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The Marina started in 1965 when Audley ‘Barney' Barnhill began leasing property adjacent to the marina from Southern Pacific railroad. The property consisted of an old boatyard, including rails (ways) and winches for hauling boats. Being an avid sailor and boat man, Barney purchased the boatyard and named it Barnhill Marina. Seeing an opportunity to fill the marina, Barney with the help of Richard Boland and a naval architect began constructing floating homes as a business. They designed and built many of the floating homes still afloat at Barnhill Marina today.


Early View of Marina Homes at Barnhill Marina (photo from Richard Bowland Yachts)


A new home is towed to its slip at Barnhill Marina, c. 1970 (photo from Richard Bowland Yachts)


A floating home is a term used to describe a house on the water that doesn't have a motor or navigation system. Because they're not mobile under their own power, floating homes stay in one place long term and are permanently attached to electrical, water and sewer lines. The hulls of floating homes at Barnhill Marina are made of concrete or wood/fiberglass.



The Alameda Floating Home Association (AFHA) was formed in 1989 to serve as a voice and support network for the residents of the floating home community at Barnhill Marina on the Oakland Estuary in Alameda, California. 


The purpose of the Association is to:

  • Represent Households in the event Barnhill Marina owners decide to sell the marina in compliance with California Civil Code 800.100 which reads in part:


When the owner of a floating home marina enters into a written listing agreement with a licensed real estate broker, as defined in Article 1 (commencing with Section 10130) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 4 of the Business and Professions Code, for the sale of the marina or offers to sell the marina to any party, the owner shall provide written notice by first-class mail or by personal delivery to the president, secretary, and treasurer of the resident organization, not less than 30 days but no more than one year prior to entering into any written listing agreement for the sale of the marina, or making any offer to sell the marina to any party. An offer to sell a marina shall not be construed as an offer under this unless it is initiated by the marina owner or his or her agent.

  • Facilitate positive communications between residents and the Marina owners.

  • Advocate for the members of our community.

  • Address issues affecting marina residents’ way of life and the environment of the Marina.

  • Encourage ways in which Marina residents can be helpful to one another and to the Marina Owners.

We are an inclusive organization and support our members, neighbors, and other floating home communities by encouraging the protection and safety of floating homes to exist. We encourage all residents of the Barnhill community to become involved in our efforts to preserve our unique community.


Today, Barnhill consists of 42 floating homes and about a dozen liveaboard sailboats. Meet some of them in the video below and learn more about the residents in the Stories & Gallery section!

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