The Star of India at the San Diego Maritime Museum. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The Maritime Museum of San Diego reopens to the public Saturday, pledging a new, safe outdoor visit experience that includes free boat rides with general admission purchase.

Museum president/CEO Raymond Ashley said: “We wanted to offer a special treat for visitors and residents of San Diego during the stress of the global pandemic. So a stroll aboard the decks of these historic ships and refreshing, educational boat ride in San Diego Bay could be the perfect break.”

A new one-way tour indicated by 6-foot markers placed on the upper decks has been created for visitors to view a selection of vessels. Visitor capacity is 25% of the museum’s normal traffic.

Condensed hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets may be sold until 4 p.m. for same-day visits, based on the new reduced capacity.

The tour begins at the Berkeley steam ferryboat and ends with the Star of India. The outdoor tour also includes the recently restored decks of the HMS Surprise, featured in the films “Master and Commander” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.”

The USS Dolphin and Soviet naval submarines remain temporarily closed for public safety. 

The museum says staff closely monitored guidelines from the state, local and health authorities and have prepared to abide by public health safety and CDC recommendations.

Harbor History Bay tours are normally offered at an additional charge with admission.

“This outdoor experience includes a walking tour of the upper decks of the Maritime Museum’s historic fleet and a complimentary boat ride. Four 45-minute narrated bay tours will be offered daily at 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.,” Ashley said.

Space is limited due to lower capacity requirements in accordance with state guidelines.

The museum — with an international reputation for excellence in restoring, maintaining, and operating historic vessels including the world’s oldest active sailing ship, Star of India — says boat rides will be offered aboard one of two landmark vintage vessels including the oldest active operating harbor pilot boat, the 1914 Pilot and the restored Vietnam-era U.S. Navy PCF 816 Swift boat.

General admission tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors 62+, military and ages 13-17. Children 12 and under are $10 and can be purchased at the Museum Ticket booth daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. located on the north embarcadero at 1492 N. Harbor Drive.

Credit/debit cards may be used to buy tickets at the Museum Ticket Booth machines on the embarcadero. Cash is not accepted.

Only self-guided tours are available. The museum has temporarily discontinued docent-led tours and group tours. However, docents, staff and volunteers will be stationed throughout the tour to assist guests. Due to the high touch potential, the Museum Gift Shop also remains temporarily closed. 

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