The Floathouse: Our downtown boat & board rental center
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.
Frequently Asked Questions:
The rental center will be located in the northwest corner of the Turning Basin, near the ramp and gangway leading from the River Plaza down to the Commercial Docks. It will be built on new docks extending southwest from the existing docks along the shoreline behind River Plaza.
The Petaluma Small Craft Center (PSCC), a tax exempt nonprofit organization, will build and operate the Small Craft Rental Center with the financial support of its partners and the community. These fundraising sources will be used to supplement the rental center’s revenues in order to maintain reasonable rates and keep its doors open to the community for as many hours in the day, and days in the year as possible.
Depending on the planning and permitting process and fundraising, the rental center could open in the spring of 2016. PSCC has been working with the City of Petaluma in a pre-planning phase since early 2011 and hopes to enter the formal planning phase in 2013. MAD Architecture designed the first draft of the Floathouse in summer 2012, with engineering assistance from Steven Lafranchi & Associates, Inc.
Accurate cost estimates are difficult to make while we’re still in the design phase, but the overall project will cost approximately $620,000. This includes docks and the “Floathouse” office, boats and other equipment, as well as a separate restroom facility.
The construction of the rental center will require a community-wide fundraising campaign with multiple opportunities to become involved in this exciting project. For example, instead of the traditional brick or chair, people will be able to buy a section of dock, or something less expensive such as life jackets, paddles, or oars, all tax-deductible donations. Others may prefer to show their support by buying one of the many different boats for the center. Already, PSCC has received generous donations of four of the most expensive rowing boats in the rental fleet, which are in storage waiting for the center to open. PSCC will also seek in-kind donations of construction materials to help reduce the costs of the “Floathouse” office and restrooms. Once construction begins, volunteers work parties can help reduce costs even further.
To find out more about how you can help please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.