Mysterious boat runs aground at Berkeley Marina

Sequoia, a couple days after it ran aground at the Berkeley Marina. Photo: Cindy Warner/EvilleEye.com reporter

Update, Thursday, Aug. 23: The East Bay Regional Park District said the boat that ran aground at the Berkeley Marina in early August could finally be cleaned up next week.

Law enforcement “tried to get in touch with the owners, and figure out who the current owner is,” but was unsuccessful, said spokesman Dave Mason.

The U.S. Coast Guard handed the project over to the park district once inspectors determined it was not an environment hazard, according to Sector San Francisco spokeswoman Rachel Thomas.

The boat, Sequoia, has sat, tied to the rocks and halfway in the bay, for more than two weeks now. It now sports a large graffiti design on one side.


“It’s actually considered marine debris now,” Mason said. “We’re working to get it taken away. Hopefully next week a salvage company will come.”  

Some concerned observers will be relieved when that happens.

“I cycle to work past the abandoned Sequoia several times a week, and it seems to me that her condition is worsening,” said David Mostardi in an email. “She’s listing farther to starboard, presumably because water is seeping into the hold, and I imagine it’s only a matter of time before she capsizes.”

Sequoia has earned the attention of marina-goers — and taggers — during the two weeks since it ran aground. Photo (cropped): David Mostardi

Original story, Aug. 8: A boat that apparently ran aground at the Berkeley Marina has sat sticking partially out of the San Francisco Bay for two days, leaving many waterfront visitors curious.

The blue-and-white cabin cruiser had likely been anchored in the bay, and slid up onto the rocks along West Frontage Road, across from Aquatic Park, when the anchor slipped, authorities said. The boat, named Sequoia, is now secured to the rocks with some rope.

Assistant Berkeley Fire Chief Keith May, department spokesman, said crews responded Tuesday to a report around 7 p.m. of “a boat overturned with people trapped under it.”

But when firefighters arrived, they “found an empty boat, with no fluid leaking.” The vessel had been on the rocks since Monday night, a day before crews got the call, May said.


Cindy Warner, who covers the Emeryville Marina for the E’Ville Eye, checked out the scene Tuesday afternoon and found various personal items, including a holding tank, a coffee cup and a charger cord, up on the rocks.

“My guess is the passengers just walked off,” she said. (Watch her video of the boat below.)

The U.S. Coast Guard is attempting to identify and contact the owners, who will be responsible for removing the boat and detritus, said 11th District spokeswoman Sarah Wilson. The boat does not show up in the Coast Guard’s directory of registered boats, but that doesn’t mean the vessel is not registered in California, as the system is not comprehensive, said Wilson. The Department of Motor Vehicles could not release information about registered boats by press time.

Coast Guard Sector San Francisco sent inspectors out to check for pollution and found nothing leaking, Wilson said.

“It isn’t currently considered a hazard,” she said. The Coast Guard identified the boat as a 40-foot cabin cruiser.

A frequent Emeryville boater, who asked not to be named, said he has been aware of the boat for several weeks, and once talked to people who appeared to be the owners.


He originally came in contact with the pair about a month ago at Clipper Cove, which stretches between Yerba Buena Island and Treasure Island. They asked him for help with battery issues.

“I got the impression that they weren’t really boaters,” he said. “They weren’t in immediate danger but they didn’t have the dinghy to get ashore.”

Shortly after that, the boat showed up docked at the Berkeley Marina, by the former Hs Lordships restaurant, the Emeryville boater said. It sat there for about a week, which is very unusual, and he never saw anybody on it. The boater said the vessel lacked some mandated features, like a 360-degree, bright white anchor light.

The boat is a Grand Banks, which does not come in a 40-foot length, he said.

“Those kinds of boats tend to come down from the Delta, where it’s easier to have that kind of boat. The Bay is pretty dangerous. It can get crazy windy,” he said.

Several readers contacted Berkeleyside with questions about the boat, which some spotted while biking or driving nearby.

“There is a rather large boat up against the rocks/on its side along Frontage,” said Laura Jean on Twitter. “I saw it floating further out last night and thought it was weird, as I never see boats that close!”

May said the Berkeley harbormaster is aware of the situation. The city of Berkeley did not respond to requests for information.