LET’S BE CLEAR: the colorful homes we see dotting the docks of Sausalito are not houseboats; they’re floating homes. The difference? Floating homes have no motors, and if they are to move, they
need to be towed. Since the 1880s Richardson
Bay has been home to people living on the
water on most anything that floats. Today
there are about 500 floating homes off nine
different docks (Issaquah, Liberty, Kappas
East and West piers, South Forty, A, 6 ½,
Main and Yellow Ferry). Since the 1960s when
the docks were established, the floating home
community has attracted those seeking a less
conventional way of life.
Throughout local history, creative types
and free spirits have settled this area, and
these days, from size to cost to the people who
live in them, the homes are as varied as their
hues. While several quaint residences measure
around 300 square feet, the Dragon Boat swallows them whole at a whopping 4,000 square
feet — a size that easily rivals modest mansions.
The most expensive home sale? That would
be $1,795,000. The most affordable recent
purchase was a more attainable $300,000.
Owner-to-renter ratio hovers at about 70
percent, although that varies by dock — as do
monthly rents. The range is rather broad, from
$800 to $1,400.
Though these aren’t traditional homes, the
inhabitants certainly aren’t roughing it, and the
work being done at Gate 6 to upgrade the parking lot speaks to the creature comforts that are
out here to enjoy. It seems the people who call
these docks home really get to have it all, so we
set out to photograph residents and their digs
in order to learn more about the floating life. If
you want to visit the homes for yourself, be sure
to check out this year’s Floating Homes Tour
on September 12.
PHOTOS BY JOSEPH SCHELL
floating homes are rich in
history and character and
still offer an alternative
lifestyle for residents.