San Francisco

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San Francisco
Port of Entry
37°50.084'N, 122°25.610'W Chart icon.png
lat=37.83473 | lon=-122.42683 | zoom=11 | y
Foggy golden gate bridge.jpg
San Francisco Bay Sailing in the Fog with Commercial Traffic

San Francisco is located on the West Coast of the U.S. at the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula and includes significant stretches of the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay within its boundaries. Several islands — Alcatraz, Treasure Island, and the adjacent Yerba Buena Island and Treasure Island, and small portions of Alameda island, Red Rock Island, and Angel Island are part of the city. Also included are the uninhabited Farallon Islands, 27 miles (43 km) offshore in the Pacific Ocean. The mainland within the city limits roughly forms a "seven-by-seven-mile square", a common local colloquialism referring to the city's shape, though its total area, including water, is nearly 232 square miles (600 km2).


Chart Number - Chart Name
Chart Number - Chart Name
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San Francisco has a Mediterranean climate with dry summers, mild year-round temperatures and plenty of sunshine. Temperatures vary little throughout the year. The dry period of May to October is mild to warm, with average high temperatures of 64-70°F (17-21°C) and lows of 51-56°F (10-13°C). The rainy period of November to April is cool with high temperatures of 56-64°F (13-17°C) and lows of 46-51°F (7-10°C). On average, temperatures exceed 75°F (24°C) 28 days a year.[49]

The combination of cold ocean water and the high heat of the California mainland create the city's characteristic fog that can cover the western half of the city all day during the spring and early summer.

Summertime on San Francisco Bay brings with it extremely consistent afternoon winds from the West due to the thermal effect of the warm Central Valley. During the wintertime conditions are much more variable as Pacific storms sweep down from the Gulf of Alaska.

Sources for weather forecasts.




Add here VHF channel for coastguard, harbor masters. etc.

Also see World Cruiser's Nets


There are four approaches for small boats to the San Francisco Bay. To increase the safety of navigation, particularly in converging areas of high traffic density, routes incorporating traffic separation have been adopted by the IMO in certain areas of the world including the area off San Francisco. In the interest of safe navigation, it is recommended by the US Coast Guard (Coast Pilot 7) that through traffic use these schemes, as far as circumstances permit, by day and by night and in all weather conditions. Small boats must be aware of the traffic lanes which converge just outside of the Golden Gate. NOAA Charts 18649 and 18645 are useful in this area. Near the Golden Gate Bridge watch for close in tide rips. Watch for commercial traffic and be prepared for small boats, kite surfers and swimmers once past the Bridge.

  • South Approach. A calm weather approach may be made from the South by, once passing Half Moon Bay, maintaining a distance between 1.25 and 2 miles of land and turning to parallel the shipping lanes. Some mariners use the same approach but 5 miles off land until reaching a point to parallel the main shipping channel. Give a wide berth to Seal Rocks (37°47.564'N 122°30.65122°30.657'W) and Mile Rocks (37°47.564'N 122°30.657'W).
  • Main Channel. The safest approach if conditions over the semi-circular San Francisco Bar are rough. The Western entrance to the main shipping channel is well marked approximately 7 miles off land. Approaching the channel, sailboats must remember to avoid the commercial traffic in the Northen Traffic Lanes, Southern Traffic lanes, and Main Traffic Lanes. Consult NOAA charts for the locations of the traffic lanes. The entire main channel is well marked with aids to navigation. Once over the bar, sailboats can parallel the main channel rather than stay in it with the same cautions of the South Approach.
  • North Approach. From the North, sailboats passing Point Reyes may choose to stay to the North and East of the Northern Traffic Lanes and--in calm sea conditions--parallel the main shipping channel crossing over the Fourfathom Bank. If conditions over the bar are unsafe, sailboats can choose to enter along the main shipping channel.
  • Bonita Channel Approach. Another, sheltered, route for sailboats coming from the North is to approach the Bay via the Bonita Channel. The channel is well marked with aids to navigation, avoids the potential of rough seas while crossing the Fourfathom Bank. The Western entrance to the Bonita Channel is approximately 37°50.22'N 122°34.02'W. Keep a lookout for the Duxbury Reef which is well marked on the charts and with a lighted nav. aid.


For entrance details see United States.


