US Army Corps of Engineers
San Francisco District

You Can Help

The hazard removal program is concerned primarily with commercial navigation, but pleasure boaters share the benefits of a hazard-free bay.

Report floating hazards when you see them, by calling us with the following information:

  • Your Name
  • Phone Number
  • Exact Location and Type of Debris Hazard
  • Time-of-Day When the Hazard Was Sighted
  • Direction of Movement of the Hazard

Operations

(415) 289-3000              

Debris Removal Vessels    

(415) 699-1482 M/V Raccoon

(415) 553-0794 M/V Dillard      

San Francisco Bay Hazard Removal Program

An Early Challenge

Floating hazards from rotting piers, sunken vessels and storm-tossed debris have always made navigation on San Francisco Bay difficult and caused many accidents.

Despite the danger to shipping, it was a seaplane crash into the bay that ultimately led to the authorization of a hazard removal program.

In June 1942, Admiral Chester Nimitz, recently appointed Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, was on his way from Hawaii to Washington D.C. via San Francisco. While landing in San Francisco Bay, his seaplane struck floating debris. The bottom of the aircraft was ripped open and it capsized. Admiral Nimitz was able to scramble to safety without serious injury, but the pilot was killed.

Shortly after that incident, the Chief of Engineers directed the Corps’ San Francisco District to begin a hazard collection program in San Francisco Bay, a mission which continues to this day.

Early efforts were cumbersome, but effective. During World War II, small tugs with crews of both civilian and Navy enlisted men patrolled bay waters daily collecting floating hazards and towing them to a disposal site at the Alameda Naval Air Station.


Safe Passage for Everyone

Today, the San Francisco District’s floating debris hazard collection boats, "Raccoon", and "Grizzly" work out of the District’s Sausalito Base Yard facility. They range far and wide patrolling for debris in bay waters, removing about 90 tons a month. The boats are World War II vintage, converted aircraft recovery vessels and they have been modified to meet their hazard collection mission.