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Sausalito, Larkspur & Tiburon Routes

Ferry Routes (One-way Distances)

  • Larkspur to San Francisco: 11.25 nautical miles or 12.95 statute miles
  • Sausalito to San Francisco: 5.5 nautical miles or 6.33 statute miles
  • Tiburon to San Francisco: 5.94 nautical miles or 6.84 statute miles

Three Routes Launched

Sausalito-San Francisco Service Launched

As Marin Country began to grow after the turn of the century, Sausalito became the principal “port of entry” for Marin residents and visitors. When the Golden Gate Bridge was proposed in the 1930s, some residents feared the town would wither because the Bridge would bypass the town. A movement began to bring the main Bridge approach through the center of Sausalito, and the main thoroughfare, Water Street, was renamed Bridgeway Boulevard. Another group of residents were up in arms at the prospect of Bridge traffic slicing through the serenity of Sausalito. A compromise was reached: Sausalito got a roadway direct to the Bridge – Alexander Avenue, but the main highway bypassed the town.

In 1969, the California Assembly authorized the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District to develop a transportation facility plan to implement a mass transportation system in the U.S. Highway 101/Golden Gate Corridor, and our agency's name was changed to the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (District).

In June 1970, working from a 1969 Arthur Little study of the feasibility of water transit, the M.V. (Motor Vessel) Point Loma was purchased by the District. Ironically, the District was very same public agency that contributed to the decline of ferry travel on the San Francisco Bay when it built the Golden Gate Bridge. 

The twin-engine, diesel-powered ferry was built and operated as an excursion boat in San Diego, CA. It carried 575 passengers at a speed of 15 knots or 17 miles per hour (mph). The vessel was reconditioned, rechristened the M.V. Golden Gate and placed into service on August 15, 1970, between Sausalito and San Francisco. This was official start of Golden Gate Ferry service.

golden gate 1970

The original M.V. Golden Gate

The M.V. Golden Gate was retired from the fleet on March 26, 2004, after more than 35 years of service. The M.V. Golden Gate was a sentimental favorite among regular commuters, having carried approximately 21 million passengers over 1.3 million nautical miles during 432,108 round trips.

Following the retirement of the M.V. Golden Gate, the Sausalito-San Francisco route has been served by one of the original high-capacity Spaulding vessels – the M.S. Marin which was originally placed into service between Larkspur and San Francisco on December 11, 1976.

Golden Gate Sausalito Ferry operates from a ferry landing in the heart of downtown Sausalito at Humboldt and Anchor streets. 

Larkspur-San Francisco Service Begins

 

Acting on the August 1970 report commissioned by the District, Golden Gate Commuter Ferryboat System, San Francisco – Marin Crossing, and prepared by Philip F. Spaulding and Associates, Seattle, WA, the Golden Gate Ferry system was expanded with the addition of new service between Larkspur and San Francisco. A portion of the north bank of Corte Madera Creek, located on the Hutchinson property, was designated as the new home for the main ferry terminal. The 25-acre ferry terminal site was purchased for $1.25 million.

 

Between late 1972 and early 1977, three 750-passenger ferry vessels, designed by Spaulding and Associates, were constructed by Campbell Industries, San Diego. These vessels are referred to even today as Spaulding class vessels.

 

marin christening

Christening of the G.T. Marin

 

spaulding construction

Spaulding vessel under construction

 

sonoma christening

Christening of the G.T. Sonoma

 

The first of the new ferries, the G.T. (Gas Turbine) Marin, was placed into commute service between Larkspur and San Francisco on Monday, December 13, 1976, and, at the same time, a new Larkspur Ferry Terminal was dedicated. The second vessel, the G.T. Sonoma, was added to the daily schedule on March 7, 1977. The third vessel, the G.T. San Francisco, arrived September 12, 1977. Initially, two of the three ferries were kept in daily service, with the third serving as an alternate. By the first anniversary of the Larkspur service, over 1.1 million customers had used the service.

Initial passenger amenities at the Larkspur terminal site included an 18,000 square foot futuristic open air “space frame” designed by the firm Braccia, Debrer & Heglund under the leadership of internationally known architect Jacques de Brer. The parking lot began with 1,000 spaces and, by 2008, was increased to 1,808. Three ferry berths were constructed and expanded to four berths in the 1990s. The Larkspur terminal has a covered paid passenger waiting area, restrooms, and can accommodate up to 70 bikes in racks provided at the facility. The facility is wheelchair accessible.

In 2000, with the opening of a new baseball stadium in downtown San Francisco, Golden Gate Ferry began operating direct service from Larkspur to all San Francisco Giants home games, arriving just steps away from the centerfield entrance. Dubbed the "Giants Ferry," the one-hour scenic ride across the Bay has been a fan favorite ever since! For more information, visit our Oracle Park Service page. 

In fall 2019, with the new Chase Center in the Mission Bay section of San Francisco, Golden Gate Ferry will operate direct service from Larkspur for all Golden State Warriors games and special events and concerts. For more information, visit our Chase Center Service page. 

Tiburon-San Francisco Route Added

For the first time in forty years, on Monday, March 6, 2017, Golden Gate Ferry expanded its Marin County service area and began operating weekday commute ferry service between Tiburon and San Francisco. 

In 2015, the District began discussions with Blue & Gold Fleet to take over the Blue & Gold commute ferry service between Tiburon and San Francisco. On Friday, February 24, 2017, the District Board of Directors voted to approve a sublease agreement with Blue & Gold Fleet.

While various Golden Gate Ferry vessels are used to serve this route, the primary vessel is the M.V. Del Norte

The Tiburon Ferry Landing is located at the foot of Tiburon Boulevard in downtown Tiburon.

 

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