Pensacola Bay Cruises tour boats link downtown Pensacola, Pensacola Beach, and the Fort Pickens Area of Gulf Islands National Seashore. HMS Ferries, Inc., operating as Pensacola Bay Cruises, a private, nonsubsidised, for-profit company has a concessions contract to operate the service.
Who operates Pensacola Bay Cruises?
On March 5, 2019, the National Park Service and HMS Ferries, Inc. signed a 10-year concessions contract for the operation of Pensacola Bay Cruises.
Where does Pensacola Bay Cruises operate?
The Pensacola Bay Cruises system operates between the City of Pensacola, Pensacola Beach, and Fort Pickens located at the Gulf Islands National Seashore on Santa Rosa Island.
How long is the ride to each landing location?
Ride time is approximately 30-40 minutes to each landing location.
Ticketing, passenger queuing, restrooms, and gateway information is available at three locations.
The City of Pensacola tour boat facility is located directly north of the North Basin on Commendencia Slip, the Pensacola Beach ferry site is located at the Pensacola Beach boardwalk at the intersections of Fort Pickens Road and Via De Luna Drive, and the Fort Pickens ferry site is located just north of Fort Pickens at the western end of Fort Pickens Road inside Gulf Islands National Seashore.
How many boats will operate?
Two National Park Service tour boats are operated by Pensacola Bay Cruises under a concession contract with the National Park Service.
Are vehicles allowed on the tour boats?
The tour boats are not be able to transport vehicles. Parking will be available at all departure points.
Are the tickets round trip?
Tour boat tickets will offer “hop-on, hop-off” privileges, allowing passengers to travel in either direction between the service's three endpoints during the day.
Is there a shuttle service?
Seasonally, a free trolley currently runs on Pensacola Beach. Additionally, a tram service runs at Fort Pickens in conjunction with the tour boat service.
Will food and beverages be sold on the ferries?
Beverages and snacks are sold on the vessels.
Are the tour boats handicap accessible?
The tour boats are accessible.
Can people bring coolers, bikes, beach chairs?
The tour boats were designed with passenger storage space and bike racks. Storage space on the boats is fixed, so the operator may have to more specifically define the size and quantity of items brought on board by passengers.
What happens if you take the tour boat to Fort Pickens and bad weather moves in?
The tour boat operator is required to have a Weather Preparedness Plan. The plan will cover the preparedness levels for high winds, rain and thunderstorms, tropical storms and hurricanes, and designate specific actions to be taken.
Are groups allowed to rent the tour boats for special events?
The tour boat operator is authorized to offer "specialty cruises" outside of the regular schedule as approved by the park.
What happens if only a few people want to ride that day? Does it still go? Is there a minimum?
Unless otherwise agreed to by the park, the tour boat operator must provide a minimum level of service. Additional details will be announced soon.