San Francisco Bay Ferryboats - News

by Joe Thompson

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Richmond/San Francisco Service - 11-January-2019

A new service from Richmond to San Francisco launched.

Harbor Bay/South San Francisco Service - 07-January-2019

A pilot service from Harbor Bay in Alameda to South San Francisco launched.

Ferry Building Accident - 23-November-2018

Two passengers were injured when Golden Gate ferry MS San Francisco, a Spaulding boat built in 1976-7, on its way from Larkspur to San Francisco, hit the Golden Gate ferry pier and ricocheted over to hit the wharf near the Vallejo ferry landing. The problem may have been caused by a mechanical failure.

National Park Service Ferry Plans - 26-June-2018

The Port of San Francisco has accepted a plan put forth by the National Park Service to refurbish Piers 31, 31½ and 33 as a home for Alcatraz Ferry service and potential new services to other parks on the bay. Hornblower Cruises is the current concessionaire for Alcatraz service, but its contract expires next year and it is facing competitive bidding and new terms for the franchise. One requirement is to operate one-hour bay cruises.

Future ferry lines may go to Fort Baker in Marin and to the Rosie the Riveter World War II Homefront National Historical Park in Richmond.

Tiburon Ferry News - 31-January-2017

Thank you again to Dexter Wong for an update on Tiburon ferry service.

Golden Gate Ferries is supposed to take over the Tiburon ferry route from the Blue and Gold Fleet, but legal threats from the current operator continue to delay the process.

Ferry Ridership at Record Levels - 29-December-2016

An article by Carl Nolte in today's San Francisco Chronicle reports that the number of riders has increased 72% (1 million riders) over the last four years. Lousy traffic and overcrowding and BART, along with the enjoyable ferry trip have all contributed.

Golden Gate Ferries will take over the Tiburon ferry route from the Blue and Gold Fleet. Golden Gate Ferries may take over in June. Blue and Gold Fleet will retire its only commuter boat, the Zelinsky.

Tiburon Ferry News - 31-March-2016

Thank you to Dexter Wong for some updates on Tiburon ferry service.

Golden Gate Ferries will take over the Tiburon ferry route from the Blue and Gold Fleet. Golden Gate Ferries may take over in June. Blue and Gold Fleet will retire its only commuter boat, the Zelinsky.

Additional Ferry Service to Super Bowl City - 31-January-2016

From the San Francisco MTA:

"SF Bay Ferry and Golden Gate Ferry will add additional weekday and weekend service to Super Bowl City, at Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco starting January 30th through February 7th. SF Bay Ferry will provide 2 additional weekday and 4 additional weekend departures will be added to the Alameda/Oakland/San Francisco terminals, as well as 1 additional weekday and 4 additional weekend departures from the Vallejo terminal. Golden Gate Ferry will provide additional weekday, weekend, and late night service from the Larkspur terminal."

Tiburon Ferry Controversy - 31-January-2016

The Golden Gate Bridge District Board of Directors has proposed eliminating the Number 8 commuter bus from Tiburon to San Francisco. Bus riders would be forced to ride the ferry. They have expressed concern that it would be hard for some to get to the ferry landing, and that traffic would be excessive on Tiburon Boulevard.

Sinbad's Closing - 31-March-2015

Sinbad The Port of San Francisco is trying to close Sinbad's Restaurant on Pier 2 in order to build more ferry docks. As of late March, 2015, the restaurant operators are resisting. March 2015. Photo by Joe Thompson.

Ferry Building Lighting - 03-March-2015

The Ferry Building was decorated with a giant "1915" and strung with lights to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The lights were turned on today.

Golden Gate Ferry One-Day Strike - 26-September-2014

Golden Gate Ferry captains (Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association) staged a one-day strike to protest increased health insurance costs. They have accused the Bridge District of negotiating unfairly. The captains and other union members have been working without a contract since July.

Facebook Ferry - 13-February-2014

Facebook is testing a private ferry from Pier 40 in San Francisco to the Port of Redwood City, with connecting buses to Menlo Park.

Google Ferry - 13-February-2014

The pilot period for the Google Ferry is over and the service was withdrawn in the last week.

Google Ferry - 09-January-2014

Google has met with controversy for chartering private buses to carry its tech workers from San Francisco to Redwood Shores. Now they have added a private ferry from San Francisco to the Port of Redwood City, with connecting buses to Redwood Shores.

BART Strike - 05-July-2013

A BART Strike put heavy demands on ferry services. Riders got to East Bay landings early in the mornings and stood in long lines at the Ferry Building in the afternoons. The strike may resume in August. WETA put every available boat online. I hope some BART riders will become converts, as they did after the last BART strike.

South San Francisco-Oakland Ferry Service Low Ridership - 17-March-2013

A story in today's San Francisco Chronicle reports that ridership on the South San Francisco-Oakland Ferry service is far below projections.

