Power Squadron

Power Squadron

Welcome to the Power Squadron of the San Francisco Model Yacht Club. We power boaters are extremely proud to call Spreckels Lake our “Home Waters."

The majority of the scale power boats operated by San Francisco Model Yacht Club (SFMYC) Members are either steam or electric powered. The Club also has a special category for internal combustion(IC) scale models called 'Classical Gas'.  Our members do not operate nitro-powered, high-speed model boats at Spreckels Lake. If they desire to operate such models, they must do it away from Golden Gate Park, on larger bodies of water, designated to handle the noise and speed of such craft. 

Each year the Power Squadron hosts special events. You’re invited to participate or just sit back and watch these unique shows. They include:

Tug Boat and Barge Pull: An entire weekend of individual and team events, demonstrating the skilled driving required as these high powered tugs and pusher boats navigate intricate maneuvering courses and obstacles just like the real ones. Tug_Boat_Barge_Pull.jpg
All Fishing Boat Regatta:; A fun day devoted to San Francisco’s long and colorful maritime history. You can see regional classic models such as Monterey Clippers, east coast Lobster Boats and many other working riggers and trawlers. Participants and spectators are amazed at the exquisite details of these craft. Tug_Boat_Barge_Pull.jpg

Springer Limited Competition: It’s non-stop action as these teams of little push boats go head to head in water polo and figure-8 competitions. Hulls and power systems are all identical, so this competition is a true test of driving skills.


Classical Gas Group: This is an opportunity to see vintage craft such as cabin cruisers and runabouts powered by gasoline engines. Many of these models are exquisite, scratch-built mahogany boats. It’s a must see for all “woody” fans.

Click here for an article on the history and restoration of Margie,a Gas Powered Wooden Boat.


Wooden Boats On Parade: Held every other year, this is the largest model boating show on the West Coast. It is a non-competitive exhibit, open to all static and radio-control models, power and sail. The show provides a relaxed atmosphere for craftsmen to come together to learn and expand their modeling talents. It’s an event for beginners just getting started in the hobby and for talented master craftsmen. Hundreds of boats are displayed at lakeside and in the clubhouse. Many of these models are highly detailed museum quality, so it’s a show you do not want to miss. Tug_Boat_Barge_Pull.jpg

These fun events are open to all model boaters, so check the schedule on the website for dates and times.


While enjoying Spreckels Lake, here are some of the “Rules of the Road” as required by the city:

 Spreckels Lake is shared by all types and classes of model boats. You may operate your steam or electric powered boat or sailboat at any time the park is open.

All Powered Model Boats

  • The lake is surrounded by a pedestrian walkway. The Park and Recreation Department keeps the water level of the lake even or slightly below the level of the walkway. The lake edges should never be approached at an excessive rate of speed.
  • Spreckels Lake is on the Pacific Flyway and is frequented by many species of birds. Do not chase or harass the birds or turtles in the lake.
  • Be sure to check your radio's frequency with the other boaters operating on the lake to avoid conflicts before turning your transmitter on.
  • Please run your model in a cautious, courteous and safe manner at all times.

Gas and Nitro-Methane Fueled Powered Models.

  • May run on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 10:00am to 1:00pm only.
  • Must be muffled to meet the city’s noise abatement requirement of 60 decibels at 50 feet and as a courtesy to our residential neighbors.
  • Must abide by the 15 mile-per-hour speed limit.
  • It is recommended that gas or nitro-powered models have an electronic 'Fail Safe' installed to prevent any  loss of control.

Electric and Steam Powered Models

  • May run on the lake at anytime Golden Gate Park is open.
  • May run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays with the gas and nitro-fueled boats, but should use caution and keep clear, as the nitro boats run at high speed and may not be able to easily change course to avoid your boat.

Sharing the lake with the Sailboats.

  • Free-Sail sailboats have no radio control. Keep clear of them, as they are not able to maneuver.
  • Sailboats always have the right of way over all power boats when on the water.
  • Sailboats race for club points or informally on Tuesdays, Thursdays and on weekends on the North side of the lake. Please be courteous and keep clear when the races are taking place.


If you have questions about the Power Squadron activities you can send a message to the Power Squadron Officer