Updated August 12, 2010

M.V. Mendocino Goes to Dry Docking on August 17, 2010, for Three (3) Weeks


As of Tuesday, August 17, 2010, the M.V. Mendocino will be removed from service for required U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) dry docking for about 3 weeks. Dry docking is required every two years to receive a USCG Certificate of Inspection.

It has not been determined yet which vessel will “stand-in” for the Mendocino. Stay tuned for more details, and note that if the "stand-in" vessel is the M.V. Del Norte, the passenger capacity will be lower by 60 as shown below:

Passenger Capacity
M.V. Napa
M.V. Del Norte
M.V. Mendocino



M.V. Del Norte

On Tuesday, September 8, 1998, the most critical improvement to the Golden Gate Ferry (GGF) system was introduced. GGF expanded services between Larkspur and San Francisco with the launch of the first high-speed catamaran, the M.V. Del Norte. This significant milestone offered customers new commute options that included more frequent trips, better departure times, and faster crossings.

The M.V. Del Norte is a 135-foot, 390-passenger, two-deck lightweight catamaran propelled by four diesel engines. It is capable of cruising at 36 knots or 41.4 mph, as compared to a Spaulding Class vessel that travels at 20.5 knots or 23.6 mph. The speed of the high-speed catamaran reduced the crossing time between Larkspur and San Francisco from 45 minutes to 30 minutes. With the addition of the M.V. Del Norte, the number of weekday round trips was increased from 16 trips per weekday to 26. Until July 2004, the Larkspur route continued to be served by three Spaulding vessels and the M.V. Del Norte.

M.V. Mendocino

The M.V. Mendocino, a 141-foot, three-deck, 450-passenger, high-speed catamaran entered into service on the Larkspur-San Francisco route on Monday, September 10, 2001. Offering an increased passenger capacity of 450, up from the 390-passenger M.V. Del Norte, both high-speed vessels make the crossing between Larkspur and San Francisco in 30 minutes. To ensure the M.V. Mendocino long-term viability, from December 2002 to December 2003, the vessel was taken out of service for substantial warranty work when it was determined that the aluminum used for the hull was constructed using a process that did not meet stringent marine engineering and USCG regulations. The vessel was returned to the original builder, Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, Freeland, WA, who made the necessary repairs at no cost. Since July 2004, two high-speed catamarans (with the exception of the addition of one late afternoon San Francisco departure which is operated by a Spaulding vessel due to the large number of returning commuters at that time) have been in service on the Larkspur-San Francisco route, allowing an increase from 26 to 41 high-speed weekday crossings.

Golden Gate Ferry System

On November 10, 1969, the California State Legislature passed Assembly Bill 584 authorizing the GGBHTD to develop a transportation facility plan for implementing a mass transportation program in the U.S. Highway 101/Golden Gate Corridor aimed at relieving the mounting traffic congestion on the Golden Gate Bridge. At that time, the word “Transportation” was added to the District name to indicate its new commitment to public transportation.

On January 12, 1970, the GGBHD contracted with Philip F. Spaulding and Associates to design a commuter passenger ferry system between Marin and San Francisco. On December 10, 1971, California Assembly Bill 919 was passed requiring the GGBHTD to develop a longer range transportation programs for the corridor. After extensive public outreach including 21 public hearings in six counties, a unified system of buses and ferries emerged as the best means to serve the people of Marin and Sonoma counties. This public transit network is commonly known today as Golden Gate Transit (GGT) and Golden Gate Ferry (GGF).

On August 15, 1970, the GGBHTD took its first step into the transit business by inaugurating GGF service from Sausalito, CA, in southern Marin County to San Francisco. GGT basic service from Sonoma and Marin counties to San Francisco began on Saturday, January 1, 1972, and was followed by the start of GGT commute service on Monday, January 3, 1972. On Monday, December 13, 1976, ferry service was expanded with a second route between Larkspur and San Francisco.