Brooks Appointed to Board of Pilot Commissioners

Bay businessman and owner of Dorade, Matt Brooks, has been appointed to California’s Board of Pilot Commissioners, following in his father’s footsteps (press release).

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – On December 14, 2018, California Gov. Jerry Brown appointed William Mathews “Matt” Brooks, 67, to the state’s Board of Pilot Commissioners for the Bays of San Francisco, San Pablo and Suisun. This appointment aligns with Brooks’ distinguished nautical pursuits as well as his family’s history with the Board.

San Francisco Bay pilot boat

A pilot boat at work outside of the Golden Gate Bridge near San Francisco.

“I am looking forward to serving the community through this vital maritime association,” said Brooks. “The Bay Area’s shipping industry is a major economic engine for our region, and the Board of Pilot Commissioners fuels that engine by ensuring thousands of commercial and passenger ships navigate safely and successfully through San Francisco Bay.”

The entrance to San Francisco Bay is considered one of the country’s most complex for piloting. Each year, over 4,000 oil tankers, cruise ships and commercial carriers pass through, escorted by a San Francisco Bay Pilot, an elite group of maritime professionals. The Board of Pilot Commissioners oversees the training, licensing and selection of the Bar Pilots with a jurisdiction that encompasses 1,000 miles of coastline from Redwood City to Sacramento, San Francisco to Monterey.

The Board of Pilot Commissioners is charged with driving maritime traffic through San Francisco Bay, an industry that delivers economic value to the region at a rate $1.2 billion per day, with over $35 billion in imports and $15 billion in exports directly attributable to ports served by the Bar Pilots.

Matt Brooks aboard Dorade

Matt Brooks aboard his classic yawl, Dorade.

“Without the Bay Pilots, the shipping industry could not operate at its current level, if at all,” said Brooks.

Brooks’ passion for the sea can be traced back to his childhood when he learned to sail on the Bay. Today, Brooks is best known in the yachting world for his successful campaign of Dorade, a famous ocean-racing sailboat built in 1930. In 2010, Brooks and his wife Pam Rorke Levy restored Dorade and set out to repeat the many ocean races the boat won in the 1930s. Brooks reached the podium in all of those races, including the 2013 TransPacific Race from California to Hawaii, in which Brooks won first place overall, 77 years after Dorade won that race the first time. More recently, Brooks raced Dorade in the 2017 Sydney Hobart Race where she finished 2nd in class and was the oldest boat to ever complete the race. Off the water, Brooks heads the New York Yacht Club Foundation and supports the St. Francis Sailing Foundation (San Francisco), where he and his wife will serve as honorary co-chairs of the 2019 Gala and Auction.

John “Jack” Brooks

Brooks’ family first came to the Bay Area as ship captains in the 1800s, and his grandfather ran the Besser Tug and Barge Company on San Francisco Bay through the 1940s. His father, John Brooks, was a graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, served on merchant and navy ships as a chief engineer, and was a trustee of the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point. Brooks followed in his father’s footsteps and also served as a trustee of the US Merchant Marine Academy.

In 2008, John Brooks was appointed to the California Board of Pilot Commissioners, also by Gov. Jerry Brown (CA). He served proudly on the Commission until age 90 and resigned just six months before his death in 2016. For this and many other contributions to the community, John Brooks was awarded the rank of two-star admiral by President George W. Bush.

“Serving the community through maritime excellence is a Brooks family value, and I’m honored to continue my father’s legacy,” said Brooks.

Professionally, Brooks has been president at Ardenbrook Inc., a real estate investment company with holdings in the five western states, since 1980. As with all of his personal and recreational pursuits, Brooks’ goal on the Commission is to promote an agenda of professionalism and to pursue the highest standard of excellence in the industry.

Brooks is scheduled to be confirmed by the State Senate in January after which he will assume his post.

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