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Clipper Cove Beach on Treasure Island To Be Closed to Boats?

Local sailor and Washed Up Yacht Club organizer Adam Katz alerted us to a new plan by the Treasure Island Development Authority (TIDA) to restrict access to the beach in Clipper Cove to swimmers only. The current plan is to string buoys saying “Boats Keep Out” offshore from the beach. This would reduce the anchorage size in the most protected corner of the cove and, as currently drafted, would not allow cruisers in Clipper Cove to dinghy into the beach.

Treasure Island
No dinghies ashore? A proposed boat ban for the beach on Clipper Cove appeared on this map from TIDA.
© 2022 TIDA

Apparently, the plan came up in a recent TIDA meeting to propose a “Protected Water Use Area” that would become a recreational swimming area by restricting waterfront usage to swimmers only. We’re not sure if, when, or how this might be implemented, but the buoy design has already been created. This could restrict access to SUPs, kayaks, youth sailors from Treasure Island Sailing Center, and small sail- and powerboats, as well as cruisers who want to dinghy ashore.

Clipper Cove Boats Keep Out
Clipper Cove is a popular anchorage for locals and cruisers heading south from the Pacific Northwest. This is the greeting sign.
© 2022 TIDA

The Washed Up Yacht Club’s annual Clipper Cove raft-up is one of the more popular gatherings for local sailors in the cove, but the cove is used by many other clubs and individuals who enjoy this beautiful Bay Area cruising destination.

Clipper Cove Raft Up
Clipper Cove is a popular destination for raft-ups by the Washed Up Yacht Club and many other clubs and groups who also dinghy to the beach as part of their weekend cruise.
© 2022 WUYC

Like the bridge over the Oakland Estuary, these initiatives appear to find momentum before connecting with the boating community. We appreciate readers’ taking a moment to bring these waterfront challenges to the attention of our other readers so everyone has an opportunity to participate in public comment.

In the big picture, it’s unfortunate that all the municipalities that ring the Bay build their city halls so far from the Bay. Oakland, San Francisco, Alameda and most other city halls can’t see the Bay from their offices, so it appears they forget its importance to the region when planning local infrastructure. We’re thinking it’s time for members of the sailing community to create a “take a supervisor or city council member sailing day” so we can remind legislators of the recreational activity that has existed for all their citizens, but which is threatened by their ongoing waterfront redevelopment plans.

Clipper Cove Cruise
Another cruise-in enjoys a raft-up in Clipper Cove.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

We wonder again if any boaters were involved in the development of this new “swimming area” on the edge of one of the Bay Area’s best anchorages.


  1. Maryann Hinden 2 years ago

    Another front in the apparent on-going war on boaters. Perhaps this stems from a lack of familiarity on the part of city governments and the larger community with how much fun sailing, kayaking and other water sports can be.

    There are many examples of how sailing and other water activities can enrich lives. BAADS, an association that promotes sailing access to the differently-abled on San Francisco Bay is one example. Another is the Alameda Community Sailing Center which teaches children and young adults to sail.

    The bay is a fabulous resource for boating and related activities, something other areas can only dream of. Why close off a quiet, safe harbor on the lee of Treasure Island? Surely boaters and swimmers can co-exist; it is not an either/or situation.

  2. Lee Panza 2 years ago

    I’ve never actually seen anyone swimming from that beach (although I wouldn’t doubt that there may be one now and then). Considering how difficult it is to reach that beach, from wherever one could park their access vehicle (ie, their car) it’s not surprising how little use it gets from the land side. On the other hand, I’ve seen far more boaters – including dinghies from anchored and/or rafted visitors, as well as kayaks and SUPs that were transported to the cove – who have used the beach. This seems like yet another “good idea” from some well-meaning but miserably uninformed government planners. Shouldn’t the realistic benefits and impacts be considered before developing a “good idea.”

  3. Jeff Cook 2 years ago

    Sounds like possibly overturning another Row v. Wade decision that represented established law.

    • Maryann Hinden 2 years ago

      Surely you mean Row vs. Wade?

  4. Steve Haas 2 years ago

    Government agencies usually respond better to input from organizations rather than individuals. Maybe some of the local yacht clubs can reach out to TIDA and give constructive input?

  5. Jim Gossman 2 years ago

    The PotterYachters have gone there annually for decades . We beach boats, raft up, and enjoy. There’s never been any conflict, or safety issue with swimmers (the few, if any), so I don’t get what the motivation is to change the rules.

  6. Jack Gill 2 years ago

    You don’t think the beach restrictions have anything to do with the luxury housing built on the island, do ya?
    “Available units range in price from $4,195,000 to $4,277,000. Yerba Buena Island – The Flats has a total of 7 units. Sizes range from 2457 to 4241 square feet. Jun 13, 2022.”

  7. Bert Feltonb 2 years ago

    It seems like a sales promotion for the new development at the expense of the boating community.

    • Jack Gill 2 years ago

      The developers have turned most of Yerba Buena Is. Into a virtual gated community, now they want the beach; as it’s illegal to deny access to a beach (there’s land access, however, due to parking and other constraints, that access is v. difficult). So they skirt the spirit of the law, i.e., cutting access for those who most use the beach, by saying there is access by land.

  8. milly Biller 2 years ago

    Is there going to be any kind of Public Comment period, or are they just going to ram this through ? If there is a Public Comment period, we all better sure as hell comment.

  9. Alex S 2 years ago

    Clipper Cove is one of my favorite spots in the bay and it would be a tragedy if boats were excluded from the best part of the anchorage. I rarely see swimmers there so it does seem like this is related to luxury condos being built next to the cove.

    The email for the Treasure Island Development Authority is [email protected] for those who would like to provide feedback on this proposal.

  10. Klaus Kutz 2 years ago

    I can’t find the right words for my disdain (which is very unusual for me), but something stinks in San Francisco politics.
    In nearly fifty years of occasional visits by boat to the cove, have I ever noticed a rare occurrence of a swimmer in the water.

  11. Nicholas 2 years ago

    Wondering if the root cause of this is real estate development on Treasure Island. Perhaps there are plans to make it more inviting to beach goers to enhance the value of the local properties?

  12. Jack Gill 2 years ago

    This island could have been an outstanding public park or at least part of the island, but, sadly, that opportunity has come and gone; what we have (or do not have) now is a virtual gated community with its private beach; it may be technically a public beach, however by disallowing access by water and no public parking for entry by land that pretty much makes the beach exclusive to the property owners and their guests.

  13. Jim Hancock, Chair, Treasure Island Citizen Advisory Board 2 years ago

    The buoys are planned to be in water depths between 5 and 12 feet. It’s not clear what datum was used for that. If it is MLLW, then you could add 6-9 feet to those numbers at high water. In any case, it takes away a relatively small percentage of the usable anchoring space. I think the bigger concern is beach access by dinghy. There are unanswered questions about this that I will be posing to TIDA.

    • Jack Gill 2 years ago

      Yes, that’s my concern, i.e., access by dinghy, kayak, and the like – no powered boats; Aquatic Park is an excellent example of how to do it.

  14. damon :) guthrie 1 year ago

    i just wrote [email protected]:

    hello and good day
    i am writing to express my concern in the recent proposal to deny access to clipper cove’s offerings for sailing and swimming recreation….as part of the sailing community and multiple organizations that advocate for the fair use and access of our waterways and adjacent lands, i strongly suggest you keep clipper cove as a fun and safe place to anchor, swim, and tie up dinghies.
    all the best, Damon Guthrie

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