FERRIES 2022 tour will now offer views of Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge onboard M/V Dorado high-speed ferry

Written by Heather Ervin
MV Dorado ferry

M/V Dorado is the fastest vessel in WETA’s fleet with a service speed of 36 knots.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Marine Log FERRIES 2022 tour has pivoted away from an in-person visit of the Sea Change ferry—which will still be discussed during the conference—to an onboard tour and cruise of San Francisco Bay Ferry’s newest high-speed passenger vessel, the M/V Dorado.

The tour will include close-up views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Onboard concessions will be available, including alcoholic beverages.

The tour is only open to Ferries 2022 participants, so register to attend to reserve your spot.


The San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA), which operates the San Francisco Bay Ferry fleet, took delivery of M/V Dorado this summer. It is the fastest vessel in WETA’s fleet with a service speed of 36 knots and is also the first boat built for WETA that can safely dock at any of the system’s 12 ferry terminals.

The 320-passenger catamaran is the first in a series of four ordered by WETA from the Mavrik Marine shipyard in La Conner, Wash. Designed by Australia’s One2three Naval Architects, construction management services were provided by Aurora Marine Design of San Diego.

WETA plans to rotate the vessel among its routes to collect operational data and allow passengers across the ferry system to experience the boat. The vessel offers expansive outdoor passenger space to allow more riders to experience a fresh-air trip across the Bay.

“WETA is building a world class ferry system for the Bay Area and adding new vessels like M/V Dorado helps us get there,” said Jim Wunderman, chair of the WETA Board of Directors and this year’s keynote speaker. “This American-made ferry enhances the capacity of our fleet and provides additional flexibility for our operations, helping ensure we run the system as efficiently as possible. It also happens to be a beautiful ferry.”

“We’re so grateful to our partners for helping us build out the San Francisco Bay Ferry fleet and system,” said Vice Chair Monique Moyer. “Ferry ridership is on the upswing. Our ability to serve those passengers relies on investment in new vessels and terminals and support for our highly skilled maritime labor force. M/V Dorado is another step toward building our ferry system out to its full potential while enhancing WETA’s emergency response capabilities.”

Under WETA’s Pandemic Recovery Program, which took effect in July 2021, ferry ridership is steadily growing. The program decreased fares 30% across the system and enhanced service to provide more flexibility for riders. In April, ridership on San Francisco Bay Ferry reached 55% of pre-pandemic levels, outpacing comparable regional agencies.

Vessel construction was funded through the Federal Transit Administration and the State of California’s Proposition 1B in collaboration with the California Office of Emergency Services.

M/V Dorado is the ninth U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier 4 or Tier 4 equivalent passenger ferry in WETA’s fleet. In 2017, WETA commissioned the the first Tier 4 equivalent high-speed passenger ferry in the U.S., M/V Hydrus. In 2019, WETA commissioned the nation’s first Tier 4 certified high-speed passenger ferry, M/V Pyxis. Last month, WETA re-entered M/V Pisces into service after a successful conversion project replacing the vessel’s Tier 2 engines with cleaner Tier 4 engines.

WETA is expected to begin work on the agency’s first two zero-emission passenger ferries this year.

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