Tomales Bay Mooring Program

The Commission, in partnership with the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, is administering the Tomales Bay Mooring Program. This page provides essential information for existing private mooring owners on Tomales Bay and those who are interested in installing a new mooring. The information here is provided for mooring lease applicants to ensure that moorings on Tomales Bay are in compliance with state and federal regulations.

The Commission is now accepting mooring lease applications from any party interested in applying for a mooring lease within the sovereign lands of Tomales Bay. All mooring lease applicants are required to submit a Commission mooring lease application, and provide all required additional information as outlined in the Tomales Bay Mooring Program Requirements. The total transition period for existing mooring owners to obtain or be in the process of applying for a Commission mooring lease is six months, ending on February 10, 2016. Without exception, all moorings must hold a valid lease or be in the process for obtaining a lease by February 10, 2016.


For additional information or to request a hard copy of the lease application, contact:

Public Land Manager
Nick Lavoie | 916.574.0452

Attention Current Mooring Owners:

If a green tag was placed on your mooring:

If you are applying for a mooring lease as a current mooring owner and have received a green tag on your mooring, the following documents are necessary to determine if you qualify for a lease:

If a yellow tag was placed on your mooring:

A yellow tag means that an existing mooring is located in an area prohibited by the criteria of the Tomales Bay Mooring Program. Do not attempt to remove this mooring as it could cause damage to sensitive habitat. The owner of this mooring must contact the Sanctuary representative listed on the yellow tag for further instructions.

Once yellow-tagged mooring owners determine a new location, the documents provided under the “green tag” section above should be used. To help owners of yellow-tagged moorings who are interested in applying for a mooring lease in a new location, we have designed an Interactive PDF Map that can show all the mooring criteria throughout Tomales Bay.


Private vessel moorings in Tomales Bay must meet all standards outlined in the Tomales Bay Mooring Program Requirements. It includes all criteria and requirements for private vessel moorings in Tomales Bay. This document should be used as the main source of information for potential Tomales Bay mooring lease applicants and mooring owners. Topics outlined in this document include:

  • An overview of the Mooring Program and the purpose and need for the Program
  • Information on the initial roll-out of the program and instructions for owners of existing unpermitted moorings
  • An explanation of Program applicability and exemptions
  • Commission Mooring Program lease requirements
  • Special conditions for Tomales Bay mooring leases
  • Mooring siting criteria and requirements for the location of moorings
  • Mooring tackle requirements
  • Mooring inspection and maintenance requirements
  • Information on the Commission mooring lease application process and information submittal requirements
  • Mooring installation and positioning
  • Provisions for termination of the Commission mooring lease, and
  • Compliance monitoring and enforcement

Mooring Lease Application Guide

The Commission administers the Tomales Bay Mooring Program to issue leases for individual moorings on public submerged lands within Tomales Bay. Without exceptions, all owners of private vessel moorings located on sovereign land within Tomales Bay are required to obtain a General Lease – Recreational Use from the Commission. This application packet contains instructions for boaters interested in applying for a Commission lease for a private mooring on Tomales Bay.

Instructions for applying:

  1. Download (or request a hardcopy) of the Commission Mooring Lease Application for State Lands within Tomales Bay.
  2. Download (or request a hardcopy) of the Tomales Bay Mooring Program Requirements document. All private moorings in Tomales Bay will need to comply with the policies and criteria in this document.
  3. Fill out the application completely and submit all of the required information with a non-refundable application processing fee of $25.00 and a minimum expense deposit of $1,200.00 to Commission staff**.
  4. If the lease application is approved by the Commission, the Lessee will have 90-days to have the mooring installed in the approved location by an approved Mooring Contractor. In addition to the installation, an approved Mooring Contractor must also complete all required future inspections and maintenance. Installation and inspection instructions as well as an up to date list of approved contractors can be found on the Mooring Program website.

**Please submit a check or money order payable to the California State Lands Commission, and submit to the following address:

California State Lands Commission
100 Howe Avenue, Suite 100-South
Sacramento, CA 95825
Attention: Nick Lavoie

A credit card can be used by calling our Accounting Unit, at 916.562.0026 (Mastercard, Visa, and Novus/Discover Cards are accepted).

