Ferry work in SF Bay Area

Hi Everyone,

Hope this finds finds you well.

I poked around but couldn’t find any information regarding SF bay Ferries (WETA/Blue and Gold) and the Golden Gate Ferry system. How does hiring work for them? Union, non-union? Do they hire captains? Deckhands?

I’m currently at one of the east coast academies getting a grad degree and 3rd mate unlimited but I was a commuter ferry captain in NY harbor for years before that with a 100 ton license. I’m not sure about sailing for months at a time and I’m interested in getting back into ferry work-I’m from the Bay Area originally and am interested in moving home when I’m done at school.

Thanks for your time!

Hi, Sanyca - Great topic. Thanks for joining. I see they sail from the Pier 41 Marine Terminal. Looks like a great choice. It also appears that they would be able to offer a promising career and long-term employment opportunity.

I think you may find this article interesting.


super secert number

port captain B&G good luck.


All deckhand positions are Inland Boatmen’s Union. To get started, you have to work out of the IBU union hall as a casual before working enough days to gain seniority at one of the companies which will lead to a full time position.

The companies do sometimes hire captains direct,but most of the time hire from the deckhand ranks or out of there respective union halls. Golden Gate captains are MEBA, the engineers union, WETA/B&G are MM&P and Red&White Fleet are IBU.

Hope that helps. Good luck.

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not true with blue and gold trust me. know of a couple of captains hired last year and now have seniority but at the bottom and its a long climb , Heck they even advertised on craigslist last year. I can say alot more but will not…
you can get in.

Thanks for the response. Do Blue and Gold captains rotate through all the divisions? (Weta, harbor tours, etc) or are you hired into one specific branch.

I really appreciate everyone’s responses, thank you for your time!

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most of the senior women seem to prefer hartbor tours and a lot of guys do
also because of normal hours. compaired to all weird hours and days with
ferries and every 3 months bids go in for who wants what baised on seniority.

In a message dated 3/28/2017 6:31:30 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
gcaptain_maritime_forum@discoursemail.com writes:

     _SANYCA_ (http://forum.gcaptain.com/users/sanyca)  Just  Browsing 

March 29
Thanks for the response. Do Blue and Gold captains rotate through all the
divisions? (Weta, harbor tours, etc) or are you hired into one specific
I really appreciate everyone’s responses, thank you for your time!

Thanks to SF Mariner below, I got started in IBU 2 years ago. I currently work out of the hall still, I’m close to gaining seniority with Blue and Gold but after being in awhile I’m not sure I’m going to take it. I like being able to basically create my own schedule and there’s plenty of work. Winters used to be lean but I worked more in December this past year than any month so far, and there was really only about 2 weeks where it was dead and being a C card I was still able to pull jobs. I see you’re more interested in operating, but it may be beneficial to work as a deckhand for a little bit to see how things work in the bay, and we NEED DECKHANDS! The other day we had 4 people in hall and 10 jobs! I see you have experience driving so you may be able to get in right away as a captain. More boats are being ordered, 2 more runs will be opening in the next 2 to 6 years, and with the addition of the new Warriors arena most likely getting ferry service as well, captains will be in high demand I’m sure. Anyway, just thought I’d share my experience. I love my job.

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Hi my name is parmjit , I am from India and I sailed with msc container ship company for like 10 years , last I was sailed as a second mate(f.g) like four months back, now I moved to USA near San Francisco, my wife is USA citizen and I am permanent resident here. I wish to know that I can join ferries or not as I am permanent resident here and if yes please tell me what things I have to do for that
Thanks in advance you can email me information on parmjit201090@gmail.com
Will be thankful to you

To get into the ferry system you need a US Merchant Mariners Credential (MMC)and a Transportation Workers Identity Card (TWIC). They run around 300 bucks for both if I remember correctly, you can find info online. While you’re doing that, stop by the hall in SF it’s on 450 Harrison. It’s the Sailors Union of the Pacific but the Inland Boatmans Union (IBU) is also there. You can talk to the dispatcher and sign up in the book for the next class, you dont have to have all your documents to sign up, but you will before the class starts. You will be informed when it is 2 to 3 weeks in advance. You could get in right away or have to wait a year but its the beginning of the year and this industry is really taking off, so I’m thinking you can get in before the summer. Depends on the needs to fill jobs, and how many people have been showing up in the hall. If you have other credentials and sea time, you MAY be able to skip the class and get called if they’re real desperate. After that, you bid on jobs in the hall, but were getting ahead of ourselves. Start with MMC and TWIC and pay the hall a visit, I’m not sure how the non citizen stuff works so they may have more info on that too. Anyway good luck, and get in soon. That goes for anyone else in the area that’s happening to read this and wondering if they can get in. I was just chatting with a guy this morning about how many more deckhands they’re gonna need in the next 5 years or so. The expansions taking place and that are planned are vast.

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Call them and tell them what you have. Ask them what you need.

Anyone work as engineer with blue and gold fleet ferries, have any info on it? I know they’re IBU but that’s about it.

Blue and Gold Fleet doesn’t have engineers on the boats. The boats are all under 100ton, so Captain does startup and deckhand will do engine room rounds. Only engineers/mechanics are shore based for maintenance and repair.
Only deckhands are IBU, Captains are MMP.

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Thanks for info

Bump this thread…just reserved my spot with IBU for training and wondering what to expect? Also, how’s ferry work outlook looking for deckhands? Plan on going to the hall everyday but wanted to see what the employment outlook looks like. Thanks! Very excited!

Welcome! Have you had your class yet? Go to the hall, be there at 8 am for early calls with Red and White and Blue and Gold out of 41. It is kinda tricky I think of late because typically you can only work Sausalito and Tiburon for Blue and Gold. They use to have 3 DHs and would add 1 or 2 in the summer to help with bikes but now run 4 man crews. Get what you can though with Red and White and Golden Gate and once you get your hours you can so the heavier traffic commuter runs. Also if you have any other endorsements you can maybe immediately get into Vallejo. If you can work out of the North Bay, it makes things a lot easier as those jobs tend to hang on the board. Keep at it and get on standbys, ferries are booming in the bay, a new run and 2 new boats at least this year I believe.


Thanks for the reply. Had my class back in October but it’s been slow go. I’ve been working a lot at a private ferry company called Prop SF, so not much time to go into the union hall. Thinking I’ll start going more frequently in March. I just upgraded my license to AB so need to submit that to there sea. Have things started to pick up?