Coast Guard Sector San Francisco


Fact Sheet - More Details


CG Sector San Francisco is proud to be located in one of the most socially diverse and economically powerful regions in the United States.  Commercial shipping, commercial fishing, and maritime recreation are always happening around the region’s ports and waterways.  At the same time, environmentalism is strong everywhere in the region. The shorelines are some of the most ecologically sensitive in the world. There is zero tolerance for pollution, and there is extensive public oversight of all pollution response and cleanup. Offshore, there are three National Marine Sanctuaries, and more than 85 marine protected areas.

Recreation and Sport

Sailing, surfing, kite-boarding, swimming, yacht racing, kayaking, charter fishing - they're all in CG Sector San Francisco’s area of responsibility. Over 100 yacht clubs run more than 1,000 marine events every year. Thousands of athletes swim the bay every year. Sector San Francisco is home to the world-renowned Mavericks annual surfing competition. In 2013, San Francisco Bay was the venue for the 34th America's Cup. In 2019, SailGP Global Racing League will race for two consecutive days in San Francisco Bay.


CG Sector San Francisco values being located in one of America's technology centers.  CG Sector San Francisco is often a test-bed for new maritime technology and innovation. Years before automatic identification system (AIS) was implemented nationally, passenger ferries and Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) used and tested the technology around the San Francisco Bay Region. Virtual aids to navigation (ATONs) were premiered during the 34th America’s Cup sailing competition in 2013 on San Francisco Bay.  Today, virtual ATONs are used around the region to mark bridges and navigation way points, and supplement the most critical fixed and floating ATONs. VTS San Francisco operates the only full-mission VTS training simulator in the United States.

Operating Environment

In the San Francisco Bay Region we love our weather. The wind it perfect for sailing, it’s never too hot along the coast, and fog at the Golden Gate Bridge makes for a postcard picture almost every summer evening.

But, the weather can be extreme, and natural disasters come without warning. Earthquakes are on everyone's mind. Hurricane-force winds and dense fog can happen within the same week. Micro-climates mean a ship can go from 59 degrees Fahrenheit with fog to temperatures in the upper 90s with bright sun, all during a several-hour transit through the CG Sector San Francisco area. During the rainy season, waters in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers flow fast and run high on the delicate levees. 

Small craft advisories, gale warnings, surf warnings, and dense fog are all the norm in the CG Sector San Francisco area. And the water temperatures are cold, even in the summer. 

On the Pacific Ocean coast, there are few places for a vessel in distress to anchor, and there are few harbors for a safe haven. At-sea rescues often happen in high winds and heavy seas. Coastal rescues include dangerous cliffs and rocky pinnacles. 

Inside the Golden Gate are some of the most complex, diverse, and sensitive waterways in the world. The bays are shallow, the navigation channels are narrow, and underwater rocks are always close by. East of the Carquinez Strait, the River-Delta Region is a maze of rivers, cuts, and sloughs. They go as far east as the Ports of West Sacramento and Stockton. Dredging is non-stop. An enormous network of levees separates the waterways from the valuable agricultural lands and population centers, including California's state capitol, Sacramento.