Carl Carr-Johnson

​Regular commuters on the Vallejo-San Francisco run will probably recognize Carl Carr-Johnson, who works as a deckhand for Blue & Gold Fleet.

Vallejo native Carl Carr-Johnson is an avid traveler and local craft beer connoisseur who is happy to discuss either subject with ferry passengers.


Published: November, 2018


Regular commuters on the Vallejo-San Francisco run will probably recognize Carl Carr-Johnson, who works as a deckhand for Blue & Gold Fleet. A world traveler, he can often be found engaging with tourists on board about where they’re from or where they’re going, or sharing his own travel stories with commuters.


Carr-Johnson accomplished quite a lot before coming aboard the ferries, but having grown up in Vallejo he’s always felt a draw to working on the Bay. “I always thought it would be a great job to just be out on the boats, out on the water; it just seemed like something different,” he said. “I’ve worked in a number of different industries, and I thought, ‘I’d like to get my feet wet (no pun intended) in the maritime industry.’”


Carr-Johnson joined the IBU in early 2015 after returning from an 11-year stay in Alaska. He moved to Alaska in 2003 because he was looking for a change of pace. Working for Alaska Airlines at the time may have had something to do with it, but Alaska was definitely on his mind.


“It’s a great place to clear your head, be in nature; even though I lived in Anchorage, which is the major city there, five minutes outside the city limits there is deep wilderness,” he said. “I did a lot of hiking, some salmon fishing, and made it to the top of the world.”


Barrow, Alaska, also known as Utqiagvik, is one of the northernmost communities in the world, so Carr-Johnson made sure to visit before heading back down to the continental United States. “It’s cold up there,” he laughed. “It’s just you. You look all around and there’s nothing. Just frozen tundra and the northern lights.”


He did attend the University of Alaska for some time, and after working for the airline he found work in the hotel business, and later as a firefighter and medical technician. Since moving back to Vallejo and working for Blue & Gold Fleet, he’s been studying to earn his bachelor’s degree from Sonoma State University and is set to graduate this May. An avid traveler, Carr-Johnson is hoping to secure funding to pursue his masters in transportation logistics at the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo later next year.


You’ll still find him working on deck after graduation, but he’s also planning more travel. So far he’s been to Iceland, England, Germany, France, Colombia and more. After graduation he plans to visit Israel, Jordan and Egypt—which was a decision he made after speaking to some tourists from Israel who were on the ferry one day. After that he’d like to visit Hong Kong, so if you’ve been there, maybe you can give him some insider tips next time you see him on board.


The area’s craft brewery scene developed significantly after Carr-Johnson left Vallejo in 2003, but upon his return he became a craft brew aficionado. He can give you some more details in person, but for his fellow craft-brew connoisseurs he recommends trying the Napa Smith Pilsner at the Napa Smith Brewery, and the Coal Shed Stout at the Mare Island Brewing Co. And if you’re thirsty right now, there’s a bar onboard the ferry.


“When I moved up to Alaska traffic wasn’t as bad as it is today. When I moved back it was just a complete shock,” Carr-Johnson said. “To just be able to relax, have yourself a cup of coffee, have yourself a cocktail, and leave the driving to a qualified boat captain, the ferry is definitely the best way to go.” So say hello, talk some travel, and enjoy your trip to work.