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Ferry Services During Emergencies

Golden Gate Ferry Services During Emergencies

The GGF system has played an important role during regional emergencies over the years. Here are a few key examples:

  • In January 1982, a massive rainstorm hit the North Bay. Virtually cut off from San Francisco due to mudslides and flooding, more than 16,000 passengers relied upon Golden Gate Ferry to bring them across the San Francisco Bay.
  • Following the October 17, 1989, Loma Prieta Earthquake south of San Francisco, the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge was closed for one month. During this time, Golden Gate Ferry ridership increased significantly.
  • During the week of September 8, 1997, San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system shut down when 2,600 workers went on strike. Larkspur Ferry was an alternate choice, and ridership increased significantly during the strike.
  • Over Labor Day weekend in 2007 and 2009, the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge was closed in both directions for necessary seismic retrofit work. During this time, to offer alternatives to motorists, Golden Gate Ferry added service on both the Sausalito and Larkspur routes.

Emergency Response Training

The San Francisco Bay Area is a region at risk of earthquakes, fires, and floods. In a world globally connected by international travelers and the internet, all Bay Area residents are at risk of pandemics, cyberattacks, and other risks to the way we live and work. 

Golden Gate Ferry regularly hosts and participates in emergency training exercises to prepare ourselves for a real emergency or crisis. These exercises are often conducted with multiple Bay Area partner agencies and give District staff an opportunity to put emergency plans and procedures into practical use and to solidify relationships and communications with staff from these other agencies. 

In May 2018, District staff participated in the "Shaking Marin Earthquake Exercise." We activated our Emergency Operations Center at the Bridge and practiced how we would coordinate and manage the District response to an earthquake in Marin. Marin County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services coordinated the exercise with the District and nine other federal, state, county, and city agencies. 

District staff also recently participated in an exercise where an earthquake struck the Bay Area, causing an oil spill at the Golden Gate Larkspur Ferry Terminal. The District team participated in a six-hour training at the Marin County Emergency Operations Center with a goal of protecting the safety of emergency responders and the general public, while stabilizing the situation. It was a tabletop exercise, in which the participants played their roles while seated and did the work on paper.

In January 2016, the "Bay Ferry 4" drill on the San Francisco Bay gave an opportunity to practice crisis response, recovery, and inter-agency communications and cooperation. 

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