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Thursday, Feb 22, 2024

TRANSPORTATION– Agencies Consider Proposal for Hydrofoil Ferry

Transportation: Firm Wants Trial Run for

Commuter Service

As traffic worsens along San Diego freeways, could a 21st century solution be a fleet of high-speed commuter boats carrying hundreds of people to work?

At least one maritime ferry service owner thinks so. A commuter ferry could be here as early as this summer.

“We don’t want any moss growing under this (proposal),” said Stan Siegel, president of Mari-Flite Ferries, which hopes to bring the commuter boats to town.

As proposed, the ferry would be a one-year demonstration project, running nonstop from Oceanside to Downtown San Diego in the morning and in the reverse direction in the evening. Cost for a round-trip ticket has not yet been determined, Siegel said.

The trip, at speeds of up to 40 knots (about 50 mph) would take 45 minutes , comparable to rush-hour traffic, said Jim Larson, spokesman for California Department of Transportation.

The ferry would be a hydrofoil, which has a number of advantages. For one thing, hydrofoils can travel very quickly, while delivering a smooth ride even in very rough seas.

For another, hydrofoil craft don’t cast a large wake, meaning that they can pull into port at higher speeds without worrying about damage the wake could cause to the coastline and to other boats, Siegel said.

Early Launch Possible

Siegel hopes to lease the boats, which he described as 100 feet long, with 100 tons of gross displacement. The boats would be die


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