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Old 30-03-2017, 06:21   #1
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Liveaboard in bay area

Ok y'all. Im from TN relocating to San Fran next week and I really want to try the liveaboard lifestyle. Im looking at buying a 60' houseboat, but I have no idea where to look at for docking it. To be clear its a house boat and not a sail boat of any kind. I know there is a little confusion for some looking and even when I called around. I'll be working near SFO and don't mind driving a bit to get away from the hustle. Does anyone have advice, tips, etc. I called about every marina and know there is a wait list, but I want to get into one ASAP so I can get on a list for the permit. I am all ears when it comes to advice about the boat itself, areas, marinas, tips, tricks, etc. Please help me out with this process. Thanks much!
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Old 30-03-2017, 06:27   #2
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Re: Liveaboard in bay area

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Titansfan.
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Old 31-03-2017, 13:20   #3
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Re: Liveaboard in bay area

Marina's in the central bay pretty much prohibit houseboats in all marina's. Your best bet is looking at marina's in the delta. At 60 feet your looking at an end tie which are rare even in the delta.

Another option is to take a slip on a temp basis for a month or two and switch between willow berm and say Delta marina. Costs a bit more but not so bad when you factor liveaboard fees. Tower park or willow berm might be an option. Or other marina's in that general area, Called the Delta Loop, the area that is..

If you shrink your houseboat to 40-44 feet, you'll have a much better bet of finding a slip in the delta. 60 is pretty darn huge. Of course buying a 60 foot houseboat that is already in a delta marina would be your best bet. Or look at a say 52 foot 1985 bluewater (a brand ) that is NOT a blue water boat . Its sort of a house boat with a pointy end. A party barge.

There is also a 43 foot grand mariner currently for sale in the antiock marina. Bonus with Antiock is amtrak is a block away and bart is a short trip away. Plus good highway assess. Antiock does not have 60 foot slips though. Most don't have 60 foot slips except for very few end ties that I have not seen an open one in my visits around the delta (other then guest/ temp docks.
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Old 31-03-2017, 13:39   #4
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Re: Liveaboard in bay area

go smaller and get a boat you can move around the bay
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Old 31-03-2017, 14:15   #5
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Re: Liveaboard in bay area

Another problem with the Delta (river) is the drive into town will be a bitch. If you could work close to the Delta, Sacramento or Fairfield would be better. Or Marteniz, Benicia, Concord or anywhere along Hwy 4.
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Old 31-03-2017, 14:18   #6
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Re: Liveaboard in bay area

Marinas in the Bay Area are limited to 10% of their slips rented to liveaboards. Your greatest challenge is going to be to find a marina that has any room for another liveaboard. Especially a 60-footer.
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Old 31-03-2017, 14:22   #7
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Re: Liveaboard in bay area

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Another problem with the Delta (river) is the drive into town will be a bitch. If you could live close to the Delta, Sacramento or Fairfield would be better.
they just finished wideing highway 4. but yes it would be a pretty harsh commute with the maze at the end. Hours and hours of fun..

Another option would be vallejo marina and ride the ferry in. though limited to 40-50 ish foot again for a slip.

The Amtrak commuter train from Antiock or Bart from beautiful downtown Pittsburg. would be easier. Yes it really is... the pitts that is. Marina is nice though.
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Old 07-04-2017, 18:58   #8
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Re: Liveaboard in bay area

I'm sure this is naive but why couldn't a fellow float out in the bay with that sized boat? Use a runabout to get to shore. With that much roof, you could have a truly noble solar array.
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Old 07-04-2017, 19:26   #9
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Re: Liveaboard in bay area

Hi titansfan, Welcome to C.F. I want to be sure when you say 60 foot house boat do you mean the one with an engine that can be motored, or one of the floating house boats like in Sausalito that are moored and only can be moved by towing it with another boat. Those are more like a house built on a barge. I used to keep a boat in the Oakland Estuary many years ago and there was a house boat (motor type) tied to the end dock. My thinking would be to find a boat with a live aboard slip that you could take over the slip. There's some marinas off 101 Fwy a little north of SFO. Also consider some smaller marinas to fish around for information and leads for what's available.
Good luck with your search. Be aware commuting in the Bay Area during rush hours is the pits.
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Old 07-04-2017, 21:13   #10
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Re: Liveaboard in bay area

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I'm sure this is naive but why couldn't a fellow float out in the bay with that sized boat? Use a runabout to get to shore. With that much roof, you could have a truly noble solar array.
In most anchorages these days your only allowed to stay for 48-72 hours before harbor patrol or USCG comes knocking. Even at pay buoys there's a limit. Then there's Sausalito.

The only way around that is with a registered mooring ball, and that maybe exempt from livaboard.

