Passengers board a Golden Gate Ferry at the Ferry Building. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Golden Gate Ferry races to overhaul its boats in time for 2019 Giants season

Three ferries in the Golden Gate Ferry fleet are set to get needed repairs to the tune of $4.8 million, but officials say the clock is ticking because those repairs must finish before next baseball season.

The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District Board of Directors gave its first approval Thursday morning to repair three of its ferries, the M.V. Del Norte, M.V. Napa and M.V. Golden Gate, which all need a major engine overhaul.

That overhaul will take them out of commission, however, leaving the district with four operational ferries. The three ferries have hit 15,000-18,000 running hours, at which point they must be repaired to extend their “useful life,” according to Golden Gate district documentation. Pacific Power Group out of Kent, Washington, will inspect the ferries’ engines, outfit them with new pumps, coolers, and other parts, and repaint the ferries.

Golden Gate district staff described the engine overhaul as notably expensive, but as routine as car upkeep.

Still, those boats need to be fixed before the San Francisco Giants throw the first pitch of 2019.

Golden Gate Ferry runs shuttles from Larkspur directly to AT&T Park, for $13.50 each way, and though that ferry service sees its business ebb and flow as the San Francisco Giants win and lose, it’s still a major part of the fleet’s activity. “It is important from a timing perspective that this contract be awarded now,” Golden Gate district staff wrote in its report, “with a target completion in time for the commencement of the 2019 Giants baseball season.”

With that need for speed in mind, the Golden Gate District Board of Directors Building and Operating Committee gave its stamp of approval for the engine overhauls Thursday, but not without a stern note from Golden Gate District General Manager Denis J. Mulligan.

“During baseball season we’re really spread thin, we want the ability to adjust quickly,” Mulligan warned the board. He suggested their work should start quickly, perhaps after September.

But one board member, John Moylan, quickly rebutted Mulligan.

“Mister director, the baseball season doesn’t stop in September. There’s still the World Series,” Moylan said.

Considering the Giants are currently placed fourth in the National League West, however, board member David Rabbitt quipped back to Morlan.

“Always the optimist,” Rabbitt said.

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