Sausalito Houseboat Community


(saito_koriel) #1

For what it’s worth, new here.

I’m wondering what the most feasible option currently is for sea-steading/gulf-steading/living on the water?

I’m in the SF bay, so what I see around me is Sausilito Houseboat Community, a group of people who are squatting with their sailboats on unpatrolled ocean a little north of here and large scale art projects of various kind (waterpod, swale, ephemerisle – some of which I’ve participated in).

I don’t understand why the focus isn’t on peninsular outcropping from the land into the water? There’s a Marina on 5th Avenue in Oakland with a complicated history / they just seem to be hanging on, gentrification-wise, but I’m curious if it would be possible to just keep extending their dock.

I guess I’m also saying that I’m ignorant about the regulatory frameworks around the bay, and want to figure out how to investigate that more. Any advice? Other than going to these places, and talking to people?


The Tahiti Seastead convention
(Larry G) #2

Welcome! Why don’t you start a thread on your peninsula approach in SF Bay and take a moment to formulate your questions. Then it won’t get lost in clutter.


(.) #3

Welcome Saito Koriel;

I am glad you are here. The questions are right. There are lots of advices, but just kind of conversational ones.

“keep extending their dock” : may be yes. Could be a good idea. Plan ‘B’ is also needed, or not.

Anyways. More email.


(Matias Volco) #4

(saito_koriel) #5

a. wow, de-salination ships, is this a real thing? (some of the images look hypothetical at this point, but very interesting idea)
b. right, I’d heard the coastal comission is a pain in the ass; do you know anything about the people sail-boat squatting near R. Bay (don’t want to say the name here)? Seem like a lot of crypto-types…
c. and yes, I believe it was google X and they were actually thinking about making floating stores for Glass.


(saito_koriel) #6

Something else that occurs to me is that there are all those raft-ups in the bay, and maybe if people wanted to get experimental with it, they could try to push the boundary, in terms of how long they float together.


(Larry G) #7

The key to pushing boundaries would be to keep it really ethical from a safety and ecologically sound point of view.

Too many gray area raft ups and borderline illegal boating communities make themselves into a nuisance and a health and safety hazard with pollution and antisocial behavior. We had the homeless boat community here in Portland really causing problems for quite some time.

Context: the Oregon Marine Board requires sewage pump outs to be free. This ‘community’ of individuals regularly dumped raw sewage in the river and failed to maintain their boats enough to prevent sinking and common leaking of fuel and lubricants.

Since they failed/refused to register boats, it was difficult to hold anyone accountable for these negative externalities.


(Matias Volco) #8

most ocean going ships have very powerful diesel desalination units. Cargo ships calling ports back in the late 20th century would sometimes provide fresh water for free for the people in African ports - a veritable example of a floating mobile piece of infrastructure being orders of magnitude more economically feasible than land options.


(Larry G) #9

That’s a good point, although I would characterize the cost effectiveness as being in eking out a bit more benefit from an already sunk capital cost rather than being more cost effective than land-based. The investment in the ship was paid back by shipping cargo and would not have been cost effective to build a ship with the sole or even main purposes of providing water services ( least in the historic example). It might be possible to do more efficient mobile processing plants on floating platforms now, even water services.

Simply trading diesel burned for water desalinated is not a great solution by any measure.


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(saito_koriel) #13

Right, this makes sense. I wonder what the community is like in the bay over here; investigating.


(saito_koriel) #14

Digging this Ale Ekstrom short.


(saito_koriel) #15

http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/As-more-anchor-outs-live-on-SF-Bay-tension-11126968.php - I guess these are the richardson bay people I was referring to, reading about them now.

Just did, it seems to me that they are in an analogous position that the houseboat community was during the 70s (hope I’ve got my facts straight here); it seems to me that the city might reach out to provide some infrastructure, and the anchor-outs might have to give up some freedom, and a compromise will be reached. So, in a way, this is a further extension into the bay, and possibly an opportunity for someone entrepreneurial (not myself) to be a broker (I guess the party with money in this equation would be the city, not the anchor-outs; on the other hand, if you engaged in an advertising campaign on behalf of the anchor-outs, perhaps you would be able to lure more people out there, who collectively would have some - not much - cash).

All of this to me looks like proto-gulf-steading kind of activity.


(Larry G) #16

This is the kind of situation that causes concern and makes people want to eliminate the free-stylers. there are valid concerns on both sides. I don’t like the idea of intruding on people’s private desire to live quietly and cheaply on the water. If they don’t cause problems, it’s great. But the abandonment of responsibility is super frustrating.

At least enforcement of registration allows one to track who should be responsible for problems like this.


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(Larry G) #18

They still leak fuel and lubricants and antifreeze etc.


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(Larry G) #20

My point is that such communities need to start and maintain an attitude of self-policing if you want to not be policed by the police.