Liveaboards in Marin

I would like to clarify a statement that was attributed to me in Ruth Snyder's article on March 10 concerning houseboats ("Houseboat Community Struggles to Stay Afloat"). The quote in question reads as follows: ". . . The ideal solution would be to phase out the liveaboards--these people are more trouble than they're worth." It is "anchor-outs" that are more trouble than they are worth.

Let me explain the difference. When referring to marine structures that serve as primary residences in Richardson Bay, Marin County and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (upon which I sit as a commissioner), use the terms houseboat, live-aboard and anchor-out to describe the particular type of structure. A houseboat is a floating home that is connected to shore-side facilities, including reasonable housing in Marin County for more than 400 families. These 400-plus houseboats are located in houseboat marinas that have been approved by both Marin County and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission.

The term liveaboard is used to describe a recreational boat, either power or sail-powered, that serves as a primary residence for one or more people and is located in a recreational marina.

The term anchor-out is used to describe any vessel or structure that is used as a primary residence by one or more individuals and is located neither in a recreational nor houseboat marina. Our concerns with this type of structure include their inability to meet safety, building, sewage, or solid waste standards. Currently, there are well over 100 such structures in Richardson Bay, which at high tide is seldom deeper than six feet.

The jurisdictions that surround Richardson Bay, which include the cities of Belvedere, Mill Valley, Sausalito, and Tiburon, plus Marin County, have all joined together to regulate a situation that has been out of control for many years. With the approval of the Coast Guard, Regional and State Water Quality Control Boards and the EPA, we may finally see this problem resolved.


Supervisor, 3rd District

Marin County

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