What’s in a Name? Why Sausalito?

West and East Piers – we’re located, quite simply, in Marin County | photo and post by Jenny Stein

Prior to merging with the new and improved Floating Times, the name that appeared on our blog banner was the Sausalito Floating Homes Association. Going back to the beginning (October of 2015) we didn’t spend much time on the name, but rather swiftly settled on something that got us up and running.

We weren’t even convinced The Blog would gain enough footing to become the new Floating Times, though that was our hope. That The Blog is now officially the Floating Times Newsletter—and located on the FHA website—feels like the the right way forward.

The full name of our homeowners association is the Floating Homes Association Incorporated of Richardson’s Bay, though it’s far more common to shorten the name to FHA, or the Floating Homes Association. So how did Sausalito sneak onto our old blog banner? Especially when you consider that the houseboat community stretches from Sausalito (Bayhaven, on Gate 5 Road) through to Mill Valley (Commodore), with most of the docks sitting squarely on property not belonging to any township at all, but the County of Marin.

This anomaly also explains why the majority of us pay county (rather than city) taxes. At a recent Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Commission meeting (regarding the Gate 6 intersection improvements) one of the commissioners referred to our area as “Balkanized.” Where we live is not so much a no-man’s-land as a patchwork of interests. Until that moment, I’d mostly forgotten about the limitations of our not being within the City of Sausalito. It’s been a while since I bumped up against this hard reality, back when I naively tried to obtain a Sausalito parking permit.

That we lie just outside the city limit is a fluid distinction. Sausalito Village and CARRS happily include us in their service area. And vis-a-vis tourism, or our own sense of belonging, it’s convenient. People get Sausalito, particularly in conjunction with houseboats or more accurately floating homes.

I’ve learned there are (at least) two Sausalitos—the city itself and the 94965 postal code territory, comprising, along with Sausalito: Fort Baker, Fort Cronkhite, Marin City, and even Muir Beach. I would posit there is a third Sausalito: a tangible sense of place, with ill-defined boundaries but a strong sense of identity. Sausalito snuck into the name of our blog all too effortlessly; as such it reflects who we feel we are. Are we ready for an FHA rebrand?

One final thought about the importance of names. Here in the floating homes community we name our homes; this is very likely the direct result of converting vessels (always named) into dwellings. I keep meaning to research the city grid underlying our piers, in search of the name of the street on which we live. One step too far? Or simply less relevant. And less personal, than our naming our home the Hibernaculum—here on East Pier, Kappas Marina, Sausalito, [Marin County].