Fire destroys landmark gathering spot at Tomales Bay

A beloved waterfront destination is no more.

Cell phone video from a staff member shows the Boat Shack at Nick’s Cove on Shoreline Highway in Marshall, along the shore of Tomales Bay in Marin County, fully engulfed in flames around 4:30 on Sunday afternoon.

The Marin County Fire Department said it took firefighters until about 5:30 p.m. to knock down the flames and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

General manager Wade Nakamine is just thankful no one was inside during the fire.

"Couple people tried to run down there with fire extinguishers, but the winds were so high," Nakamine told KTVU.

The charred frame and roof are all that’s left of the small wooden structure.

The Boat Shack was a long-time public gathering space.

It was managed by the historic Nick’s Cove restaurant, which is just across the pier from the Boat Shack.

"The boat shack just went up, and it was too late to save it," Nakamine said, and added that the wood stove inside was burning unattended on Sunday.

Nakamine told KTVU that employees only check in on the Boat Shack every 30 minutes to an hour.

Guests are allowed to stoke the fire.


"It’s possible that a guest that was not familiar with how to tend the fire," Nakamine said.

The landmark with tables, chairs, and a piano inside, has been a destination for decades, leaving frequent guests devastated to hear the news.

"I was there literally a week ago," Christina Toms said.

Tomes has been spending New Year’s Day at the Boat Shack with her family for a decade.

"Folks were playing the piano in the shack and sharing drinks and toasting to the new year and to think that a week later it’s gone and in such a violent fashion is just really sad, really heartbreaking," Toms said.

John Slover comes to the popular fishing spot to catch Dungeness crab.

He was caught off guard when he saw the burned-out shack.

"Yeah. Yeah, that’s, that’s crazy," Slover said.

There’s now caution tape at the entrance to the pier because the manager said it may be unstable.

"If we’re not able to rebuild that iconic boat shack, that’s going to be devastating to the business," Nakamine said.


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