Posts Tagged ‘Washington State ferries’

Coupeville High School cross country runners were denied a chance to compete Wednesday. (Jackie Saia photos)

No luck for middle school harriers, either.

No one runs today.

Two cross country races scheduled for Wednesday were cancelled, for different reasons, sidelining teams from both Coupeville High School and Middle School.

The struggling Washington State ferry system upended CHS, derailing a four-team meet on Orcas Island.

Coupeville’s harriers had already made the bus trip from Central Whidbey to Anacortes but were unable to continue on to the San Juan Islands with no ferries leaving the dock.

Similar news awaited Mount Vernon Christian and Concrete, as the Samish was grounded due to “a lack of qualified crew.”

The meet has been tentatively rescheduled for next Wednesday, Sept. 28, depending on boat availability, said Coupeville Athletic Director Willie Smith.

Meanwhile, the middle school crew was headed to the Clinton ferry, which is operating today, only to have their meet in Sultan called off due to poor air quality.

“Those darn fires still causing havoc,” said CMS running guru Elizabeth Bitting.

“We had loaded the bus and were ready to get athletes on,” she added. “But good thing, because our bus then had to go pick up the high school team at the (other) ferry terminal.”

Both Wolf teams hope to get back into action Saturday, when they travel to Shoreline for the King’s Roller Coaster Trail Run.

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Learn to swim long distances.

That might help you to get from Coupeville to Port Townsend, or vice versa, quicker than the ferries will.

As we head towards the start of peak season, Washington State Ferries officials said Tuesday that they will NOT add a second boat to the Coupeville/Port Townsend run May 9, as previously announced.

The decision was made because “COVID-related crewing shortages have forced WSF to delay providing this additional service.”

The new target date is June 6, though that remains ever-flexible.

All reservations made on the #2 vessel through June 6 have been cancelled, and customers will need to secure new bookings.

To get help doing so, call (206) 464-6400 to speak with a customer service agent.

“We apologize for the inconvenience,” WSF officials said in a press release.

“Thank you for your patience and understanding while we continue to navigate this unique and challenging time.”

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The Mukilteo/Clinton ferry run returns to two-boat weekend service starting this Saturday, Aug. 22.

The move, announced Thursday, ends a two-month period in which only one vessel was in operation on the busiest travel days of each week.

Also getting a second boat back on weekends is the Edmonds/Kingston run.

Both routes have been operating with just one boat on weekends since June 20, due to “a lack of crewmembers needed to meet U.S. Coast Guard requirements.”

In a press release, Washington State Ferries said “more than 100 high-risk WSF vessel and terminal employees have been unavailable due to the (COVID-19) pandemic.

“In addition, new hires were unable to undergo mandatory face-to-face training until June.”

The ferry system has been able to add 16 new crewmembers and 10 terminal attendants in the past month.

“We’re now at a point that we can incrementally increase service and are working to restore sailings on additional routes in the weeks ahead,” said WSF Director of Operations Greg Faust.

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July has gotten off to a rough start for the Washington state ferry system.

COVID-19 has made it difficult to fully staff boats, and the system’s busiest route by car traffic — Clinton to Mukilteo — has been reduced from two boats to one boat every weekend this month.

Now comes word a ferry may have collided with a whale Monday not far off the Mukilteo dock.

Puget Sound Express, a whale-watching company, sighted a pair of humpback whales in the area and communicated with nearby ferries.

There are differing reports on whether the incoming ferry actually made contact with the whale, and, if so, how injured the humpback was.

Responding to a story by Q13 Fox, the Washington State Ferries official Facebook page issued a statement Tuesday morning.

“We know two whales surfaced off the starboard bow of Tokitae near Mukilteo terminal, and were moving right to left.

“They came up so close to the ferry there was no time to stop or slow.

“We are working with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) to review the video and photos to determine what happened and if our vessel hit the whale.

“Anyone who sees an injured whale should contact our West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network at 1-866-767-6114.”

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Welcome to Ferryageddon.

If you were thinking of sailing to Whidbey Island in July, maybe step back, take a deep breath (from underneath your mask) and just say no.

Otherwise, get ready for deep, deep frustration.

A day after revealing several workers have tested positive for COVID-19, Washington State Ferries officials announced a reduction in service on two of the busiest routes.

The changes will be in place every weekend in July.

The Mukilteo/Clinton route, which is the busiest in the system, and the Edmonds/Kingston route, will both run just one boat, and not the normal two, on weekends.

In a news blurb released Wednesday, it was stated the move was “due to a shortage of available crew during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The dates affected are:

July 4-5
July 11-12
July 18-19
July 25-26

On those weekends, only the #1 sailings on the schedule will be used.

Washington State Ferries officials ask those wishing to sail to “plan ahead by checking schedules online and expect long waits if driving onto a ferry over each weekend, particularly during the Fourth of July holiday weekend.”

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