New marina fulfills local boater’s dream

A new marina will open its gates in January, becoming the first recreational-boating center to open in the city in decades.

West Point Marina, behind the Pacific Shores Center at the end of Seaport Boulevard, looks across West Point Slough to the federally protected shores of Greco Island.

By transforming the 26-acre plot — which once housed bittern ponds left over from salt harvesting — into a marina, owner Mark Sanders has cleaned a toxic site and made the Bay a little bigger, Redwood City planner Charles Jany said.

Sanders first approached Redwood City about opening a new marina in 1998, and after years of red tape, he plans to berth West Point Marina’s first boats in the 400-slip harbor sometime after the New Year.

However, Sanders’ dream is much older than that; he got a taste of boating life at Pete’s Harbor, the 50-year-old marina founded by the late Pete Uccelli. “He had a boat here for many years, and he used to follow Pete around and say, ‘When I grow up, I want to be like you,’” said Paula Uccelli, Pete’s widow.

Sanders began working toward creating his marina 20 years ago, raising money and obtaining permits while working in the high-tech industry. Construction began in 2002.

After a heyday in the early 20th century, “boating in the South Bay has been dying,” Sanders said. “The cost of dredging is astronomical, and there are few locations for a marina.”

Pete’s Harbor is one of the oldest functioning Redwood City marinas; its 260-slip bay has provided storage and amenities to recreational boaters since the mid-50s.

The Port of Redwood City’s municipal marina offers one of the only public boat-launch ramps in the South Bay, said Bob Diamond of Spinnaker Sailing, which manages the port’s marina.

Unlike Pete’s and the Port, West Point will offer 15 percent of its slips to people with live-aboard boats, Jany said. In addition, it offers a fully self-contained sewage pump-out system to prevent boaters from dumping waste into the Bay.

Marina operators said they are glad to have Sanders in the fold.

“His marina starts at 40-foot slips, while we end at 40 feet,” Diamond said. “There’s a nice mesh there.”

Uccelli agreed. “It will be an absolute asset to the marina community because he wants to do something beautiful,” she said.

Pricing among the three marinas is also close in range, with the low end of the range at the Port of Redwood, costing $6 per foot of the boat per month. The high end of the spectrum is $11 per foot per month at the West Point Marina.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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