Houseboat stranded in Bay no longer funny


At first, the houseboat found abandoned in India Basin three months ago attracted chuckles.

Nearby residents suggested it should be entered in the America’s Cup, donated to charity or made a part of the Fourth of July celebration.

Now, residents, waterfront advocates and officials all just want it gone.

Andrea Bruss, an aide to Supervisor Malia Cohen, told Bayview Footprints that her office has been busy untangling jurisdiction over the water-logged houseboat, including the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Coast Guard, SFPD, Recreation and Parks Department, the Port of San Francisco and the owner of the abandoned property.

What started as officials trying to get the owner to take back their haul became a bureaucratic battle.

The Port conducted an investigation when it appeared as if the vessel was sinking. It concluded that the owner set the anchors improperly, which could result in permanent grounding, according to Bruss:

“The owner has been informed that the City believes he is attempting to cause intentional environmental damage by sinking his vessel.”

India Basin Neighborhood Coalition leader Michael Hamman — who has a prime view of the blighted vessel from his home — told Bayview Footprints:

“The neighbors out here all wonder if this situation would be allowed to exist in the Marina?”

Unfortunately, this kind of houseboat dumping isn’t an isolated issue. Along the Delta from Redding to San Jose, marinas house dozens of similar abandoned vessels.

Sometimes the culprit is sentimentality gone awry. Houseboat owners want a cool place to live, at peace along the water. But that isn’t cheap.

Boats are also difficult to dismantle and dispose of. Unlike cars, which are made of metal that can be used and taken apart easily, boats are usually made of plastic or treated wood.

It gets worse if the boat actually sinks. Once a vessel is lodged in the mud underwater, simply pulling it up is easier said than done. Pulling it will in fact just break the boat apart piece by piece.

Cohen’s office estimates removal costs at about $20,000. But if the houseboat sinks, the price could run into six figures, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

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