The Floathouse

PSCC is bringing a bright, vibrant magnet for recreation to the Petaluma waterfront

The Floathouse: Our downtown boat & board rental center

Floathouse View 2

The Floathouse will rise and fall with the tides of our beloved slough, right in Petaluma’s downtown turning basin. You’ll park at River Plaza, check in at the Floathouse office  and pick up any last-minute supplies and tips. You’ll choose your boat or board. Our fleet will include kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddle boards, traditional rowboats, pedal boats, and small sailboats. There will be 120′ of low docks, helpful staff, and information about what you can expect to see on the water. Outside, on comfortable benches, spectators will enjoy watching kids and adults alike enjoying “Petaluma’s Longest Park”. Gather with friends and family members for  boating in family-sized boats or kid-friendly pedal boats, or sign in for your session of our already-popular boating summer camps, get out on the water with spring and winter break programs, and start enjoying Petaluma from the River, the birthplace of Petaluma Water Ways.

Floathouse architect Mary Dooley on the design: 

The Floathouse is the key design element in PSCC’s proposed small craft rental center, which also includes docks for boat storage and launching, and a separate restroom facility to be sited on shore. The Floathouse structure will house the rental center office operations and boating equipment and will act as a general information center for the river. All of this will be accomplished within a relatively small footprint (roughly 20′ X 22′), which will also float, rising and falling with the natural cycle of tides. Right in downtown Petaluma, the Floathouse will have a simple form delineated by horizontal slats and openings that give texture and shadow patterns by day, creating a sculptural effect and lending a harmonious presence to the site. By night, it will be softly  illuminated by its own solar power, appearing as a lantern on the water, a “beacon for boating” that adds further beauty to the city’s night scape—Mary Dooley, Architect with MAD Architecture

Ann Buell, Coastal Conservancy, on needs and opportunities: 

It’s important to provide the public with a variety of ways to get out on the water, and in a variety of locations. A small craft rental center in downtown Petaluma could serve as a hub for not only rentals, but also lessons and the dissemination of educational materials on boating safety, ethical paddling, and the many interesting locations to visit along the Petaluma River. As importantly, the rental center would serve those who don’t own their own boat or paddle board, or who don’t have the means to store or transport a boat or board to a launch site.

Connect with us and we’ll keep you informed of our progress with the rental center as we begin the formal planning process with the City of Petaluma and other governmental agencies. See the FAQ at the bottom of this page or check out our quick Floathouse Facts flyer here

You can also download the Petaluma Water Ways Catalog page for the Small Craft Rental Center Project.



Frequently Asked Questions:

Where in the Turning Basin will the rental center be located?
Who will operate the Rental Center?
When can we expect the Rental Center to open?
How much will the Rental Center Cost?
How will construction be funded?

To find out more about how you can help please contact us at:



Who benefits from river access?

Wanderers, voters, birders, swimmers (sometimes unintentionally!) Cyclists, community leaders, water contemplators, kids! Picnickers, collegiate competitors, friends, mud-lovers, tide observers. Rowers, ecologists & biologists, canoeists, businesspeople. Hikers, fishermen and women, homeowners, kayakers, environmental advocates, fitness enthusiasts. Naturalists, coaches, photographers… and what about you?