The Chamber of Commerce here calls it an eyesore, but some residents want to keep the beached 59-year-old freighter as a picturesque landmark.
"An old boat is aesthetically pleasing, not like a car wreck or a train wreck, " said Andrea Granahan, publisher of the Bodega Bay Navigator newspaper and leader of a movement to save the ship from destruction.
"Ships were built to protect humans from the elements, like a mother. That's why they call ships she . Whenever you look at a boat, you look at the romance of the sea."
The object of the seaside dispute is the freighter Marin, built in Antioch in 1928. The boat lies landlocked on the northwest edge of Bodega Bay, half-hidden by wild willows and the gnarled trunks of an old clump of Monterey pine.
According to locals, the boat was anchored out in the shallow waters of the bay during the 1950s and used as a floating warehouse in which fishermen stored their gear.
Sometime in the early 1960s, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., built a shoreline road to a now-abandoned nuclear plant site on Bodega Head across the bay from town. The construction cut the Marin off from the free waters of the bay, leaving it high and dry and rotting away.
But its slowly withering fate was not quick enough for some.
Marin County Supervisor Ernie Carpenter called the Marin a "dangerous wreck."
He added, "They ought to let the Fire Department burn it down." Chamber officials agree.
"I know the photographers like to photograph it and the painters like to paint it, but we have it on notice as an attractive nuisance," said Ken Cherrick, president of the booster group. "I'm just worried that someone will get hurt climbing on it."
National Maritime Museum historians Jim Delgado and Kevin Foster of San Francisco have visited the wreck to take photographs and make drawings.
"We're surprised to see (it) here," Delgado said. "There were a lot of ships like this that were built in the early part of the century and used as the workhorses of San Francisco Bay. Generally, though, they never went to sea or got this far north."
Delgado and Foster said their photos and drawings will be included in a national maritime inventory established by Congress in 1984.