Respect Bodega Bay – washing boats and growing shellfish at Spud Point Marina

Click the words above “Respect Bodega Bay – growing shellfish at Spud Point Marina???” to see this entire post.

California has between 840 and 3,400 miles of coastline, depending on how you calculate it.

Point Reyes Seashore and Tomales Bay keep me plenty busy with places to remove the trash we humans cover the planet with.

Crab gear makes up a large percentage of what I find on the beaches of Point Reyes. Based on the orange tags attached to the crab pots, it is easy to determine the ports of call for the boats losing the gear I find all over our local beaches.

Bodega Bay, San Francisco and Half Moon Bay are the top three ports in this area.

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Commercial crab trap tags. Recognize anyone you know? I do.

Commercial crab trap tags. Recognize anyone you know? I do.

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The past couple of years I’ve been visiting Spud Point and Porto Bodega Marinas within Bodega Bay, to have a look around and see what I can learn about the businesses that leave such a mess on our beaches.

Last year I witnessed boats being sanded with electric sanders as they sat in the water. No effort whatsoever being made to contain the paint and wood dust dropping into the water. I also saw boats being painted, as they sat in the water.

The very same water where seed oysters are grown for human consumption by the hundreds of thousands. Few people are likely aware that a local business operates two “floating-upwelling systems” or flupsy tanks to raise seed oysters at the docks of Spud Point Marina. These systems pump the soap & oil contaminated marina water up through the oysters to keep them oxygenated. Once they grow large enough to be placed in grow-out bags, these oysters are then relocated to Tomales Bay to grow to market size.

A couple weeks ago, I happened to be at Spud Point enjoying pastries & coffee from Tomales Bakery on the bench overlooking the marina. Nearby, fishermen were washing their boats with soapy water and brushes with huge amounts of bubbles all over the marina. I wondered how often this happens?

The amount of soap being dumped into the bay by one boat in particular was shocking.

soap suds at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

soap suds at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Later I contacted the harbor master and asked about this activity in the water, especially given that shellfish for human consumption were being grown in the very same water nearby.

A few days later, I was told by the Sonoma County Parks people:

“I like to recommend our customers use “A boat soap” which is intended to be less harmful to the environment and only then in quantizes [sic] needed. The fishermen always seem to use dish soap while the recreational boater is more likely to use the boat soap to clean their vessel and equipment (In my opinion this has more to do with price.) [Hmmm, I wonder what price to put on the damage being done to the very environment these fishermen depend on?] After double checking with the United State Coast Guard Sector SF and their Pollution Response Team I did confirm again today using dish soap to clean their vessel and fishing equipment is an acceptable practice.

I find this quite disturbing. What do you readers think?

I’ve asked about why there is no hoist at this very busy marina. A hoist to haul boats out of the bay for needed repairs in an environmentally sensitive way.

I was told the following by the Sonoma County Parks people:

“It was removed well over a dozen years ago when the “haul out” contractor closed down their business. Analysis at that time indicated that there was not enough demand to make it a going concern. A haul out dock needs dry land space to work on boats and the property across the street (that had been used in the past) is too expensive to rent. We have been told by the previous contractor that the real problem is a lack of affordable dry land space to work on boats. Even if the land across the street was more affordable it would still require a significant investment (250,000) in the haul out equipment.”

Seems like a viable fishery needs this critical infrastructure to support wise, environmentally conscious boat maintenance.

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Here are some images from that day, showing the suds in the water.

Followed by images of the same marina, Spud Point, showing the fuel/oil coating the surface of the bay.

The same bay thousands of animals call home.

The same bay being used to grow oysters for human consumption.

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As always, click on an image to see a larger version.

Washing down the boat at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Washing down the boat at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Washing down the boat at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Washing down the boat at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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soap suds at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

soap suds at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Washing down the boat at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Washing down the boat at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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soap suds at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

soap suds at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Washing down the boat at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Washing down the boat at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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soap suds at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

soap suds at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Washing down the deck at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Washing down the deck at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Washing down the deck at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Washing down the deck at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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soap suds at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

soap suds at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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soap suds at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

soap suds at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Here are images of the water surface, showing the colorful sheen left by oil & fuel.

There are lots of things I don’t know about growing oysters.

Maybe soap and fuel are exactly what oysters need to thrive…

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As always, click on an image to see a larger version.

Oily sheen on the water at Spud Point Marina,  Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Oily sheen on the water at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Oily sheen on the water at Spud Point Marina,  Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Oily sheen on the water at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Oily sheen on the water at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Oily sheen on the water at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Oily sheen on the water at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Oily sheen on the water at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Oily sheen on the water at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Oily sheen on the water at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Oily sheen on the water at Spud Point Marina,  Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Oily sheen on the water at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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3 thoughts on “Respect Bodega Bay – washing boats and growing shellfish at Spud Point Marina

  1. I see this and worse not only here in Bodega Bay but also Sausalito and up the coast as well. People don’t realize it’s not just one boat, it’s this boat times a thousand, ten thousand and beyond . . . I keep hearing about how much the fisherman care about the environment but that’s not what I see . . . the fisherman who are doing the right thing need to police their own. Stop others from fouling up the water tainting and killing their very livelihoods . . .

    Thanks for keeping us informed Richard . . .

  2. Great idea and interest with your article. I appreciate your concern for the environment and especially Bodega Bay of which I love and care very much about.

    What I don’t like is how you are singleing out fisherman. Another endangered species.. I have only one question. After referencing your inquiry with the US Coast guard, Why is this article casting a dark shadow on fisherman for participating in something that is legal?? What about the soap that you use on a daily basis to wash your ass?? Where the heck do you think those bubbles go?? How about washing the shiny rims on your Tesla or its “lithium” batteries. Where does that soap go or those spent batteries???

    You are barking up the wrong tree!! Write your congressmen. Don’t chastise fellow man with this cowardly article when those involved are behaving well within their legal bounds. Did you ever consider actively intervening?? Or is that too difficult for you? I am sure taking all of these photos and typing out your blog is easier for you!!

    True action is immediate intervention. Not post judgement. People with your lack of fortitude are part of the problem. Certainly not the solution. It is clear your motive is celebrity, judgement, blame, and division not environment….

    Grow up and grow some….

    • Hi Merrlin,

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

      I’ll try to answer your “one question”, as well as the others that seemed to have snuck in.

      1 Just because something is “legal” doesn’t mean it is wise to continue doing it.

      2 The soap in my shower goes into a septic system, which is not connected to my regfrigerator, nor my garden.

      3 Have no Tesla. My prius has nickel-metal hydride traction batteries, as well as a small lead acid battery. All are recycled, though likely in Mexico which has much looser environmental regulations than the US does. Something I am not happy about, I assure you.

      4 I approached the man in the orange slicker in the photos and asked him what kind of soap was being used. “Dish soap, it don’t hurt nothin.” was his response.
      That direct enough for you?

      5 The fisherman, like oyster growers (until recently) are doing things not helpful to the very environment they make a living from. The real culprit here is the regulators not doing their job. In the case of oysters, the FGC and DFW. Both agencies are improving, quite slowly, but they are getting better. In the case of Spud Point fishermen, one goal is to get the county to restore, not remove the needed infrastructure (a haul-out facility onsite for example) for a sustainable, healthy fishery to operate.

      My motive is a healthy planet.

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