Ferry frustration: Sleeping captain holds up commuters

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MUKILTEO, Wash. - In a bizarre incident, a snoozing ferry captain caused a delay in the first sailing of the day between Whidbey Island and Mukilteo on Wednesday morning.

 

The sleeping officer forced the ferry to turn back. As a result, a lot of commuters were late to work.


Garvin Dodge and Mark Angel punch time clocks when they arrive at their jobs at Boeing's Everett plant, so they didn't appreciate it when their early morning ferry from Whidbey Island turned around just before docking at Mukilteo, delaying their arrival at work by about a half an hour.



Dodge and Angel said that the ferry got close to the dock before turning around. They didn't know the reason for the delay until KIRO 7 told them.



Both ferries on the Clinton to Mukilteo run spend the night on the Whidbey side. One of the ferry captains fell asleep on the Cathlamet even though he was supposed to pilot the other ferry, the Kittitas, this morning.


The skipper of the Cathlamet sailed toward Mukilteo, not knowing his sleeping colleague was on board. When alerted, he turned the ferry around and headed back to Clinton so the then awake captain could skipper the Kittitas.


It's the latest in a series of delays or cancellations afflicting the state ferry system. The Clinton-Mukilteo run has had eight disruptions since June.



In this case, no routes were cancelled, but the delay was an inconvenience to many and costly to some, like Dodge.



"Somebody needs be held accountable for that," he said, suggesting that it be the ferry captain.



A captain makes an average of $75,000 a year.



Ferry officials have not named the sleeping captain, but they said a formal investigation will soon get under way, and the captain could face sanctions.


This story came from a tip that someone sent to KIRO 7 using our iPhone app. It and the KIRO 7 iPad app can be downloaded for free in the iTunes store.