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Svendsen’s Boat Works in Alameda — the End of an Era?

As regular readers know, Alameda Marina was the former home to Svendsen’s Boat Works and Marine, Island Yacht Club, Doyle Sails, Hogin Sails, LTD Marine, Carl Schumacher’s design studio, a host of other marine businesses over the decades, and numerous dry-sailed boats. It is now under redevelopment to provide much-needed housing and to rebuild the seawall along the waterfront and marina. Of all the marine businesses serving the Bay Area boating community during that time, none was better known than Svendsen’s Boat Works. They have since merged with Bay Marine to become Svendsen’s Bay Marine in Richmond. A reader sent in a photo of the final days of Svendsen’s Boat Works in Alameda.


The need for housing in the Bay Area continues to challenge one of the activities that makes living in the Bay Area so great — sailing.

Doyle Loft
Site of the former Doyle Loft and LTD Marine. The dry-stored boats are now without a hoist for launching.

The original development plans include space for recreational marine access, the marina and a maritime commercial center. For now, the project is in full demolition mode as the old makes way for the new. As we wrote in the July issue there are plans to replace the currently decommissioned hoist for future dry-stored boats. We also covered Island Yacht Club, which was located on the site and is currently operating as a ‘paper club.’

Alameda Marina
The Alameda Marina Maritime Center in the master plan as it appeared in April 2018.
© 2020 Alameda Marina

While the site is under reconstruction, all the former maritime business tenants have moved to new locations. IYC members continue to keep boats at Alameda Marina and run Friday night races. If all goes well, future condo residents of Alameda Marina will continue to enjoy sailing and have the support of marina services right at their doorstep.


  1. JERRY PALMER 4 years ago


  2. John Riise 4 years ago

    Shame to see Svend’s go. Lot of history goes with it. But ‘Condos R Us’ seems to be the mantra in the Bay Area and much of the rest of CA. Did you know that SF once actually had 30-some cemeteries? Land became so valuable that in the first part of the 20th century, they dug up all but two and replanted the bodies in Colma. Then built houses on the sites. If you couldn’t afford to have your loved ones’ marker transferred, I guess the graves went unmarked. Lots of bodies were either mass-reburied or mixed up or their records lost completely.I have read that a bunch of tombstones, columns and other stonework from these places became rip-rap for the breakwater at the SF Marina – or eventually lawn art and coffee table stands for those young, strong and ballsy enough to remove the better carvings in the dark of night.

    • Megan 4 years ago

      Wow I had no idea.. best those homeowners never find out about that lol lol.

  3. Richard Sullivan 4 years ago

    When I lived in Sunnyvale in the 1980’s there were still orchards for Del Monte. Someone decided that growing condos was more profitable that growing fruit and “Poof” the orchards were gone. Now, it’s happening to the boating community. As Linda Ellerby would have said, “And so it goes.” Civilization Ho!

  4. Ryan Schofiield 4 years ago

    Alameda does not need any more housing. The island is over crowed as is. I live in Alameda and when I get back to the place that I rent, often times I have to drive around looking for parking as parking is very limited as there are too many people.
    The developer could have gone with a more modest plan that would have kept Svendsen’s in place and left marine jobs there while building some new housing and rehabbed some of the existing buildings or built some new buildings to host marine businesses. A unique facility has been destroyed.

  5. Bob Barnard 2 years ago

    Long live svensens, and Bill nichols. The real things matter, but they are gone. Bob barnard

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