Ferry delays and shortages systemwide after engine fire, steering failure
After a steering system failure on the M/V Salish on Sunday, the Seattle-Bremerton ferry route will be down to just one-boat service starting June 1.
The boat is anticipated to return later this week, once those repairs are completed. In the meantime, Washington State Ferries warns passengers to plan ahead and give themselves extra travel time as there “will likely be delays during peak travel times.”
The Salish isn’t the first trouble for the ferry system in recent weeks. In mid-May, Bremerton and Bainbridge-bound vessels departing Seattle swapped loading lanes due to service changes following an engine fire that put the M/V Wenatchee out of service. This change will in place for about seven weeks.
With the Wenatchee expected to be out of service for several months, WSF had to make a number of peak season service changes that meant almost every ferry route was down boats or using smaller vessels.
Seattle-Bainbridge had three options — the smaller 188-vehicle Walla Walla, 144-vehicle Kaleetan, or 124-vehicle Issaquah — through at least July 25. The Walla Walla was replaced by the Kaleetan on May 29.
Seattle-Bremerton was down to just the slower and smaller 64-vehicle Salish with a schedule adjustment that eliminated an afternoon round trip, but is now using the Chimacum. Spokane, recently pulled from service for maintenance, helped fill in Monday just for Memorial Day travel.
As far as other routes, the Mukilteo-Clinton route is on the smaller 124-vehicle Kittitas or Chelan though most of the summer. Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth won’t start three-boat service until at least June 7, originally scheduled to start in May 9. And Port Townsend-Coupeville will have to wait until at least June 27 for two-boat service, which had also been scheduled to start May 9.
The Anacortes-San Juan Islands route started peak season service on May 9 as scheduled.
For those yet to be vaccinated, there will be COVID-19 vaccines offered onboard the Seattle-Bremerton route this week, June 1-3, from 8:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Vaccines will be given during the first 30 minutes of each sailing to allow time for recipients to be monitored for any reactions. Peninsula Community Health Services is providing the shots and will have both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson available.
Masks are still required on all public transportation, including ferries.
Check sailing schedules online here.