Ferry Real McCoy II Closing Two Weeks for Maintenance - 17-February-2013

A report in the California Delta Scuttlebutt newsletter mentions that Delta auto ferry Real McCoy II is closing two weeks starting 15-February for maintenance of the boat and the landing.

Ferry Collides With Pleasure Boat - 16-February-2013

A Sausalito ferry heading for San Francisco hit a pleasure boat. Two passengers on the small boat went to the hospital and one died.

BART Disaster, Ferry Rescue - 14-June-2012

A large apartment building near the West Oakland BART station caught fire and burned fiercely, damaging the third rail on the tracks and shutting down transbay service. WETA responded by adding four boats to the Alameda-Oakland-San Francisco route.

Golden Gate Ferry Service Running Today - 01-Jul-2011

The Golden Gate Ferry District threatened to cancel service on 01-Jul-2011 because the contract with the Inland Boatmen’s Union expired at midnight on 30-Jun-2011. We woke up on Friday morning to hear announcements that the boats were sailing.

Golden Gate Fare Increase - 01-Jul-2011

The Golden Gate Ferry District raised fares on its ferry routes:
Ferry RouteClassBefore 07/01/11Starting 07/01/11
SausalitoAdult (19-64)$8.25$9.25
SausalitoSenior (65+)$4.10$4.50
SausalitoChildren 5 and underFreeStill Free
LarkspurAdult (19-64)$8.25$8.75
LarkspurSenior (65+)$4.10$4.25
LarkspurChildren 5 and underFreeStill Free
LarkspurGiants Ferry$8.00$8.75

Ferryboats on KPIX-5 - 17-Nov-2010

Back on October 19, 2010, Ken Bastida of KPIX, Channel 5 interviewed me about ferryboats for his Good Question feature. It aired on 17-November-2010.

There are some nice vintage movies and some nice shots taken around the Eureka that day at the Hyde Street Pier.

Apparent Suicide on Alameda/Oakland Ferry - 05-Mar-2010

The crew of the Alameda/Oakland ferry Peralta noticed that two passengers got on in San Francisco, but only one got off in the east bay. A search of the boat found no sign of a woman who had originally boarded in Oakland and stayed aboard to return. The Coast Guard later found her body floated in the bay.

Sails? On Ferries? - 16-Feb-2010

Jay Gardner has founded Wind+Wing, a company in Napa that proposes to build ferryboats with rigid wing sails, like the winner of the 2010 America's Cup. The boats will also have engines, but any use of wind power should save fuel.

Gemini Arrives - 26-Nov-2008

The Water Emergency Transportation Authority received new ferry Gemini, which with sister Pisces (I don't like the names) will be used on Alameda/Oakland service. The Nichols Brothers boats have many green features.

Ferries from Washington - 21-Nov-2008

The Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation board voted to acquire two mothballed passenger-only ferries, Chinook and the Snohomish from Washington State Ferries.

Steel Electric Class Suddently Retired - 13-Dec-2007

Washington State Ferries may scrap its oldest boats, the Steel Electric class, which originally sailed in San Francisco Bay before they were forced out by the bridges opened in the late 1930's. The state may scrap the ferries immediately rather than try to make further repairs, and try to get their replacements built as quickly as possible. Quinault, Klickitat, Illahee and Nisqually were all built in the late 1920s. Klickitat and Illahee were still running, but recent inspections have shown that their hulls are in poor condition.

Encinal and Peralta Out of Service - 21-Sep-2007

The Alameda/Oakland Ferry reported that both of their ferries, Encinal and Peralta were out of service during the morning commute because of mechanical problems. They used Harbor Emperor for two runs.

Vallejo Ferry Damages Golden Gate Landing - 19-Sep-2007

The Harbor Bay Ferry cancelled service because of unusual high winds. Other services did not cancel runs.

Vallejo Ferry Damages Golden Gate Landing - 07-Jun-2007

A Vallejo Ferry leaving the Ferry Building damaged one of the Golden Gate Ferries' two landing spots, forcing them to run all boats from one ramp.

New Book: Ferries of San Francisco Bay - 31-May-2007

Paul C Trimble has published a new book, Ferries of San Francisco Bay. It is an entry in Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series.

The book talks about the various historic various routes, and today's ferries.

I particularly enjoyed the author's personal stories, and the many photos which I had not seen before. I think the two most interesting photos showed the Eureka's new walking beam being built at the Moore Drydock Company and being installed in 1926.

WSF to Retain Old San Francisco Ferries - 18-May-2007

Thanks to Val Golding for passing this along: Television station KOMO reported ("State ferry system to stick with old vessels on Port Townsend run") that Washington State Ferries, after six years of studies, has decided that it cannot afford to replace the four former San Francisco ferries which were launched in 1927: Illahee, Klickitat, Nisqually and Quinault. The fleet's newer ferries are too large to call at Port Townsend. The four boats will have to replaced one day.

