Skip to main content

The Facts About Vessel Removal, January 21, 2022

There have recently been a number of online postings regarding the treatment of individuals living in vessels on the Richardson’s Bay anchorage that are misleading and inaccurate. The misleading postings have implied that individuals have been removed from their vessels, had their vessels destroyed and were subsequently made homeless amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. None of this is true. If you are not familiar with Richardson’s Bay, it is a 72-hour anchorage that is a shared resource enjoyed by Sausalito, Belvedere, Tiburon, Mill Valley, Marin County and the larger Bay Area community. Additionally, Richardson’s Bay serves as a key stopover for birds to rest and feed while on their migratory routes, as well as providing an ideal habitat for a critical stand of eelgrass that serves as the keystone for a much broader ecological system that supports multiple types of sea life and animals. Complaints from community and business owners about Richardson’s Bay have greatly intensified over the last few years due to the proliferation of inoperable and unseaworthy vessels in Richardson’s Bay. The complaints include sunken vessels releasing rubbish and petrochemicals into the bay, vandalism at various public locations and private marinas directly attributed to individuals on vessels anchored in Richardson’s Bay, hostile and threatening behavior towards mariners seeking to use the anchorage, dumping of sewage directly into the bay, and dumping of trash directly into the bay and along the streets of Sausalito. Local residents, members from the environmental and business communities, as well as visitors from outside the area were finding it increasingly difficult to enjoy the bay with their families, for recreational and commercial activities, and as a place of refuge. After observing the problematic impacts the vessels were having on the environment as well as to the public health and safety, proactively managing vessels anchored in the bay became a high priority.

Read full message below


Being on Richardson’s Bay Welcome to your temporary stay on Richardson’s Bay! Vessels may anchor in the bay up to 72 hours without a permit.  If you wish to stay longer, click here for the application to request a  30-day permit from the  Harbormaster. See attached Transition Packet being distributed for vessels interested in enrolling in the Safe & Seaworthy program by October 15, 2020. Please note that each vessel owner and operator is responsible for securing their vessel and ensuring it does not drift, drag, sink or otherwise get loose on the bay or onto the shoreline. RBRA is not responsible for vessels or dinghies that have drifted, dragged, run aground or sunk; the agency may tow and impound such vessels as a health and safety measure for persons, property, and/or the environment.  Vessel owners who wish to retrieve their vessel must reimburse the agency for the agency’s costs to secure, tow, impound and/or store the vessel. Vessels that are marine debris will not be allowed back in Richardson’s Bay. You may contact the RBRA Harbormaster about retrieving your vessel at 415-971-3919 or; immediate response about retrieval may not be possible during a storm event. The Richardson Bay Resource Guide provides information about rules and access to assistance. Click below (Richardson.docx) for more information about RBRA regulations and vessel responsibilities On June 11, 2020, the RBRA Board of Directors adopted a Transition Plan with a vision, goal, principles, and policy direction for the anchorage.  The plan affirms a vision for the bay as a temporary anchorage, while providing a pathway for certain pre-existing eligible vessels that are determined by RBRA to be safe & seaworthy to remain for a limited duration. Vessels arriving into the bay may not stay more than 72 hours without permission from the Harbormaster. An Anchoring Permit Application to request a stay longer than 72 hours is available below (Anchoring Permit Application). On September 12, 2019, the marine ecology firm Merkel & Associates presented a summary of its Mooring Feasibility & Planning Study to the Richardson’s Bay Regional Agency Board of Directors. The Ecologically-based Mooring Study by Merkel & Associates released November 11, 2019 analyzed eelgrass and other bay conditions to inform decisions on potential mooring locations, equipment, capacity, and transiting to shore. On July 11, 2019, the RBRA Board of Directors adopted Ordinance 19-1 updating requirements for vessels on Richardson’s Bay.

Join our mailing list