners only as wealthy, who visit their boats occasionally for a Pina Colada or two - not any who might want or need to live on a boat. It’s a tricky game, but one can live aboard sometimes by just keeping an immensely low profile and making close friends with harbor masters, who - in some instances - are able to turn a blind eye. Or, you can do what thousands of Americans do: they sail to Mexico and other ports where they are viewed as helping the local economy. Good luck. You are dealing with local city and county arms of government, some of the most stubborn and narrow minded folks in the world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gystilyn View Post
Hi everybody! My fella and I recently came to reside on a 29 foot 1979 Columbia docked in San Francisco. His dad's owned the boat for 13 years and its been dutifully docked with no problem at pier 39. Given the housing market and the fact its just been sitting there my gent and I decided to save space/ money and move aboard. Evidently we were green at the gills in thinking this would be easy.

Through many conversations we've discovered that San Francisco has a 2 year wait list for liveaboards and subsequently the same is roughly true (6 months more often) for most of the bay area harbors. Most of the time they want a liveaboard around 35 ft (not 29 although we are completely sustainable and up to code on sanitation/ water/ ect). We've also found that the reason for this sudden lack of slips has to do with the drought and harbors limiting the amount of liveabords they're willing to take now.

We are absolutely fine throwing anchor in Saulalito or the Oakland Estuary or any other worthwild place. The questions we have are this:

How does one go about acquiring a guest slip for 2 or 3 days?
Does anyone have any up to date information worth sharing about liveaboards in the Bay Area?
Any other details or thoughts anyone may have?

We're doing all the reaching out things and figure it never hurts to ask a question. Thanks!
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Old 25-05-2015, 11:30   #12
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Re: Docking Bay Area

Here in Vallejo the liveaboards are frequently "transients." Don't know how the marina defines this, but nevertheless, does not seem to be subject to the 10-percent rule, or the marina is usually under 10 (marina has lots of vacancies). Two transients I'm familiar with had spent some months. One sailboat (Vagari) stayed at least six months (has since returned from Mexico recently) and one motorboat for over a year (wife had a long recovery from an injury).


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Old 25-05-2015, 11:54   #13
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Re: Docking Bay Area

Quote:
Originally Posted by Howelllee View Post
It’s a tricky game, but one can live aboard sometimes by just keeping an immensely low profile and making close friends with harbor masters, who - in some instances - are able to turn a blind eye.
That post was quite fine but this part is not.

In our marina (Grand in Alameda) "sneak-aboards" are identified immediately by the legal liveaboards and are immediately shown the door.

This is simple human nature: don't abuse what I've worked to get. The liveaboards, as stated, have waited a long time to get, uhm, well, legal status to live on their boats. They do NOT appreciate people who break the rules and will identify them immediately. They always KNOW who's coming & going, heck, they live there.

And their next recourse, if the harbormaster turns a blind-eye, is to go to BCDC, who are among the most bureaucratic bunch of idiots on the planet. These are the guys who wanted to call boats "floating refuse" some years ago. They are among the leaders in making the Bay Area governments turn their backs on the precious resource that is our waterfront. Wanna know how I REALLY feel about them?

And, if you do find a willing harbormaster, you'd be outing yourself if you told anyone, so no one is gonna do that here. And legal liveaboards will "out" a willing harbormaster to, guess who?, the BCDC.

May not be that way up in The Delta, but the Bay Area is pretty tight on this stuff.

I know, it stinks, and I agree with the rest of H's post, but it's a reality.

I have a 34 foot boat that I love. If I had a 36 footer, I could have been on the list to liveaboard since I've been in the same marina for 17 years. 36 is the minimum for our marina.

Plus, the R&Rs of the contract one signs for monthly slips states clearly & spells out how many nights one can stay on their boat if they do take a monthly slip.

Transient slip fees are higher than monthly. Liveaboard slips are more than monthly non-liveaboard slips. Do the math.

There's nowhere to anchor out in the Estuary. There were a few derelicts who were moved out of Clipper Cove a few years ago but they have disappeared. For the few days that the Alameda police boat and Oakland police boats are allowed to go out (budget cuts, ya know - "we" bought the boats with Homeland Security $$s, but can't afford the f-ing fuel!!! , I"ve talked to the crew on the Alameda boat, they only get one day a week to keep their "drivers licenses" current!!!) they do/will harass anyone anchored there.

I've been anchoring all over The Bay for the past 35 years. There are only two tenable anchorages: Clipper Cove now limited and Richardson Bay, lousy and dangerous in the winter. Aquatic Park is a National Park, free but limited, no services, nowhere to land a dinghy safely.

There's a Safeway at Gashouse Cove, but no transient slips easy to use, maybe the gas dock would let you stay for a while.

The closest market to a marina is Loch Lomand. Their docks have those silly rings instead of cleats!!! But its the only specific marina I've been in that is within reasonable walking distance to a "normal" supermarket. Even in The Delta.

Petaluma is a LOOONG way up the river and you have to work way in advance to get the bridge up. Nice place, I was there just last weekend, but... 2 1/2 hours from the River Entrance but another two hours to even get there from The Brothers. It's a loong trip. Plus it's $24 a night.

Marinas, most of them, don't have shopping nearby.

sailorchic has made it work. She knows her stuff and is willing to share her experiences. Listen to whatever she says. Don't reinvent the wheel.

Whoever told you about the drought - don't listen to anything more they tell you. Utter rubbish.

Mark's right about Vallejo, but the harbor's very very empty, too, so some "rules" might get broken. But those transients might simply be willing to pay full price for slips. What's your budget? Sometimes they can take their boats out for a few days and come back and not be considered true liveaboards, many of who never take their boats anywhere. Not to start any argument about the definition of liveaboards - please, let's not go there, this is not the subject of this discussion.

I'm just providing you with the realities I have seen.

Good luck.
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Old 25-05-2015, 12:08   #14
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Re: Docking Bay Area

Thanks Stu Jackson, for this informative post, but many of us a far "out of the loop" when it comes to "The Bay Area". A little online search allowed me to identify the BCDC as the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. There's a long list of Laws, Policies and Regulations listed on their site. Thanks again!
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Old 25-05-2015, 12:12   #15
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Re: Docking Bay Area

Hudson, you're welcome.

But don't thank me, thank fstbttms:

Quote:
Originally Posted by fstbttms View Post
The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) regulates marinas here and they have decreed that only 10% of any Bay Area marina's slips can be occupied by liveaboards.
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