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Anchored Boats Must Get Legal

The view is spectacular from the multi-million-dollar homes of Tiburon and Belvedere, except for the derelict boats in Richardson Bay (foreground).

©2014 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Richardson Bay, which lies between Sausalito and the Tiburon Peninsula, has a colorful history that includes construction of liberty ships during WWII, and a long tradition of boaters living aboard. It’s also become the moorage of choice for boat owners trying to avoid high-priced local slip fees.

Although the official maximum stay at anchor is 90 days, local law enforcement agencies have generally taken a hands-off approach to compliance, as there has never been the political will among leaders of neighboring cities and the Richardson Bay Regional Authority to play hardball with dozens of longtime anchor-outs and derelict boat owners. We suspect that dealing with Richardson Bay anchorage-dwellers is about as attractive to Marin County Sheriffs as rousting naked joggers during the Bay to Breakers is to San Francisco police. 

Shot in 2007, we suspect that this former bay resident is gone now, but the image illustrated how the anchorage has become a free storage resource for some boat owners.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

But this month the RBRA and the Sheriff’s Department are finally taking a first step toward getting derelict boats and anchor-outs into basic compliance with the laws that their marina-dwelling neighbors have always been forced to abide by. That is, all boats in the anchorage must now — some would say, finally! — be currently registered and tagged, or face enforcement including citations, fines, towing and disposal. 

Marin sheriffs will be issuing notices and urging compliance. But the guy to contact if you have issues to discuss is Harbor Administrator Bill Price, (415) 971-3919, or email him here.

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