Ferry Questions Answered

Ferry Q&A is where you can have your questions about Bay Area ferry service answered by the professionals who speak for the ferry systems.

Published: June, 2019


Ferry Q&A is where you can have your questions about Bay Area ferry service answered by the professionals who speak for the ferry systems. Thomas Hall is the public information and marketing manager for WETA, the agency that runs the S.F. Bay Ferry service. Priya Clemens is his counterpart at Golden Gate Transit. Their answers to your ferry questions are marked with WETA and GG, respectively.


Please submit your questions today to info@baycrossings.com.


Recently there was a person who had a loud phone conversation that lasted the entire hour trip. I wasn’t even close to her and could still hear every word she said! I have also encountered people watching videos and playing games on devices without their headphones so everyone around them was forced to listen to their personal entertainment. Can anything be done to get people to be more respectful of their fellow passengers? Should I say something directly to them or ask a deckhand for help?


WETA: We ask all passengers to be mindful of other passengers when engaging in a phone call on board—please keep it short and quiet. We also ask passengers to refrain from playing music or sound through their phones, tablets or laptops while on board. If a passenger is disrupting you and others, please bring it to the attention of the crew.


GG: The ferry is special because there’s something for everyone—places to socialize, a spot to grab a refreshment, space for quiet reflection and views for all! In order to optimize the experience, we’ve designated certain areas on every one of our ferries that are “cell phone free” zones. If you find your fellow passengers are not abiding by the expected behavior in any particular area, please talk with a deckhand. We are proud of the friendly and helpful staff on our ferries who work hard to ensure a pleasant ride for all.


How much fuel does a typical ferry hold and how much does it use? Do they refuel during the day or do they hold enough for all day?


GG: Golden Gate ferries have varied fuel capacity and fueling intervals due to different engine arrangements. Large catamarans hold 6,000 gallons of fuel, while mono-hull vessels hold 8,000 gallons of fuel. Engine burn rates vary from 320 gallons an hour to 160 gallons an hour when operating at full speed. Vessels are run at lower speeds for greater fuel efficiency whenever possible. Golden Gate’s high-speed ferries (catamarans) are refueled daily, while our mono-hull (Spaulding) vessels fuel at five- or six-day intervals, when running a normal commute schedule. We maintain onsite fuel capacity to keep service running for several weeks in the event of a supply disruption.


WETA: Our ferries vary in size as well as fuel capacity. Our smallest vessels, the four boats of the Gemini class, hold 2,400 gallons each and use approximately 120 gallons per hour. Our large jet boats in the Pyxis and Mare Island classes carry up to 6,000 gallons of fuel and use upwards of 225 gallons per hour. Each ferry carries enough fuel for the entire day for its service routes, but we like to keep them full by refueling during the day. We have greatly expanded our fuel storage capacity at our two maintenance facilities in recent years as well to provide a safety net if fuel delivery is disrupted.