Marine Exchange of the San Francisco Bay Region

Escort Program


851.2 – Purpose and Scope

This subchapter sets forth tank vessel escort requirements for the San Francisco, San Pablo and Suisun Bays. These requirements specify that tank vessels carrying 5,000 or more long tons of oil in bulk as cargo shall be escorted by a suitable escort tug or tugs. The escort tugs will be available, and shall respond as needed to influence the speed and direction of travel of the tank vessel in the event of a casualty, or steering or propulsion failure, thereby reducing the possibility of groundings or collisions and the risk of oil spills from these tank vessels. This subchapter establishes the criteria for matching tugs to tankers and barges. Tankers will be matched according to a matrix that correlates a tanker’s displacement with the braking force of a tug(s). Barges must be matched based on a one-to-one correlation of the deadweight tonnage of the barge to the braking force of the tug(s).

The Administrator shall review the matching criteria and other program elements within two years of the effective date of this subchapter. The program review will include a survey of the tanker-related incidents in U.S. waters to determine the types of failures that have occurred, an assessment of tug technology and any advances made in design and power, and the tug escort-related rules and policies that are implemented by other coastal states and maritime organizations. At the conclusion of the review, the Administrator will determine whether it is necessary to modify the tug/tanker matching criteria or any other provision of the program requirements.

California Code of Regulations: Title 14, Division 1 Subdivision 4: Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response
Kip Ratings for Tugs



NOAA Currents – San Francisco Bay Escort Zones

Use the links below to access the NOAA’s Current Prediction system. See the basic tutorial linked below if you need help configuring the data.

NOAA Currents Tutorial


  Golden Gate Bridge, 0.46 nmi. East of (Depth of 30 ft.) SFB1203 37.8201° N 122.4730° W Harmonic
  Yerba Buena Island, West of (midchannel) (Depth of 12 ft.) SFB1209 37.8100° N 122.3831° W Harmonic
  Point Chauncey, 1.25 mni. North of (Depth of 18 ft.) SFB1310 37.9153° N 122.4461° W Harmonic
  Carquinez Strait (Depth of 25 ft.) SFB1319 38.0614° N 122.2182° W Harmonic



Blank Escort Plans