Sausalito cracks down on 'anchored-out' boats

Sausalito police appear to be cracking down on boats that have been bobbing out in the middle of the bay for weeks and even months at a time. 

It’s called "anchoring-out" -- dropping anchor in the bay for free, instead of paying the fee to dock a vessel long-term in the marina. 

At Richardson Bay, the boat owners here pay a $700- to $1,000-a-month fee to dock here, long-term.

But taking a look out on the water on Richardson Bay on Monday morning, there were about half a dozen vessels that are anchored out. Under city law, they're not supposed to anchor-out for more than 72 hours at a time. But Sausalito police say some of the boats out there have been there for months.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that over the weekend, dozens of those anchored-out boats were tagged by police with orange warning stickers, letting the boat owners know their illegally anchored boats were going to be removed soon.

It’s an issue Sausalito has dealt with and debated for years. Boat owners who do pay the fee say they are frustrated with the boaters who anchor-out here. They say the boaters use their restrooms, and dump trash and waste-water out in the bay without paying into the system.

Boaters who anchor-out say the open water of Richardson Bay is a public waterway and they have a right to be out there. 

Doug Duane, who has live on his boat in the marina for seven years, says the increased enforcement by police is a good thing.

“I think it's gotten a little out of hand,” Duane said. “We've been able to anchor out all over the world. But derelict boats do pose quite a risk.”

Earlier this summer, Sausalito police told KTVU there were as many as 180 boats, anchored-out on Richardson Bay. The Chronicle reported that number has swelled to 250.