Mavrik Marine Inc., La Conner, Wash., has won a $13 million contract to build a 300-passenger high-speed ferry for the San Francisco Bay Ferry system.

The Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority awarded the contract Oct. 4, for what will be the eighth vessel added to the expanding WETA fleet since 2017.

The Mavrik boat is expected to enter service in 2020, as part of ferry service expansion to new terminals and adding capacity on existing routes. It will join three of the newer134’x38’x6’6”, 400-passenger Hydrus-class catamarans, plus a fourth due for delivery from Vigor Marine, Ballard, Wash., in 2019. Dakota Creek Industries, Anacortes, Wash., will deliver the first of three 445-passenger vessels in 2019.

The Mavrik contract will deliver a 125’x32’8”x4’5” aluminum catamaran design by One2three Naval Architects, based in Sydney and Perth, Australia. A pair of  MTU 12V4000M65R engines turning 2,000 hp with Hamilton waterjets will provide a service speed of 32 knots.

The ferry is specified to meet Coast Guard Subchapter K requirements, and have capacity for at least 35 bicycles, a must for the Bay Ferry’s commuters and other patrons. The boat will help the system’s expansion to the city of Richmond starting in January 2019, and then on to the Mission Bay neighborhood of San Francisco and Seaplane Lagoon in Alameda in the next few years.

Meanwhile WETA’s plan looks to increase service frequency on existing routes linking the city and region through Vallejo, the East Bay and South San Francisco.

It’s all part of a strategy to provide more commuting alternatives to highway and rail that are at capacity. The ferries saw a 78% increase in ridership from 2012 to 2017.

“We’re aggressively expanding San Francisco Bay Ferry service, and we need additional vessels to meet the high demand,” said Nina Rannels, executive director of WETA in announcing the contract. “This new vessel will play a key role in our fleet, complementing higher-capacity boats while being versatile enough to serve every terminal in the WETA system. It also boosts our emergency response capabilities by adding capacity.”

The agency’s 20-year strategic plan calls for a dozen ferry lines to 16 terminals with 44 vessels by 2035 – a virtual doubling of today’s six services at nine terminals with 14 vessels.

This is the first vessel to be built for WETA by Mavrik, a Pacific Northwest builder of fishing vessels and workboats that won the ferry contract in a competitive process. One of the company’s current projects with the One2three architects is a 70’, 149-passenger Subchapter T catamaran excursion vessel under construction for Expeditions Maui of Hawaii.

Contributing Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been an editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for over 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.