Rules aim to curb “anchor-outs”

Regulations target extended stays on live-aboard boats

Sailing or motor-boating to China Camp can be magical—even better if you drop anchor and spend the night offshore. While short-term stays by responsible boaters are welcome, some individuals have abused the privilege, staying put in their boats for months—even years. 

Known as “anchor-outs,” these boats have proven to be a real headache for Friends of China Camp. Problems include trash and pollution in the bay and on shore, and concerns about damage and theft at the village.

Drafting regulations to curb long-term stays

Several months ago, FOCC Executive Director Lowenstein, along with FOCC Board Member John Muir, began to address the problem of boats permanently anchoring offshore from the park in so-called “boundary waters.” Working with the Bay Area District Office of California State Parks, new language was drafted to address the anchor-outs that stay put 24/7. 

Last September, District Superintendent Maria Mowrey issued an order laying out the rules for “Boundary Water Use in China Camp State Park.” Key points include the following:

  • A person may operate, moor, or anchor a boat, vessel, or watercraft during nighttime closure hours within the boundary waters of China Camp State Park only with written permission from California State Parks or its designated contractor (which, in this case, is Friends of China Camp).
  • When an individual receives permission to stay overnight, time limits for boundary water use within the park shall be limited to 72 hours. A 96-hour break is required between overnight visits. A maximum of 30 nights may be permitted per calendar year.

This important new language helps FOCC have specific, enforceable rules to help prevent dangerous and destructive anchor-outs, while still allowing law-abiding boat owners to enjoy short stays at the park. Steps for enforcing the new rules now need to be implemented, all with the goal of keeping the park and its boundary waters safer and cleaner for all.—by FOCC Executive Director Martin Lowenstein