Navigation Hazard Causes Injury

Approximate location of underwater barges  |  screen shot from Jason Landis  |  post by Larry Clinton

On September 4, Mira Kanter of East Pier was paddle boarding on the north side of Richardson Bay Marina when she struck a part of an old, sunken barge which sent her into the water. These barges have been sitting in the mud since before the marina was built, so pre-1960s. After being in the water for over a half a century, they have rusted away, leaving large metal shards and spikes that are visible during a low tide, but not during medium or high tides. A sign further out in the water warns of underwater obstacles, but it is impossible to tell where these obstacles are if they sit just inches below the water’s surface.

Mira describes her accident this way: “All of a sudden my board hit the submerged jagged barge and threw me off onto it and cut my leg and other body parts. I went to the ER and they administered a tetanus shot, cleaned out the rusted metal particles in the cuts, and gave me antibiotics. I am very fortunate it wasn’t worse, and I seem to be healing well.”

Mira contacted Kappas Marina, which also owns the Richardson Bay yacht harbor, to see if there is any way to prevent this from happening to others. She was informed that the barges sit on public property, so marking or removing them is the responsibility of the sheriff or Coast Guard. Marina management has reached out to both agencies and has offered to keep Mira and her East Pier neighbors informed of new developments.

If you encounter similar hazards to navigation in Richardson’s Bay, you can report them to the local Coast Guard Operations Division at (510) 437-3546 and to Marin County Sheriff Marine Services at (415) 479-2311.

Thanks to East Pier Alternate Rep Jason Landis for passing along this cautionary tale.