The Catalina Express
Relax, Sit Back and Enjoy the Ride
Celebrating 42 Years of Service
This year Catalina Express celebrates its 42nd year of service to Catalina Island. Starting with only one boat and one phone, Catalina Express has emerged as the leader of marine transportation to Catalina Island. Each year, more than one million passengers set sail on board the Catalina Express fleet.
Catalina Express began in 1981 when three Catalina Island residents realized the need for fast, reliable transportation to and from the Island. Doug Bombard, his son Greg Bombard and long time colleague, Tom Rutter, worked tirelessly to make the vision a reality. Since then, more than 33 million passengers have set sail to Catalina Island onboard Catalina Express.
“It’s amazing to see how much the business has grown and changed over the past 42 years. I believe the success of Catalina Express has been made possible because of our loyal customers and employees” – Greg Bombard, President
In its first year of service, Catalina Express operated with a 60-passenger vessel. The founders worked closely with boat builders to design vessels with innovative features like full ride control systems for stability, modern navigational systems, airline-style cabin seating, panoramic viewing windows, and on-deck seating, which won immediate acceptance from passengers.
Today and Looking To The Future
Today, the fleet consists of eight high-speed vessels including four catamarans. The largest vessel in operation, the Catalina Jet has the capacity to carry 450 passengers across the channel. Catalina Express offers up to 30 round-trips daily and operates from three different ports.
Concern for passenger safety and comfort have always been high priorities for the owners, and they are constantly studying the most progressive technology in watercraft transportation. President Greg Bombard is affiliated with several different associations including the Passenger Vessel Association, and his recent role as President of the Interferry Association. Bombard credits the company’s friendly service as another key factor to its success. “From the reservations agent to the captain and his crew, our goal is to offer passengers more than a boat ride, but a memorable vacation experience,” says Bombard.