We have been Bay & Delta Yachtsman magazine subscribers for many years now. We really have enjoyed reading the articles you have written regarding the derelict and abandoned boats in the Delta, mainly in the region around Bethel Island and Holland Cut.
Would you be willing to write an article or investigate the issue of boats that have no CF numbers and do not have the current yearly tags (2018)? While cruising around in marinas such as Cruiser Haven, Holland Tract Marina and Lindquist Landing on Rock Slough we have seen quite a few of these boats without the proper tags.
Are these boats and floating homes required to pay the personal property taxes? If you can write something fine, just felt good spouting off about these issues.
Richard & Shirley Tonetti
Richard and Shirley,
The California Constitution provides that all tangible property is taxable unless it is otherwise exempted by the Constitution or by the legislature and vessels are not exempt. California does not differentiate between vessels registered with the DMV (CF numbers) and vessels that are documented with the Coast Guard. Both are subject to property taxation. Property taxes for boats are not collected through the registration fee as they are with motor vehicles.
It is common that come every January, the county sheriff requests the marinas provide a list of their berth renters and they check this against taxes paid. I have regularly seen the sheriff walking the docks at various marinas looking for owners that are trying to avoid the taxman. Taxes are billed, as of January 1st for the coming year, making the owner of the vessel at that time liable for the entire year’s tax. I have been told that insurance companies and lenders prefer to have the vessels federally documented rather than state registered and would expect newer and larger boats will not have the visible CF number.
Vessels that are documented with the U.S. Coast Guard do not have CF numbers but rather have the documentation number permanently marked on the inside of the vessel. As you travel around the marina one cannot assume that just because we do not see a CF number and a current registration sticker they might be a non compliant vessel in hiding. Most likely the vessel is documented. Interested in checking to see if they are current? Navigate to the USCG vessel documentation center and search by vessel name. https://usvesseldocu mentation.org/coast-guard-noaa-vessel-title-search/
Thank you for taking the time to write and for being a loyal reader of the magazine.
Read your article today and recall when those two ships, the Aurora and the Fir, were at Pier 38 for years with liveaboards pumping raw sewage in the Bay.
Now it seems that the pollution is even worse. Maybe a real job for BCDC or whatever other of the many regulatory agencies with jurisdiction on the Bay/Delta?
I remember that time as well. Same issue, different body of water.
I think the state is starting to take notice of the problem not only with the abandoned recreational boats but now with the commercial vessels. A few years back one of our State Assemblymembers introduced a bill that would authorize the use of recreational boater funds for the cleanup of commercial vessels. The Recreational Boaters of California, RBOC, opposed this bill and were successful in stopping it at the appropriations committee. The cost of cleaning up the Aurora or the Fir would exceed the available funds, funds that are generated by taxes and fees on recreational boats and are intended for the cleanup of recreational vessels.
Determining the legal ownership of these derelict vessels is easy. See my response above to the letter from Richard and Shirley. Interesting that our state representatives, claiming to be environmentally friendly, will stand by and let the vessels rot away and pollute the Bay and Delta.
Thank you for writing.
Thanks for the nice article about the Propeller Club. It is always good to see you. Also it was nice reading about my former neighbor and the goings on at Oyster Cove.
Joining the Women’s Propeller Club gives me another great reason to get out and enjoy your excellent company!
I don’t know if you have seen it, but on 01/26/18 there was a front page article in the San Francisco Chronicle about a proposal by PG&E to phase out the East Harbor Marina in San Francisco. There is pollution in that area going back to an old coal gas plant dating to the early part of the 1900’s. PG&E could save money if the marina was gone rather than remove the pollution and then replace everything as it is now.
The article did a good job of highlighting the loss this would mean for the boaters who rent slips in this marina. But it didn’t really touch on what is probably a more important issue to boaters all around the Bay Area. That would be the loss of City Yachts who also run the fuel dock in Gas House Cove. This is a family run business started in 1969 that provides a very valuable service to boaters. It is the only fuel dock in San Francisco that caters to recreational boaters. There is another fuel dock around Fisherman’s Wharf, but it only sells diesel and caters to work boats, fishing boats, tugs, etc., vessels buying hundreds if not thousands of gallons at a time. They don’t really want to see recreational boats buying small amounts of diesel.
Because of tightening pollution regulations and the high cost of insurance to cover a spill, fuel docks have been going out of business in the Bay Area. Going down the west side of the Bay, besides City Yachts, the next fuel dock is at Oyster Point Marina, then one at Coyote Point Marina. I believe there still may be a fuel dock up in Richardson’s Bay and then Berkeley and Emeryville, then Jack London Square and finally there was one at the San Leandro Marina, but you risked running aground in there.
City Yachts is a family run operation with a mother, daughter and husband of another daughter. I don’t know if you have ever bought fuel there, but they are very friendly and helpful and provide a very valuable service. Coast Guard Station Golden Gate actually has keys to the fuel pumps so they can come in and fuel up during the middle of the night if they are running a SAR case and need more fuel or to get fuel at any other time the fuel dock is not open. City Yachts provided fuel to the America’s Cup team’s chase boats and during Fleet Week they fuel up all the Coast Guard vessels and then all the law enforcement vessels that come to help out from most of the sheriff’s departments, police departments and fire departments from around the bay and up into the Delta. I have been buying fuel there for my boat almost weekly for around 19 years.
A mention of this proposal and the impact it would have on local boaters in your “About the Bay” column might spur others to speak up to defend this local family run business providing a vital service for boaters around the bay area. There is the perception that PG&E gets what it wants via back room deals at the state Public Utilities Commission or by making political donations to those who will be making decisions. The public needs to step up and fight for what benefits it rather than what is good for PG&E.
In case you are not familiar with City Yachts their contact information is: www.citysf.com 415/467.8880.
By the way, I have a wall calendar from the Save the Bay environmental group. I was going to turn the page from January to February when I noticed the photo for January. It was taken by Mike Oria and called Day Break from Clipper Cove, San Francisco. There are a number of boats anchored in the cove and it sure looks to me like one of the ones towards the front might be your vessel Dancing Dragon. I subscribe to Bay & Delta Yachtsman so have seen photos of your vessel and I keep my boat at Brisbane so also see it anchored out off the fishing pier at times. If you don’t happen to have a Save the Bay calendar, maybe see if any of your friends do and check out the photo for January.
Vessel Silver Charm,
Thank you for this very thoughtful letter. Any time boaters lose another facility for fueling, pumping out or berthing is cause for alarm. This sounds like a battle that our Recreational Boaters of California needs to be involved in. Taking on a giant entity like PG&E is best done with a big dog by your side.
My Save the Bay calendar has vanished so I cannot confirm if Dancing Dragon is the floating vessel in Clipper Cove or not.