Marinas & Yacht Clubs


  • Alameda Marina 510.521.1133 1815 Clement Ave., Alameda, CA 94501 The last marina in the Estuary, on the Alameda side, as you're coming in from the Bay. Just past the southern tip of Coast Guard Island.
  • Arques Shipyard & Marina 415.332.3552 2350 Marinship Way, Sausalito, CA 94965 Follow the channel north into Richardson Bay. Take the left fork in the channel and head toward the fuel dock at the south end of Clipper Yacht Harbor. Arques is on the left as approaching the fuel dock.
  • Ballena Isle Marina 510.523.5528 1150 Ballena Blvd., Suite 111, Alameda, CA 94501 Access directly from the Bay on the West side of the Ballena Island. Narrow entrance channel. [1]
  • Berkeley Marina 510.981.6740 201 University Ave., Berkeley, CA 94710 Very shallow access. [2]
  • Brickyard Cove Marina 510.236.1933 1120 Brickyard Cove Road, Point Richmond, CA 94801 Access via the channel between Point Richmond and the breakwater.
  • Brisbane Marina Phone: 650.583.6975 400 Sierra Pt. Pkwy., Brisbane, California 94005 At Sierra Point, access via channel to Oyster Cove.
  • Central Basin 510.834.4591 1853 Embarcadero Suite 2A, Oakland, CA 94606
  • Channel Marina 510.233.2246 230 W. Cutting Blvd., Richmond, CA 94804 At the end of the channel in the Richmond Harbor. [3]
  • Clipper Yacht Club 415.332.3500 310 Harbor Dr., Sausalito, CA 94965 [4]
  • Embarcadero Cove Marina 510.532.6683 31 Embarcadero Cove, Oakland, CA 94606
  • Emery Cove Yacht Harbor 510.428.0505 3300 Powell St., Emeryville, CA 94608 [5]
  • Emeryville Marina 510.654.3716 3310 Powell Street, Emeryville, CA 94608
  • Fifth Avenue Marina 510.834.9815 One Fifth Ave., Oakland, CA 94606
  • Fortman Marina 510.522.9080 1535 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda, CA 94501 [6] Home of the Alameda Yacht Club. From 1904 to 1929, this historic location was the southern home of the Alaska Packers Association ships, the last square-rigged sailing fleet on the west coast. The fleet was an important part of the Alaskan Salmon industry.
  • Grand Marina 510.865.1200 2099 Grand St., Alameda, CA 94501 [7]
  • Jack London Square Marina 510.834.4591 88 Jack London Square, Oakland, CA 94627
  • Marina Bay Yacht Harbor 510.236.1013 1340 Marina Way South, Richmond, CA 94804[8] Marina Bay Yacht Harbor is the farthest East of the Richmond boating facilities. Follow the dog-leg to the left as the channel heads toward the Richmond Inner Harbor, look for the marked channel on the right that leads to Marina Bay.
  • Marina Plaza Yacht Harbor 415.332.4723 2320 Marinship Way, #160, Sausalito, CA 94965
  • Marina Village Yacht Harbor 510.521.0905 1030 Marina Village Parkway, Alameda, CA 94501
  • Mariner Square 510.521.2727 2415 Mariner Square Drive, Alameda, CA 94501
  • Pelican Yacht Harbor 415.332.0723 P.O. Box 495, Sausalito, CA 94966
  • San Francisco Marina 415.831.6322 3950 Scott St., San Francisco, CA 94123 [9] The San Francisco Marina includes two separate areas, called the West Basin and the East Basin (also known as Gashouse Cove). The gas dock is in the East Basin, adjacent to Fort Mason. The West Basin, at the other end of Marina Green, is home to the St. Francis and Golden Gate Yacht Clubs. The West Basin is the closest marina to the Golden Gate; it is east of Chrissy Field. The East Basin is a few hundred yards to the east, and is easily identified by the large warehouse piers of Fort Mason on its east side.
  • Sausalito Yacht Harbor 415.332.5000 501 Humboldt Ave, Sausalito, CA 94965
  • Schoonmaker Point Marina 415.331.5550 85 Liberty Ship Way, #205, Sausalito, CA 94965 [10] Access: North in the Sausalito channel. After passing the Sausalito and Pelican Yacht Harbors, stay in the channel as the shoreline veers away to the left. The channel approaches the shoreline again at Schoonmaker Point, making the marina easy to identify.
  • South Beach Harbor 415.495.4911 The Embarcadero at Pier 40, San Francisco, CA 94107 [11]
  • Treasure Isle Marina 415.981.2416 1 Clipper Cove Way, Treasure Island, CA 94130 [12] To access the marina, enter Clipper Cove from the east side of Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands (the cove is formed by the space between them).


List details of all safe anchorages in the area.

  • China Camp - located to the Northeast of San Francisco Bay as you enter San Pablo Bay. Just north of the Brothers (two islands) on the west side of the open water. Depth will range between 4 and 20 feet depending on where you anchor. The anchorage is protected by the wind from the West and is a pleasant stay.
  • Clipper Cove - located on the south east end of Treasure Island between it and Yerba Buena. This anchorage is well sheltered, and is centrally located. Landfall can be made either at the beach or at the Treasure Island Marina. From there both San Francisco and Oakland can be reached via public transit. There are, however, very few amenities on the island itself.
  • Richardson's Bay - this bay, north east of Sausalito is an open anchorage so long as you stay clear of the marked channel. Sausalito provides numerous marine services, grocery stores, hardware stores, chandleries, and other amenities.
  • China Basin & Central Basin - this pair of anchorages located about a half-mile south of AT&T Park and the South Beach Marina are some of the closest to downtown San Francisco. however they tend to be surgey because of their exposure to passing boat traffic. They also offer limited points for making landfall.
  • Aquatic Park Cove - this anchorage managed by the National Park Service provides access to one of the city's most popular tourist attractions, Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf. The cove is open to sailing or non-motorized vessels only, permits are required for anchoring overnight, and permits are only offered for up to 5 consecutive days the time. While there are numerous restaurants, attractions, and other amenities available in this vibrant neighborhood, there are relatively few marine services.

Things to do ashore

List places of interest, tours, eateries, etc.

Marine stores

Submit addresses and contact details of marine related businesses that are of interest to cruisers.

  • Full Service and Boat Yards
    • KKMI (Sausalito)
    • Spaulding Wooden Boat Center (Sausalito)
    • KKMI (Richmond)
    • Bay Marine (Richmond)
    • Berkeley Marine Center (Berkeley)
  • Chandleries
    • West Marine (Sausalito)
    • West Marine (Oakland)
    • West Marine (South San Francisco)
    • West Marine (Alameda)


Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.


List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)



See United States.


We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit.

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