Contact: Megan Standard
(916) 651-5692

September 10, 2003

DBW Assesses Delta Boating Needs Through 2020

The Department of Boating and Waterways has completed the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Boating Needs Assessment 2000-2020 in cooperation with the Delta Protection Commission's Recreation Citizen's Advisory Committee. The study is an analysis of existing and projected recreational boating needs for the next twenty years in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Included in the study is an analysis of existing boat types, usage, and facilities, as well as projections of boating needs for the future.

Boaters and other Delta stakeholders contributed to the effort by participating in workshops and surveys. The primary objectives of this assessment were:

  • To obtain a better understanding of boaters' needs
  • To develop an updated inventory of boating-related facilities in the Delta
  • To determine current boating-related facility repair/replacement needs in the Delta
  • To develop a demand model for estimating future recreational boating use in the Delta
  • To forecast future boating-related facility and recreation demand in the Delta


The study's inventory of existing boating-related facilities found that in 2001, there were 11,674 covered and uncovered berths, 78 launch lanes, 2,115 vehicle/trailer parking spaces, and 5,542 dry storage spaces in the Delta.

In 2000, there were an estimated 6.4 million boating-related visitor days (a two-day trip would equal two visitor days per individual) and 2.14 million boating trips to the Delta. On a peak day in 2000, more than 8,300 boats and 25,000 visitors boated in the Delta.

Ninety-three percent of boating trips in the Delta are made by small boats (trailerable boats 26 feet long or shorter).

Using Department of Motor Vehicles vessel registration data, U.S. Coast Guard documentation figures, and Department of Finance population forecasts, the study estimates that boater visitation to the Delta will increase between 2000 and 2020 by 25 percent to more than 8 million visitor days, or an average 1.25 percent per year.

Facility 2001 Inventory
Wet Boat Storage Slips 11,674
Launch Lanes 78
Vehicle/Trailer Parking Spaces 2,115
Transient Tie-ups 309
Restroom Stalls 677
Day-Use Picnic Sites 324
Fuel Facilities 56
Dry Boat Storage Spaces 5,542

Based on boater needs and projected population increases, the study estimates that between 2000 and 2020, an additional 2,931 slips, 92 launch lanes, 1,968 vehicle/trailer parking spaces, 187 restroom stalls, and 466 dry storage spaces will be needed Delta wide.

Facility 2001 - 2020 Deficit
Wet Boat Storage Slips 2,931
Launch Lanes 92
Vehicle/Trailer Parking Spaces 1,968
Transient Tie-ups 273
Restroom Stalls 187
Day-Use Picnic Sites 173
Fuel Facilities 14
Dry Boat Storage Spaces 466

Based on 2000 boating-related construction cost estimates, it is anticipated that approximately $10 million is needed to eliminate current (2000) facility deficiencies in the Delta, and an additional $107 million to $159 million will be needed for boating-related facility replacement, upgrade and repair in the Delta from 2001 to 2020.

Finally, the study determined that nine of the twelve Bay-Delta Authority- proposed actions have potentially positive impacts, and eight of the twelve have potentially negative impacts, on boating in the Delta. Benefits range from increased surface area available to boating if islands are flooded to improved water quality and habitat. Negative impacts range from displaced facilities because of levee setbacks to decreased access due to closed areas.