Cruise Planning

Windmills located near Rio Vista California

Vessel Reservations

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 only from one method, the vessel calendar.

Any reservation inquiry made by email, phone, text or in person is not confirmed until the event is listed in the vessel calendar and you receive formal written confirmation of your cruise plan.




The R/V Questuary can comfortable accommodate 6-8 scientific crew for an all day cruise. The vessel has a private head 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.

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 located at the Loch Lomond Marina in San Rafael, California.  From HWY 101, exit on Point San Pedro Road in San Rafael, head 4.4 miles East. Turn Right on Loch Lonond Drive. Proceede through the traffic circle and head East through the parking lot. The boat is located at the "G" gate. Contact the vessel captain or deckhand to let you through the gate. 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.

GPS Coordinates for Dock

37.9734, -122.4806

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. USCG requirements limit operation of the vessel to 12 hours, including transit to your locations.

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 Deployment

Marine 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 electronic data. 

Research Cruise or Class Cruise

When reserving the R/V Questuary, please note that there are two classifications for cruise activity, "Research Cruise" or "Class Cruise". Please consider your cruise objectives and make sure the objectives are clearly stated in the vessel reservation. 

Research Cruise

  • Main goal for the cruise is to collect scientific samples and data. No instruction other than a safety briefing.
  • Sample coordinates that are specific, have been thoroughly discussed with the vessel captain prior to departure and are reasonably attainable for the cruise schedule. 
  • Limited number of crew that all have experience in sea-going vessel and are collectively engaged in sample and data collection. 

Class Cruise

  • Main goal is to introduce undergraduate and graduate level students into the operation of a sea-going research vessel and sampling procedures.
  • Coordinates can be broad in scope and usually reflect a time period that accommodates the students and their schedule.
  • Maximum number of students permitted for any one cruise is 10, plus one faculty, captain and deck hand (TOTAL = 13).


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

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.

Suisun Bay

Cruise Cancellation Due To Air Quality Standards

Unfortunately, wildfires have been an ongoing concern in California and these events have directly impacted the operation of the university research vessels, including R/V Questuary. The University will not ask any staff or student to expose themselves to uhealthy air quality, regardless of scientific needs or considerations. Please note any cruise scheduled for a date that has been impacted by air quality standards may be cancelled. This can occur even if the R/V Questuary is stationed remotely on SF Bay. If the AQI (US EPA PM2.5 AQI) is over 150 (unhealthy or worse) 12 hours before or forecasted to be 150 or worse during the scheduled activity - cruise activity is cancelled.

Cancellation will occur if any of the following conditions are met: