Water Trail LogoSan Francisco Bay Area Water Trail
Major funding
provided by
Coastal Conservancy logo
White wave image
  • Bay Conditions

    Know before you go

    Plan your trip based on weather, tides, current, wind, and your own capability and prepare for conditions to change suddenly.

Conditions on the Bay

Conditions on the Bay

Tides and Currents

San Francisco Bay is influenced by tides and currents. Every human-powered boater or boardsailor should be aware of tide and current conditions prior to going out on the water. Currents may move faster than your boat and you could become fatigued or be carried out or into to a dangerous area. It’s very important to check the tides to make sure you do not get stuck in the mud. An area that may look easily accessible at high tide may become completely muddy at low tide and you may get stuck or stranded.

Online tide and current conditions can be found at NOAA’s website.

You can obtain a Northern California Tide Log (Pacific Publishers, P.O. Box 2813, Tybee Island, GA 31328) from all marine supply stores and most local book stores.

You may also find the Trip Planner page from Bay Area Sea Kayakers helpful.

Winds

Winds can be strong on the Bay and can change suddenly. It is important to plan your trip accordingly.

Buoy data updated every few minutes can be found on NOAA’s website courtesy of the National Data Buoy Center. This website includes an interactive map with buoys you can click on to retrieve data that will be relevant to your trip.

There are several commercial wind data websites that are popular among windsurfers or kiteboarders – check the San Francisco Boardsailing Association website or contact members for more information.

Weather

The weather on San Francisco Bay can change very quickly and is variable by location. Winds and fog can move quickly. Check the weather before you go, but also be aware of changing conditions while on the water.

Marine weather is broadcast continuously on VHF radio on channels 3, 4 and 6.

NOAA provides marine weather conditions and forecasts (click on map for San Francisco Bay).

To see satellite images and videos of Pacific Coast weather, visit the NOAA Geostationary Satellite Server website.

Pollution

A resource to find out about pollution on the Bay is San Francisco Baykeeper. From this website you can find out about conditions and report pollution.

Webcams

There are several webcams located on the Bay that can be helpful to get a snapshot of current conditions.

Crissy Field – East Beach (courtesy of the San Francisco Boardsailing Association)

Crown Beach, Alameda and Coyote Point, San Mateo (courtesy of Boardsports School)

Baywinds Park (courtesy of Jack Hodges)
Baywinds Park (courtesy of Ken Poulton)

Marin (Courtesy of Webmarin)