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Anchoring in Oakland Estuary (above) is prohibited.

Authories in Oakland, California, rounded up some old boats that were anchored in Oakland Estuary earlier this year and crushed them. It is illegal to anchor anywhere in the estuary, they said, and the boat owners in question were given 30 days notice before the sweep. Now there's a lawsuit against the city and its officials.

This is yet another example of issues raised by anchored boats: Which are derelict and which are merely old? When is okay to seize and destroy them?

The two boat owners that sued the city are Katherine De la Riva, 41, and  William Allan, 73. De la Riva and Allan say that authorities did give them an opportunity, as required by law, to contest the seizure or to collect their belongings from the boats once they were seized, according to the Sept. 26 complaint. 

Both say they are now homeless and have lost all their possessions.


The lawsuit names the city of Oakland, two individual police officers and Sean Alexander Marine Services—the company the city allegedly contracted to destroy the boats—as defendants. This article represents the plaintiffs' side of the story. The defendants have not yet filed a response to the complaint, but their point of view is represented in this news article. 

This YouTube video from October 2016 depicts "homelessness on boats" in the Oakland Estuary, but there's no reason to believe the video depicts any of the boats seized this year. You can pretty much stop watching after the first minute.