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Boat Fire in Richardson Bay a Harsh Reminder

Sausalito waterfront residents were reminded of some of the harsh realities of boat life when an anchored boat caught fire in Richardson Bay last weekend. While there has been no official statement, scuttlebutt alleges the fire was preceded by an explosion.

We received this photo of Bella — the 34- to 35-ft trawler that allegedly caught fire on Saturday morning.
© 2020 Suzie Olson

Latitude was also on the water over the weekend and took the following photos of the same vessel.

Although there is yet to be an official report on the cause and result of the fire, it is believed that a man and his cat died in the incident.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Burned out hull on Richardson Ba
We understand the Marin County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an investigation.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

This is a sad reminder that, as mariners, we need to be aware of the dangers aboard our vessels. Electricity, and fuel and other flammable materials, have the potential to cause serious problems. Please take care and be vigilant of possible hazards aboard your vessel, particularly now as the weather cools and the days get shorter. While warmth and light become more appealing, the potential for accidents increases.

We’ll bring you more news of the fire as it becomes available.



  1. Martin Thomas 4 years ago

    Was this a derelict or an actively used vessel?

    • Susan Kobrofsky 4 years ago

      The boat was actively being lived on and traveled.

  2. Jeff Bruton 4 years ago

    The author writes “ the harsh realities of boat life…” I don’t understand where that comes from. The truth is: failure to observe safety protocols may have serious consequences.

    Boats don’t spontaneously explode. Combustibles, open flame, spark, electrical, ventilation, etc. all need to be actively managed to avoid this sort of tragedy. I bet this death could have been avoided by following standard safety procedures.

    If there is anything good to be made of this, let it be a reminder for each of us to check and maintain the systems on our boats so this sort of loss does not repeat.

    Condolences to the family.

  3. Susan Kobrofsky 4 years ago

    The boat was sea worthy. I lived on her with my boyfriend. Our friends and family think it might of been the bad batteries, of which Halsey purchased from a battery shop that sells refurbished batteries in Sausalito. I do know that the batteries of which were sold to him were not the same ones of which were given and shown to him when he picked them up. This was about a year ago. They say there was a soft explosion,(as the neighbors heard), then they saw 50 foot flames. The boat ran on diesel fuel, of which I hear does NOT flame up that hot or fast. We lived on the Bella on Richardsons Bay in Sausalito for 7- 8 years. It is tragic, as I was up North when I lost our boat and my fiance. I was with Halsey for 10 years. The boat was solid and in perfectly running condition except for the “Big Red” motor overheating. Halsey told me he had just put in some anti over heating device. Sorry but even though I lived on her I did not know about engines, etc….. I know this because we could not get hot water any more when he fixed the engine overheating problem. He would run our generator to charge the batteries but they would not hold a charge. He also ran the engine/motor on the boat to charge the batteries. Halsey was a responsible Mariner. He helped alot of people on the bay by anchoring their boats safely and towed boats.

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