SAUSALITO, Calif. (KTVU) - Sausalito police estimate about 180 boats belonging to anchor-outs are bobbing in Richardson Bay in the waters off Sausalito. That's more than twice the number of a few years ago.
Anchor-outs are people who live on boats in varying conditions. The land on shore may be expensive, but for them the water is free.
"If I was paying a mooring fee or a slip fee it wouldn't allow me to do the things I could do, like going to school, which is where I am going now," said Reid Brown, an anchor-out.
Others just like the lifestyle.
"I don't want a roof over my head. I want to live under the stars," said John Iodence.
While anchor-outs are nothing new on Richardson Bay, the increase has led to problems on land and sea.
"Boat burglaries, thefts from vessels. Assaults on vessels and on the waterfront. We saw environmental concerns where we saw dumping on the waterfront," said Sausalito Police Lt. Bill Fraass.
Some anchor-outs agree some of those living on these boats have no business being out there.
"There are always blows and storms that come through and when you have a derelict boat or people who aren't mariners, these boats can go adrift or be blown into other boats," said Brown.
Under city law boats are not supposed to be out on the water un-moored for more than 72 hours. Police say some boats are not seaworthy and pose a danger.
Anchor-outs have been part of Richardson Bay for decades. While the city is in the process of developing a plan to address the problems some anchor-outs have created, police have stepped up enforcement.
"We're focusing on marine debris vessels that are unseaworthy or in disrepair...we are also looking for people who are on those vessels who are a danger to themselves and others," said Fraass.
Authorities say since last June they have taken 22 derelict boats out of the water. That number is likely to increase.