Ferry delays, cancelations continue through the weekend

SEATTLE — Ferry riders are waking up to another day of frustration as delays and cancelations continue through the weekend.

More than 100 sailings were canceled Friday due to a lack of Coast Guard-documented crew.

The Washington State Ferries website updated with more delays and cancelations for Saturday.

The Point Defiance/Tahlequah is out of service again due to a lack of Coast Guard documented crew. The alternative route for riders in the Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth route, which is operating on a 2-boat schedule also due to a lack of crew.

The Tokitae on the Mukilteo/Clinton route is also canceled, leaving the route with one boat for the day.

Riders leaving Edmonds are experiencing a three hour wait time as of 9 a.m. Saturday.

KIRO 7 spoke with ferry commuters Thursday, when numerous sailings were also canceled.

“I think everyone would like a little more consistency and a little bit more communication as far as kind of the overall outlook, so we can plan our days and our lives a little bit better,” Jeff Ingram of Issaquah said.

On Thursday, 10 sailings of the Anacortes-San Juan Islands run were canceled.

Washington State Ferries officials said the route has dropped from having four to five boats to three. The Seattle-Bremerton route was operating with just one vessel last week.

WSF officials provided KIRO 7 with the following statement Saturday:

“Washington State Ferries is experiencing severe staff shortages due to many variables including an aging workforce, pre-pandemic worldwide maritime industry recruitment challenges and vacancies, COVID-19 quarantines and isolation, and finally leave related to the anticipated departure of staff in key positions required to run the fleet.

Due to the lack of required vessel crew, WSF has been forced to tie up vessels during the sailing day and cancel sailings on several routes. Out of about 425 sailings scheduled for today, roughly 300 are expected to sail as expected. Cancellations are only made after WSF’s dispatch center makes hundreds of calls to on-call and other staff trying to fill the positions. Customer Service also tries to alert passengers to possible cancellations and interruptions with enough notice to adjust plans. Again, because WSF is crewed at the U.S. Coast Guard minimum level, the loss of a single crewmember means the boat can’t sail and a trip, or multiple trips, get cancelled.”