Updated May 11, 2009




In January 2009, the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District purchased two catamaran vessels from Washington State Ferry (WSF), the M.V. Chinook and the M.V. Snohomish, at a cost of $2 million each. The WSF vessels were built in 1998 and 1999 respectively and have not been used in regular service since 2002.

Following the purchase, the M.V. Snohomish was renamed the M.V. Napa. The vessel underwent minor modification to ready it for delivery to the Golden Gate Ferry Larkspur Terminal facility. The vessel’s loading mechanism was modified to be compatible with Golden Gate Ferry’s upper deck loading equipment, the water jets were refurbished, and a temporary snack bar added. The vessel also underwent required U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) inspections.

Upon arrival in Larkspur on May 11, the M.V. Napa will undergo additional inspections and any necessary modifications will be made before being placed into service on the Larkspur-San Francisco route.

The M.V. Napa is being delivered to Larkspur prior to undergoing a complete refurbishment as it will be placed into service to provide customers continuity with high-speed service during the repowering (new engines) of the M.V. Del Norte. The M.V. Napa will be certified by the USCG to carry 390 passengers which is the same as what the M.V. Del Norte is certified to carry. The current plan is send the M.V. Del Norte out to the ship yard by the end of June 2009 for repowering at which time the M.V. Napa will take over for the M.V. Del Norte.

The two WSF vessels are very similar to the Golden Gate Ferry catamaran, M.V. Del Norte. All three vessels were designed by Advanced Multihull Design and built by Dakota Creek Industries. The Del Norte is the shortest in length at 133.86 feet, with the Chinook at 143.27 feet and the Snohomish at 149.33 feet.

The M.V. Chinook will go to the ship yard sometime between October and December of 2009 for a complete refurbishment which is being funded through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act at a cost of $9.4 million. Following the return of the M.V. Chinook, the M.V. Napa will undergo a complete refurbishment using 20% District funds and 80% through other grant sources.

M.V. Chinook refurbishment will include:

  1. Tier 2-20 engines which exceed current California Air Resources Board requirements.
  2. Replacement of reduction gears, main shafting, bearings, engine controls and monitoring panels, electrical generator sets and other miscellaneous pumps and controllers.
  3. Refurbishment of four water jets and updated navigation equipment.
  4. Complete repainting of the vessel, along with interior renovations including: new ADA accessible restrooms; snack bar, seating and tables; bicycle racks; deck coverings.
  5. Modifications to accommodate additional inside seating capacity and new embarkation doors for passengers at the upper deck.
  6. Increased passenger capacity from 350 to a minimum of 450.


The refurbishment timeline for the M.V. Chinook

Begin refurbishment: Sometime between October and December 2009, depending on contract award to ship yard
Complete refurbishment and deliver vessel: Sometime between April and June 2010, depending on when the refurbishment commences