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Published on June 23, 2024
Sausalito's Iconic Sea Lion Sculpture Set for Triumphant Return to Waterfront After RestorationSource: City of Sausalito

After a hiatus on land for restoration, Sausalito's beloved sea lion sculpture is primed to splash back to its original perch by the water. The hefty 1,900-pound bronze fixture, a local emblem since its sneaky installation in 1957, had been sidelined since January 2023 following a fierce winter storm that unmoored it from its concrete base. With all the legal i's dotted and t's crossed, the statue is finally clear for a return, according to an update from the City of Sausalito's recent announcement.

Anchoring the sea lion once again on the southern Sausalito waterfront entails more than just brute force. It requires strategic tides—they're aligning on June 24 and 25 for the installation of the new concrete platform. When the sea lion readies for its return, early birds on July 3 will witness its rise at 6:00 a.m. as a crane hoists the statue onto its new, more robust foundation, as detailed by the Sausalito Foundation.

The storied sea lion has weathered more than just storms. A creation by the late artist Al Sybrian, it was recast in the resilient arms of bronze in the 1960s after originally being formed from concrete. Even the complex dance of permit acquisition—a process dragged out considerably longer this time than during a similar repair in 2004—could keep it ashore for too good. This time, federal, state, and regional powers demanded four permits before a single flipper could be repositioned seaside.

Supporting the cost of the sculpture's rejuvenation, the design and installation of its new resting spot, and even the cost of its ongoing upkeep, the Sausalito Foundation has shown that community investment in public art runs deep. Speaking to the City Council on June 18, Reason Bradley, owner of Universal Sonar Mount, detailed the restoration efforts in the Marinship businesses community. "The use of metals consistent with the original casting and the deployment of zincs against corrosion should protect the sea lion for the next 100 years," he made sure to brief the council on the matter, per the City of Sausalito news report.