See a Humphrey’s Concert by Dinghy!

A favorite summer pastime of many boaters is to catch a few of the “Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay” from your tender, dinghy, or kayak. They run mid-May to early October. If you haven’t tried it, here is what you need to know:

Check the concert schedule at
You’ll get an incredible view at extreme high tide, but almost no view at an extreme low tide. It won’t noticeably affect the quality of the sound. Check your tide tables. If it’s your favorite artist, by all means buy some tickets; the sound and view will be worth it.

Bring your favorite beverages, keeping in mind that there are no “heads” available. You may be in the middle of a large raft-up of dozens of boats, so getting out and heading back to the mother ship for a potty break is no small task. Some people bring take-out food. I’ve even seen a romantic candlelight dinner with a white tablecloth on the dinghy seat.

Depending upon the size and configuration of your dinghy, you may want extra cushions or pillow, so that you can lay back and relax. Center console tenders make less comfortable waterbeds than open inflatables. Small bean bags often work well.

Approach by going down the channel between the Bay Club Marina and Half-Moon Anchorage, which is about where the Bay Club Hotel ends. Remember that it is a no-wake zone. Turn left and you’ll see the stage. You can’t legally anchor, so everyone just ties up their boats to make one giant raft-up. Popular concerts may have 75 or more inflatables. You must stay clear of moored marina boats. Be quiet and courteous to other concert-goers when arriving or departing, using an oar or paddle if the music is playing. Please observe the same courtesy for marina tenants…keep wakes and voices down.

Sometimes the SD Harbor Police or the Coast Guard stations a boat nearby, ready to cite anyone without proper lights, safety gear, or a sober driver. Kayaks and row boats can carry a flashlight, but motorized vessels must display proper running lights. If you don’t have any running lights on your dinghy, West Marine sells flashlight-types that “suction-cup” to your bow and outboard. Make sure you have a PFD (personal flotation device) for each person aboard, plus one throwable (type IV) device.

Otherwise…Enjoy the show! –Bob Sherman