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As tides turn, anchor-outs reach for a way off the bay

Updated: Mar 25

Richardson Bay anchor-out Arthur Bruce, seen on his 1963 Cheoy Lee Bermuda on March 11, shares custody of his 5-year-old daughter. She lives part time with him on his boat, and at one point they lived together at a homeless encampment in Sausalito. He’s now seeking onshore housing through a local voucher program. (Clara Lu / For The Ark)

Many say they never wanted it. One man said he took it only because there was a “gun to our heads.” But after years of fighting to stay on their boats, Richardson Bay anchor-outs are reluctantly accepting the government’s offer of housing onshore.


Boat dwellers on the bay between Belvedere and Sausalito say they are aware of the Richardson Bay Regional Agency’s Oct. 15 deadline to clear the anchorage, and while suspicious at first, many are lining up to participate in the agency’s housing-voucher program, which offers them subsidized rent onshore for one year.


“I fought it as long as I could,” says Arthur Bruce, who lives on a boat with his 5-year-old, Madeline. “But I’m looking at being homeless with my daughter. I did it for her.”


Bruce is one of many anchor-outs who vowed never to leave the anchorage, staging protests and filing lawsuits to try to keep the agency from removing their boats by force.


But as their numbers dwindle through attrition, storms and seizures, many anchor-outs have come to accept that their days on the anchorage are numbered.


“Most of the people like me who said they didn’t want this deal have taken it,” Bruce says.

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