Ferry delays, cancelations continue through weekend

More than 100 ferry trips were cancelled Saturday as the state continues to struggle to staff their vessels for yet another day.

Shannon Dean and her husband Tim Dustrude say it uses to be reliable. “Typically I could always count on them, says Dean. “I could count on having a ferry to the main land.”

The couple lives in in Friday Harbor, making the ferry system the the best way to make it across the sound. Dustrude says that has all changed. “The scheduling is just becoming totally unreliable.”

The state says Saturday’s cancellations are due to a number of issues, telling KIRO 7 “There are many reasons for our current crewing challenges, including an aging workforce, pre-pandemic worldwide maritime industry recruitment challenges and vacancies, COVID-19 quarantines and isolation, leave related to the anticipated departure of staff in key positions required to run the fleet, and the vaccine mandate.”

The problem becoming so bad, some families like are leaving their cars behind.

“It’s been a challenge,” says Cadian Hendricks. He and his family live in Kingston. “We commuted over here for a soccer game for my son and we decided to walk on because of only the one boat.”

He says even planning around the delays and cancellations is a task. “We were trying to take the 1:35 and what, we’re on the 3:15 now I think.”

Dustrude and his wife worry the issues facing the ships will impact public safety. He says his mother nearly missed a doctors appointment when her ferry was cancelled. It took two plane rides to get her to Bellingham from the San Juans. “She was 2 minutes late to that appointment and the doctor almost didn’t see her.”

The ferry system says they are doing everything they can to alert passengers of all the daily changes, but for some that just isn’t enough.

“I personally feel like I’m being held hostage,” says Dean. “I mean I’m walking on egg shells.”