Kayak Put-In Info for: Berkeley Marina, Berkeley
Overview: Good protected launch site and paddle for rougher water days, as an alternative to Point Emery or Emeryville Marina. Easy paddle within the marina itself, doing a circuit between the shoreline and the docks. Marina has an interesting variety of watercraft -- dragon boats, houseboats, Hornblower yachts, etc. Paddlers can access the old Key Line pier system extending a mile into the bay, or the Albany shoreline by journeying out through the breakwater. However, this can be very windy with challenging swells during spring/summer afternoons.
Parking: Lots of free parking at all three locations.
Facilities: Modern bathrooms at the boat launch (but definitely needed cleaning during last visit). Porta potty at the southern basis launch, none at the BYC.
Amenities: At the marina itself, fine dining at Skates and His Lordships. Also, small general store on the southern side, across from California Adventures. The Seabreeze outdoor cafe/store at the frontage road also offers a wide variety of sandwiches, fish, coffees/smoothies, produce, etc. University Avenue has a large selection of restaurants and shops, as does the popular Fourth Street area.
Directions: Coming south on I-80, take the University Avenue off-ramp, and then a left onto University toward the bay. At the Y, veer right onto Marina Boulevard and follow it around for the main boat ramp. For the Berkeley Yacht Club launch, keep going on University to the T-intersection near the Berkeley pier. Turn right and follow it to the end parking lot. For the southern boat basin launch, continue on University for 50 yards or so past Marina Boulevard.
Cautions: The southern basin launch is used primarily by windsurfers, and can get very busy on windy afternoons. The dock and walkway down are rather constricted. Within the marina, paddlers should be cautious crossing the main channel, staying well clear of sailboats trying to beat their way out beyond the breakwater.