SAUSALITO (KPIX 5) – Any boater who has spent any amount of time on the water in Richardson Bay likely has a story that pertains to anchor outs. Few of them are good.
But with recent major changes to the way it deals with the waterfront, Sausalito is hoping to change all that.
When it comes to the fight against illegal anchor outs and waterfront safety, Sausalito is striking out on its own.
The town is leaving the Richardson Bay Regional Agency or RBRA and taking full control of the enforcement its coastline, something that hasn’t been done in more than 30 years.
“We have noticed in the last several years that the number of vessels in our waterways has increased,” said Sausalito Police Lt. Bill Fraas. “And with the increasing number of vessels, we’ve seen an increase in other quality of life issues, crime issues as well as debris vessels being left on the water.”
So the city is taking back its $125,000 it was giving the RBRA every year and will instead pay for a part-time patrol officer and a part-time harbor assistant just for Sausalito.
Fraass says it will be a much more effective option when compared to the one man the RBRA hires to patrol the entire bay.
“There are moments out there on the right tide where there are submerged pieces of boat that are somewhat dangerous,” said Bruce Johnson, the owner of Sausalito water sporting goods and kite surfing store F-One & Manera.
But that has already begun to change. Sausalito police have been pulling abandoned boats from the water in the last three weeks.
That move was made possible by another aspect of its new and improved waterfront plan: laws.
Some of the maritime laws hadn’t been updated since the 1930s, allowing derelict boats to wash ashore or cause navigation problems in the bay.
But in the three weeks since the new laws went into effect, six boats have been removed.
Many mariners say it’s a good start. They hope it will continue.
“I think that’s a great idea, for a number of reasons, said Johnson. For the safety of paddlers out there, for the safety of the boaters. Just for the beauty of the landscape, if you will.”
Not everyone is on board with these changes.
Some of the indigent boaters of the anchor-out community who can’t pay for boat slip rental at the Sausalito marina and those that support the community feel the changes simply another way of pushing out people who can’t afford to live on the water in the area.