A small-craft facility on the bay can make hull and engine repairs and is equipped with a travel lift and a crane, each capable of handling craft up to 15 tons. Long piers used by sport fishermen extend out into the bay at several places. Berths with electricity, gasoline, water, ice, winter boat storage, marine supplies, and launching ramps are available.
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Tomales Bay enters the S part of Bodega Bay E of Tomales Point, and extends SE for 12 miles with an average width of 0.5 mile. The channel with depths of 3 to over 10 feet is marked by buoys and daybeacons for about 4 miles to deeper water inside the bay. The shoals and channels within the bay are subject to continual change, local knowledge is advised. An unmarked rock covered 10 feet is near the center of the bay, 0.8 mile SE of Pelican Point in about 38°10’47″N., 122°55’08″W. In 2006, a partially submerged metal pipe was reported near the entrance to Tomales Bay in about 38°14’21″N., 122°59’09″W. Mariners are advised to transit the area with caution.
The entrance bar is dangerous and should not be attempted by strangers. A 6-knot current may be encountered on a spring tide at the entrance to the bay. The shallow area on the entrance bar frequently becomes rough, and it is reported that the sudden appearance of breakers in a calm sea is common. Because such waves appear with little warning, they are called sneaker waves. These waves occur primarily during the ebb tide, but the entire bar area can become rough owing to strong afternoon winds. Boatmen should plan to leave the area before the tide turns or be prepared to remain outside until the rough water subsides, or to go to another harbor such as Bodega.
Tomales Bay is part of the Point Reyes/Farallon Islands National Marine Sanctuary.