Ferry for Sale - 24-Apr-2007

Members of WestCoastFerryboats reported that a former Vallejo-Mare Island ferry, the Pelican, built in the 1940's, was offerred for sale on Craigslist. The owner was forced to get rid of it because it could not stay at the marina where it was berthed.

New Book: Ferries of Puget Sound - 31-May-2006

Steven J Pickens has published an excellent new book, Ferries of Puget Sound.

The book concentrates on the period since 1951, when Washington State Ferries took over operations of most of the Puget Sound ferry fleet. Chapters include:

The book is well worth reading.

Ferry Peralta Goes to Washington - 19-Dec-2005

Alameda/Oakland catamaran ferry Peralta will soon be sailing to Washington State. The announcement from the operator:

"The M.V. Peralta went off line this week to prepare for its long planned trip to Washington State for warranty repairs. >Once preparations are completed the boat will (weather permitting) begin a 35 hour trip to a Whidbey Island shipyard where a new passenger cabin and wheelhouse will be installed. The Peralta is expected to return to service in April 2006. During her absence, the M.V. Encinal will be the primary Alameda/Oakland Ferry weekday boat. Additional weekday, weekend and back up service will be operated with the Zalinski, Bay Clipper and Bay Flyer."

Ferry Peralta Runs Over Sailboat - 13-Sep-2003

Alameda/Oakland catamaran ferry Peralta was reported to have run down a sailboat, which was dismasted. Two people on the sailboat suffered minor injuries.

Ferry Berkeley to Move for Preservation Work - 31-Mar-2003

San Francisco ferry Berkeley, displayed at the San Diego Maritime Museum, will leave its berth for the first time since 1973, except for one unintended trip during a storm in 1988. Her thinning metal hull will receive a waterproofing treatment at Southwest Marine.

Ferry Building Reopened, Part Way - 21-Mar-2003

The full reopening has been delayed until the summer, but the fences are down in front of the Ferry Building and it is possible to walk through it to the ferry landings. The Farmer's Market opened the next week.

Harbor Bay Ferry Down for Two Weeks - 06-Jan-2003

From a Red and White Fleet press release dated 31-Aug-2001:

Due to mechanical difficulties, the Harbor Bay Ferry will be out of service for two weeks; January 6th through January 17, 2003. We will know more about the situation next week, so please check back then.

Commuters may continue to use their ferry tickets for the bus bridge that will be available until the resumption of regular ferry service. Approximate transit time is 45 minutes from Harbor Bay Isle to the San Francisco Ferry Terminal (The bus will stop in front of the Amtrak Bus Depot in front of Gate E which is on the south side of the Ferry Building).

Harbor Bay Maritime will be collecting Ferry tickets from those using the bus-bridge.

Historic Ferries for Sale (Update) - 31-Dec-2002

Historic ferries San Leandro and Fresno, moored in Richmond have been abandoned and will be auctioned for scrap. Fresno has sunk.

See Historic Ferries for Sale for more information.

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Storm Damage - 19-Dec-2002

A passenger on Golden Gate Ferry MV Sonoma was injured by a panel dislodged by a large wave during a large storm. Another boat had a bow window knocked out during a recent storm.

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Proposed Alameda/Oakland service cutbacks - 15-Nov-2002

The Alameda/Oakland ferry operator, Blue and Gold Fleet, proposed cutting weekend and holiday service during January and February 2003 because of low patronage.

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Historic Ferries for Sale - 31-Aug-2002

Arnold Gridley, founder of Cable Car Charters, owns historic ferries San Leandro and Fresno and has them moored in Richmond. Parties interested in purchasing either boat are invited to contact me with your name and phone number and I will pass them on to Ed Flynn. San Leandro was the last old boat to operate on the bay. There's only a hull remaining after fires. Ed reports that Fresno is largely intact, but not operable. She was restored to her SF appearance when she returned from Puget Sound after she retired in 1968. She was Willapa in Washington.

See Historic Ferries for Sale (Update) for more information.

New Peralta - 07-Dec-2001

New Alameda/Oakland ferry Peralta went into service. She shares a name with the ill-starred Key System ferry.

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Day of Grief - 11-Sep-2001

Golden Gate and Harbor Bay ferries added extra mid-day service to help people who wanted to leave San Francisco after the dastardly terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, NY and the Pentagon in Washington, DC.

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Ferries and the Potential BART Strike - 02-Sep-2001

If BART goes on strike this week, many people will look to ferries as alternative transportation.

No Golden Gate Ferry Service on Christmas Day - 18-Dec-2000

According to a posting on the Bay Area Transit Information Project web site, Golden Gate Ferry (Larkspur and Sausalito) will not operate on Christmas Day.

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Richmond Ferry - RIP - 22-Nov-2000

The Red and White Fleet ended service on the San Francisco/Richmond ferry line. They couldn't get enough passengers to cover expenses. Service started on 29-Sep-1999.

See Today: Richmond/San Francisco and the bibliography for more details.

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Last modified 31-January-2019