The Small Boat Launch provides three docks with access to the South Sailing Basin, a relatively sheltered area ideal for learning windsurfers and kayakers. Located near parks, restaurants, and other amenities, this site has a little bit of everything.

In addition to the boat launch docks, this site also is the location of the Cal Adventures, which provides kayak, windsurfing, and SUP rental and classes for students and members of the public.

Boat Facilities

The Small Boat Launch provides three public docks, two small boat hoists, and windsurfing rigging area with wash-down facilities. A beach launch is also available at the adjacent Shorebird Park.

The City of Berkeley has planned improvements to provide an ADA gangway to the central dock, paved parking, new public restrooms, and an improved rigging area.


The Small Boat Launch is located at 201 University Ave, Berkeley, CA. From Interstate 80, exit at University Avenue and head south towards the Marina. At the fork in University Avenue near the Marina, stay left and the Small Boat Launch Parking is accessed from the first two driveways on the left.

AC Transit also operates the Bus 51B line, that runs from the Rockridge BART station in Oakland, through downtown Berkeley and along University Avenue to the Berkeley Pier. This bus line makes three stops on University Avenue near the site, with the closest being “University & Bait Shop”, located immediately north of the site and Cal Sailing Club.


There is a large unpaved parking lot located at the top of the docks. Parking is free from 6AM – 10PM, with no overnight parking allowed.


There are three portable restrooms are located at Cal Adventures as well as two accessible restrooms located in Shorebird Park immediately west of the docks.


To the west of the site is Shorebird Park, which has a gravel beach that is sometimes used for kayak launching. The park also has picnic tables and accessible restrooms. There are also restaurants and hotel in the vicinity of the site, making the area highly popular.


The gangways to the docks are not currently accessible, but the City of Berkeley has planned accessibility improvements, including a fully ADA accessible gangway.  ADA accessible restrooms are located within Shorebird Park to the west of the site. An accessible path of travel exists between the parking area and these restrooms. The path of travel (not marked), sidewalks, restroom, and parking appear to be well designed and maintained.

Safety Tips

Please be respectful and courteous to your fellow boaters, and be aware of student sailors, novice windsurfers, and swimmers in the South Sailing Basin. Navigation rules to not give human-powered boats right-of-way over powerboats or sailboats. All boats are obligated to make early and substantial course changes to avoid risk of collision.

Wildlife Stewardship

This site and adjacent shoreline is fairly urban, with limited natural habitat occurring in the immediate vicinity. Areas where birds congregate into rafts are located nearby. The Water Trail recommends boaters maintain a buffer distance of 800 feet from large groups of floating waterbirds. To help you visualize what these distances mean, 100 feet is approximately the distance of six sea kayaks.

Trailhead Photos