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‘Never have I seen anything like this’: Staffing shortages cancel over 140 ferry sailings on Friday

Oct 8, 2021, 6:56 AM | Updated: 11:55 am
Ferry cancellations...
(WSDOT, Flickr Creative Commons)
(WSDOT, Flickr Creative Commons)

Dozens of Washington state ferry sailings have been canceled Friday, due to staffing shortages across numerous routes.

New ferry line cutting education and enforcement underway

The first cancellations for Friday were announced late Thursday night, when Washington State Ferries said a pair of morning sailings for the Seattle/Bremerton route were being canceled due to a staffing shortage.

A reduced schedule was then announced for the Fauntleroy/Vashon for the same reason, followed by the cancellation of dozens of Friday sailings for the Edmonds/Kingston ferry.

More cancellations then began flooding in shortly before 5 a.m. Friday, including 12-hours worth of sailings for the Mukilteo/Clinton route, as well as all sailings for the day through 8:50 p.m. after a single roundtrip at 6:10 a.m. for the Anacortes/San Juan Islands ferry.

“20 years doing traffic in the city, NEVER have I EVER seen anything like this,” KIRO Radio Traffic Reporter Tracy Taylor tweeted.

As of 6:45 a.m. Friday, Taylor reports a total of 141 cancelled sailings for the day, as well hours-long delays for many other routes.

According to Washington State Ferries, four routes have been reduced to a single boat, another is down to two boats, and a one other is down to three.

Addressing the staff shortage on Twitter, WSF noted that “COVID-19 restrictions have not allowed us to hire or train new recruits at the same rate as prior to the pandemic.” Despite that, over 100 new crew members have been added so far this year.

While WSF typically ramps up hiring once a year before the summer begins, it says it is now “continuously recruiting new employees” to account for its lack of staffing.

You can stay up to date on further cancellations for updates on ferry sailings today here.

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‘Never have I seen anything like this’: Staffing shortages cancel over 140 ferry sailings on Friday