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Catalina Flyer is to resume daily service Friday

The 600-seat passenger boat, which runs between the Balboa Pavilion and Avalon, was removed from service in mid-September to have its engines replaced.

March 31, 2011|By Sarah Peters, Los Angeles Times
  • The Catalina Flyer will resume daily service from Newport Harbor to Santa Catalina Island on Friday after replacement of its engines to meet lower diesel emission guidelines. The 600-seat passenger catamaran has been removed from service since mid-September.
The Catalina Flyer will resume daily service from Newport Harbor to Santa… (Don Leach / Daily Pilot )

The Catalina Flyer is to resume daily service from Newport Beach to Catalina Island on Friday with machinery that should give passengers a quieter and smoother ride, the catamaran's owner announced.

The 600-seat passenger boat, which runs between the Balboa Pavilion and Avalon, was removed from service in mid-September to have its engines replaced.

While the new engines were being installed on Whidbey Island, Wash., the company temporarily rented a 149-seat boat to make the daily crossings between Catalina and Newport Beach, owner Armen Gugasian said.

The engines had to be replaced to meet lower diesel emission guidelines adopted by the California Air Resources Board in 2007.

Additional upgrades were also made to the boat's hydraulic system, making for a smoother ride, Gugasian said.

Gugasian declined to say how much it cost to overhaul the boat, which was built in 1988.

Mike Donegan, the company's marketing director, said ticket prices would stay the same despite the repairs. Adult round-trip fares are $68; there are discounts for seniors and children.

To have the repairs made, five crew members piloted the boat back to its home port from Washington state.

"Cosmetically, the boat has not changed, just mechanically," Gugasian said.

"It just benefits everyone all around," he said. "We have a boat that is more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly, and it benefits our passengers by avoiding any problems or troubles in the future."

Although the smaller 149-seat boat was temporary, Gugasian said, he liked the way it performed. It was more cost-efficient for ferrying passengers during the off season, he said.

The Catalina Flyer typically scales back its schedule after Thanksgiving and shuts down in January. Daily service normally resumes in March, but this year it was delayed because of the engine replacements, Gugasian said.

"The temporary boat did well," Gugasian said. "But now it's time for the big boat to come back and do its job."

sarah.peters@latimes.com

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