Pier 39 is a unique and exciting destination on the Water Trail, with high quality launch facilities that provide access to the restaurants, shops, and amenities of Pier 39. Pier 39 is a 45-acre waterfront complex that contains 14 restaurants and 90+ shops as well as a 5-acre waterfront park and a 306-berth marina.

Boat Facilities

The Pier 39 small boat launch consists of a low-float EZ Launch Accessible Transfer System connected to wooden high-freeboard docks. This system includes guide rails for easy access in and out of the water, launch rollers, and a transfer bench and transfer slide boards that allow users to sit, slide over and drop down into a kayak or canoe.

There are two gangways to the Marina docks: an ADA gangway to mechanical lift; and, a narrow non-ADA gangway.

Adjacent to the launch are storage racks with room to store 12 kayaks/non-motorized small boats. The racks are intended for short-term use—while visitors explore Pier 39 – not long-term storage.

Pier 39’s small boat launch facilities are located behind a locked gate within the East Marina. Paddlers can obtain access by pressing a button on the gate that will contact the Pier 39 security offices. Security is able to view the gate with a camera and remotely unlock the gate for paddlers.



The Pier 39 small boat launch is anticipated to serve primarily as a destination site for paddlers starting elsewhere. Paddlers coming from elsewhere can enter the marina on the southeast side of Pier 39, then stay to the left (south) side of the marina to the launch located adjacent to the Aquarium of the Bay.



Paddlers starting at Pier 39 can drop off their boats in the loading zone located near the entrance to Pier 39 outside of the Aquarium of the Bay.  Pier 39 has paid visitor parking in the Pier 39 Garage, located directly across the street from the Entrance Plaza. The Pier 39 Garage is open 24-hours a day, seven days a week.


Accessible public restrooms are located on the north side of “Building Q” located west of the small boat launch. Wayfinding signage is located near the boat launch.


Pier 39 is a 45-acre waterfront complex that contains 14 restaurants and 90+ shops as well as a 5-acre waterfront park and a 306-berth marina. Near the launch are benches, paths, drinking fountains and restrooms. Visit the Pier 39 website for additional details.


Pier 39 has been designed to meet ADA standards. Facilities include an ADA accessible gangway that leads to a motorized lift. The gangway is level and the lift drops users at the docks adjacent to the kayak launch. The kayak launch includes a low-float dock with handbars, rollers, and a transfer system.

The Pier 39 parking garage provides ADA parking spaces and a paved path of travel from the parking area located approximately 950 feet south of the boat launch. ADA restrooms are located on Pier 39 via an accessible path of travel.

Nearby Trails

The Bay Trail runs along the shoreline adjacent to Pier 39.

Safety Tips

Paddling underneath Pier 39 is prohibited. Motorized boats and sailboats are regularly moving throughout the marina, particularly near the mouth of the marina, so small non-motorized boats need to take caution to avoid these vessels. Outside the harbor, small craft should be cautious and avoid the ferries, tour boats, and other large ships that frequent the shipping lanes offshore.

Winds and currents on the Bay can be strong; paddlers need to take care to stay within their skill level.

Trailhead Photos