Sausalito Looks to Reduce Number of Boats in Bay

photo by Jenny Stein  |  article by Soren Hemmila MARINSCOPE 11/2/16  |   reprinted with permission from Marinscope Newspapers


The Sausalito Police are using a grant to reduce the number of boats anchored in Richardson’s Bay, boats which have steadily increased as similar anchorages around the Bay have closed. Sausalito Chief of Police John Rohrbacher said the city applied for the grant money to help remove marine debris from Richardson’s Bay, including mooring balls.

“The amount of boats has doubled in the last six years,” Rohrbacher said at a Oct. 26 meeting at the Bay Model. “The number has increased, causing consternation in the community. People have seen that and wonder what happened.”

Sausalito received a $129,800 grant from the California Division of Boating and Waterways. The Richardson’s Bay Regional Agency, which is tasked with maintaining the waterway, also received a grant of nearly $200,600.

“Our focus is not about taking people off the water. Our emphasis is on taking steps to reducing clutter on the bay,” Rohrbacher said.

Councilman Herb Weiner said the objective is not to clear the bay of boats but called to reduce the number moored in the waters near Sausalito at a recent city council meeting.

“Two hundred and fifty boats on the bay is not a number we can live with. It was feasible for four or five years with 85 or 90 boats,” Weiner said.

With increased scrutiny and enforcement those who live on the water are feeling pushed out. Kevin Kifer said Sausalito’s anchorage is unlike recently closed Bay Area anchorages because it is a federal anchorage.

“I’ve been an anchor-out for eight years, and I don’t plan on leaving,” Kifer said at a council meeting. “The federal government didn’t ask anyone’s permission to designate this an anchorage. It declared it because it was already a federal enclave.”

Doug Storms, a member of The Richardson Bay Special Anchorage Association, a group of Richardson Bay mariners, said many longtime residents are being unfairly blamed for the recent increase in vessels.

“We are not, for the most part, bringing stuff in. People from outside are bringing it in and flooding it because Bill Price from the RBRA has turned this into a Sanford and Son demolition yard,” Storms said. Storms said his group has the common goal to have a well-managed safe federal anchorage and wants to work with city officials to be a part of the solution. “We’re getting all of the stuff from the anchorages that have been closed down and being held responsible for it,” Storms said.

Councilwoman Linda Pfeifer said the anchor-outs are illegally living on the water and called for information to permanently remove residents of the water.

“Redwood City and Oakland face the same issues we face of removing the anchor-outs who are illegally living on the water. It is true this is federal government anchorage. It doesn’t mean it is a federal housing anchorage. It is for mariners to visit, drop anchor, stay a short period of time and move on. It is not here to live. We are not looking at condos on the bay,” Pfeifer said.

The Sausalito Police plan to focus on removing the debris until the end of June and gauge if the program is working or not.

Contact Soren Hemmila at