NEWPORT BEACH — Though confusion surfaced when Catalina Flyer took its main boat out of service for retrofitting, the company is using a backup catamaran to ferry offseason passengers between Newport Beach and Avalon.
A tour boat built by Geo Shipyard Inc., in New Iberia, La., has taken the place of the Catalina Flyer, which is being retooled outside of Seattle.
Steve Forbath, one of four captains, delivered nearly 100 passengers to Avalon on Friday.
The Catalina Flyer is having two new Caterpillar engines installed in its pair of hulls to comply with environmental regulations that are trying to put a cap on smog emissions from all diesel vessels operating around ports and harbors.
Although the 10-year-old old pair of engines "were fine," Forbath said, regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency and South Coast Air Quality Management District require that diesels be refitted every decade, something the Catalina Flyer operators got a head start on in mid-September.