The need for expanded shipping facilities led to the dredging of a canal through the marshland between Oakland and Alameda in 1902, turning Alameda into an island. Most of the soil from the canal was used to fill in nearby marshland. The area of Alameda called BayFarmIsland is no longer an island, but is attached by fill to Oakland. In his youth, author JackLondon was known to take part in oyster pirating in the highly productive oyster beds near BayFarmIsland, today long gone. The Alameda Works Shipyard was one of the largest and best equipped shipyards in the country. In the 1950s, Alameda's industrial and ship building industries thrived along the estuary, where the world's first-ever; land-based, containerized shipping crane was used. Today, the Port of Oakland across the estuary serves as one of the largest ports on the West Coast, using the shipping technologies originally experimented with in Alameda. As of March 21 , 2006 , Alameda is a "Coast Guard City," one of seven in the country.