Snow delivers launch to San Francisco Bar Pilots

(SAN FRANCISCO) — The San Francisco Bar Pilots celebrated the arrival and deployment of pilot boat Golden Gate on Thursday with bar pilots and staff, elected officials, and the many partners involved in the vessel’s design and construction.

Golden Gate, which replaces a vessel under the same name at the end of its lifespan, was built by Snow and Company of Seattle. It is a state-of-the-art pilot vessel that advances the organization’s sustainability goals. Funding was made possible through last year’s Assembly Bill 2056 legislation authored by Assemblyman Timothy Grayson, D- Concord.

Snow and Company photo

“Our vessels are a critical piece of the organization, moving the bar pilots through the San Francisco Bay and beyond to keep California’s economy going,” said Capt. John Carlier, president of the San Francisco Bar Pilots. “The new Golden Gate’s cutting-edge engine and technology will allow us to transfer to and from ships safely and efficiently with added maneuverability and speed, meaning safer trips and faster service for the ships calling into the pilotage ground.”

The bar pilots play a critical role in the Bay Area economy and support more than $117 billion in economic activity throughout the region. The recent pandemic accentuated outdated funding processes, and one of the major tenets of AB 2056 was a revision of the pilot boat surcharge. The new surcharge increases flexibility and the time horizon over which pilot vessel construction is funded – a win for both the bar pilots and the rate payers.

These updates are critical in providing the bar pilots with the ability to respond to an accelerated fleet replacement schedule brought about by new California Air Resources Board (CARB) emission regulation.

“The pandemic and related supply chain issues over the last few years shined a light on the necessity to address outdated funding mechanisms and ensure that the bar pilots continue their essential work to push the local, regional, and state economy forward, while also reducing our carbon footprint,” said Capt. Anne McIntyre, business director of the San Francisco Bar Pilots. “We are grateful to the many partners who were instrumental in the process of bringing the new pilot vessel Golden Gate to reality.”

The San Francisco Bar Pilots were joined in their effort to proactively address pilot vessel construction funding mechanisms by the Pacific Maritime Shipping Association, Cruise Lines International Association, and Western States Petroleum Association. Through this partnership, the coalition was able to guarantee funding was available for this critical piece of the bar pilots daily objective: navigating ships safely in and out of the San Francisco Bay and beyond while protecting 1,000 miles of shoreline.

“The delivery of the new pilot vessel Golden Gate is an embodiment of the dedication of the maritime industry to reducing emissions at our seaports and our commitment to make new investments to support the future of California’s waterfront,” said Mike Jacob, vice president and general counsel of the Pacific Maritime Shipping Association, representing ocean carriers and ocean-going vessels calling on ports in the San Francisco Bay. “The modernized and upgraded Golden Gate will not only provide pilotage service to the vessels calling on ports, but it will meet and exceed California’s strict new emissions standards for harbor craft, which are some of the strictest in the world. This new vessel delivery was made possible by the San Francisco Bar Pilots and their vessel customers working together and going hand-in-hand together to Sacramento to get the approval of the state Legislature and Gov. Newsom for the financing structure necessary to commission this vessel, and improving our environment and our local economy in the process.”

– San Francisco Bar Pilots

By Professional Mariner Staff