Cruise Planning

Windmills located near Rio Vista California

Vessel Charters

The R/V Questuary is available for educational, research and scientific charter. Reservations are made on a "first come, first served basis" and can be made from the SF State vessel calendar (registration required to view and book your charter). Phone and email reservations are not permitted however you may contact the SF State Marine Superintendent to discuss your specific needs.

Vessel reservations must include the following information:

  1. Resource (R/V Questuary or other SF State small boat)
  2. Additional Resources (CTD rosette, ADCP, nets, etc.)
  3. Departure Date
  4. Departure Time
  5. Title of Reservation
  6. Description of cruise
  7. Billing Code
  8. Crew
  9. Departure Location

Crew Accommodations

The R/V Questuary can comfortable accommodate six scientific crew for an all day cruise. The vessel has a private bathroom with a marine sanitation device and a small galley with microwave oven. For shorter (1-4 hours) class cruises, the R/V Questuary can accommodate up to 10 persons, plus a chief scientist. For larger groups, we ask not to bring any food onto the vessel.

What To Bring

As crew on the R/V Questuary, we ask that you bring appropriate attire for working on San Francisco Bay waters. This includes layers of clothing that can repel water and keep you insulated form the cold or heat. Please do not wear open-toe shoes or sandals. For cruise longer than a couple hours, please bring water and food if necessary. If you have your own personal life vest, please bring that, otherwise the vessel has enough live vests for up to 14 persons.

Departure Location

The R/V Questuary is docked at the Paradise Cay Yacht Harbor, 167 Trinidad Drive, Tiburon CA. Directions to the boat are here. If your research site is greater than 30 nautical miles from Paradise Cay (Martinez to the East or San Leandro to the South), you must schedule one transit day in advance to have the boat relocated to your departure location. Additional charges for vessel transit may apply.

Hours Of Operation

The R/V Questuary is normally operated Monday-Friday, 0800-1700, holidays excluded. Weekend, night and extended hours of operation are available. Please let us know if your cruise is not within the normal hours of operation.

Captains Responsibility and Crew Safety

Safety of persons and property is priority over all research objectives performed aboard the R/V Questuary and as such the captain of the vessel is singularly responsible for all activities aboard the vessel. Note that any cruise can be terminated at will by the captain should safety conditions warrant this action.

Chief Scientist

Every research cruise aboard the R/V Questuary must have a designated Chief Scientist aboard the vessel. This person may be a scientist, faculty, laboratory technician or appointed student. The Chief Scientist is responsible for directly communicating cruise objectives and logistics to the Vessel Captain. Prior to the start of a cruise, the Chief Scientist should be able to provide the following information to the Vessel Captain:

  • Cruise objectives.
  • Cruise destinations - please provide a written list of labeled coordinates in decimal degree format.
  • Crew list.
  • Sampling equipment required.
  • Sampling protocols to be used (i.e... net tows at surface, deployment of CTD, anchoring, etc).
  • Other important information related to the cruise (i.e.. hazardous chemicals present, pertinent medical condition of crew).

Questuary CTD DeploymentMarine Technician

A Marine Technician is required for a cruise that meets any of the following criteria:

  • Operation of the winch or A-frame hydraulics.
  • Deployment of the CTD rosette or acoustic doppler current profiler.
  • Cruise transit distance greater than 30 nautical miles one way.
  • Cruise duration greater than eight hours.
  • Cruise conducted at night or in restricted visibility.
  • Cruise requiring anchoring or mooring.
  • Deployment of any specialized equipment or instrumentation not owned San Francisco State University.

The Marine Technician must be SF State staff, faculty or student that has been trained in research vessel operations and oceanographic equipment handling relevant to the specific cruise objectives. The Marine Technician communicates directly with the Captain and manages all aspects of equipment deployment, operation and handling. The Marine Technician will serve as deckhand in the deployment of anchors and mooring operations and will serve as lookout during restricted visibility. The Marine Technician may be responsible for the collection and management of of electronic data. 


Any crew that is not employed by San Francisco State University or is not a current SF state student must complete a Release Of Liability Waiver prior to departure of the cruise.

Download Liability Waiver (PDF)

Scientific Collection Permits

Fish Collection

If you plan to deploy and collection gear which may capture vertebrate species (otter trawl, beam trawl, benthic trawl) you must have a valid California Department of Fish and Wildlife scientific collection permit. This permit must be in possession of the person whom it was issued and must be presented to the vessel captain prior to departure. For more information on collection permits, please see the CDFW website.