Owner of Perfection Marine Yacht Sales
I am an engineer/scientist by trade. Before
I started selling boats full time, I worked at Lawrence
Livermore Laboratory for 18 years, then for EG&G Ė a
company that supported Lawrence Laboratory. Iím an Oakland
native and have worked on the Estuary about 30 years. I
started out swimming in the Estuary, building rafts and little
boats and that sort of thing. Iíve been a boater all my
Itís a nice fit to make a living at what I
like doing. When the weather is nice, Iím usually out three
days a week. Iíll take a friend, a bottle of wine and some
sandwiches and go out to look at the Golden Gate. Once a month
I do cruises with the Alameda Yacht Club. Itís a small club,
a good group of people Ė all boaters. Itís all volunteer.
We donít hire bartenders and cooks. Everyone jumps in and
does what they can. For $7 you get a really nice dinner with
dessert and the whole works. Thatís pretty hard to beat.
boats of the kind that irk Xaiver
At Perfection Marine, we sell both new and
used boats - power and sailboats ranging from $8,000 to
$650,000. There has been a big decline since the dot-com bust,
especially in the larger sailboats. Although business hasnít
been as good as it could be since September 11th, it is
picking back up and itís steady. Right now I represent about
60 boat owners. To sell a lot of boats, I advertise in three
publications and have two web sites on Yacht World. Although
most buyers are previous boat owners, maybe 10 percent are
first time buyers. We stick with them. I donít let them get
away until I know they can drive the boat. I hook them up with
the Coast Guard Auxiliary so they can take some classes.
One of my issues is abandoned vessels. There
are people who have boats and donít have the funds to take
care of the boat in the proper way. They probably donít have
the funds to get into a marina, so theyíll go ďanchor outĒ
somewhere Ė come up to a location, drop their hook and thatís
all that holds the boat in that particular place. If the boat
is no longer operational or they leave the area, the boat is
just left there. Then it becomes a hazard to navigation
because youíre not going to find it at night. If it sinks,
you have a big problem.
I donít know if youíve gone over to
Richardson Bay at night. There are no lights or anything.
Sometimes the waterways get blocked so you canít get
through. I think theyíre setting themselves up for foul
play, because if they leave the boats, somebody will come out
and either steal from them or cause a problem on the boat. In
San Diego Harbor about two years ago, there were so many boats
anchored out in the harbor that you could literally walk from
boat to boat. San Diego finally decided to clean them all out.
Now you can go in there and stay. They donít have a permit;
you just go register and say, ďIím going to Mexico and I
might be here for six months, looking at San Diego,Ē and
thatís fine. I think we should have that here.
If someone decides to have a lifestyle where
they like to live on the water and they do everything
properly, I donít think there should be a stumbling block
for them. As long as boats are maintained and meet the legal
requirements, I donít see any problem at all. The ones who
donít meet the legal requirements, thereís the problem. If
their sanitation system isnít functioning and theyíre
pumping overboard, then it becomes a hazard Ė a pollutant.
In some areas it is permissible to throw your hook out and
stay there because thatís federal law in certain areas. Itís
marked on the charts. But your boat needs to be safe. It needs
to have a good sanitation system and be self-sufficient. If a
person follows all those things and it isnít in an area
where theyíre a hazard to navigation, then there shouldnít
be any problem with it. The problem is when someone walks away
from one and abandons it Ė thatís when it becomes a
No one has the official responsibility for
the derelict boats. In all the other counties in the State of
California, the Sheriffís Department patrols the waterways.
But theyíre not funded to do that, so theyíre not going to
bother with it until they get funded to do it. And I can see
their point. If they have too much to do and not enough people
to do it, then they donít need to be messing around with
something theyíre not funded for.
Oakland has a boat they inherited from the
Coast Guard or NavyÖa work boat with a flat deck on it. If
not driven properly, it puts up a big wake. They donít have
really experienced people to man the boat. They man it with
people who want to work some overtime on a weekend, and the
people who are driving the boat donít really understand
boats. Theyíve had a little bit of instruction. On the
Alameda side, theyíve got a boat thatís more adept, but
they only man that on weekends if there is somebody available.
Itís not like thereís a line down the middle of the
Estuary where one city patrols one side and one the other.
It seems to me that when these local patrols
are out, theyíre not looking for the right thing. They will
go out where thereís somebody coming by and they donít
have a new sticker on their registration. Theyíll pull this
guy over and spend a lot of timeÖ but thereíll be some guy
that comes through with a big wake, and they ignore him
because they think heís going slow, and they need to do more
of that. That said, itís a lot better than it was. I think
people are more aware. I think the law enforcement agencies
are monitoring stuff a lot closer than they used to.
No one really has the funding to deal with
these things. Past a certain point on the Estuary, itís not
dredged or maintained at all. If you know where to go, youíll
have 5-6 feet of water, otherwise you donít. I think the
county and the state have lost a good resource. If you could
come under the Bay Farm Island Bridge, it would be a quick
shot to bring freight boats from the San Francisco Airport to
the Oakland Airport, and get some trucks off the road.