Ferry system announces Edmonds-Kingston route at full strength

Feb 28, 2023, 3:05 PM | Updated: 3:50 pm
Wishkah ferry...
Washington's first hybrid-electric ferry, Wishkah. (Washington State Ferries, Twitter)
(Washington State Ferries, Twitter)

Washington State Ferries (WSF) announced the Edmonds-Kingston route will stay on a two-boat service. In addition, the Anacortes-Sidney, B.C. route won’t return until approximately 2030.

“We decided to focus on domestic service first,” said WSF spokesman Ian Sterling. “It’s a combination of variables, including the availability and types of boats. It also involves making sure everyone is trained correctly.”

Sterling said that two other routes, Seattle-Bremerton, and Port Townsend-Coupeville, most likely won’t return to pre-pandemic service until fall.

“We put out a restoration report every few weeks, and this one had big news,” Sterling said. “Staffing and boat shortages remain a problem, so we’re focusing on restoring the most popular routes first.”

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As far as runs from Anacortes to Sidney, B.C. go, “There is a lot of history there. It is one of our most beautiful routes and one of the longest,” Sterling said. “When we have new boats come online, we will restore service to Sidney, but that won’t be for a long time.”

In a statement, WSF said, “A return to full capacity of the system will be dependent on several variables, including:

Ridership levels and accommodating the seasonal increase in summer peak season ridership.
The ability of WSF to recruit, hire and train new employees to fill key positions.

The rate of retirements and other separations that contribute to overall staffing levels.

Vessel availability due to the timeline for new vessel construction, necessary vessel maintenance, unanticipated breakdowns, vessel retirements, and an aging fleet.

Recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

WSF has prioritized ferry routes based on ridership, service performance, availability and directness of travel alternatives, and vessel and crew availability. 

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Here is a list of the remaining routes waiting to return to full service (in order of priority):

Fauntleroy-Vashon Island-Southworth

Port Townsend-Coupeville

Anacortes-Sidney B.C.

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Ferry system announces Edmonds-Kingston route at full strength