Commuting by Boat

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Commute from Oakland to Redwood City by boat?

March 2015

I'm seriously considering switching my cross-bay commute from bridge to boat! It seems perfectly do-able, but I'm not a yachter. What would be the minimum size/cost sports power boat that would be safe for skimming across the Bay on all but the worst winter storm days? I'm thinking anything less than a 24' rigid hull boat wouldn't be safe/reliable. (i.e. no RIBs, no dingies, no sports inflatables.) Is it reasonable to think that side-tie berths at marinas in oakland and Redwood City would work? i.e. have to pay for a berth on each side. What about theft at the marinas? It seems to me that outboard motors are routinely lifted from boats sitting at marinas. Our family would use the boat on weekends in the summer, so it wouldn't be only a commuter thing.

Other considerations? boatmmuter

Oh I had this fantasy once too! I thought a nice Boston whaler with an outboard would get me skimming free as a bird across the Bay to work, but really, it's just a fantasy. Even if you are a very experienced mariner, the San Francisco Bay is known as an unpredictable and dangerous body of water. Even if skimming your own small boat across the bay were a relatively low risk way of commuting (and it is not, it is very high risk), it would be uncomfortable - wet, cold, pounding, and windy EVERY DAMN MORNING AND EVENING. It would be physically exhausting. Finally, I think to do this would require a (water) pilot's licence of some sort. Your route is on a major industrial waterway - meaning you would be crossing major shipping lines. A small boat crossing or sharing a shipping lane with a supertanker/container ship is like a very old and very slow mouse sharing I-5 with an 18 wheeler driven by a blind meth head. Take the bus or Amtrak. sara