In SD there's a moorage near Downtown where you can rent a ball monthly, with a decent dinghy dock, but crowded.
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Old 07-04-2017, 21:31   #11
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Re: Liveaboard in bay area

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I'm sure this is naive but why couldn't a fellow float out in the bay with that sized boat? Use a runabout to get to shore. With that much roof, you could have a truly noble solar array.
Every day in summer the winds from the northwest blow 25 knots from about 1 pm till about 6-7 pm. The currents in the bay range 1.5 to 5 knots and the chop can be 2-3 feet depending on wind direction and tide. Going to need a really good anchor and love wet dingy rides

A 60 foot houseboat hull is designed for flat water/river, which the central bay is not. Then there are the ship and ferry traffic. No dinghy docks except in Richardson Bay, So no safe place to tie a dinghy up 8-10 hours a day in most places.

Being California there are many laws and agency's that will prevent you or try to prevent you from anchoring in one location long term. As others said there are limits to how long one can anchor in one place. In the delta that ranges from 4 days to 2 weeks to a month, depending on which county your dealing with.

Even in the Delta, most of the houseboats are tied to docks.
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Old 08-04-2017, 06:44   #12
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Re: Liveaboard in bay area

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Every day in summer the winds from the northwest blow 25 knots from about 1 pm till about 6-7 pm. The currents in the bay range 1.5 to 5 knots and the chop can be 2-3 feet depending on wind direction and tide. Going to need a really good anchor and love wet dingy rides

A 60 foot houseboat hull is designed for flat water/river, which the central bay is not. Then there are the ship and ferry traffic. No dinghy docks except in Richardson Bay, So no safe place to tie a dinghy up 8-10 hours a day in most places.

Being California there are many laws and agency's that will prevent you or try to prevent you from anchoring in one location long term. As others said there are limits to how long one can anchor in one place. In the delta that ranges from 4 days to 2 weeks to a month, depending on which county your dealing with.

Even in the Delta, most of the houseboats are tied to docks.
I knew there would be problems or more people would do it. Those winds are feisty indeed. That explains why the original owner of my S2 had the shoal keel turned into a deep keel while adding 900 pounds of ballast. He said it was for the "San Francisco Bay conditions".

The guy had a challenge enticing his family to sail and usually single handed the S2. I can hardly imagine a young male who would not enjoy sailing. Yet his son called the graduation gift/bonding trip to Catalina Island the "worst time of his life." How is that for a slap in the face?

Might be appreciated by aggressive sailors, not so much for houseboats.
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Old 08-04-2017, 07:43   #13
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Re: Liveaboard in bay area

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I knew there would be problems or more people would do it. Those winds are feisty indeed. That explains why the original owner of my S2 had the shoal keel turned into a deep keel while adding 900 pounds of ballast. He said it was for the "San Francisco Bay conditions".

The guy had a challenge enticing his family to sail and usually single handed the S2. I can hardly imagine a young male who would not enjoy sailing. Yet his son called the graduation gift/bonding trip to Catalina Island the "worst time of his life." How is that for a slap in the face?

Might be appreciated by aggressive sailors, not so much for houseboats.
Not to mention the California 1-1.5% boat tax (county discretion). And they tell you what your boat it worth w/o even looking at it. Just by a form you fill out. Every December the marinas have to send in a list of their clients.
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Old 08-04-2017, 07:54   #14
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Re: Liveaboard in bay area

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I'm sure this is naive but why couldn't a fellow float out in the bay with that sized boat? Use a runabout to get to shore. With that much roof, you could have a truly noble solar array.
Because anchorages are few and far between.

For the OP:

PLEASE, do a search on your thread title. Any number of folks have asked this question before and we've patiently explained to them why it is so difficult. Also do a search on "Richardson Bay" and have your eyes opened.

Summary: you're SOL on this concept for anything close to downtown SF. It simply can't be done.

Bad news, I know, but sometimes reality bites!!!

PS - I lived in SF since 1978, only moved north last summer. Beware information from folks who don't live there. Listen to everything sailorchick says, she knows.
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Old 08-04-2017, 09:30   #15
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Re: Liveaboard in bay area

Your only option near SF with a houseboat is likely Bridgeway Marine in Sausalito. The owner manages to " get around " the 10% BCDC liveaboard caps - almost all boats in the marina are lived on and there are lots of nice people. The location is awesome.

However, it comes as a hefty price - my guess is you will pay around $2k/month for something that large. The marina is very crowded with limited facilities and falling apart, the power is terrible, and you have to pay the city for a parking permit.

Cameron Razavi, the owner, runs the marina similar to his other properties, so do your homework and decide for yourself. He was recently convicted in Sacramento for " allowing a substandard dwelling and junk accumulation " on one of his properties there. Check in with the Saus PD and Fire dept for their thoughts on safety in the marina if you want the facts.

Details on his other acts/dwellings here:

Sacramento County community prosecutors combat blight in older suburbs | The Sacramento Bee
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