Sunday, June 6, 2010

Grand Opening Day of Alviso Slough Boat Ramp

 The only on-water photo I can find anywhere for Alviso Slough. Hopefully, after the grand opening, there will be many more.

It's finally here. After multiple delays, the new Alviso Marina Boat Ramp is going to officially open on June 5th, 2010, and a big party it is going to be. Organizers have estimates that there will be up to 1000 people and 100 kayakers.

Here is the official flyer from Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Corteses's office. They are the ones throwing the party for the Alviso Boat Ramp grand opening:

This site has the latest information about the opening day activities and schedule. You can sign up for the kayak event and receive email updates from the organizer:

Right now it appears that the organizer is not sure when his group will paddle out on the slough. I am sure he will announce it in his email update. However, the Kayaker's Alliance is having a meetup at 1 PM on opening day to paddle the 4 miles to the bay and back:

Since few people have kayaked the Alviso Slough, we will find out the conditions as we go. I think the primary issues are:

(1) Water depth at low tide - I've heard the minimum is 1-1/2 feet to 3 feet at low tide. Will that be enough for kayaks, particularly those with a rudder or fin?
(2) Sharing the waterway with motor boats - is it wide enough at low tide?

Update 6/5/10:

The estimates were correct. It was a big party with about several hundred people present. There was a live band, lots of booth and free cheese burritos. Several TV stations were doing live news coverage there.

The ramp was as good as boat ramps get. Thoroughly modern with two large floating docks. Everyone who I talked to were ecstatic that a ramp like this is finally put in at Alviso Marina. One older couple told me that they used to fish two feet long sharks and sturgeons in the bay a long time ago when the old docks were operational.

The Alviso Slough was nicer than I anticipated. It was both wider and deeper than I thought. To answer my own questions:

Water depth at low tide - no problem for kayak, or motor boats for that matter. I saw several motor boats launching an hour or two past low tide with no problems.

Alviso Slough wide enough for both motor boat and kayaks - yes! No problem at all unless you are go

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Here are some to prove it.

 The entrance to Alviso Marina with an old beached houseboat in the background

The party at the Alviso Marina Boat Ramp opening day

The Alviso Marina probably hasn't seen so many people since it first opened

With a live band

The first kayakers paddling off the new Alviso Marina boat ramp

Here is a Mercury News article describing the grand opening:

And a KPIX TV news report:



  1. Hi Kevin - Dave and I tried out the new Alviso ramp with our new kayak, Sun, 6/6, 5pm - upwind, upcurrent with a fierce incoming 8 ft. tide, but a beautiful, beautiful day and lots of fun. It's a long way out to the Bay - we got out by Shoreline but turned around for a fast, lazy ride back (our GPS said we clocked 10 MPH coming back :-).

    Comments - Even then several motorboats, nice people but very unpleasant having boats in a narrow channal - a large outboard twin a fast speed for example - although they apparently got into mud and barely escaped after alot of effort, trying to feel bad about that. . .

    Another boatload of people had gotten lost with a wrong turn, once in the bay, and were grateful to have found the right channel - it's hard to see anything in the channels.

    My advice - go out and in with the currents or pick a smal tide day if you want to get to the bay, hug the bank to shelter from the wind and get out of the current, (always a good plan anyway), and plan a day outing to explore the coast from there.

    Love sunset ride though. . .I have a coupld of pictures, but don't know how to share them with you, I'll chek out your meetup group, and thanks for this great Blog!!

  2. Hi Carol,

    Wow! You went far - all the way to Shoreline in Mountain View. A friend and I made it about 1/2 way through the slough due to time constrains. We started at about 1:30 PM. With low tide at 2:30, we hit the calm part of the the tidal cycle. Wind was more of a factor than tide, but I can see how tide can be an issue in mid-cycle. I actually want to get out there one day in heavy tide just to know what it is like.

    The more I think about it, the more it seems that high speed traffic in the slough might pose a problem for boaters and particularly kayakers. The Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese was saying that he can see people from other parts of the Bay Area boating in to see sporting events. Now that's a lot of traffic! I don't remember if there is currently a speed limit. If not, maybe they should impose one, say 5 MPH in the Alviso Slough for the safety of everyone.

    Thanks for the post and hope you had fun.


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