Anchor-Out Perspective

Most anchor-outs are moored outside Sausalito waters | photo by Jenny Stein | post by Larry Clinton

We are reprinting the following guest editorial from the November 29 Marin IJ, to provide insight into the hopes and concerns of the anchor-out community:

Marin Voice: Sausalito has a chance to do the right thing with anchor-outs

By Chad Carvey

The City Council members of Sausalito are at a vital crossroads, when it comes to the long-standing debate about folks who live on their boats on the bay.

Will they show wisdom, human kindness and humanity and improve the bay more than any other time in the past 30 years? Or, will they help to kick-start another war with the anchor-outs that will immediately halt progress, start lawsuits and civil disobedience, and help no one?

For the past two years, after meetings with some anchor-out representatives, the city of Sausalito has done an admirable job in cleaning up Richardson Bay by removing the debris and unregistered and abandoned vessels that ALL (including most of the anchor-outs themselves) wanted gone. Over 150 such boats and moorings were taken.

Yes, there were definitely mistakes along the way, such as removing and destroying an historical vessel owned by one of the very anchor-out leaders with whom they were supposed to be working. However, in general, there have been more improvements on the Sausalito side of Richardson Bay, over the past two years than in the past two decades.

And now we are at a vital crossroads. Throughout this clean-up process the Sausalito City Council has clearly communicated to the anchor-outs, that—although it cannot yet define officially/specifically how the anchor-out community will not be subject to removal—the end result of the city’s actions would be to remove only those anchor-outs who are “a danger to themselves or others.”

However, a recent article in the Marin IJ quoted Sausalito Mayor Joan Cox as saying that the city’s goal was to remove ALL boats, regardless of live-aboard status. While Mayor Cox stated at a recent City Council meeting that she felt she was misquoted, her statement is reinforced by what anchor-outs have reported recently, that Sausalito police are telling them that their goal is simply to get rid of all boats in Sausalito city waters—regardless of the quality of their vessel, or their status as an anchor-out.

This puts the anchor-outs once again in the position of either trusting that the city will NOT do as it is officially stating, or choose to cease cooperating with the clean-up efforts and start a massive resistance movement that has been long planned just in case their trust has been misplaced.

Meanwhile, the Richardson’s Bay Regional Agency, which is in charge of managing the parts of Richardson Bay outside of Sausalito city waters, has been making great strides in a more compassionate direction, with their clear goal being a safe, clean and well-managed anchorage, that will include those anchor-outs who have safe, seaworthy vessels, properly moored, with pump-out sewage services in place, and with absolute minimal impact to the environment (namely eelgrass). The agency is funding a study as to which mooring techniques will have the least impact on eelgrass, and it should be commended for its positive direction.

However, for the city of Sausalito … you are at a critical juncture. Will you find a way to assure the anchor-out community that their homes and their lives will not be destroyed, and that they are a vital part of the color and tapestry of “salty” Sausalito? Or will you choose the path of opposition and resistance, and cause the anchor-outs to cease their vitally needed cooperation?

Is this the beginning of another “war” in the waters off Sausalito? Or the greatest improvements to our little bay in many decades of attempts and efforts? Sausalito City Council members: The choice is entirely yours.

Chad Carvey has been a Sausalito anchor-out for more than four years. After 29 years as a teacher and administrator, he and his wife, Carolyn, plan to set sail in June 2019 on a voyage around the world.