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Ephemerisle is not a festival. There are no tickets, no gates, and no central authority whatsoever.

But Ephemerisle is on the water, which makes attending a very non-trivial task.

You are responsible for getting yourself to and from and for everything you'll need to live and survive for your stay. There are few to no resources adjacent to the event site, and none on the water. Plan ahead!

Sleep on someone else's boat, barge, or platform

If you don't own a boat, finding a berth on someone else's craft can be a very convenient option. Some people pitch tents on floating platforms, while others sleep in staterooms or cubbies on sailboats, power boats, or houseboats. Some boats arrange communal meals for their crews. We use the word berth to name sleeping space for one person. If two people share a bed or a tent, that's two berths. Most captains rent out berths for the whole week, even though some people only join for a few nights. A berth may rent for $400-600 for the week.

If you camp on a platform, make sure you arrange access to a galley (kitchen) and head (bathroom).

If you have friends at Ephemerisle, ask them to introduce you to captains who may have space. If not, throw yourself into the community and work on meeting people. Spring is a good time to do this as people organize boats and islands for the summer, but it's never too early.

  1. Post in the facebook group introducing yourself.
  2. The more you become a part of the community, the more likely someone will make a spot for you.

Bring a boat

You can bring a boat from elsewhere in the delta. You can also bring one from the San Francisco Bay. Head north to reach the Delta. The journey is about 60 miles or 16 hours. See the "Getting There" page for more information on navigation to make sure your boat's draught will fit in the Delta.

Rent a boat

To rent a boat, you could try Craigslist, marinas in the Delta, or marinas in San Francisco Bay. Houseboats are easy to pilot if you can drive a car, but large boats and sailboats require specialized skills. You could hire a captain to put your boat in position and return it, or build a crew from experienced sailors. The nearest marinas are at least three miles from the event.

Buy a boat

If you can spare the capital, you could buy a boat before the event and plan to sell it afterwards. This could turn out to be cheaper than renting a boat, and you might even make a profit.


Many people built floating platforms, which can be used for dancing, meeting, and camping. The simplest design is plywood over floatation.

You could also camp on dry land near Ephemerisle. If you do this, make sure you have permission from the landowner, and bring a kayak or canoe to reach the islands.

Details on how to BYOL are here.


The organizational units of Ephemerisle are boats and islands. While some boats anchor out, most raft up to form islands. Each island has a distinct culture and many islands host events for the community. An island may have rules about safety, noise, media, and photography.

If you're bringing your own boat or BYOL, you might want to join an existing island or create a new island with other boats.

  1. Anchor safely - Make sure that you're capable of safely anchoring your island.
  2. Complete Self-Reliance - Make sure you're capable of being completely self-reliant out there.
  3. Announce Your Island - optional, but it's a good idea to announce it in the Facebook group.
  4. Treat Neighbors with Respect - Once you arrive, it's good to talk to your neighbors to make sure you're anchoring a safe distance away from them.
  5. Bring a radio - optional, but smart to have if you need help or just want to communicate with other islands. Cell service can be spotty at best.


Where will you poop? is another critical question. If you join someone's island make sure they have toilets for you to use or arrange for some other toilet solution. Never use a boat's toilet without permission as the holding tanks tend to be very small, expensive to pump out, and very messy if they overflow.

Women might want to consider bringing a pee funnel.

Full details on toilets