Mooring Program FAQs

How much does a Tomales Bay mooring lease cost?
The current cost for a mooring on sovereign lands within Tomales Bay is $125 per year as determined by the 2015 Tomales Bay Mooring Poles Benchmark. The benchmark is generally updated every 5 years. See the Commission’s current benchmarks here.
Where are moorings allowed within Tomales Bay? Can I moor outside the zones?
Moorings and associated ground tackle shall be located within the boundaries of the Mooring Program Mooring Zones (depicted in the Interactive PDF Map and in the Tomales Bay Mooring Program Requirements document). Littoral (waterfront) property owners can apply for a mooring that is located adjacent to a corresponding developed littoral property. Littoral property owner moorings must be placed outside the combined mooring exclusion zone depicted in the Interactive PDF Map, which shows the areas excluded by the mooring criteria. Additional information on mooring placement in general can be found in the Tomales Bay Mooring Program Requirements.
What are the requirements for mooring in the bay?
The mooring lease applicant is responsible for reading and complying with the Tomales Bay Mooring Program Requirements , which includes all program criteria and policies. A mooring lessee is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that the mooring equipment is inspected and maintained by an approved Mooring Contractor. The lessee must check the approved Mooring Contractor webpage prior to scheduling an installation or inspection
  • Informing the Commission of any changes (moored vessel, mailing address, telephone number, etc.)
  • Submitting proof of vessel and mooring insurance annually, and
  • Staying current on payment of annual rent
When can I apply for a Tomales Bay Mooring Lease?
The Commission is now accepting mooring lease applications from any party interested in applying for a mooring lease within the sovereign lands of Tomales Bay.
How will my application be processed?
All complete applications will be processed sequentially based on the order received. If an application is considered by the Commission to be incomplete, additional information will be requested until such time the application package is complete. If the proposed mooring location or mooring tackle is determined by the Commission to be inconsistent with mooring siting criteria or other requirements of the Mooring Program, Commission staff will work with the Applicant to revise their application. Mooring leases will be issued until the maximum allowable number of authorized moorings on Tomales Bay (165) has been reached. It should be noted that each approved siting area has a maximum mooring capacity. It may be necessary for the applicant to select an alternate location if the maximum capacity has already been met in preferred location. Maximum mooring capacity will be set by consultation with approved Mooring Contractors, GFNMS and the Commission. Maximum mooring capacity will be dependent on the size of vessels to be moored in each location. For more information on the mooring lease application process refer to the Tomales Bay Mooring Program Requirements document.
What are the requirements for mooring installation?
All mooring lease applicants shall submit a Tomales Bay Mooring Program Pre-Installation Mooring Proposal with their application to the Commission. If the application is approved, then mooring must be installed by an approved Mooring Contractor in the approved location within 90 days of Commission issuance of the lease.

See the following website for a list of approved Mooring Contractors:

Where can I access the Interactive PDF Map?
For more information on the Tomales Bay Mooring Program Interactive PDF Map and to download the map visit this site:
What constitutes Mooring versus Anchoring?
An anchor is attached to a vessel by a cable and dropped overboard to grip the bottom and generally restrict the vessel’s movement. The anchor is pulled onto the vessel and not left in the water when the vessel is underway. A mooring is a structure that includes an anchor and chain, but is placed in the water with a float to demarcate the anchor and chain. A mooring is left in place in the water with a buoy demarcating its location when the vessel is underway.
Where can I find current regulations on anchoring in Tomales Bay?
Anchoring is allowed in Tomales Bay except anchoring a vessel in a designated seagrass protection zone, except as necessary for aquaculture operations conducted pursuant to a valid lease, permit or license. The seagrass protection zones are depicted in the links below. The coordinates of all seven zones can be found in 15 CFR Part 922, Subpart H Appendix B. It is important to be aware of where you are anchoring in Tomales Bay and avoid anchoring in seagrass (eelgrass) at all times.