Houseboaters to Fight Edict in Marin County

Associated Press

The attorney for houseboaters who live in a motley fleet off Sausalito said he has just begun to fight a Marin County law that prohibits living aboard vessels without permits.

“We lost the skirmish, but we’ll win the war,” attorney Martin Jarvis said Thursday.

Jarvis, who represents the Mariners of Richardson Bay, said he will appeal U.S. District Judge William Schwarzer’s dismissal of the boat dwellers’ suit that sought to invalidate the ordinance and win $30 million in damages.

The 1987 law that sets tough new limits on the fleet has been in effect since August but has not been fully implemented. The Richardson Bay Regional Agency has yet to set up a system of enforcing and administering the new policy.


The agency is made up of Marin County officials and representatives from Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere and Mill Valley.

The law makes it illegal for boats and houseboats to anchor in Richardson Bay for more than 72 hours without a permit.

For years, as many as 100 boat dwellers, more commonly known as anchor-outs, have been living rent free in boats and exotic homemade houseboats in the bay. Many residents of wealthy communities in the area have called the fleet an eyesore and sought its removal.

Last month, Schwarzer rejected the houseboaters request for a temporary restraining order to block the ordinance.