CHC Fact Sheet: Ferries
- Ferries transport passengers or vehicles, operating between two points over the most direct water route. Ferries include vessels operated by public or private companies, on both regularly scheduled and on-demand bases.
- CARB staff has identified a subset of ferries that operate on shorter runs, referred to as “short-run ferries.” Short-run ferries include vessels that provide regularly scheduled ferry service between two points that are less than three nautical miles apart.
- High-speed ferries (catamaran and monohull) are designed to be light and fast. Operating the engines at a high load continuously while transiting requires larger and/or higher power-density engines.
- There are ~71 ferry vessels statewide, with ~250 engines, spread across different air basins.
Ferry Vessel Population in the Year 2023
Catamaran Vessel Population
Monohull Vessel Population
Short-Run Vessel Population
San Francisco Bay Area
South Central Coast
- Ferry vessels are one of the largest emitting categories of commercial harbor craft. Although they only represent 2 percent of the harbor craft population, they emit 11 percent of total commercial harbor craft PM2.5 emissions, and 15 percent of total commercial harbor craft oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions.
- Under the Proposed Amendments, PM2.5 emissions from ferry vessels would decrease by 85 percent, and NOx emissions would decrease by 68 percent by 2031.
- Under the Proposed Amendments, both new and in-use short-run ferries operating in Regulated California Waters (i.e., 24 nautical miles from the coast) would be required to upgrade to full zero-emission vessels by December 31, 2025.
- All other ferry vessels operating in Regulated California Waters would be subject to the following in-use performance standards:
- use of Tier 4 engines equipped with diesel particulate filters (DPF).
- if engines are rated below 600 kilowatts (kW) and Tier 4 engines are not available, Tier 3 engines equipped with DPFs.
Compliance Exceptions and Extensions
- Initial compliance dates, by which vessel owner/operators would need to upgrade engines or apply for extensions, are summarized below.
- Short-run ferries are not eligible for feasibility extensions of 6-8 years, but are eligible for up to 2 x 1-year extensions related to infrastructure delays.
Compliance dates for non-short run ferry vessels would phase in between 2024 and 2029, with possible compliance extensions delaying upgrades until 2031 to 2034. Short-run ferries have a compliance deadline for transitioning to full zero-emission operation by December 31, 2025, with possible extensions deferring compliance until 2027.
- Vessels operating under low-hour use thresholds within 24 nautical miles of the coast do not have to repower or retrofit their vessels.
Limits – All Other Areas
Limits – DACs
- The average ticket price can vary depending on the location and length of the trip. Estimated ticket increases would be between $0.98-$1.84.
Average Ticket Cost Increase
Cost Per Passenger – High‑Speed Ferry, One-Way Trip
Cost Per Passenger – Short‑Run Ferry, One-Way Trip
Note: This analysis assumes costs are completely passed through to paying customers.
 Vessels with a homebase or regularly schedules stop two nautical miles from a disadvantaged community (DAC).